I love… Jim Denevan’s land art

14 May 2009

Not joyful, exactly, but wonderful! I especially love Denevan’s process shots. There’s something so charming about art made simply, just a man and a stick, and the results are unexpectedly clean and graphic.

Annabelle Verhoye

20 January 2009

I’ve been a fan of Annabelle Verhoye‘s work ever since I read a profile on her in an Australian magazine a few years ago. But on these snowy winter days I’m really feeling her gorgeous, saturated color palette.

Emily Barletta

19 January 2009

I love these sculptures by Emily Barletta, a Brooklyn-based fiber artist. Thank you designboom for calling attention to this beautiful work. I’m always interested in artists and designers who are playing with the contrasts between hard and soft, and exploring the possibilities of different textures. But beyond the intellectualizing, these just speak to me.

Eye candy: Alberto Seveso’s illustrations

10 January 2009

Can’t remember where I found this but this series of illustrations is really beautiful. Kind of reminds me of the Julius Bissier works I posted a couple of months ago.

Cute, weird, interesting: Tree cozy

14 November 2008

While I was so recently on the subject of skin, this strikes me as an interesting parallel exploration. Artist Carol Hummel writes:

Tree Cozy is a tree – a natural object representing masculinity and strength –covered with a crocheted cozy – an emphatically handmade blanket representing femininity and comfort. On the most obvious level, it is a piece of clothing, personifying the tree and keeping it cozy and colorful throughout the year, enhancing the beauty of nature….The cozy covering the tree fluctuates between comforting blanket and suffocating cover-up; it conceals as much as it protects; it hides as much as it reveals.

New-to-me: Julius Bissier

14 November 2008

Discovered these paintings last week and the beautiful translucent forms are sticking in my mind.

Ingrid print

3 October 2008

From Diana, another designer in my program:

“Check out this print. It is reminiscent of you.”

Funny! I kind of agree.

I was not familiar with the artist, London-based Swedish illustrator and designer Petra Borner, but I really enjoy her work, especially the beautiful book jackets on the site. Just the right balance of rough and polished. Beautiful.

Theo Jansen mechanism

3 October 2008

More on Theo Jansen… This lovely little animation shows the movement of the legs. I particularly like how the author traces the paths of each pivot point as it moves. It’s especially interesting to me that such a graceful and complex movement originates from a purely rotational orbit in the center.

Beyond the beauty of the motion, there is also the intriguing mechanism he uses to effectively store the energy of the wind. I don’t understand all the details of the setup, but essentially he uses nested electrical tubing as a pump that feeds air into a series of bottles. The bottles store the air pressure so it can be converted into kinetic energy. It’s basically a non-electrical form of battery.

I also love the casual invite he proffers on his website to his Ypenburg Laboratory. He offers directions with the coda: “At the end of the hill, on the top, you will see a green cottage. That is where you can find me.” It’s all very zenmaster-on-the-mountain and makes me want to get in my transatlantic rowboat and see what wisdom he might offer.

Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures

30 September 2008

My kids-and-movement furniture project has me fascinated by movement mechanisms right now. I still don’t quite understand how Theo Jansen’s creatures work, but they’re amazing.

Eye candy: spiky sculpture

30 September 2008

Jennifer Maestre‘s fantastic spiky sculpures make me wonder what the drawings made by all those worn-down pencils look like.

Disturbing design: Laura Splan

29 September 2008

The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland has a wonderful exhibit on right now entitled “Manuf®actured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects” featuring the work some very thought-provoking designers. I can’t get to Portland right now, but it’s ok because the exhibition website is such an excellent example of an online catalog that I almost feel like I’ve been there.

One designer-artist previously unknown to me whose work I’m really resonating to right now is Laura Splan, a Brooklyn-based designer who weaves traditional crafts with disturbing biomedical themes. The doilies pictured above, for example, are machine-embroidered in patterns inspired by some of the most deadly viruses known. Other pieces in the show include wallpaper patterns created with Splan’s own blood, and a piece of lingerie sewn from pieces of a facial peel-off mask, conflating beauty and revulsion into one moment of reaction.

I’m interested in this dark aesthetic – the idea that beauty can coexist with fear and disgust. That beauty is what draws us in, only to be repelled by what discover, is a powerful idea for the design world. This is deceptive design, but in another way it is actually quite direct. Nothing is what it seems, and to call attention to this fact is perhaps the most honest statement a designer can make.