Sep 23, 2011

PROFILE| Kara Walker

Kara Walker, Slavery! Slavery! Presenting a GRAND and LIFELIKE panoramic journey into Picturesque South Slavery of "Life at 'Ol' Virginny's Hole'(sketches from plantation life) See the Peculiar Institution as never before! All cut from black paper by the able hand of Kara Elizabeth Walker an Emancipated Negress and leader of her cause, cut paper on wall,12X85ft, 1997

Artist Kara Walker uses a unique style of silhouette cut outs to demonstrate a strong theme of race. She also uses themes of slavery, violence and sex, which are influenced from slave narratives, folklore, movies, cartoons, black memorabilia and Harlequin romance novels. The themes Walker uses in her art work are sometimes controversial among the generation of African American artists who fought for civil rights, and are sometimes offended by her use of degrading characterizations. However, despite the serious subject matter of slavery and racism, Walker is able to tell a story with only black and white silhouettes that exhibits lots of humor.

TREND | Graffiti in the Arab Spring

Unknown Artist, "Allah Akbar", Spray paint on concrete, 2011
 Ever since a very young age I have been fascinated with graffiti art. Growing up in southern California I remember train cars and freeway underpasses covered in paint, ranging anywhere from a crude expression of "Fuck" to intricate murals lush color and detail, bringing some beauty to an otherwise bland surrounding. But far from the hip hop influenced  western graffiti I have grown up observing there is a graffiti movement beginning somewhere new...The Middle East.

PROFILE | George Rodrigue

George Rodrigue, "Blue Dogs and Cajuns on the River," 2011, acrylic on canvas, 48x72

Renowned Cajun artist George Rodrigue is most commonly know for his Blue-Dog paintings, inspired by his long-deceased childhood companion, as well as his paintings of Cajun culture such as bayou and swamp landscapes.  When Rodrigue began his Blue-Dog paintings in 1984, he had no idea that they would consume his art for over two decades. Through his own expressionist style of painting, Rodrigue developed his own renditions of familiar Cajun legend and folklore surrounding the myth of the loup-garou (werewolf), using his dog, Tiffany as his subject. I became aware of  Rodrigue’s work through my own Cajun influences and background, having been born in the Acadiana region of Louisiana (the same area as Rodrigue himself) or more commonly know as Cajun Country, where his art is well-known.

PROFILE | Katie Murken

Continua. 2011. Site-specific installation with 24 columns and a series of 14 broadsides. Columns are created from phone books and pigment dye. Broadsides are screenprinting and collaged phone book swatches on Somerset Satin. 22" x 30". Edition of 6.

Katie Murken is a book artist and printmaker currently residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her most recent work, called Continua, is a site-specific exhibition in Philadelphia and serves as an ode color selection and the print process. Beautifully colored columns made of dyed Yellow Pages line the walls of the space. For many people, a new phonebook would just go straight into the recycling bin. However, Murken repurposes this archaic, and arguably useless, directory and makes it beautiful. Also featured in this exhibition are a series of broadsides, single-sided posters, screenprinted and collaged with pages from phonebooks. The broadsides try to explain her printing method as a game.

PROFILE | Autumn De Wilde | Counterculture Photography

Autumn De Wilde, If this is not an album cover then I don't know what is! , 2011

Unknowingly for the past few years I have stumbled across Autumn De Wilde's work time and time again without realizing it. If you've ever seen select album art from Elliott Smith, Jenny Lewis, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes, Beck, and many others you've seen De Wilde at work.

Review| Queer State(s), University of Texas Visual Arts Center, Austin

K8 Hardy, Position Series, Form # 19, 2010
Queer State(s), an exhibition curated by Noah Simblist and David Willburn, is presented by the University of Texas Visual Arts Center, in the Mezzanine and East galleries, from September 9th-November 5th.

Queer State(s) "explores the ways in which Texas artists queer gender identity and the performance of sexuality through visual representation." Texas artists, gay and straight, are exploring "queer" sexuality in thier work, with queer meaning "a kind of sexuality or gender identity that resists easy classification and exists in a more ambiguous way."

Sep 22, 2011

PROFILE | Walton Ford

Walton Ford takes his inspiration from natural wildlife and tells a story in his works. He got his sketches from going to Akeley Hall of African Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York where he is originally from. There he would draw the once live mammals, frozen in their fake natural environments poised to leap back to life at any moment. He went about his drawings not unlike John Audubon, whom he also took great fascination from and the way that he created so many animals in such an ironic manner. Walton's large scale watercolors create a blend of natural history and current events, usually with political commentary. Each animal Ford creates has a complex and unique double meaning which he hints at using clues, jokes, and illustrates lessons in colonial literature and folktales.

Condemned, 2006, 6 copper plates, hardground etching, aquatint, spit bite aquatint, drypoint, scraping and burnishing on white Rives paper, 21.5 x 15.5 inches

Chaumière de Dolmancé, 2009 Watercolor, gouache, ink, and pencil on paper, 59.8 x 41.4 inches

 Ford has also done a series based around the ideas and discoveries of Sir Richard Burton. One of the paintings involved centers around a monkey banquet. The series explores Walton's fascination with Burton and one of the stories involving him and several monkeys he kept in his living quarters while serving as a British officer. 
“His language studies continued unabated and his interest in the science of the spoken word led him to conduct an interesting experiment with some pet monkeys. Curious as to whether primates used some form of speech to communicate, he gathered together forty monkeys of various ages and species and installed them in his house in an attempt to compile a vocabulary of monkey language. He learned to imitate their sounds, repeating them over and over. And he believed they understood some of them. Each monkey had a name, Isabel, his wife, explained. He had his doctor, his chaplain, his secretary, his aide-de-camp, his agent, and one tiny one, very pretty, small and silky looking monkey he used to call his wife and put pearls in her ears. His great amusement was to keep a kind of refectory for them where they all sat down on chairs at mealtimes and the servants waited on them and each had its bowl and plate with the food and drink proper for them. He sat at the head of the table and the pretty little monkey sat by him in a baby’s high chair.”—That’s just too good!—“He had a list of about sixty words before the experiment was concluded, but unfortunately the results were lost in a fire in 1860 in which almost all his early papers perished.”
A Sensorium, 2003, watercolor, gouache, ink, 60 x 119 inches
 " As I was working on it, a little subtext crept in and I went with it—which is the painting is also an allegory of the senses. I have sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound in there as well, mixed in with the things. It seemed like the senses come to play in this sort of colonial experiment too." -Ford

Walton Ford strives to put together a mini history of colonialism. He does quite extensive research when forming his ideas and has a personal attachment to it as well not only from interest but a family history of southern slave owners as well. He approaches that family background and creates images in a less direct fashion to tell their story.

-Alyssa Moody

PROFILE | Julia Chiang

 One of a Kind, 2009. Ring Pop candy and nails. 4’ high x 4’ wide x 2” deep.
Candy left to melt over time.

While browsing through many artworks I came across Julia Chiang's work, and it immediately caught my attention. Maybe it was the bright colors?, or the fact that I loved ring pops as a child and it reminded me of my childhood. The candy has been used by Chiang in a number of works and often represent pixels spelling out words.

PROFILE | Monty Montgomery

u change, 2011.  Acrylic on canvas, 22” x 28”
Monty Montgomery is an artist that I recently came across through Facebook after a few of my friends ‘liked’ his work.  I was instantly intrigued by his use of color and clean edges.  While I am fascinated by much of the contemporary art I find online, most of it fails to stick in my mind for long periods of time.  I have found myself coming back again and again to look at Montgomery’s paintings.

Trend | Public Art | Please Do Not Climb on Sculpture

   Claes Oldenberg, Spoonbridge and Cherry, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1985-1988

      Whether it is a memorial, a cause, an advertisement, or just personal enjoyment, larger than life sculptures are a worldwide trend coming to an urban city near you. These enormous pieces of art are a lot to look at and sometimes a lot to take in. It kind of makes you wonder "why so big?" or maybe even "what's the point?" Don't read too much into the complexity or scale of the structure but rather the simple, not so serious, kind of make you smile factor.

PROFILE | Candy Chang

Candy Chang, Before I Die, February 2011-present

Candy Chang is a contemporary public installation artist, known for sparking creative interaction in communities. Originally from Taiwan, she also received a BS in Architecture, a BFA in Graphic Design, and a Masters in Urban Planning from Columbia University. Well rounded? I'd say so! Chang's passion is providing a new level of comfort to cities in need of a facelift, such as New Orleans. The intended outcome? Communication with a side of change.  As a resident of NOLA, Chang takes pride in providing an artistic outlet for other residents to voice their otherwise-unheard opinions.

PROFILE | Dianna Molzan

Dianna Molzan, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2009
Dianna Molzan creates art unlike many artists, without a subject or central image. She believes in museums because there are many objects that are equalized. The images the viewer sees, whether they are historical or cultural, are represented during the present moment. Molzan explains, “…in a single afternoon, and under one roof, you can see a pre-Columbian clay pot, a panel of Victorian lace, an El Greco painting, and a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture––so it does not seem that odd to me to kind of re-create that viewing experience within a group of paintings.” She creates art as the observer would view many styles at once during their daily life.

REVIEW | The Invisible Dragon, Dave Hickey, University of Chicago Press, 2009

The Invisible Dragon, Dave Hickey, University of Chicago Press, 2009

In The Invisible Dragon, Hickey delves into, among other things, the question of what beauty is in contemporary art.  He starts by explaining how he once got an obtuse question pertaining to “What the Issue of the Nineties will be” and in an “improvisatory goof” said that it will be beauty.  As he went on to explain this concept he realized the lack of interest in the room.  From that night on he became interested in the vacancy of this thought in many contemporary artists and art theorists.  He then spent the next year “canvassing” artist, students, critics and curators to try and get some feel on how the art community felt about the word “beauty.”

PROFILE | Mary Denson | Imperfection Idealized

Mary Denson, Untitled, Water Color, 2010
I have a natural attraction to flowers; this gave me the inspiration to look for a contemporary artist who works with foliage. I looked through databases and came across the powerful works of Mary Denson. One’s first impression of Denson’s work might be a sense of “wow”! She works in an array of media, but for our purposes we are focusing on her floral works in water color. Denson’s work leaves me breathless, just by how the flowers portray a sense delicacy and femininity.

TREND | Cow Parade | Cash Cows for Charity

CowParade, Austin, 2011

If you’ve been in Austin at all lately, you have probably seen one of the many colorful cows around town.  And if you are like me, your drawn into this seemingly random piece of art and left with many questions. Well, These real life size sculptures are a part of a collection called CowParade.  This project spans over Seventy five cities worldwide, and has been running since 1999. This project has risen over 20 million dollars for non-profit organizations, and over 3 million for the art community. Each city has a unique number of cows that are created by local artists.  These cows are created and then auctioned off for a variety of different charities.

TREND | Personified Animals

Ryan Berkley, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, 2011
Animals have long been the subject of artists' affection. From the variety of animals painted on the ancient walls of the caves at Lascaux, to the variety of florescent animals Lisa Frank illustrated, people love animals. In classical paintings, dogs needed to be in family portraits and thoroughbreds needed to have their portraits painted. And today, who does not have a framed photo of their cat? Lately, there has been an influx of personified animals in art.

PROFILE | Maurizio Anzeri

 Maurizio Anzeri, Penny, 2009, 24 x 13 cm

Originally a fine art sculptor with a drawing background, Maurizio Anzeri  has crafted a unique way of working with the photographic medium.  Working with discarded black and white photographs, synthetic hair and threads, Maurizio Anzeri creates a combination of these two materials resulting in embroidered photography.  The found photographs are transformed with multicolored threads creating contours primarily focused on the face. Maurizio Anzeri, reinterprets the photograph from the original into something completely new, eerie, and also beautiful. 

PROFILE | Cecily Brown | The Girl Who Had Nothing

Cecily Brown, Hard, Fast and Beautiful, Oil on Canvas, 2000

The comparisons of contemporary artist Cecily Brown's figurative paintings to the modernist Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning's figurative paintings are inevitable:  both artists' figures are swirling masses of color; sometimes angular, sometimes swooping lines define these violent beings as they dip into the background of the paintings and create an environment of chaos.   De Kooning painted chaotic figures of women.   Brown also creates chaos with figures, but the genders of her figures are at times more ambiguous.

TREND | Craft in Art | Action Photography

Daniela Edburg, The Bride, 2009
Artists, I hope, try to show us something that they love, whether beautiful or terrifying, in order to connect with their audience.  It may be thought-provoking, disgusting, pretty, hysterical, or mild, but whatever it is, the artist is sharing a piece of themselves with all of us as viewers, art historians and critics.  Art that conveys a social message, and brings you into the experience by using hand-knit craft (by the artists themselves) combined with professional photography manipulation techniques makes for truly dynamic and eye-catching works.

PROFILE: Christopher Hartshorne

Christopher Hartshorne

Christopher Hartshorne, Flesh Accretion, Relief, 14"x14".   2011

  While surfing for artists, I came across Christopher Hartshorne.  As a print artist myself, I was drawn to his style of woodcut relief printing.   His work has a general feel of abstract gesture, usually in large scale in black and white.  Much of his work is done on separate sheets of paper, and then pieced together in display giving the work a disjointed yet connected feel. 

He is quoted in saying for his ‘Tom in Finland’ Collection:

  “In my woodcut I have created my representation of a fleshy sex ball.  I am responding to the stylized exaggeration in Tom of Finland drawings. Bigger is better in the world of Tom…. By choosing to distort the idealized muscle man’s anatomy, the fantastic ideas of sex and sexuality also become warped and confused.”

Sep 21, 2011

PROFILE | Gregory Crewdson

Untitled (Ophelia), from the series ‘Twilight’, 2001, Digital chromogenic print

Photographer Gregory Crewdson found his passion for photography at a very young age when his father took him to see a Diane Arbus exhibition in New York. This event sparked his interest along with curiosity of his father’s profession as a psychoanalyst. He claims to have always wondered what his father would be working on in the basement office of the house so as a young boy he use to try to listen through the living room floor. His work is a reflection of those early childhood memories and a projection of his own psychological fears, desires, and anxieties. His use of aestheticism can be described as "Norman Rockwell meets Norman Bates"...

PROFILE | Yuken Teruya

Yuken Teruya, Notice-Forest (Burger King) Paper shopping bag, glue. 2005.

Shopping bags and toilet paper rolls may have been supplies for your second grade dinosaur diorama and cutting up a book might have been a high school art project. What do these favorite past times have in common? The Japanese artist Yuken Teruya. Japanese born, but New York resident, this artist presents an interesting concept to our current consumer culture in the most minimalistic, yet traditional way. If someone described the works of Yuken Teruya to you in words alone, you would not be in the least bit wooed. The idea of cutting out trees from shopping and fast food bags, toilet paper rolls, and even books doesn’t seem like much of an innovative one. The idea, to put it simply, is basic. Not until you see the works that he is doing and think about them as more than traditional crafts do they really come to light as art in a form so simple that it is beautiful.

Sep 20, 2011

TREND | Google Earth

Michael Wolf, Image #37, 2010

Some of the most heated discussions within the “Is it art?” debates have centered around the medium of photography, and as the world becomes increasingly virtual, high tech, and digital there seems to be an ever increasing number of reasons to ask that question of the images issuing forth from the photographic community. The newest reason to open this debate is the rising trend of photographers culling their images from Google Earth.

PROFILE I Sybille Hotz I This Is Not Grandma's Embroidery

Wenden, 2007. Wool on cotton cloth, stiching, thread 1.15m x 1.78m

Sybille Hotz has created a body of work that is simple and macabre. Her meticulous embroidery gives her work a certain delicacy, but her morbid subject matter adds a strong contrast that creates a hint of humor. Sybille Hotz was born in 1968 in Darmstadt, Germany and currently lives and works in Berlin. For her education she attended the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig and finished a Master of Fine Arts at the Arnheim Atelier in the Netherlands. She holds a strong interest in human anatomy and gains much inspiration from medical textbooks and images from first-aid manuals.

PROFILE | Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan, UNTITLED, 2007, Relief print from rubber band matrix, 39" x 31" inches
Artist Tara Donovan has the unique ability to see the potential in ordinary objects. In fact, some may say that she is a manipulator of the mundane as she possesses a knack for transforming the most generic commercial items into spectacular, organic forms. Whether she is making a sculpture for a large gallery installation or focusing on two-dimensional prints, the dialogue that Donovan has with each object is an integral part to her process. In this way the form that Donovan’s work takes is very much dependant upon the material she chooses to work with.

PROFILE | Michael Sieben | Smile Forever

Michael Sieben, Smile and Forever, acrylic and pencil on panel 2007

Michael Sieben is a grown up with a childish, witty sense of humor that shows in his works. Local artist from Austin, Texas, Sieben has well established himself in the local art scene by his work and  being one of the founders of Camp Fig Gallery and also Okay Mountain Gallery. He has also become quite known and well respected in the subculture of skateboarding, doing works for the likes of Adidas, Volcom, Thrasher Mag, etc.

When asked in an interview if his work was still about the loss of innocence he replied:
I think so. When I'm painting or drawing I'm trying to conjure up that melancholy feeling of nostalgia. Remembering youth through older eyes. Celebrating that fleeting feeling of youthful innocence. I guess I try to remember what that felt like and then put a cynical cloud on top of it.

PROFILE | Miwa Yanagi | Not Your Grandmother's Grandmother

Miwa Yanagi, Elevator Girl House B4, C print, 1998

Japan native Miwa Yanagi has contributed surreal and engaging performance work and photography from 1993 and beyond her acceptance into the Venetian Biennale, the Olympics of contemporary art, in 2009. Yanagi spins new concepts within the time expanding Feminist doctrine, particularly the subject of age in relation to personal self value and autonomy. 

PROFILE| Julia Fernandez-Pol

Cerebro, 64x72 inches, oil on canvas, 2010

 Inspired by nature's infinite beauty, Julia Fernandez-Pol creates visually opulent canvases lush with alluring textures and explosive colors that entrance the viewer upon first glance.  Resembling flesh and feathers, her ingenious mixture of thick, corpulent brush marks, smooth swirls of rich color, and stippled pearly dots all breathe pulsating life into her tantalizing work. 

Born in 1984, Fernandez-Pol is the young, American daughter of Argentinian parents.  Her enchanting birthplace, Colorado Springs, Colorado, no doubt played a role in fostering her enthusiasm for the natural world, while her Latin heritage inspired a sincere appreciation for gorgeous color and expressive style in her work. 

PROFILE| David Stromeyer

David Stromeyer, Fugue, painted steel, 2007

Over the past years we have seen modern sculpture take form in a variety of different ways. Some can be considered groundbreaking, pushing boundaries in lighting, performance, and installation. Although I seem to gravitate towards large outdoor pieces, I have had the privilege to intern for David Stromeyer which I feel is a great example of a modern artist that devotes a great deal of passion towards outdoor work.

Sep 19, 2011

PROFILE | Elizabeth McGrath | Alluring Sideshow

Blue Bunny, 2006, Mixed Media, 14"x18"x6"
With no intent on ever entering the art world and no art institutional or commercial training Elizabeth McGrath as made a definite memorizing mark with her beautifully strange faux taxidermy flare. She is a young Los Angeles based artist with a love and awareness for mortality, poetry, and horror stories.  Growing up her father was a mortician at the LA county morgue, as a rebellious teenager part of community service she was to complete hours with her father.

PROFILE | Gerhard Richter | History is Now

Gerhard Richter, Annunciation after Titian, 1973 AD, Germany

Contemporary artist, Gerhard Richter, stands alone as a man of paint and pen, in a world full of performance and sculpture. His passion lies in making things beautiful in a dark world.  His talent stretches beyond paints as he has pure talent in the world of glass, light and color. His website - -illuminates his light in the dark.

Richter was born in 1932 in Germany to a middle class home. His family had ties to the Nazi movement, both as supporters and victims. Several relatives were soldiers under Hitler’s reign, while another family member, who suffered from mental disease, was sent to the death camp to see her fate. It was because of the horrible obscurity and strain that he hated ideologies of all kinds, and rejected them vehemently. This is apparent in many of his early works.

PROFILE | David Mach

David Mach, Crucifixion, 2011

When you think of biblical images immediately the traditional bronze, wood and marble sculptures come to mind. Artist David Mach puts a spin on the idea of a crucifixion piece by creating the same emotionally riveting scene out of everyday coat-hangers. When asked about his choice of materials Mach said "I don't make work out of bronze, I'm doing it with this unlikely, naff material because coat hangers are something you don't give a second thought to." 

REVIEW I Departure, grayDuck gallery, Austin

Melissa Breitenfeldt, 09_02, enamel & watercolor on birch 30"x30", 2011

Departure was an exhibition hosted by grayDuck in Austin Texas. The exhibition lasted from January 14 - February 13, 2011; containing various forms of architecture, decomposing words, and information, all within an intuitive and spiritual imagination. Departure showcased abstract elements in ways for people to explore. Thanks to the art alliance in Austin seen here, many members and organizations help to umbrella various galleries (like grayDuck), and locations while developing a culture in an urban atmosphere for many to enjoy. Austin does this by separating their events under the names of art night austin, art city austin, or art week austin. These events are filled with art, drinks, food, and even after-parties.

PROFILE | Chuck Close

Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait, Acrylic on canvas, 107 1/2 x 83 1/2", 1967-68.
 "I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... most of the pleasure is in getting the last little piece perfect."
               -Chuck Close
This quote, which is what a viewer of his website will first see, alone shows the absolute dedication, intense concentration, not to mention immense patience that painter and printmaker Chuck Close has in his work. Close is a man who does his art the old fashioned way. He works with his tools as an artist to their full extent and has an immeasurable appreciation for the technical aspects of his processes. While a viewer could be bamboozled into assuming that Close's works are completely digitalized, there is nothing digital about it.

PROFILE | Sandy Skoglund

Sandy Skoglund, The Cocktail Party, cibachrome color photograph, 48" X 65" Live models, Furniture, Sculpted figures coated with cheese doodles, floor and wall panels coated with cheese doodles, 1992

Sandy Skoglund has established herself as a sculptor, installation artist, photographer, filmmaker, and conceptualist all wrapped into one extreme idealist. She is well known for her light hearted, yet deeply unsettling artwork involving food, animals, models, and strong use of color.  Skoglund began her career with an interest in photographing food surrounded by brightly colored patterns in the late seventies.  Since then, she has been exhibiting to the world what is real, what is important, and what we should notice.


Gahr, Project "Wa(h)re Landchaft" , six stainless steel cubes,
   A medium seemingly from another world, manipulated in a way fitting to our own. Herbert, Barbara, Stefen, and Robert Gahr seem to overflow with with creative ambition and a multitude of work seen in galleries, homes, and even in the middle of the forest. Though little information is available to the public about Gahr, other than their website, so much can be taken from simply looking at just one piece. For the most part Gahr deals mainly with steel (both stainless and rusted), brass, bronze, copper, and some paintings with lacquer on steel. Their use of color combined with texture is astounding in the way that it seems to mimic a sort of plasma or unearthly substance, which in a lot of cases doesn't even resemble metal.