Sunday, April 22, 2012

Clouds: Part 4

Berndnaut Smilde's Nimbus II was all over the internet this spring. I can't stop thinking about this magical event of an artist creating his own cloud wishing I could apply it to my water samples (Could I make water? Dream on). I don't know how long it lasts but the fact that it exists as a lamda print and not an installation, tells me it is a fleeting situation, just like a real cloud passing quickly by in the atmosphere.

Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus II, 2012

Bryan Nelson writes: "The clouds are generated using a smoke machine, but Smilde must carefully monitor a room's humidity and atmosphere in order to get the smoke to hang so elegantly, and with such life-like form. Backlighting is used to bring out shadows from within the cloud, to give it that look of a looming and ominous rain cloud."

Clouds often cover up the things I long to see - the ocean, the blue sky, the city below me from the airplane above, etc. In some circumstances, I wish for the cloud on the horizon to be disguising the Thirteeners that are thousands of miles away from where I live now. I know the mountain range is on the other side of the soybean field but a cumulus just happens to be in the way. Yes, I can pretend. Perhaps Smilde's nimbus hides something about the room - the warehouse that looks like a chapel. What is the sort of thing that lies behind this cloud in a space like this? What is it distracting me from and why?

Another one of my favorite artists, Leandro Erlich, is also working with clouds as seen from this photograph from the Armory Show via

Leandro Erlich, La Vitrina Cloud Collection (London), 2011

I am not sure how these clouds are printed on glass but they are layered like Dexter's blood samples lined up in a row. They become specimen but the cool blue light and the variety of shapes still indicates they are still a magical object to behold.

Leandro Erlich, Sklylight, The Clouds Story, 2009

Clouds are not a new subject for Erlich but these take on a more comical, Vik Muniz like approach in their unlikely yet specific formations.

Finally, two other clouds that I've been wanting to post:

Kevin Van Aelst, Common Clouds, 2007

Nina Leen, Unknown Woman Eating Cotton Candy

I am always thinking about clouds.

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