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, March 29, 2012

Jack O'Hearn IV

Laundry Room (Informal Domesticity)  2010
Oil on Paper w/ Solvent Transferred Text  16" x 22"

"Tub, Sink & Washer" (Informal Domesticity)  2010
Oil on Paper w/ Inkjet Transferred Text  16" x 22"

"Sleeping Quarters" (Informal domesticity)  2012
Oil on Paper w/ Solvent Transferred Text  16" x 22"

"Obstacle" (Part of Drawing Wall)  2010
Etching & Letterpress on Antique Paper   8.5" x 11"

"Informal Relations"  Installation View

Jack O'Hearn, whose work I previously posted in Feb. 2009, recently had an installation/exhibition called "Informal Relations," held at the Art Lofts Gallery at UW-Madison. The work addresses the universality of the squatter experience around the globe; life on the margins, making do with a minimum of resources in sometimes enormous sprawling shantytowns from Mumbai to Nairobi, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. There are several layers of engaging conceit here. The original paintings that anchor the show are presented in the format of 19th century scientific illustration, echoing an era of aggressive colonialism when blindness to social injustice was rampant despite a supposed culture of enlightened scientific rationalism. These paintings were based on still lives set up and lived with in the artist's studio. By transferring some of that material into the gallery space we are confronted by how little has changed. The exploitation of and disregard for the marginalized people of the world is in no danger of becoming a thing of the past. Their way of life is re-presented in the gallery space the way cultural artifacts from a remote village might have been displayed in a museum  a hundred years ago. Despite the fact that you could probably walk out of the gallery, down a few streets and into a nearby alley to see the next best thing. I imagine the acerbity of the wit was lost on more than a few gallery patrons.

You can see more from the exhibition as well as his wonderful realist paintings at jackohearn.com

Monday, March 26, 2012

Seth Clark - 2

"Collapse"  39" x 38"  found paper, charcoal, pastel, graphite, ink, watercolor

"Collapse" detail

"Collapse III"   found paper, charcoal, pastel, graphite, ink, watercolor

"Collapse VI"  found paper, charcoal, pastel, graphite

"Collapse VIII"  40" x 26"  found paper, charcoal, pastel, graphite

"Abandoned (The William Livingstone Mansion in Detroit’s Brush Park)"  30" x 22"  collage, oil, colored pencil, pastel, charcoal, graphite on paper

I posted Seth Clark's series of abandoned buildings back in April of 2010. He's moved on slightly, from abandoned buildings in the process of decay, to structures in a state of total collapse (the original series was titled "Abandoned", the new series is titled "Collapse" - makes sense). The new collapse series moves his work a step further in the direction of chaos and abstraction. Entropy. That's a good word to throw in here. Order takes effort. Disorder comes oh so naturally. For all of our very real and profound impact upon the planet, our attempts to create objects of lasting value are often far more short-lived than we imagine them. Our buildings, especially houses, are a case in point. They are meant to provide shelter for a lifetime or more. But any home owner can tell you that maintenance is a bitch. A home left alone for a few years soon becomes irreparable. Homes are potent symbols of our sense of security and comfort. To see them in ruins is powerful reminder of the fragility of our circumstances; a Momento Mori ("remember you are mortal") not just for ourselves, but for our families, even our way of life. And yet ruins fascinate us. They contain within them their own profound eloquence and aesthetic. Seth Clark's technique of collage, found material and mixed media is perfectly suited to capture that aesthetic.
I'm pleased to see that his work was included in the most recent issue of New American Paintings (#98) and a little chuffed to be able to say I saw it coming.
To see more with wonderful detail shots go to his website: http://sethsclark.com

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sonja Hinrichsen

Snow Drawings - Rabbit Ears Pass, CO - Jan. 29, 2012

detail - Rabbit Ears Pass, CO

approx. 20" x 25" archival india ink on paper 

approx. 20" x 25" archival india ink on paper

approx. 30" x 40" archival india ink on paper

approx. 107" x 33' archival india ink on paper

"A Castle for Samorin"   - installation in a synagogue, Samorin, Slavokia - Sept. 2005
During my recent Hiatus at the Playa residency program there were two other visual artists. I posted Rob Licht's work earlier. The other artist was Sonja Hinrichsen who works in a variety of media including installations, drawings and landscape art. Her ink drawings are not currently posted on her website but may show up soon. I think they make an interesting comparison to her enormous drawings in snow that are currently receiving a lot of attention. Both involve repeated organic forms. By repeating and building up layer upon layer of tiny circles she creates forms that resemble nothing so much as microorganisms viewed through a microscope. Using the same approach on the scale of a landscape is not only visually arresting but possibly a reminder that the essentials elements of visual aesthetics repeat themselves on all scales whether we are capable of witnessing them or not. Her installation work explores a wide range of topics and ideas which I won't even begin to try and summarize here, but I encourage you to look through them at: sonja-hinrichsen.net
More images of her snow drawings and other work can be seen at: sonjahinrichsen.wordpress.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Akira Beard

"Picasso Homage"

"Imagined Headpiece"  18" x 24"
"Francis Bacon"  oil on paper  9" x 12"  2011

"Seeds"  water soluble oil paint on paper   9" x 12"  2011

"Bukowski"  watercolor on paper  5.5" x 8.5"  2011

I've been a fan of these faces for quite a while and can't believe I've not posted them earlier. Akira Beard has been uploading amazing portraiture and occasional other bits on Flickr under the name "The AkirA Project" since 2009. In that time he's posted some 200 images. It's pretty difficult to pick out 5. The quality of his work is incredibly consistent. Consistency is not nearly so common among artists as you might think. And portraiture is a very particular skill, one that many artists shy away from for good reason. The human brain harbors the most sophisticated human facial recognition software that will ever exist. When there is the least thing off or wrong about a face, we can see it. This is not the case if you draw or paint a tree. To be able to get faces this right and still be able to play with distortions, color variation and texture with impressionistic brushwork is almost uncanny. Take a little time and look through his work. There's a lot and I have not come close to representing the range of it. You can look through the aforementioned Flickr page or you can go to his website: akirabeard.com

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rob Licht

"Aquifer" stainless steel  17" x 16" x 15"  2003

"Heart of Gold"  steel, plaster, gold leaf, velvet  5" x 8" x 16"  2009

"The Landing"  stainless steel, steel  17" x 14" x 3"  2009

"The Landing"  detail

I apologize for my lengthy absence. I spent 4 weeks at a residency in south central Oregon called Playa Summer Lake. One of the other artists there was Rob Licht, a sculptor and teacher from Ithaca, New York, whose work is generally some kind of response to the physical environment, either in the form of poetic reflection and appreciation of the landscape, or commentary on our increasingly dysfunctional relationship with it. His heart series, of course, deals with an inner landscape. While his range and interests extend far beyond what you'll find on his website it's a great place to start: roblicht.com
You can see a bit more at his gallery: www.tappanzgallery.com

But I hope you'll spend a bit of time looking through his blog. He'll be at Playa for another 4 weeks. I'm anxious to see what new ways he'll find to react to the wide open spaces of this Basin and Range landscape, so different from the wooded hills of upstate New York. Below are a few of his examples of what kept him busy while I was there.

"Space available"  charcoal and graphite on paper  2012

"Reversal of Scale"  rocks on ice  2012

"Reversal of Scale"
"True North"

"Walking a Grid"