When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ben Grasso - 2

"Colored Lights"  86x94"  Oil on Canvas  2011

"Fall Together"  68x42"  Oil on Canvas  2011

"Construction Proposal #9"  70x42"  Oil on Canvas  2011

"Construction Proposal II"  45x42"  Oil on Paper  2009

"Ungrounded"  50x70"  Oil on Canvas  2011

I recently stumbled on Ben Grasso's website again. I was just as thrilled as when I first came across it. (I first posted his work in September, 2009). His paintings of buildings lifting, exploding, flying apart or flying somehow mysteriously together give new life to the term deconstruction. He uses long clean brushstrokes like boards, putting them together piece by piece to build his vision. Unlike real boards he can place them securely in mid-air where they hover above, below or between other boards, so that one has the sense of intense dynamic forces frozen in time. They feel like stills from an animated sequence. But there is often an ambiguity as to which way the sequence should run. I'm reminded that our imagination is the source of all creative and of all destructive acts. Action is impossible without thought and Ben Grasso is showing us a place where the two appear as one. There is a lot of work on his website, all of it worth looking through: bengrasso.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Corydon Cowansage

Fence #5, 2011, 108" x 76", oil on canvas

Patio #1, 2010, 106" x 76", oil on canva

Roof #10, 2012, 78" x 58", oil on canva

Roof #7, 2011, 80" x 102", oil on canvas
Chimney #2, 2012, 64 x 50 inches, oil on canvas

The paintings of Corydon Cowansage are both representational and minimalist. Not something you see every day. Minimalism, by it's very nature, leans toward abstraction. These are no different. But we can still tell immediately what the image is of. And just in case your visual cortex isn't firing properly, the titles should clear things up. Representation is usually interested in evoking associated responses to its subject matter. This work tends toward disassociation. What we see is pattern and shape. The lesson is straightforward. Abstraction is not, if you'll allow this mangling of language, an abstraction. We are surrounded by it all the time. It's merely a different way of looking at things. Extraneous information is cleared away, the subject is carefully framed and composed and rendered at a very large scale. Scale matters. Bigger is not always better. But it can be. And here I think the choice to work large is exactly what these simple images need, so that each shape and detail can take on it's own weight and lead the viewer beyond the subject matter. You can see more at the artist's website: corydoncowansage.com

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rafa Zubiria

from the series "No Way Home"

from the series "No Way Home"
from the series "No Way Home"

from the series "No Way Home"
 Rafa Zubiria is a photographer, collagist and videographer in Spain. This particular series of images called is "No Way Home". According to the artist the series represents that point in life when you realizes that, what you always thought of as home is no longer your home. There is a break with the past that cannot be recovered. With this break comes a sense of loss and the distortion of nostalgia. These deceptively simple photoshop montages capture the mood exquisitely. The background shots carefully recreate the artless imperfection of the random snapshot and the buildings are photographed in matching light. The final is given the look of an old color print from some corner photomat. But for me personally, the "You can't go home again" interpretation is somewhat limiting. The images work beyond this straightforward narrative, juxtaposing both nostalgia and sentimentality with mystery and wonder. They remind me especially of supposed UFO photography before digital cameras. But while those old photos purported to give evidence of technological alien marvels, the mystery here is the mundane. Out of context everything around us could be perceived with awe and wonder. And that my friends, is art.
  You can see other images from this series plus much much more at www.rafazubiria.es (the website is in spanish) or on his Flickr page.

 and here's an intriguing 10 second clip of some related video work. More please, Mr. Zubiria!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


It's been a hectic week. No new posts so far. I should get a new artist up by Friday. In the mean time enjoy this good humored piece by one of my vary favorite artists, Mr. John Brosio (as a chicken owner I can tell you that this scenario would be very, very bad).

"State of the Union"  41" x 66"  2011
you can see more of John Brosio's www.johnbrosio.com

Friday, May 18, 2012

Peter Feigenbaum

Everyone loves miniatures; all those model railroad sets the world over. We love to hover over them like invisible giants peering nostalgically down at the little trees and the quaint old buildings; a tiny perfect little subset of the world untroubled by war, poverty, addiction and disease. Which is why Peter Feigenbaum's miniatures qualify as art. They smack that smug giant upside the gob and say, this is your world. If you can't take the bad with the good then you're not facing reality. His miniature slums are exquisitely detailed down to the graffiti, the wreckage of old burned out cars, the trash, and the weeds growing up through the cracking sidewalks. A lot of artists these days are obsessed with visions of the imminent collapse of our so-called civilization. But these scale models remind us that great swaths of that civilization have been living in their own apocalyptic nightmares the whole time.
I also like how he often places the models in the context or actual degraded neighborhoods and photographs them in a way so that they seem to integrate perfectly with the real world. A nice way to remind us how rarely we stop and actually look around, especially when we sense that what we'll see is not so nice.
You can see many more photos on his website at www.peterfeigenbaum.com
And congratulations to Mr. Feigenbaum on being included in this year's West Collection.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Virginia Katz

Force Fields - Sand and Water I & II
Mixed Media, Mixed Process on Paper
2, 22" x 30", 2007

Formations - Mixed Terrain
Mixed Media, Mixed Process on Paper
66" x 36", 2009

Formations - Clearing
Mixed Media, Mixed Process on Paper (Unique Monoprint and Collograph, Colored Pencil, and Gouache)
22" x 30", 2010

Mud - Slush
Oil on Gesso on Wood Panel
16" x 20," 2010

Mud - Slush, detail
Oil on Gesso on Wood Panel
16" x 20," 2010
I've always been fascinated by maps, and satellite images or just staring out the window from an airplane. Seeing the way the land bends and folds, the subtle gradations of changing soils and vegetation and the dramatic linear impacts of man-made marks is endlessly fascinating to me. Obviously I'm not the only one. Virginia Katz has found some pretty amazing ways to portray this imagery. She'll try just about anything. Here's just one description of a technique she's used:  "...crinkling up sheets of kitchen foil, dripping on colored inks and then running the shallow reliefs through a press, which leaves an imprint on a sheet of paper. After letting it dry, Katz draws with pencils, adds watercolor washes and gouache accents and then tops off the controlled chaos by dusting it with dry pigments." (from a review in the LA Times). That gives you an idea of the lengths she'll go to get effects that echo her impressions of the earth. These are not maps. There is no correspondence to any actual place. They are essentially non-representational, abstract images about material and process. At the very same time they are landscapes. That she can pull off that dichotomy using so many different processes is truly remarkable. And the earth images are just her latest body of work among others more wide ranging still. There's enough ideas here for the careers of several artists. See more at her website: www.virginiakatz.com

I first stumbled across her work on www.bluecanvas.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brooks Shane Salzwedel

"East River Bridge"  graphite, tape and resin  24" x 36"  2012

"The Arch"  graphite, tape and resin  24" x 36"  2012

"The Fourth"  mixed media  24" x 36"  2012

"Plume #1"  mixed media  12" x 8"  2009

"Station, Texas"  graphite, tape and resin  10" x 5"  2008

Some works translate more easily to reproductions than others, be it in print or online. This is a case in which I'm guessing that the translation is a poor, poor substitute for the real thing. The technique used here is apparently a layering of resins and transparent tape over graphite drawing which results in an atmospheric fog-like depth. It lends the images the verisimilitude of old photographs that have that push and pull between the immediacy of a solid reality and the dreamlike distance of time. The subject matter is often a visual interplay between man made structures, especially various aerial towers and more recently bridges, and the dominant structures of the natural landscape; trees and mountains. In some of the images the two seem to harmonize, even reflect one another. In others the inherent tensions of the comparison come forth. But either way there seems to be no straightforward literal interpretation for the viewer to take home and congratulate him or herself upon discovering. The meaning, like the graphite images images themselves, is blurred and distant, shimmering beneath layers of possible context. What is clear however is the evocative power of the imagery which I can only imagine is even more effective in person.
There's more to look through at the artist's website: www.brookssalzwedel.com

thanks to www.booooooom.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tanya Miller

"Two Trees"  acrylic  2010

"The Road"  oils  2010

"Underwater"  oils  2009
"Nature Morte II"  acrylic on canvas  2008

"Time"  Drawing  2006
This week I thought I'd present some exquisite work on the more whimsical side of things. Fine art is not often associated in people's minds with humor. To which I can only say, too bad for fine art. Tanya Miller channels some of the wit, wisdom and techniques of renaissance masters like Brueghel, Bosch and Arcimboldi. Her work ranges from the straightforward allegory to not so straightforward symbolism and completely disorienting surrealism, with the occasional punchline thrown in for good measure (If you missed it, go back to the top image and look at the expression of the tree on the right - you can click on the image to view it larger). There is a great deal of work on her website, including quite a few paintings in oil, acrylics and watercolor as well as drawings and etchings. Check it out and enjoy. www.tanyamiller.com

This time around I have to thank Monster Brains for posting one of her paintings.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Benjamin Rogers

"inside the painter's studio - painting in the abbreviated field"  2011  Oil on Canvas  45" x 56"

"the hunger artist"  2010  oil on canvas  35" x 42"

"the critique of pure reason"  2012  Oil on Canvas  35" x 42"

2010  oil on canvas  15" x 15"

2011  Charcoal on Paper  50" x 64"

Benjamin Rogers' paintings manage to be both humorous and serious at the same time. Actually they manage a lot of things. They're self-referential, inwardly focused meditations on the mundane life of the artist, and they are references to philosophical ideas and art history. They are executed in a quasi naive manner using simple lines and shapes of color, at times almost cartoon-like, and yet they are sensitively crafted paintings and carefully executed compositions. They capture something about contemporary American culture in which everything on the surface is a little tongue in cheek, a blunt joke or in affectionately poor taste, but hiding just under the surface is a well of heartfelt sincerity and self-examination. Some might call it self-indulgent navel gazing, but with the right dose of self deprecation and honesty, who cares? And with enough talent and intelligence, navel gazing can be a revelatory activity. I'll be excited to see his work progress. You can see more paintings on his website (benjaminrogersart.com) and follow along with his work, his thoughts, and the art that influences him on his blog.

The artist was recently featured on the cover (the cover!) of New American Paintings 99. Congratulations!