Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Atlas Obscura

wunderkammerVia Blue Tea comes this welcome news: "Josh Foer of the Athanasius Kircher Society and Dylan Thuras of Curious Expeditions have teamed up to launch the Atlas Obscura, an ambitious, user-driven catalog of curiosities, wonders, and oddities around the world."

Check it out! Because what this world needs is more wonder cabinets. You heard it here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

roccoco jellyfish

Australian-born, US-based sculptor Timothy Horn has a taste for the roccoco, and tells ironic fairytales with his allusions to ornate historical objects, on unusually large scales or in unexpected media. Check out his gorgeous, yet humourous jewellery on a heroic scale. He caught my attention with his hommage to my favorite (& yours) 19th century German biologist-taxonimist-scientific illustrator par excellence Ernst Haeckel and his jellyfish. These are some chandeliers made in transparent rubber!
discomedusae by Timothy Horn
Transparent rubber, copper tubing, lighting fixtures
7ft diameter

Timothy Horn - Villa Medusa installation
Villa Medusa - installation view, 2006

Timothy Horn - 4 views of Medusa
Silicone rubber, copper tubing, fiber optics
9ft diameter

Timothy Horn - Stheno detail
Stheno (detail)
Silicone rubber, copper tubing, fiber optics

I have always wanted to create jellyfish in 3D. I have so far made 2D relief prints, inspired by Ernst Haeckel, like my avatar (seen in the column to the right), but no sculptures - with the exception of my Portuguese man-of-war costume, which involved a paper jellyfish headdress. Sometimes I think about learning how to work with glass for the sole purpose of making jellyfish. Of course, I am not alone in my appreciation of the spectacular form and light interactions (transmission, reflection, refraction and emission) found in these creatures. A quick google search reveals many glass jellies for sale. But I also admire those who, like Horn, have made such sculpture in unexpected media.

I really enjoyed Alyssa Coe and Carly Waito -Coe and Waito's ceramic jellyfish installation which appeared in the window of Magic Pony in May, 2007, (amongst other places) as part of the MADE show Come Up to My Room.

Coe and Waito - jellyfish
Coe and Waito - jellyfish
25 - 30 handsculpted porcelain jellyfish

American jeweler Arlene Fisch applies textile techniques to metal to produce her larger-than-life jellyfish. Her exhibition involved blown air to allow her creatures to move naturally (encorportating the fourth dimension of time):
Arlene Fisch
Black Sea Nettle

Arlene Fisch

Miwa Koizumi employed trash - specifically PET (polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles - to make her water animals. She manipulated the shape of the empty bottles using heat guns, soldering irons and cutting tools. The results are magical.
Miwa Koizumi
plastic water bottles, 2005
installation view at sawaguzo at Redux

Volvic water bottle, 2005

p.s. Check out Timothy Horn's other exhibitions when you visit his site. Who could resist replica of a gilded 18th-century Neapolitan sedan chair made with crystalized rock sugar?

Timothy Horn - Mother Load
Crystallized rock sugar, ply-wood, steel
9ft.6in. x 6ft. x 5ft. 6in.

Friday, June 12, 2009

renewed media: needlework

We here at magpie & whiskeyjack (and before anyone protests the 2nd person plural, I will stipulate that 'we' refers to all bloggers, feminine or feline, who answer to the name minouette) are fond of the multimedia, love the idea of reinterpreting what was one 'women's work' as high art, and have immense respect for the stitchers - the masters of embroidery, quilting, cross-stitch and other needlework. This post in particular, though, is specifically inspired by Mr. X Stitch, who has come to my attention as a new guest blogger on the craftster blog. He describes himself thus, "Mr X Stitch is a manbroiderer, cross stitch designer and runs www.mrxstitch.com, the number one contemporary embroidery and needlecraft blog on the planet." I don't know who determines the ranking of embroiderers, or their blogs, but I do recognize a tremendous capacity for finding and sharing some of the delightful, talented, creative and edgy contemporary work in this field - this corner of the craft movement, with a great sense of humour. You should read him too. He began his guest posts with a series of men, as he is a (ringleader? cheerleader?) proponent of the 'manbroiderer'. I might have been tempted to trace this movement back to Second Wave Feminism and artists like Canadian Joyce Wieland who deliberately began employing traditionally female handiwork in the 60s to reclaim these traditions as part of 'art'. However, seeing needlework embraced by both genders is wonderful. What could be more feminist than the removal of a gender-imbalance or bias in any field?

Orly Cogan, 'Busy Barbie', 2004, hand-stitched embroidery and paint on vintage tablecloth, 50" × 50"
So without further ado, get thee to the sites of some of these talented, contemporary artists! Here are a couple of his picks, and you can find more here or here. {Note both of these artists produce needlework which is probably NSFW}.

The work of Orly Cogan is playful mixing the erotic and the mundane, vintage textiles with new needlework, traditional subjects like embellishment of borders with vegetation and decorative animals with sex and bodily functions. Thus, the selection below is not-quite-representative, and work I deem a little more adult can be found on her site.

Orly Cogan, 'Natural Habitat'

Logan McLain is a contemporary, Irish, male, textile artist, or as he puts it 'AKA Feckin' Emboydery'. His work is irreverent and relates to morality and religion, tackling racism and homophobia, with humour intact. Also, there are a lot of corvidae.

Detail of Logan McLain's 'I Heart The Black Babies'

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

whispering Lucía

Dear internets,

O, you are the source of so much wonder.
Perhaps in your web you could find me a Spanish speaker who would like to provide me with a gloss of this whispering world?
I watched this without sound and thought beautiful & strange!
I listened to it and am flummoxed.
What can it mean?

magpie & whiskeyjack

"Lucía is a short video shot frame by frame with a digital photo camera. Materials: charcoal, dirt, flowers, found objects and cardboard. July 12th, 2007 by Diluvio"

[via Le Divan Fumoir Bohémien]


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