Top of the Stack: Colossal’s Favorite Art Books of 2022
November 28, 2022

As we near the end of 2022, we’re taking a look back at the year, starting with the books we found most compelling, impressive, and inspirational. We’ve published dozens of articles on artist monographs and compendiums of broader topics across art and design and science and history over the last 12 months, and these are the 10 titles that impacted us most.
Head to Bookshop to browse all 25 books on our list, including the highly anticipated Hilma AF Klint Catalogue Raisonné, a glimpse into rarely-seen works by Ruth Asawa, and a dive into the history of protest art. More

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Top of the Stack: Colossal’s Favorite Art Books of 2022 appeared first on Colossal.

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An Arctic Ptarmigan Takes Flight in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year Competition’s Winning Capture
September 9, 2022

During the summer months, ptarmigans sport plumage of gray, brown, and black with white bellies and wings. Breeding in the high mountains where winter brings snow, the birds naturally camouflage by turning completely white. Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg’s capture of one of the upland game birds taking flight in the dramatic mountains of Tysfjorden won the grand prize in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year competition.
The world’s largest bird photography competition welcomed more than 22,000 submissions this year. More Continue reading

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Bees Wrap Ava Roth’s Intricately Beaded and Embroidered Motifs in Golden Honeycomb
July 27, 2022

Seasons and the natural rhythms of bees determine much of Ava Roth’s practice, which hinges on collaborating with the fuzzy pollinators. The Ontario-based artist (previously) stitches elaborate embroideries with beads and intricate thread-based motifs that, once her contribution is complete, she turns over to her insect counterparts. The critters then finish the mixed-media pieces by embedding them in golden, hexagonal honeycomb.
Because the bees Roth works with only produce the waxy substance during the heat of the summer, the time available for inter-species cooperation is limited. More Continue reading

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Vibrant Textiles and Repurposed Eyewear Camouflage the Subjects of Thandiwe Muriu’s Celebratory Portraiture
May 22, 2022

From chunky hair beads and rollers to sink strainers and brake pedals, Nairobi-based photographer Thandiwe Muriu (previously) finds fashionable use for ordinary objects. Worn as glasses that obscure a subject’s identity, the repurposed items add cultural flair to Muriu’s vibrant portraits and are connected to both her background and Kenyan life, more broadly. Red fringe evokes the tassel that hung from her uncle’s Toyota Corolla, which transported the artist home from school each day, while the orange plastic drain catcher references the joy found in sharing chores. More Continue reading

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In ‘Forothermore,’ Artist Nick Cave Harnesses the Power of Beauty and Art to Inspire Change
May 17, 2022

From floral Soundsuits and found-object sculptures to a multicolor web of millions of pony beads, Forothermore surveys the 30-plus-year career of artist Nick Cave. The retrospective, which draws its name from “forevermore” and “for others,” opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and captures both the evolution and mainstays of the artist’s practice. Cave spoke with Colossal in an interview ahead of the show, saying, “Why now, why now this moment, why this exhibition, why this survey, and who is it for? More Continue reading

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Invoking Black Masking Traditions, Artist Demond Melancon Beads Elaborate, Celebratory Portraits
March 31, 2022

Through intricately woven displays of minuscule glass beads and rhinestones, Big Chief Demond Melancon continues a legacy. He belongs to the tribe of the Young Seminole Hunters in New Orleans, where he was born and raised, and is a leader in the tradition of creating Mardi Gras suits. The “wearable sculptures” are elaborate and celebratory, and Melancon’s works are known for their immense nature and for exhibiting his deft technical skill. Extremely labor-intensive, the garments tend to envelop their wearer in multiple layers and contain more than one million glass beads precisely stitched into evocative narratives of American history. More Continue reading

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Elaborately Layered Gardens by Ebony G. Patterson Hide Haunting Messages Within Dazzling Displays
March 10, 2022

Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.”
Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. More Continue reading

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Intricate Beaded Motifs Add Colorful Dimension to Jan Huling’s Animal Sculptures
February 4, 2022

A former product designer turned bead artist, Jan Huling begins each sculpture with a blank form in the shape of a miniature horse, giant praying mantis, and eager monkey perched on a box. She then glues small glass pieces in meandering lines, concentric circles, and other elaborately constructed motifs. “I don’t sketch out designs beforehand,” she tells Colossal. “Rather I let my designs grow organically and let the work itself inspire me.”
Each embellishment is a study of color, texture, and form, with some patterns structuring facial features like the radiant eyes of the nine-foot “Das Bug” and others adding hypnotic ornaments like the intersecting patches that span the length of the tail in “KoKo.” Although Huling doesn’t translate any specific motifs, she shares that she’s drawn to traditions of Mexican and Indian artists, in addition to the works of Nick Cave (previously) and Tim Burton. More Continue reading

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Vintage Tapestries Cloak the Wings of Larysa Bernhardt’s Plush Moths
January 23, 2022

In a cozy studio overlooking a garden in Blackwell, Missouri, artist Larysa Bernhardt creates colorful moth sculptures with a needle and thread. Her fabric creatures are embroidered with old tapestries, often portraying historical people, animals, and delicate botanical forms on their wings: one specimen with a rusty orange abdomen depicts a little bird taking flight, while another is blue with a Medieval woman looking at a flower.
Able to stand on their own or hang from the wall, the handmade moths feature eyes made from Czech glass beads and bodies of cotton velvet and Belgian linen. More Continue reading

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Anatomical Embroideries Use Precise Stitches and Beads to Portray Muscles, Organs, and Bodily Systems
August 2, 2021

A single skeletal muscle contains hundreds of thousands of individual fibers stretched in long rows, an anatomical fact that the textile artist behind Ambroidering recreates in an unusually fitting manner. Based in Shropshire, England, the artist stitches precise embroideries of the human body, defining circular systems with sinuous threads, conveying the distinct layers of skin with sparkling beads, and translating the brain’s spongy matter into thick, puffy pockets. You can find many of the biologically focused pieces shown here on Etsy, and for similarly scientific works, check out Amber Griffith’s punch-needle pieces and Emmi Khan’s bodily systems. More Continue reading

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An Expansive Exhibition Pairs Two Indigenous Artists to Explore the Power of Socially Engaged Artmaking
May 21, 2021

A monumental patchwork wolf, warriors sparring with a fang-bearing snake, and an abstract woolen tapestry made of restored blankets comprise Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, which opens this weekend at the Denver Art Museum. The expansive exhibition—featuring 26 mixed-media sculptures, installations, and wall hangings—joins two of the leading Indigenous artists working today in a manner that distinguishes both the connective threads and nuances within their bodies of work.
Situated at the center of the space is the 16-foot creature the pair created together by fashioning about 700 patterned bandannas submitted by an international crew around a steel armature. More Continue reading

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