Faceless

Here are two drawings from the last couple of weeks… Feels like there’s been a long lull. Perhaps I should put up a picture of my living room because I recently spent all weekend “painting” that. I have been rather distracted, and gotten out of the habit of reading about art as well, but will try this Friday. What’s really holding me back is that I am literally out of certain colors of chalk (!), one being WHITE. I am going to place an order soon with dickblick.com, but in the meantime, I have been using the Van Gogh method – directed by necessity to what’s in stock. All of the white space in the below drawing is erased white.


Love that you can see another falling piece in the background. Despite this one’s less realistic/more pop-Lichtenstein aspect, I feel very satisfied that it captures the emotion(s) I wanted it to.


This one was challenging for some reason – probably because I didn’t limit my palette from the beginning, and only discovered mid-process that I was out of lots. I actually did a lot of the eraser technique with the hair as well. I’d really like to go over this with WHITE.

I miss painting more and more each day, and am starting to grow tired of chalks. Maybe someday soon I can carve out a spot to start a new canvas, even if it’s just a little one. Also going to do more practice in oil pastels.

Saturated

I have some new drawings from the last week or so – both of which were finished late at night, and felt I really attacked the paper (which is a good thing!). Mostly I have been drawing sitting down, using my easel, but for these I was standing – so perhaps that’s the ticket! They also ended up a bit more colorful.

First, a return to my “falling” series. Looking at it, I’ve really stripped the figure three times – 1, no material goods/clothes, 2, tumbling through a foreign environment, even a mental space, and 3, by the activity of falling/jumping/twisting away and through.

“10 Fingers and Toes”

The second doesn’t have a title yet, though “Crux” and “The Grinder” have been suggested. I used oil pastel, which I have been trying to motivate myself to use for a while now – though memories of past failures usually steer me back to chalks. I really like how it came out though! Oil pastel slides so smoothly over the paper – and I loved that I could stain and scrape the paper – two techniques foreign to chalk pastel.

I listened to James Taylor and Joni Mitchell almost the whole time I was drawing the second one, with a brief infusion of Classical Chillout to finish.

Recents…

Recents:

Glowy hydrangea outside. Think I may do another larger version, from this drawing, rather than from life, letting color and shape take off from reality.

Lexi and the swing set. This is eventually going to be a diptych.

I Am Waiting for You

Karen Rosenberg’s writeup on the Katonah Musuem of Art’s new show “Double Solitaire” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/10/arts/design/double-solitaire-art-by-kay-sage-and-yves-tanguy-review.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=tanguy&st=cse) is an intimate glimpse into the man and wife Surrealists Yves Tanguy and Kay Sage, mirroring the show itself. “Double Solitaire” is the first time their work has ever been shown side by side, and to bring home the significance of this, Rosenberg gives a lot of background on their courtship, marriage, and work relationship, including their insistence on always being evaluated separately – even refusing to have their work in the same gallery space. This last bit has been decidedly ignored by this curation, and I’m glad of it. Their work undeniably whispers back and forth. This show “regards Sage and Tanguy as a closed system, a two-person circuit of influence.”

Their work strikes me as having tapped into the same source – both showing a barren world stripped, disturbed, and quietly violent, with the self (both the artist and the viewer, outside of the frame) this isolated and mute, maudlin, and yet wise survivor. It was the similarity of their vision that ultimately brought the two of them together, not vice versa.

I was completely taken with the romance of their story. Sage saw one of Tanguy’s painting, aptly named “I Am Waiting for You” (http://www.matta-art.com/tanguy/await.jpg) and through serendipitous events several years later, after Tanguy had privately been equally as taken with her work, they met, fell in love, and married. When he died unexpectedly at age 55 of a cerebral hemorrhage, she never recovered, and five years later, shot herself in the heart, writing in her suicide note “The first painting by Yves that I saw, before I knew him, was called ‘I’m Waiting for You.’ I’ve come. Now he’s waiting for me again — I’m on my way.”

I am definitely adding them to my list of Favorite Art-Crossed Couples, along with Jean-Claude and Christo, and especially Marina Abromovic and Ulay. A couple of things really inspire me about these partners:

1, their approach to art as a serious dialogue, as an extracted bit of themselves. I had sometimes discounted Surrealist work as one of those movements that tried/failed, but this story proves to me that their work, for one, was authentic – whether it met the Surrealist manifesto or not.

2, their particular vision. Both of their painting styles make me feel that materialism, social relationships, and the recognizable has been broken down and its rubble lays at the feet of an inward vision. This painting by Sage is particularly moving to me: http://uk.ask.com/wiki/File:Le_Passage.jpg?qsrc=3044. It achieves a spiritual language, connecting artist and viewer intimately.

3, the way they title their work. They bring the artist back into the work, and though dramatic at times, seem like intimate confessions, which underscore the works themselves.

The Flower Shoppe

Last night, I walked outdoors to our shared apartment yard/picnic area, and in the darkness, I saw that someone had placed dozens of fresh peonies on the picnic table, for anyone to take. I had seen them hanging heavily from the bushes lately, with their pretty pink ruffles dropped facedown in the grass. I modestly took only a branch, and didn’t really care that it had ants. Here’s my drawing from last night, which I drew while watching Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps:

This morning I read a small writeup in the Times on Jane Freilicher (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/arts/design/jane-freilicher-recent-paintings-and-prints.html?ref=todayspaper), who has a show at the Tibor de Nagy right now, comprised of 9 small still lifes, most of them focused on blooms. Roberta Smith wrapped up the review by stating that Jane had learned from “Morandi, Redon, Marsden, Hartley and Henri Rousseau, all of whom gave a special place to still life and, frequently, to flowers.” I found her pat on the back to Jane very encouraging myself! It’s good to hear that you can be rewarded without having to be the first person to ever think of something.

Here’s another take on the same peonies:

In Roberta Smith’s front page article on the plethora of sculpture shows up right now (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/arts/design/sculpture-exhibitions-in-high-relief-review.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper), she highlighted one artist, whom I instantly fell in love with. Even though part of me wants the artist to essentially have a more active approach than merely gathering, I was enchanted by David Nyzio’s current exhibition at Postmasters Gallery, consisting of “a modest row of gleaming white blocks of salt” the beautiful and unique shapes of each were formed by many sheep licking them. As this article on Niborama humorously states, “The sheep did the licking, and Nyzio did the picking.” Too bad it would be unhealthy/poisonous for the artist to lick his own work.

http://niborama.com/2011/05/14/as-artists-these-sheep-are-worth-their-salt/

Another sculptor I got turned on to by this article was David Adamo, who uses another bible times materials: cedar. Very tall rectangular cedar blocks are chipped precariously thin in the middle, making long threading shapes connecting the heavy square top with bottom.

http://nyuntitled.com/2011/05/13/david-adamo/?pid=279

Recycled green

In Carol Vogel’s article, “Artist’s Prize on the Wall” in today’s paper, I was introduced to the work of artist Hans-Peter Feldmann.  The article describes an upcoming installation of his at the Guggenheim, in which he is going to thumbtack-wallpaper a gallery with $100,000 of used one-dollar bills – which incidentally is his prize money from the Hugo Boss Prize, awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation last year.  He won the prize because the jury said he “epitomized the best of contemporary art right now”.  Yikes.

Many of his works seem to be hoarded collections, rather than individual pieces of “art”.  A wall of tacked up photos of isolated strawberries.  A bowl filled with watches.  Or in one which I do particularly like, All the Clothes of a Woman, 70 black/white photographs of different articles of women’s clothing.

http://www.simonleegallery.com/Artists/Hans-Peter-Feldmann/Selected_Works

His work seems both pitiably compulsive and frantically organized at the same time.

I have often appreciated the impact of multiples.  There’s something about having so many of something that eats away at the concept of the special, and then right at the last minute gives it back to you.  Like being in an airplane and seeing so very many houses, and cars, and fields that look near interchangeable.  One feels small in an “ahah!” way.

One of my favorite works of art involving multiples – though I never saw it, and don’t even remember the artist’s name – was by a Japanese ceramicist, and involved hundreds of delicate natural clay petals placed among the grasses of a field.  It’s the impact of largeness and large gestures – they envelope the viewer, demanding attention, perhaps even guilting the viewer into looking at it for a little while.

What attracts me to using multiples is also about visual mapping.  I like a multi-propped work, because it can be rearranged, and because each piece can be unique, and yet also contribute to a whole, with an entirely new effect.  Also, that each one can be “hidden” for a while among the crowd, and then noticed.

Feldmann is compared to Warhol in this article, for using everyday subject matter, revamped and made shinier and brighter (or in Feldmann’s case, more sanitized), for using multiples, and oh yes, for creating a work of art about multiples of dollar bills.  I dislike Feldmann’s work in general for the same reason I dislike Warhol’s in general; there’s not much to glean from it.  Even if seen a reflection of current culture, and its shallowness, I still don’t buy it.  The subject matter and presentation to me seems arbitrary.  I admittedly prescribe to a belief of the artist as teacher, but really the most effective and pleasing works to my eye, “teach” the simplest things.  For example, Wolfgang Liab’s Milkstone.  <3

http://contemporary-art-blog.tumblr.com/post/3166709676

Far more interesting to me about Feldmann’s upcoming installation, is that it will excite a kind of nonsensical money lust in the viewer.   Though “in the next room you find $10 million paintings, and nobody is stealing them,” as Feldmann says, they are posting extra security guards at the exhibit.   Feldmann gets his money back at the end of the exhibit, and I suggest he recount it.

Fauvism

In Carole Vogel’s “Inside Art” on April 15, she wrote about how a “colorful Fauvist Vlaminck landscape” is expected, when it is up for auction May 4, to bring in triple – even quadruple – the price paid in 94’ for the piece.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5433460

It went on to say that the collector demand for art of this kind has been increasing in recent seasons, due to its “combination of modernity and accessibility.”  I had never heard of it, which wasn’t so shocking, considering as I read about it, that it was only a miniature movement, having only three exhibitions in its day.

Its tenets are not so very strange.  Color is supreme, and color choices are made based on feeling and emotion, rather than with what the eye sees.  It made me think of Frida Kahlo’s work, and her equations of particular colors to particular emotions.

I have found that it’s very difficult to be quick and deliberate at the same time with color – rendering being made, to my thinking, far more successful if you remove that consciousness, and let your learned hand be driven by momentum and energy.  I think back, unsavoringly, upon my first figure painting class in college, when prompted to do a 5 min. painting with limited colors, I unfortunately chose beige, red, and brown.

The use of color is liable to become arbitrary.  One way around this is to render, then, subject removed, continue to work the piece, working in remembered feelings of the pose, the subject.  Another way would be I suppose to contemplate the subject for an hour or so, and then set your chalks up.  Of perhaps you can become just that good, like an Iron Chef.

I vow to be more conscious of my color choices.