Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paul Klee (1879-1940)

Brent Wadden

Brent Wadden Untitled 2012

Brent Wadden installation YOUNG TURKS @ CONTEXT Gallery (Derry, Ireland)
From BlouinArtInfo
The geometric patterning within the paintings gives immediate reference to traditional arts such as Navajo rug weavings. However, Wadden says, “I’m not directly referencing that, but I am really interested in aboriginal art and the totem poles on the west coast of Canada.” Instead, the geometrical patterns that are consistent across all of his current body of work come from and equally historical painterly reference: the grid. “The canvas is broken up into sections by a freehanded grid pattern. Then from there I draw diagonals, and then I break it up with the spheres, which make the portraits or the characters.” 
At first, these characters lay outside of the eye’s focus. Because of their immediate approachability as a form of reference to traditional arts or op-art, one passes over the fact that in many ways, they’re a form of portraiture. “Eventually the characters pull out of the pieces,” says Wadden. “For me each painting has a different mood even though I use the exact same structure for each painting. I’m just working within this grid pattern, but whether through color or technique something different comes out, each takes on a different identity,” he continues. “Within the space when they’re hung, each of the characters are either looking at each other or looking away from each other. This is determined by the placement of an eye consisting of two black and white right-angled triangles placed back to back. If I removed these triangles or simply changed the colors, the characters would probably disappear entirely and the painting would become a pure abstraction.” 
Brent Wadden Untitled 2012

Ellen Lesperance

via Seattle Art Museum:
[In] October [2010], Ellen Lesperance (born 1971) received the Betty Bowen Award for her thought-provoking work that draws upon archival activist footage—specifically of women’s political demonstrations. From these historical documents, she extracts motifs embedded in the sweaters the women wore while engaged in non-violent, direct action protests, and creates paintings that are in effect knitting patterns. As the artist explains, “I make this work in order to memorialize the glory of effective resistance in an effort that these moments do not vanish from popular memory, in an effort that they can reach new audiences to inspire.” Lesperance received a MFA in Visual Arts from Rutgers University in 1999 and a BFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 1995. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
Cardigan Worn by One Woman of the Boeing Five, Tried for Entering the Boeing Nuclear Missile Plant on on September 27th, 1983, Sentenced to Fifteen Days in the King County Jail For Defending Life on Earth. 2011 Gouache and graphite on tea stained paper, hand knit sweater:

Ellen Lesperance (all images via Ambach + Rice)

1970, Joni Mitchell Sings "Sittin' in a Park in Paris, France, Reading the News and It's All Bad, They Won't Give Peace a Chance, That Was Just a Dream Some of Us Had" on the Johnny Cash Show and It's Called the Symphonic Masterpiece of the 20th Century:
Ellen Lesperance

Sitting and Lying in the Road in Front of the Convoy, They Formed a Blockade That Was 2,000 Women Thick 2010 Gouache and graphite on tea stained paper 23 x 29 in:

Ellen Lesperance
detail of an Ellen Lesperance painting

From Jen Graves (The Stranger):
Lesperance writes her titles on the paintings, taking the overtly radical tone of a poem proclaimed in the town square. But the pencil letters are outlined, not filled in. There's a call to action in that lightness and blankness, a space held wide open for the future in these resurrections of the past. There's also continuous movement in the back-and-forth between mediums in these works—from remembering (photography/video) to patterning (painting) to knitting (sculpture) to wearing (performance).
Lesperance published an essay on newsprint for this show, describing the conditions of the encampment at Greenham Common and considering the way street/camp installations by activists are overlooked by the art world while at the same time the trend of "relational" art promotes a theater of social engagement in the galleries. The points she makes are vitally important—as diagrammatic as her patterns/paintings, and as need-based and nurturing as the sweaters she resurrects. Her visualizations are visions in both senses of the word: lovely and engrossing, and steadfastly pushing forward. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vic Haven

Artist's website here.

Interview with Tal R from Modern Painters

Following is an excerpt from an interview of painter Tal R by Scott Indrisek for Modern Painters. The whole piece can be read here.
You’ve said that one should be able to explain a painting over the telephone.
It’s a rule, but then I also ask for trouble. Every artwork should have a certain “hand” that reaches out for the audience, but the physical experience is completely beyond what you can explain on the phone. You can almost explain Donald Judd or Bruce Nauman over the phone. But when you see the pieces, they work on you in a different way. I want there to be normal things in my paintings that everybody can pick up, but when you stand in front of them you get insecure about what you’re watching. It’s like getting the viewer to the dance floor with a very cheesy pop song. If you ask people, they won’t admit that they like the song, but when they hear it, they move. Or like when you put french fries on the table. People will say, “No, I don’t like french fries.” But then everybody’s picking at the french fries. That’s how the painting should work.
I think artists should watch out; they should admit that their work will always be faster than language. And I think art should be beyond language—otherwise go and write a story, go and be a poet.
You’re moving constantly between different media.
With some works, you don’t start at a point where you know that they will be successful, that they will really rise up and be a grand sculpture—you start from a place where they really look like shit. You want to do a certain sculpture or figure, and while you’re doing it you get red cheeks because you know this is a grand failure. But pay close attention to that moment, because although something is failing, great possibilities are right around the corner. Also, in an artist’s production there are works that you can only understand because of something else the artist did. Not all of the works are main works. Some of the works are what the artist did to go from A to C.
I think my way into painting came from missteps. For many years: having a great idea, disappointment, destroying it. The only thing that happened to me was that I got a little tired, so I started destroying slowly, and a lot of my painting style arose from this destroying slowly.
What do you mean?
I mean when you do a painting and it’s awful and you want to step on it. After some years of this circle of disappointment, you’re tired, so you take the painting and just put dots on it. A very slow, aggressive way of destroying it. But then something happens: The painting looks back and says, “Maybe I am possible.”
What other painters do you feel an affinity with?
There are certain painters over the years that I continue liking. I just went to Paris and saw Georges Rouault again, who painted clowns and also nuns, priests, Jesus. But at the moment I’m more into these painters who are trying to develop narrative spaces: Bonnard, Balthus, Vallotton. That’s really heavy weight for a painter, to try and do a space where you can maneuver, to try and do faces, figures. I want to make concrete rooms where the experience is absolutely abstract.
Your studio looks like a domestic space, like a living room.
If you’re here for long periods, it’s nice to be able to fall asleep. Before, I used to lie on the floor among the works, stand up and continue. There was this elegant warp between walking and sleeping, working and walking and sleeping. So I have two beds here now and I’m building a third. To find routes, to find new paths into the work, you have to be around them a lot. You want to really, at the end of the day, surprise yourself, because what surprises you will surprise the viewer. Unpredictable moves on the dance floor.

Jeffrey Simmons at Greg Kucera

Jeffrey Simmons THREE ROTATED FORMS, 2012, watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches
Physical water media class: you are REQUIRED to see Jeffrey Simmons' exhibit that opens tonight at Greg Kucera. You don't need to attend the opening, but the show runs until February 16th. This is work that must be seen in person, and that is directly and richly related to our class content!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

pigment reference

A helpful reference for a slew of pigments, and where they fall on the temperature spectrum (around the circle) and saturation (more vibrant pigments on the outside, more neutralized toward the center). Click for a larger view.