New Paintings by Adam Friedman Challenge Perspective, Glorifying the Mystery in Nature

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Adam Friedman celebrates the unchanging mystery of nature in his surreal, hybrid paintings that dissect landscapes from the real world. His newest body of work is bold in color and line, as he portrays scenes of glorious mountains and unwavering glaciers. His unique style depicts scenes of tremendous natural beauty, transformed them into something even more stunning. Plates of the earth seem to shift and glaciers are mirrored in a reversed world that Friedman so skillfully creates. The artist experiments and warps perspective in his paintings, like an M.C. Escher drawing toying with our mind. Sections of mountains are divided and manipulated into geometric patterns and shape that make you question exactly what it is you are looking at. Friedman describes his artwork’s intent.

“Millions of years are compacted into a single instant and rocks become fluid. I strive to present a moment that defies human intervention in the landscape, and pays homage to the potential in the inexplicable.”

Friedman explains that his work celebrates the unknown that the natural world possesses. Society attempts to explain, examine, and make sense of our environment, but there are some things we cannot understand. The beauty in the unknown can be felt in Friedman’s powerful series that radiates with intensity. Mirus Gallery in San Francisco, California currently has a solo exhibition of Friedman’s work on view until July 11th. If you have the chance to see this exhibition, titled Into the Aether, make sure to check out his compelling paintings in person.

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Myeongbeom Kim’s Surreal Sculptures Of Balloons, Deer, And Tree Branches Evoke Questions On Life And Growth

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Using themes of life and growth in nature, artist Myeongbeom Kim constructs stunning installations of surreal situations. His work often conveys a state of transition between two strange pairs, like he has stumbled upon bizarre metamorphoses frozen in time. Certain imagery is often repeated in Kim’s work, like deer, antlers, trees, and balloons. In one installation, a beautiful, still deer is acting as a trunk of a tree, with its antlers turning into tree branches.  In another installation, it is an inanimate object like rope or a bed that is transforming into a plant. Kim’s use of balloons is rather different than his typical nature infused environment that he creates. Balloons act in fantastical, irrational ways in the artist’s work. They hold up a three-legged chair, a noose, and even a woman’s hair. Kim’s work revolving around themes of life and nature, organic elements can also be found included with his shiny, latex objects. In an incredible piece of Kim’s, a cloud of bright, red balloons float while a tree trunk and roots miraculously come forth from its cluster. This displacement of nature found in his work creates a dialogue with the viewer, evoking questions of life, death, and nature’s place in our lives.

Originally hailing from South Korea, the currently works between Seoul, South Korea and Chicago. He has exhibited all over the world and has installed his pieces in a variety of innovative spaces.

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Colleen Jordan’s Wearable Planters Allow You To Bring A Little Piece Of Nature Wherever You Go

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Do ever wish that you could take a little piece of the earth with you wherever you go? Well, Colleen Jordan allows you to do just that with her tiny, adorable wearable planters. This seed of an idea started while studying Industrial Design as a student. Naturally having a green thumb, she was inspired to construct creative and convenient ways for people to carry around plants. Now, this is exactly what Jordan has created! Fusing together jewelry design and gardening, she creates small pots in a variety of shapes and colors filled with dainty flora, which are attached to a cotton cord so that they can lie safely around your neck. Other vases function as magnets, fashionable pins, or decorations that attach to your bike.

Jordan’s wearable planters range in style, as some of the pots are a more organic shape with earthy tones, while others showcase a more modern, geometric style with pastel colors. Amazingly enough, all of her miniature plants are generated from a three-dimensional printer. This 3-D printed nylon plastic is later hand embellished and dyed by the artist. The question is, how long can a tiny plant survive while being carried along during your travels around your neck? Although you have to supply the plant, Jordan supplies her customers with what kind of plants grow best in the small vases and also how to keep them alive and thriving. Her unique and beautiful accessories are perfect if you want to keep a little piece of nature close to your heart! (via Ignant)

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Stop And Smell The Roses: The Eclectic Flora Collages Of Anne Ten Donkelaar

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Spring is in full bloom in the work of Anne Ten Donkelaar, as she breathes new life into fragile shards of flora. Using photos of flowers, she collages together lush bouquets of plants in combinations that are unlike any you may find in the wild. Each bloom and root this Netherland based artist creates is mismatched with another. She even combines black and white nature photography with color, creating a striking affect. Donkelaar’s emphasis of the faint, subtle lines of the roots and stems moving through the composition beautifully compliment the flourishing flora. Her magical specimens are delicate and ethereal, as they seem to float in their frame. In fact, her work is suspended above the background by small pins, casting a contrasting shadow behind it.

“Weeds become poetry, each unique twig gets attention, nature seems to float.”

Donkelaar’s work shows off an eclectic assortment of plant types, as she displays cactus, succulents, and fungi amongst the layers and layers of wildflowers. The large variety of hue and color combined with the widely diverse nature in her work creates overwhelming visual detail and beauty that will have you searching through every leaf and pedal. The artist treats each piece with such love as to show the faint detail of each small bud that transforms and evolves into a new and thriving creation.

“By protecting these precious pieces under glass, I give the objects a second life and hope to inspire people to make up their own stories about them.”

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Wolfgang Laib Makes Art With Yellow Pollen Fields

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German conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib creates his installations from natural materials displayed in very unnatural ways. In “Pollen from Hazelnut,” Laib collected pollen from the area around his studio for over 23 years. In the gallery, he carefully sifted the rich yellow powder into a saturated rectangular field. He says,

“I wanted to have this very intense, concentrated experience … with the pollen. So, the meadow with flowers where I collect the pollen is something very different from how you see it here, a real concentrated experience without any distractions, nothing else.” (Source)

Traditionally, conceptual art is primarily concerned with ideas—aesthetics are mainly disregarded. Laib’s pollen fields are unusual in that they have a strong conceptual basis, yet they’re also lovely and striking. The geometric shapes, as large as 380 square feet, have been described as a “vast luminous field of color” and “a blanket of pure pigment.”

Interestingly it is in the collection of the pollen and the amassed pollen itself where Laib finds the most meaning. The sifting onto the floor is almost irrelevant to him. This exchange is from an interview in The Journal of Contemporary Art

Ottmann [interviewer]: Your pollen pieces are for sale. If a collector wants to own one how exactly does that work?

Laib: He buys three jars of pollen and it’s his choice of keeping it in the jar or to get rid of his furniture and spread it out on the floor.

Ottmann: Would you go to his home and do that?

Laib: Yes, but of course I would be even happier if he would do it himself.

Some critics of the work are concerned with Laib’s “waste” of natural materials. This is not a concern for Laib, who, although he works with natural materials, does not consider himself a naturalist. It’s important to remember that the pollen is gathered by hand over a long period of time, not mass harvested, denuding the environment in one obscene swoop. From concept to exhibition, every aspect of Laib’s work displays patience, precision, and peace.

Read more about Wolfgang Laib on PBS’s wonderful Art21 website and look out for his episode airing soon!

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Whimsical Animals Sculpted From Dreams By Wang Ruilin Carry The World On Their Back

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Beijing artist Wang Ruilin dreams of animal/nature hybrids, surreal and beautiful, influenced by fine art techniques and aesthetics. In his ongoing series, “Pursuit of Dreams,” these unreal images come to life as large copper sculptures.

Some of the animals carry landscapes: cloud lined mountains rest on deer-like antlers; a relief map spreads across the back of a yak; the backs of a crocodile and a whale hold mountain ranges. In Ark, another whale serves as vessel, holding an ocean and icebergs on its back. The play of scale in familiar forms makes these sculptures somewhat whimsical, despite their literal interpretation. The integration of living creature with land mass and body of water lends an added dimension to the idea of “nature.”

“The Ark series is the result of my most recent efforts. Infused with my true feelings and emotions, they send the message that life sustains nature. As I grew older with more life experience, I started to doubt what I used to learn. These works are the denial of our current world and a depiction of an ideal one. I oppose the self-centeredness of human beings and the ruthless exploitation of other species and natural resources. I seek harmony with the nature. Nature’s greatness lies in her inclusion of everything on earth, while man’s greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”

Some of the “Pursuit of Dreams” sculptures are more streamlined versions of actual animals. With their smooth surfaces and self-contained air, the Horse, Rhino and Bird sculptures reveal Ruilin’s life-long interest in animals. His art influences are also long-standing:

“Eastern classical art also gives me inspiration. I like deep and pure Chinese flowers and bright and cool verdigris with rich colors and full of profoundness and uniqueness.”

(via This is Colossal)

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Laurent Millet’s Collages Evoke Life And Death By Interweaving Man And Nature

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The surreal collages of men and plants that Laurent Millet creates in his series L’Herbier portray a strong connection between nature and the man. But what is that connection? The roots of the plants are always embedded in the body, replacing veins and organs, speaking of an essential. Is the body a receptacle for these plants? Are the plants a kind of succubus, living in and through the human form?

Millet’s work also connotes a strong sense of the fragility of life, echoing Genesis, “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Plants growing in and through the body are a strong reminder of mortality, but also that there is life in death. Nothing ever really ends.

On his website, Millet’s tags for this work are revealing. “Copertino, homme, machine, vegetal, sciences, naturelles, herbier.” Man and machine, science and vegetation. Stylistically these disparate elements come together in photographs combined with botanical and anatomical illustrations. The men photographed seem preternaturally still. Are they already dead?

The series opens with this quote:

“[…] she with a knife did off the head from the body, as best she could, and wrapping it in a napkin, laid it in her maid’s lap. Then, casting back the earth over the trunk, she departed thence, without being seen of any, and returned home […] Then, taking a great and goodly pot, of those wherein they plant marjoram or sweet basil, she set the head therein, folded in a fair linen cloth, and covered it with earth, in which she planted sundry heads of right fair basil of Salerno; nor did she ever water these with other water than that of her tears or rose or orange-flower water.”
Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, 1349-1353, translated by John Payne, 2007, Project Gutenberg ebook

Grotesque but beautiful, it is a reminder of how there must be life after death.

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Stunning Timelapse Captures A Seemingly Dead Plant Come Back To Life

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Videographer Sean Steininger of Tender Fox has put together a stunning video timelapsing the resurrections of the Rose of Jericho (Selaginella lepidophylla) plant. This plant can survive months and sometimes years without water, curling up and browning to the appearance of death – that is, until the presence of water quickly, and seemingly magically, brings the plant back to bright, green life. Steininger captured a time span of just 12-24 hours, documenting the fingers of foliage unfurling multiple times in order to best capture this amazing transformation. You can actually purchase a Rose of Jericho plant on Amazon, if you’d like to experience the water resurrection first-hand. (via colossal)

 

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