Friday, August 21, 2009

Bull in an oval world

Building on the machismo tradition - artists like Picasso and Goya, elaborating on the sport of bull fighting...this work by Francis Bacon takes this them in his personal direction, where elements are in action, to a backdrop of stability...he keenly balances his picture plane through color and neutrals...marks and shadow...motion and stillness...the figure and bull paired with the small elements behind the white wall...

The oval repeated in the line at the bottom and curve of the wall; the back of the bull, the sweep of the bull fighters cape; the end of the white mark in the front of the picture is in these common visual cues we connect the dots...The way Bacon develops his space is so simple, but powerful in its execution...clearly defining his characters in the narrative, each having its own unique persona and each filling a function, conveying a meaning.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The expulsion or explosion?

Adam and Eve were expelled from the a chaotic, confusing city...the overall rhythm of this piece by Keith Tyson is layered and complex...if Jackson Pollack could drip type, he might have created something similar...the obvious, representational objects act as a visual oasis...allowing the viewer to grasp onto something familiar...they also carry us around the picture plane so we take advantage of all its congestion...

Many artists are working in this saturated, commercial way...using the metaphor of television, denture creme adds running side-by-side to the latest murder and war footage...this piece speaks beyond these coincidences...the forms move smartly and cohesively through the picture plane, repetition to the point of meanings annihilation...the format is convincing and the forms push the viewer's knowledge of art history and visual language.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heavy and monumental

The impact of his massive scale and base materials...a world scorched by war, history and ideals gone wrong...the work of Anselm Kiefer is monumental and powerful...the ideas are simple, but the sentiment is dark and forlorn...How can you carry the weight of a turbulent history and shamed culture on your back? Kiefer constantly tries, using base and transient materials like straw and lead...these works speak to that hefty weight balanced on the shoulders of a simple man...fragile, this relationship between artist and the past...

The chairs are missing their occupants, reinforcing the loss...the landscape is barren, burnt and smoldering...the fires may never be squelched...burnt stubs get smaller as they recede into space...the volume of the space is meant to go on and on...destruction as far as the eye can see...the color choices are natural and neutrals...grays, browns, ochres and tans...from the earth the past rises from the ashes and hovers above the surface...suffocating those viewers able to stay.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Balancing on the sea

Tom Long has created a well balanced, decorative drawing...breaking the visual plane in the upper left hand corner pushes out and into the "real" world from the visual imaginary narrative of blues, oranges and texture...The main character, leaning to the right...unstable and contrasting the flowing organic, liquid colors

The activity left of the picture plane is balancing that intense pulling shapes and orange line work bookend the left and right sides of the visual is also spread around and visually grouped to tighten down the entire picture plane...pattern and texture, create a decorative mood...the placement and movement counter this energy and move, visually, into the unstable...teetering and bobbing.