Quantcast

Glass

The Next Big Art Movement - Mosaics and the Artists Breaking the Mold

By George Tibbett, curator

Perhaps even more exciting than the opening of the anxiously anticipated extension of the Q subway line along 2nd Avenue in Manhattan was the mosaic art in each new station. Many NYC subway stations have some mosaics but these new stations bring it to a new artistic level with artwork by Sarah Sze, Chuck Close and Vik Muniz all translated into large mosaics.

So will this push the art of mosaics into greater acceptance in the established art world?  Mosaics as with ceramics, has long been relegated to crafts rather than fine art. But this may be changing. Established ceramicists, such as Betty Woodman, have had solo shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Emerging ceramicists like Lulu Yee have been the toast of Bushwick Open Studios. So as go ceramics, so go mosaics?

Mosaics should mean more than just a jigsaw puzzle of pieces that form an image. Great mosaic art should expand the range of the medium. Here is a list of the top five ground-breaking mosaic artists working today:

Jorge camposJorge Campos aka Pixel

Pixel, is a Santiago street artist whose mosaic work pixelates cultural heroes such as Nicanor Parra, artists such as Van Gogh, and iconic artwork like from Roy Lichtenstein. Pixel brings his mosaics to the streets where his work blends with other forms of street art for people to enjoy on the streets of Santiago. According to MosaicArtNow, Pixel explains the relationship of his art with the public. He says, “At first, people think they are facing a painting. Approaching and touching, they realize they are in fact facing a mosaic. Then, they wonder if it was really hand made.  They also play with distance to appreciate the work in detail, take photos, and when the image is revealed perfect and detailed on the small screens of their smartphones, they fall for it!”

 

Sonia kingSonia King

Using a range of different materials, King’s mosaics are complex compilations that, as her website states, stimulate the imagination. Some of her work is described as coded messages. She asserts, “These mosaics explore the dynamic tension created when familiar organic shapes can be seen as both macro and micro visions of our landscape. Shapes that are simultaneously at rest and moving, pulling the tesserae together into a complex composition while exploring the interaction of each element and the mystery of the spaces between.”

 

IMG_9330-croppedCharlene Weisler

Weisler describes herself as an urban artist with an interest in decaying and discarded objects. First starting in photography, Weisler was captivated by decaying, peeling and eroding street art. From there, she gravitated to collecting and assembling discarded and broken objects to not only capture their inherent beauty and mystery but also to create new mosaic images. She explains, “My mosaics are often unplanned and are created organically as the pieces come together to tell their story. A broken mug, a piece of shattered plate or a discarded misshapen object are all important elements in my work.”

 

 

 

 

 

Isiaih zagarIsaiah Zagar

Isaiah Zagar might be best known for one of his greatest achievements – The Magic Garden in Philadelphia, which is essentially a full house and side yard of compiled mosaic art.  As described by Lonely Planet, “Think of all the things you have thrown away this week – an old shoe, a broken mirror, a loose button, an empty bottle of wine. Then picture all of it broken apart, artfully cobbled together with quirky objects like antique tiles and hand-carved Mexican dolls, and applied to a wall with cement, clay, paint and glue to form a gloriously colorful mural. This is the work of septuagenarian Philadelphia-born Isaiah Zagar: mosaic artist, world traveler, visionary, dumpster diver.”

 

Domingo zapataDomingo Zapata

Better known as a painter, Zapata had a chance encounter when he walked into Koko Mosaico in Ravenna, Italy.  It was there that he saw the potential of mosaics to translate his paintings into formative artwork. “With these pieces, I wanted to create great contrast and pay tribute to the history of art.  I find taking a painting done in graffiti and recreating it using these ancient techniques helps me to understand the contemporary moment. These works represent to me where we have been and where we are going – they derive their strength from this duality,” he states on MosaicArtNow.


Loren Stump

Loren stumpLoren Stump is a self-taught artist based in California who is taking glass blowing to the next level, making murines, rods of colored glass that are melted together in particular patterns.

The surprise, as with a geode, comes when the glass is sliced open, revealing a scene constructed out of the glass rods that is often inspired by medieval art. The murrina method of glassblowing is more than 4,000 years old and originated in the Middle East, but it’s perhaps most famous to Westerners through its Italian variations, which were developed on the island of Murano. It mostly differs from the well-known millefiori technique, which mostly deals with abstract patterns like stars and flowers, through its attempts at more sophisticated subjects.

It is not just the novelty of Stumps work that makes it so intruiging, it is the quiet beauty of each slice that reveals an amazing complexity and ability.

 

Madonna after pull


Stephanie Hirsch

Stephanie HirschThrough her use of beads, sequins and embroidery, Stephanie Hirsch's canvases are literally 'illuminated' with phrases of enlightenment and hope. Continuing her personal investigations into individual development through text, Hirsch ups the ante by removing the "easy access" of familiar graphic elements inspired by iconic punk-rock album covers and adding a recognizable figurative element. The use of the figurative element humanizes her compositions and is based upon self-portraits driven by her fascination on the whole social media "selfie" craze.  Wanting to delve deeper into how "selfies" create an image of how we want to be portrayed in the world rather than who we actually are, she shot her "selfies" while saying and feeling the emotional content in the compositions.  Hirsch states, "I was also inspired by Cindy Sherman's work titled 'Aging Socialite.' Sherman perfectly executed the daunting look in the eyes that spoke of insecurity and fear of a life no longer lived.  My fear of just existing while living promoted my 'selfie' study as well.  I am also profoundly influenced by Barbara Kruger whose text based work questions autonomy and desire, which I yearn and struggle for within myself."

 

The journey of how Hirsch struggles with her external and internal self creates a unique entry point for the artwork.  The viewer can identify and reflect upon their own personal experiences by simply reading the words and connecting with the visage.  This simple, yet profound shift creates the intimate and introspective underpinning to the work allowing the viewer to oscillate between the beauty of the materials and the message implied. Using insights like "I'd Rather Die on My Feet than Live on My Knees," "I Was Not Built to Break," "We All Find Our Way," and "It's Never Too Late," Hirsch weaves a story of overcoming one's personal adversity and building an inner spirituality that hopefully filters out into the world.

 

Stephanie Hirsch has shown in exhibitions in New York, the Hamptons, Miami and San Francisco. She was a featured artist in Miami Design District's Art Walk (2012) and showcased in the Mercedes Benz VIP lounge at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week (2012).  Hirsch was among 30 artists commissioned to create a unique commemorative crown for display in Harrods (London) in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (2012). Hirsch is the founder of Inca resort wear and author of "Mother Nurture," published by William Morrow (2008).  She lives and works in New York City.

Edward Burne-Jones

Burne-Jones Katie_Lewis Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company.

Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in England; his stained glass works include the windows of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Martin's Church in Brampton, Cumbria, the church designed by Philip Webb, All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge and in Christ Church, Oxford.

Burne-Jones's early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice". In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy). These included The Beguiling of Merlin. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement. In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press's Chaucer in 1896.

To some, Burne-Jone's work is too sentimental. But to others, it is work on a grand and mystical scale. His technique is flawless and through the use of form, color and a dash of drama, the work evokes a majestic historical significance that draws the viewer in. Moody, often to the point of meloncholy, one cannot be but moved when in the presence of a Burne-Jones artwork.