Artist Ron Issacs crafts delicate-looking garments using a not-so-delicate looking material – wood. Starting with Finnish birch plywood, he builds elaborate relief constructions and ends by painting them in a trompe l’oeil fashion. Issacs excels at capturing the subtle details that make these sculptures believable. The shirts, dresses, and flowers look as though they are gently swaying in the wind. He writes about the subjects of his work, writing:
My three primary recurring subjects are vintage clothing (for the way it continues the life of the past into the present, for its rich structures and colors and shapes, and for its anthropomorphic presence as a stand-in for the figure); plant materials in the form of sticks, leaves, and flowers (for too many reasons to list); and found objects. They combine in appropriate or surprising juxtapositions, sometimes purely as a visual “poem” of sorts and (if I’m lucky) sometimes as an image with real psychological resonance. Objects occasionally reappear in other contexts and take on new meanings, like a repertory company of actors playing different roles in different plays.
Issacs goes on to say that he sees his art as a hybrid of painting and sculpture; the three-dimensional construction employs one half of the work while the colorful adornments are the other. In addition, he invites the viewer to come up with their own interpretations of his creations. You can attach a narrative to it and your own “reading,” but to him, these are largely about the act of making and the fascination with making things resemble something that they’re not.
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.
Elisa Strozyk is a unconventional textile designer. Instead of fabric, she uses wood to construct rugs, carpets, and blankets. While we often think of wood as rigid surface, her work breaks this convention and transforms it into something much cozier. Elisa’s textile art acts like fabric. They easily conform to a surface and can bunch together, allowing something or someone to be wrapped up in wood.
Each piece is comprised of tiny shapes, variations of triangles and squares. Paired together they make tessellations, or the tiling of shapes to insure there are no gaps between them. Tessellations can be in 2D or in Elisa’s case, 3D. The general idea is that shapes are used to stack and fill space.
These textiles are meant to have us consider a new perspective on material. They challenge our notions of what is possible out of something like wood. Elisa’s textiles can be functional or art object. They can be used as a blanket or on the floor as a rug. But, depending on the design, context, and manipulation of shapes, they can be a sculpture, too.
Elisa gives more insight to her work, writing:
The world around us is becoming increasingly immaterial. We are now used to write emails instead of letters, to pay online, to download music and touch virtual buttons on touch screens. We live in a society of images, a visual culture full of colours, advertisements, television and the internet. There is not much left to feel. Giving importance to surfaces that are desirable to touch can reconnect us with the material world and enhance the emotional value of an object.
“Wooden Textiles” convey a new tactile experience. We are used to experience wood as a hard material; we know the feeling of walking across wooden floors, to touch a wooden tabletop or to feel the bark of a tree. But we usually don’t experience a wooden surface which can be manipulated by touch.
This giant snaking sculpture is the Funnel Tunnel by artist Patrick Renner. The temporary sculpture was commissioned by Art League Houston and sits on the esplanade across from their building. Renner’s Funnel Tunnel stretches for 180 feet, open as a giant funnel at one end and tapering to a sharp point at the other. The structure was created using steel and reclaimed wood. The ALH explains, “the sculpture reflects the creative people and businesses in the Montrose area, and is the first of its kind in Houston.” [via]
“I started as a furniture-maker, but eventually felt limited by conventional notions about what furniture was supposed to look like and how it should be built. I now approach my work fundamentally as sculpture, but likewise have resisted passing over the line into pure or nonfunctional form.” – Michael Coffey
According to Michael Coffey, design is not just about art. It’s also a form of “problem solving.” He sees commissions as creative collaboration– loving most when patrons desire something entirely new, more different than his previous work.
As far as process is concerned, Coffey begins with a small wooden model, then develops a design on paper with set dimensions. First cuts generally begin with the buzz of a chainsaw, followed by the use of smaller, more refined, cutters and discs. Part of the fun is figuring out which tools will service the work best. Click on the video after the jump to see more of his work and philosophy.
Bae Sehwa’s steamed bentwood furniture ripples in airy and sinewy ways to curve around the human body. The precision in each piece is not accidental. It’s acutely planned. Sehwa digitally renders and manipulates geometric forms then returns to the actual physical form, steaming and bending the wood into a mold under a tight watch. The result is functional, organically smooth, and flawless.
According to R Gallery, “Bae Sehwa’s work is derived from the Korean concept of baesanimsu, meaning the back of the mountain and front of the water and he draws heavily from the profound connection to nature in traditional Korean theories of divination. The steam bent wooden frame of this lounge offers a narrative that includes both the tranquil, meditative qualities of flowing water and the strong, comforting silhouette of a mountain.”
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.
These aren’t your typical vinyl records. Actually, they’re not vinyl at all. Amanda Ghassaei seems to have perfectly situated herself between being a scientist and artist. This project illustrates that well. For it Ghassaei uses a laser to burn grooves into a variety of materials such as wood, acrylic, and paper. The grooves are about two times larger than they would be on a regular record. However, these DIY records are still entirely playable. Check out the video after the jump to see her laser-cut records in action.