Oil Paint: Piers Secunda Captures Birth of Industry

British Artist Silkscreens 19C Photos in Crude Oil

Reality Artworks are Material Mementos of Great Strikes

Bonus: Extraordinary Feat of Carving 13 Nested Spheres from One Paint Block

Piers Secunda explains how he incorporated the actual crude oil from historic wells into his silk screened photographs of the rigs and wells which changed the world

Artists like painting in oil paint, but how about crude oil – as paint? At an opening on Jan 29 Thu, the big night in Chelsea, at David Krut Projects Gallery at 526 West 26 Street #816 (Tel 255 3094), Jessica Carlisle and Krut introduced British artist, Piers Secunda, 38, and his “Archived Oil”.

The show is an extension of Secunda’s unusual path of exploration in art, one of using the medium itself to make the message. Known for using hardened paint in 3d to form variegated and colorful sculptures, his latest inspiration since 2008 is to use crude oil itself to evoke fleeting historical moments in oil exploration and signal their vast impact on world culture.

Messy and primitive work in the days of wildcat discovery in Canada and the US, but black gold will richly reward their efforts

The unusual artworks are faded 19th Century and early 20 Century photographs silk screened with crude oil and varnish to make resonant images of the early days of the oil industry, using the specific crude oils from the fields and wells which the artwork depicts. Secunda’s work involves extensive tracking down of the primary material, often on eBay.

As mementos of drilling strikes which have changed the world, the artworks tell the story of the oil age in its own medium, bringing home a sense of how the material which replaced whale oil to light rooms has invaded every corner of our world on land and lately, in vast gyres of plastic garbage, the sea. But Secunda, whose art is apolitical, does not emphasize the dark side. “I try very hard not to take a political position. I am not equipped to do so. My aim is to make a visual record.”

The birth of the oil industry goes back to primitive 19th Century scenes, but silkscreened in the oil they found, they gain new presence in the eye of the beholder

Piers’ work will be on display through Sat February 28, 2015, with hours from Tues to Sat, 10-6pm, attended by Miranda Leighfield and Meghan Allynn Johnson. It is in line with his remarkable previous work making colorful sculptures purely out of hardened paint, casting the component parts and then using industrial fixtures also carved from paint to hold them together. That fifteen years of work extended through abstract “paintings” in various forms and shapes to carved models of a Chinese Wrench and a Clamp formed out of industrial floor paint (see photo below and Piers Secunda).

Secunda turns over the block of paint on which he silkscreened his image of Spindletop 1912 with varnish mixed into the very crude that gushed from the Texas wells in the legendary field

Secunda as an artist reasons that crude oil plays a fundamental role in every aspect of 21st century living and is the main component of the world’s most used material, plastic. If crude oil is the world’s ultimate facilitator, he says, it must therefore be a contender as the ultimate artist’s material. “To me, it’s the texture of the twentieth century. Why not deploy it?”

An earlier work was carved “with slightly Buddhist patience”, says Secunda, from hardened industrial floor paint into a series of 13 hollow balls, one contained within the next, a feat which took Secunda two years to complete the first time (now in an edition of 10, with two artists proofs. “I got a lot better!”) The work is done by lining up a hole in each sphere so that his tools can reach to the core, where the last ball is the “size of a garden pea.” Carving the ones six or more layers down is “incredibly hard because you can’t really keep them all in place. The slightest movement of your hand shuffles the layers and they move. I tried to complete it on an aeroplane. I had three hours and I couldn’t do it.”

His photoworks range from Baku in Azerbaijan, and Spindletop in Texas, to scenes of California, and Colorado. After finding an image of Saudi Arabia’s first successful oil well, Dammam Number 7, Secunda searched for two years for oil from that specific well in order to silkscreen the photograph. The resulting crude oil print tells the story of a moment which had a seismic effect on global economics – the instant the well blew, in 1937, after 13 years of struggle by desperate wildcat prospectors running out of cash and hope on the desert’s sandy griddle.

Funding the world’s greatest prize: Nobel Oil Wells, 1897, 2013: Azerbaijani crude oil and varnish on industrial floor paint with cast paint nuts and bolts 51 x 39 x 6cm

In case anyone might think this a gimmick designed to sell to the walls of executives in the oil industry, the artist confirmed that he had never been offered any money from oil companies. On the contrary he had found his inspiration in “looking for a material which could be made to work like a paint but which would bring geopolitics into the work simply by its presence. Up till then the work I had been making was about the developing of an abstract painting practice and very introverted in its focus. I felt it was too busy ignoring the activities of world outside the studio, for my liking.”

Politics Silent, Though Inherent

The result is finer than the oil industry probably deserves, in fact, given its impact on the environment, notably the vast circles of plastic trash in the ocean, of which there are now eight in the world. But Secunda does not intend any specific environmental comment. He is purely an artist in his preoccupation, which is actually a combination of performance art and painting given the strenuous efforts he has to make to locate the right crude for a particular picture. He finds dealers on eBay, in one case using oil contained in anniversary paperweights from the major oil company who made the big strike.

An artist, not a critic: “I have felt for a long time that the most significant thing an artist can do, is to make a record or statement about the time in which they are alive. These works, like the more severe works that I have made, record fleeting moments of potent human activity which have affected or altered the direction of modern history.”

Secunda himself explains: “I had just started reading Daniel Yergin’s ‘The Prize’ when I thought of painting with crude oil, so bought some specimen samples on ebay and started experimenting. Very quickly it became clear that crude oil could be fixed and it flowed very effectively from a paint brush. The current works grew out of shards and sheets of poured floor paint, which I painted and spattered with oil. I produced these to generate material for assemblages, which was my direction at the time. The individual fragments looked really good on their own, so I started to mount them on the wall and think more about imagery that was appropriate to them.

“The first oil I laid my hands on came from a place called ‘Oil Creek’ in Pennsylvania. When I researched it, I learned that it was the source of the first oil rush. As a further experiment I tried to print some images of Oil Creek and in the process taught myself how to make silkscreen prints. Since crude oil is the primary material of our age, and since we’re in the midst of the petro chemical age, which largely defines and enables most human activity, why not use it to record what we’re doing?”

Worthy of the office or home walls of the well paid oil executive, perhaps, though possibly too flattering of the industry given its ability to choke the world’s oceans

His initial inspiration to merge crude oil with early photos was fueled by his discovery that the invention of kerosene (paraffin) from puddles of crude occurred about the same time as usable photography, most effectively in southern Poland, where Ignacy Lukasiewicz began distilling lamp oil in 1852. “These oil prints started with oil from, and then imagery of the early days of the oil industry, so I’ve covered some of the visuals which relate to it but the subject matter is rolling slowly forwards in time and away from this. These works are starting to gradually build up into an visual archive of the oil age. It just grew that way.

Secund’s clamp – built out of industrial floor paint: Portrait of a Clamp 2010 Edition of 10 with 2 Artists Proofs 3x17x8 cm

The core of his approach: “I have felt for a long time that the most significant thing an artist can do, is to make a record or statement about the time in which they are alive. These works, like the more severe works that I have made, record fleeting moments of potent human activity which have affected or altered the direction of modern history.”

The hook for me with crude oil is that if it’s the ultimate facilitator of our world, it must be a contender as the ultimate artists material.

The hook for me with crude oil is that if it’s the ultimate facilitator of our world, it must be a contender as the ultimate artists material.

The result is work which resonates deeply and more loudly than a photograph, but which to our eye retains decorative value for the walls of the home and offices of those in the industry who should be especially interested in buying his works. Were some expected at the opening? we asked him before the crowd arrived. “Email invitations have been sent out far an wide, so it’s inevitable of course that some oil people will click with the works and may come to see them, but the work hasn’t been made for their benefit. If some come to the opening, that’s their call, I suppose.”

But, he emphasized again, there was no environmental angle for him. “I’ve never taken a political position in any of the work I’ve made. The presence of crude oil in itself is political, because oil is inseparable from politics and environmental issues, but the works don’t take a political or an environmental position. They just record.”

Piers Secunda, 38 (his distinguished name sounds like a painter from the Italian Renaissance, but in fact it is derived from a Polish border town now obliterated by war) lives and works in London and New York. He studied painting at the Chelsea College of Art. His recent exhibitions include ‘War Stories’ at the William Holman Gallery, New York, 2014, a group show curated by Anthony Haden-Guest which included Secunda’s bullet hole works, where slabs of imitation wall are pock marked with the exact reliefs of bullet holes he collected from scenes of violent events in the Middle East, including a Taliban attack on a Kabul guesthouse for Indian doctors. His book of crude oil works will be published by Endeavour in London and Getty Images.

More photos at Photocalendar Talk In New York

Video by Piers Secunda about Archived Oil

Video of Piers Secunda – Painting of A Puzzle Ball

Video of Piers Secunda’s Taliban bullet hole paintings

British Artist Presents Archived Oil in New York

ART0 Piers Secunda Paints the Oil Industry @ David Krut Gallery

Jessica Carlisle on Piers Secunda

Piers Secunda on Facebook

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Susan Eley: Engel and Kaleda Explore Female Form

‘Humanity in Pixels and Stone':  Marble, Digital Imbued with Life

West Side Art Crowd Packs Brownstone Gallery In Early Freeze

Numerical Chemistry by Gary Kaleda: a highpoint of the artist’s talent in transforming digital work with flesh and blood warmth (2011, duraflex silver halide print, face mounted on plexiglass,edition of 10, 48 X 38.4 in)

Two artistic responses to the form and fantasy of the female torso, that eternal preoccupation of humanity, share space this month at the well established brownstone gallery of Susan Eley in her new show, Humanity in Pixels and Stone.  Both displays are richly rewarding in classical ways.

Lilian R. Engel’s monumental torso has the stable harmony of proportion which marks all her work, this one in black marble (Tendu, 2011, marble 22x13x10 in)

A second view of Lilian R. Engel’s Tendu (2011, marble, 22 X 13 X 10 in

The intriguing show kicked off with a packed reception on Thursday January 8th, and will run through Thursday February 19 (open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 11am-5pm or by appointment, at 46 West 90th Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10024, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, as well as on the Web at Susan Eley Fine Art and 1stdibs; tel 917.952.7641 or email: susie@susaneleyfineart.com.)

Nothing like an Upper West Side gallery reception to guarantee down-to-earth intelligent conversation, thoughtful, informative and mildly opinionated

Gallery founder and owner since 2006, Susan Eley is surrounded by guests who also typify the potential the future holds in releasing the entire female half of the world from cultural bondage

Mingling with one of the art world’s more interesting crowds – thoughtfully talkative Upper West Siders armed with funky coats and hats against the freezing weather outside, many long rooted in the fertile soil of New York City intellectual creativity – we admired the exquisite balance and softness of proportion of the abstract forms shaped in smoothed white, pink and black marble by Lilian R. Engel. Her works seemed to have an almost Zen-like repose, evoking respect for as well as appreciation of the female forms which inspired them. Engel is on the staff of the Art Students League as a graphic designer, and sculpts there as well as her own Long Island City studio.

Lilian R. Engel’s white, pink and marble sculptures spring from the female body as a central muse, but take on a life of their own in abstract harmony polished to a smooth sheen by an artist informed by time at Pietrasanta in her journey from Rhode Island to the Art Students League (Seated Figure, marble, 19in h x 13in w)

Marble meets digital in mankind’s oldest fascination

Torsos of the female variety were also the current preoccupation of lanky digital artist Gary Kaleda, present in Pee Wee spiked hair and a red track suit, with his equally tall partner, communications director Susannah Maurer at his side in a very upbeat foliage patterned dress.

Artist Gary Kaleda and Susannah Maurer, who is an expert on corporate and art world communications, and an inspiration for his work

Was Susannah the model he had in mind for his not-so-much pixilated as brush-like photoportraits of divinely fleshy female forms in mostly active, speeding poses? “Oh yes, all of them ” he assured us.   Though in a burst of artistic honesty immediately following this diplomatic statement he added, “Well, I do have some other subjects of fantasy too!”

Behind her back: Is it possible that Gary Kaleda’s mental model for his warm blooded digital images are sometimes not inspired by his long time partner, the much admired Susannah Maurer, of whom a woman friend says, “she has a wonderful face, you can’t stop looking at her! Particle Pageant (2011 duraflex silver halide print, edition of 10, 60 X 43.5 in) “

Kaleda is that exceptional, perhaps unique digital artist that has expanded his attention to include the flesh and blood of real life.  “What I liked about his work is it retains a warmth and humanity,” said Susan Eley, the gallery owner, “which a lot of digital work doesn’t.”

Gary Kaleda’s fantasy women: flesh and blood warm, not digitally chilly (Crimson Me (2010, duraflex silver halide print, edition of 10 28 X 35 in)

Gary’s girl: Not necessarily the one he lives with, which is an artist’s prerogative (2009, duraflex silver halide print, edition of 10, like all Kaleda’s works, 37 X 30 in)

Kaleda starts with a virtual model, which he develops with digital tools and techniques, but he doesn’t stop there.

Gary Kaleda sits in front of one of his obviously virtual models, at the beginning of a process whereby he gives her real life in art on the wall.

“My figures are not from real people,” Kaleda explained. ” I have a virtual photoshoot, as it were, rendering a 3d model, but then I’m interested in imparting my feelings onto it. I’m part of this world and I try to grasp our connection with it, and get beyond the cold, hard, mechanical aspect.”  Susannah is fully supportive, because, as she says, ” A lot of digital work is empty for me. Inaccessible – it doesn’t move me!”

Susannah Maurer takes a pause in chatting with John Eley, the CEO of Golden Source, a financial software company, who as husband of the gallery owner earns credits for doing the heavy lifting involved in some of Susan’s shows

Susan Eley, founder and boss of the gallery since 2006, gives full credit to her husband for being strong enough and willing to carry heavy art objects up the fairly steep steps and stairs of the 90th Street brownstone to the second floor exhibition space.

One thing digital with which Gary Kaleda has enhanced his works recently, however, is the addition of a tiny mark, a QR Code, which allows smart phones to display text and potentially go to text and images on the Web, even video, and offer all the curatorial information about the image they might be interested in.

Aha! A QR Code on Kaleda’s work. His smartphone can read it as an ordinary label of the work but also with a link to the Web it could potentially play a video of Gary explaining his image (Pink Celebration 1 (2012), Duraflex silver halide print, face mounted on plexiglass, 41.25 x 30 inches, edition 1/10).

A quieter side of woman’s form

In hand-in-hand harmony with Kaleda’s high energy, even red hot variations on the parallel topic of the human body the smaller scale but still Henry Moore-like abstract statuary by Lilian Engel on pedestals around the gallery matched his emotional dynamism with some boldly assertive standing pieces.  But most of her seven polished tactile temptations lay in calm repose, their smoothly varied contours making for a quiet aesthetic that suggested some of these in fact very heavy objects were light enough to float off their stands.

Different views of the core focus of so much art through the ages from the Venus of Willendorf through the Venus de Milo and the Venus of Botticelli to the Venuses of the Upper West Side, 2015 (Lilian Engel, Seated Figure, marble, 19in h x 13in w)

Engel, who works as graphic designer director at the Art Students League while not carving and polishing marble (and more lately wood, under her mentor Seiji Saito, a Noguchi disciple) in one of its studios or her own, said that she had pursued figurative clay sculpture so long in her early career that if her focus is now on the torso, “I guess I was a student so long it’s just in me.”  Torsos, she added, “are the most exciting part of the figure, because there is so much motion in them. I think of bodies in motion, and I want to get the stone into movement, out of its confined space. Often, it becomes a back and forth play.”

Lilian Engel details her modus operandi to a group of attentive admirers (Recline, pink marble, abstract 10in h x 12in w)

A closer look at the exquisitely formed white marble form she is discussing, one of her remarkably successful takes on the basic female reclining form (Recline, pink marble, abstract
10in h x 12in w)

Explaining to a small group gathered round one of her works in creamy white marble, she said she sometimes skipped making a model in clay first, but “if it’s a big piece of marble  I don’t like to take chances.  My process is usually an intuitive one.”   With her was her man Brad Whitermore, a wood craftsman and also a sculptor, who she met in the corridors of the Art Student League in a cloud of marble dust from a teaching studio there, when he was working next door in wood.   They went to the Whitney Biennial, then for walks in the park, and ended up living together, though with separate studios now in Long Island City.

As Lilian holds court around one of her sculptures, her partner Brad Whitermore laughs admiringly while basking in the kudos he earned by carrying her very heavy marble works up the steep steps and stairs of the Eley brownstone gallery on a wintry day.

Images on his iPhone Brad showed us confirmed how much they had in common, since two were of torsos in exceptionally fine classical style.  “I like torsos, yes” he said. “The classical department of the Met is one of my favorite spots, a point of departure for lines I am interested in.”

Whitermore was able in the 21st Century manner to show us his own fine account of the female form inspired by the Greek models he has often visited at the Metropolitan Museum

Also present were:

Carole Eisner, the artist (and mother of the gallery owner) whose giant sculptures are seen outdoors in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, including a monumental one below the tramway to Roosevelt Island at  59St and 2nd Avenue last year.

Carol Eisner Bridge • 2014 Painted, Welded Steel | 48″ h x 83″ w x 45″ d

Allison Chernow, director of external affairs at the Bronx Museum, with her daughter Dorothea Trufelman, still a Skidmore student, who is planning to visit Cuba in May to photograph life there for an NYU Tisch program project.

Allison Chernow of the Bronx Museum of Art talks to Susan Eley, framing her daughter Dorothea Trufelman of Skidmore who plans a May trip to Cuba to photograph the island’s longtime evasion of modern commerce before its purity gets washed away by an influx of exploiters

Naomi Campbell the artist, instructor in the contemporary figure in watercolor at the Art Student’s League, whose solo exhibition was last summer

Christopher Priore, a very active artist in a splendid sweater which suggests exactly that, as well as the ski slopes.

Christopher Priore who paints on thick vinyl, he says, and has a video up on YouTube titled Rapunzel’s Village.

Next up at Susan Eley:

The celebrated author of A Manual of Practical Sexual Advice holds up her latest book of poems, from which she will read Thu Jan 22

The celebrated author of A Manual of Practical Sexual Advice holds up her latest book of poems, from which she will read Thu Jan 22

Poetry, Wine, Art, and Conversation:Vica Miller Poetry Salon: Saeed Jones, reading from ; Susana H. Case, reading from 4 Rms w Vu, new book of poems (Mayapple Press, 2014); Jayson Smith, reading new poetry; Adam Falkner, reading new poetry. Thursday, January 22, 2015, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM (reading 7 PM sharp). Free. RSVP essential by Jan 15. @vica_miller
Click for bios of the poets and the series

Digital Collection Talk by Michael Spalter, Chairman of the Board of the Rhode Island School of Design, on his large collection of early digital art amassed with his wife, artist, author, educator Anne Morgan Spalter. Thursday Jan 29 6.30pm Talk 7pm prompt, then Q & A, refreshments. Seating limited RSVP susie@susameleyfineart.com 917=952-7641 )

More pictures at Photocalendar, currently 94 before adding and weeding.
Note: All images here on Talk can be expanded colossally if clicked.

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Lauder Cubist Hoard Shown Complete at Met Museum

Rare Chance to Assess, Appreciate Birth of Abstract Art

Collector’s Prescience Translated Cosmetics Money into 81 Key Works

Met has added an iPad Encyclopaedia, Huge Scholarly Book, Posters, Prints

On the Web, Campbell’s Other Brilliant Coup: Connections

Shock of the new: A November 1908 display of Braque’s work at Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler’s Parisian gallery is considered the first Cubist exhibition. The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection contains two landscapes from this historic debut: The Terrace at the Hôtel Mistral (1907) and this work. Created one year apart, they chart Braque’s stylistic evolution toward a reverse perspectival space, wherein highly sculptural forms push outward rather than recede into depth. Light and shade are no longer used to model objects naturalistically. At far left is a cylinder that represents a tree trunk and behind it is a cube, which may indicate a rock or a building farther in the distance. Landscapes such as this one were misunderstood and criticized by Braque’s peers as being “full of little cubes,” leading to the use of the name “Cubism” for this new artistic approach. Trees at L’Estaque by Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris) Date: L’Estaque, summer 1908 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 31 5/8 x 23 11/16 in. (80.3 x 60.2 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York On view in Gallery 199

Over the next four months (Oct 20-Feb 16) at the Met art lovers and curiosity seekers both will have a chance to see the storied collection of early 20 Century art amassed by Leonard A. Lauder, a New Yorker and cosmetics king, whose wide open eyes allowed him to pick out many of the highlights of Cubism before other collectors realized their value as examples of perhaps the greatest explosion of visual technical originality in the history of art.

Lauder scooped the pot

Art humorists: Punning and multivalent references delighted Cubist artists and their literary friends. Any word containing the sound “cube” was immediately embraced, from the widely advertised pats of dehydrated broth (“bouillon KUB”) to the celebrated Czech violinist Jan Kubelík, whose name features prominently in this painting. In spring 1912, in connection with a retrospective of work by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Kubelík performed a concert of Ingres’s favorite musical pieces on the deceased artist’s violin. The year after it was finished, the painting was included in the Armory Show, the exhibition that introduced modern art to America. One critic pointed out that even though Braque had misspelled Kubelík’s name, he had succeeded in putting the ‘art’ in ‘Mozart’. Violin: “Mozart Kubelick” by Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris) Date: Paris, spring 1912 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 18 × 24 in. (45.7 × 61 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York On view in Gallery 199 Bottle, Glasses, and Newspapers by Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris) Date: Paris, early 1913 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: Oval, 15 × 21 3/4 in. (38.1 × 55.2 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Lauder began in 1976 and acquired 81 paintings, collages, drawings and sculpture from 1906 to 1924 – by George Braque (1882-1963), Juan Gris (1887-1927), Fernand Leger (1887-1955) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the French and Spanish leaders of the Cubist movement which shared in the cultural upheaval of the early 20th Century, when iconoclastic works in dance, music and art replaced old standards with new approaches which reflected more the industrialized, mechanized world which was overtaking the imagination of artists.

See change in action

Frame makes a difference: This delightfully playful piece by Braque is more decorative in this suitable frame. The Met caption states The ostensible subject of this still life is a café. The letters “NAL,” shown on a diagonal at right, are part of the French word “journal” (newspaper); at left is a placard indicating the “MEN[U DU] JOU[R]” (today’s menu). With its abrupt spatial shifts and juxtaposed rectangular forms, this work is a striking example of the immediate impact that Braque’s collages had on the aesthetic of his paintings. The inclusion in so many Cubist artworks of the letters “JOU” (from “jouer,” to play) is a hint at the game of representation that lies at the core of Cubism. Bottle, Glasses, and Newspapers by Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris) Date: Paris, early 1913 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: Oval, 15 × 21 3/4 in. (38.1 × 55.2 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. On view in Gallery 199′

The Lauder collection offers a splendid opportunity to review major works in this historic change as it took place in the minds of four prodigiously talented men, as they competed to push the envelope of art into a new direction which would ultimately take over from naturalism, leaving those who still practice art as a less abstracted representation of what they see and feel looking amateurish and out of date, and outside the main trend which has culminated in the high priced intellectualism, formalism and mirrored irony that fills high end galleries and museums today.

The relief of color: Bold color reentered Braque’s and Picasso’s work in spring 1912, partly in response to the Italian Futurists’ brilliantly hued canvases, which debuted in Paris earlier that year. Picasso used industrial paint to reproduce the cover of a pamphlet, “Our Future Is in the Air,” issued by the Michelin tire company to raise support for the government’s aviation program. The blue, white, and red stripes refer to the French flag. Cubists enjoyed aviation references because they viewed their art as similarly groundbreaking. As an inside joke, Braque and Picasso compared their creative partnership to that of the Wright brothers.   The Scallop Shell: "Notre Avenir est dans l'Air" Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France ) Date: Paris, spring 1912 Medium: Enamel and oil on canvas Dimensions: Oval, 15 × 21 3/4 in. (38.1 × 55.2 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York On view in Gallery 199

The relief of color: Bold color reentered Braque’s and Picasso’s work in spring 1912, partly in response to the Italian Futurists’ brilliantly hued canvases, which debuted in Paris earlier that year. Picasso used industrial paint to reproduce the cover of a pamphlet, “Our Future Is in the Air,” issued by the Michelin tire company to raise support for the government’s aviation program. The blue, white, and red stripes refer to the French flag. Cubists enjoyed aviation references because they viewed their art as similarly groundbreaking. As an inside joke, Braque and Picasso compared their creative partnership to that of the Wright brothers. The Scallop Shell: “Notre Avenir est dans l’Air” Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France ) Date: Paris, spring 1912 Medium: Enamel and oil on canvas Dimensions: Oval, 15 × 21 3/4 in. (38.1 × 55.2 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York On view in Gallery 199

These works still have one foot in both camps, as it were, the natural and the geometric, being both radical in their exploration of the spatial and geometric relations between the elements of the subjects being painted, which in their work soon take over so completely that it is hard to discern the subject’s original outlines, and yet somehow retaining a good deal of the emotional impression of the subjects and scenes being reflected and displayed.

Even more color:  When France entered World War I in August 1914, Picasso, a Spanish national, was not required to serve. He expressed his patriotic sentiments for his adopted country by indirect allusion, as seen at left in the white souvenir cup with its crossed flags. Seemingly nothing is somber in this riotously colorful array, from the bottle of the raffia-encased La Negrita rum to the flocked wallpaper to the pear or pears at far right. Even the dotted vessel at center seems full of energy. Only the uncanny shadow of a bottle on the back wall casts a disquieting note.  Playing Cards, Glasses, Bottle of Rum: "Vive la France" Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France ) Date: Avignon, summer 1914 / partially reworked, Paris, 1915 Medium: Oil and sand on canvas Dimensions: 20 1/2 × 25 in. (52.1 × 63.5 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York On view in Gallery 199

Even more color: When France entered World War I in August 1914, Picasso, a Spanish national, was not required to serve. He expressed his patriotic sentiments for his adopted country by indirect allusion, as seen at left in the white souvenir cup with its crossed flags. Seemingly nothing is somber in this riotously colorful array, from the bottle of the raffia-encased La Negrita rum to the flocked wallpaper to the pear or pears at far right. Even the dotted vessel at center seems full of energy. Only the uncanny shadow of a bottle on the back wall casts a disquieting note. Playing Cards, Glasses, Bottle of Rum: “Vive la France” Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France ) Date: Avignon, summer 1914 / partially reworked, Paris, 1915 Medium: Oil and sand on canvas Dimensions: 20 1/2 × 25 in. (52.1 × 63.5 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York On view in Gallery 199

The exhibition thus provides the most persuasive account of how this great sea change in the approach of modern art from the concrete to the abstract took place, and provokes contemplation of what was lost and what was gained. From this hindsight review of 81 outstanding early examples one can see how inevitable it was, as these artists worked their way into a new way of drawing and painting their land of perception.

Met elbowing MOMA aside?

Leonard Lauder introduced his collection to the press on a recent morning at the Met, where he said, pointing to where the old entrance to the museum used to be when he first came into it as a child, This exhibition will I hope provide an entrance to modern art, and added that he had taken care to acquire only works so good that the Met would never relegate any to storage.

One cannot but wonder what the board and staff of the Museum of Modern Art think of this mammoth, $1 billion coup. Not only is this exhibition a triumphant acquisition for the Met, to whom all the works are promised, but together with the acquisition of the Whitney building at 75th and Madison when the Whitney moves downtown next year, which it promises to fill with modern art, establishes the museum’s giant footprint in the realm of 20th Century art and makes it an equal destination with MOMA, the Whitney and the Guggenheim – the Manhattan museums that previously have owned this space – for those inclined to pursue this field of pleasure and study.

Deep scholarship

Leonard Lauder with the key figures at the Museum who acquired and curated the collection of his core works of Cubism for the exhibition: Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Met, Leonard Lauder, Emily Braun curator and Rebecca Rabinow, Lauder’s curator and co-curator of the exhibition

Scholars and educated museum goers will be delighted with the extensive information provided at the exhibition both in the generous captions and placards accompanying the works on display and the catalog, Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection, actually a hefty book of 392 pages and 280 color and black and white plates with no less than 22 expert essays, plus the provenance of each work and its “life” in exhibitions, their stories gleaned from the back labels, and even a 34 page reference bibliography of some 600 items.

Emily Braun, Hunter and CUNY professor of art history and co-curator of the Lauder collection with Rebecca Rabinow of the Met (Lauder's curator who is in charge of the new Leonard Lauder research center for modern art) presents the hefty and very scholarly publication that accompanies the exhibition.

Emily Braun, Hunter and CUNY professor of art history and co-curator of the Lauder collection with Rebecca Rabinow of the Met (who is in charge of the new Leonard Lauder research center for modern art) presents the hefty and very scholarly publication that accompanies the exhibition.

Juan Gris abandoned this portrait and used the other side of the canvas to create a new work, since he was like many painters short of money at the time (on the other side is Houses in Paris).  The conservators at the Met found many examples of previous paintings on the backs of canvases or under the final work.

Juan Gris abandoned this portrait and used the other side of the canvas to create a new work, since he was like many painters short of money at the time (on the other side is Houses in Paris). The conservators at the Met found many examples of previous paintings on the backs of canvases or under the final work.

 

This is Gris’ Houses in Paris, Place Ravignan, 1911 or 1912, which is a view of a complex of artists’ studios including those of Picasso and Gris, on the hill of Montmartre, in which Gris added a slight curve to every line thus imbuing the painting with a sense of buoyancy. Met says: The place Ravignan was the site of the Bateau-Lavoir, a run-down complex of artists’ studios, including that of Picasso and Gris, on the hill of Montmartre. While the painting clearly follows the grid visible in the drawing at right, Gris added a slight curve to almost every line, imbuing the painting with a sense of buoyancy. The lower left corner bears a dedication to the artist Francis Picabia (1879–1953), a fellow exhibitor and sponsor of the October 1912 “Section d’Or” exhibition, where this painting was first shown in public. Houses in Paris, Place Ravignan by Juan Gris
(Spanish, Madrid 1887–1927 Boulogne-sur-Seine) Date: Paris, 1911, possibly 1912 Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: 20 1/2 x 13 3/8 in. (52.1 x 34 cm) Classification: Paintings Credit Line: Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection On view in Gallery 199

Fernand Leger painted a swelling female figure under a black hat on the back of his Houses Under the Trees canvas (see below) but canceled it when nearly complete with black brush strokes; also visible are historical labels yielding the Parisian gallery and WPC the initials of a previous owner, Walter P. Chrysler the son of the founder of the car company.

Fernand Leger’s Houses Under The Trees from 1913 where his typical buoyant semicircles represent foliage whereas on the back of the canvas in his canceled female figure they become anatomical curves. The Met: Léger was intrigued by the contrast between the billowing forms of the trees that frame this composition and the central rectangular buildings painted blue, white, and red—the colors of the French flag. Léger developed a language of basic geometric shapes, which signify different objects depending on their context. Here, the buoyant semicircles represent foliage, whereas elsewhere they become the anatomical curves of a nude figure or ethereal puffs of smoke rising in an urban landscape. Houses under the Trees by Fernand Léger (French, Argentinian 1881–1955 Gif-sur-Yvette) Date: 1913 Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 36 1/4 x 28 3/4 in. (92.1 x 73 cm) Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection Rights and Reproduction: © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The conservators slipped a sheet of paper inside the back frame and shone a bright light on each canvas to discern what might be revealed and found discarded paintings in more than one instance. This and other interesting stuff can be seen on an iPad or similar for which the Museum has fearlessly put the entire Lauder file on line, including good images of each work. (Go to the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art). An interesting and unusual section, Archival Labels, offers all the labels found on the backs of the 81 works.

Acquire as well as view

Juan Gris ‘Checkerboard and Playing Cards from 1915 collects some everyday objects such as dice, playing cards, bottles, wineglasses that figure often in other Cubist artworks, but his still life is an exercise in distillation and design.

In keeping with the museum shop as one of the most resourceful departments at the Met the scholarly, research-library-quality book, Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection, is available for $65, and there are prints and posters from $9.95 to a high of $325 for Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection Print Folio .

In the plentiful pages of the splendid book accompanying the exhibition you will find among the huge selection of images from the Cubist era earlier works with similar themes, offering a comparison to show the stylistic change very clearly, as in these two images of Picasso’s Woman with a Book from spring 1909 with Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s Interrupted Reading from about 1870, forty years earlier.


Only connect – with Connections

One cannot leave the topic of this or any other event or exhibition at the Met without pointing to the quite remarkable pages on the Web at the Met site labeled Connections, where individual staffers at this supposedly stuffy, long established institution at the center of the world of art and art scholarship take a huge personal step onto the public stage and describe their own responses to the themes of art.

One of the most moving, for example, in the collection of these revealing four minute video testimonies is the personal affidavit, one of 100 in all so far, of Jennifer Meagher, on the theme of the Embrace as it occurs in dance (the tango, in particular) and in painting and sculpture over the ages.

Meet Jennifer Meagher, researcher at the Met, on Connections, talking on the theme of The Embrace in Art.

Meagher is a strikingly photogenic researcher of European painting who “investigates the emotional intensity of physical closeness”, a theme sparked in her case by taking up a form of Argentine tango called “The Embrace”, “in which the rib cages of the partners are pressed close together”, thus finding herself “within an hour of my life as a dance student…in this intimate embrace with a room full of strangers”.

Her moving account of how this gap between strangers to intimates is bridged in the many depictions of the embrace she finds in art through the ages – “I find myself looking for the story and the emotions that are living inside the embrace” – is itself an inspiring example of how that gap between strangers – us and her – can now be closed on the new 21st Century conduit, the Web, in ways never before possible except by silently communing with art itself. The artworks she describe can be explored in detail by moving to the accompanying In Time page, where they are distributed over a timeline.

The Director’s inspiration

This admirable initiative, another leap forward in the Met’s open armed embrace of the Web, was undertaken in 2011 by the imaginative Thomas Campbell when, after fourteen years in the Met European department as a specialist in tapestry, he was promoted to be the Met’s new director, and today he introduces the result (to which he has contributed also) as follows:

Thomas P. Campbell, here introducing the Lauder Collection to the press, earlier – 2011 – introduced one of the most imaginative of his own initiatives on the Met web site, the Connection.

 

I’m Thomas Campbell. In my first few months as director of the Metropolitan Museum, some colleagues and I developed the idea of a series that would get people thinking about the Met’s collection in a new way.The result is Connections, an exploration of the Met’s holdings by staff from around the Museum. These journeys through the collection are not driven so much by art history as by broad, often personal themes. Some are playful; some are deeply complex.

Here, as works of art are tied together—across time, cultures, and disciplines—we hear our staff’s individual responses to these objects, and by extension, introduce new ways to travel through and understand the Met’s incredible riches.

I hope people find these stories as intriguing as I do, and that they follow them as they appear throughout the year. If we’re successful, our audience will be inspired to discover their own path through the Metropolitan Museum and find their own connection to some of the world’s greatest works of art.

— Thomas P. Campbell, January 2011

Even if you can’t make it to Manhattan to visit the Lauder Exhibition or any other of the cornucopia of riches that abound in this supreme art museum you can get another kind of fix at Connections.

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Affordable Art Fair: Top Takes at the Tunnel

Good Looks Everywhere at Preview

Charm, Variety Win Results for Dealers

Pace Snobs, Interesting Works with Unexpected Themes

This explosive photo construct by Julia Callon, “Supermarket”, is 30″ x 40″, $1000 unframed, $1500, one of an edition of 5 C-prints, one of the five that Emily McKinnes of EYEBUYART (with Michael Usling) brought from Toronto that won one of the ten favorite selections of Harper’s Bazaar Senior Editor Charlotte Cowles at the fair – five of which were Emily’s (See http://eyebuyart.com/julia-callon/supermarket) Says Callon: Supermarket and Royal Bank are constructed small scale models that represent otherwise orderly places in a state of chaos and disarray. The tension in the images seeks to represent a culture of abundance and excess, exploding at the seams

The Affordable Art Show rose again for another stimulating and attractive five day run this weekend (Thursday Sep 25 thru Monday 29) in The Tunnel on 11th Avenue and 27 St, arranged in a long corridor of booths left and right. This ideal arrangement allowed the crowd to encounter every booth in sequence and not to miss any work, with all of them presented on the same accessible footing, often by the artists themselves.

Young and good looking – the crowd or the art? Actually both, as well as the staff and the artists, at the Affordable Art Show at The Tunnel, Thursday night

The preview evening Thursday Sep 25 was swarmed by a well heeled young crowd which often bought on the spot one of the copious array of interesting works, some immediately appealing and satisfying, others of slower but more substantial interest, but almost all worthy of attention, whatever your taste – and within range for all budding collectors.

"title="Another Charlotte Cowles pick:  Adam Rankin "Eric", C-Print, 30x30" from the series Moving, edition of 5; $1000 unframed, $1500 framed, from Emily McKinnes, Founder/Director, EYEBUYART, Toronto, 416-200-8774.  "

Another Charlotte Cowles pick: Adam Rankin "Eric", C-Print, 30×30" from the series Moving, edition of 5; $1000 unframed, $1500 framed, from Emily McKinnes, Founder/Director, EYEBUYART, Toronto, 416-200-8774. “

Art tells a story

AT EYEBUYART, captions were exceptionally complete, giving the story of the composition as well as the basics such as prices, which ranged from $100 to $2000. For example, Adam Rankin’s Moving Series is a set of portraits taken in the weeks leading up to the sale of his family home, says Rankin.

“In each portrait, the subject floats above and through a shared memory, heading towards something new and undocumented, collectively redefining what the idea of home and family is becoming. Moving was shot in Edmonton, Alberta in the summer of 2006. The 5th member of our family, the red canoe, has been around as long as I have. Oddly enough, it has never seen the water and was sold shortly after the Moving series was taken, along with the family home”

Location and layout of the Affordable Art Show is inspired – it ensures that visitors see every work in every booth left and right as they wander down 70 yards of corridor, and can easily engage with the beautiful and charming staff of each, not to mention each other

Ideal layout to see and be seen

This was not only a well produced show in a venue in the right place with great air and vertical space above the booths but the 70 yards or more of long corridor with booths left and right allowed attendees to walk up and down and see every single gallery on the same terms, with total accessibility to both works and gallery owners and their uniformly charming, handsome, pretty, and helpful staff (or so they seemed to us).

“To me, good art is really about telling stories,” says the idealistic Emily McKinnes, who founded the on-line gallery EYEBUYART in Toronto to support young emerging photographers, and won five accolades out of the ten awarded at the show by Charlotte Cowles, we think deservedly. She is married to Jonathan Galliban, the guitarist of Canada’s popular band, Moist.

Why online display is also worthwhile

“To me, good art is really about telling stories,” says Emily McKinnes of EYEBUYART (above) who makes sure that the photos she sells have extensive explanatory captions. Though she does have a gallery space and office in Toronto she favors the Web where “you can see all of the work and control is in the hands of the person who is looking at it,” and where “online is an opportunity for those stories to come to the forefront” which gallery staff may not have the time to recount.

Another Charlotte favorite favorite from Emily's EYEBUYART, Gabriela Herman "Jump", 20x14" from the series Self Portraits is a C-print in an edition of 25 each $500 unframed and $800 framed.

Another Charlotte favorite favorite from Emily’s EYEBUYART, Gabriela Herman “Jump”, 20×14″ from the series Self Portraits is a C-print in an edition of 25 each $500 unframed and $800 framed.

Thus, Gabriel Herman’s Jump (2007) above has this story line attached:

“This image was taken while I was living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and It was during this period that my interest in self portraiture really grew. I often felt isolated during this time, and would often pick up my camera and set out on a creative journey; a certain light seeping into the bedroom, or an empty city street could ignite a spark and get me taking pictures. I spotted the white hanging socks in this image first, and knew that there was some sort of picture there. When I take pictures of myself, it is an exhaustive task that often ends with my heart pounding and my body covered in sweat. I jump, I dance, and I run back and forth between the scene and the camera until I feel I’ve worked out every possible angle. This image captures this fleeting, freeing moment and represents the idea of everything being up in the air.”

Emily draws on artists from Canada, the US and Britain who have all won prizes at the international competition Flash Forward that she founded four years ago. “Prizes, exhibitions, museums and being published in magazines is all great,” she says, “but to me one of the best ways to support a young artist is to buy their work, right? So I have tried to make this business about making that easy for people.”

Here is an example of how affordable her selection from young, emerging artists of the camera can be, the $500 Diner from Ryan Schude:

Ryan Schude: “Diner”, 20×24″ from the series Tableau, C-print edition of 25, $500 unframed, $800 framed. Ryan explains this striking assemblage: This photo was based on an idea I had been kicking around for about a year at the time, which was initially more focused on a couple sitting in the middle of a crowded restaurant mid-breakup. The idea was to have them sitting there quietly while the waitress was spilling a tray of food in the background. Once I decided on the location we ended up using, the idea expanded from an interior shot to the pulled out mess you see now. I kept the central themes with the man holding the flowers longing for the woman inside, and the waitress spilling the food, but the exterior perspective allowed us to throw in a marching band, a cat on the roof – we even had a huge pot belly pig that ended up not making it into the final shot. The location is in Sun Valley at an old 50s diner that isn’t in business anymore except to be rented out for shoots. The people were all cast from an actor’s website.

Here is a rather magnificent ocean wave study by Kerry Shaw that is another example of EYEBUYART’s full, museum standard captions:

Kerry Shaw: Post-Typhoon Surf Wave, Amami Oshima, Japan, 40×40″ from the series Water Brother, C-print edition of 5, $1500 unframed, $2000 framed. Shaw writes: Water Brother is a series dedicated to my brother Stuart, who died in 2001. These images are part of an ongoing series of landscapes and waterscapes captured on and near lakes, rivers and oceans. Combined images from Paraguay, Aruba, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Cuba, USA and all over Canada. I’ve learned to rearrange my longing for my departed brother, by celebrating his existence through epic imagery. I now see him in all forms of waters’ change. He is part of the cycle, a body gone back to the molecular beginnings we all come from. He is a shape shifter and these are my visual meditations. The images presented here are made up of multiple layers and combinations of captures, sculpted together to create a larger story. Each detailed nuance and gesture of cloud and waters’ surface is a character. They are carefully painted into a choreographed, waterscape dance.

Gin and pizza

We were not influenced at all in our judgment by the blue crystal balloon goblets of Bombay Sapphire East distilled dry gin from London being served with Q premium tonic, ice, black peppercorn, lemongrass stalk, and lemon instead of lime, designed to make you “brilliant and inspired”, although they were delicious. Pizza and other light snacks are also sold at the show, and Phaedon has display of art books on sale at a show discount.

If you like gin, this is the one to sip while appreciating the art and the staff of the great variety of galleries among the 46 showing at the Affordable Art Show

If you can afford $10,000...

There was a great variety of styles and subjects well executed and framed and with prices ranging from a few hundred to five or six or even ten thousand dollars (that would be Damien Hirst butterfly paintings, in his latest, mellow style, details at Manifold Editions.com) from New York and London to countries as far away as Israel and Chile.

A brief jump into high end promotion art: Damien Hirst has switched to a more palatable mode than cows in formaldehyde with these butterflies which he calls Longing (Love Poems) in this polymer engraving with etching, an edition of 55 for the Paragon Press. 2013, available from Manifold Editions for $10,000 including frame, but not sales tax. (manifoldeditions.com +44 (0) 20 7570 7202)

Many works of many hues

One characteristic of the show was the presence of many works in which many colors of every tint and shade were mixed into the work as a major element of the composition.

Rufus Knight-Webb at Mark Jason Gallery from London stands in front of circles of butterflies cut out from postage stamps by Rebecca Coles (Stamps 198, 100x100cm, $5300 before tax), a line which sold ten copies by Sunday evening, with five more on order.  Beyond the Coles is the equally colorful Event 15, by Stuart Hartley, Acrylic on Birch Ply and Beech mounted on board, 100x100cm, $6500.

Rufus Knight-Webb at Mark Jason Gallery from London stands in front of an arrangement of butterflies cut out from postage stamps by Rebecca Coles (Stamps 198, 100x100cm, $5300 before tax), a line which sold ten copies by Sunday evening, with five more on order. Beyond the Coles is the equally colorful Event 15, by Stuart Hartley, Acrylic on Birch Ply and Beech mounted on board, 100x100cm, $6500.

Rebecca Coles’ “butterflies” are handcut from recycled postage stamps and proved highly popular at the Fair, which was full of variations on the theme of variegated color detail by many artists

Another variation on many hued work, Debra Franses-Bean's "Stick-Up Art Handbag" sold multiple copies for its shinily provocative appearance,  with the contents visible through the cast resin popssibly the contents of the client's life if he or she wishes so each one is unique.  The artist attends the vacuum cast of each one, which is one reason why each is priced at $9500.  Three were ordered by Sunday night at Marc Jason.

Another variation on many hued work, Debra Franses-Bean’s “Stick-Up Art Handbag” sold multiple copies for its shinily provocative appearance, with the contents visible through the cast resin, possibly from the client’s bag or life if he or she wishes, so each one is unique. The artist attends the vacuum resin cast of each one, which is one reason each is priced at $9500. Three were ordered by Sunday night at Marc Jason.

Subtle contemplation from Vietnam

On a quieter note, a fine selection of Vietnamese work was seen at Judith Hughes Day’s display of Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art, where we found every painting offering growing appeal when given time. Immediately impressive were The Girl in the Red Hat by Nguyen Thanh Binh, 60, at $8,400 and the same artist’s First Step from 1999, $3,200, which inspired little girls to dance before it as they passed by during the weekend, we heard.

Judith Hughes Day stands in front one of her most interesting prizes in the Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art she offered (www.artnet.com/judithday.html), The Girl in the Red Hat by Nguyen Thanh Binh, 60, oil on canvas, 39.5" x 51", $6,400.

Judith Hughes Day stands in front one of her most interesting prizes in the Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art she offered (www.artnet.com/judithday.html), The Girl in the Red Hat by Nguyen Thanh Binh, 60, oil on canvas, 39.5" x 51", $6,400.

First Step, a 1999 oil on canvas by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Thanh Binh (31″x43″), $3,200, inspired many children of a similar age as the subjects to try out a few dance steps as they passed by the gallery of Judith Hughes Day, who specializes in Vietnamese Contemporary Fine Art.

Artists Who Like Animals

The relationship of artists to animals was explored in some images, including this striking Little Red Riding Hood from Shlomi Nissim at Tel Aviv’s Contempop Gallery (www.contempopop.com 1 646 647 6147), which may look feral (untamed) but is not so much afterall (see caption; click to hugely enlarge photos at this site):

Shlomi Nissim's Little Red Ridinghood (C-print 40"x60" Edition of 8) $6000), actually not an attack but a romp with Red Riding Hood whose family brought her and the wolf up in a cave in Israeli (they were a religious sect, long story)  explains Yaron Lavitz at Contempop Gallery  of Tel Aviv ,  who would be pleased by selling four of the striking  images by Sunday night

Shlomi Nissim’s Little Red Ridinghood (C-print 40″x60″ Edition of 8) $6000) , actually not an attack but a romp with Red Riding Hood whose family brought her and the wolf up in a cave in Israeli (they were a religious sect, long story) explains Yaron Lavitz at Contempop Gallery of Tel Aviv , who would be pleased by selling four of the striking images by Sunday night

As its name suggests, the animal images at Feral Fine Art a pop-up gallery in Edmonton, Canada (780-903-5211) are truly wild, even though they are mixed up provocatively below with a couple of gorgeous bra-fillers in ‘Balance’ (acrylic on board, $3200). For all we know artist Jenny Keith Hughes, who with her singer-songwriter husband Jordan Norman (whose group in Jordan Norman Wisdom teeth) lives half an hour from the Rockies, may be projecting a doubly cheerful self, for the relationship of humans to animals preoccupies her as an aspect of the human condition.

Interpret this how you might, it is certainly a striking image from Jenny Keith of Edmonton, Canada, where wild nature is very close to warm urban refuges.

Jenny Keith has imagined a number of juxtapositions of human and wild, and here a wolf inspects a telephone.

Can humans coexist with wild wolves, or must they displace or tame them, seems to be the question being asked in Jenny Keith’s images.

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Beauty and the Impossible at Armory Antique Show

Willard Wigan Shows Vanishingly Small Galleon, Prince Albert: Nanoart!

Glenn Manfred Espig Shows Exquisite Blue Paraiba Tourmaline’s Inner Prisms

Pride of Accomplishment Imbues Dealers and Artists

The Armory Antique show running until Sunday evening was worth more than one visit, with many of its treasures hidden from the hasty eye.

Among the additional finds we unearthed when we revisited were the impossibly small creations by Willard Wigan, a North of Englander, now world famous for his nano artworks. The man himself was seated at the Trinity House booth, where there were two futuristic microscope stands inside which a tiny golden galleon in one and a rider on a horse in the other could be seen spotlighted, astonishing all who bent to peer into their eyepieces. The galleon with its full set of billowing sails was set upon the head of a pin, and the rider on a horse, which was – representing Prince Albert of Victorian England – was set inside the eye of a needle.  

This golden galleon under full sail is crafted on the head of a pin by Willard Wigan, a British craftsman who has pushed the envelope of scale further down than any man in human history, in what is an act of performance art

Willard Wigan's portrayal of Prince Albert on a horse is smaller than the eye of a needle so how did he do this microart and is it more than a stunt?

Willard Wigan’s portrayal of Prince Albert on a horse is smaller than the eye of a needle so how did he do this microart and is it more than a stunt?

So are these delightful creations craft or art, aesthetic performance or merely a stunt?   Like tiny jewels created and tempered in a furnace of concentration, magnified with a focus of attention that few human beings can rival, surely they are both beautiful gems of craftsmanship and resonant achievements of performance art.

Willard Wigan, visiting the city from the North of England, relaxes with Philip Mezzatesta, who runs the Manhattan branch of Trinity House gallery at 24 East 64th St, where 15 of Wigan’s unique artworks will be on show for the next two weeks.

Not only are they well executed to a degree of detail that seems utterly impossible for human hands to accomplish, but working on such a super micro level acquires the stature of performance art itself, resonant with overtones of Buddhist total acceptance of the universe, personal self negation and a celebration of the importance of every particle in the world as the canvas of the Creator. Indeed Willard reveals that in order to achieve the calm needed to work on his super Lilliputian level, he retreats to a small cabin in the woods away from his wife and child, and his heart beat slows as he enters into a meditative state.

Seemed to us that he had acquired a calm that still emanated from his tall, slim person in New York City, where the quality made him seem literally the coolest man in the city, and we told him so. We weren’t surprised when Philip Mezzatesta, who runs the Trinity House branch in New York at 24 East 64th St ((Cell 347-325-4513) where 15 of Wigna’s works will be on show for two weeks at prices ranging from $80,000 to $120,000 (smart microscope and stand included, of course, since the works are virtually invisible to the naked eye), later told us he felt he had made a real friend of Willard in his short visit here (the opening of the gallery show was on Thursday).

Philip Mezzatesta stands amid Wigan's microscope works and under a large oil from Russia

Philip Mezzatesta stands amid Wigan’s microscope works and under a large oil from Russia

The 15 microscope stands are well designed and do not look too out of place next to the traditional fine art paintings in the gallery among which there are some exquisite works, including this remarkable painting of a young girl which is both beautiful and as alive as the day she posed a century ago (click the photo to enlarge it to huge dimensions) The work is by Alexei Harlamoff (1840 – 1925).

ALEXEI HARLAMOFF’s (1840 – 1925) Portrait of a Young Girls Wearing a Necklace Oil on Canvas Size: 18.75 x 13.75 ins / 47.63 x 34.92 cms Signed lower left ($250,000) can undoubtedly be fully appreciated only in real life, but enlarging it with two taps or clicks here will give you a better idea of how exceptionally beautiful a life study it is

Incidentally, those inspired by these works to pursue small objects and works of art may find the comments of associate Met museum director Carrie Rebora at the interesting Met page Connections of interest, as he four minute contribution looks for tin works of art in the museum’s collection. She says “Diminutive, tiny things have always been much more appealing to me than large scale things that everyone is meant to see.”

This is Carrie Rebora Barratt, associate director of the Met Museum, who especially likes small, even tiny works of art.

This is Carrie Rebora Barratt, associate director of the Met Museum, who especially likes small, even tiny works of art.

Carrie on the Colbert Report

 

 

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