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Archive for September, 2008

24th Sep 2008

The Assault on Painting by Technology

The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses some of the best paintings by the world’s most revered artists ever and one dead shark suspended in a large container of liquid. Possibly to help keep the tiger shark company and so it feel less out of place in its temporary new home, up on the Met’s roof there is a huge metal statue of a balloon puppy.

The tiger shark artwork is Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, whichis graciously on loan to the museum thanks to The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection. The statue on the roof, Balloon Dog (Yellow) is part of a show of Jeff Koon’s works. Neither work is handmade by its artist. Both works are the result of cutting edge technologies, which took far more time and money to develop than was originally estimated.

In an earlier time, before contemporary art and maybe even not long after Modern Art, both Hirst and Koons would probably have been painters. Both have produced drawings and paintings that show their talent and skill. However, the ongoing technological breakthroughs that allow many contemporary artists the freedom to explore new visual presentations and materials have and are assaulting painting, drawing and printmaking.

The Impressionists began what became Modern Art based on new scientific understandings about light. Those same understandings also helped inspire and develop still photography and soon after film. For the first time in humankind’s history artists were displaced from recording current events, scientific discoveries, news and painting portraits of people who wished to be remembered. While this encouraged Modern and now Contemporary artists to explore new forms of art, materials and ways of communicating visual understandings, many painters struggled to compete with photography by offering non-realistic image work, following the ideas ofthe Cubists, Abstract Expressionism or Word Art or, like Andy Warhol incorporated photography it into their painted art and prints.

The art that continues to do best at auction continues to be paintings, and this is also true for Contemporary art. There are splendid contemporary painters, such as Cecily Brown, Chuck Close, George Condo, Odd Nerdrum, Dana Schutz, Kehinde Wiley, just to name a few alphabetically off the top of my head. These artists take us into their own unique visual worlds through the strokes of their brushes. However photographers like Vik Muniz and William Wegeman are moving into this arena, by setting up their own compositions to photograph, which may include tableaux scenes of costumed models.

Andy Warhol proclaimed that each person would have 15 minutes of fame. He also strove to remove the handmade quality of art, trying to make it mechanical, in part reflecting the popular media images of his society. I doubt he ever conceived that everyone could have an opportunity to be an artist for 15 minutes, but due to today’s advances in technology it is.

Several new companies are thriving by using software much like Photoshop to turn digital or film snapshots into paper or canvas works that look like paintings. This goes beyond the Pop Art portrait take-offs on Warhol. At least two companies have received a good deal of media coverage as they give consumers easy online ways to change photographed images into works that seem to have brush strokes, are abstracted, look Impressionistic, water colored, or of course, appear as Pop Art. Beyond the images of their loved ones people are encouraged to create works on paper or canvas that are still lifes, landscapes, cityscapes, etc.The online process takes about 15 minutes.

Another company, DNA11 takes a sample of a persons DNA and through bio technical imaging creates a unique image of it. The client-artist is involved in selecting the colors, the size and sometimes the support, for instance paper or glass for the custom work. Is it art? Well, MoMA carries the kits required to begin the process of collecting the DNA plus samples of the art in its museum shops. Swabbing, mailing back the DNA sample and selecting colors and size online can be completed in 15 minutes.

Technology allows artists and “15 minute artists” new ways to create images. Seeing the photograph of ones’ child transformed into a Pop Art poster, one’s house as a watercolor, one’s parents as an abstracted oil painting or hanging a colorful image of one’s own DNA over the sofa can have can have personal visual meaning. Giving everyone the potential to create art that has visual meaning for others, such as one’s friends and family is innovative.

style=”text-align: left;”>From the history of art we know that the painters who we revere as artistic masters now were innovative in their own times. The Met houses works by many of the painters who pioneered new techniques, ideas about subject and/or use of materials such as Bosch, Da Vinci, El Greco, Klimt, Monet, Picasso, Seurat, Turner, van Gogh, and Velasquez.

Innovation is a hallmark of a great artist.

However innovation, even through technology is not enough. An artist must be able to convey meaningful visual content to many people. A great portrait painter like Rembrandt more than captures a likeness; he shows a revealing look into the soul and personality of his subject. Seurat used points of color to depict how our visional perception translates a impressions of color and the gives them form and even meaning. Van Gogh did not just paint cypresses; he turned them into writhing yearning life that struggles toward the heavens. Over time, the more people an artist can move and inspire with meaningful content, his or her unique and innovative way of seeing, the more the artist is recognized as a master.

>The innovative technology that allows anyone to transform a photograph so that it sort of resembles a Rembrandt, a Seurat, a van Gogh or a Picasso, always leaves out the emotional content that great painters are able to convey.

Damien Hirst brings death into our museums, places of work and living rooms. Although the media brings war and fictional violence and death to us daily, on a personal level our society hushes it away into sterile funeral parlors, which embalm and decorate bodies so they appear more lifelike. Hirst brings us dead butterflies, sheep, sharks, etc. as art. Possibly the only way many only in our society will actually confront a dead body without dismissing its relevance is as art. Yet the technology that allows him to do this also deprives him of adding his own emotional content. Any emotional content is a reaction of the viewer.

Jeff Koons takes the unnecessary kitschy stuff we love to acquire – pure commercialism— and blows it up on a sumptuous and grand scale. As viewers stand before Balloon Puppy (Yellow) the glossy finish on the work skews and mirrors back an image of the viewer and his immediate surroundings. We are in our stuff; it is us and it incorporates us into itself. This is brilliant Pop art, but again any emotion belongs to the viewer and is not conveyed by the art.

Of course, neither of these works is a painting or handmade.

We look to paintings and artwork that is handmade to be innovative, give us new understandings about ourselves and convey emotional or inspirational content. Yet how can painters, even using the newest media such as watercolor pencils, the newly developed acrylics, canvases, etc., compete with the opportunities for innovation that technology offers other artists – or now anyone who want to make art in 15 minutes?

Strokes are not the focus of technologically produced art, including photographs.Strokes basically imply handmade, or if reproduced or created via a computer as originally human made through direct focused effort of someone’s hands. The technology that gives a photograph the look of an Impressionist painting cannot actually show or make strokes; it simply simulates them in pixels.

Post Conceptual Art, which uses symbols for each and every stroke to create imagery, offers innovation through its strokes. The symbols are painted or drawn allowing the artist to add intrinsic meaning to a work, convey narrative imagery and imbue a work with emotional content. It takes the skill of trained artist to create Post Conceptual Art as technology cannot take a photograph and turn the image into layers and layers of symbol-strokes. Can this new theory be one of the answers for painters today struggling to make their art relevant in a world – and art world – filled with technology?

While painters struggle to innovate or uniquely adapt to new ideas for and of painting that can ward off the continuing onslaught of technology, one truth from history is clear.The history of Western Art shows that although people may continue collect the art touted in their own time by “experts”, in the long run the work of innovative artists who communicate meaningful visual ideas is more apt to last and have meaning for future generations. Communicating innovative and meaningful visual ideas with emotional or revelatory content is the job of an artist, including artists who are painters.

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Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true?  See for yourself. See more. Read:  In the Beginning

To download a free copy of In the Beginning as an ebook in PDF format simply click: DOWNLOAD. The PDF will open in another widow and you then save it to your disk. Offer ends June 9, 2014

Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.

Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.

Check out the images and availability of limited and open edition prints — Click: store.

Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey

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Posted by Posted by Judy Rey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 5 Comments »

17th Sep 2008

Invest Safely in Fine Art

Events of the 20th Century proved that over time three items remain the best investments. Whatever the markets, discoveries or inventions produce, through the ups and downs of inflations, recessions and even depressions, fine art, precious metals and precious gems stand out as on-going excellent investments.

These three investments cross borders of culture, language and time. Gold has been revered throughout history by just about every society where it was known. The same can be said for diamonds, rubies, emeralds, etc. Rembrandts, van Goghs, Picassos are also highly prized by collectors and museums of all countries that can afford them. The biggest difference is that thieves can melt down jewelry, and basically melted gold and unset gems are almost impossible to identify. Art depends on being identified to hold its value.

Smaller works, such as Faberge eggs, works on paper and paintings that can fit into the back seat of a sedan or at least a mini van can be better investments as they are more portable and easier to move and keep safe. For instance, if a collector protect a work from an encroaching natural disaster such as a fire or flood, a smaller work is easy to quickly move. While huge paintings of over six feet in width and/or height continue to capture mention as their auctions break artists’ records of sale, the same artists’ equally good smaller works from the same period are proportionately rising in value, too.

Smaller works and larger works that are comprised of several panels or components that are smaller and thus more portable are also easier for secondary dealers to transport to and from their galleries, to collectors, museums, traveling exhibits and fairs. They can also be easier to sell as more collectors have actual space for them on the walls and pedestals in their homes. At the recent ArtHamptons fair, the top prices earned were for smaller works by John Chamberlain and Andrew Wyeth.

The news stories of the reparations of art that was looted by the Nazis and/or was sold at a loss as owners fled Europe continue to grab headlines. While proving ownership through provenance records before the information age can be difficult, today’s work by Contemporary artists is well documented and provenance records are easily available. This makes collecting Contemporary art, and works of art that also have clear and undisputed provenance records more attractive than ever.

Fine art, like other investment properties offer a range of investment opportunities. Works of established masters are more blue chip and likely to hold and increase in value, while the work of an emerging or Contemporary artist is a more risky investment but may skyrocket in price bringing greater rewards.

For a new investor with limited funds to risk, creating a collection of prints and drawings by well established and emerging artists, plus and smaller paintings by contemporary artists can be a workable strategy.

The old adage of buy low and sell high is also useful when buying art, especially in times when the markets are in turmoil or money is tight. In the eighties the prices for many artists’ work fell due to the overall economic conditions. The perception seemed to be then that those artists were not as successful and possibly not as good as an investment. This perception continued even after the economy picked up and newer artists, whose prices had never fallen found their works more in demand and selling at higher and higher prices. Collectors who held onto the work of the older artists or bought in at reduced prices reaped the benefits over time as their prices regained and then soared.

Some of the risk of collecting works by newer, emerging artists can be mitigated by knowing art, especially Modern and Contemporary art history and checking out the works of artists shown in contemporary galleries both in brick and mortar galleries and online. When an artist’s work is selling some other artists will tend to copy it. It is of paramount importance to only collect artists who have their own unique style. There is only one Monet, van Gogh, Warhol, etc., but the market abounds with good works that are bad investments by artists who were obviously far too influenced by them. Find an emerging artist with a unique style and ideas about creating art.

There are many online resources that can help a collector discover artists and galleries, as well as providing information about the art world. Artnet.com provides excellent information, including a data base that includes recent pricing for artists’ works. Going to the “Artists” section on the menu tab, type in the name of an artist, and much information will appear, including works by those artists currently available at galleries listed with artnet, and the preponderance of good galleries in the world are listed there. For ongoing news of the art world on the Internet artnet has a magazine, plus check out artinfo.com, Artdaily, ARTFORUM and ArtReview.

Art is much more than an investment. However, all investments require that one does some homework and has some knowledge about the property. Obviously authenticity and provenance need to be known and verifiable. The condition of the piece is important. There is an ongoing seesaw between discovering works of artists one might collect and doing homework about those artists, their work and their historical context. Collectors should only buy art that they truly appreciate for its aesthetic value. Only buy works you really look forward to seeing frequently, works that are inspirational and move you to see the world in a new way.

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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 2 Comments »

10th Sep 2008

The Big Bang of 21st Century Art: Post Conceptual Art

For innovative people in all walks of life, success begins with a bang up of an idea that happens in a moment of inspiration.

Just as the Big Bang of creation set the physical universe unfolding, the realization and successful actualization of an idea can take time. The expression that the pen is mightier than the sword means that ideas communicated can out conquer the greatest military might over time.

However, words require a degree of literacy, often translation and educational understandings, so the same pen that is mightier than the sword when wielded by an artist can produce equally or even better results. The average human brain is 60% dedicated to the perception of sight, giving visual art a distinct edge in communication.

Judy Rey Wasserman

Psalm 19 (Andy Warhol), 2007

The idea or spin – not the product – is important, and although words are persuasive, visual images are more powerful to convey one’s message. Throughout history a delicate balance between artists and people with wealth and power created a delicate balance between art that was illustrative or propaganda and fine art. Many of the greatest artists suffered with the loss of commissions, or at the very least disputes with their patrons, when the artists diverged from the “correct” presentation of world views.

Technology, media production and distribution channels for visual imagery continue to expand so that in one day the average person in an industrialized society is exposed to more images created by humans that his forefathers were in their entire lifetime. Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol mirrored and slyly commented in the ongoing bombardment of visual imagery to sell products, celebrity and news sources.

Fine art does not exist to sell a product, such as lipstick, soap or liquor, or promote the space and time for the sale of products that is found in the news and entertainment media. Fine art exists because it exists and has no purpose outside of being itself communicating or inspiring the partaker.

In Conceptual Art, the concept is shown and the “image” or vision of the artist follows in the mind of the beholder. Word Art, a branch of Conceptual Art crosses a fuzzy line between literary art and visual art, purposefully creating one image visually that provokes other imagined impressions.

Although painting and sculpture continues, with successful contemporary artists expressing themselves in paint and sculpt images communicating about death, sex, human psychology and conditions, these artists are always working alongside the shadow of photography and video, which can accurately and almost instantly convey views of the world. .In the beginning of the 21 st century, the noted collector and art benefactor Charles Saatchi called for a return to painting, saying that “Nothing is as uplifting as standing before a great painting.” This was followed by a now well known exhibit of contemporary artists entitles, “The Triumph of Painting”.

About the time of the Saatchi show, Judy Rey Wasserman began experimenting with using letters from selected texts for all the strokes in a painting. The letters would symbolize the smallest wave-like pre-matter, called strings or membranes (branes) by elementary physicists. With the focus of this new art firmly upon every individual stroke it was obvious that a return to narrative imagery was necessary to emulate how the pre-matter/energy is the basis of the physical universe that we experience.

Judy Rey Wasserman

Return Ye Children of Men, 2006

Genesis series
Texts used as strokes: Genesis 1-2:7, Deut 6:4, Psalm 90 for the “gold” frame

Using symbol-strokes, showing an underling meaning in life is impossible for any photographer unless photographing such an art work or artificially setting up a “canvas” of say sculpted strokes that are then photographed. It is a way that painting realistically triumphs over photography.

This new Post Conceptual Art uses symbol-strokes (concept) to create an actual physical painted or sculpted imagery that may or may not obviously refer to the inherent meaning(s) of the strokes. The symbols are used as strokes are in more Classical or Modern Art, which is often built in layers, where strokes are used as glazes, interwoven, overlapped, etc. The symbols do not need to be seen individually as their meaning is intrinsic. This emulates the “meaning” of an atom in an object, for instance a Fe (iron) atom in a wrought iron gate. It is not necessary to discern the atomic structure of the atoms to recognize the substance (intrinsic meaning) of the iron. Of course, one atom is hugely larger that the essential strings, which combined to eventually form its particles.

Scientifically the energy, pre-matter and then matter of the physical universe began with event of the Big Bang. The correlation between the Genesis story and the Big Bang of physics has been widely commented upon in scientific books and articles, the idea being that some event occurred with a bang (sound vibration, such as the first sound of a word spoken in otherwise utter silence), which set more vibration and light into an ongoing and expanding creation.

The branch of Post Conceptual Art known as UnGraven Image Art uses only symbol set available in the world that is both phonic and binary and alpha-numeric. These symbols are the Torah font letters that are used in the Hebrew Bible. Other fonts, including script or written Hebrew, are not binary. Binary is significant as it additionally references important concepts in science and most of the world’s religions as duality is synonymous for binary. Spiritual concepts of duality include, light and dark, holy and profane and yin and yang.

Post Conceptual Art is a Big Bang in the theory and history of art as it focuses on the stroke, the smallest unit of meaning created with the smallest unit of physical movement by the artist, as the primary significance in a work. This is the opposite of the idea of the concept that the stroke serves to create the image. Inherent in the work and in both the scientific understanding of the Big Bang and the biblical theology is that the intent and realization of the end result is present at the beginning.

Copies of Judy Rey Wasserman’s booklet,  “Manifesto of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art Theory-  A painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke” are available as a free PDF download through the ungravenimage.com web site or at the sidebar of the “Art & Inspiration” blog.

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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 »

02nd Sep 2008

Post Conceptual Art’s Truth of Time and Energy

Using symbols for strokes to create visual imagery, Post Conceptual Art closely emulates both cutting edge scientific and ancient spiritual truths.

Art is humankind’s way of showing truth. Artistic truth may be profane or sacred or both. The best art reveals an understanding of truth that is not blatantly obvious, until through the artist’s hand it becomes so. From the cave art of the shamans to current day Conceptual and now the new Post Conceptual Art, the work of the artist has been to convey truth visually.

If the truth conveyed is valid to a large enough proportion of its contemporary society that has the means to support it, the art is accepted and revered in its own time. If the truth is valid for many people and continues to be so for many generations then the art is venerated. This is true for all forms of art.

Visual art stands apart from the other arts through its relationship to time. Performances, including theatrical, musical and dance, plus films, video and literature need time to be revealed. Even the shortest poem cannot present its meaning all at once. However, a painting or sculpture immediately presents as a whole complete work. One may wish to spend more time visually exploring the work and thinking about it, but the viewer not the artist is adding to the understanding of any purely visual handmade artwork.

Time is also referenced in a purely visual handcrafted work as the viewer “perceives” the kind of time it took to physically create the work. Most purely visual hand made art is created with strokes of one kind or another. In Contemporary Art the strokes may be made of almost anything, including Tara Donavan’s buttons and straws to the snip strokes of Kara Walker’s scissors. Historically the strokes we are most familiar with are those made with paint brushes and chisels.

Fabricated and photographic art (which is fabricated thorough the initial use of a camera and then often developed via other machinery) also uses strokes, but the relationship to time differs. Each frame or photograph was captured all-at-once in a moment of time, and thus is one stroke. A stroke always references the smallest unit of time it took to make the whole stroke.

Physicists tell us that our dimension of the physical universe began with the Big Bang, which set in motion the ongoing expanding creation of energy. Everything we perceive is really energy because matter is energy in denser accumulation. For the Abrahamic faiths, and those traditions of other peoples, too, the Creator speaks the physical universe (or world, depending on the story) into existence. For Jews, Christians and Muslims, the letters of the Hebrew words spoken by the Divine in Genesis 1, form the real or symbolic basis of the physical universe, and as they continue to be spoke the universe is created and continues. The similarity to the scientific theory and the spiritual tradition are easily seen; this has received much commentary in the press and in popular and scholarly non-fiction books.

Paintings inherently emulate both the Big Bang and the symbolic presentation of the Genesis story of creation. Like the Big Bang a painting begins with one stroke and the artist proceeds to add strokes to make a unified whole. Like the Genesis story, a painting begins with one stroke (letter of the first word of “Let there be Light”) and proceeds to include more strokes until the whole of the initial creation is completed.

The same understandings can be applied to hand made sculptures where an artist’s strokes may be made with a chisel or tool, or one’s hands, but stroke by stroke is made until the whole of the work is revealed.

Post Conceptual Art breaks with centuries of tradition to exclusively create narrative imagery with symbol-strokess that are used just as strokes have always been used by artists. Unlike calligraphy, micrography or Word Art where the symbols (letters) are meant to be distinguished or read, Post Conceptual Art asserts that the meaning of the symbol-strokes is inherent and need not be read. This references humankind’s daily experiences with the physical universe where we may recognize, name and use a compound without perceiving or even having knowledge of its atomic, or the molecular structure. For instance, we can distinguish copper from plastic or from water, without really perceiving the atomic, no less pre-particle energy that is inherent in any of the matter.

Until the Twentieth Century, humankind did not have scientific molecular or atomic understandings of the structure of any matter. In our new century the scientific frontiers of binary science and M or String theory (these are now fairly synonymous) are seeking to discover more about the tiniest pre-matter/energies that are the physical basis of our physical universe. The scientific discoveries and theories about these essential units of energy and mass are represented by the symbol-strokes of the Post Conceptual artist.

Thus Post Conceptual Art, in accordance with Judy Rey Wasserman’s “Manifesto of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art Theory” presents cutting edge scientific truth in visual form. That using symbols (letters) as strokes to represent the creation as presented in the Abrahamic faiths and many others, possibly indicates how eternally relevant this now scientific truth is.

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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 »