gracefully NOTED

Philadelphia, PA

Art

playing with your food

Meghan HarcarComment

I have always loved how food is plated. Beautiful looking food gets me every time.  I remember in college, I was that person that tried to make their salad look just right and then took a picture of it, showing my friends whether they were interested or not (usually not). A wee bit embarrassing but true. I still struggle not to Instagram and share every pretty plate I encounter.

Food stylist, Anna Keville Joyce takes creating beautiful food compositions to a whole new level. In collaboration with photographer Agustín Nieto, Anna created these amazing plates using vegetables, fruits, grains and salts. Her compositions are so creative and I love how her creations extend beyond the plate into the are that would traditionally be the table setting, illustrating the ingredients used in her designs. More impressive is that these materials are perishable, so she is working under a definite time crunch. Do you have a favorite? I am not sure I can choose. But I think this gives us all permission to play with your food! Happy Friday! 

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papercut light boxes

Meghan HarcarComment

How gorgeous are these back-lit dioramas by Denver-based couple Hari & Deepti? The artists starting experimenting with papercut light boxes in 2010, illustrating fanciful scenes and stories using hand painted watercolor paper. As time went on, they stopped coloring their paper, instead using LED lights affixed to the back of the box to color and illuminate the intricately cut and layered white paper.  The light adds depth to the narrative and creates such a striking contrast between the layers of the paper design. love love love.

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Paper is brutal in its simplicity as a medium. It demands the attention of the artist while it provides the softness they need to mold it in to something beautiful. It is playful, light, colorless and colorful. It is minimal and intricate. It reflects light, creates depth and illusions in a way that it takes the artist through a journey with limitless possibilities. What amazes us about the paper cut light boxes is the dichotomy of the piece in its lit and unlit state, the contrast is so stark that it has this mystical effect on the viewers’
— Hari & Deepti
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not what it seems

Meghan Harcar1 Comment

In the work below by Tokyo-born artist Hikaru Cho, she transforms one food into another using a photo-realistic application of acrylic paint. When you break open the cucumber, you realize it's a banana. When you slice into the tangerine, you find out it's a tomato. And when you pick up the eggplant, you discover it's actually an egg. In this series, aptly titled "it's not what it seems" she surprises us and makes us re-think what we are being presented with. I think this series is so fun, clever, and thought provoking. You can see more of her work on Cho's site. She has other really interesting work that involves things like zippers and electrical outlets on backs and arms or ear's painted on hands. It is definitely worth a look! 

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archist city

Meghan HarcarComment

Archist City is a set of prints by Barcelona based illustrator Federico Babina that depicts architectural structures based on the aesthetics of famous artists. Each print focuses on a different artist and describes the artist's signature style using architecture. This is such a clever, imaginative and fun set of prints. Each time I see them, the make me smile. I haven't been able to pick a favorite yet, but which one is your fave? 

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"my white trash family" by kim alsbrooks

Meghan HarcarComment

In the "My White Trash Family" series by Philadelphia-based artist Kim Alsbrooks, miniature portraits are painted on already flattened trash, such as beer and novelty beverage cans, in the watercolors on ivory style of 17th and 18th century.  Alsbrooks started this project as she became interested in the role that class distinctions plays in art.  As such, she takes portraits that were once painted on ivory, and paints them on trash. With the juxtaposition, the artist is endeavoring to "even the playing field, challenging the perception of the social elite in today's society." Such a clever idea.

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myriam dion

Meghan HarcarComment

While there are so many artists that impress me,  I have to say the pieces by Canadian artist Myraim Dion truly inspire and amaze me.   She creates these beautiful lace-like pieces by hand-cutting newspapers with an X-Acto knife.  Newspaper as a medium is so thin, that I am amazed by how she can create such small, intricate patterns without tearing the paper. I love how she utilizes different patterns and textures, and that she keeps the paper's name to provide context for the piece. Beyond that however,  her treatment of the images imbedded in the paper is pretty brilliant - she leaves enough of the image intact to give context, but allows it to remain somewhat abstract by taking away the paper's commentary on the subject matter.  Honestly, I could go on and on about how much I love these pieces, but I will stop and let you take a look for yourself. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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get reconnected

Meghan HarcarComment

In an installation completed for the 2012 Pendle Sculpture Trail, artist Philippe Handford created the sculpture Reconnected 1.  In this piece, he took a tree that had been illegally cut down in Northwest England and reconnected it to its trunk using slices of log and a metal brace that is almost spine-like.  The sculpture trail was installed in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the trails and the executions of the Pendle witches. I really love the shape of the sculpture and the idea of restoring the trees, while acknowledging that they can never be like they were before being illegally cut down.  This piece is so unique that it really caught my attention.

via here

sagrada familia

Meghan HarcarComment

Has anyone else seen this video illustrating the transformation and the expected final form of the Sagrada Familia? The cathedral, located in Barcelona, was designed by Antoni Gaudi and started in 1882. Since his death 87 years ago, numerous architects have been charged with its completion.  When I was in Barcelona in 2010 with my Dad, I got to visit the cathedral (as well as other houses and works by Gaudi - I became slightly obsessed and fell more than a little bit in love with his work).  Almost needless to say, it was such a surreal and overwhelming experience. Even at that point, the Cathedral was so beautiful, and the attention he paid to every little detail was mind-blowing.  So, when I saw this video projecting its completion in 2026, I got pretty excited. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and then, but generally, I think I may have just found an excuse to visit Barcelona again in 2026 (assuming I haven't made my way over before then!).

I hope you enjoy the short video as much as I did! 

Though it was all over the web yesterday, I originally saw it here and here.

chipping away

Meghan Harcar1 Comment

The artist Karin Waskiewicz creates her pieces by layering acrylic paint on a wooden panel, allowing the layers to dry and then chipping or carving away at the layers. The result is these beautiful and intricate three-dimensional pieces that almost look topographical.  There is also a certain element of chance in these pieces.  While she chooses the colors to include, she can't predict ahead of time how each piece will come together as the effect of the work changes as each different layer is revealed. When I first saw these pieces without reading their description, I couldn't figure out how she achieved this effect, and then after reading about them, it was one of those, "Wow, that is brilliant" moments. I love how textured and detailed they are, and just the idea of chipping through and revealing different layers is really appealing. Layering is something I have been experimenting with more in my own work, so these really hit home for me. What do you think?

"Landscape in Flight" 

"Landscape in Flight" 

 "Deep Blue"

 "Deep Blue"

Growth/Decay

Growth/Decay

Growth/Decay detail

Growth/Decay detail

 "Reflective Mound"

 "Reflective Mound"

 "Reflective Mound" detail

 "Reflective Mound" detail

 "Rolling Hills"

 "Rolling Hills"

via

Artist's website here

nimbus

Meghan HarcarComment

I have been finding myself coming back to the Nimbus Photography series by Dutch artist Berndnault Smilde recently.   Smilde creates clouds indoors using a smoke machine. In order to create the clouds, Smilde says that "It has to be cold, damp, and really wet, so I'm moisturizing the air as much as possible." He tells the BBC that "The moisture will stick to the smoke, making it much heavier." The cloud holds its shape just long enough to be photographed before it dissipates. Smilde notes that there really isn't a way to predict the shape a cloud will take, so they create the clouds hundreds of times, then choose one to be the final piece.

These have such a surreal quality for me.  I love the all of the contrast in these pieces: such as the white of the cloud vs the color of the room; the hard and even sometimes ornate quality of the architecture versus the soft billowiness of the clouds; and placing an object we associate with the natural world and expect to see outside within a man made structure. 

Smilde was also recently commissioned to do a series with Harper's Bazaar where he created clouds for a photo shoot featuring famous designers.  I particularly liked what Karl Lagerfeld and Albert Elvaz had to say about clouds and fashion. You can see their photos and their quotes below.

Do you have a favorite from the images below?  

Happy Friday! 

 

Nimbus Green Room, 2013

Nimbus Green Room, 2013

Nimbus Minerva, 2012

Nimbus Minerva, 2012

Nimbus Munnekeholm, 2012

Nimbus Munnekeholm, 2012

Nimbus LOT, 2013

Nimbus LOT, 2013

Nimbus Cukurcuma Hamam I, 2012

Nimbus Cukurcuma Hamam I, 2012

Nimbus NP3, 2012

Nimbus NP3, 2012

Nimbus Platform57, 2012

Nimbus Platform57, 2012

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“I love the old saying and the idea that clouds have a silver lining. I would love it to be true. A cloudy day can be inspiring, because just blue can be tiring and boring in the end. Clouds are the most beautiful installations of ever-changing abstract modern art in movement. They are like an inspiring veil. Unformulated dreams of realities to come.

What to wear with a cloud? All shades of gray go best with clouds. I would not wear black-and-white. Silver would be great too, or an elegant pink. But no gold—too shiny. Leave it to the sun. “
— Karl Lagerfeld to Harper's Bazaar
“When I was younger, people said I had my head in the clouds, but I always had my feet on the ground. Clouds are never negative for me. There is something serene and naive about clouds. I think that when kids start to sketch, after doing home or a tree, there is always a cloud. I drew a lot of clouds, and I tried once for a Lanvin show to have the girls coming from the clouds. But it didn’t come out well—it looked like the CNN weather report. A cloud would be my world—even the shape of a cloud is round. The fantasy, the desire, the reality, work, love, relationships. Everything. I love cloudy days. I work in a black room. I live in a very dark apartment. I love Paris in the winter. I love Paris when it’s really cloudy. I feel that clouds have some sort of protection. Clouds are like dreams, and I dream about work. Every collection, it’s like starting a new chapter and a new book. I think we need that moment of being inside the cloud, and the cloud follows us through the whole process. That’s the beauty of design. You don’t have to go inside the total reality. You start with a dream, you start with a cloud, then you start moving on and going down. Even when you hit the ground, I think it’s important to keep your head up.” - Alber Elbaz
— Alber Elbaz to Harper's Bazaar
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Nimbus Info and Photos from here and here; Harper's images and quotes from here and here.

translucent floats

Meghan HarcarComment

Christian Haub's "floats" are incredibly beautiful.  These "shallow reliefs" are made from cast acrylic sheets, which Haub refers to as "plexi."  There is just something about the layering of colors and the translucent nature of the pieces that I really love. The floats are so luminous and I enjoy how the visual effect can change depending on the ambient light of their surroundings. They just feel so modern and clean while also being cheerful.

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Originally seen here. More information found here. Quotes from above found here.

mechanical sculpture on a small scale

Meghan Harcar1 Comment

I have really been enjoying the intricacies of miniature sculptures made out of old mechanical parts; be it typewriter pieces, parts of old watches, small lightbulbs or other found objects. The following examples manage to transform the mechanical parts that comprise each piece from cold and sterile objects, to whimsical and playful works of art.  Additionally, it is also always great when you see an artist using recycled or found source material.

Below are three of my recent favorites.

Jeremy Mayer's swallows are made of old typewriter parts and are assembled without glue or soldering. Each piece is assembled using parts that are native to the typewriter and that's it. As icing on the cake, his design even allows for the wings to partially retract. These pieces look so strong to me, it feels as though they can really fly.  

These little mechanical insects are made by the artist Justin Gershenson-Gates using recycled watch parts, light bulbs and other found objects. Each piece is made by hand, and the resulting whimsical assemblies are so interesting. They almost look like they belong in a pixar movie.

Sue Beatrice of All Natural Arts creates steampunk watch part sculptures made out of repurposed antique time pieces and other recycled watch parts. As seen below, she assembles the parts into sculptures of animals, humans, and even mythical creatures, such as the sea monster which can be seen below. I am a little obsessed with these pieces.  The way they are assembled, so you can see all the moving parts, it really seems as though they could come to life and even serve as some sort of talisman.

Do you have any favorite miniature sculptures? 

Hope everyone is having a good week so far!

via here, here & here.

Van Gogh | Shadow

Meghan Harcar1 Comment

As if Van Gogh's pieces weren't expressive enough, this video by Luca Agnani animates thirteen of Van Gogh's paintings.   He takes the kinetic energy that is naturally present in Van Gogh's works, and shows what it would be like if the paintings actually moved. The paintings he animated are listed below. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

 Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries / Langlois Bridge at Arles, The / Farmhouse in Provence / White House at Night, The / Still Life / Evening The Watch (after Millet) / View of Saintes-Maries / Bedroom / Factories at Asnieres Seen  / White House at Night, The / Restaurant / First Steps (after Millet) / Self-Portrait

Found here.