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, December 20, 2012


If you're in the northern hemisphere like me, the days will soon start getting longer once more, although the cold may stick around a bit. I won't be posting for a week or two so I thought I'd leave you with a big gallery of wintry images from the past 2 years. If you like these you can see more winter scenes from even earlier posts at my previous Winter Gallery.
Click on the artists' names to my post featuring more of their work with links to their websites.

Aron Wiesenfeld

Charles Ritchie

David DeVillier

Jonas Pettersson

Kurt Solmssen

Mark Thompson

Peter Rotter

Sam Dargan

Sonja Hinrichsen

Suichi Nakano

Sarah Williams

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ben Smith

"Doubt Begins at Breakfast (double self-portrait)"  oil on board  126 x 170cm

"This Could Go Either Way"  oil on board  77 x 55cm

"In Two Minds (double self-portrait)"  oil on board  105 x 95 cm

"The Influence: Leonard Cohen consoles Nick Cave"  oil on board  122 x 110 cm

"The Late Shower"  oil on board  60 x 75 cm

Ben Smith is an Australian artist meeting with some recent success, winning awards and being a finalist for many more. It's easy to see why. In addition to some solid drawing and painting technique, his images display a keen, insightful wit. In his own words he tries to "combine the beautiful and the unsettling, the humorous and the sincere, the banal and the uncanny". The dissonance of these juxtapositions are what hook the viewer. It's not unlike how the mind works all the time, one part of the brain thinking one way, while another part is off in the opposite direction. Thoughts can diverge into multiple tangents. Emotions can layer up so that they're almost impossible to describe. And sometimes the difference between dream, reverie and conscious thought can blur and meld until we mistakenly remember one as another. Ben Smith's work lives in this reality, the nebulous and peculiar world of our ordinary psyches. Don't get too distracted by some of the more explicit meanings in some of these images. The "joke" about about Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave in "The Influence" might require some familiarity with their music but the painting works even without it. And the two expressions on the double self-portrait "Of Two Minds" may convey the direct point of the title but really, it's the duck that really gets you.
You can see more at his website bensmith.viewbook.com or at his gallery's website: www.dickersongallery.com.au
Thanks to vivianite.net for posting his work before me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nick Weber

"Amy"  oil on canvas  16" x 20"

"Girl in the Sun"  oil on canvas  22" x 28"  2011

"Green Bikini"  oil on canvas  51" x 36"  2011

"Lost in Thought"  oil on canvas  36" x 51"

"Lit Up House"  oil on canvas  30" x 24"

Nick Weber has been working through some issues with his art. I guess we all kind of know that art is sometimes therapy for the artist, and there's an old cliché, with some merit to it, that artists are, if not crazier than most folks, at least more neurotic and perhaps a little narcissistic. In this respect an artist's work can be seen as self-portraiture even if the subject matter is someone else.

Nick Weber has been doing portraits and figurative work for a long time. They vary greatly, from tight carefully crafted commissions of wealthy patrons, to casual studies of friends, to painted renditions of internet porn. The latter has brought him both attention and controversy, both useful to an artistic career. But it also points to one of the artists primary obsessions. Sexually attractive women. Are they people in his paintings? Or are they sexualized objects? The answer could easily be both. But lately it may be more accurate to say they are neither. In the past Mr. Weber has used his art not to solve his complex relationship toward women but to simply confront it, confess it, and move on. Now he is using the same subject matter, long familiar to him, to simply explore the possibilities of painting. He has gotten more experimental in recent years. The courage it took to paint explicit pornography (and yes, it took courage, if not taste) now reveals itself in his helter-skelter exploration of more expressionistic techniques. The flip side of courage is of course recklessness. But he has the chops to pull it off.

I added one of his night scenes here as well because I think they offer a look at another side of the artist, a more melancholic side, less anxious to confront his audience or himself, or please them either. They are about moments alone. They capture beautifully the feeling one gets of the atmosphere at night, when the air does not feel like emptiness, but a palpable medium through which we move. They are beautifully observed and executed. And I'm a sucker for night scenes.

You can see more work of all kinds on his website: nicholasweber.com

He currently has a lot going on. There's a retrospective of his figurative and portrait work open until Dec. 31 at QF Gallery in East Hampton, NY.  His porn paintings are up until Jan. 11 at res ipsa gallery, and you can see more work online or in the gallery at www.tripoligallery.com

I first posted work by Mr. Weber in April 2009 here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

John Borowicz

"The Tower of Babel"  2010  Graphite on Paper  38" x 50"

"A Continuous Attempt at False Symmetry"  2010  graphite on paper  21" x 21"

"A Plausible Result of Sustained Spontaneity"  2010  Graphite on Paper  50" x 38"

"Model for a Resilient Structure"  2009  graphite on paper  9 1/4 x 7 1/4

"The Next Morning"  2011  Graphite on Paper  6" x 4"

John Borowicz's work varies widely in style and intent, all of it enveloped by a wry sense of humore. But the largest body of it is his series of semi-abstract constructs, masses of stacked objects resembling oddly shaped bricks or buildings. That they are vaguely suggestive of megalopolis cities is certainly no accident. They seem to be a wry commentary on two very different phenomenon; the pure chaos of mankind's constructive frenzy, and the painstaking tedium of building up complex images on paper with little marks from a pencil. The two things are not as unrelated as they may at first sound. Because people build things carefully, piece by piece, like little marks laid down by a meticulous artist. Everything is planned, each step carefully made. But when multiple intentions overlap, where everyone's plan is developing next to everyone else's, you get a city. John Borowicz draws these images like the builders of cities, piece by piece, each with it's own plan next to other pieces with plans of their own. They remind me of "Kowloon" the walled city, which was torn down in 1994. For a while it was the densest concentration of human beings on the planet. Through an accident of history it was built up lawlessly on an area of a mere 6.5 acres and resembled nothing so much as a Borg ship (you know, from Star Trek TNG). Anyway it is that sort of energy and chaos that the artist is mimicking, mocking and channeling all in one go.

You can see more of his mesmerizing work on his website: johnborowicz.com or at his gallery Adam Baumgold gallery in New York, which posts some great detail shots on their website.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Nat Meade


"Plaid Pantry"

"Tarp" work on paper


Nat Meade's paintings work on at least two levels. On one they are simple but symbolically & psychologically loaded scenes (like a minimalist amalgam of René Magritte and Edward Hopper). They draw us in with cryptic references and multiple potential meanings. Any one of them could work as an illustration suitable to multiple essays and articles covering wildly divergent topics and conflicting points of view. The simplicity of the images keeps their interpretation highly flexible without lessening their appeal. On the other level they are arresting studies of design, hue and value, their abstract qualities almost as important as their representational ones. This fact seems to be further emphasized by the artist, as his work has progressed from more tightly rendered older paintings to quicker simpler ones more recently. He often returns to certain motifs (like the man who is too large for the room in which he stands in "Sneaker") to explore different stylistic approaches or sometimes just different combinations of color and/or pattern. Sizes are not given but it appears that many of the newer pieces are probably quite small, which emphasizes the simplicity and sometimes a looser approach. The best, to my mind, seem to find a middle ground where hard edges and loose brushwork can seem both at odds and complimentary at the same time. At any rate the simplicity of the work is deceptive for they are carefully crafted and many will no doubt linger in your mind long after you see them. And you can see more at his website: www.natmeade.com or at Froelick Gallery (which, lucky for me is right here in my own hometown of Portland OR).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charlie Burk

"Nature's Glory"  oil on panel  49" x 97"

"Harmony"  oil on panel  48" x 48"

"Untouched"  oil on panel  48" x 24"

"Sundance"  oil on panel  72" x 96"

Sometimes a single subject completely overtakes an artist. In general I think this is unfortunate. Because what begins as an obsession can quickly become a trap. But it's hard to argue with a trap so delicately and subtly realized that you don't mind residing in it at all.The beauty and real magic of Charlie Burk's
mesmerizing grass studies is how they flirt along the boundaries of abstraction. They're painted on panels allowing the brush to define the long flowing shapes with sharp clarity and the layers are built up with a smooth varnished depth. As a kid I used to lay down upon the grass peering down between the blades to watch ants and other insects scurrying about their business. It felt like peering into a completely separate reality. And there is something of that feeling in these pieces as well. I'm not sure where the artist intends to take this work but I can imagine the hints of sky and horizon gradually vanishing and abstract chaos of all those flowing lines taking over entirely.
The artist does not have a website but you can see more pieces at Winterowd Fine Art, his gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Michael Beitz

"Dining Table"  wood

"Dining Table"  wood

"It's no Picnic Table"  wood

from "Body/Brick"  cement

from "Body/Brick"  cement

Michael Beitz enjoys a visual joke. But the humor is not just silliness. He's playing with the ideas of organic and man-made form, juxtaposing the two in a variety of ways in order to reconsider their meaning. When a table is no longer a flat surface is it still a table? What if the walls really did have ears? Or noses? The artist seems less driven by consistent intellectual inquiry than by whim and whimsy, turning what-if doodles into realities. This is not a criticism. Artist's sometimes get a little too full of themselves, believing that the rigor of their intellectual thought can sustain the aesthetic of their creations. It usually does not. Better to explore with open wonder and see what profound ideas emerge from the chaos. That is the real wellspring of art. Craft, discipline, intelligence, and critical thinking are all important tools for any artform, and if undeveloped the art will fail. But they should never control the art. They should become like muscle memory, acting to realize the artist's playful imaginings. In this sense Michael Beitz's work occasionally succeeds brilliantly. There's not a whole lot of work on his website but there is a tree with hinged branches, a house frame that gently folds up,  a pair of giant hands operated by bike pedals that will slap the operator and more, so it's worthwhile taking a look. I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dan Tague

"Reality Sucks"

"Hope in the Whitehouse"

"Resistance is Futile"

"The Almighty Dollar"
"American Muscle" 1969 Firebird Hood

Well to day is Black Friday - that commercial flip-side to Thanksgiving. For those outside the US, I'll just say... it's a long story. But it's a perfect day to post these. Actually, there's a lot more to Dan Tague's work than cleverly folded US currency. There's all kinds of conceptual work, installations, graphics, and so on. But the folded money is what first caught my attention and it neatly captures the overall tone of his work. Which is to say, both highly cynical and slyly humorous at the same time. The money pieces are presented asquite large glossy prints, simply matted and framed and make an arresting presence in person. The bills are generally photographed on a black background, the one exception I found being "Hope in the Whitehouse" photographed on white,  presumably because it was the only one expressing anything optimistic. In general his work reflects a highly skeptical view of American politics and history, and this themes overlap his personal experience as a resident of the famously flooded ninth ward in New Orleans. Much of the work since then has dealt directly and indirectly with the government's response to the disaster. To look through all of this for yourself just go to his website: dantaguestudio.com
or his gallery's website: Civilian Art Projects.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Z.Z. Wei

"Raven"  oil on canvas  48" x 36"

"Coastal Retreat"  oil on canvas  48" x 36"

Ocean Ahead"  oil on canvas  40" x 30"

"Awaiting Arrivals"  oil on canvas  60" x 40"

"Approaching Storm"  oil on canvas  36" x 48"
Z. Z. Wei came to the pacific northwest of the U.S. from China when he was in his thirties. The landscape he found here so enthralled him that he's been painting it ever since. These are not landscapes based solely on observation. They are narratives, about nature, memory and yes, nostalgia. His entire approach to painting had clearly been defined before he found the subject matter that would constitute his life's work. There's more than a hint of the early twentieth century in it, especially the graphic stylization that vaguely echo American artists like Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood. So perhaps it's not surprising that he fell in love with the American west. The nostalgia might strike some as sentimental, but the emotion is real. The nostalgia conveyed is not for some idealized American past, but rather a more complex brew of love for a landscape by someone who chooses to immerse themselves in it but can never be completely of it. It is the nostalgia of someone who is and always will be very far from home, by choice. While the rewards of a new life in a new place may make the pangs of homesickness bearable, the homesickness nonetheless may linger. Now if all that sounds to you like a load of romantic drivel I suspect you won't much care for these paintings. All I can say to that is, your loss.
There's not a whole lot of work to see on the artist's website: zzweiart.com
Instead take the time to look through his work at Patricia Rovzar Gallery and at Attic Gallery