I think I have seen this before but it caught my eye this morning. It’s a video of Turkish artist Garip Ay who works in the art of ebru, known to us as paper marbling. In this video he takes on Van Gogh’s Starry Night but that is only the start. What turns out in the end is a bit of a surprise although you may see it coming in the process. Just a neat video and a wonderful display of total craftmanship.
I’ve also included another video of Garip Ay at work. Just seeing the process and the manipulation of the colors and the way they move on the dark water is fascinating. Mesmerizing.
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When I came into the studio this morning there was a question waiting for me in my inbox. In response to yesterday’s post, a blogger, JM Nowak, asked : I wonder what van Gogh would have thought? What would he think now about the popularity and sales rate of his Art? Would it make him feel more confident and self-assured…I wonder?!
The question set my mind in motion. Would have recognition in his time affected Van Gogh’s work? Would it have changed the arc of his evolution as we know it? Would his style have changed to meet the will of the market if he had started to sell his work at the time?
These are hard questions. Part of me is selfishly glad that we will never know, happy in the fact that his work came about in just the way it did, relatively uninfluenced by the market or the words of critics. Though I do have to confess that I wish he had found some sort of satisfaction or happiness in knowing that his work became so loved and revered.
But his work evolved in much the same way as outsider and folk artists who toil for the absolute necessity of self expression, without any outside affirmation. There is a sort of pristine purity in this that presents an interesting dichotomy: established artists crave this purity that they can no longer have and the artists with it often desire the acknowledgment that the established artists receive.
Can the line between the two be walked?
It makes me wonder how my own work would have evolved without the galleries or patrons who have supported me these many years now. Would my own arc or direction be the same as it is now? I think it would be different if only for the assurance that that the knowledge that there are waiting eyes to see your work brings. That in itself propels the work forward at times.
But it would undoubtedly be different. But whether it would be better or worse is debatable. It might be narrower in scope just because I might be more tempted to follow an even more personal and esoteric path. But I’m not really sure about that because the real question would be how long would I be able to continue without some outer affirmation for the work. Would I be able to maintain the passion or would I abandon the work or continue to follow Van Gogh down that vortex of madness which he ultimately followed?
A lot to ponder at 6 in the morning…
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Posted in Neat Stuff, Video, tagged Christo, Donald Trump, Earthworks, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Robert Smithson, Stan Herd, Van Gogh, Video on October 2, 2015|
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Stan Herd’s Take on Van Gogh
Stan Herd is an an American artist who uses the land as his canvas, creating large earthworks that reveal themselves from great heights. He has been at this for over 40 years, beginning in 1981 after a short and less than satisfying career as an abstract expressionist painter. Working in the tradition of other great earth artists such as Robert Smithson and Christo, Herd has traveled around the globe for his art and has been tabbed as the “Father of Crop Art.” He has even been the subject of an acclaimed movie, Earthwork, that tells the story of a 1990’s project where he creates an environmental artwork on a NYC property owned by Donald Trump— yeah, that guy.
His most recent is a project from this year that he took on in conjunction with the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) that had him replicating Van Gogh‘s famed painting, Olive Trees, in plantings. It was situated so that fliers arriving at the Minneapolis airport would be able to see it as they were landing. There’s a great short film below that shows a little of the process and gives you a better idea of the artist.
Take a look at Stan Herd’s website by clicking here. Great stuff…
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Posted in Favorite Things, Influences, tagged American Modernism, Armory Show, Ashcan School, Modernism, Picasso, Pop Art, Robert Henri, Stuart Davis, Tioga Pennsylvania, Van Gogh on April 2, 2012|
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Many of us are familiar with the work of Stuart Davis (1892- 1964), the American Modernist whose paintings presaged the Pop Art of the 60’s. They were bold and colorful abstracted collages that use imagery from the landscape of the popular culture at the time they were created, creating works that immediately evoke a time. When I see them I a transported to the New York or Paris of the 40’s and 50’s, with Jazz and poetry blossoming in the aftermath of a devastating war that really changed our perceptions of the world.
But it is Davis’ early work that always intrigues, particularly a small group that was painted not to far from where I live. There are three landscapes painted just over the state line in rural Tioga, Pennsylvania in 1919 that are very different from the work for which Davis is best known. They show a young artist still working in the style of those artists who inspired him, trying on their style and brushstrokes in an effort to find his own voice.
You can see how he had been affected by seeing the work of Van Gogh and Picasso for the first time at the legendary Armory Show in 1913, where his own work hung among the emerging giants of modern painting. Davis was then a student of Robert Henri and painted in a style associated with the NYC Ashcan school of painters , of which Henri was a leader. These three pieces have thick. expressive stokes of paint and scream of Van Gogh and have few hints at where Davis’ road would eventually lead him.
The pieces are very accomplished and have a certain charm but it is obvious that they are still derivative and that Davis is still in the midst of his evolution from talented mimic to an original voice. To me, they are an interesting insight to how we synthesize our broad spectrum of influences into something truly original. I would be hard-pressed to say that the man who painted these pieces would eventually become a leading light of abstract modernism but they somehow moved him along in his search for his own distinct voice. It only goes to show that we should take in everything that excites us even if it seems out of our normal area of comfort. It may open new and exciting worlds to us that we could never foresee.
Stuart Davis--Self Portrait 1919
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Watching the coverage of the disaster taking place in Japan has brought to mind the many Japanese influences on my work. I have always been drawn to the work of the Japanese print masters such as Hokusai, who I have written about before, and Hiroshige. I was influeneced by their work before I was even aware of it, mostly through their influence on the European artists in the late 19th century. Artists like Whistler and Van Gogh were enthralled by the beauty of their woodblocks, Van Gogh even going so far as simply copying them for some of his earlier paintings.
When I began to look more closely at the work of Hiroshige, I too was captivated. There is great unity and totality in the work, a harmony of color and line rhythm that fills the picture frame. The colors are softly graded yet there is deep saturation that is like a feast for the eyes. The landscapes seem to grow organically with lovely curves and lines that evoke that sense of rightness I have often struggled to describe here. They have a great polarity as well. They are bold yet subtle. They are quiet yet not timid. they are simple yet complex. They are both earthly and ethereal.
In short, they are just wonderful.
Take a look at this beautiful work and how it reflects its homeland. If you can, take a few minutes and donate what you can to relief organizations whose help a great part of this nation is desperately desiring in this time of disaster.
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Posted in Influences, Painting, tagged Arnot Art Museum, Corcoran, Everson Museum, Jean-Francois Millet, Monet, Renoir, Syracuse, Van Gogh on October 12, 2009|
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In reading yesterday’s paper, I came across an article describing an exhibition opening at the Everson Museum in Syracuse called From Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces of the Davies Collection. It is in Syracuse until the beginning of next year when it moves to the Corcoran in Washington, DC. The exhibit features works from many of the greats- Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh, to name a few.
The thing that caught my eye though, was this painting by Jean-Francois Millet, The Gust of Wind. There was a real familiarity in seeing it and I immediately recognized the similarity of this piece with the compositions of a number of my paintings. The tree blown to one side from the wind. The way the tree sits at the top of the hillock. Even the shape of the ground and the way it dominates the picture plane.
Of course, I could do this with many, many paintings by a variety of painters. It’s a simple composition of a tree on a rise, after all. But because it was Millet, it struck me because I have always so admired his work and often felt a kinship to it. As a youth, a piece of his at our local museum, the Arnot, was always a favorite. His paintings of field workers always drew me in with their sweeping fields and expansive skies.
And then there was The Sower.
The Sower was arguably Millet’s most famous image, a simple depiction of a farmer spreading seed. It has great motion and a beautiful diagonal line through the sower’s body. Like the painting above, there has always been a sense of familiarity with this image. I have memories of a pair of bronze bookends from my childhood, probably from a garage sale and now long lost, that had the image of The Sower on them. Something in that figure clicked in me even then and I have always responded when seeing it.
This image was further immortalized by Van Gogh in several of his paintings, one a pure copy albeit in his own distinctive style.
Seeing Millet’s figure in Van Gogh’s paintings made a huge impression on me many years ago. It triggered a chain of creative impulses that I still feel to this day. Seeing The Gust of Wind in the paper brought them back to the surface for me and I may well be working off this little surge of inspiration for weeks or months to come.
So, if you get a chance check out the exhibit and the Millet…
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