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, November 26, 2013

Kent Knowles


"Oddity"  acrylic on canvas  40" x 30"  2013

"Song"  acrylic on canvas  30" x 40"  2013

"Niagara"  acrylic on canvas  40" x 30"  2013

title unknown
Kent Knowles, in addition to being an artist, is also apparently an illustrator, an animator, a screen writer, and a parent. For those of you who don't have kids, that last bit of information makes this list all the more impressive. Despite the limitations of dividing finite time in to a plethora of pursuits, he still manages to be a prolific painter (please pardon the alliteration - it just happened that way, I swear). More importantly though, he's a very talented painter as well. He combines an obvious love of traditional techniques with a contemporary narrative sensibility. That sensibility, often lumped under the loose term of pop-surrealism, often flies in the face of twentieth century post modern concerns, embracing narrative forms, illustrational techniques and dark humor. The illustrative styles that most members of this creative tribe employ are detail oriented and tight. But Mr. Knowles, an illustrator himself, and author of the children's picture book Lucius and the Storm, uses loose confident expressionistic techniques that serves to heightens the effect of his evocative imagery. His characters, frequently young women, seem lost in a perplexing and sometimes frightening, but always fascinating, natural world. Looking back through his early work I began to wonder if his drawing style and subject matter wasn't some kind of odd amalgam of Odd Nerdum's stark surrealism and the large-limbed figures of Picasso's neo-classical phase. Maybe you could throw in a little early Lucian Freud for good measure. But whatever it's sources or inspirations the results are uniquely his own.

To see more visit the artist's website: www.kentknowles.com
You can see original work at Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsbirg, VA
and at Kai Lin Art in Atalanta, GA

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jason Borders

"Ram #4"


"Blesbok" detail

"Scapula #5" Buffalo

"Tryptich" Harte-beast (center) and Springbok


There is something very primal about our response to skulls and skeletons. Drive through any part of American ranch land and you're bound to see cow skulls placed conspicuously here and there on people's property. Walking in arid lands you may happen upon the sun bleached remains of some predator's prey, and if you're like me, you'll almost certainly stop to examine it more closely. If there's a complete skull there's an almost overwhelming desire to DO something with it. Why? Of what use is it? Such a practical consideration cannot get at the answer. Skulls stripped of all flesh and fur are like totemic objects imbued with a curious magic for the human mind. Portland, Oregon artist Jason Borders is drawn into this magic and then draws it out, heightening its effect with meditative scrollwork designs dremeled into the bone which is then stained and polished. The designs remind me of Maori face tattoos and Australian aboriginal art. There was a time in our ancient past when the difficulties of daily life demanded a kind of sequestration of thought. One might labor intensely for hours or days at an important task, not wrestling with the ever present possibilities of death or injury or the gnawing exigency of an empty belly. The task at hand must done with absolute concentration to ward these things off. This same kind of focused yet free-form unselfconscious energy was also brought to their art. Jason Borders has found a way to replicate this kind of creativity and remind us of roots that go very very deep.

His work is currently on display at Antler Gallery in Portland, unfortunately for only one more week. The walls displaying the work have also been subtly painted by the artist with the same style of line work adorning his skulls and bones. If you get a chance you really must drop in and check it out. If you can't make it on the weekend, the gallery is conveniently open until 7pm every day of the week.

You can see more images of the artist's work on his website: www.jasonborders.com (but be warned, the images are large hi-res files which can take take a while to load if your connection is slow). You can also see images online at: www.antlerpdx.com/jason-borders.html

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Michael Paul Miller

2013 - Oil on Canvas - 24 x 20

2013 - Oil on Canvas - 47 x 72

2012 - Oil on Canvas - 30 x 24

"With Teeth (elder no. 1)"
2011 - Oil on Canvas - 8 x 8

"With Teeth" (gridded 16)
Oil on Canvas - 8 x 8 each

Michael Paul Miller is an artist of the times, obsessed with the dark side of human nature and existence, depicting in detailed fascination images of destruction and chaos, both literal and allegorical. Our culture has embraced post-apocalyptic imagery like never before, not because we believe some sudden cataclysmic event is imminent but because we suspect that we are living within such an event even now, and it is us. The imagery provided by this obsession is about how we exist in such a world, what it means to survive when the very nature of survival is changing. And, of course, there is the constant reminder that we may not. The "Momento Mori" tradition in western art (literally, "remember you will die") goes straight back to the classical era of ancient Greece and Rome but it takes on a new urgency when the implications of it are not just for us as individuals, but also for us as a species. In the face of certain mortality however, we still manage to find beauty, and in even in the grimmest depictions of disaster there is something in the human spirit that responds with a visceral thrill. This strange contradictory nature of our being is the heart of what Michael Paul Miller is attempting to get at. Looking back through the work on his website you can see that it has evolved, developing and distilling his ideas and dark obsessions into works of stark and disturbing beauty.
You can see more at his website: www.mpmart.net
His work can be seen in person in Portland, Oregon at Laura Russo Gallery
or in New York city at Denise Bibro Fine Art
He currently has work on display at the Fairbanks Gallery on the campus of Oregon State University

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fabian Jean

"The Idealist's Horse"

"Last Arcadian Horse"  24" x30"  2013

"Lifeboat"  17" x30"  2013

"The Speed of Ideas"  20" x 23 3/4"  2013
"Waitress on Break"

I posted some of Fabian Jean's paintings a little over a year ago and I don't have a whole lot to add to what I said before (here). But I can't resist adding these new pieces. His work is formal, traditional, finely crafted and surprisingly alive. All too often such careful rendering and rigid compositions can result in work that fails to evoke much of anything other than recognition of the effort that went into it. But here the work radiates a quiet glow. They breathe in a way that invites the viewer into a conversation with the piece like meeting a new person who just might also be a new friend. His propensity for stylized elements that I remarked upon in my previous post has largely been abandoned. But his work continues to exhibit the same carefully choreographed theatrical feel, not in a grand or showy sense, but in a way that quietly and exquisitely renders the drama of a single image, a single moment, or a single idea.

His work can be seen in person or online at galleries in Toronto (Mira Goddard Gallery) and Montreal (Galerie de Bellefeuille) and you can see many more of his paintings at his Flickr page.

(My apologies for the long delay between posts. I had settled on posting twice a week before my interruption due to attending an art residency program. I'm not certain at what rate I will continue to post as my circumstance at home are altering slightly but I will make every effort to post new work at least once a week and hopefully twice a week as often as possible)