Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
“I had just thrown a bunch of cancelled lottery tickets into the dumpster,” said Notsag. “Then I saw Mickey’s fat little face smiling up at me. It took some doing, but I was able to save the drawing.”
The art work turned out to be a rare James Michaels drawing of Mickey Mouse from Michaels’ late “Rotund Period.” The piece, titled BMI Mickey, had gone missing months earlier, and Notsag feared it had been stolen by international hooligans.
“James has a wonderful habit of handing out on-the-spot drawings to children at art shows,” said Notsag. “A little boy dropped this drawing and I somehow forgot to give it back to him.” When pressed for details, Notsag confided, “Well, it is an original James Michaels.”
Art experts have agreed it may be difficult to place a price on BMI Mickey since it is a unique drawing and Michaels is reported to still be alive. Notsag was recently asked his own estimate of the drawing’s market value, should he choose to sell it.
“Let’s just say I could buy a whole lot of lottery tickets.”
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Over the course of a long career, artist Martin Puryear’s work has consistently been the product of much thought, assembled in a minimalist, simple design. He is clearly a modern sculptor, but uses primitive techniques to create his final works.
Puryear uses common materials such as wood, tar, wire and various metals to create forms that reference traditional crafts and building methods and, at the same time, formalist sculpture. Puryear’s work is often associated with Minimalism, although the artist himself rejects the minimalist ideal of complete objectivity and non-referentiality. Of minimalism he once said, “I looked at it, I tasted it, and I spat it out.”
Monday, September 20, 2010
Both schools of thought have validity – people bring their own ideas and experiences when viewing art and praise or reject it based on those preconditions. On the other hand, for artists like Duchamp, with their entire lives immersed in art, even a bicycle wheel on a stool can be art.
The problem seems to hinge on semantics. Art may or may not be in the eye of the beholder but appreciation of art can only be in the eye of the beholder. When a person looks at a painting, they respond to what they see - color, line, composition, and subject matter. If the technique and content are to their liking, they pronounce it art. If the painting is not pleasing to them, they may reject it as art.
There are also certain assumptions we make concerning art. A framed abstract painting hanging in an art gallery automatically becomes a work of art. If the same unframed canvas were lying in a garbage heap, we may think otherwise.
Context then plays a part in our perception of art. Duchamp was keenly aware of this when he made his famous statement and exhibited that bicycle wheel in a museum.
Duchamp’s ready-made works were deemed art based on his fame and experience as an avant-garde artist; here the context became one of notoriety. “Art is whatever I say it is because I am Marcel Duchamp.”
However, absent these qualifications, there must be agreed-upon guidelines when determining if a work is good art or bad art. Does the piece accomplish what it sets out to accomplish? Do color, line, composition, and content create harmony or dissonance? In short, does it work as a piece of art?
Years ago, I was asked to be on a panel of jurors for a group art exhibition. For the better part of an hour, we wandered the gallery, checking out two and three-dimensional art pieces. Near the end of the process, the curator pulled several of us aside to say that we had failed to even consider one entry. She then drew our attention to a sculpture lying at the back of the gallery.
I had seen the piece on my first walk through and thought it to be left over wood pieces from some gallery remodeling project. I did not consider it art. Later, I had the opportunity to meet the artist and visit his studio. He explained how he worked and the artistic lineage from which he drew inspiration. I suddenly had the sensation that I was in the presence of something wonderful and unique.
That studio visit became a re-defining moment for me and overhauled my notions of what exactly constitutes art. Art is in the eye of the beholder and through experience we are able to determine if it is good or bad.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Jun Kaneko is a prolific artist who learns by process and through the dialog between maker and object, a distance he is constantly challenging, achieving an intimacy with his medium where his bold hand can seem invisible. Mainly identified as a sculptor, Jun Kaneko also works on equally technical and innovative levels in glass, textiles, bronze, paper and canvas.
Kaneko came to prominence during the contemporary ceramics movement of the 1960s and 1970s along with colleagues and teachers Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, and Jerry Rothman. He has taught at some of the nation's leading art schools including Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Scripps College.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Over at the Morean Arts Center, art lovers gathered to see new works by Denis Gaston. While goth girls slouched by outside on their way to the State Theatre, the intimate Gallery setting provided solace to another group seeking culture and Chianti.
Late reports indicate a good time was had by all.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
A case could be made that doodles are among the purest of art forms, since they are the result of our practical mind distracted from the creative process. They spring forth before we have a chance to anguish over color, line or composition.
Considered useless by most people, doodles have long been employed by artists as preliminary sketches for larger paintings. I am often more attracted to these uncensored drawings for their rawness and energy, qualities often missing in the finished paintings.
In my own case, there has always been an endless loop of images running through my head. When I slow down, turn my gaze inward and get out of the way, some amazing drawings emerge.
Let's just call it doodle art.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The author and teacher Joseph Campbell once said that as he went through life he could never tell if he had made the right decisions. He simply could not see beyond his present circumstances. But as he neared the end of life and looked back, it was as if he were standing on a mountain top. Gazing down, he saw his whole life neatly laid out before him. From that vantage point, everything fit together perfectly; the stops and starts of all his life journeys became a clear pattern, ultimately leading to the present.
Although not as far along as was Campbell, I am still able to look back and see connections in the past that had a bearing on my life. It is also human nature to wonder if we had made other choices and gone down different roads, would we be any better off. That way of thinking sidesteps reality and ends up a waste of time. Like Campbell, I realize I am who I’m supposed to be and where I’m supposed to be.
Regardless of various roads not travelled, being able to create art throughout life remains a blessing.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I have always appreciated Neverne's deft drawing style, an ability she has now expanded to print making. Below is an excerpt from the exhibition web site.
"Neverne Covington's drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures explore childhood, language, landscape, memory, and the Gothic south. Her work has been exhibited at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Brevard Museum of Art, the State Capital and various venues throughout Florida and at the Museum of the South in Alabama.
She recently completed a twenty-foot mural commissioned for the new All Children's Hopital in St. Peteresburg, FL. She is the recipient of three artist enhancement grants from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and an artist resource grant from the Pineiias County Arts Council."
(photos courtesy of Neverne Covington and Morean Arts Center)
In this video clip from his documentary, The Mona Lisa Curse, acclaimed critic Robert Hughes skewers that group of art collectors who have much more money than good taste. At the same time, he exposes artists willing to provide them with banal and superficial works of "art."
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
“Children are like a blank canvas. Over time our collection of memories are the color which create our identities. I use plants, animals, objects and color as visual symbols to carefully relay the context of a piece. This symbolism gives psychological meaning to an imaginary world where a mind can find comfort from the suffering of reality. Faces are purposely created to appear introspective so the viewer can bring their own experiences to the surface. My hope is to lure viewers into a narrative world full of allusions, leaving the mind room to explore its own meanings.
I consider a piece successful if it meets my vision for a topic while simultaneously celebrating its intrinsic beauty. My goal is to achieve a balance of personal expression while conveying a universal message about the resilience of the human spirit.”
Come to DFAC this Saturday to catch Tampa Bay’s hottest fashion event = Wearable Art 6 (tickets available online @ www.dfac.org or 727.298.DFAC) and for the final view of Carolina Cleere’s Icons of Innocence exhibition.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Artists Market will be held on August 14th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and August 15th from 1-5 p.m. Admission is free to the Museum and the Market. Refreshments will be available for purchase and the Museum's Education Department will host a children’s art activity area.
Over twenty local artists will display and sell their artwork in support of the Museum and Isabelle’s Museum Store. Selected artists are:
Cindy Arriola – Fiber Art / Accessories. Angela Dickerson – Fine Art Jewelry. Boo! Ehrsam – Mixed Media. Denis Gaston – Mixed Media Painting. Tatyana Igumnova Hankinson – Painting. Lynn Hardesty – Cloisonne Jewelry. Lawrence Hasiak – Turned Wood. Melissa Lee – Ceramics. Cecilia Lueza – Painting / Sculpture. Melissa Menzer – Assemblages. Melissa Miller Nece – Colored Pencil. Gus Ocamposilva – Sculpture. Stacy Perry – Sterling Silver & Copper Wire Jewelry. Alicia Saenz – Oil Painting. Frank Saso – Realistic Painting. Bettina Schott – Photography. Carole Shelton – Stone Jewelry. Curtis Sneary – Oil Painting. Roxie Spell – Ceramics. Joseph Spencer – Sculpture / Jewelry. Cheryl Anne Day-Swallow – Gourds. Jim Swallow – Photography. Mark and Karen Tuttle – Fine Jewelry. Judy Vienneau – Wire Sculpture. Jack Viskil – Painting / Printing. Joseph Weinzettle – Drawing / Painting.
pictured: Ashurbanipal, mixed-media on panel, 2010, Denis Gaston.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
In St. Petersburg I marveled at the Dali Museum, USF’s Bayboro Campus, and the odd inverted pyramid of the Pier. I looked forward to attending productions at American Stage Theatre and made a mental note to visit Florida Craftsmen Gallery.
Heading back to Clearwater, I drove up Beach Boulevard, happy to see that at least the Gulf Beaches were much the same as remembered. Crossing Memorial Causeway from Clearwater Beach, I noticed an expanded Coachman Park, where Clearwater Jazz Holiday was already making a name for itself. Turning right on the mainland, I followed Pierce St. up the bluff, past an old white mansion overlooking the Harbor. A sign on the front proclaimed Pinellas County Arts Council. Had the county grown enough in sophistication to warrant its own arts council?
My reluctant return to Florida would soon provide opportunities for my own changes. Out of work and running out of money, I longed for a different creative direction, one where I had only to please myself and not others. After too many dead-end ideas and the approach of insolvency, an image of the mansion on the bluff popped into my head. I decided to visit the Arts Council.
Thus began my long association and appreciation of the Pinellas County Arts Council. Over the years, I’ve come to realize the value of an organization that works closely with governmental entities, artists, and the public to support and advance the arts. Through its various programs, the Arts Council provides funding, education, business seminars, arts advocacy and public art programs. Pinellas County is a richer more vibrant cultural destination because of it.
I can say without exaggeration that my own career as an artist has benefitted from Arts Council opportunities. On my first visit in 1984 I received much needed encouragement to stop punching time clocks and let the artist out. Twenty-six years later, the Arts Council continues to offer encouragement to myself and the arts community. Who needs the Arts Council? We all do.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
From a mythological and psychological point of view, the alien reptiles confronting Commander Archer represented his own primitive nature. Deep in the brain's cerebrum lies an area known as the limbic region, an early part of our evolving brains. Also called the reptilian brain, this area is thought to control our baser instincts - eating, procreating, desires, and fear.
In Western myth, the dragon has come to represent those unconscious parts of us ruled by ego, fear and desire. When we finally slay our interior dragons, we are able to embrace a whole Earth view, free from narrow self interests.
While artists cannot solve the world's problems, we can certainly change how we live in it, and that is an important and courageous first step.
I stand before my easel staring for a long time at a work in progress. Then slowly, by fits and starts, something important begins to emerge from the mass of line and color. At those rare moments, while in the midst of creating works of art, I completely ignore society's demands. All petty desires vanish and I fear nothing. At those times, I feel like I have eaten the dragon.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Working quickly in a small format challenged me to concentrate on the essential gestures. Several 4' by 5' blank canvasses now lean against my studio wall waiting for the next challenge.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
With no apparent antecedents in the world out here, they function more like emotional signposts – states of mind with which to become acquainted.
Working in a rapid wet on wet method with a palette knife gave me the opportunity to quickly capture fleeting images. I’ve just now reached the point of feeling comfortable with this gestural painting style – comfortable as I can be in a nine by nine inch format. Four by six foot canvasses lean against my studio wall, an all too obvious next challenge.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Many Chinese temples are guarded by two fearsome Fu-Lion statues. Their purpose is to keep out demons, the bad guys who continually try to force us off the path. Fu-Lions also give people the opportunity to call up and examine their own fear and anger.
Pictured above is a new work titled Red Tara, a Fu-Lion figure of protection. It is a mixed-media piece on masonite and will be included in an upcoming exhibition.
The exhibition, called Perfectly Imperfect, will he held at The Painted Fish Gallery in Dunedin. I am pleased to be showing with master potter Yasuko Nakamura, whose beautiful ceramic vessel Love Like Wind is pictured at left.
The opening reception will be Friday, April 9, 6-9pm. 727 734-5060. More information.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
High profile art thefts are almost always done for the money and almost always fail. It becomes nearly impossible to move big ticket art works, as the above story illustrates, even after 20 years. They are too much in the public’s consciousness.
But what of lesser known artists? Are their works often stolen and for what reasons? I suspect less well known works of art get pinched for those typical human conditions – jealousy, revenge, greed, and even love.
Stealing art because one loves it turns out to be the most interesting situation. It’s been said that imitating art is the sincerest form of flattery. Perhaps that aphorism can be carried further and restated – “Stealing art is the sincerest form of flattery.”
This type of art thief must love the work very much to go to the extreme of stealing it. They would be taking a huge chance of getting caught with the unpleasant prospect of landing in jail. Minus the stealing part, these are just the kind of people artists dream about.
In the mid 1970’s, I participated in the first Piedmont Park Art Show in Atlanta. My booth consisted of one odd little piece titled Electric Lick, an animated sculpture featuring a rubber tongue. Returning from an afternoon food run, I was surprised to discover an empty pedestal. The sculpture was gone. Who rips off art I complained to show organizers. They both agreed it must have been someone who really loved the piece.
After I cooled down and had time to ruminate on it, I realized the Piedmont ladies were right. That reassuring thought was some consolation to a lost weekend of browsers and no sales.
A couple of weeks after the show, I returned home to find my apartment had been broken into. The back window was forced open and muddy footprints covered the floor. Searching everywhere and double checking hidden valuables, I realized not one thing was missing. Someone had broken into my wonderful apartment filled with fabulous art and found nothing worth stealing.
How dare them! It could only have been some low-life punk completely devoid of good taste. Sitting on my Day-Glo yellow designer bean bag, I stared at the still empty pedestal and remembered the Piedmont Park art thief. “Why couldn’t it have been him! He at least knew great art!”
Friday, March 19, 2010
"No, not really."
Yeah, probably way outa my league. I could maybe afford the frame. Say, what kinda art you do anyway? You a painter? My wife's cousins a painter, yeah, damn good one too, she sold one of those, whaddia call em, still lifes, yeah, sold it to the mayor's wife up in Toledo. So, you paint still lifes?
"No, I'm a drawer."
Drawer! Whazzat? Like what my kid Joey does, with crayons 'n stuff? Hey, you shoulda seen the picture Joey did the other night, picture a Sylvester Stallone. Looked just like him too. Wife put it on the fridge, says he's gonna be another Michaelangelo. . . . . or maybe famous like you. Hey look, do me a favor will ya? Draw me a quick picture, nothin’ fancy, jus' somethin’ I can give Joey, a picture from a famous artist. Boy will he be surprised. Here's a pen and paper, come on, whaddia say?
"Sorry, I don't do that kind of drawing."
Say listen, I’m an art collector too. Yeah, I got fancy dinner plates with pictures of the presidents painted on ‘em. So life like they are! When the mother-in-law visits, I always give her the George W. Bush plate. Say, what’d you say your name was?