me

Hello there, we are a modest creative studio specialised in visual communication. Clear, unpretentious communication — that’s our goal. From defining the objectives, through employing the necessary tools towards a meaningful design.
Woodland Studio is founded by Els Gielen (Els Gielen Photography) and Joël Neelen (Dada Design) — employing the principles of visual communication and a natural outcome of our common professional aspirations for relevant photography, graphic design, typography and copywriting. Our creative studio operates between Belgium and Norway.

PHOTOGRAPHY. We have a soft spot for portraiture that captures the personality of the subject. We also love nature — shooting landscapes forces us to get outside and find the beauty around us. Sometimes this means discovering places right in front of our eyes that we just never noticed were beautiful before. Other times this means exploring new places and getting out on a hike or nature walk.
GRAFIK DESIGN. We are passionate about logo design, the challenges of rebranding and typography. We can create your logo from scratch or update your existing brand. We love clean, simple & unique designs. We also enjoy crafting corporate identities, editorial design and illustration. We create and layout magazines, from initial concept development to art working. And we do (photo)book work.
WHITE WØLF. We also present our photo gallery. White Wølf gives us the chance to show a series of photographs of our choosing by which we aim to test our self-management, research, critical and creative looking skills. Check it out. All the photographs are for sale too.

Our Portfolio

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Woodland stories

Our journal of inspirations



In 2016 I started designing and publishing a free printed magazine, but after four editions it came to an abrupt end because I no longer found sufficient financial resources. In 2020 it started to itch again to share something about my sources of inspiration and interests with a larger community. Woodland stories tries to fill this void.


Because of the volatility of the internet, everything goes very fast. Time seems to go faster and faster. We will have to share relevant information more consciously. So no short news items to get a quick impression but clear, comprehensive information in which the reader makes a conscious choice to deepen. Therefore I present Woodland stories that explores our personal interests and introduces in-depth stories about contemporary visual artists, outstanding craftsmen and fascinating photographers which motivate us to find creative inspiration.

Woodland Stories contains the art of both emerging and established creators from around the world. We bring you stories from a real world in a down to earth perspective. Artists inspire others by sharing thoughts and observations. It's been called a different kind of healing. Art has its own way of inspiring others through storytelling.

It is a silent wish to acquire a work from each of these inspiring craftsmen, as in a kind of personal museum, but for now I have to put up with a collection of their splendid books.

We hope that this digital platform will bring you into contact with the work of inventive artists, innovative designers and imaginative photographers you haven't heard of before and who will motivate you to achieve your dreams and goals as they inspired us.

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NEGATIVE SPACE

Known for his use of negative space and playful hidden messages, Israeli illustrator and graphic designer Noma Bar (1973) cleverly creates some thought-provoking illustrations, often with double meaning. The ability to tell a story through a few, well-considered marks is a skill that Bar has carefully mastered over the years. With a deft touch he can imbue simple graphic forms with political and social commentary, or manipulate everyday icons to create witty, double-take images that make you look once, twice, three times. Noma Bar can reduce the graphic nature of a topic without losing how profound the message it is, or place something in the mainstream media that might be too difficult to convey in another way. By finding the positive within the negative space, he is able to confidently present a subject, leaving you to discover the ... Read more...

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SQUEEGEE !

Simon Marchner (1989) is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator based in Munich, Germany. He is specialized in music related designs such as tour posters, album artworks, merchandise etc. If musicians, bands or festival organizers are looking for something very special then Simon Marchner is the right address. He does not deliver announcement posters that hang on advertising pillars or power boxes, but art prints. Marchner creates the special graphics he designed himself by hand using the screen printing process. His minimalist style is mainly used for silkscreen printed limited edition posters, unique pieces, signed and numbered in pencil by the artist. The works of art are then sold on the evening of the concert or given away to fans. His customers include such well-known bands as Band of Horses, Bob Mould, ... Read more...

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TO GRIT OR NOT TO GRID

Back in the late 1990s 'Ray Gun' was one of my favourite print publications, due largely to it’s random, scratchy, typography that blended the original Swiss Style with a more personal hand-crafted approach. The man responsible for this hybrid aesthetic, that became known as “Swiss Grit”, was Chris Ashworth. If you've ever seen a copy of 'Ray Gun', the experimental rock-and-roll magazine that ran from 1992-1999, you might recognize the raw grungy aesthetic uniting many of its covers. It was the most eye-catching, explorative and downright irreverent magazine of its time. Chris Ashworth is a British designer and typographer who worked on 15 issues of the publication. A devout adherent to the analog process, Ashworth's hands-on directness created hugely flawed and beautifully imperfect typographic works stands out ... Read more...

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LIFE AT THE EDGES OF THE WORLD

Russian wildlife photographer Sergey Gorshkov (1966) has been fascinated by nature since he was a child growing up in a remote Siberian village surrounded by the arctic wilderness. It took 40 years until he became a full-time wildlife photographer and now he is the founding member of the Russian Union of wildlife photographers. Especially fond of traveling to remote areas previously uncaptured, the insightful, raw nature of his imagery shows a sensitivity in working with untamed nature and its inhabitants. His main goal is to preserve the richness of nature through photography, his focus is on the wild world. Sergey Gorshkov has spent years photographing animals in remote places, such as Wrangel Island, which is located in the Arctic Sea. Among his many awards, Gorshkov has twice been voted Russia's Photographer of the year, and ... Read more...

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INTO THE WILD

After 30 years filming wild and wonderful creatures in remote areas of the planet, Gordon Buchanan (1972) has a reputation for relishing dangerous and tough assignments. He has taken part in challenging expeditions and adventures around the globe, always with a view to raising awareness of the fragility of the world’s endangered species and habitats. He has travelled to some of the world’s remotest corners, striving to convey the wonder and beauty of the natural world that we share the planet with. Scottish wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan grew up on the hills and shores around his home on the Isle of Mull, where he spent his childhood in awe of David Attenborough. Unlike most other wildlife cameramen, he lives up close and personal with them in their natural habitat. Bottle feeding, cuddling ... Read more...

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THE IMPOSSIBLE BAND

Iceland music has its specifics and rules. Being original, give space to other types of arts and put effort to differentiate from the rest of the scene. These traits fits to the description of one of the most interesting Iceland groups which has not suppressed its uniqueness although they were considered as strangers. Connoisseurs of the enchanting music in the style of electro house will be able to enjoy the incredible energy, sensuality and craftsmanship of the Icelandic band GusGus. Pure euphoria soft vocals, singing about love, sex and fame, and precise rhythms. One of the most influential electronic acts to hail from the North, the quirky, several-member coed band from Reykjavík has paved the wave for the Icelandic electronic scene for over two decades, boasts countless collaborations and has earned them a reputation as one of the most ... Read more...

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A NONVERBAL LANGUAGE

The high days of Belgian ‘contemporary’ dance are far from over. Old names are still going strong, new names are making fame, and ‘contemporary’ dance is breaking out of its borders. Belgian dance companies are a good argument for banishing the term ‘contemporary’. Isn't it a silly term? Unlike ‘modern’, which projected futures for a range of now­failed ideologies and left its own archaeology, ‘contemporary’ has no historic potentiality. I admire Belgian choreographers' indifference to the contemporary. Their work has a solemnity that stands out in an increasingly shrill dance world. Belgium is still the place to be. It is a hotbed of dance talent. Performing arts lead us to experience a wide range of sensations. Dancing is one of the most powerful means to strike our feeling for creativity. Classic or contemporary, it’s always ... Read more...

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I WRITE WHAT I CANNOT PAINT

In the oeuvre of Pierre Alechinsky (Brussels, 1927), unbridled imagination goes hand in hand with a spontaneous and direct way of working. His lyrical, evocative work reveals, among other things, the influence of Eastern calligraphy. He creates a very personal universe with (primal) signs and images that have a mythical charge. Over the years, a rich body of work has been created that has earned the artist a broad international appreciation. Renowned for his overwhelming powerful brush work as well as his unique ambivalent style between figurative and abstract, Pierre Alechinsky is one of the representative Belgian contemporary artists. It was within the activities of an avant-garde artistic group CoBrA, that Alechinsky distinguished himself in the postwar art scene. While being exemplary of continuity and ... Read more...

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SPATIAL PUZZLE-LIKE INSIGHTS

Swedish installation artist Michael Johansson (1975) re-contextualises the readymade, freeing mundane objects from their function to produce geometric sculptures and neatly constructed installations. His art pieces are recognisable yet unique, archaeologies of everyday life compressed into rectangles or cubes. Playfulness and a great sense of humour characterizes the art of Michael Johansson, obsessed with investigating and defining the limits and possibilities of space and objects. He plays with things by arranging them as a puzzle to fill a selected space of any kind or dimension. Just about any space is a spatial canvas for Johansson. Driven by the agenda to densify the world, objects are morphed into precisely stacked rectangular shapes, connected to a certain place, where their original purpose are ... Read more...

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CYCLING NOSTALGIA

With a very extensive portfolio that appeals to everyone's imagination, Italian illustrator, painter and cartoonist, Riccardo Guasco (1975), tries to convey the introspective side of athletes with his designs using warm colours, Cubism like form play and a hint of humour. He is endowed with that peculiar form of sensitivity in which formal grace goes hand in hand with delicacy of intention. Just look at any of his awe-inspiring illustrations and paint artworks, whether an advertisement or a magazine cover, and you will always see the touch of wonder that is the prerogative of a poetic vision. The resulting works will also make your eyes smile. If you’re someone who revels in cycling nostalgia, especially the artistic side of things, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ve come across the heroic cycling art of Riccardo Guasco. Read more...

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NIGHT BIRDS IN LIGHT

David (1970) and Stéphanie Allemand (1974) released a majestic and sumptuous book called Owls, the very first in Europe. It is the result of ten years of photographic work and travelling through European countries to bring the nocturnes to light. In this mighty book, they share with us some of their secrets used to photograph these raptors but also some rather fascinating anecdotes about their experiences. Owls is a collection of stories, motionless images of their meetings, words put on feelings, their artistic vision. It gives us a glimpse of the fantastic world of these singular birds. We get the chance to taste the poetry of the fleeting moments. Photographed in natural diurnal light, at dawn or in the twilight, the night birds reveal their different faces. Read more...

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SIMPLIFIED TO PERFECTION

Malika Favre (1982) is a French Algerian artist who needs little introduction. Her work is incredibly popular, largely due to its instantly recognisable style that sees her create beautifully bold vector illustrations with her unique skill at the art of simplifying down an image to its bare essentials. When we set eyes on the creations of Malika Favre, it’s as if our entire imagination has been seized by a spiral of colours and patterns. Clear flat tints, asserted like an encounter between Pop Art and Op Art, two movements that evoke the sixties. A sort of time machine made of lines and counter-forms where simplicity reigns supreme. The use of positive and negative space plus colour creates a strong visual aesthetic that has established her as one of the most sought after graphic artists. Meet the illustrator behind the seamless ... Read more...

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A DEEP, GRITTY-SOUNDING VOICE

A singer recognized for his deep baritone, brooding delivery, and meditative, literate lyrics, Matt Berninger (1971) rose to fame during the 2000s as frontman of Brooklyn indie rockers The National, defined by their somber rock tunes, and his longtime artistic project, EL VY. Matt Berninger is a master of vocal monotony and skillful wordsmith, the man is an enigma who adds his aura of sadness to the crescendoing hymns. But before he found fame in music, Berninger studied at DAAP (University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning), then put his degree to work as successful Creative Designer, including being involved in New York's dot-com boom. Read more...

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PATTERNS IN JAZZ

Who knows the American design guru Reid Miles (1927-1993)? Miles is the guy who designed Blue Note in his own, distinctive style but not much has been written about him in the jazz press and if you ask most jazz fans very few will even know his name. Reid Miles is one of the unsung heroes of jazz history but there's absolutely no doubt that the cover art he produced for Blue Note Records in the 50’s and 60’s is an example of iconic graphic design. And Miles' designs still stand today. In the world of graphic design he's often been described as a genius, ahead of his time, and the way he treated the typography as visual elements that can be broken apart and form something new still feels fresh. Miles designed more than 500 jazz sleeves for Blue Note Records and together with photographer Francis Wolff ... Read more...

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AS CLOSE TO NATURE AS POSSIBLE

It's safe to say that Belgian photographer Frederik Buyckx (1984) has been quite successful since 2017. He was shortlisted in the ZEISS Photography Award with his series Horse Head, and was also announced as Professional Photographer of the Year at the Sony World Photography Awards. In his work Buyckx explores remote areas where nature can be overwhelmingly beautiful and unpredictably harsh. In doing so, he systematically sounds out the ultimate boundaries of the elements. Encounters with unique people are often the occasion for a photo series. In his impressive award-winning series Horse Head, he documents in an inimitable way — and on horseback himself — the isolated lifestyle of semi-nomadic shepherds in Kyrgyzstan. He sought to reconnect with nature in an ongoing project that’s ... Read more...

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A PAINFUL BEAUTY

In his work, the Belgian painter Hervé Martijn (1961) presents a haunting image of the fragile, vulnerable human being, who, stripped of all cultural references, falls back on his naked existence. He makes whispering, noiseless paintings in which the human form is reduced to a shadowy appearance. His musing painting offer precious moments of deepening and reflection. At the same time, this artist creates a detached image of humanity that is permeated with a certain feeling of alienation. At no point do his ashy-colored paintings impose themselves on the viewer, but the ascetic and restrained climate always continues to prevail. Do we as viewers feel like a voyeur or an engaged spectator, who ends a storyline that the artist has set out for us? Read more...

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MINIATURE CALENDER

A new generation Japanese artist, author and photographer, Tatsuya Tanaka (1981), has built almost uncountable worlds, turning everyday objects into miniature scenes, such as bed sheets as wavy waters, staples as hurdles, and broccoli as trees. He has a fantastic and fascinating way of looking at our lives and the every day objects in our homes around us. What began as a fun endeavour has taken the world by storm, causing him to create dioramas of daily life in miniature and take photographs of his works — sharing one each day to encourage us to consider everyday life from a miniature point of view. In all, the artist’s numerous charming creations, made every day since 2011, is the foundation of his ongoing miniature calendar. His work has made him an internet sensation and has earned him more than ... Read more...

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OUT OF THE WOODS

Roman Klonek, born in Poland (1969) during the communist period, is an internationally known representative of contemporary print art. His childhood was strongly influenced with comic and cartoon culture. Therefore he has a spot for old fashioned cartoons, especially Eastern European styles. While he studied Graphic Arts in Düsseldorf during the 1990s, Klonek discovered his passion for woodcut printing. Bizarre creatures, metamorphoses of humans and animals, meet and show themselves in a pop surreal environment. Striking are typographic elements of Cyrillic and Asian characters. Roman Klonek creates unique posters with a wide range of whimsical creatures, mostly half animal/half human, preferably in awkward situations. His work is best described by a fresh, bizarre balancing act between propaganda, folklore and pop. Read more...

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GATEWAY TO THE ARCTIC

Audun Rikardsen (1968) is a Norwegian biologist and wildlife photographer. He is professor at the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology at University of Tromsø. Among other things, Rikardsen has researched how satellite marking of wild salmon can map the fish's migrations. Being a scientist, Rikardsen uses photography as a helpful tool to show his scientific results. For example, he photographs whales to capture the fluke — the backside of the tail of the whale — which works as a fingerprint. Then we can compare that photograph with databases in other parts of the world, and in that way identify the migration of whales between those areas. As a photographer, he has especially experimented with split-level photography taking pictures with a combined surface and underwater camera. Read more...

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PUNCHY AND IMPUDENT ART

Eglė Žvirblytė is a Lithuanian multidisciplinary artist and illustrator based in London. She creates bright, feisty and irreverent work that melts your heart, kicks your butt and tickles your funny bone. "My body is my temple". That’s one of the mantras of Žvirblytė, who built her artistic career on important themes, such as identity and female power. Her vibrant, humorous illustrations are a juicy, in-your-face explosion that explores human relationships with themselves and the surrounding universe. It stems from her personal experiences yet at the same time is an open invitation for anyone to participate and bring their own story into it. Read more...

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THE ETERNAL AMAZEMENT

Born in 1976, Vincent Munier lives in the Vosges (France), his homeland, thus cultivating permanent contact with wild nature. He chooses photography to express his dreams, his emotions and his encounters. After his various successes in the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2000, 2001 and 2002, he decided to devote himself entirely to photography. Nowadays Vincent Munier is one of the most famous nature photographers. His images have been exhibited in various countries and are the subject of numerous publications in wildlife magazines. At the end of 2018, his work was chosen by Reporters Without Borders to appear in their magazine 100 Photos de Vincent Munier pour la liberté de la presse. Munier is more than a photographer, he's a true artist, a poet of the image. Read more...

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LIFELIKE WOOD SCULPTURES

Bruno Walpoth (1959, Italy) can practically turn wood into flesh. The Italian artist has a knack for creating haunting, incredibly lifelike sculptures carved out of wood. His works somehow manage to capture the expressiveness in a person’s eyes and the body’s fleshy curves. Having grown up with a lineage of grandfathers and an uncle who were distinguished woodcarvers, Walpoth has eagerly chosen to follow their practice, incorporating his own contemporary ideas to the craft. Inspired by all forms of art that lie beyond wood carving and sculptures, Walpoth approaches solid slabs of wood with a creative outlook, transforming them into intricately detailed figures in the likeness of men and women. Read more...

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BEYOND NO MAN’S LAND

Before 2012, Jan Erik Waider (1984) was a web designer who took photos for fun. Nowadays, this landscape photographer splits his time between Hamburg, Germany and exploring the raw, haunting stillness and ghostly tranquility of the Nordic countries. In each of these locations Waider seeks the most remote and hidden locations, wishing to present rarely seen perspectives of the native landscape to a larger audience. Waider skillfully captures the rugged charm and pristine beauty of Nordic nature. He’s not a blue-sky kind of guy. On sunny days, he puts his camera away.
Waider has built his brand, known as Northlandscapes, by seeking out locations that make most people shiver just to think of them. Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard — if it's cold, the climate is ... Read more...

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ABSTRACT AERIAL LANDSCAPES

Graphic Designer Tom Hegen (1991, Germany) began to focus more and more on photography. Sitting at the window and seeing the earth from above on a long flight from Germany to New Zealand inspired his love for aerial photography. It takes a second to orient yourself to the bright colors, geometric shapes, and gritty textures of his Antropocene photography.
Tom Hegen shows us the beauty of the earth and also how people have shaped it. This is the common thread that unites all of the works in his oeuvre. Hegen reflects on how mankind interferes with nature, showing us the traces we leave behind. He's trying to sensitize the viewer for those subjects by taking a look on the extraordinary forces impacting our environment. And yet he does this in the most seductive of ways: with ... Read more...

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CALM WATERS

Mariá Švarbová (1988, Slovakia) originally studied conservation-restoration and archeology before dedicating herself to photography in 2010. Regarding her largest series, 'Swimming Pool', originating in 2014 and continuing to develop to date. The building is 80 years old and dates back to a time when swimming was more of a social duty than a sport, which is maybe why it’s such a sterile place. She was struck by the calmness of the water, its mirror-like reflections and the many signs!
There is almost a theatrical quality to the highly controlled sceneries that Maria captures. The figures are mid-movement, but there is no joyful playfulness to them. Frozen in the composition, the swimmers are as smooth and cold as the pools tiles. The colors softly vibrate in a dream-like ... Read more...

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VICTORIAN-ERA POOLSIDE

Soo Burnell is an Edinburgh based photographer. Her collection titled ‘Poolside’, which focuses on her passion for architecture. Soo captured the architecture of historic swimming pools by highlighting the striking geometry, dramatic proportions, the stillness of the water and dreamy colour palette of each space. Focussed on careful composition with the inclusion of statue-like figures — who wear vintage swimming caps as a nod to the period of the architecture — to scale the architecture. The effect is minimal and restrained yet also dynamic in proportion and detail, as Soo offers a mesmerising glimpses into these ‘hidden’ spaces. Read more...

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TYPOGRAPHIC ABSTRACTION

The Typographic Abstraction collages by Cecil Touchon (1956, Texas) are made by chopping of letters and using the elements to create new abstract forms as a kind of concrete poetry. It is through his work in collage that he has made a lasting mark on the world. He creates collages where he deconstructs found language, dismantling text from all kinds of sources including street posters, old books, emails, fabricated papers, etc. He cuts them up into sub-letter units and reassembles them into collages that are new forms of order. Stripped of literary meaning, these works rely on composition, rhythm and visual movement to convey their meaning which is ambiguous and intuitive. Read more...

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PUBLIC ART. WHY NOT?

Gordon Young is a British visual artist who focuses on creating art for the public domain, often including typographical elements. His work ranges from sculptures to typographic pavements. The common denominator for all projects is the basis of relevance to the surroundings. Gordon has a collaborative approach to working and has built up over the years strong and fruitful relationships with a diverse range of people from architects, landscape architects, graphic designers and engineers to foresters, cyclists, librarians, climbers, ornithologists, historians and code breakers. In collaboration with Why Not Associates, Gordon Young created Comedy Carpet as part of the major regeneration of the promenade at Blackpool. 300 slabs of granite cover around 2200m² making it one of the largest and most complex pieces of public art ever commissioned in the UK. Read more...

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DIFFERENT KINDS OF READING

The Belgian artist Denmark — Marc Robbroeckx — (1951, Belgium) uses the printed products of the information age, including daily papers, leisure, job, beauty and lifestyle magazines, and the mountains of books we produce, as materials for his art. He has rendered this over-whelming flood of information and sensory stimulation into unintelligible matter since 1972. His works symbolize the consequences of our waste-producing culture by suggesting a way to deal with the ceaseless flood of information. In making print products into art he combines traditional forms of conservation, such as storage in preserve jars, bottles and sealed plastic bags, compacting and freezing, with forms of disposal including pulverization, cutting and burning. Read more...

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HIGHWAY CODE

Rosalie Gascoigne (1917-1999) — a highly regarded New Zealand-born Australian sculptor and assemblage artist — is best known for her distinctive and poetic assemblages of mostly found materials: wood, iron, wire, feathers, and yellow and orange retro-reflective road signs. Gascoigne brought these items from everyday life into new frames of reference, often finding beauty in overlooked things that had been discarded and left to weather.
In 1974, at the age of 57, she had her first exhibition. Her highly successful first solo exhibition was followed by an exceptionally rapid rise to recognition as one of Australia’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Martin Gascoigne has written a book cataloguing his mother's complete body of artwork; Rosalie Gascoigne: A catalogue raisonné. Read more...

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