The figurative drawings and paintings of Pasadena based artist Ching Ching Cheng are remarkably captivating to me. She uses members of her family often as subject matter but continually chooses to portray them in a conceptual way embracing different ways to illustrate a memory of that person in her past more so than the realistic representation of them. Ching uses sculpture and installation mediums in her work, such as her vintage polaroid and mm camera sculptures made of found books & maps. Each camera sculpture has tremendous amounts of character to them feeling to me as if they are alive beings or the “true” soul of whatever camera they are embodying. Ching’s work is thoughtful and personal slivers of her life past and present. Her primary influences include nature, and psychology.
Olaf Breuning commissioned a series of coffins to be created by Ghanaian casket makers. The design of eccentric coffins actually has a long history and tradition in Ghana, so to some this work is actually not that peculiar. Still, it’s not every day you see a coffin in the shape of a melting popsicle. More images of the coffins and the process of making them after the jump.
Improvised Making is and was an interactive installation by artist Dominic Wilcox. Created for the Making Together exhibit in Milan, Wilcox began the installation/sculpture with a single chair. He invited the public to donate sticks for the project and sticks of all sorts were brought to the gallery. Over the course of six days, Wilcox taped all of the sticks as they were brought to him to the chair. Carefully balancing and taping each piece to the structure, he only allowed the four legs of the chair to touch the ground and support the structure. Prior to moving the completed sculpture into another gallery, the structure’s shadow was documented in red on the wall and floor.
Taxidermy is a subject that frequently makes people squeamish and uncomfortable, and there is something definitely something surreal about preserving an animal that has died. Idiots are a Dutch art collective who combine their skills in sculpture and design create taxidermy works of art that are both playful and disturbing. The animals are lifelike and dynamic, but often with their bodies torn apart, stuffed into glass containers, or trapped in unnatural positions. Their sculptures often exhibit the animals inner workings, and replace organs with metals, minerals, or jewels. The beauty contained inside the animals makes their lifelessness even more tragic, and indicates that the artists recognize the morbidity in their own work.
Lotta Mattila is a Helsinki-based Finnish sculptor who is currently the artist-in-residence at Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Mattila finds meaning in the contradictions between her sculptures’ form and their content (a literal battering ram made of glass), and uses those material contradictions to comment on human nature, often by punning off of Finnish sayings.
Mattila’s Skylab exhibition Gravitation opens Friday (11/30) and runs until December 10th. Gravitation takes the “weight of the world” – its physicality and heaviness when one is depressed – as its central metaphor. More of Mattila’s work can be found after the jump.
Artist Anne Ten Donkelaar‘s series Broken Butterflies takes its inspiration from a children’s book. According to the story, because of his dream to create a mix between a flower and a bird, the protagonist Arno is banished to an insect workshop. In a way, Donkelaar works from her own insect workshop. She says:
“I had my own collection of damaged butterflies, so I decided to repair each one differently according to their needs. So in a way, I now have my own workplace with butterflies and give the butterflies a second life.”
Much of her work begins with objects that are often overlooked. Infusing them with renewed attention and narrative, Donkelaar then reintroduces the object to the viewer.
Artist Daniel Palacios‘ sculpture nearly seems alive. A length of rope is attached at to a machine at each end and spun. The spinning rope creates waves against a black backdrop, which are also audible as the rope cuts through the air. Visitors entering the gallery and their movement then influence the rope’s wave. The more a visitor moves in front of the installation, the more chaotic the wave pattern. It’s interesting to note a visitors surprise or sudden discomfort upon realizing their influence on the wave. The sculpture not only reveals a viewers impact on sonic surroundings, but also concretely presents also seems to eerily acknowledge each viewers existence in space and movement.
People are on the move in the installations of Clinton De Menezes. Large crowds of people seem to be trudging through a white field – a snowy plain or salt flat. The exodus, though, plays out on the side of a wall. The South African artist’s model migrations exhibit patience and attention to detail. Each figure is hand painted before being placed and plastered to the wall. De Menezes’ installations illustrate the personal and collective drama of human migration. His work is clearly influence by the ever shifting and complex social landscape of the land of his birth.