Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Artsy Stuffs I Like and What I'm Doing

Well it's already nearly Fall break (O.O omg... time goes fast) and I feel I have just barely begun getting my stuff together and preparing to pump out work for my senior seminar. But worry not dear readers, I am on my way.

First of all, I have studied up on Braille (which in case you didn't know is a kind of writing for the blind ... examples). Braille is a totally awesome form of writing, consisting of raised dots placed on a 2x3 layout per letter. The reader is supposed to run their fingers over the letters to read them. Its also very beautiful in both its raised patterns and shapes visually as it is in a kind of language metaphor. What I personally find so great about Braille is that most people don't know how to read it and as a visually able person I feel it is a sign of a veiled secret, almost sacred language; a barrier of language and communication, not because its not readable, but because people wouldn't stop to understand. I feel this also happens a lot in my poetry. I write poetry to explain and display my innermost thoughts and feelings, but they often are unheard or not understood by others. In my senior seminar I will play with these ideas by making works with Braille in them.

Secondly, I have begun trying to inspire myself daily. I have started looking at sites such as and These are both really great sites for learning about other artists, what they do, how they do it and why. One example of someone I found on Artist A Day is Amy Shackleton. This artist is from Canada and makes paintings with an unusual technique of squirt bottles and letting the paint drip down the canvas in a controlled manner (see the video about her). Shackleton's work usually contains a mix of the urban and the natural. I really enjoyed learning about her and seeing how she made her work.

Also while doing this sort of online searching I find articles about how to succeed at being an artist. This one in particular seemed like a good idea of how to get your work displayed.

And the final thing for this post is that much of my poetry is about my struggle with mental illness. So, because I'm using my poetry for the Braille writing in my art, mental illness is also a theme in my works for this semester. I found this cool article about a woman who makes art as a kind of therapy for her mental illness.

...and that being said I thought I would just include a link to the site I use to publish my poetry online, here.

I will be posting about some of my finished artworks soon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Artist Post #50: A collection.

For this post I'm going to do a overview on multiple artists (mostly because while being very contemporary, they have not been featured nationally or internationally, but they are influential to me and interesting and wonderful so here they are).
Spike Mafford is an artist from Seattle Washington who does photography. He has been featured in the Seattle Times newspaper and some local art exhibits. It not really that his photographs in particular are pushing boundaries, but his exhibit Braille does. The exhibit was in 2006-2007 at the Francine Seders Gallery in Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. The installations included his photography with braille text. His landscapes and skyscapes, accompanied by the textural quality of braille text is beautiful. His work allows both the sighted and the blind to enjoy art in a whole new way. The text is written by Lisanne Dutton, Peter J. Vogt and Spike Mafford in a descriptive yet abstracted way and is allowed to be touched. The images and info are from Mafford's website.
"Mt. Vesuvius" Spike Mafford
ultrachrome ink jet print, 2005
Erin Lauridsen, blind since birth, touches and reads the art installed at Francine Seders Gallery
Reading "Smokestack"
The next artist I wanted to talk about was actually featured in The Virginian Pilot for her paper works. Ruth Knowles Scarlott was self taught and created art for herself expression. Her work was briefly exhibited in The Charles H. Taylor Arts Center in July of this year. Scarlott's art is a mix of media, paper making, assemblage and collage. She was inspired by poetry and writing and the people in her life. Some of Scarlott's art was deffered from specific poems and conversations with her daughter about them. Her works themselves are very poetic with layers of meaning and texture. The article can be read here.
 Next artist is Natasha Sazonova who is from Ukraine but now lives in the US. She studied at the Fine Arts Studios at the University of Engineering and Architecture in Ukraine and later recieved her BA from the University of Connecticut in 2000. She now has a masters from 2008 in Graphic Design. She has done many exhibits in the United States in the Northeast. Her work is mostly composed of portraiture (of herself and others). They are beautiful, colorful works and her website has a lot more information about herself and about her art.   

I've fallen for another artist, called Know Hope, who does graffiti type work. Here's a website and facebook. Its hard to find any specific information about this artist but I'll go ahead and show you one of my favorite works by Know Hope. >.> You'll notice... more braille.. i think it reads "relieve".
Another self-taught artist with a etsy page who also does things with braille and paints beautifully. The site is here, again... no info, but inspiring.Her works have a lot of color and texture which make them visually and tactically interesting.
"Joy" 16x20inches
Walking Alone 18x24in  
 Anton Parsons is an artist from New Zealand who graduated from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1990. He works in large sculpture with exagerated size of a concept. He likes using physical space that people have to navigate around creating a giving the installation a silent kind of stance in occupied space to enforce their meaning. His works have been displayed around New Zealand. Information was taken from his website and the images of "Invisible City" are taken from this blog.
The next artist interests me because of her concepts on mental illness and how stigmatizing it is and just the overall suffering of it is hard, but there is relief from it as well. Amber Christian Osterhout, who intended to become a doctor received BS degree in biology from Le Moyne College in New York. She then felt the need to express herself and returned to school to study art and graphic design, earning an associates degree from Sage College. She currently works as an art director at Shannon-Rose Design. When her brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia she created a body of work about his trials through the disorder. Her website with her information and images can be seen here.
Okay. Last one, I promise!
For this I'll basically just say that this is some collaborative work from artist Janet Manalo, and poet Suzanne Bruce. Also, that I want to do something like this with my work because I write and do visual art and will try in my senior seminar work to do something similar. Anyways, here's two collaborations by Manalo and Bruce and their website.

Artist #49: Joan Snyder

New Moonfield, 2008
acrylic, burlap, silk, cheesecloth, wooden beads, paper mache on linen
54" x 78"
Joan Snyder, website here, was born in 1940 in New Jersey. She got her BA from Douglass College in NJ and her MFA from Rutgers University in 1966. She has recieved several endowments from various fellowships and currently lives and works out of New York. Snyder was in several solo shows in New York, California and other states across the US, and is in collections of many museums.
My Work, 1997
etching and woodcut
22.25" x25"
Snyder's art is created in many different medias and in a kind of abstracted and expressionistic style. Her art is often full of bright color and are filled to the brim with emotion. There is a lot of dripping paint, repetition of form and sometimes words in her paintings and prints. Each is beautiful and full of life and emotion.
Life of A Tree, 2007.
Oil, acrylic, cloth, berries, paper mache, glitter, nails, pastel, on linen
48" x 68"

Artist #48: Arman

Brooch/pendent big violin in white gold, 2004
Arman was born in France as Armand Pierre Fernandez (he continued to use a misspelling of his name after a printers mistake). He studied art at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs. Early on he was inspired by Vincent van Gogh and abstract art. Arman traveled frequently learning about Eastern philosophy, Chinese art, martial arts and served in the French military for two years. After being inspired by Dada and signing the manifesto of New Realism, Arman's artwork changed to doing collage for a solo show in 1954 and reexamining the everyday object in the true Dada manner. In 1967 he became an American citizen and his work became even more experimental he would create monumental sculptures out of collections of a certain object such as "Long Term Parking" in 1982. He would also create assemblages of musical instruments.
Transculptures: Untitled, 1998
I saw his work at the VMFA and totally loved the piece. It was based on the idea of things making up other things and cramming them into a space to fill it to "critical mass". This for Arman was also the point at which an object looses its individuality while still retaining part of its original self. In the case of Torso, the dolls inside it reflect the over all shape of the cast resin torso.
Torso, 1972, cast acryllic resin and plastic dolls.
Photo by me from the VMFA.

Artist #47: Frida Kahlo

Henry Ford Hospital 1932 Oil on metal
12 1/4 x 15 1/2 in Collection Dolores Olmedo Foundation, Mexico City
Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. I've been in love with her work since I first learned about her in my high school Spanish class. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican-born painter. She suffered from many health problems during her lifetime which mostly stemmed from her bus accident as a teenager. Frida had always loved to draw, but particularly enjoyed painting during her recovery. A mirror was placed over her bed so that she could paint herself. Frida Kahlo also had issues with a miscarriage and had to wear a back brace for most of her adult life. She also had marital problems with the famously promiscuous Diego Rivera which caused her a lot of emotional grief. Kahlo lived in constant pain and suffering, but turned it into wonderful artwork.
What the Water Gave Me 1938 Oil on canvas
38 x 30 in Isadore Ducasse Fine Arts, New York
Kahlo is best known for her self-portraits (which is what the majority of her work is). They act as a sort of autobiography. She is also known for her love of Mexico and her passion of politics. All of these things are depicted in her paintings. I was lucky enough to see Las Dos Fridas in person on my trip to Mexico my freshman J-term. I think the reason I feel her work so strongly is that she is so clear on the emotional and physical expressions of herself and I find I identify with them. All info and pictures are from a site dedicated to her, here.
The Two Fridas 1939 Oil on canvas
68 x 68 in. Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

Artist #46: Anne Harris

Portrait (Old Neck) 2001
Oil on Linen 12 x 13"
Anne Harris is a painter from Illinois. She received her BFA in 1986 from Washington Univerisity and then her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1988. Harris' work has been exhibited across the country in both solo and group shows. The images and information was found at her website, here.
Angel 2007
Oil on Linen 44 x 30"
Her portraits and self portraits are beautifully rendered. The figures in each one seem to surrender beauty to the brutally truthful frailty and age of their bodies. It is clear from her paintings that she wishes to show the vulnerability of human form, showing the sunken and curved flesh beautifully. The facial expressions are often in a kind of mid smile and grimace leaving the viewer uncertain of the figures emotional state. While the images can make people uncomfortable it's this unease of recognizing our own vulnerability that makes Anne Harris' paintings so wonderful to see.
Portrait (Pigtails) 2002
Oil on Linen 12 x 13" (approximate)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Artist #45: Viktor Koen

Toy No.04
Lamda print on Duraflex
25" x25" 2006 edition of 5
O.O okay. Its about 1:30 in the morning and I'm tired as hell and I'm probably starting to get a little wacky in the brain area, but I really want to finish these while I'm on a roll. So here goes number 45.

Vanity Study No.16
digital C-Print on paper
18" x 24"2005
edition of 5
Viktor Koen was born in Greece in 1967. He received his Graphic Design BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design in Jerusalem in 1990 and then got his MFA with honors in Illustration in 1992 from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Koen has taught at Parsons School of Design since 1995 and since 1999 was a Masters Thesis Advisor at New York's School of Visual Arts. He has shown his work in both solo and group shows around the world. His website, here is full of his awesome artwork, which definitely deserves a look.
Vanity Study No.45
digital C-Print on paper
18" x 24" 2005
edition of 5
I particularly enjoyed that his site included artist statements and tons of images for each body of work that he is showing! I'll go over two of my favorite bodies of work that Viktor Koen has created. The first is from his Vanity studies ( statement here ) which is digital images of objects. These "objects" are a combined form of composition of forms and conceptual identifying of the objects within the image. The studies refer to 17th century "Vanitas" paintings which depicted objects that symbolized the brevity of life.
The other collection of work I love is from “Dark Peculiar Toys” (statement) (which reminds me of Peter Tansill's work but in digital form) because of its use of doll parts to create strangely manipulated "toys"...whose purpose is perhaps best left unknown... I'll post pics from both bodies of work (all of which are from Koen's website.)
Toy No.16
Lamda print on Duraflex
25" x25" 2006
edition of 5

Artist #44: Heather Nevay

"Alchemists in an Industrial Landscape"
Oil on Board, 33 x 23 cm, 2010
Heather Nevay is an artist I found while trying to find inspiration for my doll artwork. And since then I've totally loved how absolutely creepy the sweet girl figures are in Nevay's paintings. Her website (from which I extracted the information about Nevay and her work as well as the images you can see) is here.
"Final Kiss"
Oil on Board, 10 x 8 inches, 2007
Nevay is an artist from Glasgow, Scotland. She studied and graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a BA in Art and Design in 1988. She has exhibited in solo shows in England and Scotland and in group exhibits in Europe and the United States.
"Study for Broken Doll"
Oil on Board, 7 x 7 inches, 2007

"The Perfumed Afternoon"
Oil on Board, 11 x 7 1/2 inches approx, 2008
Heather Nevay's paintings are not done for mere shock value, but hold strong psychological connections and much mythology which is personally created. She looks at children in their play and sees the duplicity of how it can be seen to adults and how it formulates who we later become. Toys are used for whatever the game requires and the child usually has great emotional investment in the game. These games also have a tendency to reinforce things like gender roles which effect a child greatly. ...All of these things interest Nevay and she explores these ideas in her artwork.
Oil on Board, 15 x 11 inches, 2007

Artist #43: Remedios Varo

Okay... so this one should be easy. I wrote a 10 pg research paper on Remedios Varo for my ULLC223 writing class a year ago, but shes such a great artist I couldn't pass up the chance writing about her some more. I first came in contact with Varo's art when I went to Mexico with Dr. Moran and Professor Garrett for my freshman January term. It totally captured me and I always love looking at her work again and again and finding new things I like about it.
Remedios Varo is a surrealist painter who was born in Spain and traveled a lot due to her father's work as a hydrological engineer. She first learned about drafting from her father. She studied at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid and later moved to Barcelona where she lived the bohemian lifestyle. Due to the impending movement Nazis during the war, she relocated to Paris where she met her good friend Leonora Carrington (also an artist) and developed her own style of Surrealism and had many of her works published. However the war continued to push through into France and she (along with many other artists and writers) was exiled to Mexico. This exile had a huge effect on her work and helped in developing her unique style.
Her works usually include female figures with themes of the occult, feminism, mysticism, alchemy and astronomy. Varo's paintings are full of fascinating imagery with dreamlike figures, vehicles and objects. All of the images are from this website.

Artist #42: Peter Tansill

Peter Tansill is a Virginian artist. He studied at VCU's School of the Arts and continued at Radford where he earned his BA in Fine Art in 1985. He likes to go dumpster diving and antiquing to collect the materials for his sculptural works. He then assembles these works together. He is currently showing in Richmond and also has works for sale at the VMFA gift shop and will be on display at the Artemis Gallery.

His sculptures are a compiled format of mix and matched once discarded items and doll parts. These found object pieces are imaginatively put together and are strangely charming. Tansill's artwork can be seen at his website here. But I'll just post some pictures I took from the VMFA gift shop of his work.

Artist #41: Lucas Samaras

Photo-Transformation, 1973.
Polaroid SX-70 print
3 x 3 in.
Already a well-known artist of multiple-media, Greek-born Lucas Samaras began working in experimental photography in 1973. He first immigrated to the US (New Jersey)  in 1948 and graduated in 1958 from Rutgers University. His work is usually in reference to autobiography or a self-portrait. Info and images of Samaras' art can be seen at the J. Paul Getty Museum website, the MoMA website, and the Pace/Macgill website. He has exhibited across the United States, Europe and Asia and has taught at Yale University and Brooklyn College. Samaras currently lives and works out of New York City.
Photo-Transformation, 1973
Polaroid SX-70 print
3 x 3 in.
I like his photography work the best. They're very creative and experimental. His self-portrait photography usually has a disconnect, either of "cut off" body parts or obscuring his form. These ways of looking at the image (or himself) make it easier to just identify and understand the importance of each part of ourselves. I think its interesting that he is using Polaroids before they are fully developed on the surface and manipulating it then. A very cool way of working with usual photography media.
Auto Polaroid 1969-71.
Black and white instant print (Polapan),
scratched, 2 15/16 x 3 3/4"

Artist #40: Kasey McMahon

Thus You Shall Go to the Stars // Brass sheet 2011
Kasey McMahon is an artist from Los Angeles, California. She is a multimedia artist who is inspired by interactions between people and technology. She fuses the worlds and their intricacies together to further delve into the relationships between them. McMahon has exhibited in many West Coast galleries. Her website displays her work and gives a brief artist bio/statement.
Tiny Worlds. Where I would like to live.
Multimedia 2011
I love her works that deal with bronze elements and the little imaginative things she creates.
I Would Like To Know You Better • Multimedia • Social Animals Series 2011
Friend’s Facebook status updates hand stamped on brass sheet
Fragments of complex lives. Photo by Marianne Williams