Sunday, 27 February 2011

Wellcome Image Awards 2011

The Wellcome Collection, London, has just announced the winners of its Image Award competition, selected from their recent acquisitions. All the works featured have connections with Medicine or related fields, and often exploit the leading imaging technology available, such as scanning electron microscopes.

Follow this link to a gallery of all 21 images.
Mouse Retina, 4.4mm diameter
Foreleg of a diving beetle

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Petit Palais, Paris

I visited Paris for a few days this week, and aside from taking in some of my favourite works from the familiar major collections, I also made my first trip to the Petit Palais, and found an astonishing range of work - from contemporary photojournalism to bizarre ceramics and understated painting. 

The current temporary exhibition alone made the trip worthwhile. Pierre and Alexandra Boulat's work was scattered throughout the permanent collection, offering some thought-provoking juxtapositions, but the real intensity was saved for the focused room of 100 images from around the world. Afghanistan, Iraq and Yugoslavia offered sombre, upsetting and startling imagery, while pictures of Yves Saint Laurent offered respite but seemed horrendously out of place.

Google Art Project

Google's latest venture, 'Google Art Project' has been receiving a lot of attention in the media this week. Using their Streetview technology, the site enables viewers to explore a growing number of major international art collections, by virtually walking through their buildings, and zooming in on particular works.

The technology allows you to zoom-in on some works to an incredible degree - right down to individual brush-strokes:

Here's a clip of how they went about transforming the collections into virtual tours:

Although the project has some limitations - copyright restrictions in particular reduce the number of available works - but it's a superb tool.  Get stuck in. 

Quinn: Inspiration vs Plagiarism?

Marc Quinn has caused uproar this week, by accusing Swiss fashion house Akris of stealing designs from his paintings and directly using them in their new collection, the Evening Standard reports.

Quinn is particularly well known for his sculpture work - his self-portrait cast in his own frozen blood; his Fourth Plinth work 'Alison Lapper Pregnant', but has also produced a series of vibrant flower paintings.

The paintings were originally exhibited at the White Cube Gallery - Akris' designer, Albert Kriemler, readily admits to visiting them and being 'inspired'. Quinn however feels that his imagery has been taken directly, and says that his studio assistants have matched every piece in the fashion collection to sections from his paintings.

The artist said: "We're not talking about one image in a dress. We're talking about pieces from the Akris collection being made from images copied from my paintings.
"To take someone's copyrighted material and turn it into a commercial product without permission is unacceptable." The artist, from Belsize Park, added: "It's damaging to my ability to use my own images to make clothing. It's destroying potential in the future. If someone's inspired by my work and they go and do something completely different, that's fine. If they take an image directly, it's not fine."

For more on Quinn's flower paintings, follow this link to a Christie's interview. 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Interactive Light Design

Jason Bruges Studio has recently been shortlisted in the interactive category of the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011, currently on exhibit at the Design Museum, London.

Their exhibit, 'Mimosa', was designed to demonstrate the potential of new OLED technology in an innovative and engaging way, by taking influence from the way the Mimosa family of plants shy away when touched.

They have created an interactive surface made up of individual OLED ‘blooms’ which react both mechanically and electronically to gestures over the surface by opening and closing while waves of light flow across the super slim OLEDs.

Below is a short clip of the installation, followed by a clip of the mimosa plant which inspired the work.

(Hat-tip to TWF)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Undercover Art

Artist James Hart Dyke has recently revealed his series of paintings completed while working as Artist in Residence for MI6, the Guardian reports.

Before he was contacted by MI6, who invited him to work in their famous but mysterious landmark building in Vauxhall, London, Hart Dyke had previously worked as a royal artist, and also as an official War Artist in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although he was granted considerable access to the building during his stint as Artist in Residence, along with access to other MI6 buildings in Europe, strict guidelines remained in place - not even his family knew where he was working duriing the residency.

For a gallery of the paintings he has produced, follow this link.

Thursday, 10 February 2011


A new exhibition opening in Dublin is attracting plenty of media attention. "Visceral: The Living Art Exhibition" at the Science Museum brings together a number of crossover artists working in a range of scientific fields, from DNA profiling to tissue-engineering.

One group's exhibit develops their work 'The Semi-Living Worry Dolls'.

The 'Worry Dolls' were the first tissue engineered sculptures to be presented 'alive' in a gallery eleven years ago. Inspired by the Guatemalan worry dolls given to children to whisper their worries and concerns to, these worry dolls were hand crafted out of degradable polymers (PGA and P4HB) and surgical sutures. The dolls are then seeded with living cells that, throughout the exhibition, will gradually replace the polymers within a micro-gravity bioreactor that acts as a surrogate body. The worry dolls become partially alive. 


Interview with the artist:

Friday, 4 February 2011

Human Planet

If you haven't been avidly watching the latest BBC natural history series, you're missing a treat.

The BBC was granted extraordinary permission to film isolated groups of 'uncontacted' Brazilian tribes, by accompanying a regular monitoring flight run by the Indian Affairs group.

Using specialist stabilised zoom lens, they caught incredible images of these groups from over a mile away.

For more information on these 'uncontacted' tribes and for further images, follow this link.

Here's an extract from the BBC film. The full programme is currently available on iplayer. For more info see here.