Posts By Laura Staugaitis

A New Book Explores the Wide Range of Charming Homemade Cat Ladders in Switzerland

All photographs © Brigitte Schuster

Switzerland-based graphic designer and writer Brigitte Schuster chronicles the unique phenomenon of outdoor cat ladders in her forthcoming book, Swiss Cat Ladders. Focusing on examples in the city of Bern, Switzerland, Schuster shows how humans facilitate the comings and goings of their feline friends with a wide variety of exterior climbing structures affixed to residential buildings. Ranging from a sleek helix-type structure that’s available readymade, to more homegrown configurations that enlist tree stumps and mailboxes, the presented cat ladders allow these innately independent animals to come and go as they please. Some ladders give freedom to cats who reside on the upper stories of multi-family buildings, whereas others appear to be more suited for indulging a cat’s desire to climb. The photo-forward book, which is bilingual in English and German, also includes diagrams and explorations of the broader cultural meaning of the ladders. Swiss Cat Ladders is expected to print in September 2019. Preorders can be placed at the bottom of this web page. (via Present & Correct)

Historical Paintings Get a Pixelated Update

Based on “Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Greek artist and art director Dimitris Ladopoulos (previously) continues to use the Houdini algorithm, referred to as treemapping, to interpret paintings from the art history canon. The program calculates the density of information in a user-provided image and then divides it based on selected parameters, creating a pixelated effect that forms distinct color tiles of varying heights. In a statement about the project, Ladopoulos draws a comparison between treemapping and the original painter’s use of varied brushstrokes to bring fine detail, color variation, and texture to select areas of the canvas. You can see more of Ladopoulos’s work on Behance and Instagram.

Based on “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci

Based on “Portrait of a Young Man” by Titian

Based on “Vincent van Gogh” by John Peter Russell

Based on “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher” by Johannes Vermeer

Swirling Abstract Portraits by Firelei Báez Explore Identity in Diasporic Societies

“Sans-Souci” (2015), acrylic and ink on linen, 108 x 74 inches (274.3 x 188 cm)

Using acrylic, gouache, ink, and graphite, artist Firelei Báez creates intricate portraits that blur the boundaries between abstraction, realism, and surrealism. Báez forms human figures with skin comprised of swirling bursts of color and pattern, while meticulously rendered strands of hair and piercing eyes anchor the vibrant abstracted shapes as people. In a statement on her website, the artist’s practice is described as “a convergence of interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work; her art explores the humor and fantasy involved in self-making within diasporic societies.”

Báez was born in the Dominican Republic and now lives and works in New York, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Cooper Union’s School of Art and Hunter College, respectively. She was recently commissioned by New York’s Metro Transit Authority to create an elaborate mosaic mural. The colorful multi-part work is part of a station redesign in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Báez has exhibited widely and her first solo show in the Netherlands is on view through May 12, 2019 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. You can keep up with her latest work and creative endeavors on Instagram.

“Memory Board Listening (June 7th)” (2015), acrylic and Sennelier ink on YUPO paper, 40 x 30 inches (101.6 x 76.2 cm)

Vessel of Genealogies” (2016, acrylic), graphite and ink on paper, 40.5 x 70 inches (102.9 x 177.8 cm)

“To See Beyond It And To Access the Places That We Know Lie Outside Its Walls” (2015), Gouache and ink on paper, 84.5 x 50 inches (213.4 x 127 cm)

L: “Wanderlust Demanding Recompense” (2016), acrylic and ink on paper, 93 x 52 inches (236.2 x 132.1 cm) / R: “Ciguapa Pantera” (2015), acrylic and ink on paper, 95 x 69 inches (241.3 x 165.1 cm)

“Becoming New (A Tignon For Mami Wata)” (2016), acrylic on canvas 48 x 34 inches (121.9 x 86.4 cm)

“Patterns Of Resistance”

Of Love Possessed (Lessons on Alterity For G.D. and F.G At A Local BSS)” (2016), acrylic on Yupo paper
71 x 56 inches (180.3 x 142.2 cm)

Colorful Strands of Thread and Beads Highlight the Contours of Human Skulls

Jim F. Faure, who goes by Jim Skull, introduces his decades-long practice with his pseudonym. The Paris-based sculptor focuses exclusively on human skulls. Using innumerable strands of colorful thread, Murano glass beads, rope, and even porcupine quills, the Faure creates an entirely new “skin” for the skeletal forms. Each skull’s covering also trails off into dramatic cascades that shape-shift depending on how the skull is displayed.

Faure transforms the surface of an object that often strikes fear into a visually enticing decorative object, inviting the viewer to study the divots and contours of our shared anatomical structure. In an artist statement, the sculptor cites his upbringing in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, followed by wide-ranging international travels in New Zealand, India, and Hong Kong as informing his fascination with the ritual and cultural aspects of the human experience. You can see more of Faure’s work on his website.

A Dozen New Stamps Celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawings

The head of Leda (c.1505–08), on view at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

The innovative yet timeless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci will soon be arriving in mailboxes around the U.K., thanks for a special stamp release marking the quincentennial anniversary of the Italian artist’s death. In tandem with the special stamp edition, twelve cultural institutions throughout the United Kingdom will be showcasing a total of 144 of da Vinci’s works in the dispersed show Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. The exhibitions opened at the beginning of February and are on view through May 6, 2019 in Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, and other U.K. cities. Stamp sets are available from Royal Mail. (via artnet)

The skull sectioned (1489), on view at Ulster Museum, Belfast

A star-of-Bethlehem and other plants (c.1506–12), on view at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Studies of cats (c.1517–18) on view at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

The skeleton (c.1510–11) on view at Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff

The fall of light on a face (c.1488), on view at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The head of St. Philip (c.1495) on view at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

The skeleton (c.1510–11) on view at Cymru/National Museum Wales, Cardiff

The Abandoned Grandeur of Crumbling Palaces Showcased in Large Format Photographs by Thomas Jorion

Thomas Jorion, "Pappagallo, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Thomas Jorion, “Pappagallo, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Whereas many photographers seek to capture beautiful ephemeral moments with their camera lens, French photographer Thomas Jorion is drawn to a more eternal timeline. Using an analog 4×5 camera, Jorion focuses on abandoned places: spaces and structures lost to the nature and time. In his photographs, once majestic buildings that are now largely forgotten are given the same careful composition and attention that more currently-engaged spaces might receive. His solo exhibition Veduta at Galerie Insula in Paris explores the abandoned villas and palaces of Italy through March 6, 2019. You can see more of Jorion’s work on Instagram.

"Cedri, Italie" (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Cedri, Italie” (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Fondali, Italie" (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Fondali, Italie” (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Ghepardi, Italie" (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Ghepardi, Italie” (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Sognare, Switzerland" (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Sognare, Switzerland” (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Fulmine, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

“Fulmine, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie 

"Pensile, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

“Pensile, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Gimme That New New: Colossal Daily Update

Photo credit: Kevin O’Mara

Need more creative culture in your life? Our Daily Update newsletter keeps you in the know on the best in art, design, photography, and more. A short-and-sweet counterpoint to our Weekly Highlights, the Daily Update includes a roundup of articles posted the previous day on Colossal, along with a hand-picked feature from our 8-year archive of nearly six thousand articles.

Interested in subscribing or updating your preferences from the Weekly Highlights? You can even check out a real-live previous newsletter before deciding. Click here to subscribe to the Colossal Daily Update: http://eepurl.com/oWVBn

A Contemporary Take on “Byrne’s Euclid” Brings Geometry to Life as a Colorful Poster

When he’s not working as a web designer, Nicholas Rougeux delights in interpreting data visually. His latest creation is a celebration of Byrne’s Euclid. The book, created in 1847 by Irish engineer Oliver Byrne is fully titled The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid in which Coloured Diagrams and Symbols are Used Instead of Letters for the Greater Ease of Learners. It illustrated parts of Euclid’s Elements, which the Greek mathematician is credited with writing in 300 B.C. The thirteen-book collection established geometry, number theory, and other core concepts still in use today.

For Rougeux’s version, the designer carefully reproduced each colorful, eye-catching design with geometric accuracy, and arranged and labeled them as they appear in Byrne’s book within the framework of a scaleable poster. The poster can be ordered in a variety of sizes via Rougeux’s website.

You can learn more here about Rougeaux’s painstaking process of translating the 172-year-old book into a contemporary print. See more of the Chicago-based designer’s data-driven creations, ranging from weather portraits of U.S. cities to an interpretation of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, on Behance.