It was quite the year for art! What better way to look back on 2012 than with some of the most magnificent sculptures, drawings, paintings, and installations we witnessed this year? From a rain room where you don’t get wet to an incredibly realistic ballpoint pen drawing, these artworks will forever be etched into our memory both for their unbelievable creativity and their near flawless execution. If you want to see what made our jaw-drop last year, check out 10 Most Awe-Inspiring Projects of 2011.
Amsterdam-based artist Berndnaut Smilde creates clouds inside rooms using a combination of smoke, moisture, and dramatic lighting. Nimbus II (featured above) was visible only for a few minutes at Hotel MariaKapel in Hoorn, near Amsterdam.
At the Curve in the Barbican Centre in London, is an amazing installation that runs until March 3, 2013. Random International Studio is behind the Rain Room, an exhibition where visitors can experience the pitter patter sound of raindrops hitting the ground and the moisture in the air without actually getting wet.
This past summer, in Agueda, Portugal, these colorful canopies of umbrellas were created by designers at Ivo Tavares Studio as part of an art festival called Agitagueda. Ivo Tavares wanted to “transform the public walk by providing an interesting variation of color contrast and hues with the correct amount of given daylight.” The public art installation was called Colorful Umbrellas.
Artist Simon Beck spends his days plodding through the snow in raquettes (or snowshoes), creating these sensational patterns of snow art. Working for 5-9 hours a day, each final piece is typically the size of three soccer fields. The geometric forms range in mathematical patterns and shapes that create stunning, sometimes 3D, designs when viewed from high levels.
Redhead Girl was created by Portugal-based art enthusiast Samuel Silva. He used colorful pens and blended them in, using a crosshatching method, for this near unbelievable portrait.
Using materials that include stone clay, epoxy putty, copper line, plastic, and resin, Japanese artist Takanori Aiba created this fantastical sculpture, called Bonsai-B, that looks like someone has taken up residence in this bonsai tree.
Mario S. Nevado (aka Aegis Strife) created one of the most striking photo manipulations we came across this year. Called Deliberation, it was of a a stunning statue in incredible distress as she’s burning up from within.
Out of all the outdoor art projects this year, who could forget the LEGO bridge? German street artist MEGX (or Martin Heuwold) painted over a train overpass in Wuppertal, Germany so that it looked like it was constructed of LEGO bricks. Along with the help of city officials, it took the artist 4 weeks to complete.
Elementary school art teacher turned stay-at-home mom Adonna Khare nabbed the top spot and $200,000 in cash at ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition. Her 13-feet tall by 40-feet wide pencil drawing, titled Elephants, was a highly personal piece. “It’s kind of a biography of my life transplanted into animals,” she said. “Sad things like loss and sickness, and happy things like the birth of my daughter.”
Artist Gabby O’Connor wins this year’s prize for creating the most gorgeous sculpture out of the most ordinary material, that is, tissue paper. Called What Lies Beneath, it’s a huge installation that resembles an iceberg. Hanging from the ceiling, it’s made up of thousands of small paper triangles dyed in shades of blue-green, coated in shellac and then put together with thousands of staples. Similar to stained glass, light passes through the thin paper casting, through tiny individual holes, creating a gorgeous glow inside the room.
David Oliveira caught our attention this year with his wire sculptures that look like 3D drawings. He twists and turns wire into a variety of forms including human beings, who seem to magically float in mid-air. Oliveira uses invisible filament to create the illusion that his pieces are floating or, in some cases, moving.
Artist Tigran Tsitoghdzyan created this larger than life painting, titled Mirror. It shows a woman unsuccessfully hiding behind a pair of hands. The surreal piece is meant to reflect today’s Internet culture, where it’s becomes exceedingly difficult to reach any level of anonymity.