Monday, September 22, 2014

Falling Zepplins 2

Way back in 2009 I had a blog post about some drawings that I made about German Zeppelin raids during World War 1. It can be found here. I have always wanted to come back to them and try out some different ideas. Like painting on velvet. This first group of nine paintings are small works on thick velour mounted on cardboard. They are about 5x7 inches or smaller.

With this second group of paintings I tried to refine my fabric choice. These paintings are black flocking on wood panel and oil paint. They are larger, about 12 x 16 inches.

These painting didn't photograph all that well. The black flocking is a much richer black in real light. The image below is a crashed Zeppelin. I created it using glued string on top of thick charcoal. It is on wood panel. I had the charcoal base kicking around the studio for a couple of years. It was a experiment with the materials. I was seeing how I could glue down thick layers of home made charcoal. Well it worked, using gum Arabic. It is a hard, totally fixed surface. That is matte, and doesn't look "glued".
This painting has been chosen for the up coming exhibit at Curious Matter in November. The Exhibit is called "Obsolescence". I will create a future blog post about the show.

EXOP Chicago

You never know what can happen when your art is available on-line, on the Internet. Recently, I found out that a curator had included an image of mine for his proposal for a jury exhibit hosted by Art Slant. The curator won! His show is to be included as part of Art Slants booth at EXPO Chicago art fair. Chosen, was a painting that I had recently show as part of my "100 Poppies" exhibit. Below, I have included part of the press release that Art Slant put together. It was a great opportunity to get a wider exposure of my work. I want to thank Manus Groenen for including me and creating a killer concept with wonderful artist. Thanks also to Art Slant for making it all happen.

"We've never done this before. This year we launched our first-ever Curator's Open, where we asked you to use our massive database of art to curate our booth at EXPO Chicago. We then handed over the submissions to an expert jury of curators to decide which show we should put on. They selected Amsterdam-based curator and critic Manus Groenen's show "Cryptographics: a tribute to the Voynich Manuscript."

Voynich Manuscript. image via Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Featuring 12 artists from across the United States, Canada, and Germany, Groenen's show brings together 12 unique artworks for a fascinating tribute to the cryptic 15th-century Voynich manuscript.

"100 Lupines" 1914-2014  Sumi ink on board. This is the work that was chosen.

The Show
Cryptographics: A Tribute to the Voynich Manuscript
This exhibition is a tribute to the mysterious Voynich manuscript, an illustrated book that has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century. Nobody knows exactly what the manuscript’s content or purpose is because it is hand-written in an unknown writing system. It has been studied by professional and amateur cryptographers, mathematicians, and linguists, but no one has yet succeeded in deciphering the enigmatic text. Some theories about the nature of the text posit it as an actual language, either natural or constructed but forgotten, while others believe it to be comprised of complex ciphers and uncrackable code. Many have speculated that the writing might be nonsense and consider the book a hoax, but recent analysis has revealed patterns similar to those of natural languages. So far the codex remains undeciphered, leaving its contents “a thing to look at” instead of a “language to read.”
These quotes are taken from the work THING/LANGUAGE by Kristy Campbell, a part of this exhibition. Cryptographics is constructed around works that find balance between abstract markings, readable writing, and decipherable code. Cryptographics praises the long lasting relationship between different forms of marking, both pictorial and written. An artist well-known for mixing these in his artistic methodology is Cy Twombly, a former U.S. Army cryptologist himself. The core of this show comprises works that are made by gestures that resemble the motion of handwriting or the layout or structure of text. Some of these works might actually be deciphered and read, but many remain abstract and can only be seen, keeping their possible meaning hidden underneath their surfaces.
Mostly Cryptographics is a curated tribute to the Voynich manuscript, named after the Polish-American book dealer Wilfrid Michael Voynich who acquired the book in 1912. Previous owners have been proven to include emperors, scholars, and obscure alchemists, but the origins and creator of this codex still remain unknown. Some pages appear to be lost, but about 240 remain. Most feature illustrations or diagrams but they shed little light on the nature of the text. Scholars have, however, been able to divide the book into six thematic sections with subject matter appearing to be herbal, astronomical, biological, cosmological, pharmaceutical, and culinary. The herbal and pharmaceutical sections contain images of plants that do not match any known species. Attempts to identify the depicted plants have largely failed, but most appear to be strange combinations of elements from existing plants. The astronomical and cosmological sections include numerous diagrams, some resembling zodiacal constellations, while others remain more obscure and puzzling.
The illustrations have led to many speculations about the book’s contents and purpose ranging from medicine to alchemy and witchcraft but none of these hypotheses have been convincingly proven, leaving the mystery intact. Traces of the manuscript’s plants and diagrams as well as its relation to astronomy, alchemy, and the occult reappear in the artworks in Cryptographics. The installation of the works might call to mind the symmetry of the pages of an opened book, but the show aspires to be closed and enigmatic—to induce the same focus and attention as the manuscript it honors. Cryptographics includes artworks by Andreea Albani, Caroline Blum, Kristy Campbell, Nathan Danilowicz, Derek Dunlop, Robert Gould, Andy Hall, Karen Lofgren, Elaine Parks, Julia Schmid and Valentina Zamfirescu.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Art From 100 Poppies

100 Lupins. Drawing with Sumi Ink on primed shopping bag paper. 2014
 This post is about the paintings that I exhibited at Proteus Gowanus back in June 2014. I started with three large drawings that later lead to the creation of the oil paintings. With these drawings I tested out ideas of repeating the same form over and over with-in the same picture. I used sumi ink that I could wash off the page after I made a quick gesture. The cleaning left ghost images that added up layer upon layer. I adapted this process and expanded it incorporating color and transitioning to paint.The painted surface was not erased between layers. It was simply built up layer upon layer for 100 times.
Later I repeated the original process with sumi ink. This time I used gessoed wood panel instead of paper.
"Six Poppies Drawn 100 times". Drawing with Sumi Ink on primed shopping bag paper. 2014

Sugar Beats, 100 times.Drawing with Sumi Ink on primed shopping bag paper. 2014

This photo show the first ten layers of under painted poppies. This painting became "Six Poppies Painted 100 Times". I would let the oil paint dry between layers. I would typically paint ten gestures per painting session.

The finished painting "Six Poppies Painted 100 Times" Oil on Panel, 2014, 24"x 32"
Studio view with toned panels that became the finished painted below.
Poppie Painted 100 Times- Dark Poppie, Oil on Panel, 2014, 22"x 18"

"100 Sugar Beats" Oil on Panel, 2014, 25"x 18"

“100 Sugar Beats” 2014, 20” x 16”, Sumi ink on panel

"100 Poppies" 2014, 20” x 16”, Sumi ink on panel

"100 Poppies (Light)", Oil on Panel, 2014, 22"x 26"

"100 Lupins" 2014, 20” x 16”, Sumi ink on panel

"100 Poppies 1914-2014" Mixed Media on paper shopping bags. 2014, 4’ feet x 16’ feet.