When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Search for an Artist on this blog (or cut and paste from the list at the bottom of this page)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Collin Chillag

Portrai of a Woman  2010  oil on linen  18"X24"

Portrait of a Man  2010  oil on linen  18"X24"

Portrait of a Man  2010  oil on linen  18"X24"

A Life Well Lived  2011  acrylic on canvas  60"X70"
Design For a House  2011  acrylic on canvas  54"X64"

It seems to me that Collin in Chillag is 2 or 3 (possibly even four) different artists. Not literally mind you. I'm not suggesting that a group of people are conspiring to convince us that there is one artist responsible for all their work. I'm suggesting more of a Sybil like multiple-personality thing. It makes it difficult to say anything about the artist's work because I'm not sure what the common denominators to all of it are. But the work that was recently featured in New American Paintings (#96) is a series of portraits executed in the manner of extremely detailed "paint by numbers". Only they're left half finished and he uses parts of the painting as the palette as well. It comes off with tremendous effect not least because of the faces he chooses. Both the subject and the technique suggest a kind of horrific banality at the dark heart of middle class America. But as I suggested there are other sides to the artist; odd collages and cryptic diagrams with references to scientific theories and cartoon animals. I'll have to follow up on this other side of the artist one of these days. In the mean time go check out his website colinchillag.com and if anyone can come up with a unified Chillag theory, let me know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steven J. Yazzie 3

"Intrusive Relationships"  oil on canvas  66" x 48"  2011

"Road to Nowhere"  oil on canvas  48" x 65"

"Permeable Paradise"  oil on canvas  60" x 36"

"Colluvial Dream"  oil on canvas  60" x 48"
"Modernity's Sunset"  oil on canvas  48" x 60"  2011
This is my third post of Steven Yazzie's work and full disclosure, he is a friend of mine. Previously I only posted his work depicting coyotes in upscale homes (as in the piece directly above) and you can read my thought's on that here. But he also works in abstraction. The latest edition of New American Paintings was just published and these abstracts were included, so I'd just like to to say congratulations Steve. He considers these abstractions to be in a sense a response to landscape, and the deeptime processes of geology. Being a resident of Arizona there is an obvious suggestion of the red rock formations of the southwest. But his referencing of the land is oblique, going more after feeling than analysis. Painting, especially abstract painting when it works, is almost impossible to pin down. Why does it capture our attention and hold it? And yet it can. Just as we might be captivated by the strange beauty of a canyon formed by wind and water and the moving earth over millions of years. And that, my friends, is one hell of a trick.
Go to his website to see more work: www.stevenyazzie.com

Monday, October 24, 2011

James Naughton

"Mist Passing" 40x40cm Oil on Board 2010

"The Big Cloud" 31x20cm Oil on Board 2010

"The Valley and the Light" 80x60cm Oil on Board 2010

"Dark Cloud"  30x20cm OIl on Board

Something you don't often see in contemporary landscape painting is the kind of old fashioned quasi-mystical romanticism that was once the hallmark of some of the 19th centuries greatest practitioners. English artist James Naughton captures this sense of almost religious awe in the face of nature by depicting the land submerged beneath beneath a massive writhing atmosphere that seems less like mere weather and more like an immortal omnipotent presence that prowls the land. Though the paintings themselves are often fairly modest in scale the images nonetheless convey that sense of vastness, awe and wonder that was once depicted by artists like Albert Bierstadt, Caspar David Friedrich and Frederic Edwin Church. More proof that no mode of expression ever dies and that every part of art history is being made new again by somewone, somewhere in the world.
To see more tempestuous skyscapes over both land and sea, go to the artist's website: www.jamesnaughton.com

thanks to artistaday.com where I first saw his work.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


My last post made me realize how little abstract work I've posted. I suppose it's no surprise. My own work is representational and very narrative. But still, the line between abstraction and representation is a vast gray area, and in the end all of it is just marks on a flat surface. Looking through my posts I put together this small collection from most of the abstract artists that I have included. Click on their name to see my earlier post and from there you'll find links to the artist's websites. (some of my earlier posts are very short)

untitled - oil on linen - 2010 - 92 x 73cm

"Malvern #3"  2009  oil on panel  48" x 48"

"The Red Planet"  oil on canvas  50x60cm  2008

"Nonsense Chart no.1"

"Mercurial" 46" x 38" acrylic and ink on paper 2008


and last but not least the artist who got me thinkning about this

"Hastings"  mixed media on masonite  192" x 83"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Todd Sargood

"Versailles (Profligacy Hybrid IV)"  mixed media on masonite  48" x 48"

"Thermopylae"  oil on canvas  60" x 48"

"Manassas"  oil on canvas  48" x 60"

"Hastings"  mixed media on masonite  192" x 83"
"Stowe" installation detail  mixed media on masonite  84' x 8'

 Art history no longer has a single through line. It used to be thought that new forms of expression made previous ones obsolete. Pop art was supposed to have been the demise of abstract impressionism. But as Todd Sargood points out, artists like Cy Twombly and others didn't get the memo. Fortunately for us. And artists like Todd Sargood carry on the tradition, demonstrating that while it may no longer be the avante-garde, abstract expressionism still carries loads of potential and has plenty to say. Todd Sargood's paintings and installations have all the energy and frenetic excitement that is the primal state of drawing itself. Hovering just beyond the boundaries of representation they embrace chaos while at the same time contain within themselves the components of order as if meaning might emerge from them at any moment. His titles, which often reference famous battle sites, may elicit the tension and unleashed energy within the creative endeavor, or they may simply be an endless source of dissociated names. Either way it is the work itself that matters. And fortunately for me this is work being done in my own town of Portland, Oregon, so I'll actually be able to go see it in person (a rare treat for me).
To see more check out the artist's website: http://toddsargood.com/

(PS: a note from the artist let me know that the titles are not just battles, but also sites of historic peace accords and other  situations where two cultures came together, which still conveys the idea of tension and resolution without necessarily evoking violence.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nuala O'Donovan

"Teasel Chrysanthemum #2"  High fired unglazed porcelain  2010

"Teasel"  High fired unglazed porcelain  2009

"Teasel"  detail

"Grid" based on drawings of Radiolaria - a microscopic organism

from "Pinecone series"

Nuala O'Donovan is an Irish sculptor whose work reflects and builds upon natural forms and structures. One of her obsessions has been taking the basic structure of the teasel plant and allowing it grow and morph into ever larger and more complex forms. Her slow and painstaking method echoes natural processes where pattern and design interact with randomness and variation, and in so doing elegantly captures the delicacy and beauty that lie in tiny details all around us. Go to her website (www.nualaodonovan.com) and look through more of her work. You'll be glad you did. And when you've done that go outside and look at all the crazy beautiful little things that you never noticed before.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kristin Kwan

"Cherry Blossoms" watercolor

"Dinner Party"  watercolor

"Golden Fish"  oil on paper

"Red Bird"  oil on paper
"New Growth"

Kristin Kwan (or Kristin Elder) is an artist and illustrator, especially of children's books. Her personal work reflects this but adds to it an element of humor and even sometimes of horror that might be lost on younger viewers. The balance between the cute on the one hand and a peculiar solemnity on the other add to the artist's undeniable technical skills to make this work a notch (or two or three) above others of it's ilk. She is also, quite clearly something a naturalist, an artist who cannot resist rendering birds and trees for their own sake. The appearance of very real creatures in mythical milieus gives these fantasies an atmosphere of solidity and substance instead of mere trifles. At times it creates the kind of fantasy one imagines you could walk into and live in for a while.
You can see more work plus her illustrations on her website: kristinkwan.com
Skethches like "New Growth" (above) can be found on her blog.
thanks to www.neatorama.com/art/

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Philip Govedare

"Excavation #4"  oil on canvas  70" x 64"  2010

"Excavation #5"  oil on canvas  48" x 90"  2010

"Excavation #6"  oil on canvas  66" x 59"  2010

"Project #3"  oil on canvas  70" x 64"  2010

"Tundra"  oil on canvas  19" x 80"  2010

Philip Govedare's paintings describe vast open alien landscapes, the kind of thing one expects to see beamed back to us from low orbiting satellites sent to Io or Ganymede. But for the hinted ribbon of a road here and there they could be just that. But scenes of mountain top removal in West Virginia or the Canadian tar sands can seem equally strange, and despite the grim message of their existence there is something awesome and fascinating to them as well. These paintings, largely imagined, capture that sense of awe struck wonder and appalled disbelief at what we are capable of, transforming the very surface of the planet on which we live. They are a fascinating meditation on what a landscape means.
To see more go to: www.philipgovedare.com