From Insurrection Bills. All images © Stacey Lee Webber, shared with permission

Throughout 2020, Stacey Lee Webber developed Insurrection Bills, a revisionary collection of United States currency overlaid with subversive stitches: flames envelop monuments, a wall is left unfinished, and an eclectic array of face masks disguise Abraham Lincoln’s portrait. Contrasting the muted tones of the paper, the vibrant embroideries stand in stark contrast and as amended narratives to those depicted on the various denominations. “The series references feelings of anger, turmoil, and frustration during the tense political climate while recontextualizing and questioning the beloved iconography we see on our money,” she tells Colossal.

Currently working from her studio and home in Philadelphia’s Globe Dye Works, Webber is formally trained in metalsmithing—she has an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, where she initially began using currency as the basis of her projects—and sees the two mediums as an ongoing … Read the rest

“Cleo” (2020), 8.2 x 11.6 inches. All images © Lola Dupré, shared with permission

Glasgow-based artist Lola Dupré (previously) continues her practice of slicing and rearranging photographs and art historical works into cleverly surreal collages. Her newest manipulations include a blockheaded Léon Bonnat, an entire row of irresistible puppy eyes, and a twisted rendition of George Stubbs’s “The Kongouro from New Holland.” Dupré’s cat, Charlie, still finds himself as fodder for the unusual works—see two pieces centered on him below—and the artist is currently in the process of creating her 33rd portrait of the orange-and-white feline. Find more of the Dupré’s compositions in the latest issue of Standart Magazine, shop originals and prints on her site, and see the distorted works in person at Portland’s Brassworks Gallery later this year. You also can follow along with the contorted creations on Instagram and Behance.

 

“Kayack” (2020), 11.6 x 8.2

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“You Better Be Good” (2021), oil on panel, 36 x 36 centimeters. All images © Rosso Emerald Crimson, shared with permission

In her exquisite portraiture, London-based artist Rosso Emerald Crimson renders female subjects who emerge through a haze of pastels and muted tones. She infuses the dreamy oil paintings with responses to current affairs and questions about the future, which often serve as a catalyst for her projects. “I don’t ‘think’ specifically about political or ethical issues when I paint although my creative flow is undoubtedly fuelled by the impressions and emotions many global events leave subconsciously,” she tells Colossal. Issues of racial justice and the unrealistic portrayal of beauty have both played a role in her recent works, including the compelling portrait of a young Black girl titled “What Are We Waiting For.”

Generally, the subjects are people Rosso has a relationship with or someone who’s caught her eye, … Read the rest

“Lady of the chewing gum,” polychrome resin. All images © Gerard Mas, shared with permission

Despite their modest clothing and perfectly plaited hair, the women that artist Gerard Mas sculpts are spirited, brazen, and undeniably shameless. Whether blowing a wad of bubblegum, sporting visible tan lines, or unabashedly digging in their noses, the corset-clad figures are steeped in humor and wit and cast a contemporary light on the long-held conventions of the medium.

Mas began the ongoing series a few years ago as he ventured into figurative sculpture and struggled with portraying perfection and beauty. He shares:

This was an impossible job. There was always something that broke that beauty. And a sculpture attempting to speak of beauty with some disproportion or flagrant compositional flaw is pretentious if not ridiculous… I decided to anticipate that failure and deliberately introduce discordant elements that broke that pretended beauty by making our sense

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Gulnara Samoilova, “Cloud Eaters” (2018) © Gulnara Samoilova. All images courtesy of Prestel, shared with permission

At once widely accessible and distinctly personal, street photography has the potential to bridge the divide between the idiosyncratic and universal, a possibility that’s long excited Gulnara Samoilova. A former Associated Press photojournalist and current fine art photographer, Samoilova realized that while the genre was affordable and convenient, the field remained largely dominated by men, an imbalance she sought to remedy when she founded Women Street Photographers in 2017.

In its fourth year, the ongoing project began with an Instagram account designed to showcase work from women around the world. “I soon began to realize that with this platform, I could create everything I had always wanted to receive as a photographer: the kinds of support and opportunities that would have helped me grow during those formative and pivotal points on my journey,” Samoilova … Read the rest

All images licensed, © Arseniy Kotov

Photographer Arseniy Kotov is dedicated to documenting the changes in Russian life and architecture since the fall of the USSR, a commitment that brought him to the coldest European city last February. Located about 110 miles from the Arctic Ocean, Vorkuta is a small mining town that once held one of the largest and most grueling forced labor camps during Stalin’s reign. Often plagued by temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celcius, the city now has one of the fastest dwindling populations in all of Russia.

During Kotov’s visit, he toured various housing complexes built for workers, many of which were abandoned when the mines closed. One building in particular, though, is evidence of how desertion continues to unsettle the once-thriving city, an ongoing problem that Kotov captured in a stunning series. His photographs frame the dilapidated, five-story structure that’s entirely subsumed by feet-long … Read the rest

“I hope…” (2021), rope, paper, steel, installation view at König Galerie, Berlin. All images by Sunhi Mang, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, courtesy of the artist, shared with permission

A towering expanse of red thread, a new installation by Chiharu Shiota (previously) suspends 10,000 letters within the nave of Berlin’s König Galerie, a Brutalist-style space located in the former St. Agnes church. The immersive construction runs floor to ceiling and is awash with notes from people around the world who share their dreams following a particularly devastating year. Aptly named “I hope…,” the large-scale project hangs two wire boats that appear to float upward at its center, evoking travel into an unknown future.

For this collaborative installation, the Japanese artist, who’s lived in Berlin for the last two decades, draws on a similar piece from 2015 titled “The Key in the Hand.” That earlier work similarly utilizes … Read the rest

All images © Enoch Ku, shared with permission

Suit-inspired landscaping, overgrown shrubs, and misaligned stripes are just some of the scenes that comprise Enoch Ku’s Ordinary Sacramento, an ongoing project documenting the visual language of the Californian city. Ku is adept at identifying humor and quirkiness among the otherwise mundane urban landscape, framing a street sign or bike rack in a playful manner. Generally taken during a quiet moment, the compositions are evidence of the photographer’s keen sense of awareness and ability to observe what others might not.

Prior to launching Ordinary Sacramento, Ku worked as an actor and wedding photographer, two jobs that required him to rush from one place to the next. The pace of that lifestyle, in addition to the performative nature of the work, sparked his desire to slow down and document the world through a different lens. He explains:

In an Instagram world

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Lillie Turner is in love with clay – not a guy named Clay, as her husband’s name is Jeremy, but clay, as in pottery clay. Lillie’s first exposure to pottery was in 2015, at a community club taking 6 nights of wheel throwing classes. Throwing on the wheel did not come easy and is still a struggle somedays to center the clay, pull up the wall, and make pieces that match in shape and size, but she does not give up easily!      The community pottery club in town allowed potters 24 hours access to the studio which was great for a newbie who was very enthusiastic. Many hours were spent at the wheel- but Lillie had a keen interest in learning all aspects of pottery, so she volunteered to load kilns, maintain kilns, which gave her great experience early on. The next big step was to learn about glazes, with … Read the rest

During my 1978 Artist-in-residency at the University of Adelaide I wrote to black hole physicists around the world pointing out that when Einstein’s mathematical theories were subjected to the universal forces obeying the law of equal and opposite reaction, then later his worldview of physics reality would have to be rewritten. Many ethnographic studies demonstrate that music is a participatory, community-based activity. 75 76 Music is experienced by individuals in a range of social settings ranging from being alone to attending a large concert, forming a music community , which cannot be understood as a function of individual will or accident; it includes both commercial and non-commercial participants with a shared set of common values. Musical performances take different forms in different cultures and socioeconomic milieus. In Europe and North America, there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as a ” high culture ” and … Read the rest