Chinese artist Qie Zhijie is known for working in mediums as diverse as calligraphy to performance art. Much of his work, though, is tied together by a subtle mischievousness. These two sculptures constructed by Qie, Oil Can Dragon and Cash Cow, are no exception. Both sculptures are entirely built from skillfully cut oil barrels. Considering the dragon and the tree are both symbols strongly tied to the natural world it’s clear Qie’s choice of using oil barrels wasn’t a trivial one. In Cash Cow, an imposing tree of six stacked oil barrels, Qie contrasts birds perching on boughs and cut from metal lids with an airplane high its branches.
Sculptor Loren Schwerd documents the wreckage hurricane Katrina left behind by building artwork from it in her series Mourning Portrait. While in New Orleans shortly after the storm Schwerd came upon the flooded St. Claude Beauty Supply shop, much of its inventory spilling out on to the sidewalk. She uses the human hair extension she picked up off the curb to build what she calls “commemorative objects”. Each piece is a “portrait” of a building in various stages of deterioration. The images of dilapidated homes give an indication of the massive amounts of damage from the storm while the hair alludes to the human loss. Schwerd explains her use of the human hair extensions in her work this way:
“The portraits draw on the nineteenth-century tradition of hairwork, in which family members or artisans would fashion the hair of the deceased into intricate jewelry and other objects as symbols of death and rebirth and remembrance.”
Georgia Dickie makes sculptures by assembling found objects, most of them large, heavy, and industrial. They seem to be as much about object culture as they are about form and clutter. Unlike some of her contemporaries like Daniel Eatock who focus on common and found objects by turning them into funny absurdities, Dickie’s abstractions of objects are more serious explorations of the objects shapes and uses. But with object culture inevitably comes clutter culture, which Dickie acknowledges in her installation which resembles the back of an old man’s garage. Already in the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art at the age of 23, she has a big future waiting for her. Keep your eyes peeled! More sculptures after the jump.
Mike Perry is of the artist/illustrator/designer/art director/teacher/typographer/zine-maker breed who have put all their energy into making a living off of creativity. Taking inspiration from Steven Harrington (an LA contemporary), cartoons, and mid century ad copy, Perry’s work is all about enjoying life and encouraging others to live more creatively à la Sister Corita. He has a show up right now until November 20 in Brooklyn called Wandering Around Wondering. I use the term “show” loosely, Because keeping in the spirit of 100% outward-directed positivity, it’s equal parts original work, workshops, and open community events, all of which are free. His press release describes it pretty well:
“Wandering Around Wondering is a free three-month community exhibition and series of events that will coincide with the launch of my monograph, published by Rizzoli. The event space will host workshops, screenings, gatherings, open discussions, and much more — conducted by me and a select group of design and illustration professionals. The space will become a dynamic environment for continuous creation, where visitors will be able to explore freely and create their own unique experiences.”
Beth Cavener Stichter uses animals in her sculptures as metaphors for the irrational world humans have trouble tapping into. As sculptures of animals, we’re encouraged to feel more directly what we see the animals going through, more so than we would with a human being whom we would try to supply with a narrative context. This is part of the problem Beth is trying to deal with,to get us to embrace the unconscious and irrational parts of our existence instead of repressing them in order to assert our Humanity. The artist explains:
“There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality. ”
Diana Al-Hadid is a Syrian-born artist who grew up in the US, and coming from such rich backgrounds, it is easy to see why her work deals with the disintegration of power and history. Melting statues and monuments, paintings that look like they were left out in the rain for centuries, the work in her show at the Marianne Boesky Gallery looks more like anthropological pompei-like discoveries than they do precious art objects, which is kind of the point. It encourages you to wonder what kinds of remnants our empires will leave behind for the future to dig up, or for others, maybe it is a call to arms to incite some cultural anarchy. Her show also closes on the 20th of this month, so stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!
Mike Simi is an artist whose sculptures seem almost more like jokes than they do “art” (in a good way). Every one of them is funny, playful, and but also informed, like the products of an MFA student tired of everyone around taking art way too seriously, whose peers then applaud his efforts at subverting their academic approaches.
By stacking two otherwise banal objects and calling it art, Daniel Eatock‘s sculptures both make us laugh as well as re-view the objects around us as first and foremost formal objects and secondly as things we can use to, say, move a pile of dirt around. Try it! Look at all those little smooth squares your fingers are pushing. Look around you!
In his words ” […] I propose systems, templates, invitations and opportunities for collaboration, creating social networks where contributers shape the outcome and participate in the building of works. I embrace contradictions, and dilemmas. I like gray areas, oxymorons and the feeling of falling backwards. My favorite colour is the purple found in a soap bubble. I prefer to swap and exchange things rather than use money. I seek alignments, paradoxes, chance circumstance, loops, impossibilities and wit encountered in everyday life. I often change my mind, go full circle, and arrive at the beginning.” – Daniel Eatock