Three Entries With The Message (at least part of it) In The Medium

Artists Choose Material With Meaning:     

ArtPrize 2014A special relationship between the material used in the work and subject of the work can be found in certain ArtPrize entries. Traditional art forms claim no such relationship. The oil in an oil painting suggests no innate connection with the landscape. The marble in a statue implies no material similarity to the bone and blood of the human it depicts. Outward appearance is what counts.

By way of contrast, let’s look at three (of many) ArtPrize works in which the material used does bear a special relationship to the artist’s subject. All three pieces  are wonderful to look at, and—even though they are all large—the closer you look, the better they get.

The Pond, by Kroeze Krew

The world’s largest art competition, ArtPrize 2014, is happening in Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 24 to October 12. It is the ultimate in creative expression with over 1500 works on display. See pictures and news of ArtPrize at mlive.com/artprize. 

“The Pond is a three dimensional piece consisting of over 2,000 individually-carved wood sculptures of raindrops, ripples and splashes forming a pond during a rainstorm.” (from the artist’s description) It is one of the top five 3-D public choices.

The raindrops are suspended from clear thread, and the entire rainstorm is displayed in a gazebo-like structure. As with many pieces at ArtPrize, you simply must look at it in person to fully enjoy it. For me, the work really was the “snapshot” of the rainstorm that the artist intended. When I looked at “The Pond,” the beautifully cut wood splashes and ripples made me think of the gentle craftsmanship that was given to the work. It reminded me of the importance of staying in touch with nature. And in capturing all this in a “snapshot,” it reminded mde that the present moment is the only place we ever live.

Gold Fever, by Dixie Jewet  

  • Gold Fever is a marvelous juxtaposition of opposites. It is a fiercely running horse, tail and mane flying in the wind. And, it is a fascinating concoction of junk: springs, levers, gears, mufflers and lots more. Many of the parts seem to be from a long gone era. Jewet made all this stuff seem amazingly alive.

Jewett says, “This sculpture is a metaphor for getting excited about going for your GOLD (DREAMS) and it doesn’t matter which way you go as long as it’s your goal and you’re rolling!. It’s about recycling and transforming what is basically junk into texture, form and pattern for a sense of spirit and intrigue!”

“Gold Fever” is dead rusty hardware recycled into pure energy.

Great Wall of Bees: Intelligence of the Bee Hive, by Ladislav Hanka

If you are looking for living art, Great Wall of Bees is the most astonishing ArtPrize of all. The 3-D entry is continuing to build itself as I write this.

The creator, Ladislav Hanka, See more of my posts about great ArtPrize works at Observations: ArtPrize 2014.
is both artist and  bee-keeper. She says, “The etchings you see here, encrusted with beeswax, are made in the time-honored way – much as Rembrandt recorded the Dutch landscape on copper plates in the 17th century. However, here the etchings take on a second life, as I have inserted my artwork into a living hive where bees take over and now collaborate in the creative process.”

The living, working bees within the work combine wonderfully with Hanka’s  etchings of trees, birds, plants and—of course—bees. The message to me was, “Life is always changing and growing, even while the past is always part of the present.” Great Wall of Bees is one of five finalists on the Jurors’ 3-D shortlist.

Many more ArtPrize entries combine material and message. Do you like another entry that used it’s raw material in a new way?

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