Sunday, January 22, 2012

Surreal Salon IV

The posting for this week is somewhat of a followup from a previous posting in 2010. In that entry I briefly discussed a Halloween costume I wore for a party. It can be read here. That entry was and is my most-viewed post to date. This fact contributed to my decision to reuse this costume for the Surreal Salon IV costume party.

If you are unfamiliar with the painting portrayed, Rene Magritte's Son of Man is presented below.

The reaction to my costume was very positive. When I wore this to the Halloween party in 2010 I brought a printed copy of the painting with me to explain what I was. This time, not only did I NOT need to bring a copy of the painting, I was one of about a dozen Rene Margritte "apple people." People were very excited to see me, and I cannot recall another time when I had my picture taken by more strangers. At one point, myself and three other "apples" were grouped together for a group picture. See below.

The Surreal Salon IV was an exhibition and celebration of surrealist art featuring over 60 works by 54 artists from across the country. The costume party was an extension of the opening reception. More on this can be read here, with an article from The Advocate here. The event was very well attended, and the imaginative costumes present added to the fun atmosphere. An example is found below.

This event featured something for everyone. Outside the gallery the band Mobley kept things going with superb music. If you have time click the link and give them a listen. Prior to this event I had not heard of Mobley (from Austin, TX), but they are very good. In addition, there were drinks, and a chocolate fondue waterfall. An area off the main gallery also allowed participants the opportunity to engage in "Surreal Games." To top it all off, the art exhibited was excellent. I have included examples of some of my favorites.

The Surreal Salon has become an annual event. I had a wonderful time, and plan to attend the Surreal Salon V next year. I just need to come up with a better, more original costume. Any ideas?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The second two point post

The above video from YouTube is the first of a two topic post. A written article from NPR describing this sculpture in detail can be found here. There is much about this work that I find appealing. Not the least of which is how Chris Burden (the artist) describes this as a means of getting away from the work he normally does. Burden typically works in conceptual/performance art. Taking time to get away from how one typically works and "playing" was the theme of last weeks post, and it is good to see others out there with a similar philosophy to my own.

Playing is an integral element of this sculpture, and for me, a sense of fun is derived from simply observing the video. I also like how something as simple as gravity and free-rolling cars can recreate the visual chaos of everyday humanity. The noise, the movement, and the cyclical nature of the cars endlessly looping are very descriptive of life in the city.

Courtesy Andrea Fuhrman

The second topic of this post relates to graffiti art. There is much written about graffiti art, with some artists even gaining recognition for their works. Bansky is but one example. The article, linked here, examines graffiti differently. Here images painted on railroad cars are examined, and then micro images are created from them. Andrea Fuhrman, the artist who produced this work, described how she got interested in working this way. Her insights are unique, and I found her story of how she became an artist interesting. The paths we take as artists, and what has lead us to them is always different, and I think it is partially what shapes each individual artistic vision.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Personalized Project

I think it is important for artists to experiment and explore different ways of working without feeling pressured to produce a finished, museum quality work. I would add that artworks produced through "play" are just as valid as those works produced for exhibition. I recently adopted this approach in a self-imposed project that lasted from Dec 6 through January 6.

My goal was to complete a self-portrait everyday for 30 days. I allowed myself the opportunity to use any medium in any size. It had also been a while since I worked directly with dry media, so most of my images were drawings. Portraiture has always been a weakness of mine, so I felt that this project would afford me the opportunity to sharpen my skills in this area.

On the surface, the resulting images are terrible. Two examples can be seen below.

However, the value of these images is found not in the finished product, but rather in the process that created them. If you are looking for a new way of working, or just want to try something you have not done in a while, I recommend developing a project of your own.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When does an artwork fail?

Happy New Year!
I had planned on posting this before the holidays, but I was travelling and things got away from me. On a recent visit to an academic institution I observed the following:

This got me thinking about the success of visual works of art, and when and how they fail. I think a work fails when it becomes acceptable to place a giant planter full of plants, and all kinds of information boards in front of the work.

I commented on this to a friend who was with me at the time, and she stated that in the many years she had visited this institution, she had never noticed that sculpture before. How long has it been there? How long has it been completely ignored by all who chance to see it?

I tried to find out more about the sculpture, by the attempted examination of the placard on the wall adjacent to the object. This was difficult because of all the items blocking the path. I managed to snap a quick photograph of the placard however. The quality is not that great due to limited space restrictions caused by other objects. It can be viewed below.

This post is not meant merely as a criticism of those that own the art. They have their reasons for posting information in that area. It could also be argued that this is a rationale for the periodic exchange of new works in any given space. A fresh update of several works a year would revitalize the area and provide a different feel each time the work was switched out. Rather, this post is meant as reflection on when a work of art has become tired, and has failed to capture the interest of the viewer.

As artists it is our job to communicate with the observer. Part of this conversation takes place in the context of how the art work is presented, which may or may not be in our control. However, the value of what is expressed in the work is under our control, and it is this issue that artists must focus on.

Upcoming Calls to Artists

cash awards; valuable prizes provided by Datacolor, global leader in
color management solutions and color communication technology; a group
show in Manhattan's .NO gallery; an online exhibition and a feature
article in IMPRINTS Magazine Spring/Summer 2012 issue. All mediums,
styles and schools of thought to participate. Experimental and mixed
techniques are welcome. Only 2-D work is eligible. Entry
fee. Click here for more info.

is proud to announce our brand new project: The Limited Edition
Vol. 1! The Limited Edition is a collaborative series of art books
created by 5,000 artists from across the globe. Anyone from
anywhere in the world can participate in the project. Sign up to
receive a blank sketchbook in the mail, then fill it up and send it
back. Your work will be cataloged in the Brooklyn Art Library in NYC
and published in the Limited Edition art book series. Entry
fee. Click here for more info.

addition to scholarships and hosting the largest online museum
dedicated to traditional painting, we hold one of the most prestigious
competitions for living artists who paint in the realist
tradition. This year we are offering $50,000 in cash awards including
$10,000 for Best in Show. Participants can compete in 6 categories:
Figurative, Landscape, Animals, Still life, Sculpture, and
Drawing. This year we are also introducing five new awards designed to
encourage creativity and ambition in the arts: Most Creative, Best
Social Commentary, Best Portrait, Most Ambitious Work, and Best Trompe
L'oeil. More info here.

March 31 2012 The St. Tammany Art Association announces the 47th National Juried Exhibit July 7-August 11, 2012. Juried by Miranda Lash, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art. $2,500 in awards. E-mail, call (985)892-8650, or send SASE to St. Tammany Art Association, 320 N. Columbia St., Covington, LA 70433. More info here.