“Sentient,” 18 feet. All images © The Morton Arboretum, shared with permission

Spread across the 1,700 acres at The Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago are five enormous figures by Cape Town-based artist Daniel Popper (previously). Constructed mainly of wood with elements of glass-reinforced concrete, fiberglass, and steel, the looming sculptures stand out against the verdant landscape and pay homage to nature’s endurance and diversity, particularly the 220,000 individual specimens growing on the grounds. Human+Nature is Popper’s largest exhibition to date.

The female figures, four of which are shown here, vary in pose, material, and overall aesthetic. “Hallow,” which stands at the arboretum’s entrance, is a poetic sculpture evocative of the fern-canopied installation the artist unveiled late last year in Fort Lauderdale. “Sentient,” on the other hand, surrounds a central bust with a surreal assemblage of facial features depicted on angled hunks of wood. Each is constructed at a monumental … Read the rest

“Paint Can 8” (2019), ceramic, glaze, glass fragments, 12 × 12 × 11 inches. All images © Brian Rochefort, by Marten Elder, courtesy of MASSIMODECARLO, shared with permission

Bulging hunks of glaze and smooth, speckled drips flow from Brian Rochefort’s chunky ceramic sculptures. The Los Angeles-based artist continues his signature abstract style in a newer series of paint cans and oozing vessels, many of which resemble the crusty remnants of volcanic eruptions. Rochefort builds each piece from a combination of clay, glaze, and glass fragments through multiple rounds of firing in the kiln. The final assemblages are literally overflowing with speckles, gloopy lumps, and delicately cracked patches all layered in a kaleidoscope of color and texture.

In a note to Colossal, the artist describes his process as multi-faceted with a diverse array of influences that range from visual to intellectual and historical. The most important, though, are from travel and … Read the rest

“Bad Lemon (Sea Witch)” (2020), aventurine, serpentine, prehnite, chrysoprase, rhyolite, agate, moss agate, jasper, peridot, moonstone, magnesite, lilac stone, turquoise, citrine, calcite, feldspar, ruby in zoisite, labradorite, swarovski crystal, quartz, mother of pearl, freshwater pearls, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene, 16½ x 18 x 20 inches. All images © Kathleen Ryan, courtesy of Karma, New York, shared with permission

Colorful, lustrous patterns made of precious and semi-precious stones coat a new series of oversized fruit sculptures by Kathleen Ryan. A bright rind peeks through layers of mold on a halved lemon, white and green Penicillium spoils a basket of cherries, and multicolored fungi crawls out of a grinning Jack-o-lantern. Continuing her practice of portraying the grotesque through traditionally beautiful materials, the New York-based artist (previously) ironically questions notions of value, desire, and “how objects bring meaning and carry a history.”

You can see Ryan’s sculptures at Karma in New … Read the rest

The rain is so intense in Serra do Divisor National Park that it looks like an atomic mushroom cloud. State of Acre, 2016. All images © Sebastião Salgado, courtesy of Taschen, shared with permission

Photographer Sebastião Salgado spent six years immersed in the Brazilian Amazon as he documented the world’s largest tropical rainforest in black-and-white. From wide, aerial shots framing the vegetation populating the landscape to sincere portraits of Indigenous peoples living throughout the region, Salgado’s wide-ranging photographs are a revealing and intimate study of the area today.

Titled Amazônia, a 528-page tome from Taschen compiles these images, which in the absence of color, are attentive to naturally occurring contrasts in light and texture. They explore the unique environment and cultural milieu Salgado experienced during his travels as he visited multiple small communities—the tribes include the Yanomami, the Asháninka, the Yawanawá, the Suruwahá, the Zo’é, the Kuikuro, the Waurá, … Read the rest

“Tetraconch II” (2019), Faxe limestone, 38 centimeters. All images © Matthew Simmonds, shared with permission

Since antiquity, marble has been a preferred material for sculptors and architects alike because of its relative softness and the unlikelihood that it’ll shatter. British artist Matthew Simmonds (previously) fuses these two traditional forms and honors their history with his miniature models carved into hunks of the raw stone. Evoking ancient ruins and sacred architecture—most pieces aren’t modeled after specific structures—the chiseled sculptures are complete with grand archways, ornately tiled ceilings, and minuscule statues on display in their halls.

Within the spaces, Simmonds contrasts the rough, jagged edges of the stone with precise angles and detailed flourishes. “Drawing on the formal language and philosophy of architecture the work explores themes of positive and negative form, the significance of light and darkness, and the relationship between nature and human endeavor,” he says in a statement.

See … Read the rest

Emma Willard, Temple of Time. Courtesy of Information Graphic Visionaries and David Rumsey Map Collection

A new book set honors the lives and legacies of three figures who fundamentally altered the way we communicate and organize data still today. Information Graphic Visionaries is a catalog trio dedicated to educator and entrepreneur Emma Willard, statistician and founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale, and scientist Étienne-Jules Marey, who all brought insight and clarity to the modern world by conveying complex information in visually compelling and convincing manners. Edited by RJ Andrews of Info We Trust with art direction by Lorenzo Fanton, the series unveils these previously overlooked histories through newly discovered graphics and prominent works paired with contextual essays and annotations.

Through a combination of atlases, wall hangings, and textbook woodcut graphics, Emma Willard: Maps of History explores how Willard invented new conceptions of time and ultimately defined chronology in the United … Read the rest

“Each/Other,” (2021) about 700 bandannas, approximately 16 x 9 feet, a collaboration between Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger

A monumental patchwork wolf, warriors sparring with a fang-bearing snake, and an abstract woolen tapestry made of restored blankets comprise Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, which opens this weekend at the Denver Art Museum. The expansive exhibition—featuring 26 mixed-media sculptures, installations, and wall hangings—joins two of the leading Indigenous artists working today in a manner that distinguishes both the connective threads and nuances within their bodies of work.

Situated at the center of the space is the 16-foot creature the pair created together by fashioning about 700 patterned bandannas submitted by an international crew around a steel armature. The collaborative installation, titled “Each/Other,” physically tethers Watt’s and Luger’s individual artworks while drawing on the socially engaged aspects inherent to both of their practices.

 

Cannupa Hanska Luger, “Every One”

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Greenpeace’s new campaign opens with a single bottle bouncing off Boris Johnson’s head mid-press conference before a waterfall of plastic overwhelms the prime minister and carries him out to the street. The satirical and pressing animation pours the equivalent of the 1.8 million kilograms of waste the U.K. sends to other countries each day into Downing Street, which topples Johnson and Michael Gove as it literally engulfs the British political landscape.

“Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster” is the organization’s latest effort to put pressure on the government to enact new policies around recycling and the environment. “Much of (the plastic waste) ends up illegally dumped or burnt, poisoning local people and polluting oceans and rivers,” says Greenpeace U.K. political campaigner Sam Chetan-Welsh. “The government could put a stop to this but so far Boris Johnson is only offering half measures. We need a complete ban on all Read the rest

“Holland” (2021). All images © Chrystl Rijkeboer, shared with permission

Artist Chrystl Rijkeboer contemporizes sentimental porcelain figurines with a present-day twist: spiky COVID-19 molecules obscure the characters’ facial features, rendering the largely wealthy and ornately dressed figures both anonymous and commonplace in modern contexts.

Whether posing for a portrait or mid-curtesy, Rijkeboer’s pieces satirize the long-crafted Meissen figurines, which have been in production since the 18th Century and often romanticize an antiquated world “where women do not represent any relevance but being nice and glamourous,” she tells Colossal. “For me, it is mostly about the position as a woman and an artist. The pandemic made it quite clear that artists are the first to be labeled as unnecessary.”

Living and working in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Rijkeboer has crafted an extensive COVID-themed collection, which includes ubiquities like Zoom calls and masks, all of which you can see on her site. (via … Read the rest

“Fleeting Moment Caprice.” All images @ Yoshitoshi Kanemaki, courtesy of FUMA Contemporary Tokyo, shared with permission

Japanese artist Yoshitoshi Kanemaki (previously) carves fickle, ambivalent, and even contradictory sentiments in his figurative sculptures that embody a range of emotions. The wooden characters are surreal in form with multiple limbs, duplicate features, and recurring faces that wind entirely around their bodies. Whether conveyed through kaleidoscopic or blurred techniques, each portrait “expresses the dignity of life as a human being, the hate and harassment that people experience, and the importance of environmental awareness,” the artist says, explaining:

It’s the hesitation, contradiction, two-sidedness, or multi-sidedness, double standard. These are the problems that all people have, and I express them as sculptures under the concept of “ambivalence.” I want to portrait a modern person, who visualizes the “ambivalent” state that everyone has.

Kanemaki is based in Nagareyama City and is currently altering one of his … Read the rest