Fallow Journal

  • Alana Wilson

    On the beauty of decay | Kathyrn Carter

    There’s something lovely about the brokenness. It’s as though attention has been paid to the ruining—a thoughtful and considered destruction of a something that could have been perfect. Each blemish questioning all preconceived notions of what beauty really is.

    Such is the work of Alana Wilson, a ceramicist whose intentions stray from aesthetic idealism towards anthropological exploration. Born in Canberra, Wilson spent much of her childhood in New Zealand, before moving to Sydney at seventeen to study fine art. Today, from a studio overlooking Tamarama Beach, the artist creates vessels that reference historic utilitarian forms, working to a style that she describes as raw, still, subtle, and experimental.

    I am constantly working between the balance of raw and refined, primitive and contemporary, completion and decay. Aesthetically, I think the textural qualities and physical presence are first and foremost in what I seek in my own work.

    The thought of clay often conjures images of seamless silhouettes—shapely urns, spherical bowls; cylinder vases. But Wilson’s pieces belong to a chapter of ceramics history that is yet to be written. There’s an unapologetic rawness to the work, an imperfectness that invites you to feel deeper into the present moment. In a world where flawlessness is so often perceived as the aesthetic ideal, Wilson’s process aims to highlight the innate impermanence of everything; the beauty of decay.

    In 2011, trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort announced the dawn of the post fossil era, stating that the period of glamorous and streamlined design for design’s sake had come to an end. Moving forward, a new generation of artists were expected to retrace their roots, refine their earth and research their history, sometimes returning to the beginning of time. Edelkoort’s forecast predicted that primitive matter and organic shapes would soon tiptoe into the zeitgeist; a reflection of man’s longing for a more meaningful and ritualistic relationship with the earth. Though Wilson admits she had not heard of this theory, she does feel a connection to the ideology at its core.

    I think this [post fossil movement] is definitely a sign of the times, and has evolved from the evidential progress within the Western World in the last 15-20 years - within technology, commerce, and sociology…I feel at the moment there are numerous aspects of society in need of and appreciating the opposing points of this growth - physicality, reality, and human connection, both current and historical.

    In a way, Wilson’s work satiates this appetite for connection. Her vessels appear deliberately decayed; their flawed finishes a subtle reminder of life’s impermanence, of our own mortality. When asked why she so often returns to this idea of delicate deterioration, Wilson admits that, more than anything, it’s about the acceptance of change.

    I think throughout my life I have learnt to accept and embrace the sense of change, which is essentially what deterioration and decay is. "He not busy being born is busy dying.” I aim to embed this value into my work…

    For Wilson, it’s about bringing awareness back to the present moment, reminding us of the importance of humanity; the tender balance between order and disorder—notions that are strongly reflected in the artist’s process. From conceptualisation to creation, Wilson’s work remains a paced and considered progression, with pieces born from her experimentations with glazes, material and form.

    My number one tools are my hands and body, the artist tells me, …beyond that I have a few favourite wooden knives, scalpels, and Japanese glazing brushes.

    Anchoring this experimental approach is clear philosophical intent; a strong resolve that is attune to Wilson’s own sense of artistic obligation. As Wilson’s career has evolved, so has her awareness of how much she contributes to our consumerist culture, and to its perpetual cycle of production.

    The world does not need more "stuff", and I often feel an obligation to counteract the world of material commerce and highlight humanity and connection to the past and present moment. It is a constant balancing act to create without promoting commercialism or idolisation of material objects.

    Consequent to this theoretical process, to view the artist’s work is to be confronted by more than just something to consume, but rather, something to consider. In a world largely intoxicated by perfection, and amid the relentless striving for material possession, Wilson invites us to take a sobering pause, to ruminate on the beauty of decay.

    Words | Kathryn Carter

    @bykathryncarter

  • Mask House | WOJR

    Mask House | WOJR

    Mask House was designed by WOJR not only to be a home but to be a refuge for a man who mourns the loss of his brother. The design is set to hide un-intrusively amongst the woods of Northern New York. It will overlook the lake in which his brother was lost. WOJR has said that they wanted to create a sanctuary to be "a place of separation and protection that removes one from the world of the everyday and offers passage to an other world".

    WOJR

    Massachusetts-based firm, WOJR is a collective of designers who consider architecture to be a form of cultural production. Their work reaches out across the globe and engages the realms of art, architecture and urbanism. WOJR isn't just about building four walls but about creating something that conjures up feelings by the spaces that surround you. This rings most true for Mask House.

    Words | A.Wright

  • Wrench Series | Mitchell Lonas

    Wrench Series | Mitchell Lonas

    Mitchell Lonas' Wrench Series is a collection of intricate carved paintings of delicate bird nests. Mitchell's works float upon a dark background giving the illusion of suspension. Each painting is created on a steel or aluminum panel and then carved using different sharp tools; from nails, chisels and dental tools. This technic allows Lonas to give a sense of light, texture and rhythm to these poetic images. Mitchell uses found nests given to him by his mother as inspiration for each creation. The nests are made from fine horse hair which is beautifully captured in his work.

    Nature | Nurture

    Mitchell attributes his current style of work to his upbringing in Tennessee. He tries to capture the nature he was surrounded by in his hometown and the warmth and kindness of his mother in his art. Before Mitchell transitioned into his current style he studied art history at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and for many a year he was a well respected portrait painter. Lonas now lives and practices in a studio space in North Carolina where he never stops experimenting and developing his unique body of work.

    Sentiments

    “The most powerful art is a conversation between the artist and the viewer, but some artists don’t let the viewer get a word in edgewise. Mitchell’s work, on the other hand, invites the viewer to participate in the exchange of ideas and emotions.”

    - Jack Austin

    Words | A.Wright

  • Even After All | Nicholas K Feldmeyer

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    Even After All | Nicholas K Feldmeyer

    Even After All echoes Nicholas K Feldmeyer's previous series After All. Both works invoke romantic imagery of awe-inspiring nature and monumental land art. The images are created using 3D computer software. In After All a rectangular slice of light is injected into a landscape. In Even After All Feldmeyer wanted the viewer to feel as though they are standing inside a gigantic room and looking out.

    Nicholas K Feldmeyer

    The work of London-based artist Nicholas Feldmeyer is a fusion of structure in chaos, working mostly within a geometric and monochromatic confine. Feldmeyer captures unseen landscapes in his topography, exploring the arrangement of natural and artificial physical features. This can be best seen in this series.

    Inspirations | Hiroshi Sugimoto

    Even After All is greatly inspired by iconic Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto's works. Drawing on Sugimoto's cinematic style of timelessness. Capturing vastness and simplicity. Nicholas states that Sugimoto's ideas for his work seem simple yet profound which no doubt can be seen in Feldmeyer's work as well.

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    Words | A.Wright

  • Absent Vessel | Andy Mattern

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    Absent Vessel | Andy Mattern

    Andy Mattern's works "Absent Vessels" are a series of photograms of crushed polystyrene cups found discarded in the street. These vessels were flatted and transformed into empty, fragile shapes. Each urban relic has been individually pressed up against photography paper in a darkroom and exposed to light. The light purposefully passes through each object, imprinting the textures from both sides and merging the two together into a new surface.

    Andy Mattern

    Andy Mattern is a visual artist who is currently teaching Photography and Digital Media at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Andy uses subjects often overlooked, observing the connections between people and the harsh city environment. Mattern's works delve into the relics left behind unconsciously by humans in public spaces. He does not focus his work on people but rather the traces we leave in our wake.

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    Words | A.Wright

  • Lucid | Tarek Mawad | Friedrich van Schoor

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    LUCID

    The idea behind LUCID was to create a surreal world. Misplaced geometric shapes cast from light that seemingly do not belong yet interact and blend with its surroundings. The shapes emphasize the forms onto which they are cast in the most simple of ways. Untouched landscapes are transformed by electroluminescent light. A single light source tells an unspoken story of magic and loneliness.

    The intention was to summarize all installations in a cinematographic way to create a touching short film.

    Tarek Mawad | Friedrich van Schoor

    Tarek Mawad and Friedrich van Schoor who form the 3hund collective are two German visual artist. Both gentleman share the same unwavering passion for nature, exploration and dark melancholic images. The fine line between beauty, darkness and loneliness is the cornerstone of each new project the duo produce. Friedrich and Tarek strongly believe in creating each installation in real time. Nothing is added to their works post-production which adds to the beauty of their art.

     Film

    The intention of the short film is to summarise all of Tarek Mawad and Friedrich van Schoor's installations into a cinematographic spectical that can be viewed here...

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    Words | A.Wright

  • Fish Radiography

    The Artistry of Fish Radiography

    At times, science is an artform unto itself. So it is for a series of x-rays of fish by the Smithsonian Maritime Museum that have allowed scientists to build a comprehensive narrative of the diversity of fish. Tracing the changes in number of vertebrae, fin position and countless other variations, the striking sequence dives through to the depths of fish evolution. Compiled by the Smithsonian Institute in Ichthyo - The Architecture Of Fish, it is a stunning compendium of science and art.

    The Scientific Method

    X-ray images allow the study of fish anatomy without dissection or alteration of the specimen. Radiographs may be prepared for any number of any species, so allowing a researcher to compare various features both intra- and inter-species. Images are designed to follow scientific convention, not artistic flair. There is always one specimen per frame, and the fish is always facing to the left. A beam of x-rays is generated and focused on the specimen. As tissue density determines absorption of x-rays, the bones of the specimen materialise most readily, creating the images. Characteristics of the species can then be readily seen, assessed and compared. Relative size and shape of bones and fins, the presence or absence of teeth, biological elements are tabulated and archived.

    Art From Science, Philosophy From Art

    From these images, the beauty, intricacy and diversity of the patterns of nature become self-evident. It is a natural union between science and art. The metaphysical element of evolution emerges from the arranged sequence, the sublime artistry of constant adaptation through mutation. One abstracts to the general nature of biology - of the continuous change, of the possibilities of the future, the direct line of ancestors - it is a sombre thought. One realises their position in the great chain of life, as an infinitesimal yet influential piece of the greatest whole.

    Words | Rob Woodgate

  • The Collapse Of Cohesion | Levi van Veluw

    The Collapse Of Cohesion

    A series of charcoal drawings and two installations, Levi van Veluw's Collapse Of Cohesion took from the artist's boyhood bedroom. Each image was a careful composition of drawing studies and the thematic synthesis. Disintegrating his previous works of control and structure, Van Veluw disrupted the order, shifting to a world of chaos. A human world. A world of collapsed desks, fallen cupboards and fragmented cabinets marked the moment of destruction. Yet it is this destruction that births the new, the form of life post-childhood. In so doing, van Veluw was just as interested, at the age of twenty-one, at the events that had lead him to his position in the universe. It was as much a questioning of gravity's effect on his life as on the objects that surrounded him.

    The Many Sides Of Levi van Veluw

    Born in 1985, van Veluw has created a vast body of work that spans the forms of photography, video, sculpture, drawing and multiple media installation. His work often draws its thematic and narrative focuses from elements of his own life and experiences. The Collapse Of Cohesion extended this method to an instant of time, centring on the obsessive and melancholic struggle of regulated chaos. Van Veluw had extrapolated from his own life to all lives to the fundamental in his desire to understand the maelstrom of the universe and the compulsion of quietude.

    The Inherent Equilibrium Of Disorder

    The forces of nature - gravity, radiation, heat, light - affect the multitude of humanity and structures. It is this fundamental principle that interested van Veluw as he constructed a new, natural, order of the structures. A consistent logic, that of physics, bound the images within a resting equilibrium, satisfying both the need for a framework and the fascination of the anarchic.

    Words | Rob Woodgate

  • Circles Round' Itself | Diana Mangaser

    Circle Round Itself

    Based in Newburgh, New York, Diana Mangaser has a Masters of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design and a Sheridan Teaching Certificate from Brown University. Her work, Circle Round' Itself, draws on the inherent distances between the design and construction of architectural structures. This constructed circle becomes Mangaser's representation of the proclamations of what is, and is not, architecture. A circle that from afar appears an impenetrable and inert wall yet upon close inspection teems with the life of ambiguity and creativity.

    The Collapse And Expansion Of Space

    Slowing the aspect of time to negotiate the created representation of space, Mangaser captured the transformations of negativity to positivity, from black to white. Each image creates an apparition, an image association for each individual viewer. The image of cellular life, a geometric pattern, the whole of the cosmos. The infinitude of interpretations extended from the relationship of design and construction to the experiences of the viewer. Distance was the method but the scope was two-fold, exposing space at both the macro and microscopic. So, Circle Round' Itself was simultaneously a fragment of the world, in all its detailed minutia, and an entirely new world.

    Parallel Worlds

    Questions emerge from Mangaser's video concerning the nature of space. Mangaser's work so requires an investment from the viewer in the creation of its larger expression. The parallel worlds of the macroscopic and microscope collapse into a single image, removing the line between them. So, the line between design and construction is removed. Each architectural structure is to be experienced separately and regarded independently. Each object creates its own space and has its own relationship between its design and construction. So the circle becomes an infinitely-sided polygon, cataloging the complete possibilities of architecture and the inter-relationship between these points.

    Words | Rob Woodgate

  • The Shadow Line | Michal Korta

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    The Shadow Line | Michal Korta

    Polish photographer Michal Korta's series The Shadow Line begun when he discovered a weathered animal skull while on a walk. After photographing the skull Michal began delving into the nature of animal instinct and mortality. The sub-series Naked Bone are a set of detailed black and white images of skulls against a harsh black backdrop which illuminates every crack and curve. Korta uses skulls found by himself or gifted to him by friends, preferring his subjects to have flaws and remnants of their past environment. Michal's series is a stark look at death and reminds the viewer that we too are just animals, made up of bone.

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    Words | A.Wright

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