Sunday, November 1, 2009

Minimalism and Earthiness

The only word I can find to capture Susan Rothenberg is "earthiness". When looking at her paintings - or even her sketches (which are just as interesting in my opinion) - you can almost see her physical interaction with the canvas.

There is so much layering going on, the end product is really only a surface. The strength of these pieces for me rests in the layers below the surface which build to form an image.

I also really respond to the space she creates. The sketch of arms works just on the level of shapes and negative space - the fact that the image references arms is almost irrelevant. I also love the division of the canvas with this horse piece, perhaps partially because that is a technique I employ in my own work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Naturalism... gross

Just found another older painting. I was really out of my comfort zone for this painting. It's a lot more color than I'm used to, and I'm not usually interested in naturalistic painting.

I do like this one in particular, though. I think knots are beautiful, something interesting about cloth and wrapping. I tried to display it almost as a slab of meat hanging, but I'm not sure I got the heaviness I was looking for.

As I'm looking at it now, I think there is something sexual within the cloth. The fullness of the center bulb, which is pulled taut, contrasts against the loose vulnerability of the drapery below.

My subconscious is responsible for any meaning in these piece - you can't hold me accountable.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Early Work

I just got some photographs of some of my older skeletal work. I was interested in the body, and I found that I enjoyed the aesthetic of simple ink drawings to abstract the skeleton. These were done in india ink, watered down in lighter places to imply distance.

Within this series, I spent a large amount of time on the pelvis, which appealed to me both because I appreciate its shape and because I think there is an interesting play between the "inappropriateness" the bone structure describes anatomically and the sterility which comes with stripping away the skin.

I also became interested in the space between ribs and spine. My early drawings struggled with coding the ribs as being separate from spine with a flat black ink, but I found that as I watered down ink to describe one or the other, an interesting, exaggerated cavity was created.

This was among my favorites. I did a few which were a monochromatic blue, but I don't think they were as successful as this pure black and white abstraction.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Greg Gummersall

Still working on getting a digital camera to document my own work, so here's a favorite artist of mine. Greg Gummersall, inspired by Twombly, Rauschenberg, and Rothko (or so I assume). I really enjoy the contrast of the intimacy of his warm palette and paintings reminiscent of notes against the large scale canvases, which are almost reminiscent of advertisements.

I went to see a recent show of Gummersall's work (actually, his wife's work was there too. Some really nice photography of horses - and I'm partial to horses after having fallen in love with Susan Rothenberg... but that's another story). He has a few pieces from series one and two ( displayed in the Albano gallery in downtown Chicago. Definitely worth seeing while it's around.