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Matthew Grabelsky’s uncanny subway paintings

Commuters go wild in Matthew Grabelsky’s uncanny subway paintings

 

 

Urbanites know the subway is a prime location to spot the city’s oddities, and yet, a run-in with one of Matthew Grabelsky’s characters would be a particularly wild encounter. The Los Angeles-based artist has spent the last few years rendering human-animal hybrids that nonchalantly ride public transit. Sometimes snacking on a cracker or brushing up on some reading, the characters are surreal, uncanny additions to an otherwise mundane scene.

 

Grabelsky’s newest oil paintings, which are currently on view as part of Riders at The Brand Library & Art Center in Glendale, California, are hyperrealistic and laced with witty details like earlier works in the series. Set on the New York City Subway and London Tube, the portraits are narrative-driven and embedded with pop culture references. The artist shares:

 

“My goal is to create the effect of looking at a scene on the subway as if it were a diorama at a natural history museum. The images present richly detailed moments frozen in time allowing the viewer to closely inspect every element and make connections between them to read an overall story. In this world, people are transformed into part-animal to create scenes that are strange, funny, and endearing.”

 

 

Grace Ebert for ThisisColossal. February 2023

Metaphorical portraits deconstruct art history as collaged specimens

Metaphorical portraits by Michael Mapes deconstruct art history as collaged specimens

 

 

Photographs, scraps of fabric, human hair, dried flowers, and gelatine capsules are a few of the materials that artist Michael Mapes arranges into fragmented portraits and still life’s.

 

Referencing traditions and prominent works in art history, Mapes interprets figures and fruits through deconstructed compositions. Set in specimen boxes evocative of those used in entomological studies, the collagesutilize the metaphor of scientific study to dismantle and reconstruct the contexts and meanings of the original works.

 

Mapes begins each piece with research around the subject matter and materials, and many of the artist’s most recent works centre on muses, like fashion designer Emile Louise Flöge who was the lifelong companion of Gustav Klimt. “I’ve been making studies, smaller scale works that allow me to consider compositional approaches for larger pieces,” he says about the series. “It connects the past to the present in a very personal way.

 

A muse vibe is inspired by mining art history to find subjects that resonate with me and my work process.”

 

 

Grace Ebert for ThisisColossal.com. August 2022

 

Crocheted toasts and turkey dinners prepared with fibres

Crocheted toasts, ramen, and turkey dinners are prepared with fibres by Maria Skog

 

 

Maria Skog guarantees her orange slices, turkey, and eggs won’t spoil. She crochets fibre-based creations with preservation in mind, ensuring that every berry and bagel stays as fresh as the day they were made.

 

Based in Närpes, Finland, Skog began crafting the fare for her two daughters about 12 years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The practice was meditative and calming. “If I wouldn’t survive, I wanted the girls to have living memories of me, and I thought that they would remember us playing together with the food I crocheted myself,” she says.

 

 

 

Grace Ebert for ThisisColossal.com. January 2023.  All images © Maria Skog.

 

The National Library of France reopens with renovations

The National Library of France reopens with renovations that add 21st century details to the Beaux-Srts gem

 

 

After more than a decade of renovations by architect Bruno Gaudin, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France reopened last fall lighter and with more space to view both the massive collections and the original Beaux-Arts features of the space.

 

Spread across two sites, the Richelieu and François-Mitterrand, the now-updated repository at Richelieu dates to the 18th century. French architect Henri Labrouste originally designed the main reading room, known as the Salle Ovale, which is largely preserved with a vaulted glass ceiling spanning 60 feet, mosaics cloaking the ceilings, and hundreds of thousands of volumes lining the perimeter and interior shelves.

 

The regal space is now open to the public for the first time. For the renovation, Gaudin added a large, steel and aluminum staircase that spirals toward the upper floors, which house a museum and the nearly 150-foot-long Mazarin Gallery with its Baroque frescoed ceiling. A glass walkway with an angular, sloping roof connects the east and west sides of the library, and the architect added a new entrance for greater accessibility.

 

Alongside books, the library also stores a vast array of historical documents and artworks totalling 22 million objects. Inside its halls, you’ll find the second-largest collection of Greek vases in the world, original prints from Rembrandt and Picasso, an engraving by Matisse, a Gutenberg Bible, and Charlemagne’s ivory chess set to name a few.

 

 

Grace Ebert for ThisisColossal.com. January 2023. All images © Bruno Gaudin Architects

 

2022 Close-up Photographer of the Year

Nature’s diversity is captured in minuscule detail in the 2022 Close-up Photographer of the Year Competition.

 

 

Among the winning images of the Close-Up Photographer of the Year contest, frilly slime mold stems from leaves, elegant insects splay colourful wings, and microscopic patterns create vivid abstractions. Now in its fourth year, the competition attracted more than 9,000 entries from 54 countries.

 

The overall winner of this year’s competition was captured by Samantha Stephens and glimpses two tiny amphibians trapped inside a carnivorous plant. She explains, “Typically, these plants feast on invertebrates such as moths and flies, but recently, researchers at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station discovered a surprising new item on the plant’s menu: juvenile Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).” It was a timely capture; by the following day, the creatures had sunk to the bottom of the pitcher.

 

Visit the contest’s website to view the Top 100 photographs of the year.

 

 

 

Kate Mothes for ThisisColossal.com. January 2023.

 

Unusual Christmas trees

Imaginative and unusual Christmas trees

 

 

To celebrate the Christmas holidays, we’ve selected some creative Christmas tree designs from the Dezeen archive, including a tree trapped inside a giant ice cube and an upside-down tree.

 

The roundup also includes a tree suspended upside-down from the ceiling and an exhibition in a country home of unconventional Christmas tree designs.

 

 

Amy Peacock, by Dezeen. December 2022

 

Swimmers and loungers texture two Florida beaches

In Tom Hegen’s aerial photos, swimmers and loungers texture two Florida beaches with colourful patterns.

 

 

As much of the northern hemisphere braces for grey, wintery weather, photographer Tom Hegen highlights the warm, vibrant oceanside of Florida’s Siesta Key and Miami beaches.

 

Swimmers and sunbathers escaping the rays under colourful umbrellas line the coast and appear as textured, geometric shapes dotting the water and white sandy expanses. The Beach Series juxtaposes the haphazard with the organized, documenting both neat rows of uniform loungers and clusters of people as they congregate along the shoreline.

 

 

Grace Ebert on ThisisColossal.com. December 2022.

All images © Tom Hegen.

 

 

Clever collages

Everyday situations take an amusing turn in Toon Joosen’s clever collages

 

 

A man mows a field of text, a vacuum cleaner sucks up beachgoers, and kids shield themselves from falling words in the witty collages of Toon Joosen. From his studio in The Netherlands, the artist cuts and splices vintage photos, magazines, postcards, and book pages into clever works that take an ironic and surreal approach to everyday activities.

 

Joosen tends to play with scale and perspective, creating tongue-in-cheek scenarios brimming with nostalgia and humor. He shares dozens of works on Instagram and has prints, buttons, and other goods available on Etsy.

 

 

Grace Ebert on ThisisColossal. December 2022

All images © Toon Joosen.