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)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg

"Wind Map" on Oct. 30, 2012 - Sandy
Wind Map is one of my favorite things to look at lately. A friend referred to it as pixie stix for the eyes. With the storm back east it has been pretty dramatic too. This is just a screen shot. You have to load the real thing and watch it move. I should have posted this yesterday. Oh well. Better late than never. "Wind Map" is the product of Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg at hint.fm where they explore the crossroads of informational data and artistic expression. In most cases there is some aspect of interactivity so you can't always tell too much from these static images. So I urge you to go to their website and spend a little time exploring their work. And bookmark that windmap. You'll want to return again and again. I promise you.

"The Art of Reproduction" 2011 - reclining nude - Modigliani
The art of reproduction explores the wild divergences in color reproductions of art. You never really know how different the image you're looking at is from the original.

"Web Seer"  2009
Web Seer explores human curiosity by using "google suggest" to see what others are thinking

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alberto Ortega Rodas

"No Time Like the Past"

"Kick the Can"

"Long Distance Call"


"The Lateness of the Hour"

"Nocturno 2"
I'm a sucker for low light landscapes. I love those bright electric bulbs buzzing in lonely places, so unequal to the task of beating back the night. There's something about a night scene where the human presence is so near but not directly revealed, that seems to naturally load the mind with narrative potential. Stories are best told in the dark. Evening light is nice too I guess. Whatever the lighting, Alberta Ortega Rodas, an artist in Raleigh, North Carolina, has a knack for capturing it far more eloquently than most. I was immediately reminded of Linden Frederick whose work is often tighter but employs the same formal compositions and captures the same lonesome moods. I wish I knew the sizes of these paintings. Their rougher technique suggests to me they're fairly small, but either way, I rather like the loose gestural quality of them contrasting with the architectural formality. I've seen many artists who do quick studies for larger works and I've found that I often prefer the studies to the final product. The artist seems happy to oblige my tastes on this point.

His website is simply a blog at this point and has only been up for a year, so if you like this work as much as I do, we hopefully have plenty to look forward to. I wish I could have posted this earlier. His show at Designbox ends tomorrow. Alas, I simply did not know. Hopefully I'll be able to post a whole bunch of new work the next time he exhibits somewhere, which, given his skill, ought not to be too long from now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chelsea Bentley James

"North"  oil on panel  24" x36"

"Roselle with Reed"

"Aubry"  oil on panel  12x12

"Above"  oil on panel  60" x 60"

"Flush"  oil on panel  12x12
Chelsea Bentley James has some new work up at Kayo Gallery in Salt Lake City this month (along with artist Angela Fife). I posted some of her work back in February of 2010. Most of her paintings were landscapes with a few interiors here and there, but lately she's added more figurative work to her repertoire. It all works equally well, mainly because the subject matter does not in fact matter. Well not entirely at any rate. She clearly has an affinity for her subjects, an interest in them as objects, as places, as people, and her technique renders them through a filter not unlike memory, so that they come out fragmented, partial, ghostly and dreamlike. But we do not need to have any connection to her subjects to appreciate what she does with them. Because, landscape or figure, what her work is really about is painting itself. It's about the process of accumulating marks on a flat surface to create an image. It's about subtle shifts in hue and value to create a sense of depth and atmosphere. She remains firmly entrenched in the figurative tradition but her work is a constant reminder that all 2-dimensional rendering is abstraction at it's root. It's all just an accumulation of marks. She also manages to make that fact look almost effortless. Of course it's not. Not at all, but that appearance is a testament to her skill.
Her website is really just a blog. There's loads of great stuff there but you have to dig down into the archives to find it all. But you'll be glad you did.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Brett Eberhardt

"Studio Corner"   2012   Oil on panel  29 x 36.5 inches

"A History of Painting"  2011  Oil on panel    14 x 11.75 inches

"Red Plate (after Lopez)"   2011   Oil on panel   18 x 26 inches

"Studio Baseboard"   2010   Oil on panel   12.5 x 16 inches

"Mapping"   2010   Conte' pencil and acyrlic on paper   27 x 28 inches

Brett Eberhardt deals in realism of a particular brand, a kind of minimalist realism in spare compositions. Much of it looks at a single object resting on a plain rough well used whitewashed shelf. The objects are often mundane, usually something that would naturally be in an artist's studio; an old used jar of linseed oil for example. Other paintings depict a single piece of utilitarian furniture, empty, sitting against a wall. My favorites remove all these items and merely depict the wall itself, layers of cracked paint chipping away and the roughly used hardwood floor running up to meet it. Because Brett Eberhardt isn't interested in the subject matter per se. It's as if he merely makes a quick scan of his surroundings, the artist's studio, and selects something, anything, to be the fulcrum for his creative lever. What he is interested in is how brushwork can mimic texture, and his expressive ability to make it do so brings these spare humble images to life. Look at that white shelf. You can see old dents and scrapes covered over in layers of white house paint which has since been stained by the bottoms of various dripping jars. There's a single old nail hole. And it's all captured in confident undisguised brushwork, not the painstaking detail work that often kills hyper-realism. I'd call this work both modest, beautiful and smart; a winning combination wherever you find it.
There's more to look at here: bretteberhardtpainting.com

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hibiki Miyazaki

"(Un)seaworthy"  24" x 25"  painting on panel  2010

"Last Day of Summer"  24" x 25"  oil on panel

"Mirror"  23.5" x 26"  print - sandblast ground, spit bite, roulette, aquatint, drypoint  2010

"Don't Look Up"  2010

"Dreams of Travel"  15" x 18"  acrylic and colored pencil on paper  2012

Hibiki Miyazaki's work is like a secret code. Somewhere between the lands of pop-culture and her own interior psychological landscape there must be a de-coder ring hidden in the bottom of a box of very curious breakfast cereal. Alas, I have not found it. But that does not keep me from gazing in fascination at her work. She is an extraordinary print-maker employing a dizzying array of techniques. She's also a fine painter. In either medium, or in any of the others she's likely to employ, it is the idiosyncratic nature of her collage-like style that draws you in. Her art hangs in a delicate balance between finished product and work in progress, recalling to mind Picasso's blithe comment that if he ever finished a painting he'd be finished as a painter. Perhaps mention of Picasso is apt, for Miyazaki seems to be interested in continuing to explore some early modernist ideas. In the past artistic movements came into and then went out of fashion. Many of those movements faded long before they were fully explored, a fact I once lamented, for it seemed to me that each one was in theory an infinite playground for artistic ideas. Now there are seven billion of us on the planet and visual information flows freely back and forth. It warms my heart to see this kind of work (and every other that might have once faded into mere historical context) being worked in new and meaningful ways. Now if I could just figure out what those meanings were....
You can see loads of stuff on both her Flickr page and at her gallery's website: www.augengallery.com

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Steve Huston

"Straight Shot"  2011

"Whizzer"  oil on panel  24" x 36"  2009

"Headshot"  2003

study for Heave  oil on linen  24" x 24"

Study for Passing It Up #2

OK. Keywords: Manly. Masculine. Muscular. Right? Very. When trying to think how to describe these paintings one can't help but go toward the phrase "They're like ______ on steroids." Don't even bother filling in the blank. These paintings are like steroids. To be fair he has some lovely landscapes and some very sensual female nudes as well. But MAN OH MAN does this guy like men or what? All that rippling flesh piled up over heaving muscles painted with vivid vibrating brushwork. To top it all off the artist's name is Steve Huston! Sounds awfully close to Steve Austin. You know, the six million dollar man? So... with all that, the work might - just might - seem a little over the top. But damn. The top for this guy is a pretty high bar. He can paint and he can draw and if he's not going to apologize for painting manly flesh in all it's mighty extremes I'm not going to force him to apologize. Are you? And what what's wrong with over the top anyway. I think it has that in common with two key sources. First, it embodies the heroic common man vision that was so much a part of the early twentieth century. Echoes of George Bellows' savage boxing paintings are hard to miss, although these figures are loftier, more idealized like something out of WPA propaganda art. And that work has had much influence on the second source, which is the American comic book form. These figures are not just heroic. They're super-heroic. 

Looking just online I find that I'm often more drawn to the studies than the more polished final paintings that follow them. This is because the rough more aggressive gestural nature of a study seems more suited to the subject matter. But looking at work only online has serious drawbacks and it is impossible to compare the different impacts that two might have in real life. Either way plenty of energy and raw talent comes through and there's lots to look at on his website:

Monday, October 8, 2012

R. L. Rische-Baird

"Square Thinker"  oil on panel, 17.5"x 12", 2011
"A Fern Collector"  oil on panel, 17.5"x 12", 2011
"Trance Logic"  acrylic on panel, 17.5"x 12", 2011

"Two Worlds"  acrylic on canvas, 24"x 17.5", 2011
"River"  oil on canvas, 24" x 20"/14.5", 2009

R. L. Rische-Baird (or sometimes Rocky) has this to say about his what motivates him: 

a.) I acknowledge I do not understand and wish to.
b.) I attempt to understand and eventually believe I do.
c.) I realize I do not.

His work often plays with dualities and mysteries, objects or figures take on multiple roles, shadows become solid and reality becomes ephemeral. It is in short, unabashedly mystical, reflecting the artist's self-reflection in the face of nature. A recurring character in his paintings is a hiker/traveler figure who brings to mind the oft quoted JRR Tolkien line "...not all those who wander are lost" although the artist himself describes the figure as "acceptably lost". Both could be true, for it is exactly this kind of duality and seeming contradiction that is being engaged here. Contradictions and paradoxes are not problems that need solutions. They are the very fountain of his motivation as an artist (see above). You can view much more of his work at his website: www.rische-baird.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I'll be back next week with more art. Promise.
In the mean time here's some very old art that I personally never get tired of looking at.
"Moonlit Winter Landscape" Remi Van Haanan (Dutch 1812 - 1894)