Tag Archives: Art

  1. 12.17.14
    Up and Coming
    Los Angeles art director Sarah Kissell, aka Pure Magenta

    It can be easy to become immune to the Postmodern references and patterns currently littering the digital ether, but there’s something different about Sarah Kissell, the Los Angeles–based designer behind the graphically-fitting guise Pure Magenta. As she describes it, it’s the simultaneous practice of excess and restraint — especially while exploring questionable taste — that Kissell values the most. “Riding the line between the two is when things become interesting to me,” she says. “It also widens the opportunity to succeed or fail, which is a healthy place to be a young designer.” And healthy is exactly where the designer is right now, dividing her time as senior art director for the terminally trendy fashion retailer Nasty Gal, as well as developing Pure Magenta’s graphic identity and soon-to-launch jewelry line.

  2. 12.16.14
    Up and Coming
    Matthew Philip Williams, furniture designer

    The first work we ever knew from Portland, Oregon–based furniture designer Matthew Philip Williams was a collection he calls The Step-Family. The pieces, which were designed individually but at the same time, include a pinchpot mug in Yves Klein blue, a laminate and maple bench, and a steel and Douglas fir coat rack. The items are so aggressively functional — and make use of such logical and simple material choices — that you would never guess that Williams’s first inclination was to be a fine artist. After graduating from a material studies program in Richmond, Virginia, Williams headed to Portland to get an MFA in applied craft and design. “I had this vision of being in galleries, but I soon realized I was more mentally suited for functional stuff,” he says. “At the same time, I try to keep my hands and my head in both worlds, thinking about art and furniture and doing what seems right for each project.”

  3. 12.13.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of December 8, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: three new jewelry lines we’re coveting, our top must-have from the shop at the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt museum (above), and are speckles the new squiggles? You be the judge.

  4. 12.12.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Adi Goodrich at The Standard, Hollywood

    In her day-to-day job as a set designer, Adi Goodrich constructs elaborate environments with her crew on set or in the studio, but the rest of world experiences her work only through photographs. As of last night, however, you can view the Los Angeles designer’s work IRL in an installation on view until the end of December at The […]

  5. 12.09.14
    What We Saw
    At Art Basel and Design Miami 2014

    Glancing out the window on this cold, grey, rainy day in New York City, it’s hard to believe that just last week we were frolicking in the sunshine in Miami, immersing ourselves in art and design and running into friends like Su Wu and Brent Dzekciorius on the street while flitting between parties and champagne brunches. While the primary purpose of our time there was to launch a new collaboration with Print All Over Me for the shop at the Standard (read all about that here), we managed to squeeze a million other activities into our four-day trip, from a visit to the impeccably curated Untitled art fair to a bizarre slide lecture and fashion show by Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe to a 3AM performance by rapper Rae Sremmurd at a local nightclub that left our ears ringing for three days straight. While you won’t find that particular dalliance documented here, we did take plenty of photographs of art and design; some of our favorites are posted after the jump.

  6. 11.25.14
    Eye Candy
    Ann Veronica Janssens, Artist

    Lately it feels like whenever we’ve seen a piece at an art fair that we love, it’s turned out to be the work of one of a very small group of our favorite artists (Alicja Kwade, Thea Djordjaze, Jonas Wood, David Korty, etc) whose work seems to pops up again and again in such contexts. One of the most frequent is Ann Veronica Janssens, a British-born, Brussels-based artist whose practice is based around finding ways to visualize light and other ephemeral forces while balancing them against the more tangible qualities of architecture. Janssens has been around for awhile — she represented Britain at the 1999 Venice Biennale — but we’re particularly fond of her most recent body of work, which is more object-based than light-based. See a selection of it after the jump.

  7. 11.17.14
    Eye Candy
    Meredith Turnbull, artist

    A few Saturdays ago, we featured Australian artist Meredith Turnbull’s incredible, powder-coated brass jewelry, but today we wanted to turn your attention to her equally terrific art practice. Navigating her website, we became intrigued by images of totemic metallic structures that were nevertheless labeled as photography. We asked Turnbull herself to clarify: “My practice as an artist has really been shaped by my training: first studying photography, then doing a degree in Art History, then later a degree in Fine Art specializing in gold and silversmithing. This affected the way I work and made me very interested in ideas in and around discipline, functionality, art and design history, and of course context! I’m preoccupied with theories and ideas about purposeful objects and their relationship to people as well as new contexts for those ideas. So I make objects across a variety of scales. Sometimes I photograph these but only exhibit the photograph; sometimes I show small objects alongside larger installation work. I’m always trying to work with scale and the context in which I’m exhibiting.”

  8. 11.10.14
    Eye Candy
    #Nannyart by Brandon E. Cannon

    “#NannyArt is a series that has been ongoing for about 4 months now, consisting of 50+ 5×7-inch canvas boards incorporating collage, painting, patterns, and household supplies. The end of this series will consist of 100 of the 5×7-inch canvas boards as well as a few large-scale paintings done in the same manner. The term #NannyArt came from the culture and lifestyle that I became accustomed to after making the move to Panama back in May. In Panama, the term “Nanny” is thrown around a lot because everyone has one. To have someone who comes to your home or apartment once or twice a week, some are even live-in, is more than common in Panama. There’s even an extra bedroom and bathroom in every home and apartment for live-in nannies. Over time while painting at my studio I began to take notice of some of the cleaning supplies my “nanny,” Lucre, was using on a day-to-day basis. The colors, patterns, and textures of the supplies began to catch my eye and greatly intrigued me. With the sudden idea of buying art supplies not at the art store but in the cleaning aisles of grocery stores or mini-marts #NannyArt began to take form.”

  9. 11.08.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of November 3, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week, old meets new with the resurgence of Op-Art and a 1950s desk lamp, a(nother) Franz West show, and of course, the usual smattering of new work by young talents, including the latest collection from Brooklyn weaving duo New Friends (above).

  10. 11.02.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of October 27, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a full accounting of our — and the Internet’s — recent obsessions, including industrial foam, pastel geometrics, and representational images of plants.

  11. 10.22.14
    How To
    Make a Sculpey Mobile, With Fort Makers

    The team behind Fort Makers don’t refer to themselves as a design studio but rather an “artist collective,” and there’s a marked difference: They make functional objects, but instead of producing a stream of products with a unified aesthetic, they each work individually under the studio umbrella, experimenting with whatever interests them at any given time. In a way, it’s that same sense of structureless structure that first attracted Noah Spencer to the idea of making mobiles: You can hang pretty much anything from them, as long as you get the balance right. “Any kind of visual language can be carried into the mobile world,” says Spencer, a Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design alum who co-founded Fort Makers in 2008. While he primarily makes models hung with simple wooden shapes, he’s also been toying around lately with more expressive elements made from polymer clay (aka Sculpey), a method he graciously offered to teach Sight Unseen readers in this tutorial.

  12. 10.17.14
    Eye Candy
    Rana Begum, Artist

    With a studio based out of the UK, artist Rana Begum has exhibited around the globe, from New York to London to Dubai. And it seems fitting that a recent solo exhibition should take place at that latter city’s Third Line Gallery, an exhibition space catering to contemporary Islamic art. Begum’s Bangladeshi childhood informs much of her work, observing geometric repetition in traditional Islamic patterns and the way light activates the interiors of local mosques. This, combined with the conflicting forms and colors of urban society, can be seen in her most recent pieces, which mostly consist of creased sheet-metal panels, coated in bright mixtures of paint and resin, that seem to fold out from the wall. The three-dimensionality of her pieces causes light to bounce between the reflective panels and creates varying interpretations for viewers as they move about the piece. These subtle changes are what captivate viewers, ensuring each person has a completely different experience with every one of her pieces.

  13. 10.14.14
    Q+A
    Jonathan Nesci in Conversation With Matt Olson of RO/LU

    When it comes to design, it’s easy to forget about Indiana. Easy, but unfair — just ask anyone familiar with the legacy of Columbus natives Irwin and Xenia Miller, whose Eero Saarinen house is one of many architectural landmarks the pair commissioned in and around their hometown. Or ask the editors of Sight Unseen, who included not one but two Indiana-based talents in our American Design Hot List last week. One of them, Jonathan Nesci, debuted a project over the weekend that underscored both arguments: Invited by curator Christopher West to create a site-specific installation on the grounds of Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church — also a Miller commission — Nesci conceived the stunning project 100 Variations, consisting of 100 unique, mirror-polished tables aligned in a grid in the church’s courtyard. He developed the tables using the Golden Ratio, an ongoing preoccupation in his work that similarly informed Saarinen’s. We snagged the first photos of the installation, which was on view for only three days, then invited Matt Olson of the Minneapolis studio RO/LU to discuss the project — and its oft-overlooked setting — with Nesci. Read their conversation after the jump.

  14. 10.13.14
    Eye Candy
    Valentina Cameranesi Sgroi’s Associations Vases

    Italian product designer Valentina Cameranesi Sgroi worked as lead designer for Diesel Home — developing furniture and lighting for its collaborations with Moroso and Foscarini — for three years before becoming a freelance creative director in 2012. Since then, she’s also developed a personal body of work that includes video art, photography, and ceramics, exploring “the relationship between the natural and artificial.” Her latest project, Associations, is a series of vases that take inspiration from ’70s craftsmanship but with simple, expressive shapes that evoke Ettore Sottsass and the Italian artist Gino de Dominicis. All of the pieces in the collection are made by artisans in Veneto, Italy.

  15. 10.04.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of September 29, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Maybe it’s just the gloomy New York weather, but today we’re wishing we could be anywhere but here: a Los Angeles gallery show, a Copenhagen vintage pop-ups, or a 1950s Milanese apartment belonging to none other than Ettore Sottsass.

  16. 10.03.14
    Eye Candy
    Thomas Albdorf, photographer

    Still-life photography has been a staple form of expression for photographers since the invention of the camera. And with the rise in popularity of sites like Tumblr and Pinterest, there’s been a noticeable influx of images on the Internet that follow certain preconceived notions of what a contemporary still life ought to consist of: a clean image with a pale colored backdrop, some kind of sliced fruit, maybe some bubble wrap, etc. Enter Thomas Albdorf, the Austrian artist who crossed over into the world of photography after a career in graphic design and art direction. Albdorf shoots with a 35mm camera that results in a grittiness that is refreshing in this digital age, and his background as a designer is clearly evident in his calculated and well-balanced photographs. His still lifes — constructed from mundane objects or littered building materials — are full of texture, pattern, and intrigue.

  17. 10.02.14
    Up and Coming
    Romy Northover, Ceramicist

    Ten years ago, Romy Northover was a student at Goldsmith College, an incredibly conceptual art school in London that she found to be grueling. “I’m a kinesthetic learner,” says the now Brooklyn-based ceramicist. “I figure things out by doing them, not just by thinking about them. I’m not an intellectual; it’s more experiential for me. But those were important years because they got me to where I am now.”

  18. 09.27.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of September 21, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: our exhortations that you visit the New York Art Book Fair, buy a brand new design magazine, embrace the aesthetic of paperclips, and see an eccentrically staged exhibition of iconic late-2oth century chairs.

  19. 09.23.14
    At Home With
    Su Wu, Writer

    There are people you meet in life to whom you feel a deep and immediate connection, so much so that the particulars of how and why you both arrived at the same place at the same time matter much less than the fact that you did. That’s pretty much how we feel about Su Wu, whose inspiring blog I’m Revolting we admired from afar for months before reaching out two years ago, asking her to collaborate, and becoming instant friends. Earlier this summer, however, when we found out that one of our favorite photographers would be visiting LA, we realized this was the perfect time to find out a bit more about the circumstances that led Wu to where she is right now, both philosophically and quite literally — the downtown LA loft she calls home.

  20. 09.20.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of September 15, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: We’re having a serious way-back moment — two collections that reference 70s-era Superstudio, a 1960s Cappellini reissue, and a mirror inspired by an engraving from the 14th century.

  21. 09.18.14
    Eye Candy
    Amy Brener, artist

    Brooklyn-based artist Amy Brener is all about excavating the technological artifact in her large, translucent, crystal-like sculptures. Each standing the height of an average-sized human, the totems are like some colossal peer of Thaddeus Wolfe’s ongoing Assemblage Series. Into these cast resin and concrete monoliths, Brener fossilizes decade-old Nokia phones, Fresnel lenses, and gypsum; once the cast dries, she chisels away, cracking sheets of plastic and remnants of our recent technological past, revealing sculptures that resemble the natural and the geological. The structures stand bright and vertical, weighted in a mix of familiar earthy rock formations and distant ideas of the supernatural. As Brener notes, “My pieces are artifacts from an imagined future.” Enjoy a small selection of our favorites after the jump.

  22. 09.16.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    “Another Cats Show” at 356 Mission

    “Another Cats Show” may have started as a one-liner, but that doesn’t mean it fails to land the joke. The exhibition, which closed this week at the Los Angeles gallery 356 Mission, included feline-themed pieces from 301 artists and proved that what they say about die-hard cat lovers is pretty much true: They may be crazy, but they also totally mean it. “People assume cats will be funny,” says Ooga Booga founder Wendy Yao, a partner in the space. “It is casual and inclusive, and gives artists a chance to do something not quite as monumental.”

  23. 09.13.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of September 8, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: marble, fake marble, and a marbled painting made with a broom. Plus, select highlights from the London Design Festival, which started today.

  24. 09.12.14
    Eye Candy
    Jenn Smith, Artist

    Props to Chicago artist Jenn Smith for making art that’s basically the grown-up version of our dream childhood bedroom. Working largely in a pastel-heavy palette, Smith mixes mediums and experiments with digital manipulation to create pieces influenced by “cross-section diagrams, ’80s arcade games, and vintage textile patterns.” It results in pieces that are totally compelling but not without a sense of humor and self-awareness. Currently an MFA student at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Smith also has a nice Tumblr filled with works-in-progress.

  25. 09.08.14
    Invitation
    Join Us At The Last Weekend September 19-21!

    Normally our “Invitation” column is all about inviting designers and artists to make custom works for publication on Sight Unseen, but today we’re using it in a more straightforward way: We’d like to invite all of our readers to join us at a weekend-long workshop series we’ve helped curate, taking place in upstate New York September 19-21. Founded in 2012 by Peter Coffin and Jon Santos, The Last Weekend is like summer camp for adults, with a three-day agenda full of art, music, food, and activities; we’ve attended since the very beginning, so we were honored when, this summer, the organizing team tapped us to become a curatorial partner and invite some of our favorite makers to take part. We’re previewing their contributions after the jump, but you can see the full event lineup — and purchase tickets for $215 per person, including all meals and activities — by following this link. We hope to see you there!

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