Rainbow-colored mannequin legs, animal bones, skulls, and gold- these are just a few of the materials used in John Breed’s eclectic installations. If his choice of medium sounds frenzied, it might stem from his creative background. Now based in the Netherlands, Breed received training from a calligraphy master in Kyoto, Japan, before he moved to New York to take on graffiti, paint frescos in Rome, and study landscape painting in China. A world traveler and natural born experimenter, every piece that Breed creates is a culmination of his extensive skill set.
On April 24, Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia will debut two solo shows that explore humans’ connection to nature: Nicomi Nix Turner’s “No God for a Wanderer” and Sarah Louise Davey’s “The Garden of No Distant Place.” While Davey works in clay and Turner, in pencil, the two artists share a common interest in feminine, nymph-like characters that seem to belong in the wild.
Jason Borders’s carved animal skulls are morbidly fascinating. While the ornate, lace-like patterns he engraves into the bone draw viewers in with their beauty, it’s easy to become repulsed when you truly think about the origins of his materials. “A large part of what I do involves a familiarization with death,” he says. “My belief is that, as painful as it can be, looking directly at death helps you to live your life with intent and purpose.” While, in Western culture, we tend to remove death as far away from ourselves as possible, perhaps a more holistic way of thinking about it is to view it as part of our existence. In using animal remains to create something new, Borders’ work reminds viewers of the cyclical nature of life.
A veritable expert on the subject of recycling, Czech artist Veronika Richterova uses PET bottles to create whimsical sculptures that are visually appealing and educational. PET bottles are the common, plastic bottles in which most soft drinks are sold. While easy to recycle and remake into other items, most people associate these bottles with pollution in the world’s landscapes and oceans. With her imaginative sculptures, Richterova inspires her viewers to reconsider the waste they put into the environment and find creative, new uses of their discarded items. Check out her cactus-inspired plastic bottle sculptures below.
What do you get when you cross a roller coaster with a picnic table? Probably something that resembles Michael Beitz’s imaginative takes on the furniture we encounter on a daily basis. Beitz turns mundane objects into innovative sculptural forms that are at once artistic and functional. He flips the script on how to build desks, tables, benches, and couches — twisting their shapes, turning them into curly cues, or making them bend, stretch, and melt in unexpected ways. His work always has a sense of humor and inspires viewers to become curious about their everyday surroundings.
Athens based artist Adam Martinakis has captured the curiosity of his fans for years with his fragmented digital figures. He describes his imagery as “a connection between the spirit and the material, the living and the absent… I compose scenes of the unborn, the dead and the alive, immersed in the metaphysics of perception.” His inspiration is equally other-wordly; mysteries of the universe such as the event horizon. His subjects are shown in various stages of creation in scenes that evade time and space.