Ginger and Spice

art and everything nice

I recently went to Adriane Colburn’s show Of Darkness at the luggage store gallery and spent a good portion of an hour transfixed by her installation, which scrutinizes the collision of the natural and human worlds. Composed of drawing, sculpture, and video, Of Darkness is a layered masterpiece that converges upon the tense relationship of these two environments. During my final project at Oxbow, I frequently looked to Adriane Colburn for inspiration, so it was almost surreal to see these pieces in person. Her use of materials, including shadows and mirrors, flawlessly unites the forces of wilderness and human industry; you feel as if you are being stretched like her paper, pulled between your natural origins and your mechanized present self. 

Our first stop in Paris was the Louvre, where I went on an amazing tour and saw art I never would have found in the massive museum if not for my guide. Though it was incredible to see the famous works I’ve studied for so long in person, my favorite piece was a 2010 addition to the museum I knew nothing about. The Louvre is on a mission to integrate more contemporary art with its masterpieces, so it asked Cy Twombly to paint the 3,750-square-foot ceiling of the Salle des Bronzes, home of the museum’s classical bronze sculptures. Twombly’s ceiling is a stunning skyscape of brilliant blues, mythical planets, and floating Greek text. It’s a beautiful addition that perfectly unites the ancient with the contemporary. Above are some pictures of the ceiling in progress and its permanent installation.

My favorite stop in London was the Saatchi Gallery. The current show is Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany, an incredible collection featuring diverse contemporary artists. Above are a few of my favorites: a massive woodcut by Gert & Uwe Tobias, one of Andre Butzer’s oil paintings that reminds me of Basquiat’s abstractions, and Andro Wekua’s enormous installation of 170 glazed ceramic panels entitled Sunset. 

When I visited the Somerset House in London, home to an incredible number of famous paintings, I spent most of my time in its Spanish drawing exhibition. It ranged from informal sketches and studies to complete pieces, featuring Picasso, Ribera, and Goya, along with many lesser-known Spanish artists. Above are a few of my favorite drawings from the show: Goya’s Cantar Y Bailar and a preliminary sketch by Vicente Carducho. 

My favorite exhibition at the Tate Modern was Taryn Simon’s A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, a photography project she worked on from 2008-2011. The exhibition focuses on 18 bloodlines each with a unique and tragic story at its heart. Her subjects range from Bosnian victims of genocide to an unnatural rabbit population in Australia to Saddam Hussein’s son Uday’s body double. Simon formats the stories to include photographs of all of the subjects’ living family members (blank spaces represent those who could not be photographed for various reasons), a description of the subject’s plight, and footnotes with additional visual aids related to the subject.

I recently spent eight wonderful days exploring London and Paris, and I have a lot of art to talk about. I’ll start with the Tate Modern, one of my favorite museums. There were a few individual pieces I loved, along with some great exhibitions. Above are Jose Carlos Martinat’s Brutalism: Stereo Reality Environment and Do Ho Suh’s Staircase III. Martinat’s sculpture is a mini model of the Peruvian military headquarters infamous for its secret service’s history of torture and murder. The piece holds a computer programmed to search for ‘brutalism’ and spews out results onto the museum floor. The piece was constantly surrounded by people kneeling to pick up and read the results. Do Ho Suh’s installation is a steel and polyester staircase he constructed from personal memories of architectural spaces. I love the dreamy quality of this piece as it invites musings of different dimensions.

I went to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for the “Houdini: Art and Magic” exhibition, a great collection exploring Houdini’s life and his enduring legend. The comprehensive show features props from his acts, films and photographs of his performances, and contemporary art inspired by his work. The exhibition highlights Houdini’s escape acts as his personal form of liberation from oppression and discrimination in anti-Semitic society. Above are a few photographs of Houdini performing, a Jane Hammond painting inspired by Houdini’s needle threading trick, and a Whitney Bedford painting of Houdini’s freed figure after escaping a straitjacket.

For my final project at Oxbow, I focused on the concept of rejoining the natural world. I researched how humans are already practicing this idea and then studied various species to see how we can further integrate our society into our natural environment by modeling our systems off of natural ones. For my art piece, I wanted to create a space for viewers to observe nature from above and afar like most people view the natural world today and then give viewers the opportunity to physically rejoin nature by becoming a part of my created ecosystem. 

Moussa Kone is an Austrian illustrator whose drawings evoke unease, wonder, and entrancement with their simultaneous detail and simplicity. His figures remain faceless to represent stereotypes, anonymous objects as opposed to individuals. He draws inspiration from medieval books, manuscripts, and the illustrations within them, as well as from black and white optical illusions. Above are a few of my favorites, Elephantasana(ABC) and A&0 (King Alpha/Queen Omega).

Ted Sabarese takes pictures of people and the fish they look like. I love them.

Ted Sabarese takes pictures of people and the fish they look like. I love them.