Kahlo is Mexico’s most famous woman artist. She died in the 1950’s after a life of chronic pain from a terrible bus accident she was involved in. I mention this only because her suffering is something she includes in her paintings, many of which are self portraits. She was self taught, married to the muralist, Diego Rivera…more than once, had an affair with Trotsky…such a fascinating person and such an expressive painter!
Running concurrently with Neoclassicism was Romanticism. These two styles/theories about art couldn’t have been more different. The Romanticists, lead by Delacroix, were passionate and their work reflected it. Delacroix painted scenes from the French Revolution, the war between the Greeks and the Turks and mythical scenes full of drama and action.
David was perhaps the first artist promoter! He did numerous portraits of Napoleon…made him look ‘larger than life’ …which in this case…was a help cuz…he was short!!! So short! David was a Neoclassicist. This group of artists painted in a refined way, no brushstrokes showing! They were drawn to the purity of the ‘classical’ art of Greece and Rome.
This is a quote from Michael Ray Charles… “A lot of Blacks don’t want to see images like mine; perhaps they bring up too much pain,” asserts Charles. “A lot of whites are embarrassed and feel ashamed by them. But out of sight, out of mind doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It happened, and I feel it has not been dealt with.” This work is hard for me to discuss. I'm not a black person. It probably wouldn't be ok for me to create this work. It wouldn't have meaning. Only a black person could be so outrageous! Yes!!!
There's a really interesting exhibit at the Currier Museum in Manchester NH this month. It's a show of contemporary works of cut paper. For me there were a couple of things that really struck me. One was that there was a certain compulsion involved. I don't think an ordinary person could do most of this work...it's just too tedious and requires months of obsessive, repetitive work with a very small sharp blade. The second is that for most of the pieces...the decisions were made before the work began. Nothing happened spontaneously. So for this post I've choses artists...some current and others not who have worked intuitively without much pre-planning...well, I don't know for sure but the work looks that way. Artists in order: Mark Wagner, Barb Hunt, Adam Fowler, Henry Matisse, Sarah Sze
Clemente has used the figure as his primary subject in painting. He has drawn from other cultures, symbols from Indian and Brazilian religions and even the Tarot. He is also influenced by thinkers and philosophers such as William Blake and Allen Ginsberg
The French word "salmagondis" means a hodgepodge or mix of widely disparate things. This also describes the members of the famous Salmagundi Club in NY and the wide variety of work produced by it’s members. It lives on in the present day! I’ve gathered some images from historical members. NC Wyeth, William Merritt Chase, Louis Tiffany, Maynard Dixon and Childe Hassam...in that order.
Robert Voerman is a Dutch artist. The theme of much of his work has to do with architecture in sort of post apocalyptic city scapes. I’ve always thought of ‘apocalypse’ as a word describing the end of the world… like the movie Mad Max. But Voerman’s paintings sometimes describe a Utopia…a new world after the fall. I have recently finished a series of books by James Howard Kunstler, about a small town in upstate NY trying to establish a new society after the Apocalypse. I found it fascinating and quite postitiveRobert Voerman is a Dutch artist. The theme of much of his work has to do with architecture in sort of post apocalyptic city scapes. I’ve always thought of ‘apocalypse’ as a word describing the end of the world… like the movie Mad Max. But Voerman’s paintings sometimes describe a Utopia…a new world after the fall. I have recently finished a series of books by James Howard Kunstler, about a small town in upstate NY trying to establish a new society after the Apocalypse. I found it fascinating and quite postitive
Originally from Kenya Mutu lives and works in Brooklyn. She graduated from Cooper Union and Pratt.
I’ve been looking at her work on Google and watching You Tube videos where she and others talk about her work. I find it all quite confounding. I can’t put it all together. The ideas, the variety of mediums she uses, the intellectual discussions…are hard for me to wade through. I find the images arresting. They reflect the African continent, feminism, the ‘diaspora’ of the third world but without the explanations it’s hard to make sense of the paintings, sculptures, installations and videos. Sigh…sometimes art is hard work. Whatever happened to ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’?
Here’s a little information about Noah Purifoy from Wiki.
Sometimes when an artist is unknown to me…a bit of background can help. I saw him as an ‘outsider’ artist and was so wrong! Purifoy went to CalArts where he got a BFA in 1956 at the age of 40. He had served in Navy during WWII. He was on the California Arts Council and helped to found the Watts Tower Arts Center! In the 80’s he began a huge project in Joshua Tree that he spent from 1989 to 2004 working on.
Alborado Morell fled Cuba with his family in 1962. He graduated from Bowdoin College, went to graduate school at Yale. He was Professor Emeritus at Mass. College of Art in Boston. He is best known for his work with ‘camera obscura’ and…my first exposure to him was through a photo I frequently viewed at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln MA.
These images can be so confusing. Upside down, right side up, what’s on the wall, what’s through a window, why is a building on a pillow? The camera obscura has been around probably since the 1600s. It was used by artists to transfer drawings to canvas, a sort of early camera.
Elizabeth Peyton’s small portrait paintings that she does of celebrities and close friends are a bit confounding. They seem sort of amateurish…like they were done by students…and yet they are SO recognizable. They more remind one of the person than actually look like him or her.
I looked hard, at a lot of these and am just now beginning to see the value in them
I have posted her work before. While perusing the internet I came upon this small series of pastels. I suppose I stopped and looked because I really like her work but also…I think a bit of ‘Oh dear!’ went through my head. I did a bit of research and found that indeed these pieces had been done while she was hospitalized. Somehow the feeling of something being awry came through these small modest pieces. Fills me with envy!
The artist describes the first paintings as 'skin' paintings. They are 'ornamented skins peeled up from a glass plate. They are made by combining printmaking and painting. He distorts a pattern on the computer or xerox machine, then carves these images into a rubber block, and then pressed through a sheet of paint. Additional layers of paint are added, giving the surface an intimate and distant feel. I know this is a lot of information and I don't know what it all means but it is intriguing to consider the steps and layers that create such a piece....And then...there are those creepy dolls! What's that about? So different!!!
For years Mills has painted in the Italian catacombs where he is the only non-archeologist with permission to explore and work alone. What does he find underground? Miles of tunnels that are so silent that he hears his heartbeat. Skeletons embrace one another in tombs; paintings and carvings form mysterious, iconographic hybrids of an emerging language. Worm-like creatures with millipede-like legs coexist with 10-inch phosphorescent mantises that glow with green light. Blind spiders the size of his hand make clicking sounds as they traverse the walls of the silent tunnels.
His dreams, which he documents in sketchbooks, are harbingers of where he needs to explore next. All of his underground sites are transformed into one world – one cosmology – on a threshold where the seen and the unseen co-exist. Time is elastic, continuous and circular. This is his preferred world, the shadow world of memory, time and dreams. From RISD’s Faculty page.
He uses many materials: watercolor, acrylic, oil, conte crayon, charcoal, marker, wood cut!!!
Artist of the Day has been down for several days due to...who knows? Way beyond my pay grade but now...it's back! I hope.
Since 1979, Milwaukee-based artist Roy Staab has created ephemeral installations along the shallow waters and shores of lakes, oceans and rivers, using found materials such as reeds, bamboo, snow, stones and lines drawn in the earth. Staab often wades knee-deep in water for hours, using nothing but his hands to braid and bind stalks together, creating Zen-like sculptures which may last an hour, or a couple of weeks, depending on the forces of nature.
“I like the idea of the ephemeral. And I like the work when it is very perfect and interacts in nature in color and reflection.” Staab
Staab uses geometry to create line drawings in and with nature. I especially like the pieces he does in water. The contrast between the serene linear geometric shapes against the tumble of nature is very satisfying. Much of his work is done in water that then provides a second set of lines in the reflection.
This work makes me pretty uncomfortable…and there’s lots more examples on line! More disturbing, difficult and scary. I realized I’d seen some of her videos at a recent exhibit, Killer Heels at the Currier Museum in Manchester. They too were pretty weird and troubling but also kind of gripping and even beautiful.
Minter uses conventional darkroom processes. She does not crop or digitally manipulate her photographs. Her paintings, on the other hand, are made by combining negatives in photoshop to make a whole new image. This new image is then turned into paintings created through the layering of enamel paint on aluminum. Minter and her assistants work directly from this newly created digital image. The last layer is applied with fingertips to create a modeling or softening of the paintbrush lines.
Raymond Pettibon has a huge retrospective at the New Museum. It’s 3 floors with over 3000 pieces! Very powerful…and exhausting! His work feels somewhat like ‘outsider art’…like he’s obsessed by visions…his surfaces covered in hastily scrawled messages… with images usually in series… of baseball players, an open maw with the word ‘Vaaa voooom!’ the Iraq war, a surfer and huge waves…all beautifully drawn. This is an experience! After several hours I just wanted a nap. But such an experience. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
Last week we spent 4 days in NYC taking in ART. So some of this week I’ll be sharing with you some of what we saw.
At the Met there’s a show of work by the German Expressionist Max Beckmann. The premise for the show was related to Beckmann’s death in NYC in 1957 as he was making his way to the Met to view one of his self-portraits the museum had included in an exhibit. The first image is the one that was on display... along with many others.