There is something fantastically unworldly yet alluringly familiar about Amy Joy Watson’s bright sculptures. Whether it’s a drooping bow or a glitter-filled orb, this Australian’s artful structures feel like a 1986 birthday party, translated or abstracted by a video game of that same era: there are no soft edges, only the disjointed illusion of it.
To make each piece, Watson stitches or glues together watercolor-stained balsa wood, occasionally adding a tasteful Gobstopper here, or helium balloon there, to garnish her own primal sense of whimsy and sacred geometry, resulting in a somewhat spiritual monument to another imaginative age and time.
The sculptures of artist Takahiro Komuro feel conspicuously out of place in the real world. They nearly seemed to have been plucked from the video games, cartoons, and comics of a twenty-somthing’s childhood. Mutant superheros and villains, video game bosses, the often dramatic story lines of each perhaps reflected the anxieties of our parents at the time. Komuro’s sculptures capture this strange balance of youth and play on the one hand and deeper fears on the other.
As the Fondation Cartier points out, ‘a Ron Mueck exhibition is a rare event.” His hyperrealistic sculptures are worked over carefully for countless hours. Thus new work is especially exciting. Mueck’s current exhibit at the Fondation Cartier introduces three new sculptures. Couple Under an Umbrella, featured here, illustrates Mueck’s style well. His amazingly lifelike sculptures are only betrayed as inanimate objects by their surreal size. The giant couple beside their creator makes for a bewildering sense of scale and reality. [via]
Mike Leavitt’s Intuition Kitchen churns out a plethora of playful and multidimensional pieces. From portable homeless shelters to wedding cake toppers and DIY vending machines, his career in the creative world knows no boundaries and ignores all stigmas. He just grabs inspiration and goes for it. For instance, Leavitt pays homage to Christo by shaping his image from polymer clay, a staple at Michaels or any craft supply store. This, and other Art Army Action Figures, embrace a lovely contrast between materials and content in an loveable and pitch perfect manner. It’s not just cheap plastics imported from overseas factories, nor is it about elitism in the commercial art world, nor is it a rebellion against any of it. Each art star figurine is simply built from hand in a limited edition of 10 with a raw passion and appreciation for the entire spectrum.
Ballroom Luminoso is a wonderfully different kind of ballroom. A series of six chandeliers by artists Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock hang under an overpass in San Antonio, Texas. The chandeliers are constructed from recycled bicycle parts, structural steel, and custom LED fixtures. Shadow patterns of bicycle sprockets paint the surrounding area alongside colorful light. Accompanying the bicycle parts are carefully carved imagery referencing the areas Hispanic, agricultural, and ecological heritage. The artist statement goes on to say:
“The medallions are a play on the iconography of La Loteria, which has become a touchstone of Hispanic culture. Utilizing traditional tropes like La Escalera (the Ladder), La Rosa (the Rose), and La Sandía (the Watermelon), the piece alludes to the neighborhood’s farming roots and horticultural achievements.” [via]
Ceramicist Matt Wedel continues to make strong headway in the gallery world while maintaining an impressive creative autonomy in Athens, Ohio, where he builds, glazes, and fires each larger than life sculpture on his own terms . . . by himself . . . without assistants.
“Sheep’s Head,” his most recent exhibit at LA Louver, proves to be a wonderful example of what a little focus, patience, and isolation can create. Each cumbersome piece collects to convey a vibrantly glossy world: renderings of a twisted contemporary animal kingdom and its surrounding vegetation.
Of this particular series, David Pagel notes, “Cookie jars come to mind, as do centerpieces for fancy dinners, elaborate candle holders, ships’ figureheads and decorative figurines. So do works by Picasso, Botero and Baselitz, as well as ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan statuary, Cylcadic sculpture, Olmec totems and carved saints from medieval churches.”
From everyday objects to art history and human artifacts, Wedel’s healthy dose of contemporary dreaming bends the familiar into something imaginatively powerful. On view, we encounter angelic mutants who have been hardened over time, perhaps altered by a sorcerer’s wand or depicted to honor one final futuristic freeze. Likewise, while roaming the floor, we meet flora and fauna which structurally blooms in a childlike manner, but not without a bitter taste of science gone awry with color dripping and drooping.
Piece after piece, a creative storybook of bright possibility or dark youthful mystery unravels, and this is exactly why we strive to look deeper- it’s a hoping to engage not only with the work, but with our own innermost children.
Check out the video after the jump to see the artist at work and meet his 3-year-old inspiration.
The work of artist Ted Lawson reveals a persistent interest in the human body. Though his work is attractive to look at, or at least hard to pull away from, there is clearly a deeper fear being expressed. His art investigates processes related to the physical body such as growth, its needs, its decay and death. Really, these sculptures are physical representations of modern psychological concerns. The tenuous relationship between the body and the mind has been a highly scrutinized theme throughout much of contemporary art. Lawson’s work, though, has a way of striking an especially carnal chord.
Superstition aside, these sculptures made from shards of mirrors were created by artist Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen. If you look at the photographs carefully, in addition to the sculptures a person in a similar mirror-suit moves throughout the gallery. The gallery also projects a video for this exhibit featuring a person in this mirror-suit moving through commercial spaces in South East Asia and Denmark. It is interesting noticing the virtually universal nature of mannequins. Rasmussen brings out that they allow us to imagine the way clothes will look on us, but on a deeper level we project what we want to be on them. Similarly, these sculptures literally reflect those gazing at them. [via]