Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tamar Kander

Tamar Kander

I like her use of color and texture. She uses:powdered gesso, cold wax, dry-wall compound, acrylic medium, marble dust and oils, ink, graphite and oil sticks.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ilana Manolson

scratching in impermanence

winter clarity

Ilana Manolson Oil on panel
the wave


harbinger 3

big life small pond

Catastrophe Theory II

Catastrophe Theory II
by Mary Jo Bang

The foot goes forward, yes.
Yet there are roots. And a giant orb
which focuses its cyclopic eye
on a moiré morning.
When the microcosm is dry—it's earth;
wet—it's water.

Water, reeds, electric eel: one possibility.
Sun, reeds, dust mote and mite: another.
Whatever the elements
(it's urban/it's pastoral,
it's empty/it's open), the theory says
it could always be worse.

Until it is. Then theory fails,
leaving a tracer mark.
From blood you come to blood
you go. Sudden things happen
inside a frame. A flame is
lit. Look

at those pathetic wiggly squiggles.
Inferno or garden?
An immeasurable distance
sizzles between them.
Watching it all. But taking so little in.
Just what will fit on the flat

of a glass lens. The ticker is hopeful.
Pathetic fallacy.
Look at the numbers move.
The mystery of ticks.
One per second, sixty per Mickey.
Four becomes ten, one in six

bombs falls in a bushel, a basket,
a two o'clock casket. Do you wish to stay
connected? The seen blurs
into the just heard. A bird outside the wide
open window. The warm day
of March. It changes. It has

all changed. The world
as a distracting disaster.
MY, what little SENSE you make, said the wolf
to Mary Jo. The theory rests
on a tipping point.
The clock steps in a direction.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eva Lundsager

“Hermit Style” (2006). Oil on Linen.
Untitled 1994 Monotype
4 x 3.5 in.

"Eva Lundsager paints abstracted iconic landscapes whose imagery lingers somewhere between familiar and otherworldly.

In small- to medium-sized works, Lundsager uses a complex palette that defines each piece’s distinct atmosphere, from somber browns, deeply saturated cobalt blues and glowing reds, to soothingly lighthearted pastels (it is interesting to note that green is infrequently used). Compositionally, vast skyscapes are usually employed as epic backdrops for more detailed conglomerates of vivid lines and broken-up forms, generating an overall sense of dialogue between universal grandeur and microcosmic existence...

One of the exhibit’s most successful paintings, “Hermit Style,” contrasts expansive color fields with confined areas of great detail. A light rose and yellow tinted sky, reminiscent of a spring sunrise, adds a strangely soft glow to the otherwise predominantly ash gray grounds. However, this soil is far from infertile, and various mysterious structures made of dotted lines and curvilinear swirls have begun to populate the scenery. As they thrive, so might our trust in the eternal cycle of life, which proves that even a lava field will at some point serve as a breeding ground for new life forms.

Looking at Lundsager’s works it becomes clear that it is the moment of transition, when nature morphs from one state to another—like the time before a thunder storm when the darkening clouds foreshadow the theatrical release to come, for example—that remains the most inspiring touchstone for her painting."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Art at the Schönbrunn zoo in Vienna

"The artist-duo Steinbrener/Dempf have set up six installations in several enclosures at Schönbrunn zoo - from a sunken car wreck in the rhino pen, railroad tracks in the bison enclosure to toxic waste in the aquarium. The installations are designed to interfere with our notions of idyllic wildlife and question the authenticity of places like zoos which recreate 'natural' environments for animals that are increasingly endangered".

As seen in the Guardian.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"The neurological basis of artistic universals"

I heard V.S. S. Ramachandran discuss this on UCTV and thought it was interesting. Essentially - many of the compositional techniques artists use are described as having evolutionary/neurological reasons/effects.

A clip:
There are hundreds of types of art; Classical Greek art, Tibetan art, Khmer art, Chola bronzes, Renaissance art, impressionism, expressionism, cubism, fauvism, abstract art; the list is endless. But despite this staggering diversity of styles, are there some general principles or "artistic universals" that cut across cultural boundaries? Can we come up with a "science of Art"? Science and art seem like such fundamentally antithetical pursuits; one is a quest for general principles whereas the other is a celebration of human individuality — so that the very notion of a "science of art" seems like an oxymoron. Yet that’s what I will suggest in this chapter — that our knowledge of human vision and of the brain is now sophisticated enough that we can speculate intelligently on the neural basis of art and maybe begin to construct a scientific theory of artistic experience. Saying this, as we shall see, does not in any way detract from the originality of the individual artist, for the manner in which she deploys these universal principles is entirely up to her. (After all, knowing the rules of grammar does not diminish our appreciation of Shakespeare’s genius!)

There are other problems too. What, if any, is the key difference between "kitsch" art and the real thing? Some would argue that what’s kitsch for one person might be high art for another — that the judgment is entirely subjective. objectively distinguish the kitsch from the real, how complete is that theory and in what sense can we claim to have really understood the meaning of art? One reason for thinking that there’s a genuine difference is that one can "mature" into liking real art after having once enjoyed kitsch, but it’s virtually impossible to slide back into kitsch from having once known the delights of high art. Yet the difference between the two remains tantalizingly elusive. I speculate here on the possibility that real art involves the "proper" and effective deployment of certain artistic universals, whereas kitsch merely goes through the motions — as if to make a mockery of the principles without a genuine gut-level understanding of them....

To assert that there might be universals in art does not in any way diminish the important role of culture in the creation and appreciation of art. Indeed if this weren’t true there wouldn’t be different styles of art - Renaissance, impressionism, cubism, Indian art, etc. As a scientist, though, my interest is not in the differences between different artistic styles but in principles that cut across cultural barriers.

Here is a tentative list of my ten laws of art:

1) Peak shift
2) Grouping
3) Contrast
4) Isolation
5) Perceptual problem solving
6) Symmetry
7) Abhorrence of coincidences/generic viewpoint
8) Repetition, rhythm and orderliness
9) Balance
10) Metaphor

But it isn’t enough to just list these laws or describe them in detail; we need a coherent biological perspective for thinking about them. In particular, when exploring any universal human trait such as humor, music, art, language we need to keep in mind three basic questions — roughly speaking what, why and how. First, what is the internal logical structure of the particular trait you are looking at (corresponding roughly to what I call laws)? Second, why does the particular trait have the logical structure it does? What is the biological function it evolved for? Third, how is the trait or law mediated by the neural machinery in the brain?

Let me illustrate with a concrete example — the law of "grouping" discovered by the Gestalt psychologists around the turn of the century. Figure 4 shows a striking example of this. All you see at first is a set of random splotches, but after several seconds you start grouping some of the splotches together and start seeing a Dalmatian dog sniffing the ground. The brain "glues" the dog-splotches together to form a single object and you get an internal "Aha!" sensation as if you have just solved a problem. In short, the grouping feels good.

.........For a detailed analysis, I refer you to my forthcoming book The Artful Brain. This text is an edited extract of Chapter 4.

(A previous essay about the Eight Laws was published in The Journal of Consciousness Studies 6, 1999: Art and the Brain, ed. J. Goguen.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Art, art and more art

Some of the highlights of my recent forays over to France, the Netherlands and Denmark...

The Nymphéas at Musée de l'Orangerie (by Monet) - one of the best things created by a person, ever. There was also a great collection of art there, in addition.

Impression Sunrise and the Berthe Morisot paintings at the Musée Marmottan.

The Kandinsky show at the Centre Pompidou.

The Camille Claudel sculptures at the Musée Rodin.

Various galleries in Paris - esp. those in the Rue de Seine area.

Musée National du Moyen Age-Thermes de Cluny - esp. the Lady and the Unicorn series of Tapestries.

Various Dejeuner sur l'herbe paintings at the Musée d'Orsay (Including Manet's and Monet's), plus Monet's Poppies at Argenteuil .

The gardens/ponds at Monet's place in Giverny.

The Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny - the museum as well as the poppy field.

The gardens of the Hotel Baudy.

(I recommend staying at The Robins).

The Van Gogh Museum. They even had Starry Night from the MOMA - for their Van Gogh and the colours of the night exhibit. I also enjoyed seeing his progression/change when he went to Paris to study art.

The Van Gogh Museum is sticking to the old story - but there is a new book out by by Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans of Hamburg University, Van Goghs Ohr, making the case that that Gauguin cut part of Van Gogh's ear off in a fight. Gauguin fled after that - Van Gogh covered up for his friend. I'm inclined to believe this version. (link to article in the

The Vermeers and Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum. Also Amsterdams Historical Museum. Various art galleries in Amsterdam.

The NationalMuseet in Copenhagen - prehistoric and Viking art & metals. The Gauguins at the Ny Carlsberg Glytotek. The Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. I enjoyed seeing the Danish versions of various modern art movements.

Randers Kunstmuseum & Kulturhistorisk Museum Randers.

The Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst in Humlebæk, Denmark - great modern collection.

And back in the States - on my detour home - I was able to see the Hudson Valley Center-Contemporary, in Peekskill, NY - which had a great show - Origins. It included: Zhang Huan, Ash Army, Bruce Bickford's animation, Prometheus Garden, Huma Bhabha's Fear Eats the Soul and Anselm Kiefer's Rorate Caeli.

I also visited the Storm King Art Center - I esp. wanted to see Maya Lin's Wave Field - but the whole thing was great.

And MASS MoCA. esp. the Anselm Kiefer show. I love how he does textures and landscapes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Megan Mullenax & Crystal Vicars-Pugh

Megan Mullenax & Crystal Vicars-Pugh are ISU MFA painters. They recently had a show at the ISU University Art Gallery.

Megan creates scenarios that refer to war and bombs but includes such things as rabbits with blue-tooth devices. She also has prints satirizing some of the fear tactics which have become part of the "war on terror". The world of war is turned on it's head.


Crystal Vicars-Pugh has developed a style where she creates abstract natural forms which are painted over, "veiled". This creates a layering effect and a sense of depth and curiosity about what is hidden. Shapes and colors - recently she has been experimenting with brighter colors and more obvious natural forms.


IU - MFA art 2009

It's always interesting to see what art is coming out of the MFA program at IU.

The first image shows paintings by Allyson Smith. She has been working with figurative imagery. I found it interesting the way in which the images faded out, were painted over, etc.


The next is a more traditional approach. Good painting, color. Figures and interiors.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chakaia Booker

Some groups in Terre Haute got together to commission a permanent sculpture from New York artist, Chakaia Booker. Like most of her recent work, it is made from old tires - transformed into art. I think it's great.

I do like some of her looser things, but this piece shows more of her textile background/thinking. I also enjoyed hearing her talk about her work. And her wearable sculpture.____________________________________

Indianapolis recently had a temporary outdoor exhibit, MASS TRANSIT, of several of her pieces - displayed around town.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I got to looking into Ikebana and found a gallery with monumental Ikebana "Sogetsu" pieces. They are awesome. I love the Japanese aesthetic.

It's exiting to see how the Japanese artists have found a way to mesh their traditions with modernism. These two remind me of what Petah Coyne and others are doing with plants and other things - from the The 85th Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition at Shinjuku Takashimaya Department Store, November 2003:

Other Exs:

The 90th Sogetsu Annual Exhibition “Flowering Smile” at the Nihombashi Takashimaya Department Store, Tokyo, November 2008.
Materials: Black bamboo, bamboo, Japanese hemlock, Japanese persimmon with moss
Container: Iron container

Akane's bamboo installation for the 150 Anniversary of Japan-France Relations Celebration Art Exhibition “VIVRE - Akane Teshigahara + Pierre-Gilles Delorme” at the Sogetsu Plaza, Tokyo, September 2008.

Akane's installation at Shinjuku Takashimaya Department store, Tokyo, March 2008.

Yamamoto Yasuro Ceramic Show, Tsuta(ivy) salon, March 5-9, 2003. Iemoto Akane Teshigahara created a space-ikebana-ceramic collaboration.

I don't know if the stores sponsor/underwrite the artists or just provide a venue. I would expect that the Sogetsu would draw visitors and shoppers. They would certainly enhance/improve the stores environment. While I'm sure that the stores advertise in the usual American way as well, these are more fun, and would be a better use of money spent (IMO) if the stores do indeed help with the costs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Petah Coyne

Sandy Winters was visiting Indiana State University and while she was there she discussed the new work I have in an exhibit there. She mentioned Petah Coyne - whom I was happy to hear about. It sounds like she is someone I can relate to.

The New York Times has an article with a story about her and fish that reminds me of a story that my husband likes to talk about with me and seaweed....

I've been experimenting with using a variety of material these days. I also like getting a natural feel going. An excerpt from the NYT article (2005):

ON a recent morning in her airy studio, Petah Coyne was finishing up some big sculptures - black, wax-covered, botanically inspired floral creations. They were stunning but a little scary, as if cultivated by a demented Mother Nature. "I love it when they look past maintenance," Ms. Coyne said, "like a plant on somebody's porch that's kind of lost its mind."

The artist, 51, concedes a long affinity for things run amok. In 1977, shortly after she moved to New York from Cincinnati, she filled her SoHo loft with installations of dead fish she found in Chinatown markets. When her husband could stand it no more, she hung the smelly things from a tree in her neighborhood, creating a public artwork.

Over the next decade, her materials grew more aggressive. For a solo show that cemented her reputation in 1987, she filled the original Manhattan space of the Sculpture Center with a spooky forest of decayed logs, roots, hay, tar and other things more often found in landfills than Upper East Side art houses. Before the opening, the Fire Department made her haul away much of the hay. Today, still a bit annoyed, she laughs about it.

In the 1990's, Ms. Coyne became known less for the gritty works - mud, oily black sand, razor-sharp metal from shredded cars - than for a series of pristine, ultrafeminine, chandelierlike white confections of dripped wax, birds, bows and candles.

As the first traveling show surveying her career opens this weekend at the Sculpture Center (an adjunct show opens on Jan. 29 in Chelsea), it seems that she is reconciling those material extremes. Common themes emerge among broadly different works, like metaphors of transition and redemption, or the strength, poetry and absurdity embedded in base and kitschy materials...

The artist's supplies, the fake and dead flora and fauna, are arranged in careful groupings: boxes of vivid silk flowers, foam slabs into which an array of wax-dipped blossoms are inserted, trays of vintage birds and squirrels preserved through taxidermy, pots full of black melted wax, branches, feathers and mundane materials like chicken wire and two-by-fours...

Ultimately, she said, "I am trying for the essence of something - the same way Japanese literature never points directly at something and says it's black, but just describes the darkness. It seems to me the way to tell the truth."

Another article - from Bombsite on Coyne.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Marlene Dumas

I was painting figures in ink and a model mentioned Marlene Dumas to me. She is from Cape Town - lives in Amsterdam. I noticed that she mostly paints figures. She uses polaroids of friends, magazine images, and film stills, etc. I like the way she makes the looseless in the ink/paint work.




Marlene Dumas has a show at MOMA through 2/16/09. Measuring Your Own Grave.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fishing Line Art

Sea Fan Coral
Jellyfish -2

Art made from Fishing Line by Melissa Hirsch in Australia.

At the Cape Gallery
At the Visual Arts Network

She has also made things out of strings of flax fiber. Climate Neutral art. "The pieces I create for galleries are very focussed and time consuming, with the foremost concerns being form, beauty and the environment. In order to engage with others, and for a sense of freedom and autonomy I organise collaborative and ephemeral projects."

I like seeing modern weaving techniques.

More at the Tamworth Regional Gallery - Fiber Textile Biennial.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jane Ingram Allen

Still Water
No Water
Every Drop Counts

Jane Ingram Allen and Marcia Widenor had a show at the Tenri Cultural Institute last May.

I especially like Jane's works. She uses handmade paper and wildflowers. She has had art residencies in Taiwan and Tanzania that have informed her work. And she incorporates ecological concerns into what she does.

On her website, she describes her work at the Tenri Gallery like this:

...One of the works "Still Water" was made during her recent artist in residency at Taipei National University of the Arts in collaboration with art students at the university. This installation is made up of 200 cast handmade paper water bottles with unique labels created by the students and arranged in a spiral configuration on the gallery walls recalling the trash vortex in the North Pacific and relating to problems of plastic trash in the world's oceans as well as the lack of pure drinking water.

Another installation titled "No Water" is made with handmade paper from plants of Africa created during Jane's January-February 2008 residency in Tanzania, Africa. This work refers to the lack of water in many parts of Africa and problems relating to global climate change. The installation "Falling Water" consists of 10 panels of handmade paper cascading from floor to ceiling. This paper pulp is colored with non-toxic dye and painted with Chinese ink and contains seeds for wildflowers.

Another installation in the exhibition is called "Every Drop Counts" and consists of many handmade paper drops arranged on the gallery wall like water drops on a window. The paper pulp contains seeds for wild flowers and visitors are invited to pledge to conserve water and then take a drop from this installation home with them to water and plant to grow as wildflowers. The installations in the exhibition of handmade paper with wildflowers seeds in the pulp will be recycled into the earth after the exhibition to come back as living blooming wildflowers.

Joan Giordano "Presences"

I also found Joan Giordano from the list of artists at the Tenri Cultural Institute. I think we must be on a similar wavelength.

I'm taking a sculpture class in addition to painting and drawing - and Joan uses some of the materials that I'm interested in - plus has a sense of the natural.

From Tenri

Giordano’s work is part of a continuing series of sculptures that relate to the energies of nature and a deeply felt affinity for the delicate balance between the fragility of the human condition and the power of humanity. Giordano fuses disparate elements such as metal, straw, paper, wire, wood, and other materials that work together in dialogue. In combining these various objects both man-made and natural, she references states of transformation between nature and urban life. Giordano’s work parallels states of growth and deterioration as well as the elements – wind, fire and rain that alter and transform her work’s surfaces while dealing with the processes integral to the evolution of life.

I noticed on Joan's site that she creates paintings (some on handmade paper), monoprints, wall sculptures, and outdoor sculptures.

Sylvia Wald: "Polymorphs"

These are images of Sylvia Wald's from her "Polymorphs" show from the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York in 2004.

Wald has dedicated herself to art making for over sixty years and is considered an American pioneer printmaker and Abstract Expressionist artist. This trailblazer innovated new methods of silk-screening with oil paint instead of ink, during the forties when the genre was still being defined rather rigidly in America. Moreover, in the late thirties Wald contributed political illustrations to publications such as the New Masses for the purpose of bringing about the social changes necessary for the parity that sustains democratic values. In the early forties Wald painted in an abstracted style, dignified figures of African Americans in their army attire while her sculpture reflected the conditions of tenement neighborhoods. Up to 1963 or so, Wald made prints, sculptures and paintings, but has concentrated mainly on sculpture for the past 30 years.

As an Abstract Expressionist Wald would have been exposed to the Surrealist developments that inspired many artists of that period to work with automatism and gesture. This voyage of discovery and use of found objects have been part of Wald's creativity as well as her use of the gesture as seen in her roughly textured built up surfaces. This body of work engages in a certain lyricism seldom found in very finished or pat constructions, but rather due to its ever-developing quality it retains freshness and vitality. Wald's sculptural entities, so called polymorphs in the essay because of their composite character, are composed partly of natural and part manmade materials. One such example is the work In-Flight, 2004, a piece made from chicken wire, cord and feathers. These hybrids interchange metaphor and space to produce fantastic creatures of powerful beauty.The show is accompanied by a deluxe hard-cover catalogue edition with three essays. The first one written by the curator Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos, uses psychoanalytic methodology to study a number of Wald's pieces in terms of Freudian dream mechanisms. The second essay written by Robert C. Morgan, situates Wald within her cultural context in terms of her lifelong dedication to art. And, the third is a piece by Raul Zamudio who brings Wald into the contemporary artistic context.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Joan Snyder

'Lines and Strokes' (1969).

I was browsing and noticed that Joan Snyder had won the The MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2007. That's cool.

She often uses materials similar to what I do such as: Acrylic, oil, paper-mache, cloth, herbs, glitter.

I expect that her art work has a bit more impact in real life. The dimensionality does not show up much in photos.

From the New York Sun on the occasion of her award:
The leadership of the MacArthur Foundation is notoriously reticent to disclose nomination and selection criteria, but they cited Ms. Snyder's "fiercely individual approach and persistent experimentation with technique and materials."

"At least two major museums in New York own my work, and it sits in the basement," she said, referring to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. "And now the Guggenheim has one, and I hope they hang it."

For some reason - the only images of hers that would post were the pink ones. It wasn't my intention - I had chosen a couple of blue ones originally. A person could get the impression that most of works are pink - and that is not the case at all.