Friday, April 30, 2010

Hypatia & Raphael

I was reading about Hypatia and came across this:

Raphael was commissioned to paint The School of Athens for Pope Julius II. The fresco was to be painted above the philosophical section of the Pope’s personal library. In his original draft, Raphael placed Hypatia in the center, just below the central figures of Plato and Aristotle. The church fathers ordered her removal. Raphael still managed to sneak her into the fresco, however, disguised as another figure. Hypatia is the woman dressed in white in the lower left of the painting, looking directly out at the viewer. Hypatia, once condemned by a church father, now gazes out over the church fathers.

What a sad reflection on the church "fathers" that they had such a problem with a great woman philosopher being given a prominent position in a painting of philosophers. It is a prime example of men with authority using their power to keep women from being seen as having value equal to men.

In the final version, Painting Raphael painted Hypatia with some guy leering creepily at her. As if to say you can't have a woman in a painting without her being a distraction. Ugh.

It is becoming easier to find out about women from history - but it takes effort - and knowing where to look.

Hypatia has a place at Judy Chicago's Dinner Party:

In addition to creating a great space for the "Dinner Party" (which is one resource for finding about some historical women), The Brooklyn Museum (& Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art) has a great website. It's great to be able to revisit the exhibit from home.

Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond. - Hypatia

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Larry Poons

Duetto (2007)



Not suprisingly - Poons liked Mondrian and Barnett Newman when he was making his (moving) dot paintings. And was influenced by music. Didn't know about Pollock at the time. Now his paintings have a more Pollock sense about them - but with some of the same ideas about colors.

Via A Sky filled with Shooting Stars

From his interview with Robert Ayers:
When I think back, the dots used to blip around, they never stood still. If you looked at a dot picture and then turned away, your eyes got rested, so when you came back to it, it was an entirely different color until your eyes got saturated again. It changed. And some of these new paintings have that. They move around. They change visually. And I’m not talking about just a little thing, it’s the whole thing.

When I’m working on them sometimes I’ll put some color on and I walk away and I turn around, and I can’t even see it. It’s disappeared. When that happens I’m always quite happy because then I know that the painting is in a place where it’s on its own. It’s natural. And I am just a conduit between the paint and the canvas.

Paintings are mistakes. You put a mark on a canvas, and it’s a mistake. Of course it’s a mistake, otherwise it would be wonderful, because it would be finished. But it’s not. After maybe 50 or 60,000 mistakes, you give up. Like Leonardo said, “Works of art aren’t finished, they’re abandoned.” That’s absolutely true, art is never finished. People say, “Oh, that’s a nice romantic thing to say.” But it’s not romantic. It’s like saying that physics can be finished. Real art is never finished. With applied art at least you can say, “OK. You’ve learnt this lesson.” Illustration doesn’t even get into this no-man’s land. But that’s the only place that art lives, if it’s any good.

When you’re painting, then you’ve got nothing to paint until there’s something there, that first mistake. But once you see something – you’ll see a flow or a shape – then that’s what you’re painting, and that’s where paintings come from. And you just try to make them real. And they’re real when they look like they’ve been done all at once. When something happens so that everything that I’ve been looking at in the painting becomes something else very different. All of a sudden little things are visible, things that were invisible before, and the painting doesn’t look like it has a beginning or an end...

The art that we’re talking about is never finished. It can’t be. It isn’t in its nature. When things are finished isn’t a willful thing. Is a Mondrian finished? No. But is a [Fritz] Glarner? Yeah. That’s why a Mondrian’s better. And Mondrian or Glarner, they have no control over this. Beethoven had no control over being that good. Impossible. It wasn’t his fault he was that good. And it wasn’t Pollock’s fault that he was that wonderful. So if somebody says, “Oh, that’s good!” you can’t get a swelled head because you know that if perchance it is any good, that’s almost the way it is – it’s by chance!

...I don’t see them as any kind of paintings, but I do see landscape in them. I might think, “This looks like a mountain,” and I like that. Or something might look like an arm, or a figure, and I love it when it gets like that. It’s not that I put them there, but that’s what color does. Color is light, and that’s all that paintings are about: light. Painting is color. Color is light. The light that’s generated by your favorite painting, that’s what you’re responding to.

From the Tim Kane at the Times Union:

Larry Poons' multitude of searing colors -- chartreuse, construction-sign orange and stoplight red, among them -- jostle for dominance in his big and busy canvases. Ultimately, not a single one takes over, reaching an agreement, as if he's a conductor reigning in discordant voices in an atonal symphony.

"Before you knew you owned it"

by Alice Walker

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.


I'm watching Alice Walker on Democracy Now. She has such a calm presence and quiet wisdom. A great wise-woman model for us all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Art of Barry Gealt

EastPoint-PrinceEdwardIsland (2008)

Greenich Beach II-PEI (2008)

I noticed the Art of Barry Gealt perhaps 10 years ago or so.

He is a professor Emeritus from IU-Bloomington (lives in Owen County, Indiana).

I no doubt saw his paintings in a faculty exhibition there. Later I noticed IU's "Friends of Art" was offering a field trip to his studio and I went. I enjoyed seeing several large scale paintings he was working on - in the space that he had. I also noticed that he used a cold wax medium.

He has used various other things since to enhance the texture of his work. I believe that he builds up a texture and then begins painting. I think he used to build up layers of paint - which no doubt took a lot of paint and medium.

One thing that I've liked about his work is the way in which he uses the materials to suggest nature - in addition to the illusionistic use of paint. Some of his paintings are more abstract than others (ie. the center image).