medium /// sculpture

aakash nihalani

Tape. Paint. Corrugated board. What? This is the mind-bending work of New York based artist Aakash Nihalani. I featured his work waaaaaay back in 2010… now here we are ten years later, and his work is even more wonderfully confusing! Happy Friday.

faye hall

Tiny sculptures… that you can wear! Oh my word, this is the work of UK based artist Faye Hall, and yes, it’s jewelry. Here is Faye’s description of her process and her pieces:

Originally trained in textiles, and with over thirteen years’ experience designing highly tactile fabrics for fashion and interiors, I now apply my perpetual curiosity for surface and materials to create bold pieces of art jewellery which marry my textiles practice and silversmithing. Influenced by my collage work, I am interested in finding beautiful solutions to combine materials of different weights and origins through embellishment and placement. I am very curious about the use of embroidery as both a decorative and construction tool within my work and I like to challenge that fine line.
Every piece of jewellery is handcrafted in my workshop and created in a very intuitive way; I like to be playful with my material choices and to juxtapose elements that you may not typically put together, such as linoleum and silk, or formica and gold. Working with found colours along the way only adds to the challenge of combining components that are inherently different in weight, structure and surface into an intriguing object which is tactile and harmonious.

Tactile – check … Harmonious – CHECK! Faye’s work can be found in her online shop. Happy Monday.

simone leigh

Now this is some very exciting art news! It was announced yesterday that Simone Leigh has been chosen to represent The United States at the Venice Biennale in 2022. She will be the first Black American woman to showcase her work in the US Pavilion {Shocking? Yes… but also no. Sigh.} Simone’s work is “informed by her ongoing exploration of black female-identified subjectivity. Leigh works in a mode she describes as auto-ethnographic. Her objects often employ materials and forms traditionally associated with African art; her performance-influenced installations create spaces where historical precedent and self-determination commingle.” {Hauser + Wirth}… I cannot wait to experience those spaces in person! Here’s the message Simone posted on Instagram yesterday after the announcement was made:

To be the first Black American woman to occupy the American Pavilion for the 58th La Biennale di Venezia is a great honor. I acknowledge the paradox of my position during this time when the depth of white supremacy in America is in full view. I also recognize that this is a time when black artists and intellectuals of the diaspora are flourishing and have reached critical mass.
My show, comprised primarily of sculpture, will engage the work of black feminist thinkers who have enlarged and transcended the limits of this democracy. Thank you Eva Respini my curator @curator_on_the_run  @icaboston , my gallery @hauserwirth , and Spelman College @spelman_college

Congratulations, Simone… so exciting, and very well-deserved. {Both bio photos above by Shaniqwa Jarvis.}

lilian martinez

California based artist Lilian Martinez. A few of the images above are from her past shows at Ochi Gallery in LA, and this is the gallery’s description of her work:

“Lilian Martinez’ work blends representation and iconographies of past with present and imaged future, combining classical architectural elements with contemporary pop cultural references to create the settings for her portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. Her flat, bold style recalls iconic predecessors like Matisse, while her impetus to center brown bodies that have historically been essentialized, if not omitted altogether, from these sorts of historical artworks recontextualizes the roles of the artist and subject at once.

Martinez’ newest body of work is both more commanding in scale, as well as increasingly focused on the figures she portrays. The figures are usually engaged in everyday leisure activities, and Martinez’ work indulges color and mood, all while maintaining a charming nonchalance. Even in the works bold simplicity, a matrix of historical and cultural signifiers exposes a boundlessness, both in connection through nostalgic specificity and limitlessness in the lack thereof. Towering above the line of sight, Lilian Martinez’ women portrayed, welcome the viewer with open arms into a dreamscape of her making.”

Beautiful! {Some of Lilian’s work is available through her shop; original work can be found via Ochi Gallery.}

petah coyne

“I gather materials everywhere I go … Materials are a language.” 

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! New York based artist Petah Coyne is my new hero. I saw some of her glass work in Venice a few years ago but didn’t even realize it was hers until today… and then I went down the Petah Coyne rabbit hole! That amazing journey involved not only her intricate glass pieces but also works made from wax, beautifully bizarre taxidermy, silk flowers, more wax … and, eventually, I found my way to this video she did with SFMoMA. Watch the video. Have you watched it? Okay, I’ll wait. Seriously. [pauses for 4 minutes] Wasn’t that FABULOUS!? I’m going to spend the weekend ‘trying to make bad’, because as Petah wisely says, “sometimes when you make really bad, it’s really good.” LOVE.

peng wei

Okay, I’m a little late to the game on this work by Chinese artist Peng Wei, but oh my goodness I love it! She’s been making these paper-molded pieces since 2007… women’s body parts covered in hand painted xuan paper. This work represents her concern over the Westernization of traditional Chinese culture. Look carefully, because she’s hidden treasures like ladies wearing some very non-traditional high heeled shoes while going about their daily tasks. ps. the boots were a collaboration with shoe designer Sergio Rossi in 2012.

{found via Art Girl Rising}

kathleen ryan

“Bad Fruit” has never looked so delicious! This is the latest work by New York/LA based artist Kathleen Ryan. I wrote about her oversized ‘rotting’ pears, peaches and lemons last year, but these beauties are from a show she had in early 2020 {pre-pandemic} at Francois Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles. I am absolutely in awe of Kathleen’s work, for two reasons… 1. the meaning behind them, “a comment on the excessive consumption and a culture of excess that exists all over our world”; and 2. the insane detail and absolutely exquisite bits and pieces she uses to create this work. The materials list for the grapes looks like this: Amethyst, aventurine, agate, garnet, pyrite, ruby in zoisite, tektite, tigereye, turquoise, serpentine, obsidian, blackstone, Indian unakite, labradorite, Sierra agate, red agate, black agate, serpentine, quartz, marble, amazonite, rhyolite, calcite, dalmation jasper, glass, steel and stainless steel pins, copper tube and copper fittings, polystyrene. And the list for the melon chunks… cherry quartz, rose quartz, agate, smoky quartz, rhodenite, rhotochrocite, labradorite, quartz, citrine, calcite, horn, stone looking beads, silver lace agate, magnacite, rhyolite, Botswana agate, carnelian, acrylic, glass, cast iron and brass flies, steel and stainless steel pins, polystyrene, aluminum Airstream trailer. Airstream trailer!?

rocco pezzella

Ooooh! These things make me wanna make things! These pieces, all of which were created during the summer of 2020, are the work of Amsterdam based artist Rocco Pezzella. Clay, sculpture block, wood, sand and other found objects balanced in perfect harmony:

“This is a collection where organic and artificial forms blend together in a harmonious body. A study between design and art where different materials combine, coexisting in shapes that recall nature and the human touch at the same time.”

Ah yes, human touch… remember that? Happy Monday.

{Found via Andenken Gallery’s IG}

caroline wayne

“Pretty Objects”. Yes they are… until you dig a little deeper to find out what all of those pretty beads and stitches represent. This is the work of Brooklyn based artist Caroline Wayne. Some {if not all?} of these pieces were part of an exhibition, titled “Grown Cyclone”, at A.I.R Brooklyn at the end of 2019. Here is part of the gallery’s description:

“Rounded soft felt forms are adorned with sequins, pearls, and beads, packed and overlapping like armor. Thumb tacks position themselves with pointed-side up in a mechanism of defense. Scrolling across the ornamented circumferences of these narrative vessels, painstakingly embellished scenes examine the distant memories and dreams of the artist’s own sexual traumas.

Each sculpture’s apparent beauty—the laborious result of extended emotional, physical, and psychic effort— illustrates Wayne’s lifelong endeavor to process and reshape a complicated and harrowing past. Through onerous mark-making, she exposes the suffering that a body can accumulate over time. The artist’s own cyclic path through healing acknowledges the overlooked stories of survivors, whose fiercest pain lies not in the traumatic event itself but in the way one has to navigate their world for a lifetime after.”

That is not what I expected. You? As a survivor of an abusive relationship, this gave me chills…. and I just realized I was holding my breath through that entire final paragraph. So beautiful. So powerful. ps. A few of these pieces are currently available via PXP Contemporary.

juliette clovis

Gasp! This is the latest work from French sculptor Juliette Clovis. I wrote about her nature-covered busts in 2017, but these never-ending, scaly wonders took my breath away. I should say, I have a major snake phobia, but luckily, these aren’t snakes. I’ll let Juliette explain… poetically:

“Manis Tetradactyla is a species of pangolin: a small long-tailed mammal living in West and Central Africa. Like the animal, thousands of porcelain scales interlock into each other and form a carapace which covers entirely the surface of the sculpture. The final shape draws an abstract line, invasive and sinuous, almost looking like snake curves. Like a gigantic Gordian knot, Manis Tetradactyla has neither beginning nor end. An hybrid and reptilian creature with an immaculate beauty born from Intertwined and sprawling forms.

The course of events seems then reversed. The cycle of life takes another turn and instead of disappearing, a new living being emerges from the pangolin’s scales. A powerful form springs out fragile porcelain shards. The spectator is faced with an unknown animal. Is it one of a kind? Are they several? Is it a threat? The impression of strength and invasion is palpable. But the delicacy and fragility of porcelain soften this tension making the animal less disturbing than intriguing. Strength and fragility are balanced to give life to a new form of harmony. 

Manis Tetradactyla scrambles the tracks and plays the spectator who no longer knows if he is in front of a prehistoric animal resurfaces from the past or a metamorphic and futuristic creature announcing the birth of a new era.”

Ahhh, a new era. That sounds great.