Frequent readers of the site know I love plants and artist Paul Wackers makes just the kind of plant paintings I would love to own. Paul has an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute and BFA from Corcoran where he honed his unique style of painting, which to me looks like a contemporary vision of 19th century folk painting.
His latest works center around still life set-ups, almost all of them prominently feature plants, and each are created in an outrageous palette of colors. One of the details I love about his work are the objects which appear to be collaged in. The brush strokes that make up these objects go against the grain of the background as well as the other objects around them, giving them a real energy. I also like his juxtaposition of flat versus rendered that creates an interesting sense of depth to each piece. Probably one of the best artists I’ve come across in the last year or so, really beautiful works.
The South African artist Peter Eastman has been living and working in Cape Town for a number of years. While working primarily as a painter, it is Eastman’s prints that I find the most appealing. Produced digitally, Eastman creates these by working over photographs. He subtly alters forms, tones and colors and he views this process as an opportunity to explore color.
As a painter, Eastman’s work is typically monochromatic, so these images are quite distinct from what he normally creates. I find his use of color very interesting and each image has a unique atmosphere and mood to it. Despite being created digitally, I feel that there still remains quite a painterly quality to how these images are rendered and I love the way he captures light.
More work from Eastman can be viewed on his website.
German artist Mark Gmehling has an elastic view on life. He makes fine art prints from 3D renderings of abstract characters and bizarre scenarios, all illustrated in a playfully fluid manner. It’s interesting to see 3D modeling being presented as fine art which you don’t see very often. The aesthetics of each of his figures are highly polished though and resemble beautiful, glossy ceramic pieces.
These pieces in particular are from a show that opened last Thursday called Plastic Relations, which is on view at the RWE Foyer in Dortmund, Germany. I wish I could see the images up close and pick Mark’s brain on how he makes these.
Just a little north from Copenhagen you will find the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Currently it’s home to a solo exhibition by the Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Best known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art, Eliasson often works with elemental materials such as water, light, air and soil. For this, his first solo show at Louisiana, the artist has decided to turn the entire south-wing of the museum into a riverbed; transforming the galleries into a giant unfolding landscape of rocks, stones and water.
Described as a “stress-test of Louisiana’s physical capacity”, the installation is a surreal and beautiful sight. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the rocky surfaces and spaces are entered through semi-submerged gallery doorways. I think it looks terrific and I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to hear the trickle of water running through the small galleries of the Museum.
The exhibition is due to open to the public on 20 August, more details can be found on the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art website.
Jim Cuno, the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, has an interesting article in The Daily Dot where he describes a change he’d like to see in art historians, curators, and professors. It’s a trait that he sees working well in fields like science and engineering. It’s the simple act of collaboration.
The history of art as practiced in museums and the academy is sluggish in its embrace of the new technology. Of course we have technology in our galleries and classrooms and information on the Web; of course we are exploiting social media to reach and grow our audiences, by tweeting about our books, our articles, including links to our career accomplishments on Facebook and chatting with our students online.
But we aren’t conducting art historical research differently. We aren’t working collaboratively and experimentally. As art historians we are still, for the most part, solo practitioners working alone in our studies and publishing in print and online as single authors and only when the work is fully baked. We are still proprietary when it comes to our knowledge. We want sole credit for what we write.
He cites the open source Closer to Van Eyck project as a good example for this thinking. Create a ton of data around a piece of art and share it to the masses.
We should also be more open to open sourcing our projects. The recent Ghent Altarpiece Web application, Closer to Van Eyck (supported by the Getty Foundation) is a case in point. The Closer to Van Eyck project documents the masterpiece in incredible detail. Each centimeter of the multi-paneled, 15th-century altarpiece was examined and photographed at extremely high resolution in both regular and infrared light. The photographs were then digitally stitched together to create large, detailed images that allow for study of the painting at unprecedented microscopic levels, with access to extreme details, macrophotography, infrared, infrared reflectography and x-radiography of the panels. The Web application contains 100 billion pixels and the images and metadata are available free of charge as “raw” data to be used by any and all researchers, amateur as well as professional.
It would be great to see more resources like this come online, and not just in the field of paintings. It makes me think of the robot that’s wandering around the Tate at night, that anyone on the planet can control. Imagine if through that experience you could get 100x the data and learn about each of the pieces in detail. There’s a lot of potential there, especially if people start working together.
When you look at a piece of art, you see something unique, and when I look at a piece of art, I most likely see something uniquely different. When Ricardo Guasco saw the paintings of Mondrian, he didn’t see minimalism, he saw room/rooms for people. Ricardo is an extremely talented illustrator based in Alessandria, Italy who makes really energetic, expressive works that you can’t help but enjoy.
These pieces though caught my attention because they’re unexpected. Seeing an abstract figuring sitting in a Mondrian like it’s a jungle gym, laying on one like it’s a roof, or utilizing the panels like it’s a kitchen is such a great concept.
You should absolutely see more of Ricardo’s work by clicking here.
Glitchometry Stripes is an ongoing body of work from the American artist Daniel Temkin. Started in 2013, the series takes raw digital information and transforms it into beautiful op-art that could rival the likes of Bridget Riley or Victor Vasarely.
The process of creating these images involves Temkin taking a series of vertical black and white lines and then importing them into an audio editor. By adding a few simple sound effects to different color channels he finds beautiful results. According to Temkin the image manipulator has a sense of what each effect does, but no precise control over the result. He describes this as “wrestling with the computer”.
I love the colors and shapes within this work. New images from the series frequently get posts to Tumblr. You can check them out here.
More exciting projects can be seen on Daniel Temkin’s website.
New York filmmaker Trent Jaklitsch has created a remarkable short film that documents the minutia of painting. Rather than focusing on the canvas the film focuses on the act of art making, the mixing of paint and subtle strokes that go into a larger whole.
The artist being filmed is painter Alyssa Monks who creates really wonderful large scale portraits of people. Her work is quite expressive and loose but filled with nuance and detail. It’s so interesting seeing all the details that are featured in the video and how they transform into one large, cohesive paintings.
Japanese artist and woodworker Yuto Yamasaki cleverly utilizes nature to recreate nature. He carefully chisels and carves these plant sculptures which are realistic yet somewhat fantastic, having an extra ordinary quality. This quality is amplified by the brightly colored coat of paint he applies to each, an act almost unto granting eternal life to the plants.
Yamasaki recently had a show, aptly titled Plants, where he displayed his work like a well-designed greenhouse. It’s pretty awesome to see the amount of plants he was able to carve as well as the wide variety of plants. I think it’s also interesting to how he describes his process, that his pieces have no meaning, only that they exist.
I place great importance in the physical process of art making as a means of exploring subjectivity. Without any preplanned concepts, I utilize materials that are easily available to me. The issue is not what I make; there is no meaning to be found in my pieces beyond a confirmation of the existence of the artist and his experience of making the work. Making art objects with my own hands, void of conscious thought, is a therapeutic and meditative experience. The challenge is to put myself in a state where the materials make my hands move automatically.
Writer Thomas Mallon has a great piece on the quickly accelerating landscape of art, specifically, the decaying differences between highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow art. I think his analysis nails the issue perfectly on the head.
On the whole, however, the sheer availability of so much art, its ubiquity in the wide, wireless world of the present, assures that more and more blends and mash-ups and integrations are bound to occur. To some extent, people used to settle on a brow for themselves and then pattern their reading and viewing and listening accordingly. Increasingly, art at all levels now comes to us, seizes our attention for a few digital moments before being elbowed aside by something else. More catholic tastes seem bound to result from more catholic exposure, our brows raising and lowering themselves like a spreadable iPhone photo. (Of course, Shakespeare’s audience never had trouble doing that in the course of a single evening, laughing at rustic horseplay and thrilling to lyrical declamations in the same production.)