search /// Vera m

i’m jealous of vera moller

I love these gorgeous, organic, graphic ceramic sculptures by German {Australian based} artist Vera Möller. Wouldn’t it be amazing, and quite frankly kinda magical, to find a few of these little things “growing” on the forest floor while out for a morning stroll…

Yes. Yes it would.

vera van wolferen

What? Oh my goodness… none of my paper looks like this. This is the absolutely lovely work of Dutch animator turned artist . These pieces are part of an installation, titled “Plant Life”, that is currently showing in Porto, Portugal in one of the city’s oldest bookstores – Livraria Lello. Clearly, if you’re anywhere near Porto you have to go see these beauties in person. Oh, but before you do, I have to share part of the email Vera sent me… I love this:

“During my study in Fine Arts I was in the sculpture department, and kept making videos of my sculptures. That’s why I went to do animation, cause everyone said – hey you should make your sculptures move! So I did stop motion for a year, but figured out I was most interested in creating the set design, lighting and photographing the sets… not so much the animation part of it. I now focus on making “Story Objects”, sculptures that are vehicles for the imagination of the viewer. It feels like the objects contain a story, but it up to you to create your own.”
See? Love. This.

fred wilson @ glasstress

This is just a tiny bit of the jaw-dropping work of New York based artist Fred Wilson. He is one of several artists featured in Glasstress 2021. Now, normally Glasstress happens in Venice, home of all things glass {I saw Glasstress 2017 in person, and it was a major highlight of my trip}. This year, however, this exhibition of breathtaking glass artworks has crossed the pond and is currently happening in Boca Raton, FL! The lineup of artists is insane {Ai Weiwei, Joyce J. Scott, Nancy Burson, Jimmie Durham, Fiona Banner just to name a few}, but I just had to show you Fred’s gorgeous pieces. Here’s a little bit about him:

Known for his politically charged work that explore issues faced by Africans and African-Americans in past centuries, Fred Wilson makes sculptures that are, first and foremost, beautiful. His Murano glass mirrors are made from onyx Murano glass – a color never before used for decorative objects. ~ via

Glasstress was at Boca Raton Museum of Art until September 5, 2021. You can also find Fred Wilson’s work via Pace Gallery.

naomi okubo

I will never get tired of writing about Japanese artist Naomi Okubo. All of her paintings {acrylic on canvas} are self-portraits, and in some cases, “plural self-portraits”. This originated from being bullied when she was younger … she “had felt a fear what others thought about [her], and as a result, was confused about how to relate to others.” Over the past several years, she has continued to explore this idea of acceptance – or lack there of – and the paintings above are the latest result. Here’s an excerpt from a recent video interview with Naomi:

“I want to create the effects of camouflage. This person is melting into the background, which is how I think about fashion, especially in Japan. I was told that I shouldn’t be so outstanding.

So, if I just paint only this one person, she would stand out because she’s wearing such a bright dress. But, if I paint other very bright patterns, she will to melt into the background. It’s the social conflict between standing out / melting in.”

So true for so many of us, yes? Watch the full video, created by ALL*ARTS, and follow Naomi on Instagram at @naomi_okubo.

betty tompkins

“Women Words” by American artist Betty Tompkins. There are decades of history behind this work, but these are some of the latest iterations of a series that now includes thousands of paintings, and mixed media pieces. These ones, ripped from the pages of art history books*, are the most recent {2017-2020}. I found so many interesting interviews with Betty, that instead of retelling the story, I just pulled my favorite bits from several places:

In 2002 and 2013, Tompkins circulated the following email: “I am considering doing another series of pieces using images of women comprised of words. I would appreciate your help in developing the vocabulary. Please send me a list of words that describe women. They can be affectionate (honey), pejorative (bitch), slang, descriptive, etc. The words don’t have to be in English but I need as accurate a translation as possible. Many, many thanks, Betty Tompkins.” Over 3,500 words and phrases were submitted in seven languages, equally split between men and women. – Gavlak Gallery

Tompkins had bought more than *60 art history textbooks and was tearing out pages, unapologetically defacing some of the world’s best-known paintings and using female figures as canvases for unused suggestions for “Women Words.” “I come from a family where you couldn’t even crack the spine of a book, let alone tear out a page,” she recalled, admitting that “it was a lot of fun!” – Artnet Interview

ELLE: A lot of anger, violence and frustration towards women comes out through this process of audience participation. How do you deal with that?

BT: I have a really good sense of humour, and I think it’s saving my life – and my blood pressure! There was one guy who had written ‘the only thing that would make her more beautiful would be my dick in her mouth’ and I thought, who is this guy? You have to laugh. Someone else had written ‘heck, most people don’t like women’ and I thought ‘okay, let’s think about this one!’ – Elle Magazine Interview


Kick-ass women are my favorite.

jean shin

Bits of Mountain Dew bottles take over the landscape in “Invasives”, and hang like a glowing chandelier in “Floating Maize”. Oh my, yes, this is my kind of recycling program! These are just two of many installations by New York based artist Jean Shin. I happen to love these two works, but her materials certainly are not limited to green beverages! …

Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, and her engagement of community, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.

Follow her on Instagram to see what she’s up to, in progress shots, how to make dumplings, etc. Note: Jean’s dog, Trevor, was not officially part of the work… but he is a very cute photo-bomber!

“children of the rainbow”

I’ve been dying to share this episode with you! My podcast guest today is Bisa Butler, a New Jersey based artist who, “paints with fabric”. Looooove! I wrote about her jaw dropping, life-size portraits, made entirely from bits of beautiful colorful patterned fabric, a few months ago {posted below} … and then immediately reached out to invite her onto the podcast. We cover everything from being a child of the rainbow {that will make sense in a minute} and flirting with Tupac, to how she found her way to quilting and eventually to where she is now… which is an incredibly exciting place to be. As we speak, she has just arrived in Chicago for the opening of her exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago! WHAT!? Anyway, we’ll get into all of that and more. You can listen right up there underneath Bisa and “Dahomey Amazon,”, or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify.

First, the pieces I wrote about a few months ago. Again, THIS IS ALL FABRIC:

Allllllll fabric!? Stunning. And her subjects? They tell the African American side of the story about American life, because as Bisa’s artist statement says:

“History is the story of men and women, but the narrative is controlled by those who hold the pen. My community has been marginalized for hundreds of years. While we have been right beside our white counterparts experiencing and creating history, our contributions and perspectives have been ignored, unrecorded, and lost.”

I love that she has chosen to tell these stories in bits of vintage fabric. Here is the first story she ever told that way, during her Masters program in 2001:

The second piece is the rework from a year later. Look how much she’d honed her skills! This is a portrait of “Grandpa Zakani”.

Next, “A New Dawn, 2020”, which features the young boy Bisa talked about:

So beautiful in so many ways… his repaired overalls, bare feet covered in a pair of Converse, the WWII airplanes on his pants, all of it. Oh, and I had to throw in a sample of  “Devaluation” so you could see what Bisa was referring to. She hasn’t used this fabric in any of her pieces yet, but it’s ready and waiting.

Ummmm, how did we not talk about either of these huge career milestones? :

The cover of TIME Magazine, and a feature in the New York Times! Clearly I’ll have to have her back on so we can discuss this properly. That fabulous shot of Bisa from the Times article was taken by @gioncarlovalentine.

Up next… oh you know, just a giant show at The Art Institute of Chicago that happens to include an absolutely huge piece {144″ x 108″}, titled “The Warmth of Other Sons”. Bisa spent seven months making this. Take a peek:

Gah! She just posted this jumping-for-joy photo to Instagram! Oh my word, can you even imagine seeing your work like that? I would sob. I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU, BISA! She also included this caption with a sneak peek of the exhibit and I just have to share:

“I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to share my work at such a beautiful institution. I was told today that not only am I the first African American woman to exhibit in the 2nd floor European Painting galleries, but I am the first living artist in the museums 141 year history. I walk in the path left by the African American artists who have come before me, and I hope to leave a path for others to follow.”

I’m not crying, you’re crying. Oof. Okay, deep breath. Back to that insane work… I mean, seriously, the amount of detail in that one piece alone is staggering. And where does this magic happen? In her dining room, of course:

Yep, that’s Bisa’s crazy sewing machine… I kinda wanna take it for a spin around the block, don’t you?

And finally, let’s wrap things up with these two stylish graduates:

Ha! I had to, because Grad 91 RULES! Thank you to Bisa for hanging out with me for so long, sharing all of her stories, and for emailing me her graduation photo!

Isn’t it kind of wonderful that a little girl who started school at “Children of the Rainbow” is now creating artwork filled with colorful, rainbow-hued people? I think that’s exactly how this was meant to play out. Bisa, if you happen to be reading this from Chicago, have an amazing time! What an incredible, well-deserved moment for you. And of course, huge thanks to all of you for listening. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend. ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Bisa on Instagram
  2. Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem
  3. Howard University
  4. AfriCOBRA / Jeff Donaldson
  5. A Big Important Art Book – Now With Women 
  6. Simone Leigh, Venice 2022
  7. Montclair State University
  8. Dutch wax fabric
  9. Natalie Baxter {textile guns}
  10. Art 1-54 Fair
  11. Art Institute of Chicago: “Bisa Butler – Portraits” Nov 16, 2020 ~ April 19, 2021


clare celeste börsch

She’s done it again… another immersive, jaw-dropping collage that I want to move into immediately. “Biodiversity” is the latest insane collage by Berlin based artist Clare Celeste Börsch. I’ve written about her several times, she was on the podcast in 2018, and so when I saw this installation, clearly, I had to share it too! Here are Clare’s words about her newest paper wonderland:

68% of biodiversity lost in just 50 years…

My latest artwork shares a message of love, urgency and hope. Love for our planet, our future selves, our children and future generations. Urgency, because climate change is upon us and the predictions of what to come are dire. And Hope, because there is still a narrow window of time to act and there is still so much we can save.

We are currently on track for 4 degrees of warming by the year 2100. This means a future marked by increasingly violent storms, droughts, wildfires, flooding, and crop shortages.

But we have the tools and technologies to respond to this crisis. We must now collectively and individually rise to this unprecedented challenge. In the video, I list concrete ways you can make a difference today. Please watch and share! It is available on YouTube.

Soooooo beautiful! Happy Friday.

*photos, video and editing by Patricia Schichl.

vicki ling

“Hanging By A String”, 2020. You can say that again. All of these pieces are part of a personal series {graphite, colored pencil} by Chicago based artist/illustrator Vicki Ling. Here are her words about this work:

“The theme I am exploring with this series of work is the feeling of insecurity brought forth from the potential catastrophes of modern life.  Contemporary lifestyles tend to obscure various crises that spontaneously erupt, from privacy invasions to public health issues and from climate change to personal emotional disorders, etc. I’m interested in surfacing that sense of tension and insecurity and raise these issues to our collection consciousness in this collection of work. Each composition leverages a red string as a visual device to represent the tension of modern life. Fragile objects interact with the string in an almost impossible way to create a direct challenge to the balance and harmony of the overall scene.”

Well said, and beautifully executed. As I write this post on the afternoon of November 3rd, I can’t help but wonder about the balance and harmony tomorrow may or may not hold.

scott froschauer

The mirrored START hooked me, UR OK made me exhale, and VOTE brought it home. Sigh. This is the work of Los Angeles based artist Scott Froschauer, and these are his words about this ongoing series, titled “Word on the Street”:

“How does one express humanity? I think it’s pretty complicated. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes less so. I don’t always know what a particular piece means and I love to discover new perspectives in conversations with viewers.

I ran into a city worker who was maintaining the landscaping around one of my street signs. He asked what the sign was supposed to mean. Of course I asked him what he thought it meant. After several minutes of explaining his search for the official meaning of this very unofficial sign, he finally said that he wasn’t really sure what it was supposed to mean but it made him feel something, something he wasn’t quite sure of… Something that felt like hope.”

Hope, indeed. START, UR OK, VOTE.

{Scott’s work is available via WallSpace, LA}

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