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These 10 Artworks Tell the Story of Modern Mosaic Art

Cover Photo: Courtesy of Luca Barberini

Modern mosaic art can be quite dense and difficult to understand because modern mosaicists are challenged to craft artworks that go beyond the obvious. Instead of creating decorative mosaics of realistic landscapes and still lifes, they developed a mode of communication to transmit a sort of message to the viewers.

This article offers an amenable overview of modern mosaic art through 10 mosaic artworks. From Sonia King’s mosaics of coded messages and cryptic communications to Luca Barberini’s hypnotized characters, each mosaic has its own story but also reflects bigger tendencies in the world of modern mosaic art.

These 10 mosaics are not meant to be a “Top 10” list, but an intentional selection of modern mosaics that allow debate of some of the most prominent paradigms of contemporary mosaic art today.

Sonia King

The story of contemporary mosaic art will remain incomplete without Sonia King. Earlier this year, the legendary mosaic artist was featured in “10 of the world’s most inspiring women mosaicists” as one of the pioneers of contemporary mosaic art.

Aside from being one of the most successful modern mosaicists in the history of the art form, Sonia has inspired some of the most extraordinary artists who follow her technique and experiment with innovative compositions.

Copyrighted Credits to Sonia King

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Enzo Valentinuz

When you think of the story of modern mosaic art what comes to mind?  How about pioneering, revolutionary, and risk-taking? When I think of these qualities the first mosaicist that comes to mind is, of course, Enzo Valentinuz!

As far as contemporary mosaic artists go, there seems to be one who stands out from all the rest. The Italian Artist Valentinuz creates hue-defying mosaics using natural and vibrant elements.

Copyrighted Credits to Enzo Valentinuz

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Kate Jessup

Kate Jessup is one of three first American mosaicists to enter the permanent collection of contemporary mosaic art at the Museo Della Citta di Ravenna, with some of Italy’s most revered masters like Signorini, Pope, De Luca, Nittolo, and Palladino

Her mosaics are particularly provocative in that she uses eccentric materials as she strives to achieve an everlasting union between process, content, materials and creative intent.

Copyrighted Credits to Kate Jessup

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Helen Miles

I’m one of the greatest fans of Helen Miles, her insightful writing never fails to inspire me! The enthusiasm she portrays on her blog is as real as the fact that she started crafting her mosaics with all the great qualities that make an artist stand out!

Like Enzo Valentinoz, Helen Miles is a mosaicist who stands out from all the rest. Her mosaics are a marriage of traditional and modern style, finishes, and materials. Whether she’s taking pictures of geological mosaics or creating mosaic artworks, Helen can conjure up the story of modern mosaics all around her.

Copyrighted Credits to Helen Miles

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Tarmac and pebbles, New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

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Flaking paint on the wooden door, Perthshire, Scotland. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

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Rock strata, Kalamaki beach, Pelion, Greece. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

Julie Sperling

Canadian mosaicist Julie Sperling, explores various climate change trends and concepts, from rising temperatures to ocean acidification and the difference between weather and climate.

Most recently, Sperling took over the outstanding SAMA Detroit, where she included a mosaic about how size matters to her “Fiddling While Rome Burns” collection. Created using one piece of mookaite courtesy of Marian Shapiro, this mosaic was entitled “Enough (Size matters)”.

Copyrighted Credits to Julie Sperling

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Ariane Blanquet

French artist Ariane Blanquet mainly works with one material(marble), but what she can do with it is highly impressive. Though she’s skilled at creating sparkling black and white photographs, it’s her modern mosaic artworks that set her apart from the rest.

From her latest exhibition, at the Grand-Palais in Paris, Ariane Blanquet presents “Mutter” alongside her latest mosaic creations.

Copyrighted Credits to Ariane Blanquet Contemporary-Mosaic-Artwork

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Charles NGUYEN VAN DU

Vietnam-born, France-based artist Charles NGUYEN uses an old technique, modernizes it and takes it to a different level. Using marbles, semi-precious gemstones, glass pastes, shale, pearl and coral, Charles cuts, shapes and then glues them to create impressive modern mosaics.

His mosaics offer multiple perspectives depending on the angle of perception and the intensity of light. This is particularly noticeable in most of his creations.

Copyrighted Credits to Charles Nguyen Van Du

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Luca Barberini

How could I create a list of modern mosaic artists and not include the Italian artist Luca Barberini? The legendary mosaicist reached pronounced originality and expressive force. A manifesto to his style, Folla (Crowd) was bought by the Museo d’Arte Della Città of Ravenna.

Although he works in a wide variety of materials, Luca is currently known for crafting mosaics of modern and hypnotized characters.

Copyrighted Credits to Luca Barberini

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Nathalie Benoist

Sometimes, all a traditional mosaic needs in order to be modernized is a bit of abstraction. Specializing in textile art and painting, French artist Nathalie Benoist transforms still mosaics into kinetic masterworks.

Whether she’s bonding a pile of marble stones or creating a passageway of wandering figures, Benoist can influence modernity all around her.

Copyrighted Credits to Nathalie Benoist 

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Rachel Bremner

Last but certainly not least, Rachel Bremner, a multi-award winning Tasmanian-based mosaicist, crafting with traditional materials the story of contemporary mosaic art! Like many of the great mosaic artists, Bremner’s “Sunflower” mosaic has become a beloved work of art in its own right.

Now thanks to Mosaic Art Now, her sublime mosaic has been given a great popularity and public acknowledgment. This artwork has also won the First Prize in MAANZ Victoria’s Exhibit, “Art from the Heart.”

Copyrighted Credits to Rachel Bremner

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If you liked this article, you may also want to read 10 Mosaic Artists Claiming Their Place in Firenze 

At some point, we can all lose count of the number of artists who speak to our innermost selves with innovative art pieces.In case I missed any of your favorite mosaicists, you can always mention them in the comment box below. Who Knows? You might see them in future articles!

Who do you think will be the leader of the contemporary mosaic art scene? Let him know in the comment box below!

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