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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.
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At Boisbuchet with Snarkitecture

For those of you who haven't heard of it, Domaine de Boisbuchet is basically glorified summer camp for designers: It's an old chateau and grounds in the middle of the French countryside where, each week for 12 weeks, two or three contemporary designers or studios are invited to host a creative workshop for a group of students and professionals. During downtime, you can canoe, swim in the lake, lay in the grass, drink beers, swing from trees, attend dance parties, or sit around a bonfire and stargaze — it's pretty much rural heaven. So it was a tiny bit funny to be there last week with Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture, who are best-known for their work with white styrofoam, fancy fashion brands, and hip-hop superstars, and who this week are hard at work back in New York installing a 20-foot-tall carved-foam mountain as a backdrop for the runway show of leather-sweatpant purveyor (and Kanye favorite) En|Noir. Luckily you can not only take the boys out of the city, you can take the city out of the boys, whose first instruction to the participants in their "Excavations" workshop was to dredge up wheelbarrows full of dirt, clay, and sand from the lake and its surroundings. The group then spent five days doing hand-casting experiments in the sunshine, in order to "take familiar, everyday objects and find ways to manipulate and alter them to make them serve new and unexpected purposes," as Mustonen put it. After the jump, check out all the photos we took documenting the process from start to finish.
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What is your next project? After making 26 new pieces in the span of a month for the show at Volume, opening tomorrow, Wolfe deserves a break: “Cleaning my apartment," he says.

Thaddeus Wolfe, Glass Artist

When asked if he identifies more as an artist or a designer, Thaddeus Wolfe seems genuinely stumped. But perhaps it’s that way for anyone working with glass, a material that’s notoriously hard to confine: “I don’t think I’m a great designer,” he muses. “Maybe it’s because I’m not a master of glass yet that I never quite get what I intend. But sometimes cool things happen from mistakes.” It’s a pretty self-deprecating summation of process coming from someone whose chaotic, mysteriously opaque Assemblage vases for MatterMade are the subject of a solo exhibition opening tomorrow at Chicago’s Volume Gallery, which has in the year and a half since it opened become somewhat of a barometer for the Next Big Thing.
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