Vibrant Patterns Envelop Dozens of Mythical Animal Sculptures That Explore the Folk Art Traditions of Mexico
November 22, 2022

In Guardians, artists María del Carmen Mendoza Méndez and Jacobo Ángeles Ojeda, of Jacobo and Maria Ángeles Workshop, pay homage to the mythical creatures of their Oaxacan childhoods. The husband-wife duo carves the soft wood of the copal tree into fantastical creatures that reference Mesoamerican spirituality and Mexican folk art, including the sculptures known as alebrijes. They refer to the unearthly characters as Tonas and Nahuales and cloak the birds, butterflies, and beasts in vibrant patterns and Zapotec symbols. More

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Speckled, Crackled, and Kintsugi Sheets of Ceramic Cloak Lisa Agnetun’s Tiny Spirited Ghosts
November 13, 2022

“They’re very much like people,” says Lisa Agnetun (previously) about her adorably spirited figures. “Except for the fact that high-fired ceramics has the ability to outlive us all. If you treat them respectfully, they will haunt you forever.”
The Gothenburg, Sweden-based ceramicist crafts tiny apparitions with endlessly unique personalities. All wear bedsheet-style disguises, although they’re crafted from different clays, fired at varying temperatures, and covered in glazes that range from matte neutral tones to sleek, vibrant speckles. 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 Speckled, Crackled, and Kintsugi Sheets of Ceramic Cloak Lisa Agnetun’s Tiny Spirited Ghosts appeared first on Colossal.

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Through Mystical Mixed-Media Narratives, Artist Rithika Merchant Explores Intrinsic Connection
November 9, 2022

“I’m drawn to works that are rich in symbolism and also have a strong element of storytelling,” says Rithika Merchant. “I love seeing the artist’s hand in the work—I have a huge appreciation for small details and works that draw from a multitude of references—literary, mythical, and visual.”
The Mumbai-born artist manifests these same qualities in her practice, creating works that expertly translate concepts and themes through her own idiosyncratic allusions. Beginning with hours of study, research, and reading on an eclectic array of topics, Merchant tends to hone in on an image that she sketches onto sheets of paper, sometimes folded into generous rectangles or triangles. 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 Through Mystical Mixed-Media Narratives, Artist Rithika Merchant Explores Intrinsic Connection appeared first on Colossal.

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Dreamlike Plush Characters by Marina Glebova Inhabit a Safe Haven After an Imagined Apocalypse
October 26, 2022

Istanbul-based artist Marina Glebova envisions a post-apocalyptic dream world inhabited by enchanting plush characters. Hybrid creatures with both animal and human features are members of the artist’s Northern Forest community, a warm and welcoming refuge amid the chaotic catastrophe of the imagined outside universe. Dressed in layers and whimsical headdresses, the characters are often overly expressive with large, surprised eyes, wide smiles, or sly grins.
Glebova shares with Colossal that she often begins by creating the face or head, which helps to determine the figure’s body and garments. More Continue reading

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Artist Spotlight: Kees Holterman
October 20, 2022

I’ve developed a body of paintings for my exhibition ‘Copper Snakes’. It’s currently on view at Artspace at Untitled. Kees Holterman (previously featured here). In 2022 Holterman was confronted with a congenital heart defect diagnosis, limiting his ability to meet the physical demands of his printmaking practice. This limitation created the space for reflection, contemplation, … Continued Continue reading

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A Menagerie of Contemplative Animals by Mila Zemliakova Weave Textile Traditions and Nature
September 29, 2022

Using vintage textiles from both her personal and her family’s collection of bedspreads and home decor, artist Mila Zemliakova sews plush animal sculptures that connect various traditions of her Belarusian heritage. She draws correlations between her chosen creature and each pattern, color, and type of fabric, capturing the essence of a deer in floral brocade or that of a bison with tufted gray wool.
Largely oversized and perched in chairs, the anthropomorphic characters are expressive and often photographed outdoors in states of contemplation and solitude.  More Continue reading

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In ‘The Boy Who Wanted to Fly,’ Sentrock Imagines the Origin of His Signature Bird Character
September 26, 2022

Wander through Chicago’s streets, and you’re bound to encounter one of Sentrock’s signature bird characters (previously). Disguised in a red mask with big eyes and round, pink cheeks, the boy is curious, imaginative, and playful, often seen interacting with animals, daydreaming, or riding a bike. The fictional figure is also the artist’s expression of strength and hope, particularly as it relates to his own childhood in the Mexican-American community of the city’s Pilsen neighborhood. More Continue reading

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Chaotic Facial Markings Express the Wildly Varied Emotions of Reen Barrera’s Imaginative Ohala Dolls
September 16, 2022

Growing up in the Phillipines in the 90’s, Reen Barrera would often repurpose scraps of fabric and wood into imaginative figures that became central to his play. The constructions were stand-ins for what the Filipino artist considers a “toy-deprived” childhood, and today, Barrera continues the visual language of those early sculptures in his recurring Ohala characters.
Often dressed in stripes and animalistic patchwork hoods, the wildly expressive figures are covered in a chaotic mishmash of symbols and patterns. More Continue reading

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Playfully Surreal Scenarios Emerge from Innumerable Acrylic Dots in Quint Buchholz’s Paintings
August 19, 2022

When viewing the uncanny scenes of Munich-based artist Quint Buchholz, it’s evident that play, experimentation, and exploring the uncharted are central tenets of his practice: a string quintet precariously balances above the sea, sightseers take advantage of the view atop a giant man, and a pigeon doubles as an apartment complex.
Each piece toys with scale and sensibility, and Buchholz enlarges some characters to preposterous sizes while positioning others in strange, seemingly impossible situations. More Continue reading

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Digital Collages by Beto Val Splice Vintage Illustrations into Surreal Hybrid Creatures
July 28, 2022

Ecuadorian artist Beto Val alchemizes vintage illustrations into bizarre compositions that blend fruits with fowl and aquatic life with land animals. Using imagery available through the public domain, Val cuts and repositions fins, wings, and scaly talons into surreal creatures: round owl faces peer out from pineapples, autumn leaves sprout from tropical birds, and a rendering evocative of a biological chart displays fish with bodies made of strawberries, brains, and an early, industrial locomotive. More Continue reading

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Wildly Expressive Masks by Karolina Romanowska Freeze Contradictory Emotions in Ceramic
July 19, 2022

“Extremely resilient yet fragile” is how artist Karolina Romanowska describes the moody, anthropomorphic characters that comprise her series of sculptural works. Romanowska hand-builds a vast array of fantastical personas from clay, using a combination of slabs, coils, and molds to form flat tongues, individual teardrops, and horns with pointed tips. The contradictions inherent within the figures’ expressions are the conceptual counterpart to the ceramic material, she says, referring to both its ability to withstand fire and its propensity to fracture or burst upon impact. More Continue reading

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Simple Lines and Shapes Comprise the Lavish Yet Minimal Animal Drawings of Jochen Gerner
July 8, 2022

Lines and basic shapes are the basis of Jochen Gerner’s distinct, almost paradoxical style that’s sometimes referred to as “abundant minimalism.” The French artist, who lives and works between Lorraine and Burgundy, draws birds and dogs that are sparse in form and yet rich in color and texture: checkered patterns overlaid with a chaotic array of markings create a shaggy fur coat, while variegated patches of feathers distinguish the tail from wing or breast. More Continue reading

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A Daily Sculpture Project by Frode Bolhius Spawns a Quirky Colorful Cast of Tiny Figures
June 16, 2022

Wander into Frode Bolhuis’s Almere-based studio, and you’ll be introduced to an entire cast of characters pinned to the wall. There’s one figure picking at the tufts of her broom-like head, another sporting a bubble gum pink suit resembling the Michelin man, and a woman swaddled in a cozy, fabric cocoon.
Sculpted primarily from polymer clay, the miniature works are part of the Dutch artist’s ongoing project that involves creating a few of the colorful personas each week. More Continue reading

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An Exhibition Unearths Rare Production Drawings from the Futuristic Neo Tokyo of the Anime Classic ‘Akira’
June 9, 2022

Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 sci-fi classic Akira has had an unparalleled influence on anime and film, and an exhibition at the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin showcases the original drawings that brought its futuristic cyberpunk setting to life. Akira – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo features 59 production backdrops, layouts, concepts, and image boards, many of which have never been shown publicly. The collection includes now-iconic works by art director Toshiharu Mizutani and collaborators Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida, and Takashi Watabe. More Continue reading

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Paper Constructions Confine Skeletons to Uncanny Spaces in Jason Limon’s Paintings
May 26, 2022

San Antonio-based artist Jason Limon (previously) conjures paper sculptures of 18th Century-style gowns, organs, and hollowed skulls with acrylic paint. The uncanny structures trap his recurring skeletal characters in cramped boxes and funhouse-esque constructions, where they attempt to disentangle themselves from their surroundings. Rendered in muted pigments, or what the artist calls “repressed tones,” the paintings utilize the anonymity and ubiquity of the bony figures to invoke emotional narratives. Limon explains:

Paper allows us to know the stories of the past, and I’ve always been drawn to that notion… I use paper to build the shapes to tell my thoughts.

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A Cast of Felted Food, Animals, and Other Characters by Manooni Exude Joy and Goodwill
May 24, 2022

Olha and Hanna Dovhan (previously) are the creative minds behind the adorable felt sculptures of Manooni. Whimsical and endlessly cheerful, the small family units, pairs of pears, and coupled avocados are needle felted with wool and finished with tiny grins.
Based in Ukraine, the Dovhans have spent the majority of the war in Lviv, although their mother, who is also part of the Manooni team, remains with family members in the now Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia region. More Continue reading

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Flora and Fauna Assume Eccentric Guises in Bill Mayer’s Wryly Playful Portraits
May 11, 2022

Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint but with more flexibility. More Continue reading

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