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Archive for the ‘Collage’ Category

17marchblack

So elegant, witty, lively!  The white lines are scratched into the black, revealing the white under-painting.

Additional texture comes from glued-on fabric, including burlap. The painting manages to have gravitas and levity at the same time.

Terry Fohrman, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 48”

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17marchdiptychl

This acrylic painting is on 300 lb water color paper, which is heavier than chipboard and has uneven edges, because it’s handmade. Using acrylic paint the artist attached gauze and later a white coarse weave that got semi-cancelled by an insistent black brush stroke. The composition consists of rectilinear shapes boldly applied with a large brush.  The gauze, which becomes visible only close up, adds not only a surprising texture but also an unexpected contrapuntal  delicacy to this otherwise sturdy composition.

Jan Fleckman, acrylic on paper, ~30” x 24”

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notblackwhite

Working with a center line, whether vertical or horizontal, challenges the painter. How do you prevent this thing from becoming static?  How do you overcome the invitation to symmetry? How to you create movement?

In this painting the challenge is heightened by the choice of black vs. white. Now look what happens at the dividing line between the two fields. At (2) a large round shape that straddles both fields attracts your attention by virtue of its size, circularity and texture—it’s glued on burlap.  At (1) and (3) lines cross the divide.  These are powerful because the eye finds lines irresistible and traces them wherever they lead.notblackwhiteanalysis

The blue line at (3) gracefully sweeps upward towards the right.  At the light red dot (4) it traces an orbital path.  Because the red rectangles at (6) suggest a stable architectural element (perhaps a window), they add a rational anchor to a universe in which amorphous planes float randomly.  At the same time the red dot perches precariously on one corner (4).  This becomes the focal point of the painting, deeply satisfying and at the same time restless.

But wait, there’s a twist in the plot.  When the artist submitted the painting to the Studio Exhibit she reversed it.  Notice that the focal point in this new orientation is one of those amorphous shapes (5). The effect is edgy.

notblackwhiteshow We are deprived of the satisfaction we found previously in the red dot perched on the corner of the red rectangles. In this orientation, the red dot and the red rectangles are resting on the bottom edge, not going anywhere. They’ve settled, they lack drama.

It’s a brilliant painting.  Buy it.  Hang it, not over your couch, but in front of it. Sit.  Look at it in one orientation, then next week turn it over and look again.  Allow yourself to be unsettled. Get to know your perceptual quirkiness.

The Studio Exhibit at the Evanston Art Center will be up til January 29.

Terry Fohrman, Not Black and White.  Acrylic on canvas, 24” x 48”

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16maynobounds3d

Are you allowed to do this?

Yes, you’re allowed to do this.

But it’s not done frivolously. There’s surprise and a sense of liberation in the act of attaching found objects to the canvas.  It’s done with a sense of history, referencing Rauschenberg and Johns, for example.

16maynoboundaries

Terry Fohrman, mixed media, ~30” 24”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/found-objects/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/shapes-and-light/

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pavement1

At a distance you see an engrossing painting in muted complimentary colors, blues and orange-browns.  If you move pavement1numbersclose to this canvas you’ll see that things are glued onto it.  At (2) there’s a distressed black rectangle with a yellow band at the bottom that has a zig-zag line on it.  At (3) the artist painted a continuation of (2).  At (1) we find a rich brown patch that is actually a piece of sand paper. At (4), some pieces of cloth and frayed canvas.

The realization that these banal objects on the canvas [(2) is some rubber that was found on the street] are used so harmoniously in the painting is thrilling to any modernist.  This juxtaposition of aesthetics and the mundane marks modernism.

Before 1912 painters did not glue anything onto their drawings or paintings. That summer in 1912, however, Georges Braque saw some fake wood grain wall paper in a store window, bought a roll and pasted strips of it into his charcoal drawings. The audacity!  You call that art!? Art was expected to emanate from some higher power and remind us of lofty ideals to live up to.  Now this!  Even Picasso was shocked.  But he immediately understood that collage was another way to subvert the ideals of the Renaissance and so, of course, he was all for it.  Thus we have the beginning of Synthetic Cubism, which gave us a new way of staying alert when looking at art and life.  Thank you, Braque!

Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris) Fruit Dish and Glass, Sorgues, autumn 1912 Charcoal and cut-and-pasted printed wallpaper with gouache on white laid paper; subsequently mounted on paperboard; 24 3/4 × 18 in. (62.9 × 45.7 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection (SL.17.2014.1.8) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/490612

Painting with mixed media by Terry Fohrman, oil on canvas on board, ~20” x 16”

Georges Braque 1881-1963

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/?s=picasso

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CubistWindowBlueFinal
The layering in this painting is uncanny, so pay attention. You think the “window” in those Cubist browns (1) is on top of the blue CubustWindowFinalAnalysis“background.” Look again. Those browns used to cover the whole painting and then the blue (2) washed over everything, leaving that “window.” That created enough of a puzzle, but the artist felt the painting needed a line somewhere in the blue expanse. Indeed. The line materialized, quite literally, not as paint but as a piece of yellow yarn, which was glued onto the canvas with acrylic matte medium. The effect of this humble yellow line is that it amplifies the three-dimensionality of the pictorial space, in that we now have the illusion of a horizontal plane below the yellow line and above it, a wall. Now the “window” really pushes forward. As you look at this, you know you’re being fooled by the simplicity of means and at the same time you gladly give into the illusion.
Keren Vishney, acrylic on canvas, 30” x 40”

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MatisseGoldfish
Goldfish and Palette,oil on canvas, 57-3/4 x 44-1/4. Some sources give the date as 1914, others 1912-17.

Today is Henri Matiisse’s birthday. He was born December 31, 1868 in northern France, near the Belgian border and grew up in Bohain, where the main commerce was beets and weaving. His father owned a seed shop. When he was about fifteen, his mother gave him a paint set and he knew that he wanted to be a painter. Becoming a professional painter was out of the question since that was a disreputable occupation. He was sent to Paris to study law and worked as a law clerk for a while. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts, with Gustav Moreau, copied paintings at the Louvre to make money and lived in abject poverty with two roommates, also painters, who had one decent pair of pants between them.
He married in 1898, saying to his bride, “I love you mademoiselle, but I will always love painting more.”
Until his late thirties, his work met nothing but ridicule. When he visited his family in Bohain, the town folk called him “le sot Matisse” (the Matisse idiot). In Paris, when he exhibited his paintings at the Salon des Independents (non-juried shows) people congregated around his work in uproarious laughter. Matisse played the violin and had a reputation among friends as a ham actor, who did  satirical impressions. But about his work he was so serious that young artists called him “the Doctor.” His concentration on his work caused insomnia throughout his life. In 1903 he wrote to a friend “describing the state of misery and emotional numbness to which insomnia had reduced him, and which he feared might end in total disintegration.” (I, 250) He “approached the act of painting (with) a tension so extreme that those closest to him risked being sucked in with him to the verge of breakdown or vertigo.” (I,324)
In 1910 he had a one-man show at the Bernheim Gallery. “The critics responded with a dismissive brutality that even Matisse had scarcely encountered in this scale before. They accused him of vulgar excess, willful confusion and gratuitous barbarity. Even the more serious reviewers found him incapable of following any consistent line or evolving a style of his own. “(II, 41) The same year, the Bernheims tried to swindle him and Matisse fell ill. A doctor explained that “there was nothing clinically wrong with him, that black despair would inevitably follow bouts of such intense nervous pressure and emotional exhilaration, and that all he could do was learn to manage his condition by sticking to a regular work schedule and by being less exacting towards himself. “All artists have this particular make-up, that’s what makes them artists, but with me it’s a bit excessive,’ Matisse told his wife, adding optimistically, ‘perhaps that’s what gives their quality to my pictures.’” (II, 59)
matisse-f9d8dTowards the end of his life, Matisse was in a wheel chair and incapable of painting. He worked with scissors to make “cut-outs.” He did not buy the paper, he painted the paper he used for cutting. He worked with an assistant in placing the pieces. There was nothing restful about this work process. The current exhibit at the MoMA has people sitting in quiet contemplation of these often huge cut-outs. People generally perceive them as tranquil. The largest one is hundred and four feet long.

RecensieCutOuts1
About Goldfish and Palette, André Breton wrote: “I’ve examined this picture twenty times. In truth it possesses at once innovation, profound penetration of every object by the artist’s own life, magical colors, it has everything…I’m convinced Matisse has never put so much of himself into any other painting.” (II, 168)
(The quotes are from Hilary Sperling’s two-volume study of Matisse.)
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