Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 18 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.
As more of the world migrates to the online universe, we find wider choices to steer you to. Here are some of the best that we have culled from hours and hours of looking.
Holger Lippmann creates "generative" art, "isometric iterations", a "range of parameters to regulate the scattering of the geometrical elements." I'm not sure what these phrases mean, even after I have spent over 43 years as a digital image-maker: perhaps it's because I am over-sensitive to verbiage. But I can tell you that he makes fascinating repetitive patterns that tend to be hypnotic, challenging and contemplative at the same time. See what you think.
How is this for a list of materials? The piece is called "Bad Lemon (Sea Witch)", and is composed of aventurine, serpentine, prehnite, chrysoprase, rhyolite, agate, moss agate, jasper, peridot, moonstone, magnesite, lilac stone, turquoise, citrine, calcite, feldspar, ruby in zoisite, labradorite, swarovski crystal, quartz, mother of pearl, freshwater pearls, glass, steel pins on coated polystyrene. Don't be alarmed: it is in fact a lovely concoction of precious and semi-precious stones overlaid onto giant pieces of fruit. The artist, Kathleen Ryan, takes ideas of decoration and decay and translates them into stunnng sculptures, with multiiple layers of metaphor. It is impossible not to think of rot, of desire, of greed, and of mortality. You might see them as terrifying beauty, seductively arousing guilty pleasure.
Most of us are familiar with "The Great Wave" by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Less well known are a group of tiny drawings, postcard-sized, that he created. Acquired by the British Museum, they will go on exhibit for the first time in two centuries. When he was probably in his 80's, the artist started a project called, "The Great Picture Book of Everything", designed to present tiny vignettes from a variety of sources like Buddhist India, ancient China, and the world of nature. Never published, the drawings were boxed up and hidden away. They emerged at an auction in Paris in 2019, where the Museum bought them. The exhibit will be shown from September 30, 2021, to January 30, 2022.
Martin Sati introduces himself by saying, "He who does not suffer is unable to believe". The Spanish artist/illustrator opened his studio in 2006, with a wide range of wild imaginings using a material he calls "Silicone Pie". Language aside, he has created a body of work that is extravagantly conceived, wildly colorful, and eminently approachable.
Cut paper portraits seem like an unusual genre, yet they are masterfully handled by Vietnamese-American artist Antonius Bui. Some of the works are over 10' tall, filled with stories and anecdotes about the friends and family that he concentrates on. Bui's material is Joss paper: as we learn from his statement, it is "an incense paper used both to imitate value and as a form of blessings, position(ing) each work almost as an offering to honor queer communities," For a recent portrait, the artist writes, "remember opening you into words, gently, with a single question", reminding me of e.e.cummings' lines "you open petal by petal myself". Bui's sensitivity is beautifully shown in this exhibition of his delicate work.
The ever inventive Frank Gehry, known for his ground-breaking design of the Guggenheim Museum in Balboa, Spain, is now intriguing us with new sculptural works in Los Angeles. The pieces are titled "Spinning Tales", which began in 1980 with a commission from the Formica Corporation. Gehry's prolific career as an architect is contiuing with his current construction of the LUMA Tower in Arles, France.
Did you know that there are 68 indigenous languages in Mexico? A group of students from the Autonomous University of Chapingo has created an app to help preserve the native languages. Currently available is a dictionary and translator for several of the languages, with a plan to cover all 68 in the future. That plan also hopes to include stories and poetry. The app, called Miyotl, is said to be easily absorbed by elementary and middle school pupils.
If you, like myself, are a chocoholic, you will be delighted to see these chocolate sculptures created by chef Amaury Guichon. Watch the accompanying video as he builds one of these intricate desserts, then surf over to his Instagram page to see more. Note that you will have to sign in to Instagram.
Watch an amazing video from NASA which shows us actual footage from the surface of Mars. The footage is described as "an ultra HD video, 4k" and comes from the three exploratory Mars rovers, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity. Calling these images eerie and other-worldly does not begin to describe the sensation of finding yourself on another planet in another world as though you were aboard the vessels.
I had long been a fan of Zaha Hadid before her untimely death in 2016. Now the firm bearing her name, Zaha Hadid Architects is opening an exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Shanghai showcasing their work of the past 40 years. The exhibition is the first of her work to be shown in Mainland China.
Artist Claudia Fontes has been known for creating small sculptures of figures said to appear as limbs emerging from porcelain clouds. Her earlier work, as small as the size of your hand, was made with flaxseed paper porcelain. See, for example, a series called Foreigners, which takes a powerful and poignant look at what it means to be an outsider. The new work, equally compelling, is said to be more abstract, but all of her carefully detailed pieces evoke a painful acknowledgement of being human in a frightening and dislocating world.
A recent study has revealed details of 68 carved plates of food on the ceiling of Seville's cathedral. Although known previously, the carvings have only now been examined in detail by a Spanish art historian, who spent 11 years rigorously studying their composition. The lapse in knowledge may be due to the carvings being obscured when the large wooden doors of the sacristy are open. Included in the foods are items like wild strawberries, oysters and clams, cakes, and peppers. These details offer a vivid picture of the living and learning in Spain almost 500 years ago. Juan Clemente Rodriguez Estevez has published a book on his findings, titled, "The Universal Banquet: Art and Food in Renaissance Seville". His explanations of why certain foods were pictured and others omitted, added to the historical data on Europe and its neighbors, make for fascinating reading.
c. Corinne Whitaker 2021