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Art

Pink Peonies Burst with Life in Hyperrealistic Oil Paintings by Maria Marta Morelli

March 13, 2022

Anna Marks

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

 

 



Art

Elaborately Layered Gardens by Ebony G. Patterson Hide Haunting Messages Within Dazzling Displays

March 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“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

 

 



Art

Dots, Stripes, and Florals Amass in Dense Patches in Angelika Arendt's Amorphous Sculptures

March 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Die Bagage” (2018), ceramic. All images © Angelika Arendt, shared with permissio

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.

 

“Apollon” (2019), ceramic, 72 x 41 x 41 centimeters. Photo by Eric Tschernown

“Nymphe” (2019), ceramic, 47 x 25 x 24 centimeters. Photo by Eric Tschernow

Detail of “The makings of you” (2022), porcelain

Detail of “The makings of you” (2022), porcelain

“Zwei Türme” (2017), ceramic, 28 x 30 x 22 centimeters

“Come back as a flower” (2018), biscuit porcelain, 26 x 20 x 20 centimeters

 

 



Art

Floral Arrangements Instigate Trivial Actions in Ethan Murrow's Meticulous Graphite Drawings

March 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Retreat” (2022), graphite on paper, 36 x 36 inches. All images © Ethan Murrow and courtesy of Winston Wächter Fine Art New York, shared with permission

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.

 

“Garnering” (2021), graphite on paper, 48 x 48 inches

“Drumbeat” (2022), graphite on paper, 48 x 36 inches

“Harmony” (2021), graphite on paper, 80 x 46 inches

“Conviction” (2022), graphite on paper, 36 x 48 inches

“Glow” (2022), graphite on paper, 36 x 36 inches

“The Vaudeville Admiral” (2021), high flow acrylic on panel, 48 x 60 inches

 

 



Photography

Conceptual Portraits by Photographer Oye Diran Fuse Raw Emotion and Whimsy

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Homegrown.” All images © Oye Diran, shared with permission

When working on location or in the studio, Oye Diran (previously) focuses on the natural grace and emotional impulses of his subjects. The Lagos-born New York-based photographer captures portraits that are refined and composed with natural elements, centering on singular figures set against calm, scenic backdrops or surrounded by flowers and fruits. Whether a personal project or commission for a magazine or fashion brand, his photos are minimal and tinged with whimsical details conveyed through elaborate hairstyles or playful, puppet-like props.

Diran’s stylized shot titled “Samsara,” which shows a figure lying supine with a mass of white blooms, is part of his recent In Between Bonds series that explores the tension between individuality and the collective through expressions of kinship. You can view the entire collection and more of the photographer’s works on Instagram.

 

“Samsara”

A commission for Blanc Magazine

Left: “Baptism.” Right: “Grounded”

“Ebonee”

“Eve”

 

 



Art Craft

Bas Reliefs by Rachel Dein Preserve the Supple Contours of Herbs, Flowers, and Plants

March 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

Stinging nettle. All images © Rachel Dein, shared with permission

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.

 

Weeds

Herbs

Turquoise snowdrops

Left: Geum. Right: Ribes, leucojum, and muscari

Ferns

Snowdrops

Rosemary, sage, betony, ribwort, astragalus gummifer, and alchemila