San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.
Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.
Some works of art look so wonderfully tactile that you’re drawn to want to touch them. Such is the case of Séance by American artist Sheila Hicks. The larger-than-life installation features huge tufts of colorful fabric stacked on top of one another. It was recently presented by Demisch Danant at Design Miami/Basel’s Design at Large Program.
A black-painted curved wall is covered with giant splotches of vibrantly colored wool, linen, and cotton. Crafting them utilized a processes that originates as pure powdered pigment and is later combined with a binding agent that creates a pliable fiber. This process is symbolically thought of as translating color into 3D form which is then repeated again and again for the purpose of Hick’s installation.
The multi-faceted Séance features a suspended column and a “color table” in addition to the things against the wall. A waterfall of individual strands pour from the ceiling onto a stack of blobs below them, carrying a powerful visual. The color table encourages viewers to create color combinations based on their own associations. When they’re done, they can share and trade them with other participants and piece together a unique narrative. (via designboom)
There is an undeniable sense of morbidity that pervades Czech artist Monika Horčicová’s meticulous replicas of skeletal parts, but to call them simply morbid is to take away from their staggering beauty. Fused together and crafted through cutting edge 3D-printing technology and polyester resin casts, Horčicová merges bones into everything from running wheel-like statues to kaleidoscopic patchworks, each piece rooted in a mesmerizingly acute understanding of our complex skeletal system. Originally from Prague, Horčicová now lives in Brno where she attends the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology. The mathematical arrangements in Horčicová’s pieces, where hip bones can merge perfectly into an open fan of legs and ribcages fit snugly within one another, serve as surreal reminders of the deeply complicated framework that makes up each of our bodies.
Some of Horčicová’s pieces also stand as signifiers of mortality, such as Relikviář, in which 3D-printed pelvises, skulls and more are packed into neat boxes within a black metal display case. Here, they assume a more medical, typified presence, as most bones do when under examination and study, as Horčicová makes clear in her exquisite reproduction. The mutated forms Horčicová’s skeletal constructions take on are mesmerizing and vivid reminders of our own mortality, presented brilliantly within a cycle of infinite possibility.
In the digital age and generation of the selfie, a spiraling and often disorienting importance placed on consumerism and commodities permeates even the most remote of regions. Through the billboard jungles and beehive of mass media, images relentlessly promoting youth and sexuality haphazardly depict ideals of femininity. Creating a wormhole of inadequacies, the female form has found itself in a constant tug-of-war in either defending its natural state or scrambling to correct propagated notions of aesthetic shortcomings. As Barbara Kruger famously stated on one of her notorious gelatin silver prints from the 1980’s, “You Are Not Yourself”.
Don’t have a green thumb? That’s alright. Japanese artist Yuto Yamasaki hand-carved these wooden flora that look like real potted house plants. To construct this impressive collection, he chiseled away at large logs and formed them into succulents, palms, and bonsais. A coat of paint was applied to the wood afterwards and further extends the illusion. From far away, they might trick you into watering them.
The artist uses wood because it’s easily available to him, and he places a great importance on the physicality of art making as a way of exploring subjectivity. “The issue is not what I make; there is no meaning to be found in my pieces beyond a confirmation of the existence of the artist and his experience of making the work.”
Yamasaki’s attitude is reminiscent of when people describe why they enjoy knitting. The repetitive motion is a calming activity, where your mind can safely wander and while you’re doing something that’s active. “Making art objects with my own hands, void of conscious thought, is a therapeutic and meditative experience,” he says. “The challenge is to put myself in a state where the materials make my hands move automatically.” (Via Spoon + Tamago)
Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue
(detail) Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue
Tara Donovan (previously featured here) has famously used inorganic materials to emulate organic shapes, resembling hives, mountains and other natural configurations. Her most recent exhibition, Tara Donovan, at Pace Gallery’s Chelsea, New York, expands on the artist’s use of inventive materials, including index cards, a first for Donovan. Featuring two large-scale works, “the artist continues to explore the phenomenological effect of work created through the accumulation of identical objects”
The former Macarthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant recipient is known for her commitment to process, inventive materials, and evocative installations. Says Donovan,
“There is a sense I get of wanting to choreograph someone’s experience of my work, because the surfaces of my work do often shift and follow the perspective of the viewer, there is a perceptual movement that coincides with a person’s physical movement within the gallery space.’”
The charcoal-colored landscapes look like they’ve been under a lot of pressure and are on the edge of collapse. This inspiration came from the industrial rise of Japan, and Iwasaki used satellite images from Google Earth to recreate its old cityscapes. He began forming these sculptures by first soaking towels in ink and then dirtying them to create rags, serving as the base for the delicately-constructed generators and gantry cranes; it’s meant to signify the lands that were leveled in the WWII air raids. These gritty and melancholy scenes depict an era of post-war Japan that is now past, but still recalls the labor and sweat that went into it. (Via JunkCulture, Spoon & Tamago, and Azito Art)
If you are a collector of random things or have an impressive junk drawer, then you will probably appreciate the work of artists Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn. The duo, who are also married, have taken a random assortments of trinkets and chachkis and assembled them into cross-section sculptures of the human head. Their surreal series is aptly titled Heads, which appear to look like medical diagrams.
In Massart and Wynn’s portraits, we see stones, seashells, door handles, yarn, and even pieces of wood that make up the contents of the skull. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of thematic tie to any of the objects, but that doesn’t detract from how fun and interesting these works are. This series could tell us more about the artists themselves rather than tying a story to the heads. We’re able to see all of the things they’ve collected and all of the memories made by virtue of owning these possessions. (Via Colossal)