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Archive for August, 2008

26th Aug 2008

Summer’s Strokes in the Hamptons

The Manifesto of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art Theory has recently undergone additional tweaking and revision, yet the opening sentence that was scribbled on notebook paper during a Hampton Jitney ride into the NYC has always remained the same. It is: “The only essential material element of any painting or drawing is a stroke.”

When I began painting with symbols (letters) as strokes, my focus naturally turned to the strokes themselves. Here and there they needed to be seen and the layers and layers of tiny letters – tiny as they reference the pre-matter/energy of string theory – need to somehow be present in a work. Whatever the narrative imagery, the work is always preeminently about its strokes.

This style of painting and also sculpting is the flip from the way I was classically taught, where the strokes are made to create the narrative. For me, the narrative serves the strokes.

Focusing on the stroke(s) at hand tends to pull or keep me in present time, in the now of many spiritual positions, It is only possible to create or notice a stroke in the now.

Summer, always my favorite season as I can swim, or just be in water treading or floating, is full of glorious strokes in the water. Add in a canoe trip, another wonderful pastime for extra strokes.

A stroke is the smallest and essential unit of complete energy, which can be solidified into mass) in the smallest unit of time. As it always has energy, movement is implied. Movement requires energy, space and time. A stroke is hitting a letter of the keyboard with one finger. Releasing the keypad is movement I the opposite direction, so that is a different stroke. When my hands are keyboarding, I am actually creating many strokes simultaneously; as different fingers move in response to my thoughts (thoughts are energy). In response to the stroke of my finger the computer creates another stroke that is a letter and it, through various binary strokes appears on the monitor’s screen.

It is easy to see a stroke in a painting by Vincent van Gogh. The actual stroke*s van Gogh made with his hand that resulted on the stroke appearing on the canvas are implied. Thus strokes of a painting, drawing or doodle and the letters in a written work, even a shopping list are physical reminder of past stroke making moments. Of course, some art uses strokes that become words and symbols, Word and Post Conceptual Art being prime examples.

For all fauna life is full of movement, hence created strokes. A stroke is created when a butterfly moves its wing, a centipede lifts a leg, a bird slightly tilts its head or a fish moves a fin. When strokes are combined with other strokes intentions are realized and the butterfly will fly, the centipede will climb the stalk, the bird will find its dinner and the fish will swim away. Time lapse photography reveals the strokes of plants as their flowers unfold, but the strokes made by flora tend to be so small that we see the result—the flora, the bud, the fruit, vegetable or new leaf – but miss the strokes. Usually life has an intention, a reason, which may be conscious or subconscious for creating a stroke.

These are some exhibits currently in the Hamptons with strokes or assemblages of strokes that have added to my summer.

As I was working on the August newsletter for artnet.com when I attended Guild Hall’s opening for LARRY RIVERS: MAJOR EARLY WORKS, I did not also cover it in my blog. However, Christina Mossaides Strassfield curating achievement deserves a mention as she manages the seemingly impossible task of placing various works, paintings and drawings, etc., so that each one seems to stand apart capturing attention. That achievement was enormously complicated by the stunning and huge assemblage of Rivers famous work on the history of the Russian Revolution takes up an entire wall in the exhibition’s main room, which may be the only wall where it could fit. That work inspires me with ideas for assemblages of paintings and sculptures, too; it is a kind of full room installation all on one wall.

When it comes to assemblages of a repeated single stroke, Tara Donovan is one of the best artists around. Anne Pasternak, Creative Time’s President and Artistic Director, was invited to be a guest curator recently at Edsel William’s Fireplace Project, for a entitled, “INTIMACY”. There is much good work in this show, but focusing on unique strokes two stand out. First, a Tara Donovan assemblage made of standard white paper plates, which for me are the strokes. Donavan uses various materials the assemblages she creates using all the same items, which have been Styrofoam cups, white shirt buttons, and especially fitting for summer paper plates.

Untitled (Paper Plates), 2007
Paper plates and hot glue
17 x 36 x 28 inches

Tara Donavan’s assemblage was such an intriguing work of art that artist Ricci Albenda’s Chihuahua was struggling to escape his owners arms to reach it. Perhaps the all white sculptural strokes seem familiar as Albenda’s sculptures are a kind of luscious undulating sculptural stroke that moves across a plane. The one at the gallery was titled, Study for Panoramic Portal to Another Dimension (Deanna) #12, 2007.

Driving to Sag Harbor the following week there was a cloud that was like a huge white with a tinge of gray stroke that could have been painted by James Nares. It was large but only a few other wispy clouds were near it as it floated over the waves (also strokes) lapping in Noyac Bay.

In Sag Harbor, at the Tulla Booth Gallery, we discussed how a painting is complied of strokes, or at least a stroke that took time to paint from beginning to end, but a photograph is an all-at-once capture of a moment, all one stroke of time captured by physically taking the picture. Currently in the group show in Tulla’s gallery is a photo by Jake Rajs of one of the most glorious waves, caught in an elegant moment as hovers before crashing, bowed in the center as if licking the water beneath it.

Parrish Art Museum’s exhibit, “SAND: MEMORY, MEANING AND METAPHOR” organized by Alicia Longwell, Ph.D, includes many strokes of sand. There is work from a portfolio of photographs by Felix Gonzales-Torres of waves of wind swept sand. Richard Misrach’s large C-print mounted on Plexiglas also depicts one sunbather floating on waves and waves of waves and waves of sand, included here are also the footprints (another kind of stroke) made by humans and bird. A lyrical sculpture by Ernest Neto of what could be one long poured stroke of sand that flows into tendrils to end in pod-like feet.

Peter Marcelle’s Hampton Road Gallery, the “CREATE-ITITY ONE’ is solo exhibit of Philip Letts of blur photography that captures waves of light.

Art that includes strokes of water, sand, light and even paper plates – that’s the strokes of late summer in the Hamptons.

* * *
Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.

Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 1 Comment »

13th Aug 2008

How Visual Art Changes Lives

Art can change the way we see the world so that our life is richer and fuller through our enhanced enhanced vision. The effect that art has on a person’s life is personal, and can be dramatic, but most certainly is physical.

For human beings who are normally sighted (including through corrective lenses), 60% of the brain’s space is dedicated to the sorting, storing and retrieving of visual data. Only 10% of the sense of visual perception is related to the eyes receiving and sending impressions of light to the brain. 90% of vision is based on stored data that our brains apply to make sense of the light images perceived by the eyes.

The primary perceptual sense for the overwhelming majority of human beings is sight. Plus, more people are visual learners or secondary visual learners than are aural or kinetic learners.

Human brains are stimulated by what is challenging and new. Of course, everyone who is normally sighted visually perceives 100% of the time that their eyes are open. When we see new images that we need to decipher, we add more visual data recognition to our brain’s databases. Recently, through new imaging techniques and discoveries neuroscience has proven that the healthy human brain can and does continue to grow, adding more information and understandings throughout life. The more a healthy brain is “nurtured” with stimulating challenges and new data the more it grows. Essentially, the more one understands, the smarter one is.

Science’s new understandings of how we see also rectify the notion that human babies are born blind. Actually, their eyes can see light impressions. However, newborns have not learned how to focus their eyes, and more significantly lack any visual data, which only begins to accumulate when they first open their eyes. Thus by about two weeks of age the baby has enough visual data that it can begin to recognize the human image it sees the most, usually the mother. Learning and sorting visual data continues through childhood, as a child learns to distinguish other faces, shapes, objects, colors, and then letters and numbers, etc.

It is easy to see how visual art and science, especially the mathematically based sciences such as physics, have changed how we see the world. These two disciplines have inspired each other and interacted throughout mankind’s history. J.M.W. Turner’s energetic use of light and atmosphere inspires the Impressionists to paint the then new discovery of light waves. If one can focus one the light energy in a painting, then one can focus on emotional energy; thus van Gogh paints and Freud analyzes. As Freud and his colleagues analyze looking at this side and that (reality is subjective), chemists and physicists delve into new understandings of matter, energy, space and time, and artists develop Surrealism, Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. While Pop Art commented on what seemed then as a visual barrage of culture, it also presaged the larger visual wave that now comes through, PC’s, cell phones, iPods, etc. Like the chicken and the egg, which comes first the art or the science remains debatable.

When an artist offers a unique and new way of seeing physical reality, as the Impressionists, Cubists, Surrealists, Abstract Expressionists and Pop artists did (and do for people newly exposed to their work, for instance: children), the viewer has new and visually valuable data that can now be stored and used to decode other images. This data can be used when seeing other art and also when seeing anything. For instance, for many people moving through the soup aisle of a supermarket there is a subliminal, if not recognized visual reminder of Andy Warhol’s work.

Art that is credited for changing our perception of the world has iconic value, which makes it valuable, and more valuable if it is a one of a kind piece. Almost every major art museum touts its most famous pieces to draw visitors, especially tourists. Tourism always helps support a local economy and a thriving local economy helps support its art museum(s). People, including tourists are drawn to the iconic, life changing visions provided by great art, for example: van Gogh’s Starry Night and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Warhol’s Gold Marilyn at MoMa.

The brain associates memories, including those of images cross referenced for later use. Thus when one sees an image of Marilyn Monroe on a magazine cover, her face is recognized from the brain’s stored data (memories) of previously viewed images of Monroe, possibly including some created by Andy Warhol. Creating cross references is part of how the brain grows. It could also possibly account for the higher prices collectors are willing to pay for minor works of art my artists who created iconic and visual reality changing art, like van Gogh, Picasso and Warhol. When looking at an early and minor Warhol work our brains naturally reference and even compare it to the other works of his we have seen.

That art can visually inform innovative ways of seeing may also account for some of the skyrocketing prices recently for Contemporary Art. Our technological ability to rapidly share images keeps newer images in demand in our quest to see more and learn (brain expansion).

Return Ye Children

Return Ye Children
Genesis: Sunset- Sunrise series
24 ¼ x 36 ¼ inches, acrylic on Masonite
Texts used for strokes: Genesis 1-2:7, Deut. 6:4, Psalm 90 frame

Places where technological or scientific learning and experimentation are concentrated tend to also be places where new visual art, including theories are born or nurtured. For instance, Expressionism really came out the geological area that is predominantly comprised of Germany and Austria, as did much of early psychology and also what became modern physics. However, both the scientists and the artists basically moved to the Northeastern USA due to the growth of the Nazi party. Currently, as China and India burst with technological learning this is accompanied by an outpouring of inventive Contemporary Art. Historically, military might not spur on a society’s economic prosperity as much as it’s thriving concentration of scientific study and innovative visual art.

Seeing art, any art which is new to us, will increase a person’s visual data for future reference, thus expanding the brain – but so will seeing new sights and foreign cultures.

But, art is capable of more. Art can show us new and unique ways to see. Van Gogh’s expressive, energetically charged paintings show how places and people can be charged with feeling. Pop threw current culture back at people, challenging the viewer to make choices, and see the new visual media filled landscape. Word Art deals with how we bring extrinsic meaning, memories and imagery into our moments of now. The art of the great artists who originated these artistic theories and understandings present more than new visual images, they present new ways of visual understanding. That kind of data can enhance future visual perceptions, and so is personally life changing.

* * *
Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art & Inspiration Comments 1 Comment »

04th Aug 2008

SCOPE Hamptons ’08

SCOPE Hamptons returned to the East End for the for its consecutive fourth year, and once again transformed 25,000 square-foot East Hampton Studios into a space that this year housed over 40 gallery booths and events from July 24 to 27, 2008. The SCOPE Contemporary Art fairs were begun and are run by Executive Director Alexis Hubshman and have introduced both galleries and artists to the international art community.

SCOPE fairs always introduce new galleries and artists, so they are fun places to make discoveries, plus since many galleries regularly participate, it is also an opportunity to say hello to friends.

The opening VIP Preview, had collector VIPS in attendance, such as Beth Rudin DeWoody, Bonnie Clearwater, Kim Levin and Dennis Oppenheim, plus others who had generously volunteered their time to the first Collector Mentorship Auction to benefit the Scope foundation’s “The Girl Project” and “The Arctic Circle Project”.

New collectors learn about well known collectors at the Collector Mentorship Auction

It was fun to chat with local fast becoming a celebrity artist, David Gamble in the busy booth of the Keszler Gallery of Southampton, NY, which represents his work. David is the President of the Artists Secret Society (A.S.S.), both the website (again, have your speakers on) and their new local exhibition space for new and experimental works located in East Hampton.

Gallerist Stephan Keszler is also a local celebrity himself. Stephan’s splendid home can be seen in the latest edition of Hamptons Cottages and Gardens. Aside from David’s work (which sold well at the fair), I especially resonated to the Keszler Gallery’s piece by Banksy of the chimp carrying a placard that reads, “Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge”.



Laugh Now

RARE Gallery’s Rare Gallery’s booth, returning agia to this fair presents new and emerging artists and always, including at their Chelsea site, has interesting work.

As usual, after touring the fair, I went home to mull over the art I had seen. The next day, At Kevin Bruk Gallery’s booth a painting by Jason Middlebrook was already sold and off the wall. Several galleries were selling well and allowing collectors to take the works right off the walls and carry them home. Another booth with and ever changing display was the Rhys Gallery, which meant that they brought out work by Judith Larson, which I mentioned in an article on last summer’s Scope.

The booth with the best overall presentation of their works was – without a doubt – the Red Truck Gallery (do go to this link and make sure your speakers are turned on!) Actually, the presentation was almost performance art, as Noah Antieau played cards, drank beers and basically held court funky New Orleans style, surrounded by visionary works bt his friends and family, including by his mother (and she is good). This Friday’s post by Ben Davis at artnet.com’s Magazine duplicates what I intended, so read that too.

Noah Antieau in the Red Truck Gallery booth at SCOPE Hamptons ’08

Sundram Tagore was the only gallery that had a booth at both ArtHamptons and ScopeHamptons. Opening night I enjoyed meeting Sundram, who has a unique and for me laudable mission statement for his gallery available at its website. I especially appreciated the portraits by Lee Waisler in this booth.

Jacob Karpio Galeria’s booth featured works by Lluis Barba, a photographer who inserts other photographed images and logos into photographs of iconic paintings. The work I saw in the booth was a reworking of a Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which was far too large with small details to fairly represent in a small jpeg online. However, you can see the idea at the galley’s website in a flash presentation under the Exhibitions tab.

Salomon Contemporary had a booth at the fair and also hosted the Opening Reception a the gallery space in the woods of East Hampton. Along with champagne, dessert, and music, VIPs and guests were treated to a show with a large mural by Michael Bilsborough.

James Salomon before a work by artist Darius Yektai

In keeping with its Green Initiative, there was a panel discussion focused on eco friendly choices, followed by a reception at the HC7G Idea House. Scope continues to use eco friendly materials, such as printing promotional materials with soy ink and recycling when possible.

Finally, here are two opportunities for artists:

First, at the VIP Preview I met Hannah Gibson, Assistant Director of NURTRUEART, a not for prof8it in Williamsburg. Hannah is eager to help emerging artists through the various programs they have. Check out the website.

Second, when a Scope rolls into a city, James MacDonald helps to staff it with people who help in various ways. Based in NYC and staffing many events, but especially the SCOPE fairs, James is especially eager to hire artists. So, if you plan to be in Miami, NY, the Hamptons, London, etc., during the fair, contact james@baldwinavenuegroup.com. James knows my blog and asked me to get the word out. Do not contact me about this opportunity as I am not associated with the Baldwin Group, but watching the people who were working at the fair, it seems to me that working at one could be a good opportunity for an artist to make friends with a gallery.

Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 2 Comments »