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)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter 2013

I've always found the the starkness of winter landscapes compelling. Here's a collection of wintry images to enjoy. Click on each artist's name to link back to my original post on their work. And I'll be back with new art after the holidays.

Mark Thompson
"Be Lost In Me"  painting  50" x 66"  2009

Chester Arnold
"60 years in the Forest"  72" x 60"  oil on linen  2012

Dina Brodsky
"Trading Post"  oil on mylar  8x8 inches

Leonid Tishkov
Private Moon series - "Moon and Hunter"

Suichi Nakano
"Till Find The Forest"  oil on canvas  91 x 116.7cm  2010

Sonja Hinrichsen
Snow Drawings - Rabbit Ears Pass, CO - Jan. 29, 2012

Aron Wiesenfeld
"The Wedding Party" oil on canvas  70" x 95"

Peter Rotter
Deep Snow 48×60 Oil on Canvas 2009
For more winter paintings click here!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Stephen Hall

American Still Life"  acrylic on canvas  40" x 60"  2013

"Calavera"  acrylic on canvas  24" x 32"  2013 

"Don't Hold Your Breath"  acrylic on canvas  60" x 30"  2013

"Leap Frog"  acrylic on canvas  60" x 36"  2013

"Sinner"  acrylic on canvas  32" x 44"  2013
Here's a different take on the pop-surrealism front. Flat graphic designs depicting a bewildering array of ordinary and bizarre objects from eggbeaters to brass knuckles which are superimposed upon backgrounds, other objects, clothes or even human flesh. If it is not entirely clear what the references mean or how they relate, well, don't worry about it too much. Let the odd juxtapositions exist for their own sake and measure your response subjectively. There is humor here as well as a dark pessimism. Nature flits about the devices of human violence but their relationship is not always clear. This is the heart of surrealism. Dreams create symbols by reordering context. Metaphor is not analogy. This does not represent that. Metaphor means one thing can be interpreted as almost anything else. The human mind is designed to makes novel connections and unlikely associations and in so doing discover new meanings. Art in this sense is always a participatory affair. Though the artist works in private the art itself is not complete until new eyes receive it and reinterpret it outside that intentions of its creator. So what do you think is going on? The success of such work depends on it's ability to arrest our attention and successfully invite us to play with its ideas.
You can see more at the artist's website: www.stephenhallart.com

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sally Finch

"Dryland Farming 3 Moro"  Graphite, Acrylic ink on paper  18" x 18"  2012

"Dryland Farming 4 Pullman"  Graphite, Acrylic ink on paper  18" x 18"  2012

"Dryland Farming 6 Moscow"  Graphite, Acrylic ink on paper  18" x 18"  2013

"Weather Study 19 New Delhi"  Graphite, Acrylic ink on paper  9" x 9"  2011

"Weather Study 9 Juba"  Graphite, Acrylic ink on paper  9" x 9"  2011

I'm typically attracted to art that has an immediate draw, a visceral impact that sucks you right in and either forces you to linger over the details or to simply stand back and try to imagine how it managed to grab you in the first place. This is why I'm attracted narrative art. The story telling instinct in human beings is a powerful one and narrative images compel us to expand upon them. Sally Finch's abstract work couldn't be more different. It's more analogous to science and mathematics than to any form of representational art. In science there is a truism that a subject cannot be studied if it cannot be measured. For this reason data, raw empirical numbers, measurements of events, objects and durations, form the raw material of all research. Just so, the artist begins her work with data sets that attract or interest her for various reasons, "through beauty, utility... curiosity, or the work it has taken to accumulate." Then she develops a transcription method unique to each piece so that the data is interpreted through color, shape, etc., bit by hand drawn bit. The resulting images are strangely compelling, delicate abstractions that still evoke the technical and computational nature of their source material. Without understanding the key the meaning is completely opaque, even with the context clues provided in their titles. And yet... and yet they so clearly represent something real, information is so clearly imbedded within them that their subtle beauty becomes almost secondary to the mystery of their interpretation. If her work is akin to science it is also akin to music which, like science, is also deeply inter-dependent upon mathematics. I could imagine a composer working in some similar way, creating abstract sound-scapes out of data-sets the same way Sally Finch produces her color grids. I can also imagine listening to such "music" while observing this work in a museum or gallery setting. Hm. Just a thought.  If I could have one nitpick with the artist it would be only this: I wish there were some close-ups shots of the images on her website. Because I've seen some of her work in person, and there's something deeply compelling about the minute detail of the pieces, the hand-drawn aspect to them, and the intimacy of each little tick-mark or circle of color that piles up with others to create the whole. In a data set, individual numbers are rarely interesting. That's part of the magic here. Once translated into visual form every number becomes a thing of beauty.
You can see more work on the artist's website: sallyfinch.com
or in person if you happen to be in Portland, Oregon, at Froelick Gallery

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

John Grade

La Chasse


Seeps of Winter


Elephant Bed - fabrica

Starting with the suggestion of organic forms, then blowing them up to enormous scales, often inserting them in architectural settings, John Grade creates juxtapositions that catch you off guard, stop you in rapt wonder. And that seems to me to be one of the important tasks of art, to catch you unawares so that you are, for a moment at least, transported outside yourself lost in thoughtless wonder. But ideas matter too or the art is not worth returning to even when it manages to catch you in this fashion. His work is about more than the snapshots you see here. Much of the work has a lifespan. They aren't often meant to last and so often the nature of their destruction or decay also becomes part of the process of the art. In addition to pictures there are short videos on his various installations. They don't always stay in one place either and the simple act of transporting the creations from one environment to another has a way of changing your perception of it. Which is all just to say that this is really fun, really cool stuff, and what more could you want from art anyway?
Go check it all out on his website: www.johngrade.com

And thanks to folks at www.booooooom.com for posting it before me

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kent Knowles


"Oddity"  acrylic on canvas  40" x 30"  2013

"Song"  acrylic on canvas  30" x 40"  2013

"Niagara"  acrylic on canvas  40" x 30"  2013

title unknown
Kent Knowles, in addition to being an artist, is also apparently an illustrator, an animator, a screen writer, and a parent. For those of you who don't have kids, that last bit of information makes this list all the more impressive. Despite the limitations of dividing finite time in to a plethora of pursuits, he still manages to be a prolific painter (please pardon the alliteration - it just happened that way, I swear). More importantly though, he's a very talented painter as well. He combines an obvious love of traditional techniques with a contemporary narrative sensibility. That sensibility, often lumped under the loose term of pop-surrealism, often flies in the face of twentieth century post modern concerns, embracing narrative forms, illustrational techniques and dark humor. The illustrative styles that most members of this creative tribe employ are detail oriented and tight. But Mr. Knowles, an illustrator himself, and author of the children's picture book Lucius and the Storm, uses loose confident expressionistic techniques that serves to heightens the effect of his evocative imagery. His characters, frequently young women, seem lost in a perplexing and sometimes frightening, but always fascinating, natural world. Looking back through his early work I began to wonder if his drawing style and subject matter wasn't some kind of odd amalgam of Odd Nerdum's stark surrealism and the large-limbed figures of Picasso's neo-classical phase. Maybe you could throw in a little early Lucian Freud for good measure. But whatever it's sources or inspirations the results are uniquely his own.

To see more visit the artist's website: www.kentknowles.com
You can see original work at Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsbirg, VA
and at Kai Lin Art in Atalanta, GA

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jason Borders

"Ram #4"


"Blesbok" detail

"Scapula #5" Buffalo

"Tryptich" Harte-beast (center) and Springbok


There is something very primal about our response to skulls and skeletons. Drive through any part of American ranch land and you're bound to see cow skulls placed conspicuously here and there on people's property. Walking in arid lands you may happen upon the sun bleached remains of some predator's prey, and if you're like me, you'll almost certainly stop to examine it more closely. If there's a complete skull there's an almost overwhelming desire to DO something with it. Why? Of what use is it? Such a practical consideration cannot get at the answer. Skulls stripped of all flesh and fur are like totemic objects imbued with a curious magic for the human mind. Portland, Oregon artist Jason Borders is drawn into this magic and then draws it out, heightening its effect with meditative scrollwork designs dremeled into the bone which is then stained and polished. The designs remind me of Maori face tattoos and Australian aboriginal art. There was a time in our ancient past when the difficulties of daily life demanded a kind of sequestration of thought. One might labor intensely for hours or days at an important task, not wrestling with the ever present possibilities of death or injury or the gnawing exigency of an empty belly. The task at hand must done with absolute concentration to ward these things off. This same kind of focused yet free-form unselfconscious energy was also brought to their art. Jason Borders has found a way to replicate this kind of creativity and remind us of roots that go very very deep.

His work is currently on display at Antler Gallery in Portland, unfortunately for only one more week. The walls displaying the work have also been subtly painted by the artist with the same style of line work adorning his skulls and bones. If you get a chance you really must drop in and check it out. If you can't make it on the weekend, the gallery is conveniently open until 7pm every day of the week.

You can see more images of the artist's work on his website: www.jasonborders.com (but be warned, the images are large hi-res files which can take take a while to load if your connection is slow). You can also see images online at: www.antlerpdx.com/jason-borders.html

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Michael Paul Miller

2013 - Oil on Canvas - 24 x 20

2013 - Oil on Canvas - 47 x 72

2012 - Oil on Canvas - 30 x 24

"With Teeth (elder no. 1)"
2011 - Oil on Canvas - 8 x 8

"With Teeth" (gridded 16)
Oil on Canvas - 8 x 8 each

Michael Paul Miller is an artist of the times, obsessed with the dark side of human nature and existence, depicting in detailed fascination images of destruction and chaos, both literal and allegorical. Our culture has embraced post-apocalyptic imagery like never before, not because we believe some sudden cataclysmic event is imminent but because we suspect that we are living within such an event even now, and it is us. The imagery provided by this obsession is about how we exist in such a world, what it means to survive when the very nature of survival is changing. And, of course, there is the constant reminder that we may not. The "Momento Mori" tradition in western art (literally, "remember you will die") goes straight back to the classical era of ancient Greece and Rome but it takes on a new urgency when the implications of it are not just for us as individuals, but also for us as a species. In the face of certain mortality however, we still manage to find beauty, and in even in the grimmest depictions of disaster there is something in the human spirit that responds with a visceral thrill. This strange contradictory nature of our being is the heart of what Michael Paul Miller is attempting to get at. Looking back through the work on his website you can see that it has evolved, developing and distilling his ideas and dark obsessions into works of stark and disturbing beauty.
You can see more at his website: www.mpmart.net
His work can be seen in person in Portland, Oregon at Laura Russo Gallery
or in New York city at Denise Bibro Fine Art
He currently has work on display at the Fairbanks Gallery on the campus of Oregon State University

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fabian Jean

"The Idealist's Horse"

"Last Arcadian Horse"  24" x30"  2013

"Lifeboat"  17" x30"  2013

"The Speed of Ideas"  20" x 23 3/4"  2013
"Waitress on Break"

I posted some of Fabian Jean's paintings a little over a year ago and I don't have a whole lot to add to what I said before (here). But I can't resist adding these new pieces. His work is formal, traditional, finely crafted and surprisingly alive. All too often such careful rendering and rigid compositions can result in work that fails to evoke much of anything other than recognition of the effort that went into it. But here the work radiates a quiet glow. They breathe in a way that invites the viewer into a conversation with the piece like meeting a new person who just might also be a new friend. His propensity for stylized elements that I remarked upon in my previous post has largely been abandoned. But his work continues to exhibit the same carefully choreographed theatrical feel, not in a grand or showy sense, but in a way that quietly and exquisitely renders the drama of a single image, a single moment, or a single idea.

His work can be seen in person or online at galleries in Toronto (Mira Goddard Gallery) and Montreal (Galerie de Bellefeuille) and you can see many more of his paintings at his Flickr page.

(My apologies for the long delay between posts. I had settled on posting twice a week before my interruption due to attending an art residency program. I'm not certain at what rate I will continue to post as my circumstance at home are altering slightly but I will make every effort to post new work at least once a week and hopefully twice a week as often as possible)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Antler Gallery

I feature individual artists rather than galleries, but this month there is a group show at a small space in my home of Portland, Oregon that includes several artists who have been featured on this blog. If you're in town go check it out. I myself am in eastern Oregon at an artist's residency program so my posts may be infrequent or irregular but I'll do my best. In the meantime enjoy these  "Unnatural Histories" at Antler Gallery.

Bijijoo - "Still Life with Transgenic Tomato"  oil on paper  8" x 10"
 My post on Bijijoo's work from March 2013.

Josh Keyes - "Roaming Woods"  acrylic on birch panel  20" x 24"
 Visit my post on Josh Keyes work from August 2009.

Brin Levinson - "The Farmhouse"  oil on canvas  24" x 40"

Josh MacNair - "Icthyocentaur" india ink on paper  10" x 10" 
Heiko Müller - "Girl with Mouse Head"  mixed media on wood  12" x 12"
Visit my post on Heiko Müller's work from January, 2010

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jun Kumaori

I don't know the titles, the sizes or the media for these images but what I do know is that they demonstrate a surprising and rich combination of animé style illustration and fine art craftsmanship. The two combine to create oddly touching portraits of adolescence infused with fantasy and nostalgia that somehow manages to be neither cloying nor cliché. The artist who, according to Zach Tutor at the Supersonic Electronic art blog, is only 25 is certainly someone to keep an eye on.
You can see much more at the artist's website: kumaori.info