Canadian Nicole Dextras is an environmental artist whose work stems out of her reflections on consumerism and its detrimental effects on nature. For part of her rich and varied artworks (from sculpture to installations, all realized with ephemeral materials) she uses fashion as a way of looking at and meditation about the human relationship with the natural world. Her series Iceshifts and Weedrobes give beautiful visual shape to her ideas.
Category Archives: Installation
The Playhouses of Our Grandparents by Nicholas Henry is more than the photographic project consisting of 400 portraits gathered in the book with the same title. It is an extraordinary life experience, which the artist undertook a few years ago and which led him in 40 countries.
Reminiscent of his childhood, when his grandparents thought him the link between a playhouse and the importance of storytelling, Henry embarked in a journey that has been not only geographical but also existential. In fact, in each country he visited, he invited people to freely create a theatrical playhouse, while sharing stories with the community. ‘Inside everyone of us, lies the youthful spirit of a child, who revels in creating, with everyday items around him, a world invented entirely by his imagination’ Henry declares in the preface of the book.
Every time, in South Africa as much as in Chile, in Japan as much as in Chile and everywhere else, the simple photo-shoot had evolved into a theatre thanks to the storytelling activities of the members of the community.
From the Aboriginal in Australia, trying to preserve the legacy of their ancient knowledge to the power of literature discovered by a Japanese woman after the Second World War, passing through the holy harmony that Jordan desert can teach you, Nicholas Henry expresses the sense of the project in these words: ‘The Playhouse gradually became a vehicle for freedom of speech, a setting where memories, revelations and the joy of sharing reigned’.
Art is often analyzed either through the intention of the artist or through the reactions it triggers in the viewer, the best case scenario being the two coincide. But The Playhouses of Our Grandparents defies this binary logic. In fact, if we – as viewer – are captured by the ethos of this journey, the portraits also activate our own personal imagination and invite us to listen to our own stories, the ones that this universe of colours, tools, places and faces can evoke.
Images courtesy of Nicholas Henry
At first sight the installations created by Californian Monica Canilao can make you think of inhabited rooms, where the walls are covered in wallpaper and drapes and weird objects accumulate on pieces of furniture. The space results packed with a modern form of horror vacui and someone may diagnose its virtual occupant with hoarder disorder. Made with scavenged materials and found objects, the apparently chaotic installations by Monica Canilao occupy entire rooms, creating originally lively environments out of old discarded items. In a way, Canilao is a hoarder: she incessantly gathers discarded materials and objects. These are the still alive remnants of previous uses and lives that speak to the artist’s inspiration. It is difficult to classify Canilao‘s artistic practice. She does not have a medium of choice: everything at hand can serve her creative energies. She off-handedly switches from drawing, printing and stitching to building; from small works to massive installations. The big spaces she creates are densely furnished and decorated up to the smallest corner. They look naturally chaotic and for this same reason lively, warm and intimate. Craft plays a priceless role in Canilao‘s art. In fact, it is only through mastering her crafts that she is able to rescue discarded materials, giving them a completely new purpose. Canilao‘s inspiration is nourished by the old and neglected objects that once surrounded a life, from old photographs to decorative objects. These items emanate a strong, evocative power which activates the imagination. Even some old tea-bags release a poetic energy in her work. We live in an era of mass production and disposability: we easily discard still-functioning objects in the name of the latest ones. Canilao‘s art is a reaction to this trend. She demonstrates that the old is a carrier of the new, provided that we actively and imaginatively engage with it. For more of Monica Canilao‘s art visit her website here and her blog here.
(This post is a revision of a feature written for Frameweb).
Last year, roughly at this time, I collected some of the beautiful leaves that literally cover my path back home. Surely, I had in mind to create something with them, which I never did at the end. Luckily, and certainly with a million time better results that I could have gained, some artists don’t give up and create inspiring pieces out of this beautiful medium…
A land artist, Walter Mason has created a series of works and installations inspired by the seasons. Here some from his Fall intervention in and with nature:
For more of Walter Mason exciting pieces of land art visit his Flickr page here. (via My Modern Metropolis)
Rachel Sokal practices an alternative form of photography. The works are chlorophyll prints, with no photoshop involved. Sokal places a photo printed onto clear acetate on top of a leaf. The acetate image creates a protective filter while time and sunlight make the rest:
Rachel Sokal works with many forms of photography. Check her website here.
(via Design Swan)
‘Most toads can swim if they’re forced to, but unlike frogs, they rarely enter water. Since the world is two-thirds water, where would you say the limitations lie: with the frogs or the toads? Frogs are smooth and sleek and moist; toads are rough and dry and warty’ (Tom Robbins, Half asleep in Frog Pajamas)
(a street-art frog via Street Art Utopia) (an illustration by David McLimans via Animalarium) (sculpture made of metal scraps in Oakland, Ca. Via Vallejo Independent Bulletin) (Illustration by Charley Harper, 1961. Via Unruly) (From the series New World Transparent Specimens by Iori Tomita. Via Felkx) (recycled frog by Andrew Mockett. Via Kickan and Conkers) (My tiled street art insertion that someone stole for me…)
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!
How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
(There is a pair of us – don’t tell! Via Smashing core) (3D street painting, via 3D Street Art) (Illustration from Leaves by Mehdi Mo’eeni, via Animalarium) (Stencil street art frog, via Migraciòn Total)
(Kiss that Frog by Peter Gabriel)
First, a little ‘Notice to Mariners’: there is not Photoshop involved in the realization of these images. They are taken in a single very long exposure and subject only to minor adjustments in saturation and brightness.
Denis Smith approached photography around three years ago, when he moved from New Zealand to Australia, a choice dictated by the need for a big change in lifestyle. Photography has since then allowed Smith to experience the majesty of the natural environment surrounding him. But landscape photography didn’t seem to convey the feeling of awe and humble contemplation he felt. So, he decided to experiment with ‘light painting‘, a process that involves very long exposures (preferably in dark conditions, better when the moon is full) for capturing the otherwise invisible tracks produced by waving lights. Each ball of light is drawn by Smith through creating circles with colourful LED lights while pivoting on his heels.
Each ball of light is like an entity made of vibrant energy that Smith encountered through his journey towards a renewed and more deeply human relationship with nature. It takes him a lot of passion and commitment to perfection every detail, the execution is time consuming, but the project Ball of Light also revealed to him the precious value of spending some time alone, in the rich silence of the night.
Denis Smith has turned his photographic skills into a way of materializing all the magic – at times mystical – energies that inhabit life and surround us. Brightly coloured and ethereal at once, these creatures of life excite daydreaming and project us in a sort of suspended dimension. Or, as Smith describes them, they are portals through which each of us can enter into contact with his or her own imagination.