Examining relationships between the natural world and the industrial world, New York-based Japanese artist Naoko Ito uses sculpture and installation to explain her thoughts. Specifically the pice "Ubiquitous", in which segmented tree branches are preserved in glass jars and re-arranged as though they still make up the entirety of the tree. Ito explains that the material choices originally come from a desire to replicate specific qualities of ice. Other pieces similarly intersect indoors and outdoors, and nature and industry.
We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday!
This week, we were intrigued by the work of conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. Kosuth is known for pursuing a "language-based" practice -- art dealing with text, language, and storytelling, among many related things. Kosuth's installation in Instanbul's Kuad Gallery is summarized as "showcasing the ongoing exploration based on James Joyce's most complex book "Finnegan's Wake". It is a meticulously curated collection of words (in Turkish and English) Kosuth has chosen from the literature in reference to their location on the page throughout the book's text. While there is much complex thought behind the choice and placement of each word in the gallery, the simple visual of the neon type itself is quite striking.
London-based artist Zadok Ben-David creates cut and etched steel botanical specimens, modeled after 19th century textbook illustrations. Ranging in size from 1/2 an inch to 8 inches tall, the steel pieces are painted black on one side and vibrant colors on the other. Titled "Blackfield", the "garden" is then planted in a thin layer of sand. The intricate detailing of the individual steel pieces and the contrast between both sides of the installation are surely an interesting visual for the viewer.
The outdoor, site-specific installations by German artist Cornelia Konrads use only natural materials found on the site. Konrads' installations have been called surreal, whimsical, and illusory, with good reason. The works seem to have an overarching theme of weightlessness and suspension, as if the items are either appearing or dissolving before your eyes. The suspension of time within each installation is likely even more profound when viewing them in person!
"Cloud" is a large-scale light installation/sculpture by Calgary-based artist Caitlind r.c. Brown. Created from steel framing, metal pull strings, and 5,000 repurposed light bulbs, the "Cloud" invites viewers to walk underneath, through the "rain" of pull-strings and switch the bulbs on and off, which gives the cloud an appearance of being in a lightning storm. Only about 250 bulbs are actually used in the process, so while the installation has very little impact, it has quite a bit of visual impact. "Cloud" made its debut at Nuit Blanche Calgary in 2012, and video documentation can be found on the artist's Vimeo site.
In addition to the fantastical Opening Ceremony by Danny Boyle, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London are flush with art, installations, and sculpture pieces throughout the park and grounds. While many of them won't be seen via the television broadcast, they are great works that deserve some recognition. Our favorite is an installation by Monica Bonvicini. In the flagship piece for the "Copper Box" in the Olympic Park, the word "RUN" is built out of 30-foot-tall mirrored glass and stainless steel. In the daytime, the mirrored surface reflects what is around it, and at night, the letter glow with complex internal LED lights. You can find a list of all Olympic commissioned works here.
Among many other types of executions, French artist Baptiste Debombourg is known for his staple murals - large-scale, site-specific murals created by attaching staples to a wall. The murals have an almost stippled, engraved look to them and hearken back to Renaissance-era paintings and figures. Sometimes taking hundreds of hours, and using hundreds of thousands of staples, we can only imagine the amount of detail involved in creating such projects.
83 year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has somewhat taken over New York City. Between a retrospective at the Whitney and a partnership with Louis Vuitton, her signature polka dots can be found in multiple areas throughout the city. Kusama's fascination with polka dots is one of the defining characteristics of her work and her persona. Her retrospective is on view at the Whitney until September 30th.
Contemporary sculptor and illustrator Adam Niklewicz creates sculptures and installations using ordinary household items (even sometimes food) and generally infuses his work with tongue-in-cheek irony or humor. He finds his inspiration in everyday objects and the nostalgia associated with them and his work hearkens back to the Dada traditions of assemblage and readymades. Niklewicz's editorial illustration work is critically acclaimed, having been published on the covers of Newsweek, Time, and other well-known publications, but we find his sculpture work to be more conceptual and more engaging to digest, with a bite of slight absurdity and de-contextualization that makes for an interesting viewing experience.