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, June 24, 2010

Nancy Loughlin

Nancy Loughlin's paintings usually combine two elements. The first element is the space, the scene of the action if you will, and that space is almost always the home, represented either as an interior scene or as a graphic skeletal framework. She then populates this ultimate symbol of domesticity with a menagerie of wildness. Animals and birds and plants overlap and merge and fade like a the tumbling chaotic images of a dream. It is as if these houses are haunted by everything they are not; wild, chaotic, alive.
There's plenty more to look through at her website:

"Deer Park" 30"x40" oil on wood panel 2009

"House Hunting" 30"x40" oil on wood panel 2009

"The Living Room" 30"x40" oil on wood panel 2009

"The Waiting Room" 48"x36" oil on wood panel 2009

"Wolf's Den" 28"x22" oil on paper on canvas 2007
Her work can also be found at www,lindahodgesgallery.com which is where I first saw it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sarina Brewer

Sarina Brewer is an artist turned taxidermist who hates to see anything go to waste. In some strange way, she treasures all the lost and lonely body parts of her four-legged and feathered friends. So she finds ways to give them new life and new meaning. While it may border on simple side show freakdom (and I don't suppose she would reject the appeal of that entirely) it goes beyond that as well. I'll point out right here that no animal is killed for the purpose of her art. They come from salvaged roadkill, discarded livestock, destroyed nuisance animals, and victims of an often cruel pet trade. She saves everything that she can and transforms it all into these fascinating totems to biological mystery.
And I'd just like to quote her here: "I call it art. You can call it whatever you want."
See more at www.customcreaturetaxidermy.com

"Ebony Griffin"

"North Woods Chimera"

"Feejee Mermaid"

"Jersey Devil Remains Display"

"Heart Fetish"

Thanks to accidental mysteries for first bringing her work to my attention

Monday, June 21, 2010

Casey Inch

Casey Inch has an obvious interest in traditional romantic landscape painting with hints of Bierstadt, Friedrich and a direct reference to Frederic Edwin Church. Recently he has been using this romatic approach to depict scenes of catastrophe and devastation, something the romantics themselves were not unknown to do. But there is something peculiarly modern about these as well, tying in somehow with our contemporary apocalyptic obsessions. It's a striking and successful approach bringing a life and energy to his work that is not as apparent in his earlier more benign landscapes. This represents most of his large work on this theme from his website, but there are also some fairly stunning miniature paintings (3" x 4"), his earlier work, and a few nice graphite drawings. I look forward to seeing what he does next.
Go to caseyinch.com

"Cotopaxi" 2008 oil on linen 48" x 85"

Here is the painting by Church that he is referencing and a short article from which this image was taken...

Frederic Edwin Church, 1826-1900), Cotopaxi, 1862. Oil on canvas, 48 x 85 inches. Photograph © The Detroit Institute of Arts.

"Crash #1" 2009 oil on linen 14" x 18"

"Crash #2" 2009 oil on linen 24" x 36"

"Storm" 2009 oil on linen 50" x 72"

Casey Inch's painting "Cotopaxi" was featured in the spring issue of Studio Visit magazine which is how I became aware of his work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Caitlin Hackett

To this day I enjoy sketching with a ball point pen. I've always thought of it as part of my intrinsic laziness. You know, just using what ever is convenient instead of hassling with crowquills and brushes. But if I'd seen Caitlin Hackett's work early on in my career I might well have taken it up as my medium of choice. She employs the ballpoint pen, among other materials, to create some exquisitely rendered pieces of dark surrealism. These first two are large. I can imagine that the initial impact of the work would be quite impressive, only to be surpassed by slow and careful close-up examination of the details.
You can see some more at her website caitlinhackett.carbonmade.com

"In the Aftermath", 4' 7" x 5' 11" ballpoint pen, ebony pencil, water color, colored pencil, gesso

"In the Aftermath" detail

untitled, 4' 7" x 4' 8" ballpoint pen, water color, ebony pencil, colored pencil

untitled detail

early work

an illustration

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jason de Graaf

My feelings about photo realism have wavered over the years, but in the end it's like most things, some of it is really good and a lot of it is not. These fall into the former category. Probably the most important thing when looking at hyper realist paintings is to ask, is the realism all that matters here? If it is, then it's usually pretty uninteresting. Why not just take a photo, or look at one? But de Graaf has made a study of light, reflectivity and smooth shiny surfaces, bringing his informed vision to an almost pop-art aesthetic. Which is why I especially enjoy the art history references in some of his work. This is fun stuff and the realism defintely packs a bit of the "Wow!" factor. Definitely click on these images for a larger view!
Check out his blog jasondegraaf.blogspot.com
Or look through his work at these gallery sites:

"Seven Chambers" 36" x24" acrylic on canvas

"Reflections of Modern Art" 36" x 24" acrylic on canvas

"Ocean View" 39" x 26" acrylic on canvas

"Obscura" 36" x 24" acrylic on canvas

I like how this small piece gives you a sense of the detail relative to the size of the canvas...

"Another Marble" 10" x 8" acrylic on canvas

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Randall Tiedman

Randall Tiedman is an entirely intuitive artist who starts work on his paintings cold, without plan or reference material. But he seems to follow one of two general approaches. The first is a geometric construction of dark landscapes seemingly carved up, reconstructed and controlled by a cold human presence. There is a miasma to the atmosphere of these places, randomly littered with bridges and canals, landing platforms and pipe-works. They hold the same attraction to me as a good sci-fi disaster novel, combining a stern warning against human hubris and a fascination with decay and ruin. His other approach is more organic exploring the human form instead of the landscape. Here he plies his paint in a manner reminiscent of the fantastic Francis Bacon creating sometimes grotesque but powerful images. My personal preferences lean toward the former but either way there is a clearly a great talent at work here.
But I must say that once again I feel thwarted by the internet. I understand that low resolution images are a necessary way to protect the reproduction rights of artists. But I really think you can go quite bit larger before that becomes a serious problem. And detail shots are always nice. I would love to see these paintings in person. I can only assume that the impact would be far greater.
You can see much more at www.randalltiedman.com
None of the paintings are titled or given sizes. You can click on the images to view them ever so slightly larger.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mary Porterfield

Mary Porterfiled's work is somewhat difficult to grapple with online. These are large paintings depicting sweeping vistas, often of natural disasters, but the details consist of an elaborate filigree of people, birds, mammals, fish and who knows what else. The images on her website (maryporterfield.com) are not particularly large and there's only a couple detail pictures. But it's enough to give one an idea of the mythic complexity of the work. Ms. Porterfield is an occupational therapist dealing with Alzheimers patients and sees her work as a kind of therapy. That may be the case, but it strikes me as an almost religious exercise, a spiritual examination of the fundamental issues of the human experience. Why are we here? Why do we suffer? The elaborate and undecipherable narrative woven into her paintings is not an explanation but a meditation on these questions.

"Perceiving the Brink" Oil on wood panel 48" x 68"

"Perceiving the Brink"

"Church of St.Helen's" Oil on wood panel 47 1/2" x 64 1/2"

"Pool of Life" Oil on wood panel 54" x 46"

"Displaced" Oil on wood panel 40" x 60"

I came across Ms. Porterfiled's work in the latest issue of Studio Visit magazine (volume ten).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Steve Gompf

Steve Gompf's art is not just one thing. First there are the objects: Televisors. Televisors were the early precursors of televisions. There is a website called teleseum.org where you can find out more about the fascinating history of these devices. Except... well, this is also the art of Steve Gompf. He has created an entire alternate history of the early years of television that adhere's closely enough to the bizarre truth that it all seems plausible. It isn't. But the fact that he makes it seem so is a testament to his art. But there's more. He also creates the video loops that play on his alternate historical apparatuses, mutated into little nightmares mostly from old Eadweard Muybridge work (see some here). He also works with sound and music but as I'm unfamiliar with this aspect of his work I can say nothing about it except this; if it's on a par with everything else he does it's probably brilliant. Let me just add that if you are ever in the Phoenix area, go out of your way to look at one of his brilliantly restored gems from an era that never really was.
You can also follow him on Facebook.

Schafer & Son Televisor 1919 American

Televisor 1910 German

Federal Style Televisor 1928 American

Harvath Televisor 1912 Austro-Hungarian

Ansonia Televisor 1894 American

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Butch Belair

New York artist/illustrator/photographer Bernard "Butch" Belair likes to spend his spare time painting neighborhood scenes in a moleskin sketchbook. Or he did. He had a special Flickr site dedicated to his endeavors but there hasn't been anything new on it since 2008. Which is a shame because these simple paintings not only capture the spirit of place but really convey the simple joy of drawing as well. They're wonderful to look through and I hope you will. None of this work appears on his website which consists mostly of his purely commercial photographic and digital work. Interestingly it may be that this work that has interrupted his sketching in an unusual way. Below you will see an example of one of his photo illustrations and some samples of the well known Bratz dolls. He is suing Bratz for copyright infringement. I don't know where the case is at currently but I hope he wins if only because it might give him the time and financial resources to do less commercial work and more painting.

Porchview 2

Porchview 3

Under BQE 1

North 6th

Bee 1

Did Bratz steal the big head, big feet, big eye look look from Butch Belair?

photo illustration by Butch Belair

Bratz Dolls