Unlike most of his contemporaries, Dutch artist Thomas Raat — whose colorful and intricate compositions recall the great European modernist graphic design tradition — isn’t particularly concerned with the emotional aspects of art but instead focuses purely on the visual techniques and functionality of the medium. Referencing a deep and thorough understanding of modernist philosophy and analytical thinking, Raat creates large-scale paintings and sculptures that employ the use of symmetry, repetition, and other basic principles of design to create pleasing and visually stimulating compositions.
Much of the collage-based work of Glasgow artist Michael Wilkinson, according to his New York gallery Tanya Bonakdar, “examines notions of power and resistance through an intricate web of political, cultural, and personal references” — among them the “histories of art and political radicalism, Marxist theory, popular music, and punk subculture of the 1970s and 1980s” — incorporating things like survival gear and vintage photographs. Yet his new gridded Landscape pieces, which we spotted in Bonakdar’s booth at Frieze New York in May, take a more subtle (and visually beautiful) approach.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week, a drool-worthy closet tour, a much-anticipated nail art collaboration, and a colorful update on one of our favorite pieces of furniture, the three-legged stool from Makers & Brothers (above).
While many of his peers are busy creating digital landscapes of shapes and planes that mimic three dimensions, the young Norwich, England–based artist Henry Jackson Newcomb makes sculptural assemblages that — owing in part to the aforementioned trend — often look inspired by digital ones. Yet by incorporating elements like chunks of concrete, panels painted with unfinished-looking brushstrokes, and haphazardly taped rings of rubber tubing, Newcomb introduces an imperfect rawness that keeps his work squarely rooted in the physical world.
Growing up in China, designer Ejing Zhang was fascinated by traditional calligraphy and ink painting — art forms that are both fine and expressive, requiring a fluid interaction with brush and ink. Zhang is now based in London, but at the heart of her work is the same sensitivity to materials that she observed growing up. Four years ago, while studying at the Royal College of Art, she developed a new technique for creating work that involved taking spalted beech wood (partially decayed wood that has a marble-like pattern), wrapping it with colored thread, and casting it in resin, before sanding and polishing it to reveal its beautiful cross-sections.
It may seem daring to open an exhibition on the eve of the annual design carnival that is graduate show season in London but Marcin Rusak doesn’t have to worry about a lack of attention. It was a big year for the London-based designer, who kicked off his artistic career with exhibiting at the Victoria and Albert museum and securing the coveted Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize for emerging talent within just a year of graduating from the RCA last year. His first solo show, “Inflorescence and Other Artefacts,” is a display of dichotomies, constantly flipping between natural and synthetic, authentic and fake, beautiful and seductively grotesque, forcing viewers to form their own opinion about the value of the objects on display.
We’ve said it before — Australia often feels like a strange parallel universe to us. We know it’s bursting with amazing design talent, but it all feels so far away, and it’s not easy for us to assess what the new hot restaurant or hotel or creative agency may be at any given time. For those of us who pride ourselves on being up on the cultural landscape of the Western hemisphere, it’s a weird feeling, but in a way, it’s also a nice one: We didn’t have to think too hard when the Melbourne firm Wildhen sent us their portfolio recently, we just poked through it and objectively liked what we saw, from packaging for a boutique pharmacy to still life shoots for an online nursery.