Art, design, and visual culture.



Art

April 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Heisenberg Object V – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters. All images © Fabian Oefner, shared with permission

In Heisenberg Objects, Fabian Oefner (previously) translates quantum mechanic’s uncertainty principle into a sculptural series of segmented objects. The Connecticut-based artist uses resin to solidify the everyday items, which include sneakers, a Leica M6, a tape recorder, a Seiko clock, and flight recorder, before slicing them into countless individual pieces. He then aggregates those fragmented parts into dissected sculptures that resemble the original object through a distorted view of the inner and outer mechanisms.

Drawing its name from German physicist Werner Heisenberg, the series is rooted in the basics of the uncertainty principle, which states that no two particles can be measured accurately at exactly the same time. “You can either determine one parameter and ignore the other or vice versa, but you can never know everything at once,” the artist writes about Heisenberg’s idea. The two opposing views—i.e. the inner and outer layers of the common items—converge in Oefner’s sculptures and visualize the principle through skewed perceptions. “As an observer, you are never able to observe the object as a whole and its inner workings simultaneously. The more accurately we see one view, the less clearly we see the other,” he says.

Check out Oefner’s Instagram for more views of the re-interpreted objects, along with videos documenting the slicing process.

 

“Heisenberg Object III – Leica M6” (2021), aluminum, glass, and resin, 20 x 15 x 5 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object I – Seiko Clock” (2021), plastics, metal, and resin, 20 x 15 x 10 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object II – Tape Recorder” (2021), plastics, metal, resin, 30 x 20 x 8 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object VI – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object VI – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters

Detail of “Heisenberg Object IV – Flight Recorder” (2021), plastics, metal, resin, 50 x 50 x 40 centimeters

“Heisenberg Object IV – Flight Recorder” (2021), plastics, metal, resin, 50 x 50 x 40 centimeters



Science

April 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

A striking new image captured by Mars Odyssey is a stark contrast to the rust-colored, rugged landscape that’s synonymous with the Red Planet. Released last week by NASA, the false-color composite—it’s a patchwork captured between December 2002 and November 2004—reveals long dunes surrounding the northern polar cap of the relatively small planet. Warmer areas touched by the sun emit a golden glow, while the chillier parts are tinted blue. The image frames just the dunes carved into a 19-mile swath of land, although the billowing pattern covers an area the size of Texas.

NASA released the infrared image as part of a collection that celebrates the 20th year in service for the orbiter, which currently holds the record as the longest-running spacecraft in history since its launch on April 7, 2001, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It was taken by the Odyssey’s Thermal Emission Imaging System, a tool that’s instrumental in determining the mineral composition of the planet’s surface by documenting temperature changes throughout the day. Since it began exploring two decades ago, the system has transmitted more than one million images of the Martian landscape back to Earth.



Art

April 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong. All images courtesy of MASS MoCA, shared with permission

Rocky debris, vintage photographs, and a wooden ship colliding with its own hull are suspended above a 100-yard gallery at MASS MoCA for “In the Light of a Shadow.” The work of Los Angeles-born artist Glenn Kaino (previously), the monumental installation generates a sprawling environment filled with thousands of floating elements that speak to the vast impact of protest and collective movements.

Lined with an aisle of light and constantly moving shadows, the hovering artworks fuse memories of past injustices and a brighter, hopeful path forward in an immersive experience. Specifically, Kaino uses “In the Light of a Shadow” as a response to the horrific events of Bloody Sunday in both Selma, Alabama, and Derry, Northern Ireland. He models the wrecked ship after the Shadow V, a modest boat Lord Mountbatten often used for fishing, that the Irish Republican Army bombed in 1979 to assassinate the member of the royal family.

The towering display is also paired with a metal sculpture comprised of tuned bars that emit the melody from U2’s protest anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday” when pinged in succession. A collaborative video with singer and activist Deon Jones, who police nearly blinded after shooting with a rubber bullet for protesting George Floyd’s murder, plays nearby, drawing together the historic tragedies with those happening today.

“In the Light of a Shadow” is on view through September 5. Find more of Kaino’s works, which span installation and sculpture to film, on his site.

 

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Will McLaughlin

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong



Art

April 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Blushing,” hand-built ceramic, 3.25 x 5 x 2.5 inches. All images © Marguerita Hagan, by Richard W. Gretzinger, shared with permission

Prior to sculpting the prickly lifeforms that comprise her Marine Abstracts series, Marguerita Hagan plunged into the waters surrounding the Cayman Islands to get a glimpse of the coral and sponges inhabiting the region. “My research is important to my work, whether from seeing firsthand like diving, which manifested the sponge and coral-inspired Marine Abstracts, or visiting labs and working with my scientist friends,” the Philadelphia-based artist says. “I am passionate about learning, and I immerse myself into the life of each piece/species.”

Mimicking the porous bodies of the aquatic creatures, the resulting works are amorphous in shape and hand-built in sweeping gestures from low-fire clay. Hagan subjects the ceramic forms to anywhere between three and eight rounds of firing in the kiln before they’re airbrushed with pastel glazes. Pocked with holes and covered in tiny bristles arranged with meticulous precision, each piece can take months to complete.

 

“Swept,” hand-built ceramic, 6.5 x 8.25 x 6.5 inches

When presented in a gallery space, Hagan contextualizes many of her works by pairing them with animated projections, creating holistic installations that situate individual sculptures within a larger ecosystem. It’s a way to generate conversation about interdependence and the need to protect these fragile forms, the artist says, explaining the concept further:

Microscopic marine organisms form the basis of all life on our planet and connect in exquisite systems or colonies. These one-cell plankton gems, our primary producers provide over 50% of the oxygen for the planet with light from the sun. Rich diversity and reciprocal sharing power thriving communities and environments. This light-giving flow has enabled all life to thrive for eons…We are in a time of epic shifts and are responsible for the changes needed now. The work intends to uplift spirits, awareness, renewable action and timely sustainable investments for all life.

You can see many of the abstracted pieces shown here, alongside dozens of Hagan’s sculptures, as part of Biospheres, which is on view both in-person and virtually at HOT•BED in Philadelphia through May 8. For a larger collection of the artist’s works, check out her site and Instagram.

 

“Swept,” hand-built ceramic, 6.5 x 8.25 x 6.5 inches

Detail of “Aquamarine Whisper,” hand-built ceramic, 6.75 x 4 x 5 inches

“Aquamarine Whisper,” hand-built ceramic, 6.75 x 4 x 5 inches

“Cayman Crush,” hand-built ceramic, 6.5 x 8.25 x 6.5 inches

“Cayman Crush,” hand-built ceramic, 6.5 x 8.25 x 6.5 inches

“Blushing,” hand-built ceramic, 3.25 x 5 x 2.5 inches



Colossal

The Annual Student Exhibition is an academic capstone event offering PAFA’s emerging artists the opportunity to curate, install, and sell their own work in America’s first art museum. All images © PAFA

100% of students receive merit scholarships; Fall ’21 applications are open

Finding an art college that best fits your desires and wallet can be challenging. Studio arts training should provide the foundational skills, intellectual context, discipline, and creativity needed for a lifelong pursuit of making art. An art-school experience that supports student development through curriculum, highly-mentored education, training in the business of being an artist, and access to a world-class museum sounds like an unattainable dream. Adding financial support and flexibility to the list makes it seem impossible. Making the impossible possible for student-artists is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) mission.

PAFA educates artists worldwide to be innovative makers and critical thinkers, to cultivate a deep understanding of traditions, and the ability to engage with and to challenge contemporary trends. Fall 2021 will be back in person at PAFA, and rolling admissions means you still have time to join. Several programs and degrees include the PENN BFA (a coordinated Bachelor of Fine Arts with the University of Pennsylvania pairs PAFA’s fine arts studio training with an Ivy League degree from one of the most distinguished universities).

This specialized and unique art college educates the most committed and promising students from around the world. They study animation, drawing, illustration, painting, printmaking, and sculpture with a distinguished faculty of working artists. PAFA’s national prestige, cutting-edge studio and classroom facilities, private studios, a historic cast collection, and the opportunity to exhibit and study in the museum create an incubator for the next generation of artists. PAFA’s close-knit community (a 7:1 student-to-faculty ratio) is evident upon meeting admissions counselors and throughout the enrollment process.

100% of PAFA students receive merit scholarships up to $20,000, determined by the quality of a prospective student’s application and portfolio. In addition to the reasonable tuition rates, PAFA offers financial aid and assistance options for eligible students.

Picture Yourself at PAFA

Learn more about the admissions process, request information, schedule a one-on-one information session, and start your application today. Contact the office of admissions at 215-972-7625 or [email protected].

 

PAFA’s famous cast collections of antique and Renaissance sculpture have been part of the curriculum for nearly 200 years. Technical abilities and a deep appreciation of drawing as a visual language are encouraged at all levels.



Animation

April 14, 2021

Grace Ebert



Dougal is a nervous little bird with an overwhelming dread for an activity he’s supposed to instinctively enjoy: he’s afraid to fly. A charming short film written and directed by Conor Finnegan follows Dougal as he hunkers down in the north for the winter. Throughout his journey, the anxious creature faces a multitude of obstacles, from a blustery trudge through a snowstorm to the threat of a thieving squirrel, before finally deciding to join his friends down south.

Seamlessly combining live-action puppetry and stop-motion techniques, “Fear of Flying” is a collaborative project—Finnegan details the entire process in an interview with Short of the Week—that involved Fallover Bros and Renate Henschke crafting the flock of wide-eyed avians and a larger team of 14 or 15 creatives aiding in production.

Watch more of Finnegan’s light-hearted animations, which include one detailing an unusual friendship between Rock, Paper, and Scissors and another about a dutiful character named Fluffy McCloud, on his agency’s site.

 

Drippy Dipped Glasses


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