Saturday, March 31, 2012

Inka Essenhigh

Global Warming Cloud
oil on canvas
78 x 60 inches

Inka Essenhigh is an American contemporary painter. Her shapes are organic, stylized, and often surreal. I really like this painting in particular because the cloud has such an overwhelming presence.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Johnson Cheung-shing Tsang

Yuanyang II, ceramic sculpture by Johnson Tsang, 2003
This image has been floating around tumblr and art blogs for some time now, for clear reasons.  The artist is
Johnson Cheung-shing Tsang and the work is titled Yuanyang II after the combination coffee and tea drink popular in China.  He continues this realistic splash detailing in other works, which coupled here with the shiny glaze really does capture the qualities of the poured drink.


Teardrop Cups
Teardrop Cups

Alisa Holen
MFA, Ceramics, 2004

I was looking through the graduate archive and the second work above, from 2004, stood out to me just as it did the last time I was browsing the collection.  The whimsical, anthropomorphic qualities are, put simply, delightful.  The handle placement is spot on for the piece, and the curve and rim of the foot is as close to perfect as I can imagine for the work.  The link below is to Alisa Holen's site, where I found the picture of the Teardrop Cups.  In her statement she mentions her interest of playing with the trapping of air in closed form pieces, seen here in the cups nestled in the pillow teardrops which appear as if with one poke to the backside the cups will be pushed off.  This quality makes the work alive in a sense, and overcomes the rigidity of fired clay.  There is this same quality in the anthropomorphic work; it appears caught in the act of  walking (with sass no less) out of the frame. 


Katsumata Chieko, Untitled (Mudai), 1998 [coral sculpture]

Katsumata Chieko was born in 1950 in Japan, and studied at the Ecole National Supérieur des Arts Appliqués et Metiers d'Art in France where she found a following initially, then moved back to Japan.  Her works reflect her interest in nature, specifically plant life and coral, seen in the above work.  Drawing on her background in painting, she has developed her own technique to apply the color, by applying a clay slip colored with metallic dyes and pigments with a brush and filtering gauze after a bisque-fire.  The texture on this coral piece is quite striking.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eva Zeisel

Zsolnay Fig Vase, 1983

7 1/4 x 4 5/8 x 4 5/8 inches
Eva Zeisel, an industrial designer form Hungary, passed away last December. Her work often incorporates curves and focuses on purity of form. I find this porcelain vase especially appealing, both in color and form. I love the movement created by both the organic rim (and the shadow created by the rim) and the varying colors within the iridescent glaze.

Monday, March 19, 2012


A few jars for some inspiration, each of the handles/tops are different which provided some ideas. The crystalized jar is beautiful along with the raku, great ideas for glazes that I wish I could recreate.


These are three different pieces that can be found in the Des Moines area or near by. The Nomad is one of my favorite sculptures, the negative space and it's location just make it work. It is located in the Pappa John Sculpture Garden. The figure's sheer size dominates the park's landscape, and its human form made from scrambled steel letters seems to suit the city's vision of itself in the Information Age. The artist envisioned the letters as building blocks for words and ideas in the same way human cells for tissues, organs and bodies. They're painted with white enamel that appears dark against the sunlit sky and glows at night, thanks to dramatic spotlights at the sculpture's base. The effect is surprisingly ethereal for something that weighs about 4 tons.

The other two sculptures are by Goldsworthy one can be found at the Des Moines Art Center and the other in Grinnell. Scottish landscape sculptor Goldsworthy created this work, his largest in the western hemisphere, to link distant sites by means of sculptures. Three Cairns is comprised of three temporary cairns, three permanent sculptures, and three exhibitions on the East and West Coasts of America and in Des Moines. The cairn form (an oval stone structure that Goldsworthy has been creating since the 1980s) connects the two coasts with the center of the country as well as emphasizing the different environments of the Eastern, Western, and Central United States. All the cairns are made from Iowa limestone, chosen to match the field stone Saarinen used in the Des Moines Center for Art.

In 2001, the first of the temporary cairns was created at a prairie site in Iowa administered by Grinnell College. Later in 2001, two remaining temporary cairns were erected in tidal zones on the East and West Coasts. All of the temporary cairns were documented as they were altered by the environment. On the two coasts, the cairns were quickly destroyed by incoming tides while in Iowa Goldsworthy recorded in photographs the cairn in various weather conditions as well as under moonlight and surrounded by fire (when part of the prairie site was burned).

El Anatsui

"Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working from whatever their environment throws up." -El Anatsui

A friend in my Jewelry class introduced me to this Ghanaian sculptor. He works mainly in metal, although his pieces resemble the traditional woven kente cloth for which this part of Africa is well-known. I love the scale of his pieces and their cultural resonance.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Rare Beauty Found in Google Street View

I stumbled upon this intriguingly-titled article about Google Street view images a couple of days ago. I was blown away by some of these shots. There is art all around if you only look for it :)

Sao Joao Del Rei, Brazil
Dearagon, Spain
Inverallochy, Scotland
Route 17, South Africa

Cara Jung

I came across Cara Jung's artwork recently. She is a contemporary ceramics artist FROM IOWA (yay!)

Cara creates whimsical and somewhat comical forms that sort of remind me of children's book illustrations. Her use of pattern and bright color in her glazing makes her unique style easily recognizable. Here are some examples. Also check out her webiste:

Peter Donnelly

Natalie, your post reminded me of this video I saw about a similar sand artist a while back.

His name is Peter Donnelly, and he works in Christchurch, New Zealand. I love hearing him talk about his process and what the artwork means. Spectators have to be in a very short "window of opportunity" in order to see the artwork before it is swept away by the tide. It's interesting how the impermanence of the work is as important as the drawing itself.
Just thought this glaze was awesome!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Talk about some time consuming work. So much effort put in just for it to be swept away by the ocean later that day. However, it's pretty awesome.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dennis Manarchy I just found out about this artist. The project he is working on now is pretty mind blowing. If the fact that he made a 35 foot large format camera with a lens isn't impressive enough, his concept for the project that he is using it for is absolutely beautiful. He is taking portraits of cultures and groups that are on the way out: the Tuskeegee Airmen, World War II vets, American Indians, etc. I think this is a very ambitious and interesting project. Check him out on Kickstarter if you want to be further blown away by his ambitiousness.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Villa Collina

Came across this picture of an abandoned villa. I think old buildings are curious because you can  see how time passes differently for different things. In this photo, the stair railing really strikes me because it looks like it's hardly aged at all, while everything else is cracking and covered in a thick layer of dust.