may your New Year be unexpected and wonderful

I love the science fiction/fantasy feeling I get when viewing Rune Guneriussen’s installations. The office lamps are having a serious meeting, possibly about world domination.  And  chairs are on a mission, going somewhere important. I want to just sit in the snow with the other lamps – they are not talking much.  They softly murmur, and often there are long silences in their quiet conversation.

Rune GuneriussenOne can rely on the prudence of his decisions # 03, 2009, edition of 5+1, Rune Guneriussen
99cmx179cm, c-print/aluminum

Rune GuneriussenAbnormal growth of gluttony, 2009, edition of 5+1, Rune Guneriussen
190cmx150cm, c-print/aluminum

Rune GuneriussenA natural selection, 2008, edition of 5+1, Rune Guneriussen
124cmx167cm, c-print/aluminum

Rune is a Norwegian artist who painstakingly creates his “stories” on location throughout Norway.  Usually his installations are not viewed in nature by the public, but only through his photography. The story itself is left to the viewer’s imagination, as he deliberately leaves them open ended, stating that “art itself should be questioning and bewildering”.  His website:  http://www.runeguneriussen.no/

I think that one of the most wonderful things about life is when something unexpected and wonderful lights up your world.  Suddenly you look at the world with new eyes, and you laugh with the joy of the unexpected. I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now, and it’s fun to search the internet for art around the world.  I am attracted to it for many reasons; some things I love for their intricate and precise craftsmanship, some for their stark beauty, some because they are hilarious. Viewing what artists create, seeing what people call “art” and catching glimpses of what goes on in their world enriches my life. I hope that you enjoy it, and if you do, please pass the word!  Happy New Year!

light up the winter night

Ice lanterns are an easy craft; you don’t need to be an artist to create a beautiful piece of winter sculpture.

Ice lanternKit from Orange Tree Imports

ice lanternfrom the blog:  129 Twig and Vine

From the ice lantern’s humble beginnings as a milk jug filled with water, we move to the biggest artistic exhibition of the ice lantern in the world – the Ice Lantern Garden Party in Harbin City, China. The festival is in its 27th year, begins on January 5, and runs until the end of February.

Ice Festival Harbinimage from Beautiful World in Snaps

The craftsmen in Harbin were inspired by Chinese ancient ice lantern to create the wonderful artworks excelling nature. Legend has it that long ago when night came in winter, several people would be leisurely grooming or fishing on Songnen Plain located in northeastern provinces including Harbin. They used the ancient ice lantern for lighting. The craftwork of ice lantern at that time was simple, and it was made like this: put water from Songhua River into the cask to be frozen into an icicle, and then cut a hole in the heart of the icicle to allow an oil lamp put in. Hence the ice lantern was made. – from Travel China Guide

Ice Festival Harbinimage from Travelsphere.co.uk

Images abound on the internet of the wildly colorful city of ice.  Just google “Ice Festival Harbin” for more images.  Add the keyword “Flickr” to find photo albums posted online featuring the festival. My favorites are still the clear forms, harkening back to the simple, glowing icy lights that may have lit the night for simple fishermen.

winter glimmer

A couple of days ago I blogged about the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.  Today we go back there to highlight a current exhibit that puts me in the mood for some winter snow transformation.

Glimmering GoneGlimmering Gone:  Landscape,  Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman, photo from Museum of Glass

American artist Beth Lipman and Scandinavian artist Ingalena Klenell have taught and lectured collaboratively around the world, and their first artistic collaboration is being displayed at the Museum of Glass until March 11, 2012.

Glimmering GoneGlimmering Gone:  Landscape,  photograph by melancolysmile.blogspot.com

Living in the Midwest we have to slog through cold and dreary winters, and I can love that introspective time bundled indoors if I am surrounded by the glittering beauty of snow.  Here we are, December 28, and still no snow.  Glimmering Gone at least brings it to my screen.

Glimmering Gonephoto courtesy of Jeff Curtis, Russell Johnson, and the Museum of Glass

The exhibition includes Landscape, as featured here today, but also Mementos and Artifacts. The three parts of the installation are all quite different, bringing together an array of glass working skills with pieces including kiln-formed elements, sculpted work and blown glass elements. See more photos and find out more about these artists on their websites:  Beth Lipman:  www.bethlipman.com, and Ingala Glenell:  www.klenell.com

Obscura Digital deserves more than a day

Yesterday I blogged about Obscura Digital’s work with The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Today I want to share more about this interesting company, part technology lab and part creative agency.

Obscura DigitalObscura Digital, first party in the space, from Obscura Digital website

Their headquarters are located in the Dog Patch district of San Francisco. The offices were designed by  IwamotoScott Architecture, who renovated a 1940’s steel warehouse with 36,000 square feet of space on three levels.  It features a geodesic dome, a projection theatre,  see-through walls, and plenty of light.

They are on the leading edge of marketing technology, advertising with “video mapping, immersive environments, interactive display, and augmented reality.”

Obscura DigitalGeodesic dome projection, Obscura Digital

  I find their projects an inspiring and wonderful use of technology.

Obscura DigitalInteractive Pool Table, Paradise Tower Penthouse, Hard Rock Hotel & CasinoTM, Las Vegas and the Esquire SoHo apartment.

CO2 cubeCO2 Cube:  Visualizing one ton of carbon in Copenhagen

Measured and stored at standard atmospheric pressure, one tonne of CO2 occupies a cube the size of a three-story building 8.2m x 8.2m x 8.2m (27ft x 27ft x 27ft)! – from the Obscura Digital website

Visit their website at:  http://www.obscuradigital.com to see a collection of their work, including more light show videos from around the world.

more marvelous mosque art

I have been enamored with turkish designs lately, since my friend’s trip to Turkey. The beautiful, intricate designs that adorn mosque tiles were recently brought to attention in a new way in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi mosque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections Project, by Osbscura Digital

The Grand Mosque and the Al Jahil Fort lit up in a fantastic light show in tribute to the nation’s 40th anniversary.  The display ran from November 29 to December 3.

The Grand MosqueSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections Project, by Osbscura Digital

Obscura Digital used three-dimensional mapping, configuring forty-four projectors to illuminate the mosque without distorting the designs. The light show brought to life Sheikh Zayad’s vision that the Mosque be a place for his people, their heritage, and all of humanity.

The Grand MosqueSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections Project, by Osbscura Digital

Some of the highlights of the incredible projection show include geometry, organic flowers, 99 names of Allah, architectural detail, and celestial cycles of the moon. Watch the show on Vimeo – it is breath-taking.  I highly recommend watching it full screen and with sound:

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections from Obscura Digital on Vimeo.

its all about money

As the UK newspaper, The Guardian, looks back over 2011, they comment on how financial issues have dominated the news.  They put out a challenge for artists to “invent new currencies and banknotes for a changed world”, and published the results on December 16, 2011.

John GreyJohn Grey
‘A £50 note showing five noble beasts facing extinction in the wild, to remind users of the loss of natural wealth that no amount of money can replace.’

Alasdair Gray Alasdair Gray

Jonathan Franzen Jonathan Franzen
‘Adorned with endangered or extinct species in denominations such as $6.66, the real value of $10 with environmental costs factored in.’

Naomi Klein and Kyo MaclearNaomi Klein and Kyo Maclear

See more designed currency at The Guardian.

merry art greetings

Andrew BucciAndrew Bucci, a Mississippi-based artist, sent this colored pencil and watercolor holiday card to artist Prentiss Taylor. No date.

George ZoretichGeorge Zoretich, an artist and professor at Pennsylvania State, sent this watercolor to artist James Mullen in 1971.

Julia Thecla, a Chicago-based painter, created this playful mixed media collage and sent it to Katharine Kuh as a holiday card in 1975.

DarrowAlexandra Darrow (1910-93) of Connecticut, known for her Works Progress Administration murals of the 1930s, was a model of yuletide cheer in a 1957 photograph.

These cards are from the Smithsonian Magazine, and are part of a larger collection in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. I posted some of my favorites, especially the caption under the Darrow card.  View more of the collection here: www.smithsonianmag.com/multimedia/photos.  Included are interesting abstract styles and some that are hilariously bizarre. Enjoy!  Happy Christmas!