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Incomprehensible beauty

Woman in White, Picasso, oil on canvas, 1923

If you can say what beauty means, then you’ll be able to explain what any great painting means. But, as Iris Murdoch observed, the more clearly you see beauty, or truth, or goodness, the more mysterious it becomes, the more inaccessible to the easy manipulations of reasoning–and the more it becomes something you serve rather than understand and control.

The reactionary, neoclassical work Picasso did after the cataclysm of World War I represents his greatest and most heartfelt struggle to capture what drove him to paint again and again: the beauty and allure of women. He expressed this in so many ways, some far more impressive in hindsight than others.  In the neoclassical work, his only showmanship was in easy ability to convey profound gratitude through a series of edges drawn with brilliant, childlike simplicity and proportion. I came upon this example during my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently. Every time I see work like this from the past, I feel I’ve never really fully appreciated it until now, which is exactly how I felt when I saw another example of this period and style from Picasso at my last visit to LACMA . In such a delicate image, I am always surprised, up close, to see how rough he could be in the way he applied the paint, applying it more like joint compound or spackle, smeared, scraped, and generally handled with expedience and no regard whatsoever for how the marks will look up close. Velasquez and Sargent would weep at his heedlessness, and I almost did as well, but not in disappointment. Picasso’s gift was nearly unique, a line as rare as Ingres, but there’s so much more heart here, so much more of a surrender to the essential mystery of what he’s yearning to show you. Beauty like this silences you on the spot, this post notwithstanding.

Anyone who wants to understand Picasso’s comment, sent along to me months ago by Bill Santelli, about the meaning of painting has only to look at Woman in White to understand that a great painting can be utterly meaningless and also the embodiment of everything you most need to see:

Everyone wants to understand painting. Why not try to understand the songs of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of painting people have to understand.

From Christian Zervos, “Conversation avec Picasso” in Cahiers d’art, 7/10, Paris, 1935, p. 178

Insalaco transformation

Tom Insalaco, one in his new series of studio paintings

For quite a while now, Tom Insalaco has been working on a suite of paintings that remind me of the world Braque inhabited–both pictorially and spiritually–at the culmination of his career when he was painting abstract images of his studio. Braque spoke in his notebooks about transformation as the essential thrust of painting: to take what’s seen and magnetize paint around the imagery the visible world lodges in your soul. Insalaco has immersed himself in painting after painting of artists at work in various studios, finding sources in films on the Internet and then transforming what he observes into what could be interpreted literally as double-or-triple exposures, scenes superimposed upon one another. But he’s after something outside time and space, indefinable, one’s true life, in accessible to the daily conscious mind. And focusing on the studio as the portal, a window, into this extra-temporal reality, he’s trying to get at why we paint at all. It isn’t to change the world. It’s to witness what’s actually there, everywhere, inaccessible to our chattering, busy minds. Of course, every painter I know and love is trying to do exactly the same thing, but in his or her own way.

Here what appears to be a dancer either stretches or practices in the center of the painting. Layered over this, a remote scene of a performance on stage, a singer or actor, like a remote, lonely puppet, and finally what gives the painting its structural coherence, a studio where two sculptors are working from a nude male model. What’s easy to miss is what appears to be a little quote from Velasquez, as it were: a slightly jumbled hint at Las Meninas, maybe the greatest studio painting in Western art. Insalaco didn’t consciously put that there, but he saw the unintentional reference himself, when I pointed it out. The seated woman in the foreground seems part of the scene with the dancer. Everything melds together into a unity that has its own dreamlike disengagement from familiar time and space, which is Insalaco’s true north, the disorienting transcendence of the surrealists, but closer to Chagall’s ecstatic Cubist-influenced dreams of his love for Bella, his heart’s home, where gravity knocked but never got in. Time here is Proustian, and space is both as small as the amount occupied by a mosquito arrested in amber and as large as the Milky Way.

 

 

 

AGA June Art Oportunities

Ashland Galleries
June Visual Arts News
June = Art Opportunities

We’re excited to share a handful of art opportunities that are being offered this month to foster your inner creativity. 

Denise Miller, Sunrise on Lake Miller, Mosaic

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center 
Berryman Gallery in The Craterian Theater at the Collier Center for the Performing Arts
Deadline: Ongoing (June – September) 

The Lindsay Berryman Gallery is a satellite exhibition space of the Rogue Gallery & Art Center, located on the second floor lobby of the Craterian Theater. The Berryman Gallery is open to the public before performances and to ticket holders during performances. Please see the Craterian’s website for performance dates. Artists working two-dimensionally may apply for solo exhibitions lasting approximately two months each, between September and June.

For those who are interested in participating, please click here and visit craterian.org



Jerryck Murrey, Untitled, Acrylic 

Central Art Gallery
Display Your Artwork!
  Deadline: No Deadline 
  Central Art Gallery is a 650 square foot exhibition space located at 101 N. Central Avenue in Medford. The gallery will be offering exhibition opportunities for visual artists monthly during Downtown Medford’s Third Friday Art Walk.  

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to [email protected]


Cherri Van Syoc, Oh, Happy Day, Oil

Grants Pass Museum of Art
Volunteers Needed!

  Deadline: Ongoing 
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Interested in being surrounded by art and in a museum setting? 

The Grants Pass Museum of Art will be offering full hours soon and help will be needed. Hours are 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and tasks include greeting visitors, answering questions about current exhibitions, and general office-related tasks. 

For those who are interested, please click here


Dawn Cerny, Untitled, Sculpture (2020 Recipient)

Seattle Art Museum
Call for Entries: The Betty Bowen Award

  Sunday, August 1, 2021 11:00 a.m.

Administered by the Seattle Art Museum, the annual Betty Bowen Award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. The winner is awarded an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000, and a selection of his or her works is shown at the Seattle Art Museum in the spring of 2021. In addition, up to two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 are often granted at the discretion of the Betty Bowen Committee.

The award is open to visual artists in all media working in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho. Artists of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Please click here to apply and for more information. 

 
Art by Elin Babock and Coloring by Ann DiSalvo Copyright © 2021 Ashland Gallery Association, All rights reserved.

AGA Outdoor Open Studios
Support A Taste of Ashland! Purchase a Coloring Book!
Saturday, June 19, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  In lieu of the traditional Open Studio Tour, the AGA has decided to bring the art outdoors! Chat with artists and watch live demonstrations while enjoying acrylic and oil paintings, textile art, plein air and abstract paintings, and glass work. Works in clay, silver jewelry, mixed media, textiles, wood, and garden art can be viewed inside of the galleries.

A Taste of Ashland Coloring Books will be sold at a suggested donation of $10.00 to assist with future planning of A Taste of Ashland. The limited-edition coloring book is a great way to escape, decompress, and create a collaboration between you and all of the local artists who created pages for it. 

This will be a free outdoor event hosted by Ashland Art Works, located at 291 Oak Street.

ASCEND Young Creatives Conference


Great news!!

Get out….get back…get going!

To the
 

 Ascend 2021 – Young Creatives Conference

for artists, musicians, and film-makers happening again this summer August 19th-21st in Grants Pass, Oregon with SOOOOO many exciting features and presenters!

Join other young creatives from across the West Coast ages 15 – 35 for this 3 day event!   
Study with professional instructors and inspiring speakers to up your game and inspire your faith.

Including world renowned artist
Ron DiCianni!
Ascend 2021 Creatives Conference
August 19 – 21, 2021
Sponsored by Masterpiece Christian Fine Arts Foundation
Host:  Edgewater Fellowship, Grants Pass, Oregon

Calligraphy Show Reception

The post Calligraphy Show Reception appeared first on Art Presence Art Center.

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I love New York. Again.

I had an exhilarating visit to Manhattan three weeks ago. It’s been a year and a half since I went into the city to see the Salinger relics, as it were, at the New York Public Library. (I have yet to finish a post about that, though it’s nearly done.) The pandemic started a few […]

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Jerryck Murrey at Central Art Supply on 6/18 Third Friday!

Central Art Supply logo

June Art Show at Central Art GalleryFEATURING: JERRYCK MURREYDuring Medford’s 3rd Friday Art WalkJune 18th, 2021 5-8pm

Central Art Gallery is proud to announce our Featured Artist for June, Jerryck Murrey. The show will be at Central Art Gallery from 5-8pm on Friday, June 18th during Medford’s 3rd Friday Art Walk. Central Art Gallery is located at 101 N. Central in Medford.Born in Oakland, California, and raised in multiple cities across America, Jerryck “J.Roc” Murrey is an American mixed media artist residing primarily in Oregon. Incorporating elements of street art such as spray paint, wheat paste, stencil, newspaper and acrylic paint, J.Roc’s art illustrates the paradigm of inner City living from around the world.Heavily influenced by comic book art and scripting, J.Roc’s use of bright colors and bold outlines highlights the dynamic nature of the hero journey. By working on large format wood panels, sculpture, paper and canvas he

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June 2021 Virtual Exhibition

The post June 2021 Virtual Exhibition appeared first on Art Presence Art Center.

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Ali Banisadr’s dark, gestural menagerie

After a year and a half of not having crossed a bridge or driven through a tunnel into Manhattan, the most impactful exhibit I saw on my quick tour of Chelsea and SoHo two weeks ago was Ali Banisadr’s work at Paul Kasmin on W. 27th. The Iran-born Brooklyn painter has found a way to […]

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Figurative states of being

You have a few more days to catch the exhibit of egg tempera paintings from Julio Reyes at Arcadia on W. Broadway in SoHo. They are well worth the visit. He has an ability to use figurative painting to convey internal states of mind and heart. He searches for objective correlatives, as T.S. Eliot referred […]

Continue reading Figurative states of being