The work of Yinka Shonibare, MBE is filled with the complexity and ambiguity that make art endlessly exciting. Born in London, Shonibare moved to Nigeria when he was three years old and later returned to London to attend college. In a way, his work reflects this personal dynamic between Europe and Africa. However, Shonibare’s work makes it clear that his scope is much larger than that. He skillfully blends traditional textiles, costume, and symbolism from various European and African cultures and times. Through his distinctive work, Shonibare has a way of exploring issues of colonialism in an increasingly shrinking world without taking away any of its complexity. Thus, his work doesn’t inspire political reactionism, but rather sincere thought and deep consideration.
The sculptures of Anthony Howe intriguing as they are – gleaming in the yard of his rural home. However, when a breeze picks up and flows through his work, the sculptures take on new life. These kinetic sculptures unfold in the wind with mesmerizing movement. He says of his work:
“I attempt, with an economy of means, to construct objects whose visual references range from lo-tech sci-fi paraphernalia to microbiological or astronomical models. Utilizing primarily stainless steel armatures that are driven either by hammered curvilinear shapes or flat fiberglass covered discs, I hope the pieces assume a spare, linear elegance when conditions are still, mutating to raucous animation when the wind picks up.” [via]
Often it seems the most useful objects are the most overlooked. Much of the work of artist and designer Joost Goudriaan is set upon changing our relationship with such items. A park bench, an object whose aesthetic is nearly entirely defined by its use, is transformed with traditional craftsmanship. Goudrian uses leather and walnut wood to turn a typically stark bench into luxuriant public seating. Also pictured, is a replica of the classic Nike Air Max made from chocolate. While the original may be prized and collected, Goudriaan compelled anyone who bought his chocolate replica to sign a contract stipulating that they would eat the shoe.
Christopher Lavery’s sculptures and installations work as poetic monuments– stretching beyond one particular brand or medium, and focusing, instead, on the art of humanity in relation to our natural state of dreaming.
For instance, Cloudscape (top image above), a collection of representational clouds, stands as tall as 42 feet and hovers alongside Pena Blvd. in Denver, Colorado. Each piece, made of steel, solar panels, polygal, and LED lighting, allows us to reconsider our own relationship with the sky– how a cloud is a talisman or connector: nature’s billboard, ephemerally reminding us to look up and inward.
Big Gold Word Bubble (plan and model, 2nd and 3rd image above), his latest endeavor, after completion, will stand 14’ tall and examine this idea of how, parallel to the clouds, language is both concrete and abstract: a beautifully harmonized collective word bubble and diversely individualized journey of interpretation. To help support its construction and transit to Art in the Park at Elm Park in Worcester, MA, click here. To view more Cloudscape installation shots, scroll down after the jump.
Artist Jordan Eagles works in a gory medium: blood. Eagle has developed a unique production process that envelops blood he sources from slaughterhouses. Using Plexiglass and UV resin, Eagle encases the blood in a way that preserves its haunting red hue. He further manipulates the blood and resin to create various effects and appearances such as adding blood-soaked gauze or running an electrical current through the pieces. His work calls to mind the rituals surrounding death and the preservation of memory. Check out the video to get an idea of his singular process.
The Glue Society‘s newest project for Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus is an amusent park, or rather, was an amusement park. James Dive of the group gathered an entire demolished amusement park and compacted it into one 13 foot cube. Pieces of rides and remnants of prizes can easily be seen in the mass. The cube was clearly once a place people looked for fun and relaxation, but is now irretrievably gone. Dive says of the project, “The project is about the finality of a missed moment. Creating it was undoubtedly the most violent process I’ve ever embarked upon.”
Sarah Sze’s installations incorporate everyday items from toothpicks to light bulbs, and “Triple Point,” her most recent endeavor at the Venice Biennale, is no different. Ladders, paper scraps, aluminum rods, sleeping bags, and other finely scavenged items collect and assemble to create a whole new type of machinery: a thinking one that has to do with re-assessing value and investigating the romanticism of objects at play with one another in this never-ending Milky Way of constructs.
According to The New York Times, Sze “wanted the installation to bleed out into the environment.’’ This is relevant to not only the pavilion itself, where the bulk of her work sprawls from room to room and outward onto the exterior landscaping, but also the neighboring community.
Blazing a cryptic trail, before the opening, Sze deposited a series of fake rocks (aluminum structures wrapped in photographs of rocks) sporadically in unexpected places, sometimes, with local businesses, who now house them in unconventional spaces, often along with their own imaginative origin stories. The intention is to lead patrons into the exhibit slowly, almost subconsciously, as though foraging their own trail into the surprising wilderness of Sze’s art.
More images of the installation and a video after the jump.
Malia Jensen juxtaposes deep sensory textures with completely opposite objects or animals to create a feeling of longing, sexuality, desire, or play. The pillow, tragically, will never be comfortable enough, born from cutting board wood. Likewise, the breast, shaped from a block of salt lick, will never be able to feel a tongue the way that it should. Each carefully chosen medium breathes a new heavy sadness into the life of these objects, condemned to mirror reality without all the glorious amenities or enjoyments.
Of her work, in ArtSlant Magazine, Jensen states, “You can seduce someone in, and they might be laughing for a while, but they realize this is somewhat dark. There’s a deep sadness in a lot of work. It’s like finding a human condition in an animal parallel.”