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)

Monday, January 30, 2012

David deVillier

"The Giant"  oil on wood panel  48" x 47.5"

"The White Meditation"  oil on steel panel  24" x 30"

"The Woman Who Dreams of Other Lives"  oil on panel with steel frame  55" x 55"

"Blue Fox/Blue Woods"  oil on wood panel  48" x 48"

"The Hiding Place"  oil on canvas  30" x 30"

David Devillier is a painter and sculptor originally from Louisiana, currently residing in Idaho. He's an obvious fan of materials, painting on a variety of surfaces from wood panels and canvas to steel in addition to working in 3-d. For his painting he combines hard edged lines and graphic structural forms with a loose energetic application of paint, allowing accident to mingle with design. It's a nice effect. But at it's heart the work is narrative. He employs a variety of thematic set-pieces and characters designed to provoke a tale rather than simply tell one. Recently two of the central elements in his works are trees of all sorts, usually solitary, sometimes in small groups, ...and snowmen. While there is no way for me to know what snowmen signify for the artist personally, I find them a touching and oddly comic commentary on our own ephemeral and fragile existence. Or maybe I just obsessed over the Frosty the Snowman melting in the greenhouse too much as a kid. Anyway, the work is there for you to look at for yourself and make of it what you will. He has a website (daviddevillier.com), but it appears to be a work in progress without much to actually look at yet so I recommend starting with Gail Severn Gallery.

Then you can check out work from various periods at these galleries pages:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Robert Ernst Marx

"Be Careful"  oil on linen  34" x 46"  2011

"Dear Prudence"  oil on linen  12" x 10"  2010

"Justice"  oil on linen  12" x 9"  2011

"Legion of Loose Ladies"  oil on linen  28" x 26"  2011

"Tired Helen"  oil on linen  9" x 8"  2010

Robert Ernst Marx is a very well established artist who earned his BFA and MFA in Illinois back in the early 1950s. So he's not the usual young up and coming artist looking for a bit of exposure that I usually try to post. But this is all current work from an artist who is still actively striving to perfect his visual language. He creates fascinating and haunting portraits and figures that employ a highly developed collection of marks, techniques and symbolic props. These people, whether real or imagined, reflect the artist's fairly dark vision of humanity and his own admitted obsessions concerning "...the arrogance of power, the exclusivity of the institutions of church and state, abuse by and of both spouse and child, and our own and others' personal fears and insecurities." But for all the dark brooding pessimism of our all too human nature, there is a haunting beauty to the work that attracts the viewer rather than repels. There is also an ambiguity that invites the viewer to interpret and meditate on the nature of both man and art.
Check out his website: roberternstmarx.com
And you can see much more work at the following galleries:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Xiaoze Xie

"Chinese Library No. 42"  oil on canvas  32" x 61"  2010

"Chinese Library No. 43"  oil on canvas  42" x 80"  2010

title unknown
"Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto #2"  Photogravure print  2007  14 3/5 x 20 8/9 inches 
title unknown

Xiaoze Xie is a professor of art at Stanford, a painter, photographer and installation artist. Almost all of his work is about printed material, especially books and newspapers, and how these materials are variously glorified and neglected, preserved or destroyed. It makes for an interesting commentary on our own digital information deluge which is so transparently ephemeral. He seems to be saying, see... it has always been thus. The fact that his work is representational and in a sense very traditional reflects on the subject matter as well; the old commenting on the new. I won't add any more here except to say that it is worth reading his own artist statement.
To look at more work you can look at the Stanford website or at some of his gallery's websites, notably Chambers Fine Art and Davidson Gallery

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sharon Dowell

"Interim"  acrylic and ink on canvas  40" x 60"  2008

"Limbo"  acrylic and ink on canvas  12" x 16"  2010

"Masquerade"  Acrylic and ink on canvas  24" x 24"  2010

"Pecan Street Water Tower"  acrylic and ink on canvas  48" x 48"  2010
"Crane"  acrylic and ink on canvas  20" x 32"  2008

Sharon Dowell is a North Carolina based artist, a teacher, a gallery director and a curator. Her work is primarily focused on cityscapes although she does the occasional figurative piece as well. Her technique seems particularly well suited to capturing the push and pull between chaos and order that defines the urban environment. She builds up layers of color and texture in stark geometric patterns that allows us to see into the painting, the way we might see into the reflection of a towering glass facade or through the scaffolding of new construction. Foreground and background tussle for dominance, continually trading places even when what is depicted is merely the flat surface of a building. Sometimes her work reaches an almost dizzying abstraction while remaining firmly rooted in her visual source material. At other times it takes on the look of a graphic illustration with the punch of an expressionist painting. (please keep in mind that unlike most fine art professionals I never use the term illustration as derogatory). The overall effect is to convey the intensity of the urban landscape. Whether capturing the dynamism of it's growth, or it's entropic decay, her painting is rooted as much in emotional perception as it is in recorded fact.
You can see a lot on her website (www.sharondowell.com), much of it smaller studies that are not always as strong as the larger work and there's a lot to look through. Most of the pieces here are from her gallery in Seattle (www.davidsongalleries.com) which is how I came across her art.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Andre Petterson

"Chaos Stitch"  48" x 36"  mixed media on board  2010

"Cilia Spill"  31.5" x 24"  mixed media on board  2009

"Margin Spill"  32" x 26"  mixed media on board  2010

"Shift- Release"  32" x 24"  mixed media on board  2010

"Push"  40" x 40"  mixed media  2010

Andre Petterson combines photography and painting to create some powerfully original images. The combination of media is a tricky one to pull off. It can often feel like little more than a cheat, a way for an artist to add some expressionistic zing to an otherwise realist image without having to resort to drawing, god forbid. But Petterson's images tie the two media together both visually and conceptually. In almost all of his recent work, mechanical devices can be seen as stand-ins, not for the photography, but for painting and drawing. They represent the hand-made, the self powered, the physical application of labor to one's desired goals, while the painting can be seen as standing in for the photography, capturing the instantaneous moment, action itself frozen in time. But even without this bit of intellectual over-interpretation, there is no doubt that the images by themselves are riveting. The high contrast and simple dynamic compositions lend them a powerful graphic impact. And they represent only the most recent pursuit of a man who has explored sculpture, music, film, performance art, kinetic work, set design and choreography. If he's half as good at any of those things as he is at creating 2-dimensional art... well then that's just not fair.
You can see more of his work at the following gallery websites:
www.fosterwhite.com and www.bau-xi.com

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Julienne Hsu

"Fighting Ring"  5'x5' oil and gouache on canvas  2010
"Not Enough Room For Two" 20x26" Gouache, pencil, and paper cutouts on yupo paper
"Prosthetics" 48x36" Gouache, pencil, and paper cutouts on canvas
Rated R, 14"x14" gouache on canvas  2011
"There's always a dominant and a submissive" 16" x 16" gouache and paper cutouts on canvas

Julienne Hsu's work evolves around dogs, but her work is not your typical pet obsessed adoration. Much of it stems from her research into and observations of the world of dog-fighting. On one level it can't help be anything but a visceral reaction to the brutality of the enterprise. But her work is also fairly abstract, drawing from a variety of mid to late twentieth century art. These influences put the viewer at a more objective distance, as if to remark on the peculiar and ultimately mysterious relation between mankind and their so-called best friends. At times the wild distortions of the animals could be viewed as reflecting the wild distortions of the animal's own instincts, how their natural aggression and hierarchical behavior is subsumed into the absolute obedience to their master/trainer. But ultimately what she shows is a creature whose true existence can be utilized or manipulated but never really and fully understood. The inner life of any animal is ultimately alien, our understanding of them always partial, fractured, distorted and incomplete, like the images above.

You can see more of her work on her website juliennehsu.com. Her artist statement is actually worth reading (a rare thing) and gives an insightful account of her intentions, techniques and resources.

Also congratulations to Ms. Hsu on being include in New American Paintings 97

Monday, January 9, 2012

Suhas Bhujbal

"A Quiet Town 100"  oil on canvas  47" x 92"  2011
"A Quiet Town 39"  oil on canvas  50" x 40"  2011
"A Quiet Town 98"  oil on canvas  60" x 72"  2011
"A Quiet Town 97"  oil on canvas  50" x 40"  2011
"A Quiet Town 105"  oil on canvas  42" x 56"  2011

Suhas Bhujbal is an Indian born artist now based in San Francisco. His expressive geometric paintings more often reflect the urban environments of his native country than their American counterparts, although his current home town does make an occasional appearance. But his work is, in general, not about specificity of place. Instead he tries to capture the feel of buildings that grow organically atop one another, overlapping, converging, at times falling apart, at others being revitalized and brightened with bright coats of optimistic color. These are places of dense population, defined by crowds but his careful "quiet" compositions look past the people in order to, in his words, "create harmony out chaos and conflict". That constant tension that exists in cities, and in all human activities, between chaos and order seems at the heart of these carefully balanced paintings. They can be read as near abstractions straddling the fence between formalism and expressionism, or they can be read as narratives; small vignette's of the human experience. You can see many more from his "Quiet Town" series as well as some interesting figurative works on his website: www.suhasbhujbal.com

...and congratulations to the artist on being included in New American Paintings 97 where I came across his work.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kristin Calabrese

"Don't Go Down Booze Alley"  oil on canvas  78" x 102"  2010

"Fear of the Poor"  oil on canvas  78" x 96"  2005

"Interior Disaster"  96" x 102"  oil on canvas  2002

"Lean" 18" x 52"  oil on canvas (leaning against wall)  2008
"Don't Be Afraid"  69" x 6"  oil on canvas  2011

"Board"  48" x 48"  oil on canvas  2011

Kristin Calabrese has been exploring a lot of ideas over the last decade. Most of it stems from her work as a realist painter, playing with ideas of verisimilitude; for example, toying with three dimensions on a flat surface and then propping that flat surface against a wall to claim a three dimensional sculptural presence. She also plays with perspective, another aspect of the 3-dimensional vs. 2 dimensional issues at the heart of representational painting. But this is only one Kristin Calabrese. There are many. She is at times a social commentator, at others a visual autobiographer, or an occasional symbolist, or sometimes just a hyper realist devoid of content beyond representation and illusion. She even toys with abstraction while maintaining a realist approach by creating the illusion of a three dimensional abstract construct. You may not like everything she does. Or you may. But you're sure to find something that will challenge your ideas of what realism can do in contemporary art. You can see much much more on her website: www.kristincalabrese.com

Thanks once again to the folks at www.booooooom.com for posting her work