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Archive for September, 2016

unnamed

Untitled, oil on canvas, 4’ x 6’

Cassandra Buccellato has been painting for two years in my “What Would Mondrian Do” group, informally known as  “The Mondrian Class.”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/%ef%bb%bfso-blue/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/vortex-and-blue-disk/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/let-it-be/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/pink/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/second-painting/

And this is Cassie’s first painting, from July 2014:

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/first-try-at-painting/

 

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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albertoehlen

Imagine the conversation in this room.

Now imagine how the painting affects the conversation. Or doesn’t it?

Replace the painting with a reproduction of a 16th century nude. A portrait of Henry VIII.  The descent from the cross by Rubens.  A Bruegel landscape.  A Norman Rockwell, the boys running past the “No Swimming” sign, blown up to 6 feet high.

We all know that a painting profoundly affects the feeling of a room.  How  does this painting by Albert Oehlen affect the feeling of the room?

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/seeing-something-awful/

Photo of interior with Albert Oehlen painting from National Geographic.

titiandanaeTitian 1488-1576

hansholbeinhenryviiiHans Holbein the Younger 1497-1543

rubensdescentcrossPeter Paul Rubens 1577-1640

breugelharvesterPieter Bruegel the Elder 1525-1569

normanrockwellnoswimmingNorman Rockwell 1894-1978

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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bigblue

It would never occur to you to ask, “what’s it supposed to be.”  The painting tells you how it wants to be looked at and being looked at as an illustration is out.  It’s not an illustration of anything, it’s something new.  I love looking at this thing. I’ll skip the analysis and leave that up to you.  Look at it and observe how your eye moves through it.  That’s the analysis and no matter how clear your analysis, the pleasure of looking at this will remain fresh.

Painting by Pamela Habel, acrylic on canvas, 40” x 30.”  This painting gives me particular pleasure because Pamela was new in my “What Would Mondrian Do?” class and she produced this lively painting after just a few weeks. Brava!!!

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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16draperycolumn

It’s quite startling to see this drawing in the studio/class room where it was produced because at the same time you can also see the pile of cloth and pottery that it was produced from. Before he starts to draw the artist, Linné Dosé, selects a portion of the still life.  What that means is that he sees a coherent unit and deletes everything else from his vision.  This is a skill he has developed by himself and to great effect.

The effect is that an object appears on the drawing paper, very convincing and solid but without any spatial reference. The object elicits a double take.

We read the drapery as cloth (soft) and at the same time as a column (solid).  The pot appears to be heavy and three dimensional and at the same time we can see it’s an incomplete drawing. It’s a play on perception.

Drawing by Linné Dosé, graphite, ~18” x 14”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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16eminencegrise

Once again I got so interested in what everybody was doing that I forgot to take a picture of the still life set up.  But you recognize these pots from previous posts.  So do the students, having faced them innumerable times before.  Are they complaining?  No, because it’s not about the crockery.  It’s about what happens on the drawing paper.

So many choices.  What to draw, what to leave out. What to relate to what.  How to move the eye through the page.

16eminencegrisenumbersNotice that the grouping at (1) relates in value to (4) and therefore your eye moves diagonally across the page.

The lines of the drapery converge at (3).  But right at that point of convergence the charcoal has been lifted to keep that spot from dominating the page.

And what about that huge pot, (2)?  No shading, no detail, no reflection, no roundness. We don’t need any of that.  We know exactly what it is. Une éminence grise, ha. It becomes important precisely because it doesn’t shout.

I love a witty still life.

Drawing by Maggy Shell, charcoal, ~14”x18”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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mistakeroom1

The program of this gallery is failed art.

How can we think about this?  What is failed art?

Apparently it’s the artist who decides that what he or she attempted to do ended in failure.

But that can’t be, because the artist then submits the work to the gallery. Doesn’t that mean the work is an interesting failure?  Sorry, that’s an oxymoron.  If it’s interesting, it can’t be called a failure.

Maybe the artist doesn’t find it interesting, but depressing.  Then the gallery would be offering therapy by accepting the work.

This gallery would have to be swamped with inquiries.  How does the curator decide which failed work will get shown because it’s the best failure? Best failure? Worst failure?

When an artist’s failed work is chosen, does the artist then consider herself a success?  At the opening, do the guests congratulate her? Will this go on her résumé?

On the gallery’s web site, http://www.tmr.la/, the word “mistake” is crossed out.  Ah, so that’s it.  There’s no such thing as a mistake.

Or is the word “mistake” crossed out by mistake?

Back to square one.

mistakeroom

An installation view of “Oscar Murillo: Distribution Center,” 2014, at the Mistake Room.

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/seeing-something-awful/

The Mistake Room, 1811 E. 20th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90058

Phone: (213) 749-1200.  Email: info@tmr.la

Wed – Sat     11am – 6pm.     Sun – Tue     Closed

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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icongaragemoma

This garage is directly across the street from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Not knowing that Icon is the name of a NY garage chain, I thought it was a clever name for a MoMA garage. MoMA houses major “Icons of Modernism” and isn’t that an oxymoron.   I pictured the parking guys in blue Icon uniforms with their first names embroidered over the breast pockets discussing how Picasso, Braque and Matisse et al had been exerting themselves to produce images that negated all that iconic stuff they’d been brought up with and now, here in this MoMA building were their once outrageous paintings, all gaped at with touristy awe because, well, because now they’re Icons. One of the guys in this garage conversation about semiotics and art history likes to say, that deserves to be deconstructed.  Or so I imagined.

The word icon comes from the Greek, meaning image.  The term was first used for depictions of the central characters of Christian mythology that confronted the faithful with severe, staring authority.

iconpantokrator13cent

In the early Christian church there were opposing views on whether these images should even be allowed, since they posed the czestochowskatemptation for the faithful to fall into idolatry.  That idolatry won out is suggested by the fact that some of these old icons draw pilgrims to their site, as for example, the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, one of the national symbols of Poland. Such an image is commonly called “sacred icon.”

If you don’t get it, you’re not one of us.

 

That’s nice to know, you say, a little history never hurts, but we’re in the 21st and icons are about the internet. So you type in “icon” and you get a site, https://icons8.com/web-app/,  that gives you mouse-5033,600 icons including this, which you recognize instantly.

The communication is one-dimensional and unambiguous. Recognizing the icon puts you in the In-group. If you don’t get it, you’re not one of us.

Now back to the MoMA. This is Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907.  It’s called an “icon of modernism.”  The people standing around it have seen it in reproductions, but they’ve come here to be with it in person.

posingpicassoavignon2

Are they pilgrims. Is this a sacred site?

To be instantly recognizable is the same as to be famous. Did the tourists travel here to see something famous? By being with this famous object are they participating in its fame?  Is fame something intrinsic in that canvas and does fame radiate out so that those close by can absorb some of it?

If you don’t get it, you’re not one of us.

Maybe the designation “icon” does apply equally to the Byzantine deity, the mouse and the 1907 Picasso, the common denominator being fame, which separates the in-group from the out.

Funny how that boundary can shift.

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/les-demoiselles-davignon/

uffizitourists

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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