Sunday, August 26, 2012

An homage to Modigliani

      In one of my other postings I discussed art books. This post is again going to head in that direction. The above photo is the cover of another book that I recently added. I think it is important for artists to spend as much time looking at art as they do making art. The ideal thing to do is to go to a museum or gallery and study what is there. An alternative to this is to examine works of art reprinted in books. Either case can provide a source of inspiration, and help to formulate a plan to build on what has already been done artistically.

      This new book (to me anyway, it was published in 2005), titled Amedeo Modigliani is about that Italian artist. It chronicles his life and how he came to produce the unique figures he is known for. I have long admired the work of Modigliani. I like the simplicity of form and the gritty texture in his paintings. The paintings are also very warm, and seem to have an overall positive feel to them, despite the blank expressions on many of the faces depicted in his work.

      I have been so inspired by his work, that I have attempted to rework my figures to match his. The two figures in the painting Full Circle (found below) are examples of my thinking.

      In addition, I have been working on a self portrait with the same feel.



      While not exact copies (and i don't think they should be), they do portray an homage to the work of Modigliani. I like the effect of what I have done. I'm undecided as to keep proceeding with this idea, but for now it is interesting to me.      

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rain makes for creativity

      While most of the rest of the country is in full-on drought mode, it's been really rainy here in Louisiana. I find that this makes for the perfect opportunity to go to the studio and make something. There was a question, posted anonymously, asking if I had finished the above painting. So as you can see, yes, it is finished. In addition to this, I have started another painting, I have altered the look of this blog (did you notice?!?! I wanted it to more closely match my Web Site.), and I am getting ready to update my Web Site. So there's a lot to do when it's raining non-stop and I don't feel like going outside. 

      While reworking my blog space, all the librarians I work with made the discovery of I had already known about this site from library school, but apparently it was new to them. This site does a variety of things, but the most fun is the word cloud generator. By submitting the text, or URL from a Web Page, wordle analyzes the text and creates a textual image based on the most commonly used words. It's a fun way to determine what the main ideas of a written work are all about. The word cloud for this blog looks like this:

    I think wordle is addictive. Try it, it's great. For the heck of it I went ahead and did both of my master's theses. They look like this:

    The one on the left is my college teaching degree, and the one on the right is my library degree. From looking at all three of these word clouds, it's apparent that I spend a lot of time thinking about art. That's cool with me, because I enjoy art. Well, I'm off to do the things I mentioned in this post. So, be sure to look at my Website, and we'll see whats happening next time. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Art Institute of Chicago-New Modern Wing

      I just got back from a trip to Chicago. It was excellent! It provided me a chance to reunite with old friends, relax, and have a good time. Chicago is a city that is very familiar to me. Having spent most of my life living in Illinois, I have visited Chicago frequently. On this trip we went to Lollapalooza, the annual music festival held downtown in Grant Park. I got to see the Black Keys, Passion Pit, The Shins, Florence + The Machine, Black Sabbath, and Jack White (White Stripes) and many others. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were also there, but we happened to miss them. If you are interested there is more info and pictures here.


      This is an art blog, and so one of the other things I did was visit the Art Institute of Chicago. Like the city itself this museum is also very familiar to me. When we arrived there was a line out the door for admission (always a nice thing to see at an art museum). My friend and I did not have to wait however, because I knew about a side entrance that is seldom used by tourists. We got right in, AND I managed to get us a discount on admission.


      The museum currently has a retrospective exhibition on Roy Lichtenstein. I don't care for his work, so we didn't stop to see that. I was more interested in the new Modern Wing. This addition was added to the museum in 2009, and it is something that has been added since I was here last. The Modern Wing is circled on the map below.

      The Modern Wing contrasts with the classical architecture of the original building. It is almost like being in a new museum adjacent to the Art Institute. I understand that they wanted the space to blend with the art on display, but the stark contrast between wings of the same structure is awkward. The following pictures  illustrate the nature of this space. On the far left my friend demonstrates the airy open space of the facility. In the center, a view of the wing from the exterior, and on the far right a sculpture that greets museum patrons as they enter the new wing.


     The Modern Wing is divided into three floors. The first floor is where the Lichtenstein exhibition was happening. But they also had gallery space for contemporary artists to use. They currently have an exhibition by fashion and fiber artist Snadra Blacklund. I tried to get some pictures, but the security guard swooped in and informed me there was no photography permitted. The second floor featured photography, sculpture, and non-representative works of art. This includes artists like Mark Rothko and Piet Mondrian. The third floor featured works by Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, and one of my favorites Max Beckman. Some sample images are featured below.

        Architecture aside, the new space is very nice. A good representation of modern work is on display, and the presentation is excellent. I would recommend a visit to anybody interested in this style of art. I did swing through the older part of the museum, and got to see some old favorites. The photo at the opening of this post demonstrates this. I am standing next to A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, perhaps best known by people of my generation for its cameo in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It is difficult for me to select one painting in the collection that is my favorite, but there is one by Monet that I always try to see. It is pictured below.

I love this painting, and it was very much on my mind when I painted this image:

It's interesting how artists influence one another, even across time. One final note; I tried to stop in the museum library, but they were closed. So I will close with a picture of the library doors.