Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Minimalism at Woman Made Bare Essentials

Nice, very nice, my work and the work of these other fine artists juried into Woman Made Gallery's Bare Essentials Minimalism in the 21st Century, by Ingrid Fassbender.

Note that I have made bold not only my name in the list but my fellow exhibitors in the "Marks In Time" group. We exhibit together as a three-fer, email us at marksintime@gmail.com

Bare Essentials: Minimalism in the 21st Century

We thank Ingrid Fassbender for jurying entries for the "Bare Essentials: Minimalism in the 21st Century" exhibition on display from November 4 to to December 22, 2011. After reviewing 276 artworks, she selected the work of 26 artists.

We congratulate Grazyna Adamska-Jarecka, Salwa Aleryani, ATYL, Carrie M. Becker, Jan Blythe, Marian Carow, Nancy Charak, Patricia Schnall Gutierrez, Jeanne Heifetz, Martha Hopkins, Carrie Johnson, Katie Kehoe, Pauline Kochanski, Lindsey Landfried, Diane McGregor, Elizabeth Mead, Anna E. Mikiolay, Amanda Damico, Phuong Pham, Ulli Rooney, Mary Rork-Watson, Lisa Flowers Ross, Yvette Kaiser Smith, Sharon Swidler, Asha Tamirisa, and Erwina Ziomkowska.

Exhibition Dates: November 4 - December 22, 2011

Opening Reception: November 4, 2011 / 6-9pm

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Greatest Artist Ever?

I want to dive into this one. Who is the greatest visual artist ever and why? I invite artists and thinkers to offer up their opinions on this.

My nominee is Goya.

It is a much overused trope, especially in this modern era of the artists' statement, that art is about truth. Goya tells the truth about war, disaster and misery, to which he had a front seat.

"Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra, a series of eighty prints depicting the consequences of the nineteenth-century Spanish War for Independence are unbearable, but they are not meant to simply document atrocities. The real paradox of horrors transformed into painting or sculpture or print is that art does not let the savagery have the last word."  —Stephen Vincent Kobasa is a writer and activist who contributes occasional essays on art and society to the New Haven Advocate.

Goya started his art career by making "cartoons" for tapestries that depicted idyllic happy dancing scenes. After the images were converted to fabric, the oil paintings were rolled up and set aside. All this to our benefit as those paintings now grace the Prado.

Goya became a court painter to the Hapsburgs that ruled Spain, managing to depict them despite their pendulous jaws and unhandsome looks with some flattery. He also made devotional paintings that grace cathedrals in Spain.

Events in Spain, however, gave him a front row seat on horror and treachery. The Hapsburgs were lured out of Spain to France by Napoleon Bonaparte, who then installed his brother Joseph on the throne. An uprising by common Spaniards ensued with horrible massacres by mercenaries loyal to France. A monstrous civil war ensued. Eventually, the Spanish patriots succeeded, the Hapsburgs and the church prelates came back to rule Spain with an even harsher hand, giving no gratitude to the populists for saving the country. The argument can be made, not really germane to this discussion of Goya, that stable government did not exist in Spain until after the death of Franco (1975).

To sum it up, Goya's career spanned the 19th century, he moved from the depiction of idyllic country scenes, flattering royal portraits, devotional paintings, the Caprichos, the Disasters of War, ending with the Black Paintings.

As survivors of the hapless 20th century, after Auschwitz, Dachau, Cambodia, Somalia, Goya tells us about our darkest, deepest human selves.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Learned a Museum Lesson

I took myself to the Art Institute of Chicago the other day. I have a usual path that I take, prints and drawings, then American paintings, then the modern wing. This means that I walk past China, Japan and quickstep through South Asian art in the railroad bridge to get to what I am in a hurry to see. However, finding myself in the place last week and having seen prints, drawings, American, modern several times this summer, I decided that I would go to China and Japan.br /Part of the reason I would seemingly rush past is that the Art Institute puts the older more traditional art at the front of the gallery. Thus I almost missed this amazing bamboo basket. To call this a basket is potentially a serious mistake, it's a sculpture, it's an amazing piece of art.

[caption id="attachment_453" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Knot, 2007, by Homma Hideaki"]Knot, 2007, by Homma Hideaki[/caption]

Furthermore, it's a mistake on my part to assume that if it's old it's boring. This is one of my favoritest pieces in the China exhibit. It's a clay model of a pigsty and latrine from the Han dynasty era. It is about 12"x12"by 8", in the center is a sow suckling her piglets.

[caption id="attachment_454" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Han Dynasty"]Han Dynasty[/caption]

Lesson, slow down, look.