Mysterious and enigmatic, the wooden figures that occupy Jaime Molina’s imagined world appear to be in perpetual states of meditation or slumber. The Denver-based artist (previously) sculpts small characters atop angular bodies and large heads that split open to reveal inner objects like a cactus, honeybee, or small, worn house. Many are then pierced with nails of various sizes and ages that frame their faces with blankets of spikes.
Molina adorns each figure with closed eyes, a serene, solemn appearance, and striped clothing of ambiguous shapes, and he sees the variety of textures and dimensions as part of their unique narratives. “To me, (facial expressions) are like syllables of a word or a unique note in a song,” he says. “These ideas of isolated language and invented slang are portrayed through the figure’s expressions and the patterns in their hair and bodies. These patterns are like an imaginary quilt made up of their histories and memories.”
His sculptures broadly evoke folk and outsider art traditions, particularly in their use of found materials—a partial logo remains visible on a bench for one character, rusted and bent nails are mixed with newer fasteners, and a gnarled hunk of wood becomes a stage—and he shares that he gravitates toward pieces “made purely for the sake of creating.” The artist explains:
My great uncle used to make a lot of different things when I was younger. He’d paint on old pieces of wood or old saws and even carve things out of wood. They were all over his house and some at my grandmother’s house, and I used to love seeing them. I guess it made an impression on me that you could just make art with what you had around you. You didn’t need to go to school or wait for an opportunity. You could just make things when you had the urge.
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Towering 70-meters above ground at its highest point, “SpaceWalk” is the latest undulating sculpture by Hamburg-based artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth. The monumental staircase winds in loops and elevations similar to that of a rollercoaster throughout
Pedestrians enter the work at a central staircase, which breaks into two paths: one gently sloped walkway leads to a view of Yeongil Bay and the surrounding city, while the other is a steeper climb through a helix. Both are designed to mimic an otherworldly experience. “The title ‘SpaceWalk’ is taken from the terminology of outer space missions. It describes the act of exiting the space vehicle in the weightlessness of outer space. More literally, ‘SpaceWalk’ can be understood to mean ‘a walk through space,'” they say.
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Dreamlike Sculptures by Christina Bothwell Meld Ceramic, Glass, and Oil Paint into Otherworldly Figures
From her Pennsylvania studio, Christina Bothwell (previously) sculpts surreal hybrid creatures and figures that occupy the unearthly space between dreams and wakefulness. She works with a combination of annealed glass, pit-fired ceramics, oil paint, and small mosaic tiles, which each correspond to a conceptual element. “I always come back to the idea that the physical part of us is just a small part of who we are in our entirety,” the artist tells Colossal. “The translucent parts of my pieces are meant to suggest the soul or that part of us that is more than just our bodies. The ceramic portions of my pieces represent our grounded, tangible parts.”
In her most recent body of work, Bothwell continues her explorations into the liminal and states of flux: a slumbering child appears to float from its sleeping counterpart in “Lucid Dream,” while another lies upside down in “Mood Swing.” Many of the sculptures are tinged with themes of magic, imagination, and escapism, which are reflected in the ways that human bodies meld with birds, monkeys, octopuses, and deer. She explains:
I was a sensitive child with eccentric parents who didn’t fit in. I didn’t even fit in with my family a lot of the time. It was like I was a changeling or an alien they were forced to live with. I felt like an outsider for most of my life, and it always felt precarious, unsafe, being who I was. For this reason, I think I identify with deer… despite their beauty and grace, they are not protected or valued (at least not where I live), and their vulnerability and innocence resonates with something deep within me.
Bothwell’s fantastical works will be on view at Habatat Gallery and Muskegon Museum of Art as part of the upcoming Beyond the Glass Ceiling, Influential Women in Glass exhibition and again this summer at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee. Until then, explore more of her sculptures on Instagram.
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In a cozy studio overlooking a garden in Blackwell, Missouri, artist Larysa Bernhardt creates colorful moth sculptures with a needle and thread. Her fabric creatures are embroidered with old tapestries, often portraying historical people, animals, and delicate botanical forms on their wings: one specimen with a rusty orange abdomen depicts a little bird taking flight, while another is blue with a Medieval woman looking at a flower.
Able to stand on their own or hang from the wall, the handmade moths feature eyes made from Czech glass beads and bodies of cotton velvet and Belgian linen. Bernhardt also wires their wings, enabling people to shape them into their desired position.
The artist initially began by collecting vintage textiles, including silk tapestries and wool, and was interesting in analyzing and unraveling their histories, taking an interest in how creatures, such as moths, often inhabit such materials. “I have some very old wool and silk tapestries, and I’m still trying to unravel the stories behind them,” she tells Colossal. “Those will never be cut, they’re treasures, and I’m constantly checking for moth larvae…and just like that, moths entered the chat! What I love and what I fear melded into my work, in what I believe is a magical, albeit slightly menacing way.”
In addition to the material components, the moths are inspired by travel, television shows, books, and “even phrases someone drops in the grocery line to checkout,” Bernhardt says. “I will never tire of seeing how magically creative humans are,” Bernhardt explains.
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With assistance from embedded CPU motors, Seoul-based artist Choe U-Ram (previously) mimics the lithe movements of animals and plants with his mesmerizing kinetic sculptures. The large-scale pieces are often suspended from the ceiling and illuminated by LED lights that cast glimmering reflections on the metallic components.
Included in his most recent works is the frayed, Tyvek-coated sculpture titled “One,” which imitates the lifecycle of a flower as it opens to a bright, full bloom before retreating to a smaller, darker form associated with decay. “Orbis” and “Song of the Sun” conjure more animalistic motions that evoke long fins gliding through the water and flapping wings, respectively, although the latter’s petal-like elements produce shadows that fill the gallery space with silhouettes of thick foliage.
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Inscribed Lace Patterns Defy Expectations in Cal Lane's Plasma-Cut Steel Tools and Industrial Objects
Using car hoods, shovels, and oil drums as her base, Canadian artist Cal Lane cuts generic lace motifs found on the shelves of mass-market retailers. Her quotidian designs adorn tools and commodities typically associated with masculinity, warping both assumptions about gender and the limits of construction and craft. “I am more interested in the dialog between the object and the image, not so much the lace pattern specifically. I didn’t want the work to necessarily be decorative but to be about decoration and the relationship we have with it,” she shares.
A former welder, Lane is broadly interested in the possibilities of materials, and it’s “the industrial, man-made structure, masculine, modernist quality of steel that I am attracted to. I see steel as a metaphor for confrontation, a thing that represents the walls put up by the society I was born into,” she shares. Her body of work, which includes a series of Industrial Doilies, is steeped in contradiction and an ability to defy expectations, which manifest as delicate filigree inscribed in sturdy hunks of metal. “Steel feels like the perfect material to carve into to create the contrasts and conflicts that I myself struggle with,” the artist says.
Many of the plasma-cut sculptures shown here are part of In Her Space, which is on view through March 3 at C24 Gallery in New York. The exhibition includes some of Lane’s more recent pieces, including the collection of shovels and “Astute Class.” A miniature marine vessel, the submarine features a pattern Lane designed that’s comprised of thale cress flowers, a species that “had been bioengineered by Canada and The Netherlands as a bomb-sniffing flower…the flowers grow, but if there is a landmine beneath, the color of the flower changes,” she says. “I thought it was so beautiful, brilliant, and poetic.”
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