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Archive for February, 2016

16FebArches
These cropped forms suggest some architectural element, with variations. Or, maybe, chair backs. In any case, something well designed, serious and possibly monumental. At the same time, unstable and meaningless. If they are structures, you can see that they lack bracing but are, nevertheless, solid. They’re grand in some way. And there are many of them, this we can infer from the cropping.
This, therefore, is a painting that at first glance suggests clarity of statement. But if you fall for its seduction, you’ll soon chase yourself in circular thinking and you end up not “getting” it at all. This is a good thing. You’re looking at art.
Painting by Harold Bauer. Oil on canvas, ~30” x 24”
16FebArchesFlipNow let’s flip it horizontally. Oh, look! The flipped version seems much friendlier, more accessible. It lacks the gravitas of the original. I would not ponder this version, I would consider it “lite,” a bit decorative, merely clever.
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15OctRedBlackYellHoriz
It’s something. But what!
I can explain why you would want to figure out what this represents: 1) there are definite shapes, 2) they’re clearly delineated, 3) they’re centrally placed and 4) there’s even an illusion of a horizon. So, of course, your smart, verbal brain gets to work on this puzzle. As soon as you’ve decided that the yellow square represents a structure, a building, say, you can move to the dip on its right and decide that here you have a valley and then you keep moving to the right and you can see an extended city block and, oh dear, this is not working. It’s just not coherent as a landscape at all. Even if you stick to the landscape-cityscape interpretation, what’s underneath the horizontal black mass just doesn’t compute. I mean, what’s that lavender roundish thing and that blue triangle there and then that blue smudge? Your brain now goes into overdrive and crashes. Wonderful! You’re having an aesthetic experience. You have entered the state of pure seeing. Congratulations.
It’s not easy to make art like this. Takes tremendous concentration.
Painting by Maria Palacios. Acrylic on canvas, 30”x 40”
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16Jan
This drawing is a dramatic departure from the literal. The artist happily gives up illustration and instead moves into a play on form. Such a venture calls for omissions: you don’t have to draw everything that’s in that pile of stuff, you pick and choose as you go with the call of the composition emerging on your page. Notice how this page teases you out of your prosaic, fact-loving mind and leads you into the pleasure of pure form.
16JanNumbersIf there had been more stripes, they would have nailed you down in the simple association to hey-that’s- a-tablecloth. Instead, the artist skips the literalness of the tablecloth and picks just three stripes (1) which lead you to the little pot (2) that plays second fiddle to the grand pitcher (4). The pitcher, however is also underplayed, it’s incomplete, but you know everything you need to know about it: look at that superb curved handle. Then, to balance the composition on the right we have nothing but a line. But what a line. So elegant, it hold its own against all that drama at (1) and (2).
16Jan Crop2The class debated whether the drawing should be cropped and considered this version. The question was left open.
Drawing by Linné Dosé. Graphite, 14”x16”
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16JanPitcher
That antique patinaed pitcher looked quite commanding at the pinnacle of the still-life heap. You would think it would become the star of the show. But its majesty had to contend with a pile of stripes. Just some striped cloth, you might think, so humble and folksy. Haha, not so. Stripes are powerful and will command your attention. The grand pitcher had found its match. The drawing is not about any one object. It’s about how these strong forms hang together in a composition that sits well on the page and, yes, holds your attention.
Drawing by Maggy Shell. Charcoal pencil, 14” x 16”

PitcherStripes
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