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)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

John Clowder

"Avian Flu"



"A Fay Joust"

"Opiate Dragon"

John Clowder is a collage artist using the moniker "Revolverwinds". Collage artists are, in his words, the art world's "endearing scavengers" exhuming  "obsolete adverts, morbid medical texts, bone atlases and zoographic curios" to put together  their Frankenstein creations. His imagery is well suited to this description. But there is certainly an element of humor lurking in his horrors as well.

I'm afraid my descriptive powers are currently in check due to the general mayhem of my current circumstances. I hope to get back to regular biweekly posting soon. My apologies. In the mean time check out more of  Mr. Clowder's wry monstrosities at the following sites:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ruprecht von Kaufmann

"Merkur"  2011  oil and acrylics  220 x 440 cm
"No Panik"  2009  oil and wax on canvas  130 x 170 cm

"Spirit"  2010  oil on canvas  150 x 180 cm
"The Prisoners," 2011, acrylic and oil on canvas, 106 x 212 inches; Photo by Ivo Faber
"MittSommer" (Midsummer) Acrylic on felt  180 x 500 cm  2010

The art critic, John Seed recently posted a selection of 10 memorable paintings from 2011 on his Huffington Post blog. It included a few artists familiar to me and some that weren't. Among those I had not seen before was Ruprecht Von Kaufmann, a German born and based artist whose work straddles the yawning gulf between illustration and fine art so successfully that the gulf is reduced to a mere fuzzy patch between two sides of the same room. While he also delves deep into the more conceptual and installation side of things with canvases ripping apart and peeling off the walls, his more straightforward representational work also demands to be taken seriously, even though he employs a highly graphic figurative style reminiscent of the sort of thing you might find in comic books (ahem, excuse me, I mean graphic novels - the case has long ago been adequately made that this is an art form in it's own right). The paintings tend toward monochromatic grays and blues giving the work a decidedly melancholy air, and the subject matter is likewise somber and occasionally downright horrific. The power and energy of the painting itself draws you in. The style is loose. Control can be the death of this kind of work. His underlying mastery of drawing gives a tautness that balances the loose brushwork so that the whole seems to balance on the knife edge between two ways of failing without ever doing so.
you can see more on his website: rvonkaufmann.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rachell Sumpter





Rachell Sumpter's work lies firmly in that visionary/mystical/spiritual realm that all to often is best by shallow new age ineptness. Where others fail, she pulls off something quite marvelous. Her style of soft ethereal pastel backgrounds painted over with hard edged stylized figures and plants evokes a folk tradition without actually resorting to  imitation of one, not an easy trick to pull off. Many of her figures are clothed in what appear to be the traditional brightly patterned textiles of Lapland, but here I'm only guessing. Even if that is the case, her interests are hardly regional. The title "Aa" as many scrabble players know, refers to a specific type of volcanic formation in the Hawaiian Islands, and an earlier title for the piece "Cornucopia" was apparently "Adventures in the Pacific Northwest". Her work appeals to the spiritual wisdom of oral traditions and simpler more "primitive" lifeways. By not mimicking or overtly expressing any one of them she is getting at something universally human. Whether that something is elegiac or hopeful is hard to say. It is just the sort of thing that dewy eyed romantics and new age aficionados attempt but so rarely accomplish. Truths that might indeed be profound are often expressed with mere triteness. The only way to avoid this is to find new ways to speak of old things. Ms. Sumpter is doing just that.
you can see more at her Website: www.rachellsumpter.com
and at Hosfelt Gallery in New York.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jeremy Miranda

"Microclimate"  24" x 20"

"South Facing"  46" x 48"

"We'll Have You Down Sometime"  48" x 50"
untitled - from a series titled "Contact"

"Greenhouse at Night"

Jeremy Miranda is an eclectic and talented painter working out numerous issues of form and structure both natural and manmade while also exploring color, light, design and even narrative ideas. His stylistic approach varies greatly from quick loose sketch-like studies in simple washes to complex formally executed paintings, but in all there is a kind of breezy confidence that is quite disarming. Most of his work is on a relatively small scale but it is not really fair to represent them as I've done here, as single individual pieces. Rather, most of his work seems to reside within a thematic series. There is a wonderful series about a mysterious greenhouse that drifts ashore on the waves of some dark New England beach where curious onlookers gather. Another (not shown) depicts bookcases forming one or more sides of an interior with the far side opening out onto open natural space. Others are more abstract. While there are some wonderful larger, more fully developed pieces like "South Facing" and We'll Have You Down Sometime" his impulse seems more and more geared to the quick study, knocking off each piece almost impatiently so he can move onto the next idea or the next variation. Because there are so many ideas. He seems to be an artist brimming with ideas, with energy, enthusiasm, and best of all, talent.

Below is just one of an enormous series of iceberg paintings the artist has done. You can see them all here, and get a better idea of how such a simple visual subject can run rampant with variation and ingenuity.

You can see a good deal of work on his website: www.jeremymiranda.com
but I would really recommend browsing through his blog to get a broader idea of the range and context of his work: jeremymiranda.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Joseph Phillips

"Above the Reservior", 18x24 Inches, 2010

"Beachcomber Condo with Palms and Umbrellas", 17x14 inches, 2009

"Beach Set", 18x24 inches, 2009

"Big River", 18x36 inches, 2010

"Vertically Integrated Model for Multi-Climate Living", 30x39 inches, 2010

Joseph Phillips' work presents a quirky world of cross-sections and models revealing ways in which human ingenuity and hubris intersect with the natural world. The humor in his work gently disguises the seriousness of his observations. But the humor is essential. The humor leavens it with a touch of wonder at our own insatiable need to transform the world. Unlike most artists addressing the issues of man in the environment, Mr. Phillips' work is not a stark warning, nor a condemnation, nor bleak despairing observation. And his humor is not that of the cold cynic. Yet it does reveal the problems and unsustainable aspects of so much of our domestic industrious endeavors. In his own words his work is "...as much a celebration of humanity's creativity as it is an indictment of our carelessness. It strikes a balance between my disillusionment and my sense of wonder...". well said, and well done. The work is modest in tone but hardly shallow. In an art world full of bombast and grand statements of concept more full of self importance than real meaning, work like this comes as a welcome relief for the reflective viewer.
There's much more to look at on his website: www.josephphillipsart.com
Mr. Phillips work was included in New American Paintings 96.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fred Holcomb

"Padilla 2"  2011  oil on canvas  60" x 68"

"Pastures of Plenty"  2011  oil on canvas  40" x 56"
"Flats"  2010  mixed media on canvas  36" x 48"

"Heartland"  2011  oil on canvas  40" x 48"

"Sunday Drive"  2011  oil on canvas  40" x 56"

Depicting the American landscape as seen from the road is not a new idea. But it is a solid one, handled here with tremendous effectiveness by Fred Holcomb who's work is on display this month at Linda Hodges gallery in Seattle. As soon as there were cars there were people who tried to take them across the country. But it wasn't until much later, especially after the interstate highway system was in place, that our perception of open spaces became almost synonymous with the blurred landscape hurtling past beyond our car windows. Driving through the flat landscapes of the western deserts, or the cornfields of Nebraska or the Florida Panhandle on roads that never veer an inch off course as far as the eye can see is a singular experience that seems to define the long American road trip. For some these high speed vistas seem singularly empty and devoid of interest, but of course this is not the case and Fred Holcomb looks lovingly on the infinite variation that these flat vistas can present.
You can see more of his "American Dream" paintings as well as other landscapes and more experimental and abstract works on his website: http://fredholcomb.net/

Friday, December 2, 2011

Judith Brandon

"Carnival Weather"  ink, charcoal and pastel on paper  2010  42" x 52"

"Green Funnel Cloud"  ink and charcoal  29" x 37"

"Light Pillars With Cyan"  mixed media on paper  42" x 29"

"Arctic Pressure"  mixed media on paper  42" x 67"
This is exactly the kind of work that can be so frustrating to try and appreciate solely through digital reproduction; large, layered multi-media works on paper. You can click on the images to view most of them a good deal larger which helps a little. But it is impossible to see how all the effects are created. That said, they're compelling all the same. Whatever her methods (She cites enameling techniques that she studied in school, the scribing of metal and the layering of transparent and opaque colors) the images are strongly evocative of all manner of strange weather. This is clearly intentional and so the work is, at it's heart, representational. But there can be no denying that abstraction plays a tremendous role giving the work a dream like, even hallucinatory feel. You can see more at her website
And if you happen to be in the vicinity of Cleveland, Ohio where the artist also lives and works, you might want to drop in at the Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery where her work is currently on display.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Matthew McConville - update

"Table Top Landscape"  about 5' wide

My apologies, but It's one of those weeks. Hopefully I'll do a regular post before it's over but in the mean time I thought I'd share this painting sent to me by Matthew McConville (whose work I posted on Nov. 16).

What I love about this is the direct dichotomy it represents with another group of his paintings (see below) which depict monumental scaled earthworks on small intimate canvases. In the piece above he represents a landform in miniature resting upon a table top but done on a fairly large scale. It's exactly the sort of thing that can make seeing art in real life so  rewarding. Here we can only imagine the different effects the variation in size might have. But conceptually, at the very least, it's a fun game of playing with scale and how that impacts the nature of representation.

"Steel Box"  2007  oil on panel  16" x 24"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lekan Jeyifous

"Urban Growth Strategy 1"
"Central City Settlement"


"Hydro City Settlement"

"Outer City Settlement"

Lekan Jeyifous is a Nigerian born and Brooklyn based... um... architect? yes. Designer? sure. Artist. certainly. His work is much more far-ranging than what I've posted here. This is just the stuff that first appealed to me; work that integrates graphic novel/sci-fi aesthetics with the fascination of detailed charts, maps, blueprints and other technical visuals. In everything he does the presence of New York City, and Brooklyn especially, looms large. This is urban art with an urban message to an urban audience. The message? Well, maybe it goes something like this. "This place is seriously messed up. I wouldn't live anywhere else." He captures something of why the occupants of big cities feel this way: All the crowding and chaos, the slow decay at the margins and the dilapidated facades of industrial ruin somehow manage to co-exist alongside a thriving population ever ready to reinvent itself and its environment. There is an odd phenomenon that exists in the minds of city dwellers where even a dark dystopian vision of the future seems in some ways kind of exciting. In keeping with this sort of futurist mentality he keeps his media process mixed giving it a look both modern and aged. "The drawings presented here started out as digital images that were outputted, sketched and drawn over, and scanned back into the computer in order to be retraced, textured, and layered." All of which makes the images seem as if they were historical documents from some distant future relating to one less distant. You can see more work like this and plenty of other stuff on his website www.vigilism.com
I came across his work initially on the art networking site: bluecanvas.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nancy Loughlin 2

"Discord"  2011  oil on wood panel  55" x 40"

"Homestead"  2010  oil on wood panel  52" x 36"

"Playgrounds"  2011  oil on wood panel  42" x 36"

"The Go-Round"  2011   oil on pressed wood  30" x 36"

"The Lodge"  oil on wood panel  60" x 47.5"

I am more than a little bummed. Nancy Loughlin currently has a show up in Seattle at Linda Hodges Gallery. Just three hours away for me. And I had to head over that way to pick up some of my own work. But the only possible day I could go was on a Sunday and her gallery is not open on a Sunday. Why not? Why? I don't often get to see the work I post here in person. Seeing art first hand always makes an enormous difference. But sometimes the difference is greater than others. Ms. Loughlin's art seems of that sort. Her work is often large and always complex, subtle and delicately nuanced. Nonetheless I'm enthralled by even these small digital reproductions. Figures and creatures and all manner of imagery fade in and out of her paintings occupying scenes and symbols of domesticity and haunted by wildness and chaos.  She's exploring the hidden dimensions of our ordinary lives which create the illusions of order, and thinking about the ways in which we try to pretend that nature is out there, when all the time is is right here with us, and being affected by everything we do.
You can see loads of work on her website: www.nancyloughlin.com

(The Show close this Saturday on the 26th so if you happen to be in Seattle, go see it this week!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Matthew McConville

"Excavation"  oil on panel  12" x 14"  2007

"Iceberg"  oil on panel  16" x 20"  2007

"Ramp"  oil on panel  16" x 22"  2007

"Un-natural Bridge" oil on panel  16" x 14"  2007

"Waterfall"  oil on panel  16" x 24"  2007
Matthew McConville's work ranges over a variety of themes and subject matter from straightforward landscape painting to allegorical figurative works, to installation projects and digital drawings of hair (?!). All of it is thoughtfully engaged in historical perspectives and his statements concerning each of his projects is well worth reading (something I don't get to say very often about artist statements). But what initially caught and held my attention was these depictions of imaginary large scale earth art. He describes his approach as combining the visual style of the Hudson River school of painters (Church, Cole, etc.,) and the Earthwork artists of the mid to late 20th century. His short essay on these called "Earthworks 2007" is especially good. Interestingly, given the monumentality of both the images and the historical references, the actual paintings are quite small, only 16" tall or smaller, which in the real world creates a a very different interaction with the viewer. While I think the paintings would work wonderfully very large, there's something both intriguing and playful (dare I say, ironic?) in this more intimate and personal scale. The artist is asking us to imagine the monumental instead of trying to convey it directly. Most of us will never see Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson (due to it being constructed during a time of drought it has spent most of it's history since 1970 submerged) or other famous earth art projects. We have to be content with documentation and our imaginations. In the same way, I have never seen most of the art I post on this blog. Mr. McConville seems to be saying (comfortingly I think) that, while this is certainly not be the same, it may be enough.
You can look through the rest of his work on his website: matthewmcconville.com
I stumbled across his work here: www.levygallery.com