Upon arriving to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) for a recent show (The Treasures of Kenwood House, London), I found the majority of the exhibit being works from English painters. Included in the exhibit was Rembrandt’s “Portrait Of An Artist.” (Yes, I know, Rembrandt is Dutch and technically didn’t fit into the crowd, but who was I to tell them to take it down? I sat on the bench and stared at it in awe like everyone else.) I was unprepared for the impact this venture was about to bring.
Continue reading Inspiration, Epiphanies, and Insights
I got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art just in time to see Matisse: In Search of True Painting, the tremendous show which just ended, built around the French painter’s tendency to exhaustively try different variations on a theme. When he did this, and he did it a lot, I’ve never been sure whether he [...]
Continue reading Rework and restraint
Thomas Micchelli blogs about Matisse’s 1948 painting Interior with Egyptian Curtain (Phillips Collection) currently on view in the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 17, 2013.
Micchelli writes: “Matisse has painted not one picture but three abutted together: the window, the curtain and the still life. While each competes for your attention in its own dazzling way — the window in an explosion of short strokes, the curtain with an interlocking pattern of abstracted shapes, and the still life with a simple but blazing interaction of yellow, pink, black and white — to the postmodern eye the combination of components seem to betray a loss of faith in the ability of a single image to express the fullness of an artist’s vision.” Micchelli continues, noting that “the jangling, jazzy profusion of images deny the painting a conventional center of interest. The images, however, do not direct the eye to all four quadrants of the canvas, as Matisse does in his other interiors; instead they compact a heightened level of interest in three discreet sections. To again take the work from a postmodern perspective, Matisse’s “Interior with an Egyptian Curtain” can be viewed as more overt in its deconstruction of pictorial integrity than something like Willem de Kooning’s black-and-white ‘Painting,’ which was done the same year.”
Continue reading The Future of Henri Matisse
Painter Alan Gouk visits Manet: Portraying Life at the Royal Academy (through April 14, 2013) and muses on the ways Manet has influenced later painters.
Gouk concludes: “There are aspects of modernism which of course challenge this nexus of values, but Manet’s art is a permanent reminder that the complex constructions of cerebral compulsiveness, the ploddings of so called ‘realism,’ or indexes of socio-political advance in mores and life-style, however ‘modernistic’ they may consider themselves to be, are likely to be, in spite of themselves less a true reflection of their times than an indictment of it. They have missed the message. Manet emphasises that the continuity of painting, the continuity of value in life, is made apparent if the artist finds and holds on to his own mode of vision, trusting his own eyesight and his ‘convictions of taste,’ influenced as they inevitably will be by the passing show, and the march of ‘history’.”
Continue reading The Influences of Manet
One hundred years ago today the Great Meteor Procession of 1913 occurred, a sky event described by some as “magnificent” and “entrancing” and which left people feeling “spellbound” and “privileged”. Because one had to be in a right location, outside, and under clear skies, only about 1,000 people noted seeing the procession. Lucky sky gazers — particularly those near Toronto, Canada — had their eyes drawn to an amazing train of bright meteors streaming across the sky, in groups, over the course of a few minutes. A current leading progenitor hypothesis is that a single large meteor once grazed the Earth’s atmosphere and broke up. When the resulting pieces next encountered the Earth, they came in over south-central Canada, traveled thousands of kilometers as they crossed over the northeastern USA, and eventually fell into the central Atlantic ocean. Pictured above is a digital scan of a halftone hand-tinted image by the artist Gustav Hahn who was fortunate enough to witness the event first hand.
Continue reading The Great Meteor Procession of 1913, by Gustav Hahn
I stopped into Viridian Artists last week to pick up a painting I’d shown in Endings and Beginnings, because I needed to ship it to Manifest for their current exhibit. With the parking maneuvers of an unlicensed limo driver, risking big parking tickets at rush hour, I got the job done, I’m proud to [...]
Continue reading Disconnected realities at Viridian
Mark Stone reflects on the ever-present possibility to see and form anew through the act of painting.
Stone points to the self contained worlds in a late work by Picasso and a pastel by Degas. In the Degas, he writes, “everything feels close, contained. The surfaces are filled with crosshatches and heavy pastels. The beautiful bathers emerge through the lens and then find a thicker reality in Degas’ line, the flesh formed with each stroke of color, the line tracing the reality in front of us. These visions are not mine, and I’m not supposed to fill in the blanks, there are none to choose. I am supposed to look, to see something that’s not me. I am there with Degas, experiencing an entropic moment, understanding that this drawing is both image and being at once, a hybrid of visual existence.”
Continue reading Image & Being in Painting
Tyler Green talks to Rebecca Rabinow about Henri Matisse and his process of investigating a visual ideas on multiple canvases. Rabinow is one of the three curators of the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 17, 2013.
In the web introduction for the show Rabinow writes that Matisse “used his completed canvases as tools, repeating compositions in order to compare effects, gauge his progress, and, as he put it, ‘push further and deeper into true painting.’ While this manner of working with pairs, trios, and series is certainly not unique to Matisse, his need to progress methodically from one painting to the next is striking… For Matisse, the process of creation was not simply a means to an end but a dimension of his art that was as important as the finished canvas.”
Continue reading Matisse: Process of Creation
John Goodrich reviews the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 17, 2013.
Goodrich writes: “As the 20th century’s greatest colorist, [Matisse] possessed an uncanny instinct for the energy of colors—for the way shifting hues illuminate a painting from within—but other qualities as well: drive, an anxious but methodical disposition, a willingness to fail and a reverence for great painting… In Search of True Painting is the rare show that reveals and connects art on its own, intimate terms—in its purely visual manifestation. Looking on, we absorb the evidence of one of the greatest minds of modern art, a painter who, to a unique degree, combined intelligence, self-awareness, and knowledge of precedents.”
Continue reading Matisse: Luminous Gravity
Roberta Smith previews the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view from December 4, 2012 – March 17, 2013. Smith writes that Matisse "communed with artists of the distant or not-so-di…
Continue reading Matisse: Evolving Toward Ecstasy