Friday, September 4, 2009

Parallel meanings

I often wonder in my own work, how much can you deconstruct an image before the image is no longer the essence of the original work...the way things are aged and broken down into its basic components...I enjoy visually when the parts are more important than the whole...the piece in its entirety whispers faintly a meaning...this work by Marc Bell, utilizes areas of pattern and muted color variation...articulating sections of activity...these parts assembled together to form a portrait....

The line work has a graphical quality with limited shadow and modeling...areas of flat color, set aside for text and description...this work doesn't try to use language to define the piece, but create a dialogue running parallel in meaning to the visual language...taking the viewer on a journey and allowing the viewer to inject personal histories...these are the best kinds of works, art that ages well with time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Modern times require Renaissance attitudes

Go back in time, Flemish masters: Van der Weyden, Robert Campin, Jan Van Eyck...the doll like faces and hands, symbolically set in Pius motion...the Madonna, built up for the viewer to aspire...these works depart from the classical in subject matter alone, taking the portrait into a new, highly charged arena...this piece by Amy Hill of a woman with lollipop combines the modern with the Renaissance in an interesting way...

Strong warm color schemes in the foreground pushes the portrait forward, cool sky in the background visually moves the space back, creating an elongated, deep landscape...much like the Renaissance portrait, the landscape was meant to capture the village or town of the individual. She is part of an urban culture, her dress, hair and object in her hand are all clues to this person's status in society. The fine layers of paint, minimal visible brushwork and stylized features take us back to a time of new beginnings, is this piece alluding to what was or what could be?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Revealed and hidden

A portrait by the Clayton Brothers, some realistic elements combined with abstracted lines and shapes...a man caught between worlds...these abstracted forms push the piece conceptually into the emotional world...logic doesn't play into the deciphering of the piece. We cannot identify the meaning behind the line work coming from the eye by simple deduction; balanced by the black, totemic form to the must use their emotional intelligent to feel their way through the piece.

More clues are provided in the medication, apple and bottle of Pepto-Bismol...the frenetic line work possible combining conceptually with these clues to sharpen the focus on meaning. The reality is we bring our baggage along for the ride. It is difficult to place our experience aside when formulating meaning. A separation is required, what did the artist mean and/or what do they want us to know about this man?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Floating in a sea of blue

A modern portrait in the digital age, combining the geometries in the cubistic spirit with the simplistic graphical context. "Lil Michael" by Khalif Kelly moves portrait into the 21st Century with a floating head and squared eye-lids, forehead and a pix-elated form in an 80's computer, things were simpler...

Colors are distributed around the picture plane, yellow stripe below the forehead, highlights on the eye lids and nose...purple rectilinear shapes in the hair, eye lids and mouth...these elements tying the piece together...the face's expression is absent of clear emotion, with long hair, sk8tr boi', visual slang and informal. A pop portrait for today.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Softer than symbolism

Traditional format, abstracted and surreal faces, Jim Nutt from the Chicago school, the woman with hair like dog ears and a nose of stone...all the parts are present, but not symmetrically arranged anymore...the position of the portrait is in line with a long history of how is this painting different?

The decorative qualities and patterns of the blouse, the hair and the Gothic simplification of the shadows...the symbolic nature of the components...each representing different aspects of her personality, clues to inner workings of the soul and mind...colors are pastel, complimentary...with brown neutrals and expression to bind the visual elements together and focus the viewer on the whole...intentionally subdued, we carefully walk through the details.