Tag Archives: art

On Betty Goodwin

I’m always struck whenever I see the works of Betty Goodwin. They have a distortion that reminds me of Francis Bacon, and there is sometimes a threat implied with them, the way Bacon’s work does too. But Goodwin is her own artist, and if anything she has a greater range than Bacon does. This is not to strictly compare both artists, for they are both great in their own way. It is just meant to highlight how good I think she is.

If you want to see more of her work, you can go the National Gallery of Canada, here. The AGO also has some of her work and had a fine exhibit on her in 2019. You can read about it here.

The process of hand blocked wallpaper

Is shown, here.

Captivating.

On Paul Klee, later works

Paul Klee painting

The David Zwirner gallery has an exhibit on the late works of Paul Klee, here.

A good analysis of Klee and his work then can be read here.

His work is darker in this time period, as befitting of what was going on. Still beautiful and still uniquely Klee, though.

Trump and “art”

Come January 2021, here’s to dumping John McNaughton and his terrible art into obscurity for all time. If you don’t know who he is (he’s the guy in the above photo), you can read more about him  here. Better yet, don’t.

I am not sure it is better, but here’s an image of Trump made with sex toys.

You can read about it here.

For fans of DADA

If you are a fan of Dada as I am, you owe it to yourself to visit this site. This archive site is a wealth of material on Dadaism and Surrealism.

Dada is over a century old, but still relevant, in my opinion. Art was never the same after it. If you need an introduction to Dada, the wikipedia page can get you going.

 

Saturday night beauty: photos of long meandering roads

It doesn’t sounds like much, but it’s worthwhile going to check this out just for the beautiful images found there (like the one above): Black and White Analog Photographs Explore the Serenity of Long Meandering Roads |

From the good folks at Colossal.

If the pandemic has you down, watch: How To Be At Home

This lovely short film, How To Be At Home, by Andrea Dorfman, and provided by the National Film Board of Canada, reunites filmmaker Andrea Dorfman with poet Tanya Davis to provide timely guidance on how to get through the pandemic, and other such isolation. Highly recommended.

 

 

On Philip Guston

I had some other things to say about Philip Guston until this  article came out in the Times, saying:

Last week, a handful of museums decided to postpone a retrospective of the painter Philip Guston over concerns that Ku Klux Klan imagery in his work, intended to criticize racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry, would upset viewers or that the works would be “misinterpreted.”

I was disappointed, to say the least. Fortunately I am not alone. The article goes on to state:

On Wednesday, a letter drafted by the art critic Barry Schwabsky addressed to those museums — the National Gallery of Art in Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Tate Modern, London — and signed by nearly 100 artists, writers and curators, was published by the Brooklyn Rail, protesting the postponement. To date, more than 2,000 names have been added — young and old, Black, Asian, Persian, Arab, L.G.B.T.Q.

So I am collecting a list of sites and pages on Guston, because he is an artist people should get to know more about. Especially if they were to simply mindedly misinterpret his work and think he has anything but abhorrence for the KKK. 

I am also doing this because I am a fan of his courage as much as I am of his work.  He made a big break from abstract expressionism late in his career and suffered for it. I don’t know many artists who have done such a thing. I think he needs to be more well known.

I also find it surprising to think people were surprised by this big break with AbEx. The elements he reintroduced were there from the beginning. And the cartoonish nature of his work is parallel to the drawings he was doing of Nixon and others. He needed to break from AbEx and went with the tools he had.

If you want to learn more about Guston, here is some links I have found that are useful:

Hobbies, or how to start drawing even if the idea terrifies you


Yesterday I encouraged you to take up a hobby. If you haven’t decided on one yet, I recommend drawing. You may be terrified or at least put off by the idea of taking up drawing. It’s ok. Many people feel that way. To help you, here’s some good links to get you thinking at least of taking up drawing.

Lots of good advice there in those links. As for books, I highly recommend the book above. It is superb. It can be hard to find, but these folks seem to have it.

Gerhard Richter, then and now

Here are two good pieces on Richter for fans like myself. First is a good look back at when he first started painting. Second is a write up of his recent work, seen below. It’s the second time Richter has done a stained glass work for a church, and it is both similar and yet different from it. (You can see that one, here.)

Reading both pieces, I am reminded of how long Richter has been working and how much great work he has produced and continues to produce. He has long been one of my favourite artists, and I am glad he is capable of still doing great things.

He says this work shown is going to be his last big work. Let’s see. I’ll be glad for anything he can make now and in the future.

 

The Best Street Photographers of All Time – a visual feast

If you want a visual feast, head over to this link to see the best street photographers of all time. Truly remarkable. I kept expecting they would miss someone, but it seems like a comprehensive essay on the best of the best. (Like Berenice Abbott, whose work is above.)

On Ruth Asawa

The US Postal Service has issued commemorative stamps for the great American artist, Ruth Asawa. If you don’t know much about her (I did not), then I highly recommend this piece.

She lead a storied life, and overcame great hardships on her way to becoming the artist and the person she was. That sounds trite, but it’s true.

One of my goals has been to learn more about women artists, artists who have often been overlooked but should never have been. That goal has lead me learn about artists such as Asawa. I recommend you do, too.

How to Pronounce Artists’ Names

I love this idea. If you read about artists, you likely have thought: I wonder if I am pronouncing their name correctly? I always had this problem with David Salle.

Wonder no more. Instead, go to this page on artspace.com and look up the artist you were considering and there is a very good chance you will see an entry for them.

P.S. It’s David SALLY, not David SAL. 🙂

 

Basquiat – the big book from Taschen

The good folks at Taschen are celebrating their 40th Anniversary. One way they are celebrating is by releasing this fantastic book on the great artist, Basquiat. 

 

I picked it up on the weekend and I love it. It is packed with more images of his work than I have seen anywhere else. All for a very reasonable price.

You can order it directly from Taschen, or get it wherever fine books are sold.

P.S. For more Basquiat, you can see many of his images online,here, at wikiart.org.

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Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Modern Master


I was happy to come across this exhibit on one of the fine artists from the DaDa era: Stories — Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Modern Master – Hauser & Wirth.

I’ve read a number of books and other pieces on DaDa and I always felt that she never gets enough recognition for the fine work she did. I’m happy to see she is getting it here. If you want to learn more about her and her work, follow the link.

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Great advice on how to get better at drawing that can be applied to anything

I have been trying to get better at drawing lately, but I have been floundering. Much of what I have been drawing is poor by my standards. Poor and not getting better. To try and get better, I was trying different media and different tools (coloured pencils, watercolour, etc.). All these different things didn’t help. I was stuck.

Then I came across this video and had an a-ha moment. It’s really good. I recommend you take a few minutes and watch it.

In a nutshell, the idea is to focus. Focus on drawing one thing. Don’t do what I was doing, which was a little bit of everything. A little bit of everything didn’t add up to anything.

What I found was that by focusing, I didn’t have to think of what to do, I just did it. In his case he drew emus. In my case I drew robots. Just dozens of robots. I would start by drawing a shape and then adding to the shape. Or I’d start with a theme (a book robot) and use that to draw. The drawing didn’t have to be good, though I tried to make it good. Regardless of good or bad, what I discovered was that I was learning more about drawing from each picture. Before, I would think: what shall I do to practice drawing and get better? Now I don’t think, I just draw, and I am naturally getting better.

I think this can be true of any skill. Take running for example. You might fear starting because you don’t know anything about how to run well. Fine, just pick a short distance and run it. Do that over and over. Each time you do, you will learn something. Maybe you are running too fast. Or too slow. Or too long. Or too much. Take notes each time and look to improve. If you get stuck, do some research and try to apply it. The next thing you know you will be much better at it then you were only a short time ago.

Anyway, watch the video and then think about how you can apply it to your own life. You will improve. Keep with it.

Here’s a link to the video: The drawing advice that changed my life – YouTube

Speaking of keeping to it, he has another great video about “not getting off the bus”. I highly recommend that too. You can find it here.

In praise of Mary Pratt

Mary Pratt is a master of colour and light. You get a sense of that just from this photo of her, and if you have ever seen her paintings, then you already know that. I have been studying her painting recently, and in search of more information of her, came across this great piece in Canadian Art. She passed away in 2018, but her art will live on long after this decade or even century has passed.

If you aren’t already a fan, I recommend knowing more about her and her work. That linked article is a good starting point.

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Simple impressive: 15 Of The Most Beautiful Subway Stations In The World

This really deserves a look: 15 Of The Most Beautiful Metro Stations In The World

A surprising number of them are in Moscow. Only one that isn’t in Europe.

Subways should be beautiful: they get used by so many people. We deserve beauty.

(Image above a link to the original post)

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The Art of Emily Bickell (and where you can get it)

One of my favorite artists is Emily Bickell, largely for her paintings of water, which I think are sublime. You can get affordable print versions of them here:  Traces Art Print by emilybickell | Society6.

Better still, you can get affordable original versions of them here: Art Interiors.

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On Haring, Basquiat and the art that defined 80s New York


Some good links on the art of the 1980s, of which Basquiat and Haring played a big part, here and here.

Most of the time the links I post are mostly because I want other people to know about them. Links that talk about my youth are mainly for me. 🙂 But fans of either painter or art of that time should click through.

Painting above by Haring in tribute to Basquiat. May they both RIP.

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The Most Influential Artists of 2019 according to Artsy

It seems every year the website Artsy puts together a list of artists who were recently influential. The lists are always interesting, mixing artists you likely heard of (e.g., Jeff Koons) and others you may hear more of.  It’s a great way to find out what artists are making a difference right now.

I had not heard of Mrinalini Mukherjee before. (Not that I even pretend to know everything about the current art world.) But I am glad to have discovered her for myself. Go here and learn more for yourself: The Most Influential Artists of 2019 – Artsy

(Image about is of Mukherjee and a featured work of hers.)

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Reason over Passion

Still a great work, after all these years. More on it, here: 1968 – Reason over Passion by Joyce Wieland | 150 years 150 works

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Something beautiful to look at: Copenhagen’s Grundtvig’s Church

You can see many more pictures of it here, at Colossal.

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The story behind JFK’s official presidential portrait


I’ve always loved and admired  JFK’s Official White House Portrait. I found it intriguing, too. After reading the “Story of Aaron Shikler’s Posthumous Painting of John F. Kennedy”, I found it even more so.  Fans of the work or JFK will want to read that piece.

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Don’t Want to Pay for Art School? Here’s how you can get similar benefits from home

Before the pandemic, I would not have taken this too seriously. But with everyone studying from home, I am taking it a bit more seriously.  And even without the pandemic, there are benefits to this approach. So if you want to get some of the benefits of going to art school without going to art school, check out this piece and this syllabus: Don’t Want to Pay for Art School? Here’s a Streamlined Syllabus for Getting Your Own DIY MFA at Home | Art for Sale | Artspace

Key passage from that piece:

Art schools are renowned as being inspiring places where art lovers can imbibe the history and practice of their favorite creative disciplines among like minded strivers. They’re also known for being very expensive (and not necessarily remunerative). Happily, we can offer an alternative avenue to learning. Here, …find a syllabus that will give you the tools you need to navigate today’s art world—taught by some of the greatest artists and thinkers in the world.

If that appeals to you, get a copy of that syllabus and get studying.

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In praise of gray (the colour)

Gray is a beautiful colour, but it is hard to appreciate. If you feel that way, I recommend this piece, which is beautifully write about this beautiful colour: Ode to Gray

And then there are these quotes by Gerhard Richter about the colour gray.

I’d love to read more such pieces on colours that mean so much to artists. These two artists make me appreciate gray more than I ever did.

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How to choose artwork for your home (plus gallery wall ideas)

If you are thinking of improving your home by adding some artwork, this piece can be helpful: How to Choose Artwork for Your Home – Decorology

Among other things, there’s some offbeat examples of how to do gallery walls. Sure, you can do strict grid patterns for your gallery wall, but why not try something different, like that wall shown above?

Also, if you are interested in getting great affordable art, check out the works for sale at Art Interiors. They have gallery wall ideas, too.

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Postcard Art of Bauhaus Artists


Fans of Bauhaus, take note: The Exuberant Postcard Art of the First Bauhaus Exhibition.

Lots of really good works by members of Bauhaus, including Klee (above).

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Now for a completely different form of floor tile!

That is actual floor tile you can buy! The floor is flat underneath, but the different shaped tiles trick your eye into thinking otherwise.

For more on this trompe d’oeil, see: An Optical Illusion Tile System Designed by Casa Ceramica via Colossal

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Tourism posters in the pandemic era


It’s not a fun time, and it’s not an era for travel, but if you want a souvenir of your non-travels from the pandemic, head on over to Colossal and check out:  Witty ‘Coronavirus Tourism’ Posters Advertise the Thrilling Adventures of Staying Home

Better still, if you like the one above, or any of the other ones, visit the artist’s commercial site and buy one!

Hey, what’s the point of (non) travel if you don’t get a souvenir or two.

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It’s a good time to check out the Criterion Channel

If you are tired of other streaming services, or if you want to improve the films you are watching, now is a good time to check out the high quality films on  The Criterion Channel.

Right now they have a 14 day free trial. Now, if you are not a cinephile, the list of films they have could feel daunting. To make it simple, here is a list of 50 essential films you can watch there, with reasons why you want to see them.

If you aren’t sure, you can check out Criterion films streaming on Netflix, Apple TV and more. Consider giving them a try, though.

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Fun Fluorescent Sculpture because we could use some fun right about now

For more, check out:  Fluorescent Cacti and Leaf Sculptures by Nobel Truong from the great art site,  Colossal

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Free Picture Stencil Maker

This is a nice little tool if you want to turn a photograph into a stencil or drawing: Free Picture Stencil Maker.

If you wanted to simplify an image, this can help. For example, if you wanted to break down an image for painting or drawing, this could be really useful.

Give it a try!

 

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One of my favourite works at the AGO is Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected]

It’s a great work for many reasons, not least is the technically superb use of Audio Visual technology. It’s well worth seeing and experiencing. Do so soon: it ends May, 2020.

For more on it, see: Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected] | Art Gallery of Ontario

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Mario Moore and his paintings of blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’…

…is a fantastic story you can read about here:  Princeton University portraits lacked diversity, so artist Mario Moore painted blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’ – The Washington Post.

His painting is fine, and the subject matter he has chosen especially so. Check out the story: it has many of his works on display too.

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Three good pieces on Anselm Kiefer, in the Guardian

Anselm Kiefer had a big show in England this year, and that lead me down a rabbit hole reading pieces in the Guardian on him.  Never boring in his art work or his interviewers, anyone interested in knowing more about this great German artist can learn more here:

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Tokyo Noir

For more stunning photos like this, go see Cinematic Photographs of Tokyo at Night by Masashi Wakui | Colossal.

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The wonderful portraits of Adam Riches


These works, one of which is shown above, are fantastic: Scribbled Portraits of Brooding Figures by Adam Riches | Colossal.

Go to Colossal for more.

 

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The Embroidered Computer. Fascinating.


First off, what is it?

The Embroidered Computer is an exploration into using historic gold embroidery materials and knowledge to craft a programmable 8 bit computer.

Brilliant. For more on the design and more photos, see here:  The Embroidered Computer | Irene PoschIrene Posch

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Glitched Sculptures of Greek Gods


Some amazing work here: Glitched Sculptures of Greek Gods by Zachary Eastwood-Bloom Reimagine Classicism in the Digital Age.

From the good people at Colossal. Go to their site to see more of Eastwood-Bloom’s work.