Along with delicate flowers in porcelain, Berlin-based artist Angelika Arendt applies minuscule orbs, dots, and thin, curved lines to her meticulously textured sculptures. Amorphous in shape but distinct in the organic matter they evoke, her intricate works often mimic processes found in nature, including plant growth and cells as they swell and burst into new life. Some pieces appear mid-movement, like expanding molecules, and others drip or peel to reveal fields thick with foliage and other tactile elements.
In addition to sculpture, Arendt also creates detailed botanical drawings, and both are on view through May 8 at Berlin’s C&K Gallery, where she’s represented. Her pieces will also be included in a group exhibition at Clemens Härle brewery in Leutkirch starting in April, and you can explore more of her dense works on Instagram.
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In his solo exhibition Magic Bridge, Vermont-born artist Ethan Murrow (previously) overwhelms his subjects with sprawling floral assemblages that cloud their senses and judgment. The graphite drawings center largely on figures undertaking precarious and trivial activities to exert some form of control, often through futile underwater adventures and inexplicable actions atop wooden platforms.
On view at Winston Wächter through April 30, the meticulous renderings are tinged with parody and embrace the bizarre and indeterminate. In addition to the smaller works on paper, Murrow is also creating a large-scale mural in his signature imaginative style at the New York gallery—see the work-in-progress on Instagram. Each of the pieces “mull(s) the lines between logic and belief,” he writes.
A limited-edition lithograph of Murrow’s “Planting Time” is currently available from Deb Chaney Editions, and the artist also has works on view at Winston Wächter’s Seattle space through March 19.
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Artist Lee Hyun-Joung likens her meditative renderings to pathways that prompt the eye to travel along each line. Working with Korean ink and traditional pigments on handmade Hanji paper, Lee’s practice is as contemplative as the resulting pieces, which portray heaving mounds and supple ridges reminiscent of mountains and other land formations. “My universe is poetic,” she tells Colossal, “like an inner journey. I invite you to take a walk, to follow me in these aerial views. They were born from the breath of my Korean childhood, from my eternal taste for painting, my search for life.”
Composed with black and shades of green or blue, the abstracted works are rhythmic and methodical and evoke the texture of thread stitched in precise rows. A central ripple stretching from one end of the paper to the other bisects many of the pieces, with the sinuous markings connecting the two parts. “Each line can be seen as a day, or an instant we have already lived through or that we are still living in,” says a statement from Galerie Sept, which represents the artist.
Lee’s experience studying fine arts at Sejong University and her formal training in goldsmithing continue to influence her practice, she says, and the artist often splits her time between Seoul and Paris, although she’s been living primarily in the French capital in recent years. Her paintings will be on view at Galerie Sept’s new space in Knokke, Belgium, as part of a group show opening on April 30. (via artnet)
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Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) was a self-taught folk artist known for her renderings of life in the Ukrainian countryside. Her gouache and watercolor works are vibrant and imaginative, depicting symmetrical red poppies tucked in a small vase or fantastical bull-like animals sprouting two-headed snakes. Expressive and consistently advocating for peace, Prymachenko’s paintings are widely known throughout Ukraine and internationally: she received a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1937, when Pablo Picasso is said to have dubbed her “an artistic miracle.”
Earlier this week, Russian attacks northwest of Kyiv destroyed the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, where about 25 of her works were housed. According to the Ukrainian Institute, though, local residents were able to retrieve the pieces from the burning museum before they were lost entirely. The aggression subsequently prompted calls for Russia to be removed from UNESCO, which declared 2009 the year of Prymachenko.
Explore more of the renowned artist’s works and history on WikiArt.
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Soft and fibrous, the leaves of the stinging nettle are infamous for their minuscule hairs that produce burning sensations when touched. The plant, though, is also a striking example of nature’s penchant for structural patterns and texture, with small, serrated edges and delicate ribbed veins. It’s not easy to study or touch these intricate forms without exposing a finger or hand to potential pain, a barrier made less formidable by London-based artist Rachel Dein.
For the last 11 years, Dein (previously) has plucked herbs, flowers, and other foliage from the soil and arranged her findings into new assemblages. She’s an early cultivator of the botanical bas relief technique, which involves pressing the compositions into clay and filling the impressions with plaster, concrete, and most recently, iron powder and resin. The resulting tiles, which have grown in scale from 40-centimeter squares to two-meters-long, preserve the supple shapes of sage, snowdrops, and ripe blackberries, immortalizing their unique contours and network-like systems long after they’ve withered and wilted.
Dein has multiple projects in progress at the moment: one casting Alpine plants from Switzerland and another working with the garden plants at Nunnington Hall in Yorkshire, which will culminate in an exhibition in February 2023. She’s also creating limited-edition embossed prints and exploring additional materials, like glass, iron, and copper. Shop available pieces on Etsy, and keep an eye on Instagram for new releases.
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The wide, reddish-brown fungi known as lingzhi, or reishi, has long been revered as the mushroom of immortality, said to grant eternal life to anyone who consumes one of its spores. This ancient belief founds some Chinese legends and is also a mainstay of Xiaojing Yan’s practice. Based in Toronto, the artist has created a body of work that’s broad in medium and subject matter, ranging from small sculptures installed in circular formations to bulbous paper lanterns with rotating parts. Each piece, though, hearkens back to Yan’s experience as a first-generation Chinese-Canadian and her interest in the way the formidable power of nature continually intersects with culture, art, and lore.
Displayed in precise patterns, both Yan’s 2014 work “Lingzhi” and 2020 installation “Fairy Ring” are comprised of bronze mushrooms finished with a turquoise patina. The texture is enhanced, the artist shares, to mimic concentric tree rings and prompt questions of aging and time. “I arranged them onto the wall in the way that bracket mushrooms would grow in steps in nature,” she writes. “Against the white wall, these hoary objects appear to float in space. Bronze is often associated with monuments, images of power, or eternity and creates tension with lingzhi’s delicate nature and mythology.” In conjunction with immortalizing the fungi in alloy, Yan also uses the actual spongy spores in other pieces, including in coating busts and sculptures with the fleshy growths.
Similarly focused on symbols from nature, Yan’s more animalistic works involve gilded cicada exoskeletons suspended as a winding staircase and an animated series of cocoon-like sculptures that twirl in a circular motion. “Tiger’s Embrace,” a recently carved wooden sculpture, nests alternating depictions of the cat and a human figure in diminishing forms. Commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum where it’s on display through January 2023, the piece celebrates the Year of the Tiger and is the first in a series of all twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac. The hybrid work, which blurs the distinction between people and animals, “is also based on the Chinese custom of dressing children in tiger hats for good luck and protection,” she says. “The warrior’s lion skin hat turning into a cute baby’s tiger hat can’t stop me from pondering over self-transformation and adaptation.”
Yan has exhibitions slated for Paris, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Nevada in the coming months, and she is currently working on a project supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Explore a larger portfolio of folklore-infused pieces on her site and Instagram.
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