Monday, November 24, 2014
To make up for yesterday I have some quotes for you today. Enjoy them and I hope you have a terrific week and a wonderful Thanksgiving whether you are celebrating with yourself or with a crowd. . . .or even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving at all - giving thanks is good for the soul. I know I can give thanks for the countless gifts I have in me and in my life.
Since this is a holiday week for me, I am not going to write another blog entry until next week.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Berlin artist Isa Genzken has shattered countless glass ceilings throughout her four-decade career, while inextricably transforming her audiences by mirroring them in the shards. Defying the boys' club of Germany's postwar art hotbed in the '70s and '80s, she went against the proverbial grain carved out by icons Joseph Beuys, Sigmund Polke, Gerhard Richter, and Bernd Becher to define herself.
As one of only five female artists to whom MoMA granted a solo exhibition over the last decade, her latest "Isa Genzken: Retrospective" brought her to the cutting edge of New York's male-dominated art scene. With an oeuvre spanning an astonishing multiplicity of approaches from assemblage to sculpture to painting to photography to large-scale installations, Genzken simply can't be defined by a single medium. [from Interview Magazine - Isa Genzken The Artist Who Doesn't Do Interviews by Emily Wasik]
Artists should not look to the left or the right. Art should be strong and nonconformist—and most importantly, art should always be personal. ~Isa Genzken
Iza Genzken: Retrospective is currently at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) through January 4th. I hope you will have the opportunity to check it out!
Hope you have a fantastic Friday and weekend! Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is right around the corner!!?? Impossible! :)
Inspiration Sunday is coming up!
Monday, November 17, 2014
|©Audrey Flack - Still Life with Grapefruits|
|©Audrey Flack - Kennedy Motorcade|
I loved her story in an interview I read (Oral history interview with Audrey Flack, 2009 Feb. 16, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) about the painting, World War II :
"Oh, conflict and contrast is consistently presented in World War II, and that was intentional. I went to Lichtman's Bakery [New York, New York] to get the finest petit fours I could find to contrast them with the starving prisoners, for which I got criticized. How could she paint the starving people next to these rich petit fours? How could she do that? Well, I was eventually redeemed. By the way, I went to Lichtman's Bakery on Eighty-sixth Street and spent an inordinate amount of time selecting the pastries. "I want that one," I said, but there's a little dent in the chocolate. So finally I was so fussy, Mr. Lichtman came out and said, "What do you want?" I said, "I'm making a painting about World War II. And I really need perfect petit fours." . . . .He went in the back and got me the most perfect petit fours that ever came out. . . . those petit fours, exposed a tremendous conflict. . . . I have a demitasse cup, a silver demitasse cup. A burning red candle, cello music, and a beautiful quote from Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. . . ."I read this and thought about the way art taps into universal consciousness and this story tells me that sometimes it taps into a very specific consciousness too. And how interesting it is that objects play such an important role in our psyches - how much meaning they can have.
"So every review is saying greedy. How unfeeling I am. How could I do this? Right? - the pain of a horrible review is cutting. Ten years - and I'm miserable because I thought that was one of my best paintings . . . .the point is that often what is most ahead of its time, or what is most outside its time, eventually comes around. . . . let me tell you my about redemption. It was ten years later. Nobody would touch the painting. It didn't sell. The Jewish Museum [New York, New York] didn't want it. Nobody! Then ten years later the Jewish Museum was doing some group show on the subject. And they asked - . . . . to borrow a World War II. . . . I felt so strongly about this painting. I didn't want to die until it was placed somewhere. So they borrowed the painting. A week after the exhibition opened, I got a call from the museum saying The Tel CHai Hadassah, a Jewish women's group, had voted my painting the one that they felt best, and they wanted to give me an award. . . . I felt great! Well, they were having a luncheon at the museum and invited me. . . . I remember peach-colored tablecloths. These women were elegant. Adolfo suits. Their hair was coiffed in French knots. Their nails were done. But there was something weird in the atmosphere. Nobody paid attention to me. I was ushered to a table where I sat all alone. . . . Somebody from the museum sat down next to me, and I said, "Who are these people?" The reply was that they were all Holocaust survivors. I suddenly understood. Never again would they be in the rags that they had to wear. They were really coiffed and obviously well to do. They had survived. The outside world meant nothing to them. Even me, who they had selected to award. . . . After the luncheon, 350 women, that means 600, 700 high-heeled shoes clumped down the stairs, and gathered in front of my painting. . . . . they were in the Holocaust. And now I'm scared because of all the reviews that I got with how could you do these petit fours in front of these starving people? . . . .I was not in the Holocaust.. They were. So I was about to open my mouth, when Yeta or another woman who raised her hand - And I said, "Yes?" And she said, "I want to talk about those pastries." And I thought, oh, God! Here it comes. She said, "How did you know? How did you know to paint sweet pastries? I was starving. I had a crumb of bread and a glass of water. And the only thing that kept me alive was to imagine eating those pastries." . . . .anytime I've lectured, anyone who had been in the Holocaust had the same reaction. Apparently I touched on a basic human reaction. Then another woman, said, "Yes! Yes! Me too. How did you know to put the silver demitasse cup and tray?" I didn't, you know. I just needed silver, I needed a blue, and then I needed the red for the candle. She said, "What kept me alive was my silver tray that I polished every Friday night for the Sabbath to put my challah on. And that's what kept me alive. How did you know to put that in the painting?" Well then, another woman said, "What about the candle? You know Sabbath candles are white. Why is this candle red?" So I explained to them that white would have receded, and the red came forward, and red is symbolic of blood especially when the three drops of wax spilled. They thought about it and talked among themselves. . . ."
©Audrey Flack - World War II
Anyway - I thought that was such a wonderful story and it helps all artists to hear stories like that one. Our profession can make us feel isolated and knowing that what we do touches people in ways we can never imagine is a very important thing for us all to hold in our hearts.
Audrey Flack has also done a great deal of teaching over the years and has left her mark on the world of art that way too.
These days she has been sculpting - still using symbolism to speak to anyone who views her work.
|©Audrey Flack - Medusa|
Wishing you a fabulous Monday. And know that whatever art you create in whatever way you create it is touching the life of people in ways you could never imagine.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
A busy life made busier making sure a new life didn't turn into a popsicle. But today? Glorious! The sky is once again that special Colorado blue. You don't see that color anywhere else. Of course it's still only 7 degrees outside. . . but it's going to get better every day.
Hope these quotes are so inspiring that we get a whole lot of creative juice flowing this week! Enjoy :) Since I've been researching a lot of artists who's work is more abstract - most of today's quotes reflect that.
'Realism' has been abandoned in the search for reality: the 'principal objective' of abstract art is precisely this reality. ~Ben Nicholson
©Ben Nicholson - Elephantine
When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water. Well, I've tried to express just that. If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest it movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit. ~Constantin BrancusiWishing you a wonderful (and warm) week this week. I'll be back as soon as I can with another artist from the WACK show.
©Constantin Brancusi - The Kiss
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Our weather has gone from nice to ice in no time. A few days ago it was 64 degrees outside. Right now it is -1. No. You did not hallucinate the minus sign there. It could be worse. There could be more than an inch of snow on the ground in the bargain...something a lot of people in the Midwest are dealing with at the moment. All I can say is...brrrr!
And. Be careful out there.
I have been thinking about writing this post for the last couple of days when I have managed to brave the window. The artist I have been researching is Louise Fishman. There is an interview out on the web (Oral history interview with Louise Fishman, 2009 Dec. 21, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) that has a lot of information about Louis Fishman's life and work. The following are some quotes from that interview along with some images of Fishman's work:
". . . . I was the only real painter-painter. I was doing traditional painting. I didn't understand what the connection was, but I liked it being in that context, because I think that I get misplaced a lot of times. People . . . . they think of me as being very traditional. I think I'm really not . . . . they always link me to Joan Mitchell and Bill Jensen now . . . . there are connections, but that's sort of a dead end in a way. It feels like it."
|©Louise Fishman - Untitled 1971|
"I seem to start a group of [paintings] and go back and forth for a while. And then usually one painting becomes prominent in my mind, and then I often put the others away for a while or stop working on them. Sometimes I have to put them away so I don't look at them much. And I continue working on one. And then I need a break. I bring another one out, and I go back and forth a little bit until - yes, so there is a kind of - a little bit of a dialogue between them."
|©Louise Fishman - Angry Paintings 1973|
|©Louise Fishman - Tabernacle 1981|
"The way I choose color is really like, how I'm going to use this and this, that. A lot of colors sort of come together from one painting to another. And it's just like a buildup. It's almost like adding clay, and it keeps changing. The color keeps changing. And - but I'm not relying on that black and white or that value structure the way I used to and the color was really just an addendum. The color is more on its own, or the hues are more complicated. There's more complex meaning in them in the way they interact with the whole. They are taking more of a place. They have their own identity."
|©Louise Fishman - Slippery Slope 2006|
"It's all like a chain of things . . . . it's sort of my interest in those Native American cultures, the architecture; the space is the sipapu and the mountain - the Navajos living right up against the mountain, the whole business about rocks and the mountains. . . . . and a lot of it came from China, the ideas about the mountain. I, you know, think it's Eastern, all that continents moving apart and so on. So it made a lot of sense to me."
|©Louise Fishman - Night Shining White 1998|
"Well, a lot of people have referred to me, and actually, they think they're quoting me in saying that I'm a second-generation or third-generation Abstract Expressionist . . . . I never said that. Somebody else said it, and somebody quoted it. And it just got carried down . . . . And I never knew how to go about correcting that. But that's not true. I don't think of myself as an Abstract Expressionist. I think that I have roots there. I have roots in Cezanne. I think I have roots in a lot of places . . . ."
|© Louise Fishman - Wintereisse 2002|
". . . . Easier and harder. What's easier is my skill level. What's harder is to - skill is less and less useful in terms of what makes a good painting, for me, and probably for a lot of people, because it's not about making beautiful paintings. It's about something else. It's about making something that really has a life and has something that's inspiring. I don't really know how to talk about it exactly, but it's that. It's like, hey, yeah, well, it's rough, but it's so deep to me. One painting, Cooked and Burnt , it was called, and I thought, that's really good. It is really - I'm happy I did that. It just felt - it had everything in it. It was not a beautiful painting. It was just so real somehow."
|© Louise Fishman - Cooked and Burnt 2007|
"TM [Transcendental Meditation] was just like a way of calming myself down and centering myself. . . . .I started going on retreats. . . . .I think a lot of artists have done that, because it's a very dicey life. I mean, all of our lives are dicey. But I think making art and trying to survive emotionally, the people, the world, and your work, all of that is - and we tend - I think probably most of the artists tend to be - to have their own fragility that's - I don't know if it's more than other people, but I know that there is a fragility in there. And . . . . one has to keep a balance of the unsettled stuff. It has to be there. You can't fix it. It's just what it is."
|©Louis Fishman - Troubles Overcome are Good to Tell 1997|
"I don't do drawings or prints with the intention of making a painting from them, ever. But they find their way later. Often it's stuff I wouldn't do in painting yet, because there's - it's easier to throw color into them. It's easier to have new, kind of, configurations in them. And they may occur in paintings and they get painted out, but - and then they'll show up. So I noticed that that process really does affect the paintings later. And they are - there is a freshness, and there's stuff that comes up in the drawings that shows other parts of my work that I think could shed light on what the paintings are about and not what people often think they're about."
|©Louise Fishman - Untitled 2011|
from the Venice Watercolors
Sunday, November 9, 2014
I have quotes today from Rollo May from his book The Courage to Create mainly from the chapter, Creativity and the Unconscious. And, I have some interesting art to accompany these quotes today. Perhaps to pose the question; can meaningful art and dogmatism co-exist?
genuine artists are so bound up with their age that they cannot communicate separated from it. In this sense, too, the historical situation conditions the creativity. . . . "Creativity," to rephrase our definitions, "is the encounter of the intensively conscious human being with his or her world."
A dynamic struggle goes on within a person between what he or she consciously thinks on the one hand and, on the other, some insight, some perspective that is struggling to be born.
Carl Jung often made the paint that there is a polarity, a kind of opposition, between unconscious experience and consciousness. He believed the relationship was compensatory: consciousness controls the wild, illogical vagaries of the unconscious, while the unconscious keeps consciousness from drying up in banal, empty, arid rationality.
The moment the insight broke through, there was a special translucence that enveloped the world, and my vision was given a special clarity.
This is one aspect of what is called ecstasy--the uniting of unconscious experience with consciousness, a union that is not in abstracto, but a dynamic, immediate fusion.
. . . . insight comes at a moment of transition between work and relaxation. It comes at a break in periods of voluntary effort.
The experience that "this is the way reality is and isn't it strange we didn't see it sooner" may have a religious quality with artists. This is why many artists feel that something holy is going on when they paint, that there is something in the act of creating which is like a religious revelation.
[if we] lose this free, original creativity of the spirit as it is exemplified in poetry and music and art, we shall also lose our scientific creativity. Scientists themselves . . . . have told us that the creativity of science is bound up with the freedom of human beings to create in the free, pure sense.
Just as the poet is a menace to conformity, he is also a constant threat to political dictators. He is always on the verge of blowing up the assembly line of political power.
Dogmatists of all kinds - scientific, economic, moral, as well as political - are threatened by the creative freedom of the artist. This is necessarily and inevitably so. We cannot escape our anxiety over the fact that the artists together with creative persons of all sorts, are the possible destroyers of our nicely ordered systems. For the creative impulse is the speaking of the voice and the expressing of the forms of the preconscious and unconscious; and this is, by its very nature, a threat to rationality and external control.
Hope your Sunday is everything you want it to be. I will see you tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on how much I have stacked up tomorrow.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Kirsten Dufour, Lili Dujourie, Rose English and VALIE EXPORT.
I'm sure as I go along down the list of artists in the show that there will be more. But right now I am only to the F's.
Today I will talk about New Zealand artist, Jacqueline Fahey. She is a painter and a writer. And, regardless of the fact that she was in the WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution show in 2007, she doesn't consider herself to be a feminist.
She is, at the age of 85, very outspoken and direct about how she feels about art and humanity and most everything. I watched an interview on the New Zealand Cultural Icons website with her and have quoted some of that interview.
Painting and writing are equal in their power of addressing social issues she believes and says that they can be powerful as long as you "communicate in a way that is patently sincere."
She is asked about why she paints domestic scenes (her critics will describe her art as "domestic art" sometimes apparently) and she says:
"My belief was at the time I was at art school woman artists would go to a great deal of trouble to get out get in the car and "do landscape", you know? And not paint what was their own reality because that reality was so diminished. I mean. A man could paint that and it wasn't called 'domestic art' . . . . But when I did it - it was called 'domestic art' which was a put down."
|©Jacqueline Fahey - Last Summer|
"The use of paint is a powerful language in its own right and that is what I am looking for. . . . that flat filling in type painting is amateur really . . .(interviewer prompts "so the paint has to be really alive - resonant?") Yes and how you make the strokes has an energy to it and implies something, you know? it is - in itself - doing that."
|©Jacqueline Fahey - Emily as the Archangel Gabriel|
"No. I don't think you should separate "feminist" in that sense. I don't like it. I think it gives a lot of women who say they're feminists a hero - when in fact they shouldn't have - because. Look. They don't give a shit about some poor bloody Asian immigrant working with sometimes nasty Indian management who have no "real" rights, who're paid a pittance - you know? Do they have any interest in that? No. . . . . Feminism [for some feminists] has no meaning because they only meant it for them - they didn't mean it for anyone else. And [if you were to point this out] . . . . they would look at you as if you were speaking a foreign language."She is asked will there always be painting? "I think there will always be painting because painting communicates and anything that communicates will last."
|©Jacqueline Fahey - Will Painting Change Anything?|
Hope you are having a lovely day!
Thursday, November 6, 2014
And it has. The artist who is the subject of this blog today, Rita Donagh, is a bit of a mystery to me though. I can't figure out why she was in a feminist show, particularly. Maybe if you know why she might have been included, other than because she was a woman, you could comment on that below.
The majority of her art was inspired by the Northern Ireland Conflict, euphemistically called the Troubles, that started in the 1960's and didn't "end" until the 1990's.
|©Rita Donagh - Counterpane|
I appreciate art that addresses the history of war. This is because of how were are led to know and remember things. I believe that events in time, before history is born, are remembered differently by anyone present; remembrance is colored of course by opinion, level of involvement, the coping mechanisms of the person, and so much more.
|©Rita Donagh - Single Cell Block|
Especially when a collective of humans are exposed to the atrocities of war...which in this case is still being called "Conflict", the facts human kind does not wish to remember (because of shame and/or fear of a tarnished legacy ...or whatever) are subverted, rewritten or ignored.
|©Rita Donagh - Shadow of the Six Counties|
U.K. blogger, Eirene, on her blog A Place Called Space visited the Hugh Lane City Art Gallery in Dublin in 2013 and saw Rita Donagh's work there. The following is a photo from her blog and her description of this work:
"The 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s provide the context for Donagh's Bystander. This work is part of a series she made under the general title Disturbance. In this painting Donagh's depiction of Ireland is that of a country that has been stunned by an excess of death, grief, repression and fear. Northern Ireland has become a strangely glacial region where universal whiteness descends threatening to extinguish everything in sight. Two press photographs, modest in their proportions, testify to events in the region. The one on the top left hand side is a newspaper photograph of children playing in an urban wasteland surrounded by dereliction. The second one is of a woman who was killed, caught in the middle of an urban battle: there were no blankets left to cover her body with, as so many had been killed, so her body was covered with newspapers. The rest of the canvas is abstract, large areas where oil and pencil are used - a horizontal bar near the base of the picture contributes to a feeling of constriction. There are areas of murky grey at the top of the painting, evoking an overcast sky and diagonal lines lash through the composition reminiscent of wind-driven rain. This is a painting about violence and loss and it's incredibly powerful."
That is all I have for today. I hope you make time for incredible creativity and follow what ever it is that exists in your heart for the making.
I also want to thank all of the readers of my blog. As of today there have been over 4,000 page views of my 120 posts to date. Thank you.
I also want to thank all of the readers of my blog. As of today there have been over 4,000 page views of my 120 posts to date. Thank you.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
For eight years it was pretty much all she worked on at an apartment in San Francisco she shared with her husband. She loved to entertain and share her life with the other Beat Scene artists of the time and the legend of the painting travelled to the east coast and her work was included in a show curated by Dorothy Miller in 1959 called "Sixteen Americans."
DeFreo did not attend the show and neither did her monumental painting which eventually had to be removed from the apartment along with part of an exterior wall - by a crane - when a rent increase meant eviction for the artist and her husband, Wally Hedrick.
|Jay DeFreo working on The Rose in San Francisco|
by Jerry Burchard
The Rose eventually ended up in a conference room at the San Francisco Art Institute (eventually covered by a false wall) to later be removed and restored after her death from lung cancer in 1989.
Last year there was a retrospective of her work at The Whitney Museum of American Art.
|Jay DeFreo's The Rose at The Whitney Museum of Modern Art|
photo by Philip Greenberg for The New York Times
Much of her artwork is held in The Jay DeFeo Trust which she set up before her death. This site shows photos of much of her work over the years; many of the photos she created in the 1970's; The Loop Series, Tripod Series, Shoetree Series, Compass Series, and some of her paintings from the 70's, Lotus Eater and Cabbage Rose. And her work in the 1980's; Eternal Triangle, Summer Landscape, Impressions of Africa, Samurai, La Brea, Mirage, Blue Nile and Black Canyon... and more.
She created for herself and for no one else and I love the authenticity of it.
Tomorrow I'll be talking about British artist, Rita Donagh.
I hope you are enjoying your day.