Colossal https://www.thisiscolossal.com Art, design, and visual culture. Fri, 11 Mar 2022 20:55:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.3 Pink Peonies Burst with Life in Hyperrealistic Oil Paintings by Maria Marta Morelli https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/maria-marta-morelli-peonies/ Sun, 13 Mar 2022 14:00:27 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157723 Maria Marta Morelli’s luxurious oil paintings, delicate peonies almost bloom through the canvas. The works represent the Buenos Aires-based artist’s fascination with the cycle of time and how flowers convey youth but also the “unbearable finitude of life,” she tells Colossal. “With their incredible beauty and freshness, although transitory, they fill us with hope and convince us that life is worth living.” Morelli works as if using a macro lens, and sunlight, in particular, informs her practice. More]]> A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

All images © MariaMarta Morelli, shared with permission

In Maria Marta Morelli’s luxurious oil paintings, delicate peonies almost bloom through the canvas. The works represent the Buenos Aires-based artist’s fascination with the cycle of time and how flowers convey youth but also the “unbearable finitude of life,” she tells Colossal. “With their incredible beauty and freshness, although transitory, they fill us with hope and convince us that life is worth living.”

Morelli works as if using a macro lens, and sunlight, in particular, informs her practice. For each piece, she studies its effect on the fresh flower’s textures and colors throughout the day—“Sometimes objects are only an excuse to paint the light,” she says—and photographs the lively blooms, giving her a record to work off of as they wilt.

Often taking a month or two to finish a single work, the artist’s process is puzzle-like. She first examines the blend of pigments and saturation in small, abstract pieces and then places the information back together through painstaking layering and precise brushstrokes. It’s the paint’s second or third application in which she sees her botanics “come to life,” she explains. “I don’t work with more than three or four layers because I believe the painting must keep some freshness too, like the flowers I’m painting. That’s why I try to apply the right color and value I see on the model from the very start.”

Having started painting as a child, Morelli says that formative experience taught her to think about art as its own language. “Images can say much more than words, and even faster, we know that already, and through a painting, you can show many feelings in a single message,” she explains.

Morelli will exhibit her works at Art Revolution Taipei in May 2022, and you can follow her practice on Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

 

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

A photograph of Maria Marta Morelli's hyperrealistic oil paintings of peonies and roses

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Black Ink and Watercolor Bleed into Hazy Creatures in Endre Penovác’s Paintings https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/endre-penovac-paintings/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 20:55:17 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157797 Endre Penovác (previously) wrangles the bleeds of black ink and watercolor in his shadowy renderings of domestic and wild animals. Sometimes delineating a talon or ear with thin markings, Penovác primarily allows the medium to run across the paper, transforming a housecat or chicken into a dreamy, phantom-like character. Many of the works frame the central animal with negative space and utilize the soft, hazy edges to evoke fur and feathers. More]]>

All images © Endre Penovác

Serbian artist Endre Penovác (previously) wrangles the bleeds of black ink and watercolor in his shadowy renderings of domestic and wild animals. Sometimes delineating a talon or ear with thin markings, Penovác primarily allows the medium to run across the paper, transforming a housecat or chicken into a dreamy, phantom-like character. Many of the works frame the central animal with negative space and utilize the soft, hazy edges to evoke fur and feathers. Originals and prints of his paintings are available from Saatchi Art, and head to Instagram to explore an extensive archive of his ghostly creatures.

 

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Spectacular Moments of Life and Death Are Unveiled in the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/world-nature-photography-awards/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 19:01:19 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157796 World Nature Photography Awards capture the hungry, curious, and ingenious animals around the globe. This year’s winners include an arctic fox braving an Icelandic snowstorm, a trio of red ants forming a bridge to let each other pass between rocks, and a serendipitous shot of a leopard seal preparing to snack on a gentoo penguin, which garnered the top prize. Centering on both the largest and the often imperceptible creatures inhabiting the planet, the photos are diverse and an example of the wonder and awe that exists at every level of the animal kingdom. More]]>

“Facing reality” © Amos Nachoum. All images courtesy of the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards, shared with permission

Taken across six continents, the entries to the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards capture the hungry, curious, and ingenious animals around the globe. This year’s winners include an arctic fox braving an Icelandic snowstorm, a trio of red ants forming a bridge to let each other pass between rocks, and a serendipitous shot of a leopard seal preparing to snack on a gentoo penguin, which garnered the top prize. Centering on both the largest and the often imperceptible creatures inhabiting the planet, the photos are diverse and an example of the wonder and awe that exists at every level of the animal kingdom. See some of our favorite shots below and the full collection on the award’s site.

 

Arctic Fox, Iceland © Vince Burton

© Mohammad Murad

“Capturing the movement” © Mike Eyett

New York City Humpback © Matthijs Noome

© Massimo Giorgetta

“North of the Wall” © Christian Tuckwell Smith

© Chin Leong Teo

“Open wide” © Celia Kujala

© Buddhilini de Soyza

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Interview: A Conversation with Social Justice Sewing Academy Explores Community Activism and the Power of Remembering Through Quilts https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/social-justice-sewing-academy-interview/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 16:06:10 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157768 Social Justice Sewing Academy offers the power of touch. The organization works with kids and teens to make quilt blocks that express injustices in their lives, and Colossal contributor Gabrielle Lawrence recently sat down with program director Stephanie Valencia to discuss the project’s mission in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. More]]>

All images courtesy of SJSA, shared with permission

When witnessing inequity is like digging into an already numb wound and participating in surface-level social justice is as easy as recycling digital shares, the Social Justice Sewing Academy offers the power of touch. The organization works with kids and teens to make quilt blocks that express injustices in their lives, and Colossal contributor Gabrielle Lawrence recently sat down with program director Stephanie Valencia to discuss the project’s mission in a new interview supported by Colossal Members.

They speak about the work of honoring the victims of violence and their families through community art, supporting young entrepreneurs with creative or social justice-oriented businesses, and most importantly, giving people something to hold on to.

So often, when someone loses a loved one, you cherish their items for a while. And then eventually, their items end up in a box, in the back of a closet, or in an attic somewhere. This really does give the family something to hold on to and use every day. Beyond comfort, it’s reflection, as well as memory. Every time they see or touch that quilt, they can remember the good times.

Ultimately, SJSA empowers youth to use their voices and requires tactile processing of issues that often seem bigger than all of us. Every stitch is felt, and it is not a practice that participants must endure alone. From design to completion, each person is required to spend time sitting with these stories in a physical way, which creates room for grief, remembrance, education, and critique.

 

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Love Art as Much as We Do? Support Independent Publishing and Become a Colossal Member Today https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/become-a-colossal-member/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 14:02:04 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=156899 More]]>

Since launching in 2010, Colossal has published thousands of articles featuring emerging and established artists. Our goal has always been to support a vast array of creative endeavors and highlight the beauty of the world around us, and we’ve prioritized accessibility to art in all its forms over clicks. Sharing the work of the most exciting artists, photographers, illustrators, and designers who may not receive coverage in the mainstream press is our greatest joy, but we need your help.

Colossal Members are vital to our publication, and yet make up less than .1% of our overall readership. Their contributions directly support our daily operations, from employing contributing writers and two full-time editors to ensuring that our newsletters reach your inboxes. We still have so much more to discover and share with you, but without the continued contributions of Colossal Members, we simply can’t exist.

We’re thrilled to announce that for the first time, you can become a member for as little as $5 a month or $60 a year. You can read Colossal and our newsletters ad-free and get access to all additional member benefits. Join today and support the creative stories that matter most. We’re so glad you’re out there reading. ❤

 

This Week Only: Win Cool Stuff

Become a Colossal Member at any level between 12 a.m. Monday, March 7, and 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, and you’ll be entered to win one of four amazing artworks, books, and other fun things from some of our favorite creators. No purchase necessary.

A 5,000 Color Puzzle from artist Clemens Habicht

Washed Blueberries 7, paper pulp mobile by Yuko Nishikawa

OneClock Waking Clock

Hilma AF Klint: The Complete Catalogue Raisonné: Volumes I-VII

 

More Member Perks ✨

All paid Colossal Membership tiers receive the following benefits:

  • An ad-free reading experience on Colossal and in our newsletters
  • Discounts from The Sketchbook Project, The Hyperallergic Store, Knit-Wise, The Jaunt, 20×200, Create! Magazine, and the Booooooom Shop
  • Early access to our quarterly print release. Keep an eye out for our next edition by Tiffany Bozic this March
  • A members-only newsletter with sneak-peeks into upcoming events, news, and of course, plenty of giveaways

 

Support Independent Publishing, Education, and Your Arts Community

In 2021, Colossal Members purchased nearly $1,500 of art supplies through DonorsChoose, and we just surpassed 50 classrooms across all eight areas of support. One percent of membership fees are is always allocated to students.

Colossal Members additionally donated $575 to six arts nonprofits and helped us pay photographers thousands of dollars to license their images. They also supported the launch of our monthly Opportunities for Artists, an article and newsletter devoted to helping creatives find funding and platforms to showcase their work.

What’s Next for 2022

  • More upgrades: We just moved to a new server and newsletter service, and we’re reducing trackers and cookies to work toward a privacy-focused reading experience.
  • A Colossal Speaker Series: We’re organizing talks, studio tours, workshops, panels, and more with some of the most exciting and engaging artists.
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Elaborately Layered Gardens by Ebony G. Patterson Hide Haunting Messages Within Dazzling Displays https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/ebony-g-patterson-gardens/ Thu, 10 Mar 2022 23:06:12 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157721 Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.” Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. More]]>

“when the land is in plumage…” (2020), glitter, glue, beads, plaster, conch shells, gold leaf, porcelain, paint, trimmings, jewelry, embellishments, fabric, jacquard tapestry, and paraffin wax, 9 x 16. 4 x 10.3 feet. All images courtesy of moniquemeloche, shared with permission

Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.”

Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. Hidden beneath the obvious allure of flora and fauna, though, are more complex, sinister messages of identity, violence, and death. Likened to “secret poisons,” these inferences relate to the anguish and perpetual mourning many women feel, and in her sprawling tapestry titled “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…,” for example, feminine hands and limbs attempt to grasp for something beyond the entangled mass of jacquard and beads. “Each form bravely assumes a posture of distress, the onerous emotional and physical labor required to conduct acts of devotion, the soul care that grants permission to confront historic and inherited traumas,” a statement says.

Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica, and Chicago, and she’s included in multiple upcoming shows: What is Left Unspoken, Love opening on March 25 at the High Museum in Atlanta, a solo exhibition at Hales Gallery running from May 5 to June 18, and this November, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Until then, you can explore more of her elaborate works at moniquemeloche, where she’s represented.

 

“the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…” (2021), mixed media on jacquard woven photo tapestry and custom vinyl wallpaper, 10 x 13 x 1 feet

Detail of “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…” (2021), mixed media on jacquard woven photo tapestry and custom vinyl wallpaper, 10 x 13 x 1 feet

Detail of “when the land is in plumage…” (2020), glitter, glue, beads, plaster, conch shells, gold leaf, porcelain, paint, trimmings, jewelry, embellishments, fabric, jacquard tapestry and paraffin wax, 9 x 16. 4 x 10.3 feet

“…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, feathered monarch butterflies, 9.25 x 50 feet

Detail of “…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, feathered monarch butterflies, 9.25 x 50 feet

” …they stood in a time of unknowing…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with glitter, appliqués, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, and hand-cast heliconias, on artist-designed fabric wallpaper, 12.7 x 16.7 feet

Detail of ” …they stood in a time of unknowing…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with glitter, appliqués, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, and hand-cast heliconias, on artist-designed fabric wallpaper, 12.7 x 16.7 feet

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After Her Brain Short-Circuits, A Young Girl Tries on a Second Head in a Lighthearted Stop-Motion Animation https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/matilda-and-the-spare-head/ Thu, 10 Mar 2022 19:39:12 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157752 a playful stop-motion short by Lithuanian animator Ignas Meilunas, Matilda is on track to be the smartest girl in the world when suddenly, mid-study session, her mind goes haywire. She recognizes that she can’t stuff a single fact more into her already packed brain and to remedy the issue, her mother decides to order her daughter a second head from a department store. More]]>

The saying goes that two heads are better than one, except in the case of a young girl named Matilda. The titular character of a playful stop-motion short by Lithuanian animator Ignas Meilunas, Matilda is on track to be the smartest girl in the world when suddenly, mid-study session, her mind goes haywire. She recognizes that she can’t stuff a single fact more into her already packed brain and to remedy the issue, her mother decides to order her daughter a second head from a department store. Of course, this quick fix is really no solution at all, and Matilda soon realizes that there’s more to life.

According to Short of the Week, Meilunas hadn’t worked with puppets prior to “Matilda and the Second Head,” which retains all of the charm and detail of his previous pieces—you might remember him from “Mr. Night Has a Day Off.” The character-driven short already has been shown at a variety of festivals including Annecy and helped him win the Best Animation for Young Audiences award from the 2020 Ottawa International Film Festival. Meilunas recently shared an in-depth look behind-the-scenes of the project, and you can watch more of his short comedies on Vimeo.

 

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In ‘Turn Off the Plastic Tap,’ Three Tons of Waste Pour From a Spigot Floating 30 Feet Above Ground https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/benjamin-von-wong-plastic-tap/ Thu, 10 Mar 2022 17:33:16 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157742 formally agreed to curb plastic pollution in a momentous move. Plastic has become an increasingly urgent part of the climate crisis, and recent estimates approximate that the total amount of the material produced throughout history exceeds the combined weight of all animals on land and sea. Each year, we collectively generate 300 million tons more waste from single-use containers and similar products, a staggering number in comparison to the 9 percent we’ve recycled and a testament to the harsh reality that the planet is engulfed with plastic. More]]>

All images © Benjamin Von Wong, shared with permission

Last week, representatives from 175 nations formally agreed to curb plastic pollution in a momentous move. Plastic has become an increasingly urgent part of the climate crisis, and recent estimates approximate that the total amount of the material produced throughout history exceeds the combined weight of all animals on land and sea. Each year, we collectively generate 300 million tons more waste from single-use containers and similar products, a staggering number in comparison to the 9 percent we’ve recycled and a testament to the harsh reality that the planet is engulfed with plastic.

To coincide with the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting, photographer and artist Benjamin Von Wong (previously) erected a towering, 30-foot installation outside U.N. headquarters in Kenya. With the help of the Human Needs Project, an NGO providing basic services to slums around the world, Vong Wong collaborated with more than 100 residents of the large, poverty-stricken region of Nairobi known as Kibera. Together, they gathered, sanitized, and strung up three tons of water bottles, condiment containers, and other unwanted items that were then suspended from the oversized silver spigot.

Although it shows a minuscule portion of the waste produced worldwide, the resulting installation, titled “Turn Off the Plastic Tap,” is a powerful indictment of consumerism and the lack of environmental protections. “Too much of the plastic conversation revolves around recycling and cleanups, but those only deal with the consequences, and not the root cause,” Von Wong writes. “The real solution and opportunity is getting plastic production back under control by making sure we turn off the plastic tap.”

Watch the video below and check out Von Wong’s Instagram to see how the massive spout was constructed—thanks to a Web 3.0 community called the Degenerate Trash Pandas, which funded the installation, an additional $100,000 was raised for charity, as well—and find more of his projects concerned with plastic waste, like this installation of 168,000 straws, on his site.

 

Photo by Atieno Muyuyi

Photo by Atieno Muyuyi

Photo by Ziggy

Photo by Atieno Muyuyi

Photo by Ziggy

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Hens and Roosters Fly the Coop and Strut Into the Spotlight in Alex ten Napel’s Portraits https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/alex-ten-napel-chickens/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 20:22:53 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157705 Alex ten Napel. No matter the situation, the red-faced birds are wholly themselves, lurching from one spot to the next, burying themselves within masses of feathers, and spreading their wings as if they’ll finally lift off the ground despite being notoriously poor fliers. Chickens are known for their awkward gaits and distinct attitudes and are also the latest subjects of ten Napel’s portraiture. Having focused his lens on people for about 25 years, the Amsterdam-based photographer realized that documenting the fowl occupying his henhouse would be a compelling challenge. More]]>

All images © Alex ten Napel, shared with permission

“Hens and roosters can’t be directed,” says photographer Alex ten Napel. No matter the situation, the red-faced birds are wholly themselves, lurching from one spot to the next, burying themselves within masses of feathers, and spreading their wings as if they’ll finally lift off the ground despite being notoriously poor fliers. Chickens are known for their awkward gaits and distinct attitudes and are also the latest subjects of ten Napel’s portraiture.

Having focused his lens on people for about 25 years, the Amsterdam-based photographer realized that documenting the fowl occupying his henhouse would be a compelling challenge. This interest culminated in his ongoing Hens and Roosters series, which shines studio lighting on the oddly photogenic creatures and captures their unique mannerisms as they strut around the space. “Photographing became unexpected, exciting, and out of control. I was impressed by these little feathered creatures who had the power to tell me to be patient and to wait for the right moment,” ten Napel shares.

Prints of the moody birds are available on his site, and keep an eye on his Instagram for news about a Hens and Roosters book. You also might enjoy Henji Shin’s antagonistic chickens and these glamour shots.

 

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Vibrant Embroideries by Hillary Waters Fayle Enhance the Natural Beauty of Preserved Leaves https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2022/03/hillary-waters-fayle-embroidery/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 17:03:29 +0000 https://www.thisiscolossal.com/?p=157695 Hillary Waters Fayle (previously) works at the intersection of textile traditions and botany. “Stitching, like horticulture, can be functional,” she says, “a technical solution to join materials/a means of survival. Or, both can be done purely in service of the soul, lifting the spirit through beauty and wonder.” Fayle’s practice embodies this sentiment with elaborate and colorful embroideries applied to dried leaves. Lined with brown edges, the perfectly preserved surfaces become more fragile as they age, and the threaded embellishments enhance the relationship between the natural and fabricated. More]]>

Photos by David Hunter Hale, © Hillary Waters Fayle, shared with permission

Favoring thread and found materials, Richmond-based artist Hillary Waters Fayle (previously) works at the intersection of textile traditions and botany. “Stitching, like horticulture, can be functional,” she says, “a technical solution to join materials/a means of survival. Or, both can be done purely in service of the soul, lifting the spirit through beauty and wonder.”

Fayle’s practice embodies this sentiment with elaborate and colorful embroideries applied to dried leaves. Lined with brown edges, the perfectly preserved surfaces become more fragile as they age, and the threaded embellishments enhance the relationship between the natural and fabricated. “There is a sense of magic in being able to work with such an unexpected and exquisite material,” the artist says. “The tension in the thread, the type of stitching, the needle, the species, and the season are just some of the factors that may influence what happens.” Recent pieces include ornate networks in blue on ginkgo, floral motifs on eucalyptus, and red dots on golden leaves.

This summer, Fayle’s works will be on view at Quirk Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia, and this fall at Asheville’s Momentum Gallery. Until then, explore more of her stitched works, in addition to leafy cutouts and large-scale murals, on Instagram.

 

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