Tom Bendtsen’s first book sculptures appeared in 1997. After initially creating basic structures, his work evolved with the idea of using the books’ colors to create a pixelated image effect. Bendtsen even fills the gaps in his structures with objects or scenes that ask the viewer to consider ideas of history, narrative, and creativity. The laterality of the structures and how this mirrors our absorption of contrasts and oppositions inherent in written narrative are also at play. His largest structure is composed of 16,000 books. String is used to create the forms of the sculptures, and then those forms are filled with books.
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s Black Acid Co-op is a large scale installation of contrasting rooms and objects. The space is accessed through a large hole in the wall in the gallery space, requiring viewers of the work to physically climb through the entrance in order to experience it. While some space is sparse and empty, with evidence of abandonment and decay, others resemble a meth lab, a foreign shop, and a space of retreat. All spaces recontextualize the idea of installation space as a place of continual decay and renewal, calling upon viewers to directly engage with the various spaces. Deitch Projects commissioned this particular piece that was available for viewing in 2009.
Artist Sun K. Kwak paints with tape. She had begun her career as a painter but had felt disconnected with the medium. After experimenting with black masking tape Kwak had found her choice medium. Speaking of her first experience working with the tape, she says, “It felt like black ink pouring out over my fingers. It was very fresh, alive, and free.” The large installation pictured here is found at the Brooklyn Museum and is titled Enfolding 280 Hours – a reference to the amount of time needed to install the work.
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.