Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota creates immense installations with string, furniture, windows, and live people.
What I thought, on first glance, was a frenetic charcoal drawing, was actually a photograph of a white room, with a piano and chairs completely cobwebbed in black strings. The strings are attached to the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the furniture; they wind around each other and are woven in such a way that they define space and become shapes - or beings - themselves.
Other recurring items she uses are old windows from Berlin construction sites, hospital beds, children's school chairs, and shoes.
...but it's the string that gets me. A ball of yarn sitting on a desk is such a quiet, soft, unassuming thing. This artist turns it into a horrible, anxious tangle, a web of uneasiness...it almost looks organic, like an intelligent, plotting Spanish moss, ready to grow around you and swallow you up if you stay too still, too long.
Anke Merzbach's photography is dark, elegant, and moody.
Her work is a glorious combination of antiquated fashion and photo techniques, desaturated color, dirty contrast, and models of non-traditional beauty, strength, and grace.
She uses, sometimes to the point of flamboyant excess, a lot of digital photo processing and manipulation, but despite the modern tools, the photos have an air of antique-ness, but of a past world that never really existed at all.
I can't help but be mesmerized by the fluid, graceful, nearly mime-like movements of this raccoon's paw as he searches around for food pieces.
The word "raccoon" comes from Native American words meaning "he who scratches with his hands". Their nimble fingers are so incredibly sensitive that they use them as a second pair of eyes to "see" whatever they feel when they probe around in the dark, or under water. Even nearly-freezing creek water does not dull the sensitivity, and they can "see" crayfish and other food by feeling around in the coldest water.
Chris and I were talking the other day about ideas for different types of blog posts here on DF. One idea we had was to post a few more little things about us, because we like to think of ourselves as interesting, well-read, aesthetically adept individuals who have some neat things to share with the internet world at large. So we thought it would be fun to post about our personal collections of certain objects, which we, being treasure-hoarding artist-types, seem to acquire a large wealth of. So here are three of mine:
#1 Very old, well-loved stuffed animal toys. Clean museum-quality specimens need not apply. I like them dirty, with the mohair pulled off in spots, filled stiffly with straw or sawdust, and roughly charming. The bunny pictured is so old and faded you can't even tell he used to be blue, and his one glass eye being lower than the other is the result of a home repair. The lamb and his rusted little bell are so endearing, and that bear kinda, sorta does something when you turn the crank. I just realized I forgot to put my straw-stuffed rocking horse in the picture. Sorry horse!
They're sitting on a rusted and tattered old doll stroller...because I also have amassed a nice little collection of toy accoutrements for them.
#2 Antique medical, pharmaceutical, and science bottles. My collection spans the early 1900s to the 1950s, and includes some lovely gilded "under glass" labeled bottles (one is for Spirit of Ether), as well as some lovely hand-written science chemical labels, and a series of crazy old dental medications, such as Arsenic Discs and Silver Nitrate. There are still Arsenic disks in the bottle...supposedly they also contained Asbestos, Opium, and Cocaine, according to the label.
#3 Human Teeth. The molars in the foreground as well as the baby teeth in the vials are real. The antique Nuform tray and mason jar hold a bevy of porcelain teeth for denture-making. The ones in the jar are frequently put into my artwork, but the others will not be removed, save for the molars which have been cast into silicone molds to become an army of resin teeth.
Lead by designer Derrick R. Cruz, a group of artists in New York has collaborated on a project called "A New Hive" to raise awareness and funds for the plight of the very important, yet often forgotten, honeybee. The global impact of Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting bee populations at an alarming rate, raising much concern over not only the future of these populations, but the plants they pollinate, and the ecosystems that are affected by their decline.
A show was set up at Earnest Sewn, and featured a dark, anachronistic display loaded with natural objects, symbolism, and about 200 pounds of honey.
The proceeds from the art sold, as well as donations to the project go to support honeybee research, education, and development of sustainable beekeeping practices. For more information about Colony Collapse Disorder, click here or here.
These fantastic little worlds are the creation of artist Kathleen Lolley.
Besides the folk/fairy tale aspect of the characters, woodland settings, and rustic details, what really interests me about her work is the historical color palette, and the (perhaps deliberate?) many nods to both Hieronymus Bosch in both rendering style and creature/object design, and the desaturated stacked landscapes of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
That similarity gives an ancient, otherworldly feel to her work, that seems to tell a definite story....even though you may not know what the story is.
More artwork and information about prints and other items at her website.
The website has an online store where you can buy goodies, but the best experience is to actually visit the store, if you can. The décor is basically what I want my house to look like - a little cluttered and a lot antique and intriguing. You feel like everything you look at is part of the whole of the store's aesthetic...like an antique store, but curated.
Antlers are everywhere (and for sale), as are branches, nature-inspired lighting fixtures, and lots of local and not-local original artware (like ceramics, plates, and jewelry). I even spotted the ceramic art of Laura Zindel, that we blogged about last year!
If you ever find yourself among the fab restaurants and art galleries of Columbus, make sure you drop into this jewel of a store; you will be very glad you did.
So it seems that being a blogger pays off sometimes. In this instance it paid off in a big way for 50 lucky bloggers. The makers of the newest stop-motion feature film CORALINE, have been kind, wait, no...AWESOME enough to send out 50 handmade mystery boxes to blogs of relevance. Now it's not often that we get INSANELY JEALOUS here at DF, but this is one of those times, this is why...
~ These boxes are nothing shy of masterpieces in of themselves, containing actual production props, scrapbooks and items of mystery.
While I have not yet seen the film (10 demerits for me) I still find this act of kindness on the filmmaker's part to be one of the most inspiring things I have seen in a very long time. Kudos, and congratulations to everyone who received these amazing treasures.
Always the purveyors of fine WTF, Tool's videos never cease to bring amazing dark imagery to life with the use of stop-motion animation and fine cinematography. This video is an epic force of visuals that morphs from one nightmarish conceptual scene to the next. In other words, awesome. Enjoy.
Just ran across this great little spotlight on my friend Mario, AKA Mars1. Over the years Mario's work has become increasingly more abstract, complicated, detailed, skilled and beautiful. I can only imagine what he's cooking up next, as it will no doubt be other-worldy.