Created in 2010 by the French artist Théo Mercier, Le Solitaire (aka The Loner) is a strange sculpture of a monster made completely of Spaghetti. Standing nearly 10-foot-tall, this mysterious beast is a surreal sight but there’s a great sadness to it too. It’s odd how Mercier can evoke such sympathy from such a strange figure yet behind its simple form there’s an odd sadness and empathy to it too.
One of my favourite showcases of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach was that of NYC based artist, Sebastian Errazuriz, titled 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers. Utilizing 3D printing, Errazuriz went about fashioning a series of wildly imaginative shoes, inspired by the failed romantic relationships of his past. The passions of the heart have given way to timeless creativity, and Errazuriz has managed to hone his heartbreak to follow suit. There’s something for everyone in this offering—whether it be the fashion, the design, the tech, the writing, or the photography. If none of that, Errazuriz manages to at least captivate with something we can all relate to: love and heartbreak.
Zurich based painter Andy Denzler sees the world differently from you and I. His paintings resemble old, distorted memories, like uncovered video tapes from your childhood. It would be fantastic to see Andy’s process, smearing and fragmenting the piece as he goes. You can see more of his pieces below.
There’s a softness in this work by Canadian illustrator Katty Maurey that I just find utterly enchanting. It’s hard to put into words, but her images have a tenderness and a sense of contemplation about them that I’m just totally drawn to. Her soft pastel colors seem to create imagined scenes of simple moments, but in their simplicity there is a really beauty.
In 2011, artist Heidi Voet created this fantastic carpet, titled Is six afraid of seven/ ’cause seven, eight, nine / I’m about to lose the pieces I find, made out of 4,000 digital wristwatches, weaving them into a beautiful and elaborate pattern. Incredibly, all of the watches were also set to the same time and same alarm, meaning they’d all go off at the very same time… for a while.
Is six afraid of seven/ ’cause seven, eight, nine/ I’m about to lose the pieces I find is an elaborate carpet woven together from over four thousand, multicolored watches all set to the exact time. (…) at intervals throughout the day, the watch alarms simultaneously ring in a symphony of digital chimes. Over the course of the exhibition, the watches will inevitably malfunction, losing their synchronicity and eventually sounding like an out of rhythm and out of tune orchestra. Thus, as the title of the work implies, the march of time is subtle yet unceasing and its cumulative effect results ultimately in dissolution and increased chaos.
Graphic designer extraordinaire, Noma Bar, has recently unveiled his latest project, Cut the Conflict. In a global ‘crowd-sourced’ effort, Bar has collected materials from warring countries and die-cut them, creating images that bear his trademark style. It’s art, packed with a powerful message; the best kind. Masterfully executed with a gripping social commentary, Cut the Conflict takes Bar’s visionary art a step forward: from the page, to three dimensions, and into the minds of the politically concerned.
Interested in Street Art? How about art in general? Maybe politics is more your thing? Or perhaps you’re just curious about Brazil? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Grey City (Cidade Cinza) is a documentary you should go out of your way to see. Weaving together an entertaining storyline, through the voices of famed artists (Os Gêmeos, Nina, and Nunca, just to name a few), the film uses street art as a platform to portray a variety of interesting topics: art philosophy, political corruptness, and how a behemoth city can be full of peculiar charm.
It’s said that “form follows function, but both report to emotion.” This statement could not be more appropriate in describing the automobile. One auction (turned exhibit), “Art of the Automobile,” presented by RM Auctions, celebrates the masters of vehicular design and the marks they’ve made on its history. Featuring over 30 cars, it’s on show at New York’s Sotheby’s galleries and is the first high-profile automotive auction that the city has seen in over a decade. To me, there’re many reasons why “Art of the Automobile” already stands out as one of the must-see exhibits to check out in NYC this year.
Anothermountainman (Stanley Wong) is a Hong Kong artist, photographer and designer. He is best known for his redwhiteblue series which are installations, 3D pieces, or posters made out of the common red, white and blue plastic bags people in Hong Kong typically use to hold cargo. Coming from a background in advertising and television, Wong has become known as a fine artist over the past ten years and is now recognized as one of Hong Kong’s best.
Wong has all the hallmarks of a successful artist—shows in international galleries, numerous awards and inclusion in museum collections—yet he describes what he does as primarily being about connecting with people. In an interview with Time Out HK he says, “I’m attempting to communicate with the public through the platform of art. I see myself as both a social worker and a missionary; I don’t see myself as an artist.” To further these goals, he is involved in design education, gives guest lectures, and, as a scholar of Buddhism, seeks to share his hope for world harmony. What I think is apparent in his work without any prior knowledge of his motivations is a desire to record compelling aspects of society and to comment on human nature.
One of his projects that strikes me as particularly powerful is Lanwei. The first character of “lanwei” means broken and the second means tail. Together they mean unfinished; something that has fallen short of completion; started and couldn’t be brought to an end. It is a personal photography series that documents abandoned residences, offices, theme parks and other half-built projects across Asia. The properties he chose to photograph were not just incomplete architectural structures but came with stories of sudden disruption. Most of the commercial buildings were begun in the 1980’s when Asia hit an economic boom before companies realized that there wasn’t enough money to finish what they’d started. The amusement park in Beijing that features in a large portion of the series was abandoned when the child who it was built for died.
Lanwei itself almost became a story of lanwei. Wong had the concept in his head for 5 years before starting it in 2006. He then worked on it infrequently for the next 6 years and completed it in 2012 with a show at Blindspot galleries. He has said that the realization of this project came about shortly before the Chinese government started removing unused property. The evidence of incompletion was about to disappear before he could document its presence.
Much of his past work is on his website and is well worth exploring and diving into. Most projects come with a short poetic description written by Wong (originally in Cantonese with English translation). Besides having frequent exhibitions, I like that he also makes time to pursue ideas that interest him outside of his regular work. Wong most recently had an installation called Show Flat 04 at the Singapore Biennale.
I just love these paintings by the Portland-based painter Meghan Howland. Many of her portraits carry a recurring bird motif and this adds a dreamlike and surreal quality to her images. Dark and mysterious, these painting feel fragile; as though we’re glimpsing a single fleeting moment. The birds add bright flashes of color that often contrast with the tenderness of her subjects. It’s difficult to read into the meaning behind this work but it’s hard not to fall for it’s mysterious beauty.
More work from Meaghan can be see on her website here. For those near Boston this month you can also see a selection of her work at the Seventeenth Annual Boston International Fine Art Show (21st-24th).