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]
Wyatt Kahn’s wall sculptures are built from a series of stretcher panels and raw canvas beautifully pieced together to make one collaged structure. The crevices and peeking back wall help create compositional depth, captivating the eye, revealing clean and simple, yet geometrically intricate work, which is devoted to the complex juxtaposition of space more so than color.
Of Kahn’s art, Sam Cornish writes, “Broadly the type of illusion Kahn employs is one that comes after the reduction of minimalist painting. The flat, object quality of each part is in one sense simply accepted. There is no hint of the surface being broken, of a window open to an atmospheric or light filled space beyond (however shallow).”
Artist and designer Fabrice Le Nezet‘s series Measure precariously positions concrete blocks. Using metal tubing, Le Nezet supports the concrete in way that makes the industrial materials seem nearly organic. The brightly colored pipes cling to the concrete like webs. His intention with the work was to make the materials and its weight easily felt. He says:
“I worked here on a physical representation of the idea of measure. The objective was to ‘materialize’ tension in a sense, to make the notions of weight, distance and angle palpable…This work lies in the context of my search for purification around raw materials such as concrete and metal. This is why I played with simple shapes which catch light and transcend the volume structure.”
Chinn Wang creates an eye-catching brand of pop art. Primarily working in screenprinting, she’s executed these piece directly on wood. The work retains a charming flatness associated with screen printing while adding depth by printing on wood. Her mix of new and old imagery and contrasting colors makes her art hard to pull away from. Her Heraldry series is an excellent example. Just as medieval heraldry made use of complex symbolism, Wang crests likewise make use of modern imagery.