Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Art inspiration in NYC

Sometimes I travel far away and get inspired by the dream of a life time trip to an exotic destination of amazingly beautiful natural resources, or lifestyles so different from my own. Sometimes, however, I can find inspiration only 90 miles away in the most amazing city in the world- New York City- whose streets, people, stores and museums offer almost anything you can get anywhere else. I spent 2 days in NYC and saw some amazing art!

Here is a sampling from the Metropolitan Museum of Art...

El Greco in New York
To commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of El Greco, the Metropolitan Museum and the Hispanic Society of America are pooling their collections of the work of this great painter to provide a panorama of his art unrivaled outside the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The Frick Collection is displaying its paintings contemporaneously.

This is a unique opportunity to see this artist's work, which exerted such a strong impact on modern painting and especially appealed to New York collectors.

There are several fantastic masterpieces included in this exhibit! 


Cubism, the most influential art movement of the early twentieth century, still resonates today. 
Cubism destroyed traditional illusionism in painting and radically changed the way we see the world. The Leonard A. Lauder Collection, unsurpassed in its holdings of Cubist art, is now a promised gift to the Museum. On the occasion of this exhibition, the Collection is being shown in public for the first time—eighty-one paintings, collages, drawings, and sculpture by the four preeminent Cubist artists: Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963), Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887–1927), Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955), and Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973).

This amazing exhibit is worth the trip to the Met in and of itself! Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and Sigmund Freud's investigation of the unconscious, X- rays and aerial views challenged traditional notions of reality. Braque and Picasso offered new forms of artistic expression to represent shifts in hierarchy and perception.This exhibit helps you see how Cubism came into being and developed.  I personally loved several of the Légers at the end of the show.

Warriors & Mothers
The figures created by Mbembe master carvers from southeastern Nigeria are among the earliest and most visually dramatic wood sculptures preserved from sub-Saharan Africa. Created between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and striking for their synthesis of intense rawness and poetry, these representations of seated figures—mothers nurturing their offspring and aggressive male warriors—were originally an integral part of monumental carved drums positioned at the epicenter of spiritual life, the heartbeat of Mbembe communities.

When these electrifying creations were presented for the first time in a Paris gallery in 1974, they immediately caught the attention of the art world. That exhibition was a groundbreaking event that revealed a tradition unlike any that had defined African art until then. Dispersed internationally among private and institutional collections, these works will be reunited in New York for the first time in this exhibition.

These sculptures were monumental and beautiful. They are weathered and worn by the elements which makes them very textural.

Paper Chase
This exhibition of works of art on paper pays tribute to the esteemed connoisseur and brilliant curator George R. Goldner, Drue Heinz Chairman of the Department of Drawings and Prints since 1993, who will be stepping down in early 2015. Under Goldner's leadership, the Department of Drawings and Prints has acquired—through purchases, gifts, and bequests—some 8,200 works on paper from Europe and the Americas dating from about 1370 to the present. These acquisitions range from famous works such as Leonardo da Vinci's studies for a statue of Hercules to those more esoteric such as Hans Christian Andersen's A Whole Cut Fairy Tale. There are rare works such as the subtle engraving The Queen of Flowers by the Master of the Playing Cards and exceptional examples of an artist's oeuvre such as the majestic drawing Queen Esther Approaching the Palace of Ahasuerus by Claude Lorrain.

Upon joining the Metropolitan, Goldner set out to strengthen our extensive holdings of drawings and prints so that all important periods and schools were well represented. He undertook this mission with passion, instinct, and a shrewd knowledge of the art market, acquiring Netherlandish, German, British, and French drawings from collections, dealers, and auctions around the world. Goldner made remarkable discoveries, among them his first purchase for the Metropolitan—an exquisite landscape drawing by Pietro Perugino. Superb works by Titian (1999.28), Peter Paul Rubens (2000.483), William Blake (2011.448), and Paul Gauguin (1996.418) have also entered the collection under his stewardship. Presented here are highlights of the acquisitions made during George Goldner's twenty-one years at the Museum.

Beautiful prints and drawings- one by da Vinci too!!

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928–2007) executed drawings by hand throughout his life; in 1968 he extricated his work from the confines of the frame and transferred it directly to the wall. The wall compositions were designed for limited duration and maximum flexibility within a broad range of architectural settings. Initially executed by drafters, these works in their finished state were most often slated for destruction. A seminal practitioner of Conceptual Art, LeWitt emphasized the creative idea that generates a work of art, as opposed to the work's material existence. "For each work of art that becomes physical," he wrote, "there are many variations that do not."

Sol LeWitt's 1982 Wall Drawing #370: Ten Geometric Figures (including right triangle, cross, X, diamond) with three-inch parallel bands of lines in two directions was installed at the Museum over a period of four weeks. The drawing (a detail of which is at left) will be on view in its complete state through January 3, 2016, when it will be painted over.

I love Sol LeWitt and am sorry this wall will be painted over. It is gorgeous!!! Big, graphic, stunning!!!

Madame Cézanne
This exhibition of paintings, drawings, and watercolors by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) traces his lifelong attachment to Hortense Fiquet (French, 1850–1922), his wife, the mother of his only son, and his most painted model. Featuring twenty-four of the artist's twenty-nine known portraits of Hortense, including Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory (1891) and Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress (1888–90), both from the Metropolitan Museum's collection, the exhibition explores the profound impact she had on Cézanne's portrait practice.

The works on view were painted over a period of more than twenty years, but despite this long liaison, Hortense Fiquet's prevailing presence is often disregarded and frequently diminished in the narrative of Cézanne's life and work. Her expression in the painted portraits has been variously described as remote, inscrutable, dismissive, and even surly. And yet the portraits are at once alluring and confounding, recording a complex working dialogue that this unprecedented exhibition and accompanying publication explore on many levels.

The depictions of Hortense in oil, watercolor, and graphite provide the only material clues to her partnership with Cézanne, which began in Paris in 1869, while she was working as a bookbinder. Although the circumstances of their first encounter are unknown, an early portrait from 1872 (now lost) suggests that she was modeling for Cézanne by the age of twenty-two. Cézanne took great pains to conceal his mistress and their only child, Paul, from his family, fearing his authoritative father's disapproval. This complicated subterfuge led to separate residences, frequent and often desperate appeals for funds, and long periods of living apart, even after their marriage in 1886. Despite this seeming neglect, the portraits attest to the constancy of a relationship that was critical to the artist's practice and development. Their story is a compelling one indeed, perhaps all the more so for the absence of its particulars.

It was interesting to see so many versions of the same subject.

And at the Museum of Modern Art...

 Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
In the late 1940s, Henri Matisse turned almost exclusively to cut paper as his primary medium, and scissors as his chief implement, introducing a radically new operation that came to be called a cut-out. Matisse would cut painted sheets into forms of varying shapes and sizes—from the vegetal to the abstract—which he then arranged into lively compositions, striking for their play with color and contrast, their exploitation of decorative strategies, and their economy of means. Initially, these compositions were of modest size but, over time, their scale grew along with Matisse’s ambitions for them, expanding into mural or room-size works. A brilliant final chapter in Matisse’s long career, the cut-outs reflect both a renewed commitment to form and color and an inventiveness directed to the status of the work of art, whether as a unique object, environment, ornament, or a hybrid of all of these.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is a groundbreaking reassessment of this important body of work. The largest and most extensive presentation of the cut-outs ever mounted, the exhibition includes approximately 100 cut-outs—borrowed from public and private collections around the globe—along with a selection of related drawings, prints, illustrated books, stained glass, and textiles. The last time New York audiences were treated to an in-depth look at the cut-outs was in 1961.

This show was a knock-out! Colorful, magical, full of energy and passion. The size of some work was grand! The joy and fun with color is contagious! I loved the compositions.

The color, shapes, movement of the art seen at these exhibits will be inspirational to me as I work in my studio and create my prints and mixed media works. Learn from the masters!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Antarctica: Still In My Mind's Eye

Resilient Retreat 1- mixed media

Resilient Retreat 2- mixed media

A few nights ago at a Main Line Art Center Professional Artists Members gathering, I was speaking to  fellow artist Deborah Leavy who is going to Antarctica soon. We were discussing her trip and mine. She asked me if it influenced my work and I said it had and still is. I just finished these 12 x 12" mixed media pieces for the Da Vinci Art Alliance ARTFUL GIVING Small Works Members' Show. They are based on my recollection of the icebergs in Antarctica- the brilliant, glowing turquoise blue, the shining white, and the orange to remind us of the melting that is occurring because of global warming.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Circles in Life and Art

I was reading the blog of artist Mary Lou Dauray (http://www.maryloudauray.com) where she was discussing her recent trip to Japan.

Here is a calligraphic copy of one of venerable Thich Nhat Hanh's circle meditations:

"In Zen Buddhism, an ensō ( , "circle"?) is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.  The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterized by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics". (Wikipedia) 
Mary Lou was very recently was in Japan and experienced first hand the art and simplicity found in Zen Buddhist monasteries.  She saw circles in many designs, but none so important as in the calligraphic circles drawn by Zen monks.  Interesting to her is that even before visiting Japan, the circle had begun to appear in her art work referencing the consequences of coal burning, mining and transportation.  
Below is a photo taken of her most recent piece which decries the black holes in mountains destroyed by coal mining.  Let there be peace, healing and regrowth returning to these areas.
Mining In Them Thar Hills by Mary Lou Dauray

I also have been using circles in my work for quite some time in various forms. All of a sudden they started to appear and become an important element in my visual vocabulary.
House On The Hill by Linda Dubin Garfield

Resilient Retreat 3 by Linda Dubin Garfield

Far From The Familiar 5 by Linda Dubin Garfield

Ebb and Flow by Linda Dubin Garfield

And now, Thich Nhat Hanh,  beloved Zen Buddhist monk, author, teacher, poet and peace activist is very ill with a brain hemorrhage.  He has been a significant force for peace in the world.  I just ordered his latest book No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering through Amazon. Please offer healing thoughts for him.   May he be in a circle of healing love and peace.