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Archive for May, 2010

25th May 2010

Ghada Amer: Color Misbehavior at Cheim & Read

There is a bang up of a show, Ghada Amer:Color Misbehavior on now until June 19 2010, at Cheim & Read.

Ghada Amir’s trademark “paint” of colorful embroidery thread – a traditional feminine material – juxtaposes with her exploration of female sexuality.

Amir’s use of the tread is painterly, threads dangle like paint drops, there are excess threads, and even what can seem as tangles. The threads emulate brushstrokes and if one steps back and disengages from the significance of the imagery, her “strokes” are recall the drips and gestures of Pollock and Twombly.

Personally, as an artist whose focus in on the stroke, Ghanda Amer’s strokes are beguiling and unique .  [See: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Ungraven Image Art theory—A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in Its Strokes ”]

One of the show stoppers and a favorite of ours is major works in this show is The Black Bang 2010. “Waves of color shooting out from a black background, sensual and explosive,” said David Wasserman Robles, who went to the well attended gallery opening.

The Black Bang, 2010, Acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas, 72 x 64 inches

Like Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, Amir’s work is sensuous, feminist and celebrates female sexuality. Amir blazes her own path in this terrain by her use of medium and overlapping of strokes and images. This overlapping of imagery, especially appeals to me as it steps into Post Conceptual concepts.

Color Misbehavior, 2009, Embroidery and gel medium on canvas 70 x 59 inches

Ghada Amir often repeats her scene, brings a wallpaper pattern like resemblance to a work, so that a clearly handmade piece refers to mass production or the prim and proper pattern work of embroidery samplers – but Amir’s embroidery has busted out of its corset.

The Lollipop, 2009, Embroidery and gel medium on canvas on canvas, 50 x 60 inches

Ghada Amir’s work overturns pornography, making sex, from a female view, sensual, erotic but somehow cozy, intimate and playful, appealing beyond the feminism. David W. Robles said, “The show is sexual and dynamic, but it’s also really fun and vibrant.”

Cheim & Read is located at 547 West 25th Street New York , NY 10001 . They are open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.

David W. Robles contributed to this blog. Many thanks to John Cheim and the gallery for the images and permission to use them.

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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 judyrey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments 1 Comment »

21st May 2010

Andrew Jackson – Ten Commandments Portrait

This new Essence Portrait of Andrew Jackson was challenging to create as he was such a complex man, who embodied many dichotomies in his beliefs and politics, although he was not two faced. Like many of us, Andrew Jackson was fragmented but sought to do what seemed right to him.

Andrew Jackson is the third most visually reorganized historical president, after Washington and Lincoln, by the average American in the 21 st Century.

Such widespread recognition for Jackson is new as Jefferson or Teddy Roosevelt were more likely to be recognized previously by the generations born after their terms.

The change is due to ATMs that spurt $20.00 bills with Jackson ‘s portrait.

Ironically, in his time Jackson opposed and defeated the central bank, which led to the banking system that we now have.

Many of the problems and issues Jackson faced as a president are echoed in our own time. Plus, he is one of the founders of the Democratic Party, and his meant-to-be derogatory nickname “Jackass”, which he liked and embraced, became the symbol for the party itself.

I see Jackson as a bit fragmented, like a cracked mirror, and my portrait of him reflects that imagery. Jackson was not an elitist, but like Lincoln later did, arose from humble beginnings and trails. He worked to protect and widen popular democracy and the rights of white men, yet was a slave owner and also supported Indian removal. Yet he had a legally adopted son, a Creek Indian orphan.

In my portrait below Jackson’s hair is coiffed and combed yet at the ends there is a wildness of some unkempt strays. This symbolizes the dichotomy of Jackson, who was proper and righteous, but had a temper that made him also a scrappy fighter.

Exodus 20 (Andrew Jackson) by Judy Rey Wasserman

In the portrait notice that Jackson ‘s lower lip – the one that will tremble and give in to resolve, is clear and firm, as is the top lip opposing it in black. Divided but resolute. This refers to his other nickname “Old Hickory”, so called because once he resolved to something he was unmoving.

All of my portraits of the Presidents of the USA are created using the original letters Bible text of Exodus 20, which is the Ten Commandments. Presidents are the governmental executives whose job it is to uphold the law. The ten Commandments are the basic laws of the Bible, and credited with inspiring the framers of the Constitution in man ways, and most especially in that they are the same for all.

I urge you to read the information about Andrew Jackson at Wikipedia . He was truly a fascinating, inspiring and complex man.

For more about the new, 21st Century Post Conceptual Essence Portraits (including color images) see the video below and check out Portrait Painting Commissions


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11th May 2010

What Are the Two Types of Portraits?

There are two basic kinds of portraits, whether the artist creates a hand drawn or painted work, a sculpture or a photo. When a portrait combines both types of portraiture we recognize it as great art.

When commissioning a portrait it helps to recognize both kinds of portraiture. Simply the ability to capture a likeness of an individual well does not make a portrait more than a memento or vanity piece.

Standard Portraits

One exists to portray the subject in a way that adds to his or her public reputation. This portraiture depicts the greatness of the subject in their physical beauty, wealth, societal position or achievement. Examples of this date back far in time to ancient civilizations’ that portray the heroic feats of their ruler or gods in human form.

This type of portraiture is found on money, and stamps. It hangs in board rooms and stately mansions. Statues of heroes on horseback, busts of emperors and many statues found in churches depict the triumphs or heroic suffering of the subject. Today, this kind of portraiture is bread and butter of the family friendly photographers who photograph weddings and children.

Abstracted Portraits

The other type of portraiture reveals the humanity of the subject, the emotions and frailty that make us human.

Portraits that are more abstracted usually fall into this category when the subjects are not photo-manipulated, as in Pop Art, which tends to be a standard protrait of how the media or society sees the subject. Examples of abstracted portraits include Picasso’s cubist and abstracted portraits, Calder’s wire portraits, portrait paintings by van Gogh, Rouault, Francis Bacon. and in contemporary art, George Condo.

Enter the Artist

Exodus 20 -Ten Commandments (Abraham Lincoln), Stars and Stripes

Every artist brings a bit of him or herself into the work. Great artists do more that depict a subject accurately they offer insight into how they see the subject and reality. Although this can be considered an artist’s style, it goes beyond that and is revelatory. This is why those who try to copy or paint in the style of a great portrait painter, seem good but some how lacking.

The unique view of the portrait artist can be also recognized by the snapshots taken by the people who love us. These “Kodak Moments” may lack in design or focus, but often capture what is special or unique about their subjects in ways professional mall photographers miss. That professional mall photographer works to capture images that flatter.

When commissioning a portrait find an artist who can capture and reveal more than an excellent likeness of their subjects.

Great Portrait Art

When an artist captures both the greatness of the soul plus the human frailty and vulnerability of the portrait subject we easily recognize it as great art. The humanity of the subject allows us to empathetically relate while the beauty, heroic achievement or emotion inspires us.

From the Renaissance to modern art, we find examples of this when artists paint common people or use their models to portray mythical figures. In religious Christian art, suffering and martyrdom was considered to be heroic, holy and great.

Rembrandt encountered difficulties with some of his commissions as his subjects objected to how he revealed their humanity, although they were depicted in their finery and in heroic action. The Night Watch is a prime example of this.

Artists’ self portraits often bravely reveal the artists’ emotions and vulnerability, portraying both the humanness and divine within the subject.

Psalm 22 (Rembrandt)

By Judy Rey Wasserman

The most famous painting in the world is the Mona Lisa. La Giaconda’s serene composure combined with a hint of her secret smile continues to beguile us as Da Vinci masterfully portrays the duality of her human and divine essence.  By capturing that mysterious and elusive duality Da Vinci made his subject famous and immortal throughout history.

Interested in commissioning an Essence Portrait of yourself or a loved one? Send an email to: portrait@ungravenimage.com If possible include a brief description of the person to be considered for the portrait, sex, age, interests, job, etc — but keep it very brief at this point. If you live in the USA or Canada please include your phone number for a free initial, no obligation consultation about your portrait.

Watch the video below to discover the new Post Conceptual portraiture of the 21st Century


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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 judyrey under Filed under Art Theory and Show Reviews Comments No Comments »