Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pollock was simply a man with little to say, but a lot to express.

No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock
1948, Oil on Canvas, 243.8 cm × 121.9 cm
Private Collection

Okay so I have known that I wanted to feature Jackson Pollock for the past week, and I even started this post like a week ago, I just never got around to finishing it and I just realized why. It's really freaking hard to try and explain Pollock with words. But I will try....

So I can't tell you how many times I hear about people hating Jackson Pollock. In fact, a lot of people associate the whole "modern art" category with paintings like Pollock's; weird, lacking skill, and NOT art. I think the reason I defend Jackson Pollock so much is because I know about his evolution as an artist. I guess the best way to explain it is to breifly explain art around his time. Right after World War II ended, art changed. It changed big time. Art quickly became the visual expression in reaction to the chaos and destruction that occured during the war, the movement was called Abstract Expression. Just like WWII ended with a BOOM (literally), art drastically changed almost instantaneously.

Pollock's best known works are his drip paintings. Now here's where it gets a little tricky. Part of the whole Abstract Expressionism movement had to do with expression. Pollock did something huge. Instead of putting the canvas upright, or on a easel, he layed canvas on the floor and methodically worked dripping paint onto the canvas while moving around his creation. This is where people might say, "Okay how is that art?!" Well my friends, it's art and it's art at its finest.

In regards to his painting technique, Pollock once said, "On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting." You see, Pollock didn't care about traditional artistic means. He didn't care about making a realistic image. He cared about creating a piece filled with expression. THAT is art. Also, it wasn't as if he shut his eyes and just started splattering paint everywhere, each stroke, each drip, and each splatter was meticulousy thought out and it definitely wasn't random as so many think.

In the world of Jackson Pollock, it wasn't about what he painted, it was about how he painted and in his case it made all the difference. So next time you see a Jackson Pollock drip painting, try to feel his mood, try to feel his emotion, and try to understand his form of visual expression.

Pollock was simply a man with little to say, but a lot to express.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Audrey Flack encourages our inner beauty.

Marilyn (Vanitas) by Audrey Flack
1977, Oil over acyclic on canvas, 96 x 96 in.
Collection of the artist

I can't believe I haven't done an Audrey Flack, she is one of my favorite artists. Audrey Flack is extremely talented and works and many many styles, but my favorite can be seen by the work above- photorealism. In a nutshell, photorealist's create images that look as real as an actual photograph. It began in the 1970's, and Audrey Flack is part of the first wave of artists to use the style. Pretty cool because she is a woman and it's pretty dang hard to get recognized in the art world if you are a female and don't do something with outrageous feminist undertones. Another thing to note, is that photorealism stemmed out of Pop Art thus you get a lot of bright colors, reactions to the media, and iconic symbols. I just like photorealism because it's really amazing how realistic it is. Time and time again I am looking at a photorealist piece thinking it is a photograph and then casually glance at the medium and think, "WHAT?! This is paint?!"

Marilyn (Vanitas) is one of Audrey's more famous pieces. A few things to explain. Vanitas is a old form of symbolic painting. They did it a lot in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is associated with still-life painting, which is also rich in symbols. Each still-life piece usually centers around a few main themes: death, life, and pleasure. Basically, "Vanitas" refers to a visual expression of the "vanities" in life.

Tearing apart Audrey's Marilyn (Vanitas) you can assume quite a few things. First, there are a few symbols of death: the hourglass, the calendar, and the clock all refer to the passing of time. Marilyn Monroe was a sex symbol and thought to be the quintessential representation of beauty, but Flack includes lipstick, a compact, perfume, and jewellery all to show that beauty is fleeting. The fruit cut open usually is some type of symbol of death as well, as once you cut it open it will rot away eventually. The paint brush either symbolizes blood, as in death, or the fact that her life was short-lived, like an unfinished painting. The reflection of the image in the mirror is not precise, which is a visual commentary to the imperfections in Marilyn and more importantly, that beauty is not everything. Audrey also made the piece personal, as she included an image of her and her younger brother when they were young in the center of the composition.

There are a ton more symbols, but you get the idea. I guess you might be thinking, why do I love a picture filled with so many death related symbols? Well, I suppose I haven't made the good in this piece prevalent. Marilyn is a commentary on one of the most well-known icons of beauty- Marilyn Monroe. Though many thought she had it all, she died at a very young age from a probable suicide. Audrey's piece suggests that beauty is definitely short-lived and doesn't always lead to happiness. I think a lot of us, especially in today's world of plastic surgery, tend to forget this. So I loved Audrey Flack not only because her work is just amazing, but because she inspires deep thought on ideas that really matter.

Audrey Flack encourages our inner beauty.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seurat, dot. Simple enough.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
1884, Oil on Canvas, 207.5 x 308 cm
The Art Institute of Chicago

I have been trying to write this post for two days now, but during the last week of school, your teachers like to lock you in a prison with no fun. With that said, as of today school is officially over (until the next semester)! So I can re-begin my love affair with Inadvertently Art. Now on to Seurat.

Seurat, dot. That pretty much sums it up. If there are any Herold fans that read this, YOU know what I am talkin' about. Anyways, Georges Seurat is considered to be a post-impressionist, mainly because he came after the Impressionists. Clever? Not really. Seurat was obsessed with color, so much so that he began experimenting with millions of dots close together, in a style art people call pointillism. Basically, he just painted a bunch of dots of different colors close to one another and created these really cool images. Up close, you can't tell what the crap anything is, but from far away you can see the whole picture, which is pretty huge by the way. It's pretty dang cool if you ask me.

As far as what the painting "means," eh well there are many ideas. Personally, I hate that every painting needs to have a structured meaning, and I tend to like those that no one can figure out or agree upon (eg. Bosch) but if we must..... A Sunday on La Grande Jatte can mean a lot, but here's my opinion. It's important to notice that the park is really crowded, but on one seems to be talking and everyone is in their own little neatly confined space. So despite the fact that the park is crowded and at first might give one the impression that it is busy, after second glace you notice that it is just the opposite. It really seems like a slice of time, which I love. But on top of that, it really evokes peace, which I love even more. Instead of thinking, "What a busy and crowded park!" one begins to think, "What a peaceful place." To sum it up, I just like how the piece makes me feel, relaxed and at peace. And I really wouldn't want to imply anything further than that.

Oh by the way, as of some time last week, the Art Institute of Chicago (where the piece is held) launched their project to raise money for the Museum and Institute. They do it every year, but this year is actually pretty cool. You can "Adopt a Dot" from A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and recieve a color button of the dot you adopted. It's $10 for one dot, $25 for three, and $50 for all six color dots. I think it's a clever idea. If you're interested you can find more information here.

Seurat, dot. Simple enough.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let Bosch let you escape for a minute.

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
1503-1504, Oil on wood, 87 in × 153 in

It's Bosch day people! If you're are thinking, "What the crap?" You are on the right track. What the crap is exactly right. Bosch is like the 16th century equivalent of modern day Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is really freakin' weird, if you don't believe go watch this. After I saw that video I was left staring at my computer screen with a "what the crap" expression on my face. The funny part is people like Lady Gaga are accepted, and even more weird, encouraged in today's society and media, but 16th century Bosch... not so much.

Bosch is puzzling, imaginative, and just plain weird. Let's take a gander in The Garden of Earthly Delights. Well I first should mention that the image I provided is part of a triptych, or a three panel painting, I just couldn't put that in here because my blog is structured narrow and it would cut off two of the panels. Oh and the second image is a close up from one of the panels. What's funny about Bosch is that no art historian has agreed on any interpretation for him. Actually it's even funnier when art historians try to explain Bosch. You get a whole lot of "odd like creatures" and "imaginative fantasy world," but that's where it stops. You can't get any further than that. A lot of people think that Bosch's work and symbols were widely reognized in his time, but seriously I don't believe this because one, why don't we know what they mean now, and two, yeah freakin' right. You can't tell me that an egg with tree stump legs and people living in it's butt was widely recognizable. True, some of the imagery is agreed upon. The triptych is called The Garden of Eathly Delights afterall, so you can infer some from that. Creation, Hell, Paradise, and Adam/Eve being among the few. For the most part, Bosch's work is just the typical pothead's splendor, but who am I to judge that!

Bosch just created these huge works of art with all these really weird things. It's hard to imagine even thinking like that, but he did. I mean I can draw a really weird thing just as well as the next two year old, but Bosch takes it to the next level. He creates these amazing fantasy worlds, much like J.K. Rowling does with Harry Potter, and as we know about the popularity of Harry Potter- people like that. People like escaping from their present situation and stresses into an imaginary world. Though Bosch's work might have been intended to show people the fate of the immoral, I view Bosch as an outlet for frustration. If I am ever stressed about school or something, I google Bosch and just stare. And each time, like looking at a "Where's Waldo" print, I find another creature feasting on the fish foot of a 6 legged monster with blue foam coming out of it's ears pierced with rainbow spears.

So for once, let's not try and find a mutual interpretation of a piece. Let's not suggest religious undertones, let's not try and spot all the influences, and most importantly let's just enjoy.

Let Bosch let you escape for a minute.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rachel Whiteread creates lasting memories.

House by Rachel Whiteread
1993, concrete cast inside a house
Originally in East London, now demolished

First of all, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to write this post. Not because I love Rachel Whiteread (though I do), but because it shows how I currently have a minute of freedom from school (though not long-lasting)! Rachel Whiteread is a British artist and is most famous for the piece above. This piece was so controversial, monumental, and ground-breaking (literally), she won the Turner Prize, bceoming the first woman in fact to do so.

House is both easy to explain, though incredibly hard to explain at the same time. Let me explain, ha! For the process Rachel essentially filled the interior of an old Victorian terraced house in East London with concrete, then removed the physical house leaving a eerie yet breathtaking scultpure. So basically, she reversed the negative/positive space of the house itself. Kind of insane when you really stop and think about it. The process was extremely difficult and took a while to complete, but when it was done it just stood there with this absolute pressence for the world to see.

What's so amazing about this piece is the part that hardest to adequately describe, though I'll try. First of all, some people might get all pissed off saying, "This is NOT art." Okay, that is a topic that is such a hard thing to explain, but the idea is this is most definitely art, but perhaps me saying it's inadvertently art will put you more at ease. This piece, though relatively simple to look at, possesses so many concepts it's really just crazy. Take the doors for instance, what once used to lead into the interior of the house is now a sealed piece of concrete, allowing no visitors into the solidified house. What once welcomed and held people's belongings, memories, and life now houses concrete and there is no way in.

Furthermore, a house that is empty is somewhat depressing, desolate, and brings emotions of vacancy. While this can be thought to be negative, I look at it completely different. When I house for sale, I see an opportunity for a new family to create new memories in a place that once held other's memories. Building upon past times of both joy and sorrow a 'used' house is as exciting as getting clothes from Salvation Army. Who wore them? Where did they go? Who did they meet? What memories did they make while wearing the clothes? Memories. Perhaps that's the main reason House holds my attention. This sealed off, empty, vacant house isn't depressing at all, instead it positively holds the memories of those who lived inside- forever.

Rachel Whiteread creates lasting memories. 

P.S. For a great short video on the process as well as some of her own commentary click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quick Update!

Hello everyone,

I am in my last week and a half of the semester which means finals, so I won't be able to post as often as I would like! December 15th is the day I will be free and able to start my every day posting once more!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rest in peace Jeanne-Claude, you will be missed.

Hello everyone, I know I momentarily disappeared, but Thanksgiving came and so did my Mom, so I was busy!

This post is a few weeks overdue, but I needed to formally let everyone know that Jeanne-Claude passed away on November 18th, 2009. Christo is still continuing with the projects they were working on and as one might imagine is deeply saddened by his wife of 58 years death, as is the world. Jeanne-Claude was such an amazing woman. Dedicated to creating beautiful works of art, Jeanne-Claude knew the meaning of beauty. She was a compassionate wife, daring artist, and observer of the beauty all around us. If we learn anything from the life of Jeanne-Claude it should be that life is precious, the world surrounding us is true art, and that you are never too old to have really cool hair.

Rest in peace Jeanne-Claude, you will be missed.