Delving under the sea’s tranquil blue surface, artist Mariangela Tan‘s Bloom exhibition explores her own surreal ‘floral reef’ setting. Teeming with strange life, one can’t help but be captivated by her Sextopus creations, six-tentacled cephalopods that bear manlike facial features on various sides of its form. Supposedly inspired by the behelit creation from Kentaro Miura‘s Berserk manga, these beasts each peer forth from a cycloptic eye, their mouths resembling mere gaping slits, with their noses being their most humanoid aspect. Based on a needle felted wool soft sculpture that Tan made in 2010, the Sextopus concept emerged anew in 2014 when Tan’s husband, Justin Alan Volpe, cast his original sculpt of the form in resin. Revisiting this collaboration with her beloved, Tan’s Bloom finds four of these Sextopus renditions with gold leaf decorated crowns adorning their heads, denoting them as Princes of the Reef, and another two sans headgear, Lord Sol and Lady Luna, each glistening in colors appropriate for their sun and moon derived names.

But what about the mysterious world that these members of sea nobility rule over? What is this underwater garden of delights that they inhabit? For Bloom, the ‘floral reef’ contains two types of plants that are potentially perfect predators, the first being the Blue Moon Bioluminscent Tentacle Blossoms, displayed in five unique renditions. Lured in by the beauty of their hand cut and sculpted crepe paper blue rose bodies and shimmering gold leaves, it’s easy to imagine unsuspecting fish finding themselves in the grasp of the flower’s resin cast tentacle. And the same imagery holds true for the other blossoming form, the massive Bunnemone. A dahlia whose delicate crepe paper petals partially conceal the needle felted sea anemone tendrils emerging forth, they seem eternally ready to curl around those passing by and deliver them as morsels to the rabbit face found in its core.

Mariangela Tan’s Bloom Overview

Mariangela Tan’s Bloom solo exhibition at Clutter Magazine Gallery had its opening reception on Saturday, September 9th from 6-9pm. All works in this exhibition will remain on display until October 6th, 2017 at the gallery’s physical location (163 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

For more information on Mariangela Tan:
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