Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg‘s project, Stranger Visions, is a wonderful mix of science and art. Dewey-Hagborg turns a poetic attention to the seemingly innocuous artifacts of life: a hair, chewed gum, a cigarette butt. Beyond sight, though, the DNA remains of each unique person inhabits these “artifacts”. She picks up these remains up throughout Brooklyn and brings them to a nearby biology lab. Dewey-Hagborg extracts the DNA from the object, then information from the DNA. She runs the information through a program she has written herself that is able to determine physical features such as eye color, hair color, gender, nose width, and so on. That information is then exported to a 3D color printer to create a sculptural portrait of the unwitting donor. [via]
There is something especially frightening about Lara Mezzapelle and Giacomo Deriu‘s sculpture, Dirittura d’Arrivo. The sculpture freezes the moment a plane rips in half, about to plunge from the sky. All of the ensuing chaos – panicking passengers, flying luggage, mangled metal – is caught completely and eerily in white. A fear of flying has been a common modern phobia. However, as critic Olivia Spatola points out, a plane crash in a post 9/11 world reflects the more modern fear of a new kind of violence. In a way Mezzapelle and Deriu capture this modern fear in their medium and process. The sculpture is planned using 3D modeling software, and cut from nylon using prototyping lasers.
Strainers are tools not often seen outside of the kitchen, much less in the art studio. However, artist Isaac Cordal puts them to use in a series of street installations titled Cement Bleak. For the series Cordal sculpts human faces into the mesh of the hand held strainers. The strainers are then inserted into the ground. Sunlight or streetlights pass through the strainers and project a shadow portrait onto the sidewalk. The nature of strainer’s mesh allows for a strangely realistic face from several angles of light.
Artist Joanne Arnett‘s artwork reproduces mugshots in a uniquely meticulous way. She painstakingly recreates these images as woven textiles. Mixing thread a wire, the result is similar to a shimmering newspaper photograph. Mug shots are generally thought of as utilitarian, empty of aesthetic, and quickly forgotten. Arnett wittily juxtaposes this against the form of a tapestry – valuable textiles often passed on as heirlooms. Interestingly, the title of each piece is the accused’s sentence. For example, the title of the first image is “Two Years and a Fine of $2,000″.
Artist Alessandro Lupi seems to capture ghosts in his eerie sculptures. Lupi begins with simple thread to create his artwork. He paints each strand one at a time with fluorescent paint. The threads are then arranged and lit with black lights. Lupi often arranges the thread in the form of a figure – a person that at once seems to inhabit a space and in the process of disappearing. He calls his work ‘Fluorescent Densities’. The designation alludes to the way he uses his medium to “investigate” and play with light and space.
Italian artist Francesca Pasquali uses a common household item as a point of departure: straws. Perhaps because we typically use and see straws one at a time, Pasquali’s simple work can be especially intriguing to look at. She cuts the straws to varying lengths and arranges them one by one into a large mass. The fields of straws almost appear to be organic, similar to coral or bacterial growths. However, the reality that the sculptures are decidedly inorganic and plastic never entirely escapes the viewers attention. Pasquali achieves an interesting play between natural formations and industrial materials.
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.
These incredibly realistic birds are not alive – surprisingly they’re only paper models. In fact, artist Johan Scherft out of only paper, glue, and paint. He models each bird’s unique shape on his computer than constructs and paints the rest by hand. While the fold-and-glue-tabs model provides each bird with their distinctive body shape, the realism is in Scherft’s careful painting. He says of the painting, “For this part, I take the most time. With very fine brushes, I try to achieve the most realistic effect in color and detail. I use watercolors or gouache paint. It’s always an exciting moment once the template has been painted to assemble the bird and see what the result is.” [via]