A couple weeks ago I stopped by the Heath Ceramics in Los Angeles for the opening of In The Rough, a new ceramics show featuring the work of Ani Kasten. Her work is a balance of roughness and delicacy with many of her glazes replicating the textures of nature, like tree bark or dried up river beds. Complimenting this texture though is always this smooth whiteness or a rigid grid of lines that make seems bring an order to the abstract roughness. Kasten says as much about her work:
The shapes and surface treatments take their influence from plants, water, rocks and clay, as well as from architecture, industry and machinery. The forms integrate these sometimes opposite sensibilities into a composed landscape, such as a stand of bamboo-like, truncated cylinders, perforated with small windows to look like corroded skyscrapers, or a simple, pure form such as a smooth sphere, marked on its surface with an off-center, wandering imprint, like bird tracks in the sand. The pieces are often truncated, off-center, weathered and perforated, combining natural movement and an apparent state of organic deterioration that invokes the cycle of life, death, decay.
The show is on display until October 5th and pieces are available on the Heath website.
Toshitaka Aoyagi is an artist from Tokyo, Japan. Recently he has been experimenting with color; creating an elegantly simply series called – wait for it – ‘Color’.
Specifically the work is an exploration into color bleeding, with the artist creating a number of pale white shelves that include a tiny hint of a fluorescent color. The end result is a beautifully minimal exploration into the power of color. I love it.
More projects from Toshitaka Aoyagi can be viewed on Behance.
Per Emanuelsson and Bastian Bischoff founded their studio in 2009/2010 while they were both taking a Masters course at Gothenburg’s School of Design and Crafts. Realizing that they were both born in 1982, they chose Humans since 1982 as their name, then they found a studio to work from in Stockholm and they’ve been making work together ever since.
Perhaps their most exciting project to-date has been the ‘A Million Times Project’. Started last year, this project presents time in a way I’m sure you’ve never seen before. Graphically conceptual, their design combines engineering and mechanics to create an incredible kinetic installation that takes the arms of a traditional analogue clock and turns them into something new and exciting. Check out the video below to see what I mean.
Using 288 analogue clocks, the original work uses an iPad to create a series of wonderful visual patterns; playfully turning a collection of minimalist analogue clockfaces into a fully-functioning digital clock. Now a series, the duo have worked on a number of variations, with each piece being unique. They describe these creations as “objects unleashed from a solely pragmatic existence”. And in doing this I feel that they have discovered some wonderfully figurative qualities within their design without detracting from the clocks original function. It’s a pretty commendable achievement… and also it clearly looks amazing!
See more projects from Humans since 1982 on their website.
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Elliasson is well-known for his work in sculptures and large-scale installations, often utilizing light or other natural elements. Recently though he’s been heading into new territory, recontextualizing the paintings of landscape artist J.M.W. Turner into circular paintings, bringing the works to a pure form.
Turner’s ability to shape and frame light in his paintings has had a significant impact on my work….In the Turner colour experiments, I’ve isolated light and colour in Turner’s works in order to extract his sense of ephemera from the objects of desire that his paintings have become. The schematic arrays of colours on round canvases generate a feeling of endlessness and allow the viewer to take in the artwork in a decentralised, meandering way.
It’s an interesting idea from a conceptual standpoint, that he’s transformed the light and colors that J.M.W. Turner saw into a sweeping, endless gradient. The abstraction while seemingly simple is intensely scientific. Eliasson is analysing pigments, paint production and application of colour in order to mix paint in the exact color for each nanometre of the visible light spectrum. An ambitious project with really impactful results.
Artist Nicholas Hanna seems to have a real curiosity for life. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Yale and an MFA in Media Arts from UCLA. A native of Canada, his work investigates the sensation of wonder and the essential relationship between humans and technology.
I love his Bubble Devices. These mechanical installations are almost as wide as a room and they create giant bubbles. They’re the sort of things that need to be seen to be believed so fortunately Hanna has shared some videos online:
Driven by a computer, Hanna’s automatic bubble wand is a fantastic construction and the lighting in the video really captures the beauty of these incredibly large bubbles.
You can see more projects from Nicholas Hanna on his website.
One of my favorite films this year has been Boyhood. Shot over a period of 12 years, it tells the story of Mason as his life unfolds during a period between the ages of 6 and 18. Before seeing the film I imagined that it must be a wonderful spectacle; that there must be something incredible about watching a person literally come-of-age on screen. In actuality, there is no real spectacle to Boyhood. If anything, that’s the real strength of the film. Real life is made up of small fleeting moments, and Boyhood captures these in a beautifully uncinematic way. In doing so, it captures something even greater than spectacle and in its subtly it reveals something more profound.
All of this is little more than preamble to introduce Ken Murphy’s “A History of the Sky”. This project is similar to Boyhood in that its premise seems suitably epic yet its lasting impression feels more poetic than astounding. A time-lapse film shot over the period of one year, Murphy reduces the ever changing skies of San Francisco into a mere 5 minute film.
“A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.” says the self-described programmer, artist, and tinkerer. I think it’s wonderful!
I was first introduced to Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama thanks to the 2007 documentary Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton, a film which I found to be hugely inspirational and I can’t recommend enough. Since the 60s she’s been spreading her spots everywhere and applying them to literally everything: from canvas to sculptures, on fashionable bags and as a part of sprawling museum installations. Recently she spoke with Sophie Knight for The Telegraph about her life, her inspirations, and the source of her talent (kind of).
Kusama says that all her inspiration comes from within her mind, with no conscious thought, or influence from other artists, most of whom she dismisses (“Picasso painted thousands of pictures in one style, whereas my art covers every kind of idea,” she boasted once.)
“A lot of artists have to draw first with pencil, but I paint directly. Many people ask me, ‘How do you draw that?’ and I just say, ‘Ask my hand!’” she says.
It’s a great piece and a great reminder that no matter what we as creatives have a responsibility to keep on making. If she can get up at 3am and make all day long so can you.
Sometimes I forgot how beautiful simple things can be. I think that is one of the best things about art; it can really remind you of the beauty that exists in the simple things and the mundane parts of life. That’s what I love about this series by the German-born photographer Michael Wolf. Shot on the streets of Paris, the work shows little more than the shadows of trees set against the buildings of the street. Yet in his composition and his high-contrast black-and-white he manages to find something effortlessly beautiful in something so banal.
Wolf’s work is frequently interested in contemporary city life. His images of modern cities often feel far less inviting than the work shown here. Through his lens buildings reach near abstraction as they dominate everything around them and themes of voyeurism, privacy and detachment are often seen throughout his practice.
Wolf doesn’t offer an explanation to the meaning behind this work. Considering his previous projects one might view it as an exploration of natures challenged role within the city, or perhaps it could be seen as a study into the small traces of the natural world that remain within our busy cities. Personally I prefer to take a more romantic view of it and see it as a simple celebration of the mundane. For me, these images serve as a reminder that there exisits simple pleasures in the world and its important to take the time every-now-and-again to stop and appreciate these simple things.
You can see more work from Wolf on his website.