Combining fiberglass statues with polyurethane, artist Nick van Woert‘s sculptures are swallowed up and overcome by texture and color. Artificial Neo-Classical statues are covered in multi-colored resin in a way that looks like they’ve been caught in the middle of a downpour. The visual weight of the translucent material (and emphasis on it) is something that’s at the center of van Woert’s work. In an article about him on Sight Unseen, the following is said about his philosophy of making:
Figuratively speaking, the idea is that the world we’ve built for ourselves is only as good as the materials we’ve used to build it — these days, that means all manner of plastics, strange chemicals, and the hollow plaster that replaces stone in the replica statues van Woert repurposes.
In the same article, van Woert’s practice is said to be driven by the mantra “you are what you eat.” Essentially, it’s the idea that we’d replace marble statues of Ancient Greek and Roman figures with cheap fiberglass will eventually catch up with us. The things we make now might not hold up the test of time as marble sculptures have. In his work, van Woert attempts to reconcile what it means to uphold the past visually, but not in terms of raw materials.
These disturbing sculptures, created by Jessica Harrison, seem to be made out of real, fleshy skin and hair. For your relief, that is not the case; they are actually made out of the casts of the palms and back of the artist’s hands. The artist chooses to photograph these sculptures against real skin, her hands, to trick her viewers into thinking that the actual sculpture might in fact be an extension of her body. Blurring these boundaries and limits of the body, Harrison provokes questions about perceptions and bodily shapes in relation to the two of the five sense, touch and sight.
Her research considers the relationship between interior and exterior spaces of the body, but looks neither inwards towards a hidden core, nor outwards from the subconscious, instead looking orthogonally across the skin to the movement of the body itself, using the surface of the body as a mode of both looking and thinking.
Glass bottles, broken ceramic statues, buildings, and an oven are all things you’ll find in Sabine Timm’s work. If this sounds excessive, I assure you it’s not. All of these things are miniature-size and require no heavy lifting. The Dusseldorf-based artist uses found and vintage objects to assemble tiny sculptures and arrange items in an amusing way. The images, captured in photographs, don’t seem like permanent installations. Instead, Timm’s handiwork feels fleeting, like we’re seeing a scene from a play.
Timm often utilizes the same objects among assemblages. This practice weaves a narrative through several images, and we can start to imagine a world where all of these things exist. They are vignettes, depicting a fantastic yet logical place. A pile of small petals nearly cover an entire house. Broken ceramics are given a second chance by simply drawing a new body parts. Timm also solves issues like overcrowding simply by stacking houses on top of each other. Build up instead of out, right?
There is obviously a lot of play at hand in Timm’s work. Her sense of humor is very sweet and goofy; for instance, she adds a face to plastic containers, using a comb as a wild hairstyle. It’s has a broad audience and is amusing in a couple of ways. She’s giving personality to inanimate objects, which is absurd. Additionally, the things she uses to create these faces are ingenious. Timm uses a lot of toys, such as the trees out of a train set. It’s nostalgic for many viewers, but also fun for kids, too. There is a quiet sophistication to her work. The fine details are refined and innovative, yet the attitude of the images themselves are very accessible. You don’t need a formal art education to enjoy Timm’s work, and it’s able to be appreciated on a number of levels.
Location is important to Canadian artist Aaron S. Moran. The wood sculptures he creates are both inspired by, and dependent on pieces of wood that he finds in a particular area. From them, he assembles the discarded material into works of art. Using a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, he creates pieces that create a dialogue between place, media, and the viewer.
At times, his sculptures feel like they are going to combust. In his series If You Resist This! and Wash Up (Boundary Bay), wood is unevenly matched in color and size. Pieces are wedged, layered, and placed where they will fit. The non-matching feels almost haphazard, like the piece’s shelf life wasn’t supposed to be very long. This visual tension feels volatile, as if there is something is ticking inside them and about to burst.
At other times, Moran’s sculptures are more docile. They hold an entirely different air and attitude. Here, he uses wood that’s been painted colors of a pretty sunset. Moran has considered placement of colors and arranged the wood in patterns. He titled the series Kite Contest/1991, conjuring up the feelings you’d get from a warm, pleasant day. He writes this about the series, poetically stating, “Sun filtered nostalgia, memories of vibrant kites flying high in the sky along the shore of a beach. Lively patterns from days gone by, blurred by time. Sun bleached photographs of smiling faces. Picnic blankets and pinwheels moving in the warm breeze.”
Moran is currently pursuing his MFA with the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He lives along the Detroit River on the border of Canada and the United States. You can follow his works in progress and inspiration on his Tumblr, Year On A River.