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Canadian artist Penelope Stewart, known for her large sensory beeswax creations participated in a show recently at Lotusland, California called Swarm. Inspired by the extraordinary gardens at Lotusland, her fragrant and sensual beeswax room was constructed from 1,000 pounds of beeswax, incorporating the shapes of succulents and lotus pods seen in the gardens. The show was just beautiful. Swarm was meant to draw attention to the serious plight of the honeybee which is very close to being given an early warning alert as an endangered species.
Previously profiled artists in the news:
Patrick Dougherty's "Wiggle in its walk" stick art sculpture's viewing has been extended till December 2013 at the Wegerzyn Garden in Dayton, Ohio.
Andy Goldsworthy has created one of the installations being featured at Oliver Ranch in Sonoma, California, part of a benefit for the Sonoma County Library.
Christiane Löhr has a new show opening at the Jason McCoy Gallery in New York City from May 8th till June 28th.
Bryan Nash Gill has a show at The Hotchkiss School's Tremaine Gallery till May 5th
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) has long been considered the greatest German artist. He executed drawings, watercolors, engravings and woodcuts with exquisite precision and craftsmanship. One of his works in particular is a favorite of mine, The Great Piece of Turf, a watercolor painting he created in his workshop in Nuremberg in 1503. It's a study of a seemingly random group of wild plants, which include hound's-tooth, speedwell, germander and yarrow. The Great Piece of Turf is considered one of the masterpieces of Dürer's realistic nature studies.
You can see it from March 24th till June 9th at the National Gallery or Art in Washington, D.C. The show, Albrecht Dürer: Master Drawing, Watercolors, and Prints, are on loan from the Albertini Museum in Vienna, Austria. The Albertini has the finest collection of Durer's drawings and watercolors.
Previously profiled artists in the news:
Patrick Dougherty recently completed an installation at the North Carolina Zoo kidZone exhibit.
Swiss artist Valerie Buess was able to see all the potential that old books, magazines and telephone directories could offer, and not as useless waste paper. The artist reuses paper, reinventing it as the perfect material to manipulate by shredding, rolling and twisting into her organic sculptures. Working with paper for the past 20 years, her work has been shown all around the world to the delight of viewers who are in awe of her magical creations.
Previously profiled artists in the news:
In 2007, at the Venice Biennale, Ghanaian-born sculptor El Anatsui stunned the world with two monumental sculptures he made by weaving together thousands of discarded bottle tops. El Anatsui has become one of the most significant innovators of our time, merging personal, local, and global concerns in his visual creations. His works are in the public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Indianapolis Museum of Art; British Museum, London and Centre Pompidou, Paris, among many others.
See his latest show at the Brooklyn Museum, New York from February 8th till August 4th.
Wolfgang Laib is a German conceptual artist, who works predominantly with natural materials. He is best known for using large quantities of intense, yellow pollen. It takes a long time for Laib to collect the pollen around his home in southern Germany during the spring and summer months. Working with the natural sequence of the seasons, he harvests the pollen on each tree or flower when it is in bloom, beginning with hazelnut, moving on to dandelion and other flowers, and finally ending up with pine. Did you know…that each type of pollen is unique in size and color? Laib also works with rice and beeswax, and considers nature as something to be experienced through the senses.
I hope to see Wolfgang Laib's permanent installation, which is opening in a room at the Philips Collection, Washington D.C., early 2013. He is using 500 pounds of wax and applying it directly to the walls of a small chamber, illuminated by a single light bulb. Sounds stunning. In the words of Wolfgang Laib: " It takes you somewhere different. That's also what art is about-being transported."
He has a show in NYC at MOMA, on the 2nd floor from January 23 till March 11, 2013.
New England artist Bryan Nash Gill appreciates the grandeur and mystery of trees. He harvests felled trees, drags disused telephones poles and discarded fence posts back to his studio, where he cuts them into blocks with a chain saw, sands them down, burns them and then seals them with shellac. He does this to amplify the life of the tree, showing where it was hit by lighting, where insects bored holes, its age rings and "burgeoning burls." A reviewer in the New York Times aptly said " every biological form possesses a unique footprint," which Bryan Nash Gill movingly shows us through the large relief prints he makes from the tree-trunk's cross sections. As Thomas Hardy wrote in Under the Greenwood Tree " to dwellers in a wood, almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature." I love trees.
Bryan Nash Gill shows us in his book Woodcut that each tree is in fact unique.
Clare Graham is my recycling guru. He is the ultimate repurposer! I have never seen so many bits and pieces of usually discarded items turned into such meticulously executed pieces of art. Puzzle pieces, pop tops, buttons, bottle-caps and scrabble tiles all get transformed into furniture, boxes, tables, mirrors and screens. I often write about how important it is that we repurpose and reuse items in order to reduce the vast amount of trash going out to our overburdened landfills, so it's encouraging and uplifting to meet an artist who is constantly getting inspired by what others have no more use for: See my Pinterest Board.
Their studio has no walls, which is the way environmental artists, Gilles Bruni and Marc Babarit like to work. The work sites become their stage for creating transient pieces where the aim is to co-exist with nature, which in turn either adopts or rejects what they have created.
Their stunning work, Stream Path, was built in a South Carolina streambed, which they temporarily took possession of, appropriating it while they tamed it. Their work Stream Path "comes from the materialization of a process and will transform through the decay of wood, the growth of plants, the creating of the stream and the natural order of things imposed through the annual cycle. It will also evolve and melt progressively into the surrounding landscape according to the desires of those who care for it and the diversions of those who visit it."
More recently, Bruni & Babarit have been focusing on intervention: salvaging sites which are in the process of losing meaning, and re-activating those spaces.
Roger Ackling uses a source that is many millions of miles away to create his art: the sun. He belongs to the generation of artists who graduated from St. Martins School of Art in the 1960's with a sense of the possibility of taking art out of the studio, and in Acklings case, a small piece of found wood marked by the sun.
For the past 35 years, Roger Ackling has made his work by the same method: focusing sunlight through a hand held magnifying glass to draw onto pieces of discarded wood or scraps of card which he rescues from the edges of our everyday lives. It's an intensively meditative process, and each mark created by the existence of a ray of light as it lands on earth.
To learn more about the artist from annandalegalleries.com.
Roger Ackling has a show opening at the Von Lintel Gallery in New York City November 29th-January 19, 2013.
Artist Kate McGuire looks to birds for inspiration, describing her work process as " I gather, collate, re-use, layer, peel, burn, reveal, locate, question, duplicate, play and photograph". Collecting thousands of moulted feathers to create sinuous organic forms that are part bird, part snake, alternatively shocking and surprising the viewer when they find out that the beautiful object they are admiring is actually made from pigeon feathers, considered by many to be a despised urban pest. Gathering feathers from duck, magpie, pheasant and crow, Kate McGuire re-assembles them to create gorgeous new almost mythical creatures, questioning the very nature of the how we interpret beauty.
Currently, her work is being shown in several shows in Europe. Learm more from her website.