London-based artist Elaine Duigenan’s painstaking process to create the body of work “Blossfeldt’s Apprentice” required two key elements: twist ties and a camera. The project is named for German artist Karl Blossfeldt, whose renderings of plant-life in the 1920s inspired this series by Duigenan. Blossfeldt famously said, “the plant must be valued as a totally artistic and architectural structure.”
Esther Sarto, a 24-year-old painter based in Copenhagen, creates gouache and watercolor works that are often as unsettling as they are elegant. Sarto, once known as “Miss Take” as a street artist, often uses bare, entangled humans and plant-life to express her sentiments. ”I am not a very verbal person,” she told WEAART. “There are a lot of issues you can express better without words. Often the meaning lays between the lines.”
North Carolina artist Mitchell Lonas uses a unique medium of incised metal to convey the dynamic and awe-inspiring forces of nature. His ethereal images of bird nests and trees are the results of a carefully developed process, which requires equal parts artistic vision and technical precision. Lonas starts by sketching objects in the natural world that he comes across during his travels or that have been gifted to him by family and friends. He then uses customized cutting tools to carve their images into large, painted aluminum panels.
Since 2012, Jillian Dickson has explored motherhood and nature’s flora and fauna with the series “Our Epidural Currency.” These drawings combine blooming flowers, female organs, and insects for a cohesive portrait of evolutionary strength. Yet, in each of these bold renderings, the point of entry is a complex beauty found in these self-contained ecosystems. The goal, she says in a statement, is to “examine the forgotten and neglected connection between the female tactile body and wild mother nature.”
We first covered Caitlin Hackett's painstakingly detailed ball-point pen and watercolor paintings in Hi-Fructose Vol. 17, where she told us that her empathy for the natural world is the driving force behind her beautiful, yet morbid subject matter. Surrounded by her nature books and collections of bones in jars, from an early age, she has carried what she describes as "a profound sense of tragedy" for the destruction of nature.
They've been described as looking like strange alien organisms and beautiful, gelatinous blobs - whatever you want to call her works, Dan Lam's bizarre "dripping sculptures" have an undeniable fantasy about them. Brightly colored with pointy, tentacle-like attachments, her work captures that special grotesque beauty that only mother nature could dream up. However, the Manila born, Texas-based artist explains: "My work looks organic because the process of creating it is organic."
Miho Hirano’s delicate portraits of young goddesses are in and of nature, adorned by pastel flowers, butterflies, and humming birds. They stand blissfully as slender tree branches wrap them in love and color, or wade neck high in a shallow river. We are immediately reminded of "Flora,” represented in Botticelli’s “Allegory of Spring”, a profusion of flowers coming out of her mouth.
Tiffany Bozic once said that she felt like she was born with a heightened sense that everything is connected. Some of her earliest childhood memories take place on her family's farm in Arkansas, where she grew up watching animals being born, and also killed in a slaughterhouse. It was a nurturing and also traumatizing experience that continues to affect her art. Bozic's dream-like paintings of animals at different stages of life have appeared in several Hi-Fructose issues, most recently Vol. 30, and soon our exhibition at Virgina MOCA. Her images are visual metaphors for human and nature's shared effort to live life fully.
Brooklyn based artist Tara McPherson, first featured in our Collected 3 Edition, is constantly visiting and exploring new themes and iconography in her art. Though her playful and evocative characters first recalled issues from McPherson's childhood and adult life experience, they have since grown beyond that to incorporate themes from science and nature.
San Francisco based artist Velia De Iuliis draws her inspiration from an inherent curiosity for all living things, and her colorful gouache illustrations are a tribute to the animals that she admires. Her work interprets their energy into abstract compositions that juxtapose the organic flow of nature with naturally occurring geometric forms like diamonds, ellipses and diagonal lines. "My work reflects what has fascinated me throughout my life. Themes of symmetry and patterns found in nature as well as nature itself are the avenues that both inspire and captivate me. Science, philosophy and art are tightly bound but to better understand humanity I have to first understand the natural world we live in, she says.
Mushrooms are an important part of San Francisco based artist Michael Campbell's sculptures, vibrantly colored mixed media works that sprout these cryptic growths. In a recent short film about his work, Campbell shares that since childhood, his art has demonstrated an affinity for the divine nature of things. As he grew older, his curiosity developed into an obsession about the imminent death of all creatures, something that Campbell feels the mushroom perfectly embodies.
The work of Los Angeles based artist Robert S. Connett, featured here on our blog, portrays a dark and bizarre world teaming with microscopic life. In his own words, "a collection of things that I find extremely appealing and engaging. I paint things that enchant me, and I paint because I enjoy seeing my imagination come to life." His images present rare and overlooked creatures, from aquatic organisms like ciliates, shrimps, and crabs, to a myriad of butterflies and rainbow-colored grasshoppers, that he best describes as miracles of life.
As hermit crabs grow, they require larger shells. Since suitable intact shells are sometimes a limited resource, vigorous competition often occurs among hermit crabs for shells. Japanese artist Aki Inomata, sympathizing with those forced out of their homes by larger crabs, sought to help them find a new home with her series titled "Why Not Hand Over a "Shelter" to Hermit Crabs?" Using 3D printing technology, she studied the natural shapes of hermit crab shells and printed out new "shelters" that the hermit crabs would move into (if they chose to). Their crystalline-like shells are shaped like tiny magical castles, houses, and other structures modeled after cities from all over the world.
Since 2009, Urban Forms Gallery has been transforming the landscape of Polish city Lodz with a pulsing wave of colorful, graphic images. Puerto Rican muralist Alexis Diaz (previously covered by HF) is the latest in a string of internationally-known street artists including Brazil's Os Gemeos, Belgium's ROA, and Australia's SHIDA, to have been invited to touch his brush to Poland's walls. Diaz's mural, entitled "Sentir," is part of world-wide series, "HOY." Translated to "Today," Diaz's current series is a personal reflection of the way in which the artist sees the world. Following murals in Vienna, France, the US, UK, Australia, and Tunisia, "Sentir," which translates to "to feel," is an affecting tribute to the ties between the natural world and human sensation.
Brazilian-photographer Vitor Schietti uses fireworks to create images of illuminated trees and dancing patterns in his series "Impermanent Sculptures." To produce the images, the artist sets off fireworks at twilight. When the light is just right, Schietti uses a long exposure camera. The effect is semi-painterly and always captivating. The method comes from the artist's interest in the moment of change or transformation, as well as the sociological question of how microscopic elements reflect the greater, macroscopic world. To this effect, the trees ablaze represent dual destruction and illumination. Though people and governments take climate change under serious consideration, we continue to destroy our shared environment. The burning tree is an all-too common phenomena in an age of extreme weather and drought, but it is also an ancient symbol shared across cultures. Captured in a photograph by Schiette, the burning tree inspires ominous feelings of both awe and doom.
Silvie De Burie was an avid scuba diver for 15 years before deciding to bring her camera with her underwater. Originally from Ghent, Belgium, she began diving and snorkeling off the island of Bunaken in Indonesia in her mid-twenties. Her passion for observing marine life now comes through in her high-definition underwater photographs of hard coral reefs. De Burie zooms in on the bright, repeating patterns of the coral to expose the psychedelic details on these precious organisms. She says that she hopes that her photos will educate and inspire her viewers to be more conscientious of the fragile state of the world's oceans.