Phoebe Washburn’s constructions, built from found or discarded objects such as plants, plywood, cardboard, or fish tanks, to name a few, have been gaining critical acclaim and momentum since 2008, when she took part in the coveted Whitney Biennial.
Of her craft and salvage, in W Magazine, Washburn states: “I’m not green; I’m greedy . . . There’s definitely an aspect of hoarding that drives this, absolutely! If I see someone walking down the street with a nice piece of wood, I’m like, Where did they get that?”
Her approach to discussing art is as playful and humble as the structures themselves, or their titles, which range from “Nunderwater Nort Lab” (above, top) to “Baby Brain (Not Safe for Use as Jacuzzi)” (above, below).
Portia Munson’s latest show at P.P.O.W uses photography, installation, and sculpture to create a vibrant and colorful atmosphere that examines nature, including our own.
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.
Bohyun Yoon has lived in Japan, Korea, and The States. He uses these “diverse social experiences” as a point of reference for his work, which circles around societal restraints and progressive concepts of the body: possible extensions and perils with the advancement of technology/war/culture on a personal and holistic level.
His installation work “Unity” (2009), “Structure of Shadow” (2007), and “Shadow” (2004) casts light on miniature wax body parts which physically dangle aimlessly; however, when illuminated by a light source, these fragmentations create shadows or illusions which illustrate figurative wholeness.
Tethered to our bodies and systems of government, our parts and puppetry, is in essence, our humanness or machinery, or as Yoon explains, what makes us “weak and fragile, spiritless animals under certain rule, certain harsh conditions.” His work also resonates with a sense of devastation felt by veterans returning wounded from battle, physically and spiritually.
Like its real-life counterpart, this coral reef is alive in a way. Organized by the LA based non-profit organization, Institute for Figuring, the reef was lovingly constructed by many hands. According to the Institute for Figuring, the institute is “an organization dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science, mathematics and engineering”, and certainly does this with its Crochet Coral Reef.
The public is invited to participate by crocheting different organisms that are added to the larger crochet habitat. The reef has grown to become one of the largest participatory science and art projects in the world. It does much more than organize a community to engage with visual art and craft. It brings attention to the biology of coral reefs, emphasizes their importance, and reminds us of the danger they’re currently in.
The work of artist Joanie Lemercier resembles Tron type imagery that has come to life. This piece’s materials, however, are really rather simple: paper and light. Lemercier folds paper into variously sized pyramids which are then arranged as a composition on the wall. The composition is visually mapped and a light projection is layered onto the installation. The result is a futuristic glowing geometric pattern. Lemercier is a member of AntiVJ – a “visual label”, a collective of artists that focus on light and perception in regards to art. If you enjoy the work of Joanie Lemercier, check out the work of fellow member Olivier Ratsi.
The sculptures of Naoko Ito are elegant in their simplicity. Indeed, these pieces are entirely constructed of only two materials: a tree and jars. A limb of a tree is cut into several segments and each segment, in turn, is placed in a jar. Naoko carefully arranges the jarred pieces to reconstruct the shape of the limb. A subdued commentary on the relationship between humans and nature, the imagery is immediate all the same. Though the shape and size of the tree limb is intact, the jarred branches are nearly gloomy.
Under the typical gallery bright lights these sculptures from artist Diet Wiegman may seem like innocuous piles of trash. However, these ‘piles’ are meticulously arranged and precisely lit. The resulting shadows resemble famous works of art, icons, and images. He creates coveted works of art through refuse in something as elusive as a shadow. Though various types of ‘light sculptures’ have made their way through art in the past few years, Wiegman is a veteran. He has been using shadows and light as a medium for nearly five decades. [via]
For artist Felice Varini it’s all about your point of view. Varini takes this idea to its extremely literal conclusion. From the perfect perspective his painted geometric shapes seem to float in front of your eyes. However, in reality Varini works hard to make only appear this way. In reality his pieces are huge, cover entire structures (at times multiple buildings), and carefully prepared to be seen from a precise viewpoint. His large optical illusions underscore the subjective nature of art – it’s all about your point of view.