Danish design office, Kollision, who specialise in interaction design, recently introduced me to their truly remarkable kinetic media sculpture, Spine. Spine is an interactive installation based on twenty glowing cubes and an atmospheric sound composition. Each cube is moved precisely in fluid motions by two computer-controlled motors. The movements of the cubes as well as the sound composition react to nearby visitors by working together as one coherent expression in dialogue with the surroundings – a fifty meter long spine floating in space continually displaying new movements, light scenes and sounds. Spine was displayed between November 15th and December 15th 2012 at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark, during the Media Architecture Biennale 2012. Did any of you see this in person? What I find particularly striking about Spine, beyond the basic geometric shapes, is the different atmospheres it can create for passers by. I only wish I was one of them. To better appreciate this installation, please watch the video to see the lighting and sound effects in action.
Categorized “Art & Illustration”
I first saw the work of Magda Cebokli (a Polish-born abstract artist living and working in Melbourne, drawing on her experience in psychology) at an exhibition called Shelf Life at Delmar Gallery, just around the corner from my house. I was pleasantly surprised to see her paintings, and happy to report that Cebokli has been responsible for many other beautiful series of work as showcased on her website. Of these I’ve been particularly attracted to Ring Cycle from 2011. According to her website: Circles of shifting light are the focus of this set of paintings which explore luminosity and the structure of space. Continuing on the theme of light and edge, Cebokli now explores it in the tight closed form of series of concentric rings. In some of the paintings, light on dark conjures up images of a space where light is swallowed inward or pulses out toward the viewer, creating space within space. In others, hard, clearly defined edges become reduced to blur by slight shifts from dark to light. Stunning.
Kishu collection of minimalist objects by British designer Maya Selway has recently received second prize in the Object category of the Interieur Design Awards at the Interieur design biennale in Kortrijk, Belgium. These pieces, looking like unfinished drawings of vases, bowls, candleholders and bottles, are a triumph of balance and craftsmanship. Because of their lopsided nature the items had to be carefully constructed in order to remain upright. It is fascinating to see how our mind finishes the forms that designer has started… The pieces are made from oxidised copper, and the vase also has a shallow silver dish for holding water.
Richard Long (b. 1945) is an English artist working in the mediums of painting, photography and sculpture. He is perhaps best known as a land artist, and the works featured here derive from this genre. Beautiful installations of natural material, including rock and bark, arranged in meticulous geometric forms. Whether situated in modern or old buildings, outdoors or near the sea, they never cease to juxtapose their surroundings exquisitely. Having seen some of this work in person at AGNSW recently, I was particularly impressed by their scale and struck with a feeling of awe. Can anyone else relay an encounter of Long’s work?
English artist David Sawyer, working from his studio based in Louisville, Colorado, recently introduced me to his incredible and minimalist collection of grey grid canvas paintings. While there is a large body of minimalist work involved with grids, straight lines and symmetry, Sawyer’s paintings are freehand, and the linear elements in them are far from straight, though at a distance there is a semblance of linearity. The result is a subtle shimmer of movement as though the surfaces, though inert, create their own presence by vibration – almost sound-like. The painted surfaces are rendered using a Japanese painting process called ‘Nihonga’, the paint being a mixture of mineral pigments and heated animal glue. The canvases are sensual, subtle, and there is movement among the close-valued hues on the canvas surface. The canvases are created intuitively, in a process of orchestrating near-silence and near-stasis. As within the modern tradition of minimalism, allusion to form is not central to the painted surface. The imagery of these works comes out of an awareness of perfection and garners its energy from absence.
Ad Reinhardt (b. 1913-1967) is often associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement of New York, but like Barnett Newman, his work often defies this categorisation, and is now considered a big influence on minimal art and monochrome painting. He is perhaps best known for his so-called ‘black paintings’. At first, these works seem to be black monochromatic paintings. However, if one stays with the work long enough, their eyes will adjust to and reveal the variance in colour and formal elements (many of these take on the form of a crucifix or a grid). Earlier versions required just a few minutes of the viewer for their eyes to adjust, but my understanding is that as he advanced in his career he produced paintings that would require twenty or thirty minutes of viewing. There is something incredibly Zen about this series of work. They are an opportunity to be present with something we think we know, and over an extended period of time (a meditation?) come to learn how different things really are beneath the surface. In the process, we become intimate with the work and revel in its secrets.
Italian street artist Moneyless creates two and three dimensional abstract installations made of cotton threads combined with geometrical paintings often featured in forests and open fields of green across Europe. His Ropes installations, many of which appear to be floating in the air, are not only impressive, but they have a structural simplicity and neatness, which I really do enjoy. Moneyless explains: My shapes are reduced to the minimum, at the same time they carry some kind of an intense tension, an invisible movement; most of my patterns hide multiple visions and different perspectives. I think my art now speaks through geometry. It’s an art I haven’t often come across and so I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
In the summer of 2011 the Ratio 3 gallery organized the first solo exhibition in San Francisco of Margaret Kilgallen’s (1967–2001) work in 13 years. Considered by many to be one of the most influential, yet under-recognized, Bay Area artist of her generation. Kilgallen, along with a handful of other artists came to emergence in the late 1990s, as part of an art movement that is now commonly referred to as the Mission School. The artist’s imagery includes her iconic motifs such as leaves, trees, topography, and female figures, all executed in a delicate and adept hand. Her style is beautifully simple and humble, almost folkloric, at times working with basically abstractions of color, lines, and repeating shapes. She was an avid reader and thinker, looking to Appalachian music, signage, typography, letterpress printing, hobo train writing, and religious and decorative arts to inform her work. In addition to her comissioned mural work, she was also a graffiti artist under the tag names “Meta” and “Matokie Slaughter”, the latter used specifically for freight train graffiti. Kilgallen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and decided to forgo chemotherapy so that she might carry a pregnancy to term. She died in 2001,...
Based in Darwen, UK, illustrator and designer Chris Thornley, also often referred to as Raid71, has drawn these beautiful and minimal illustrations as an exercise of warming up before a day of drawing. The collection, titled Minimal is Good, is based on two basic rules: 1. One line (occasionally there are two or three). 2. One minute to draw. Thornley explains: After a few days I started to focus more and more on simplicity/minimalism; What was the least I could draw and still convey a person/emotion? Often depicting a female form, Thornley’s illustrations, which could also be defined as line art, are simple and brilliant. Lovely work.
Daniel Biesold is a German artist currently living and working in Berlin. If you’re unfamiliar with his painting work, I’d like to introduce you to his beautifully minimalist white series, which has been ongoing since 2005. Galerie koal, of where Biesold’s work has been exhibited, writes: The white series addresses the process of perception beyond the borders of visibility and its organic deposit. Consciousness as the capacity of orientation in relation to space, time and identity entrenches itself in the segments of the images in the form of grey or white substance. Mere relations among shadows generate a difference and thus shape the world as a space of mental concentration. Galerie koal has also featured Biesold’s black series of paintings, which are just as impressive.
Madmoiselle Favre is a french illustrator based in London, having grown up in Paris and moved to the UK to pursue illustration after graduation. Her work spans editorial, music, fashion, and basically a wide variety of many other mediums. My approach to illustration is about paring things down as much as possible. I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours as it needs to convey the core of the idea. Her combination of sinuous curves, clean and fluid lines, and bright, pop color palettes enables the creation of playful and alluring artwork that always leaves something to the imagination. Malika Favre has an upcoming exhibition at the Kemistry gallery in London. Check out the beautifully geometric and minimalistic teaser video here.
I recently came across the outstanding canvas works of New York based artist, Wyatt Kahn, and thought many of you would also appreciate his collection. Kahn’s paintings, which have been exhibited in London, New York, Berlin and Los Angeles, consist of forms, gaps and spaces. The forms are built out of stretcher panels and raw canvas. The panels begin as three-dimensional objects; but as they gather, they flatten out, transforming into the compositional components of a two-dimensional object. Between each panel is a gap that also acts as a line within the composition. Larger gaps become spaces; these spaces reveal and enclose the wall behind. The wall enters into a figure/field relationship with the panels and becomes just another material of the painting; the painting’s linear aspects both create and disturb perspective. Kahn uses raw canvas to focus attention on these shifting relationships. The forms are really interesting and I particularly enjoy the pieces titled Thing and Her.