Saturday, July 23, 2011

Acorn Man

This is an image that has been bouncing around my sketchbook for a year. Like many of my paintings, "Acorn Man" started as an idea for a sculpture (sculptures I never make), which is not a bad way to envision a picture. What kept me from putting him in a painting?..well... humor is a consistent element in my work, would this be skating too close to "silly" though? But it is summer, right, not a time for "heaviness" and this was going to be the last painting for my upcoming show in Nashville so, what the heck. I kept the landscape pretty bleak to counter the cute, kinda like a last man standing image. "But that squirrel?.. man" Hey, I like painting squirrels, couldn't resist.

Above: Keeper Of Acorns, 28x25, oil/canvas 2011
I noticed my face contorting weirdly while painting his face.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Art In Chicago

A recent visit to Chicago confirmed something I have suspected for years; when it comes to the aesthetic enjoyment and the appreciation of viewing art, "context is everything". Well "duh" you might say, but many would argue that great works hold up regardless of placement. To make my point and to keep this post brief I have a few very bias opinions on what I observed at Chicago's Art Institute: Cubism, esp. paintings by Picasso and Braque (1910-15), couldn't look at them, they seemed to disappear from the walls (they look stunning at MOMA and in Paris), even Matisse caused a shrug (heresy!) accept his large "Bathers By The River". The Picasso that stopped me was his huge "Mother and Child", a neoclassical painting of heavy-set figures on the beach, amazing. Highly conceptual, contemporary art takes a hit in a museum such as the Institute (this work needs a whole separate building to do it justice). I tried reading the wall text that explained the photographs of curtains.. but there was a Poussin waiting in the next wing, sorry. What worked the best?, (besides the obvious, Seurat, Hopper,etc.)..late Philip Guston (above), almost a full room of them, not fussy or too cerebral, just raw paint, power and emotion, perfect for Chicago.

Top:Red Box, Philip Guston 68x96" 1977
Middle:Looking at Nighthawks

Below:An abstract painting of mine from 1985, relatives had it hanging in their house in Chicago, hard to believe I painted that, I must say, it looked pretty good there by the kitchen, nice to see it.