Oct 28, 2011

REVIEW | Unnaturally, An Independant Currators International Exhibtion Book

Mary-Kay Lombino's Unnaturally, 2003

A reemerging, popular trend in contemporary art of the 21st century, mans’ struggle to understand and define the natural world themes the IndependentCurators International exhibition book, Unnaturally. Independent Curators International is a New York based organization committed to spreading recent artistic developments internationally through traveling exhibitions. In her exhibition essay Mary-Kay Lombino, curator of Unnaturally, navigates the reader through the exhibition by artist, individually exploring the connection between the creator and his or her perception of the natural world. Besides the obvious commentary on Earth’s dwindling natural resources, annihilated eco-systems, and increasing endangered species, Unnaturally delves more into mans’ cultural associations with nature. Mary-Kay Lombino raises questions over the rising ambiguity between the truly natural and modern, man-made replicas of the environment.

REVIEW| The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, The Guerrilla Girls, Penguin Books, 1998

The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, Book Cover

“I consider women writers, lawyers, and politicians as monsters and nothing but five legged calves. The woman artist is merely ridiculous, but I am in favor of the female singer and dancer.”

This exceptionally sexist quote was spoken by none other than Auguste Renoir, a highly regarded male impressionist artist in western art history. Quotes with similar shock value taken from highly regarded men such as Martin Luther, Aristotle, Jean Jacques Rousseau, as well as other male artists and art historians are found graciously throughout, and are one of the many infuriating aspects of The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art.

REVIEW | Expose the Arts, Tantra Coffeehouse, San Marcos

Sara Strick, Teacher's Lounge, Year: n/a

Choosing a small and local exhibition seemed appealing to me because of how events like Expose the Arts can bring emerging or well known artist together.
Expose the Arts was not only an exhibition, but also a contest judged by, in the artist category, printmaker/professor, Jeffrey Dell. Tantra’s Expose the Arts contest, held on October 16, 2011, asked for local artist, students, and musicians to enter their work in hopes that they would be named winner and not only benefit from the prizes given, but also be able to appear in another show called Sodatooth Contemporary [held in November].

REVIEW | William Lamson: A Line Describing the Sun, Gallery II TSU, San Marcos

A Line Describing the Sun, 2010, Two-Channel HD Video, 13:35.

William Lamson, a Brooklyn-based artist, is featured in Gallery II in the Joann Cole Mitte Building at Texas State University. Referred to as a 'performagrapher' by Texas State University Gallery Director, Mary Mikel Stump, he combines several different styles of art into one work. This theme is carried out through much of his work, and done so in a manner that amplifies the significance of the individual styles. In "A Line Describing the Sun", those styles are performance and video.

Oct 27, 2011

REVIEW | Reciprocal: Susie Rosmarin and Hana Hillerova, Gallery I, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

#414 Yellow,  Susie Rosmarin, 2008, Tx State Art Gallery
My eyes are tripping out, That was the first thing on my mind when walking into the gallery.   The  paintings were hard edged and taped off, so complex and so perfect. The sculptors, with their perfect geometric form and its crazy reflections;  I couldn't believe my eyes. When staring straight into the paintings the marks seamed to move, it was as if the painting was meant to trip your brain out and come to life. These paintings are perfect, every area on the canvas is perfectly plotted out. Without perfection I don't think they could ever achieve these illusions.

REVIEW | Susie Rosmarin, Hana Hillerova, and William Lamson

Susie Rosmarin, Gingham Variation, 2003

The Texas State University galleries opened Hana Hillerova & Susie Rosmarin's Reciprocal and William Lamson's A Line Describing the Sun on October 24th, 2011. The show consisted of two conjoining galleries to house the artist's work.

Art gallery 1's show entitled Reciprocal, which in mathematics means related to another so that their product is one, which could be seen as a way to describe the partnership between Susie Rosmarin and Hana Hillerova for this show or a way to describe Rosmarin's painting style. Rosmarin creates linear line paintings on canvas with an emphasis in precision, however her pieces appear to be more in the range of texture, color, or a mathematical study.

REVIEW | The Anxiety of Photography, Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin

Mat KeeganNew Windows (#6), 2008
The exhibition, "The Anxiety of Photography," currently on view at The Arthouse at the Jones Center, was met with an eager curiosity for the meaning behind the chosen exhibition name.  Assuming the works featured would be related by similar subject content and somehow linked by compositions that documented anxious moments in time, one could not be more pleasantly proven incorrect in their assumption.   Organized by the Aspen Art Museum, "The Anxiety of Photography" features thirty - seven works which explore the varied landscape of the contemporary photography medium.  An exhibition linked less by composition subject and more by the development, manipulation and creative juxtaposition of photography, it was an exhibition that was as educational as it was enjoyable to view.  Andrea Mellard, Interim Curator for the Austin Museum of Art, explains: 

TREND | Matchstick art

Me, as an artist I've always believed it was best to not be trendy, to be the one who opens peoples eyes. Ive always been anti trendy if you like to put it. But recently contemporary trends that I didn't know existed opened up my eyes.   Have you ever seen something so big made up of something so small? Hogwarts castle, the Eiffel tower, pirate ships, and The Notre Dame Cathedral, matchstick art/architecture has become such a popular trend over the last decade they opened up an entire museum for it.

TREND | Serial Killer Art

John Wayne Gacy, Hi Ho with Clown
Serial killers and the horrific stories that surround them have forever shocked, amazed, disgusted and intrigued many people that have found a twisted interest in them. What is the fascination with serial killers or sociopaths? Is it the idea that they are able to perform such an act that the average person is unable to fathom. Many killers are not monsters as they are portrayed in most movies and books, but are polite, charismatic men of the community.

TREND | String In Contemporary Art

Carolle Benitah, The Disguise  
Fiber, thread, yarn, filament, string, call it what you please but this simple material of just a few deniers and relatively weightless is making a statement throughout many new works of contemporary art. Above is a photograph by Carolle Benitah who won second place in the portfolio category in the 2010 Lens Culture International Exposure Awards. Benitah revisits her old family photos and embroiders how she feels about her past into this collection by making two-dimensional photographs three-dimensional. She says, “With each stitch I make a hole with a needle. Each hole is a putting to death of my demons. It’s like an exorcism. I make holes in paper until I am not hurting anymore.” 

REVIEW | Sound Zero,Valerio Dehò, Damiani, 2006

Cover of Sound Zero 

When I first saw the book Sound Zero by Valerio Dehò I was so intrigued by the beautiful color images illustrated throughout the book that I immediately had to purchase the book. After reading the book, I discovered how much pop culture influenced art and music in the 1970’s and still today. The book discusses art and music starting with pop, moving to the psychedelic influence, and onto street art.

REVIEW | Hana Hillerova & Susie Rosmarin: Reciprocal

From Conscious Space, 2009
The space of the exhibition was very open. When I first walked in, I felt as though it was a little empty—that it could’ve used more art pieces—but after contemplation, I believe leaving so much space between pieces made it more meaningful. It gave the viewer an opportunity to see each piece individually, as opposed to getting lost in too much color or too many lines. Afterwhich, stepping back and looking at the entire space of the room, I could appreciate how the artists’ work played together almost as if they had collaborated when they were creating.

REVIEW | Texas Traditions: Contemporary Artists of the Lone Star State, Michael Duty and Susan Hallsten McGarry, Fresco Fine Art Publications, llc, 2010

Teresa Elliott, Spiritus, oil, date unknown
Texas Traditions: Contemporary Artists of the Lone Star State begins with Michael Duty and Susan Hallsten McGarry introducing three Texas artists from the 1870s, Robert Pummill, Roy Anderson and Nancy Bush. These three artists had the opportunity to see Texas during one of the most historic times of Texas history. Pummill, Anderson and Bush are all from central Texas. While Bush’s work was focused on the Texas landscape of Fredericksburg, Pummill and Anderson focus on animals and Indians around the Kerrville area. The book then goes on to talk about the American Cowboy and other artists of the later 1800s. After the introduction the layout of the book is very simple and effective. It explores thirty six different artists from all over Texas in an alphabetical order by last name, including painters Teresa Elliott, Kyle Polzin and sculpture H. Clay Dahlberg.

REVIEW | The Art of Rebellion: World of Street-art, Gingko Press Inc, 2003

The Art of Rebellion: World of Street-art, Christian Hundertmark, 2003

It is liberating, informative, and often times beautiful. These terms are constantly applied to famous works of art and those hung in galleries, but what about the art that we pass by every day on the street? Christian Hundertmark's The Art of Rebellion: World of Street-art  addresses this issue head on. Composed of different street artists and their works, The Art of Rebellion features street art from all over the world. Overflowing with photographs, Hundertmark allows the art work to speak for itself. He says this of his preferred method of art, "Love it or hate it, you have to admire it."

REVIEW | Animal Instinct: Photographs of Daniel Lee | The San Antonio Museum of Art | San Antonio, TX

Animal Instinct: The Photographs of Daniel Lee, curated by David S. Rubin, The Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art, San Antonio Museum of Art, 2011-12
After wandering around a giant maze of ancient artifacts, Asian pottery and varied paintings for over an hour, I finally stumbled upon Daniel Lee's exhibit Animal Instinct tucked away in a small room next door to the gift shop of the San Antonio Museum of Art.  I witnessed pretty much every installation in the entire four-story, two-winged museum before finding the exhibit I most desired to see at the end.  I will admit that was my own stubborn fault for not asking for directions, so I can't really complain about the location.  However, I'm not sure the space of the room was used to its complete advantage.

REVIEW| The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, The Guerrilla Girls, PENGUIN BOOKS, 1998

The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art is a feminist look back at women throughout art history, presenting information about what life was like for these women and highlighting some of the women artists who have been marginalized in most art history textbooks.  The authors of this book, the Guerrilla Girls, are a group of anonymous females that take the names of dead women artists as pseudonyms and spread images and information that expose sexism and racism in politics, the art world, film and culture.  I found this book to be a fun, witty, hopeful and humorous take on what could be a potentially upsetting subject. 

Oct 26, 2011

REVIEW | Reciprocal : Hana Hillerova, Susie Rosmarin & William Lamson San Marcos

Spectrum # 10, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 66in x 66in
This gallery show is the only show that Texas State University has had since I have been here that I have really been excited about. All of the work in this show by Rosmarin, Hillerova and Lamson deal with line and how those lines play with each other in their environment. These artists work are inherently diiferent, Rosmarin works in hard-edged paintings, Hillerova works in linear sculptures, and Lamson works in performance and video but all of their works play off each other so well and the show is beautifully presented.

Untitled(Angel Crystal), 2008, iron and mirror

AWARDS | Round Two

Coveted by all; obtained by few!

Hard to believe that the semester is already half-over... which means that we have another round of blog award winners! I have been mightily impressed with the efforts of this first group of contemporary art bloggers - as they hone their critical language and point their gazes towards a host of exhibitions, artists, books and trends I am learning as much as they are. But enough chitter-chatter, jibber-jabber and yimmer-yammer, let's have on with it!

REVIEW| Animal Instinct: The Photographs of Daniel Lee, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio

Daniel Lee, Origin, Digital C-prints, 1999

     This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the San Antonio Museum of Art. Although it is probably more known for it’s Hellenistic and Asian collections, it currently has a very intriguing exhibit called Animal Instinct: The Photographs of Daniel Lee. At first glance the works of Lee are startling and strange but like most strange art works it helps to have text to go along to explain the purpose of the work itself. Although these images are strange, the SAMA has arranged for a show that evokes a variety of emotions from intrigue to controversy to an uncertain fearful realization of the present.

REVIEW | The Orient Expressed: Japan's Influence on Western Art, 1854-1918 | McNay Art Museum | San Antonio, TX

The Orient Expressed, Exhibition Catalogue Cover

The McNay Museum of Art sits cozily atop lolling hills, almost feeling removed from it's location in San Antonio, TX. Surrounded by a grove of trees, the museum itself seems quaint and approachable, a feeling that is reiterated once you enter the museum and are presented with the very intimately arranged exhibits. One exhibit in particular, The Orient Expressed, was not only wonderfully arranged, but contained a number of breath taking pieces that were lovely to see in person.

Organized by the Mississippi Museum of Art,The Orient Expressed: Japan's Influence on Western Art, 1854-1918 is an exhibit that details the influence of Japanese culture on Western art.

REVIEW | Shared Intelligence: Painting and the Photograph, Barbra Buhler Lynes and Johnathan Weinberg, University of California press, 2011

Cover of Shared Intelligence
In the most famous remark about the invention of photography, the nineteenth-century French artist Paul Delaroche declared: "from today painting is dead!"
As the opening lines of the book this quote sets the mood for a critical view of photography versus painting. The perplexing question that has daunted painters and photographers since the invention of photography on whether which is better, and how each is an art form on its own. In this book Lynes  and Weinberg compare and contrast painting and photography and how it can be a harmonious mix of both. As a photography major I was titillated by this book because it doesn't bash either painting or photography. It simply places them side by side so that one can take a look at them together from a non-bias perspective. Then places them together as one.

REVIEW | Texas Biennial | Darke Gallery

Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Accumulation: Pinata Side A, Archival Digital Pigment Print, 35 x 35 ", 2011
I went to the Darke Gallery in Houston,Texas to view the If you didn’t get to Austin to see the Texas Biennial exhibit. This is an exhibit dedicated to local Texas artists. In this gallery, the curator Virginia Rutledge represented 8 artists in the Texas Biennial: Matthew Bourbon, Wendy Wagner, Catherine Colangelo, Kathryn Kelley, Richard Martinez, Marcelyn McNeil, Kia Neill, Hillerbrand+Magsamen. The exhibition will continue to go on display until November 19, 2011. If you really didn't get a chance to attend the Texas Biennial between April and May, it was an event featuring work from 48 artists living and working in Texas.

Oct 25, 2011

REVIEW | Blasphemy, Art That Offends, S Brent Plate, Black Dog Publishing, 2006

Front Cover
BLASPHEMY : Art That Offends, S Brent Plate, 2006

         Blasphemy is not what an Artist might or might not intend in their work of art, but is a word given to a work of art by a given group in society due to a belief or censorship created through mainly religion or politics.  This of course being an opinion, but based on factual statistics brought to our attention by this author is exploring the reasons why these powers have had an impression on the arts for many years before the contemporary world and during it.

Many Artists works have been banned, burned, and even dealt with by death due to their so called blasphemous works.  Where is the line drawn between freedom of speech and freedom of expression?  Well, laws date back about freedom through voice but not always about freedom to the open public view.

PROFILE | Liu Bolin: The Invisible Man

Liu Bolin, Hiding in the City series, paint and photography, starting in 2005
 It’s just a picture of cans on shelf….right? Wrong! If you look closely enough there is a man painted in camouflage against the cans and shelves of a grocery store! Liu Bolin and his two assistants have painted his clothes along with all parts of his body that aren’t covered! Bolin started working on this series after he could not find work in Japan and then his government attempted to shut down his work. However, Bolin has not stopped his insane camouflage and there is a purpose behind it.

TREND | Cup Art

Tara Donavon's Untitled, Styrofoam Cups

You may just look at your everyday plastic cup as an object that holds your beverage, but there are some that object to this common use and see it as ART!? Artists such as Tara Donavon and Andy Uprock turn plastic cups into organic shapes in galleries or geometric designs on your sidewalks. These cups have also been used in the past decade as large messages or ads to cheer on their teams or promote a business.

REVIEW | Steal This Book, Abbie Hoffman, Da Capo, 1971

The book I choose to influence artists is Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman. How do I know this book is influencing artist? Because I just introduced it to you. This is known as a social fact, and once a social fact is known it can’t be unknown, thus, you are influenced. (Deal with it. if you haven't noticed, this will not be a normal publication. [deal with that!])

REVIEW | Double Consciousness | Valerie Cassel Oliver | Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston | 2005

Double Consciousness, Valerie Cassel Oliver

A book of the exhibition of Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art since 1970 reflects on the past and present art work by African-American artists of contemporary art.  The Contemporary Arts of Museum of Houston mainly have exhibitions focusing on racial and cultural diverse artists.  African-American is one of the many cultures and race they acknowledge. Some of the artist artwork show public image, careers, and video documentation.


Little Inferno, Shag, oil on canvas, 2005

Josh Agle, or better known as Shag, derives his nickname from the last two letters of his first name, and the first two letters of his last name. Shag has a modernistic style with a sort of pop art look to it. His cartoonist form looks like it could be placed at the introduction to a T.V. sitcom, bringing a smile to any viewers face and setting a nostalgic feeling in their minds.

REVIEW | Son Of Pop: Ron English Paints his Progeny.

Ron English:Abstract Expressionism book cover, 2007, Ron English

Ron English is most well known for his street art that is most commonly a satire of popular brand’s imagery and advertising methods. His most popular mash up of art includes high culture images infused with low culture images or ideas. These are two things one usually doesn’t see together, especially in advertising.  English also was one of the first people to transform street art from wild style lettering into clever and meaningful statements. Enlgish has been hijacking spaces all over the world, public and private, since the early 90’s. In July of 2007 a book English had written about his own art was released entitled, "Son Of Pop: Ron English Paints his Progeny".

Oct 24, 2011

TREND | When Street Art Came Alive

Kurt Wenner

Do you remember when you used to play with sidewalk chalk and draw fun pictures on your parents’ driveway? I know I do! Well now artists have taken the term sidewalk art to a whole new level! Also known as 3D street painting, 3D pavement art, 3D chalk art, or 3D sidewalk art, they are all a form of anamorphic art. 3D sidewalk art began in history as a means purely for entertainment. While it still creates entertainment, 3D sidewalk art has transformed into advertisement, PR, and public street art events. An artist would begin by picking a street or sidewalk in a public location and, with their chalk, created 3D magic!

REVIEW | Television in Transition, Shawn Shimpach, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

Television in Transition, Shawn Shimpach, 2010
Television in Transition is a scholarly dissection of what television, as an industry and art medium, is capable of doing to thrive in a world where technology threatens to make anyone with a smartphone an executive producer.

As an art form, television in the contemporary period is undergoing what many critics believe to be a Golden Age.  While there is still a near-infinite amount of mindless trash (this is not a bad thing!) available on the airwaves, there are also an amazing amount of programs featuring great storytelling and aesthetically appealing production values.  We are not to the point where for every Bad Girls Club there's a Breaking Bad, but generally speaking, it's a good time to be alive for TV fans.

REVIEW | Taken By Storm: Storm Thorgerson, Peter Curzon, Omnibus Press, 2007

Storm Thorgerson, Audioslave, Audioslave, CD Front, Epic 2002

Taken By Storm is book of collective images compiled by Storm Thorgerson and Peter Curzon. This book is about the making of the famous album artwork of Storm Thorgerson. The introduction of the book mentions to the reader that the book isn’t organized in any specific way and it was assembled randomly. Thorgerson did this because he wanted the reader to compare and contrast his more recent work with his past work. With each image, Thorgerson gives a detailed analysis of his motivations, the themes and also the production that goes into the making of his art.

TREND | Crafts in Contemporary Art

Janine Antoni, Moor, Fabric and electrical wire

It was always to my understanding that as a fine artist one must always separate themselves from crafts. In my first years of college, practices of crafts weren’t seen as art form but only subcultures that rooted from Hobby Lobby and Michaels that were not excepted into the art community. Believing that only mediums such as painting, photography and sculpture etc., were art forms of reverence. So I soon abandoned my fondness for embroidery and sewing somehow convinced that they would never be respected in my work.

REVIEW I Alex Grey I Transfigurations

Transfigurations, Alex Grey, 2001

When I first saw Alex Grey's work in high school, it instantly appealed to me.  Like many young people these days, I was going through my mind expanding, neo-transcendentalist phase and I connected with Grey's work because it seemed to expose the hidden nature of life.  Of course what I call the "hidden nature of life" might seem to others like nothing more than the result of decades of psychedelic drug use.  So now that I am a little older and I have moved past this phase, I wanted to reexamine the importance of Grey's work in the contemporary art world more objectively.

TREND | TILT SHIFT Photography

Title Unknown, Artist "27147"@ flickr.com

“That can’t be real, that’s an image of little toys” says my dad with no knowledge of what he was actually looking at, which was an image in synced with a method of “Tilt Shifting”. This is the exact purpose of this trend, is to keep one specific focus in an image crisp and precise, while the remainder of the image is blurred with no distinct familiarity to recognize it.   So how is this achieved?

REVIEW | The Anxiety of Photography | Arthouse at the Jones Center | Austin, TX

Roe Etheridge, Thanksgiving 1984, 2009

Austin has always been well known for its eclectic people, and its easy going way of life. Similarly, down on 7th and Congress the Arthouse at the Jones Center is the epitome of modern architecture with its stark white exterior walls with little rectangular panes of blue green glass jutting out from the building and picture windows covering most of the first floor entrance. I almost couldn't find the door and then when I did I almost ran into it. Upon entering the lobby, which was overflowing with natural light from the setting sun, I was happily greeted by a very nice volunteer who promptly gave me a pamphlet of the Anxiety of Photography exhibit and showed me where it started and that it continued to the second floor.

PROFILE | Jennifer Linton | Feminist

Jennifer Linton, Salome, colored pencil, drawing ink on Mylar, 2002

 Since female artists are underrepresented  in the art world, I wanted to make sure that I represented in my profile blog.  After searching several sites boasting lists of female artists of the 21st century, I came across Jennifer Linton, a Canadian artist. The image above, Salome, was the first to catch my eye:  a catholic school girl with costume wings, squatted over a decapitated head of man on a plate.  I knew that the head was a reference to John the Baptist but my recollection of Sunday school and biblical stories ended there, so I did some research.  Salome was the daughter of Herodias and step-daughter of Herod Antipas.  Salome's mother encouraged her to dance for Herod on his birthday.  He and his guests were so pleased with her performance that Herod offered to fulfill any request that Salome had. She went to her mother, Herodias, who told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist.

REVIEW | Spirit of Art : International Contemporary Art Exhibition | Zina Bercovici | Mulky Productions| 2011

Spirit of Art : International Contemporary Art Exibition,Curator and Producer Zina Bercovici, Mulky Productions, 2011, Cover Art: Troubadour by Baruch Elron
This catalog documents a multicultural collaborative project and exhibition held in the Spring of 2011 in La Galleria Pall Mall in London. The catalog is richly illustrated but sparsely worded with only two relatively brief essays by the Curator and Producer, Zina Bercovici, and the gallery’s Director, Elizabeth Mitchell D’Anna.

REVIEW | The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Charlotte Cotton [1st Ed.], Thames & Hudson, 2004

The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Charlotte Cotton

Charlotte Cotton's, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, is an illustrated survey of contemporary photography since the 1970s. The introduction specifies that the book is an “... overview you might experience if you visited exhibitions in a range of venues." After a brief summary of the text, the introduction concludes with accounts of photographers who are considered keystones of contemporary photography: William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, the Bechers, and David Goldblatt.

TREND I Pranks

Jeffrey Vallance, Blinky, 1978

As an artist, one person I often turn to for inspiration is my inner twelve year old, the rotten little shit that would put cigarette loads in my Mom's smokes, or place a hammer covered in stage blood out in the driveway for my Dad to find. Let's face it, while there may be some inspiration to be found stressing over bills, traffic, or a stubbed toe, I find it much more satisfying to channel the devious little prankster in me to come up with something fun, and more importantly, something that leaves a random member of society wondering what the hell they had just seen or heard. In choosing to exercise my 5th amendment right, in this article I'm concentrating on the works of other artists who have made wonderfully fun careers out of doing just that.

REVIEW | El Anatsui | Blanton Musuem | Austin Texas

El Anatsui
El Anatsui, Sacred Moon, 2007

TREND | AIDS Video Art

Ivan Lozano, 2008
Why is video art such an appropriate medium for activism, specifically with respect to educating the public about the HIV/AIDS epidemic? The answer has to do with first, the immediacy and accessibility of video art and second, because of censorship. The latter is a tricky arena to negotiate. One argument is that the AIDS video movement is dependent upon censorship. Censorship requires a response, and therefore propels activist artistic movements forward.