Saturday, June 14, 2014

Off to Parie

Nicolas de Staël - The Night of Paris, 1954

I'm going off the grid for a bit to one of the best places on Earth -- Paris.  
I was there for one weekend about 10 years ago and have been praying to go back.

This trip is actually as close as I will probably ever get to a pilgrimage; as after we are in Paris for a few days we are going down into Provence and the Riviera to the land of my painting gods -- 
Cezanne's Aix-en-Provence, Bonnard's Le Cannet, Picasso's Antibes, Van Gogh's Arles.

There is also a bunch of de Stael's work on view at the Picasso Museum.  I can barely contain myself.
I'll bring back some souvenirs, I promise.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Jessie Drew-Bear Review

 I wrote this thing....

It's a review for Title Magazine of the Jessie Drew-Bear show at the Woodmere Art Museum.

Rather than say anything more, here's the link.  Because I already spent a lot, lot, lot of hours finding the words for her work.  It's a more fomal type of writing than a blog that I find much harder to do.  But I enjoyed it.  Let me know what you think.  And here is a picture of a lot of poodles to sway you towards loving it, her and me:

Jessie Drew-Bear, Dog Show, 1961

Monday, June 9, 2014

Second Look: Figurative Sculpture

Brancusi, The Kiss, at the Phila Museum
Prompted by recent trips to the Rodin Museum and the PMA I've been looking at a lot of figurative sculpture.  I have loved that Brancusi sculpture since I was a kid.  It hits just the right note.

Pre-historic figurative sculpture

Maybe it is because I went to PAFA, a prominently figurative place, or maybe because I was in one too many art history courses that began with the Venus of Willendorf but throughout school I largely disregarded this particular type of work.  Which is sort of bizarre because I love the figure.  In truth, I guess the real reason is, I wasn't as comfortable in the language of sculpture and so I wouldn't engage with it as fully.  But like any art form, there is a lot of work, a lot of bad work, and a few exquisite ones, and I had to look to find the ones I am really drawn to.  These are a few of my all time favorites.

Theban workshop (Oinochoe type), 7th century BC

veiled figure in Central Cemetery, Vienna

Rodin, study for Polyphemus

Henry Moore, detail of figure 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Between Matter and Experience Show

Katherine Bradford

Today was a great day.  The group show Between Matter and Experience was installed.

Sarah McEneaney

Gallery curator John Thompson putting up the work (from left: Krista Profitt, Bonnie Levinthal, Me)

Lauren Garvey left, Eleanor Ray right

Betsey Batchelor

from left; Me, Sarah Gamble, Eleanor Ray

Bonnie Levinthal left, Me right
This show initially began as a conversation at my aunt's (Bonnie Levinthal) house.  A few painters were sitting around discussing painting (what's new haha), and what we feel is really important in painting to us.  It was just a big idea for a long time that morphed from one place to the next, as a sort of platform to get through the cold winter months, a reason to get together and talk.  

But eventually we decided to get organized and put something up that we could see in-person, together, and see what that sparked.  From there everything went really quickly and now the show is opening June 5th, from 3-5pm at the President's Gallery, Hamilton Hall, University of the Arts, Philadelphia.  
It continues through July 3rd.

Here is the statement:

This exhibition represents the work of nine contemporary painters. While the visual vocabularies are diverse, there exists a shared humanist perspective that suggests the way it feels to move through the world without feigned knowing or emotional distance, expressing an openness to sensation of both paint and subject.

The work reflects attention to the overlooked, the intimate, the awkward and imperfect, appreciates mystery, and possesses a curiosity for things hidden. In all the work, there is a suggestion of the existence of something not entirely present.

This "between" state takes the form of the tension between abstraction and representation, between image and the physical form of the paint, and where a quality is present that resists naming.

At the heart of this view, is the idea that this attention to humanness inspires a range of voices.

This show grew from a small, casual dialogue between a few of the painters in this show into a larger discussion on painting. The original conversations traced the threads of continuity that weave through the work of these artists from different cities and generations.

Partly facilitated by the personal relationships that connect them, or maybe as a result of seeing each other's work, but most likely due to something much more far-reaching and complex, these painters share an attitude on painting that manifests in quite different visual expressions. The decision for this particular grouping is to draw attention to how diverse that expression can be.

Participating Artists:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Pick: Benjamin Degen

Night Wave, 2013. Oil on linen over panel, 72 x 108 in
The work of Benjamin Degen is wonderful.  I love the way he paints the figure.  The use of color to conjure up a time of day and mood is exquisite, as is the graphic quality of line and texture in the black and white works below.  It is rare to be able to use both so well but the unconventional compositions and senses of space allow for a renewed look at the traditional idea of a human being moving through the world.

Garden, 2012. Charcoal, graphite and watercolor/paper, 23 1/2 x 15 1/4 in

Golden Room, 2009. Oil on canvas 60 x 40 in.

Woodrunners, 2012. Graphite on paper 15 x 10 in.

Bather, 2007. Ink on paper, 40 x 26 in.

He shows at Susan Inglett Gallery in NY and is part of a group show that just opened at Geoffrey Young Gallery in MA.