Monday, August 29, 2011

Kara Walker has inspired me!

Kara Walker

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California in 1969. She received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. The artist is best known for exploring the raw intersection of race, gender, and sexuality through her iconic, silhouetted figures. Walker unleashes the traditionally proper Victorian medium of the silhouette directly onto the walls of the gallery, creating a theatrical space in which her unruly cut-paper characters fornicate and inflict violence on one another. In recent works like “Darkytown Rebellion” (2000), the artist uses overhead projectors to throw colored light onto the ceiling, walls, and floor of the exhibition space. When the viewer walks into the installation, his or her body casts a shadow onto the walls where it mingles with Walker’s black-paper figures and landscapes. With one foot in the historical realism of slavery and the other in the fantastical space of the romance novel, Walker’s nightmarish fictions simultaneously seduce and implicate the audience. Walker’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A 1997 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award, Walker was the United States representative to the 2002 São Paolo Bienal in Brazil. Walker currently lives in New Y

Friday, August 19, 2011

Patterns That Connect: Social Symbolism in Ancient & Tribal Art

A comprehensive study of tribal art

I figured I would share what I am studying.  My mentor Terrell James lead me to this book and it is fantastic.  

American art historian Carl Schuster spent more than three decades traveling the world exploring tribal customs and patterns, gathering ancient tribal art and artifacts along the way. Though his goal was to illustrate the intrinsic human connection to artistic expression in an anthropological study, Shuster never managed to compile his research into a cohesive form. With the help of a fellow anthropologist, Edmund Carter, who transferred Schuster's notes and musings, they were able to transform Shuster's work into "Patterns that Connect: Social Symbolism in Ancient & Tribal Art", a seminal book from 1996 that provides evidence and examples to support the scholar's theories on our natural connection to art.
Comprehensive and comparative, the study contains a total of 1,023 illustrations, featuring sculpted figurines, garments, carved stones, paintings and body decorations from cultures and tribes around the world. Schuster labors to decode this complex iconography in notes and analyses that accompany the images, providing insight into the surprising unity of human society.
According to Schuster, tribal designs such as the ubiquitous zig-zag motif and artifacts such as "Y-posts" are really attempts to record family lineage, not meaningless doodles or objects meant for play. Of the continuous patterns generally used in ceremonial and even everyday garments Schuster remarks, "This is a graphic representation of the puzzle of procreation itself, in which there is neither beginning nor end."

In contrast to the common anthropological idea that each culture is singularly unique, Schuster argues that since these designs did not just occur in isolated cultures, but were widespread across the earth at different time periods, they are proof of a collective human instinct. Schuster further pushes his theory by positing that ancient patterns continue to survive and are in fact relevant today. Stacked chevrons, for example, ubiquitous in several tribal cultures, are used as modern military insignia denoting rank. Another extension of this relevance appears in modern tattoos, textiles, fashion and art, which all seem to draw from frivolous and innocuous patterns that are actually saturated with hidden meaning through their connection to our tribal past.

A hefty tome in and of itself, Schuster & Carpenter's "Patterns That Connect," is intended for more than casual students of anthropological beauty  Those even more serious about the discipline will want to check out the monumental work from which "Patterns" is derived, the 1986 "Materials for the Study of Social Symbolism in Ancient and Tribal Art," which consists of twelve books in three volumes. Alibris is a good place to start your search.

New Paintings...from left to right ... sun, 4 silhouettes, crucifix, 4 silhouettes, with angel flying

Stain dyed....

 New paintings on PAPER...(leather looking paper) loved this exploration 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More great news...2011 Third Coast National

2011 Third Coast National .... just got news that my painting was accepted in

Hello Ya La'ford,

Congratulations!  Your entry 301.26248.118671 ...was ACCEPTED into the 2011 Third Coast National.

Only 47 works of art were selected for exhibition out of 696 images submitted by 221 artists. Special Thanks goes out to our juror Tony Magar whose insightful decisions make the 2011 show one of the most concise and unified Third Coast National exhibitions ever presented.
The show opens on Sept. 24, 6 to 8 pm.   Thank you all for your participation and Congratulations to the accepted artists!

Selections for the Third Coast National Exhibition at K Space Contemporary are listed below by entry #, title, then artist's name.  The results are in alphabetical order by artist's last name:

This is the painting for a sneak preview: 

Also, ALL my work that I brought for my residency to Boston AIB was an advertisement on (the Boston Subway), that my classmate got a picture of, featuring all of my paintings from my MFA residency..
Check me out...picture me rolling....
and shout out to all my classmate and Tony is  also featured in the pictures....!!!

What else is going on....
I will post my entries to: 
9x12 paintings on papers...soon to come. 

I am reading a bunch these days....I will update you on that too.  

Till later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tampa with Hubby,Honor, Morgan, Asher, Grandma & Mom

We ate at guppy's on the beach and now we are headed to Captain times.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Action in July & August / New Readings / Inspiring Artist

First really great news! I got top three People's Choice Award at the Big Show Lawndale. I was super excited about that. Nothing better than to be loved by the people of Houston. So thank you so much for that.  

In my journey to figure out why I am prone to painting about tribal, ancient, gestural and aftrican marks I am exploring all sorts of new techniques, thoughts and explorations.  Exciting experience.  Here are some new paintings that I am loving where they are going. I am beating them up, building layers and really thrilled with my progression. 
I am learning to sow, so that I can begin to create skins to influence my paintings! 
Learning to sow my sample paintings is fun! Lots of different snitch work.  

Rasta August 2011
End Result-look at the way I play the image with the lines.  Two people in this image.  Really fun dying, dying and more dying! I call this peace Rasta as it contains the Jamaican national colors and holds allot of hidden symbolism. 

close up so you can see how I have laid different paint on the canvas 

When you get really close up you can really see the intense, yet controlled bleeding  of the different layered colors 

Soldier head...with light rays blocking queen

Queen of Jamaica

As a constitutional monarch, The Queen abides by the decisions of the Jamaican Government, but she continues to play important ceremonial and symbolic roles.
In all her duties, The Queen acts as Queen of Jamaica, quite distinct from her role in the United Kingdom or any of her other realms.
Over the course of her reign, The Queen has visited Jamaica six times to date, touring the island extensively.

taking a step back you are able to see the sophistication and culmination of lines/color unified
Picture of painting  in the studio, considering the atmosphere it was created in.

close up of queen

another view of painting 

The Roman Guards - July 2011
This is very difficult to view through photograph...This is about 55 x 80
I worked with negative space in order to hide the positive space
I have embedded 3 figures within this piece, the king in the middle is sitting down with his queen to the right standing ready to serve him and his brother the warrior to the left ready to protect him.  

close up

Another view....not the metallic particles influencing a mirror like optic 

Painting in studio

Another close up featuring the breastplate 
I have new reads that I have ordered and I am waiting for:
1)  The Myth of the Eternal Return: Cosmos and History (Bollingen)

Mircea Eliade, et al
2)  Patterns in Comparative Religion
Mircea Eliade, et al
3)  The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion
Mircea Eliade, Willard R. Trask
4)  The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Mathieu Amalric, et al
5)  Art & Otherness: Crisis in Cultural Identity  Author: McEvilley, Thomas

Art and Discontent (see below) ended with an appeal for non-Eurocentric approaches to cultural history. This volume brilliantly elaborates that idea, beginning with the author's famous controversy with the Museum of Modern Art over the 1984 exhibition, `Primitivism in 20th Century Art.` This essay inaugurated a host of multicultural issues which dominated much art discourse through the 1990s and seems likely to remain in the foreground for some years to come. The concept of a global art history was progressively articulated in later writings collected here, including the keynote statement of the exhibition, `Les Magiciens de la Terre`; various writings concerning the reception situation for contemporary art entering the West from China, India, and Africa; and McEvilley's most recent analysis of alternative, available models of history. Even when dealing with paradoxical situations, McEvilley's prose is exceedingly precise, inviting, and understandable.  

6)   Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief : Primitivism in twentieth century art at the Museum of Modern Art
Thomas McEvilley

Thomas McEvilley (born 1939, Cincinnati, Ohio) is an American art critic, poet, novelist and scholar, who was a distinguisted lecturer in art history at Rice University [1] and founder and former chair of the Department of Art Criticism and Writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.[2]
Thomas McEvilley studied Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and classical philosophy in the classics programs of the University of Cincinnati[1] where he received a B.A., and the University of Washington, where he received an M.A..[3] He then returned to Cincinnati, where he received a Ph.D. in classical philology. He also retained a strong interest in modern art, reinforced by the modern artists of his acquaintance.
In 1969, McEvilley joined the faculty of Rice University, where he spent the better part of his teaching career.[4] He has been a visiting professor at Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. He taught numerous courses in Greek and Indian culture, history of religion and philosophy. In 2008 he retired from teaching after 41 years, and now lives in New York City and in upstate New York in the Catskills.
He has received numerous awards, including the Semple Prize at the University of Cincinnati, a National Endowment for the Arts Critics grant, a Fulbright fellowship in 1993, an NEA critic’s grant, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award (1993) for Distinction in Art Criticism from the College Art Association.[4][5]
McEvilley has been a contributing editor of Artforum and editor in chief of Contemporanea.

McEvilley is an expert in the fields of Greek and Indian culture, history of religion and philosophy, and art. He has published several books and hundreds of scholarly monographs, articles, catalog essays, and reviews on early Greek and Indian poetry, philosophy, and religion as well as on contemporary art and culture. [1] [2] [4]

Toward a Redefinition of Painting for the Post-Modern Era

In his 1993 book The Exile’s Return: Toward a Redefinition of Painting for the Post-Modern Era, McEvilley made an important contribution to the late twentieth century "death of painting" debate. He stated that after two decades, painting revived around 1980. In its return from exile, painting has assumed a new theoretical basis in postmodern cultural theory, together with a new kind of self-awareness and interest in its own limitations. A number of contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter and Glenn Brown demonstrate this new found self-reflexity and critical nature.[6]

Heads it's Form, Tails it's not Content
In the article "Heads its Form, Tails it's not Content" McEvilley describes a theoretical framework for the formal project presented by post-war critics such as Clement Greenberg,Michael Fried, and Sheldon Nodelman.[7]
He argues that formalist ideas are rooted in Neoplatonism and as such deal with the problem of content by claiming that content is embedded within the form. However, the formalists desire a transcendentally free critique of art in the same way that Colin Rowe and Peter Eisenman explore the interiority of architecture.
Formalism is based on a linguistic model which Claude Lévi-Strauss argues is given content through the unconscious. In presenting formalism, one cannot ignore the content which accompanies the form.

Sculpture in the Age of Doubt

In the book Sculpture in the Age of Doubt (1999) McEvilley described the intellectual issues surrounding the postmodern movement in the course of 20th-century sculpture.

The Shape of Ancient Thought

In The Shape of Ancient Thought McEvilley explores the foundations of Western civilization. He argues that today’s Western world must be considered the product of both Greek and Indian thought, and Western philosophy and Eastern philosophies. He explores how trade, imperialism, and currents of migration allowed cultural philosophies to intermingle freely throughout India, Egypt, Greece, and the ancient Near East.
This book spans thirty years of McEvilley's research, from 1970 to 2000.[8]

New Inspiring Artist:
BO Joseph: 

From myriad printed sources, such as books or auction catalogs, I scavenge images of objects that transcend cultural boundaries without losing their intrinsic charge. I transcribe and layer silhouettes or outlines of these reproductions, abstracting them to further strip away any inherent meaning or point of reference, withdrawing any cultural context. Typically, these referential hybrids evolve within environments of intuitive gestural marking. Whether painting on a fragmentary used drop cloth or a sheet of paper, I regard the painting support as a charged found object, more than just a surface. I incorporate deconstructive, chancy techniques like sanding, masking and rinsing to invoke the anomalous and transient nature of material meaning and to instigate new roles for these archetypal sources. I utilize abstraction as a means of examining how our beliefs and perception charge the experience of reality, and affect how we compile collective knowledge. The resulting works are by-products of my exploration and reconciliation of diverse cultures and they assert signs of ideological syncretism and contemporary interdependence.
NEW YORK The seven large paintings and 20 mixed-medium works on paper by California-born New York artist Bo Joseph in this show, all produced in the past two years, are colorful, richly textured abstractions combined with figurative elements-all silhouettes made with stencils. Set against milky white backgrounds, the silhouettes, resembling heads or masks, human limbs, animal shapes and sometimes full-length figures, activate the multilayered surfaces. To begin the process in a characteristic painting such as Cult of the Persistent Absence, Joseph applies many layers of brilliantly hued gestural markings, and layers of acrylic, tempera and gesso. He then literally washes the canvas, leaving traces of texture and flashes of contrasting and interacting colors. After this stage, he places the stencils on the surface and overlays a whitewash. When the stencils are removed, the white areas become the negative spaces as the vibrant, multicolored silhouettes glow against the cloudy ground.
In A Mutation of Differences, one of the most striking works in the show, two large silhouettes of faces, whose angular features recall African masks, command the space at the left. Connected to each other by a thick, vertical band of color, the reddish masks are compositionally balanced on the right by a kind of scaffolding of diagonal lines in deep blues and maroon that yield a variety of shapes, including reptilian heads with open mouths and diminutive shrouded figures. Issuing from one of these figures, a long lance dramatically traverses the composition to pierce the base of one of the masks. The tilted head near the top of Primal Ambiguity is similarly linked by a thick passage of color to an array of silhouettes, including abstracted figures reminiscent of traditional African sculptures.
Joseph's technique is remarkably consistent in the large canvases (over 5 feet high), as well in the exquisite 12-by-9-inch works on paper. The more crowded compositions on paper center on easily identifiable human forms amid a plethora of more elusive silhouettes. A suspended figure with bent legs and high-heeled shoes, the focus of one work, is surrounded by horse and bird profiles, whose small size suggests toys. In another piece, birds dominate the top half of the composition, which shows a figure standing under an umbrella in a piazza-like space that extends toward a shimmering horizon line. In the smaller works, the artist leaves less to chance than in the larger pieces, but with surprising juxtapositions of form and prismatic color, he manages to effectively animate these intimate and quixotic scenarios.

Longtime Houston artist Randy Twaddle has been known to find inspiration as he drives down city streets at dawn and dusk, scanning the tree tops. Twaddle especially likes the way power lines and transformers look silhouetted against the sky, and he’s been making artwork out of that imagery for more than 20 years. Twaddle finds a kind of unintentional beauty in the wire lines, almost like an alien musical notation written overhead.

His love for electrical lines continues, but now he’s using coffee instead of charcoals to create background shadows of the tangled wires and electrical equipment. He pours and steers the liquid over the paper to make what look like twisting branch-like shapes resembling trees. In addition to the coffee-and-ink drawings, Twaddle’s self-titled show (his first solo exhibit at Moody Gallery since 2006) will also include wall coverings, a rug and textiles bearing the transformer imagery.

Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel (born October 26, 1951) is an American artist and filmmaker. In the 1980s, Schnabel received international media attention for his "plate paintings"—large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates.
Schnabel directed Before Night Falls, which became Javier Bardem's breakthrough Academy Award nominated role and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.
He has won a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, a César Award, a Golden Palm, two nominations for the Golden Lion and anAcademy Award nomination.

Since the artist's first sensational exhibitions shown in New York in the early 1980s, Julian Schnabel's works have been celebrated enthusiastically as a new culmination of painting, a genre that had been declared dead. Both his "Plate Paintings" based on porcelain shards and his highly expressive large-format oil paintings have found their way into all important international collections. Schnabel also made a name for himself as a film director and scriptwriter with his first film about his friend and painter-colleague Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1996 and his second film "Before Night Falls." The comprehensive retrospective at the Schirn comprising more than 50 monumental works focuses on Julian Schnabel's oeuvre as a painter, presented in Germany on such a large scale for the first time since 1987.

Max Hollein, Director of the Schirn and curator of the exhibition: "Today, at a time that sees a widely propagated renaissance of contemporary painting, seems to be exactly the right moment for a reassessment of Julian Schnabel's position as a painter which is not only outstanding but also exercises a decisive influence on a younger generation of artists. The retrospective offers the unique opportunity to view his work in its original dimension, materiality, and intensity and to explore this significant present-day painter's many-faceted and impressive oeuvre in direct confrontation."


Artist's Statement

Many of my works use commonplace materials and objects. I respond to readymade objects that are often discards or flawed in some obvious way. Alterations in these familiar things elevate them and draw parallels to our own human predicament.
I am also interested in mimics and replicas. It is a happy moment for me when I can create objects that are simultaneously convincing and yet blatantly absurd in their obvious artificiality.

About the Artist

Helen Altman was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She earned her BFA, in 1981, her MA in 1986, both at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and her MFA, from the University of North Texas, Denton, in 1989.
Her work is in the permanent collections of the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.
Helen currently resides in Fort Worth, TX, with her four dogs.

Scaring/Pain healing
Cellullar Tension
Rug Hooking -
Saving for this...
Using Bone Color
Finding beaten up material and working on it
Working on paper - Rice paper
Stone Hinge