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Posts Tagged ‘looking’

14BoyerSquRecBeforeThat’s how it started. What happens when the conversation starts with rectangles and squares? 14BoyerrectilinearBecause, you know, that’s what this is, a conversation. So, he puts down these rectilinear shapes and colors and then what? Then he goes across the room and looks. Just sits and looks. Listens, might be the better word. Because, the painting tells him what to do next. Suddenly he gets up and puts in lines, like that spiral on the lavender square. Then he lets it dry for a week, comes back, sits, listens/looks, gets 14BoyerrectilinearVaseup and puts in the flowers and vase. Whoa, some realism! Where did that come from? From the conversation, you square! So surprising and so right. Still not there. Let it dry and sit some more. Next week he created the illusion of a fluted column on the left, just enough three-dimensionality in that to keep the vase and flowers company. Now the conversation has come to some insight, can’t diagram, analyze or explain it, but it feels complete. That’s the painting process. Mysterious and so right.———————————–

14BoyerrectilinearVaseFinal
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
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14BoyerMitosis2
The works produced in my class, from one student to the next, all look different. I’m actually very involved in each student’s work process, but at the same time (I’m proud to say) the overall feeling in the class is one of intuitive play and experimentation.
In the next three or four post, l’ll show the recent paintings of one artist/student, Bruce Boyer.
Above is a finished painting, 30 x 40. Below, the first layer, which took one class period of three hours, is 14BoyerMitosisalready puzzling. For example, by virtue of their color the two orange areas relate to one another, but the one on the left, triangular in shape, appears to be in the background, the deepest background in fact; the one on the right, the round one, occupies the top plane. When we look at this painting our perception becomes purely visual. That’s a good thing.
The second layer is somewhat anticipated while he’s painting the first, but the triangles, rectangles and strings of the second layer position themselves of their own accord.
Even though I was a witness to the painting process and I have an image of the first layer to refer to, the final painting draws me in with its multiple associations and illusions of depth. I just want to look at this thing. It frees the mind to all sorts of possibilities. A good thing.
All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.
http://www.khilden.com
http://facefame.wordpress.com
http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com
http://www.katherinehilden.com

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When I was starting out as an artist I didn’t think of myself as a great fan of Georgia O’Keefe but my friends must have thought I was, because for my birthday I once got the same Georgia O’Keefe book from two different people.  Two copies of the same book, the large format one with the skull and flowers on the cover.  I have always loved her early work, the sparse watercolors she did in Texas, for example.  But the paintings have never grabbed me much.

Recently I put the Bob Balaban movie about her, “Georgia O’Keefe,” 2009, on my Netflix queue, just out of curiosity and then postponed watching it for days.  Turns out, it’s worth watching.  In fact, I watched some scenes over and over, especially her first meeting with Stieglitz at his gallery where he tells her that she doesn’t even know how good her work is.  Joan Allen portrays her as a genteel, refined woman  who fearlessly defines her life and flaunts conventions with calm stubbornness.  Stieglitz is reduced to fidgetiness when she speaks as an adult in command of her senses.  Jeremy Irons makes this complex art lover/art dealer sympathetic.  Not only is the psychology of these two ornery people made credible by superb acting, but the “artspeak” is insightful.  Most of all, I loved the fact that the director allowed the camera to linger for the actual painting scenes.  We see O’Keefe , not so much engaging the brushes and the paint tubes, but… looking.  Extraordinary.  Showing an actor in the act of looking does not advance the plot, does not define conflict, does not produce quotable dialogue, is not sexy or car-crash noisy.  She looks.  She looks at the mountains.  She looks, quietly, without drama.

It’s about looking, about seeing.

(Above, my studies in charcoal on 11 x 17 smooth paper.)

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

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http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

www.khilden.com

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