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)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beth Cavener Stichter

"Tangled Up in You" with Allasandro Gallo

"Tangled Up in You"

"Tangled Up in You" detail

"The Adoration (from Van Eyck)"  Stoneware based mixed media sculpture
168 x 36 x 16 inches

"The Adoration (from Van Eyck)"  detail

"The White Hind (The Bride)"  Stoneware based mixed media sculpture
68 x 50 x 18 inches

"The White Hind (The Bride)"  detail

"The White Hind (The Bride)"  detail

"L'Amante"  Stoneware with Ceramic Glaze
45 x 60 x 44 inches

I've included a lot more images in this post than usual because the detail shots really matter. Everything about Beth Cavener Stichter's work is exquisite, from the concepts to the energetic grace of her compositions. The deft gestural surfaces of her work demonstrate the fluid grace of her hands at work and echo the fluid grace of her animals. But of course there is a tension in that grace as well. It requires the muscular tension of a dancer in peak physical condition to make dramatic motion look effortless. But it's not just physical tension that I'm talking about here. There is a psychological tension. Because her animals are not just animals. They are us. They remind us that we are animals and that more than 90% of what we do and how we act, our obsessions, our fears, desires and weaknesses, are not controlled by conscious thought, but are governed by millions of years of evolution. We are at the mercy of the animal within and no matter how much we may try to dress it up in the veneers of civilization we betray our origins every moment of every day with a tilt of the head, a gesture of the hand or a subtle shift of the eyes. And yet we seem to live in denial of all of this. Perhaps we must deny it. Perhaps the animal within requires us to constrain it with our rational cages (though it can and does escape whenever it really wants). The tension between out instinctive selves and our self-conscious selves and how it plays out in complex human behavior is the subject of her work. Though it can sometimes be grotesque or sorrowful, lonesome or bitter, it always moving, and it is always beautiful, because it is life.

You can see more of her work at her website: www.followtheblackrabbit.com
Or at Claire Oliver in New York City

"Tangled Up in You" was done in collaboration with Allasandro Gallo and was featured recently in High Fructose where you can see more detailed images of it including the process of its creation.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Deborah Simon

"Ursus Americanus" (Black Bear)
polymer clay, faux fur, linen, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, glass, wire and foam,
22”H x 25”D x 19”W, 2013
. Photo by Dan Wonderly

Black Bear - detail

"Ursus Arctos Horribilus"  (Grizzly Bear)
polymer clay, faux fur, linen, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, glass, wire and foam,
22”H x 25”D x 19”W, 2013. Photo by Dan Wonderly
"Ursus Maritimus" (Polar Bear)
polymer clay, faux fur, linen, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, glass, wire and foam,
22”H x 25”D x 19”W, 2012. Photo by Dan Wonderly
Coyote Puppets
30”L x 15”H x 6”W each, polymer clay, epoxy, fake fur, wire, glass eyes, and foam.

Deborah Simon's "Flayed Bears" series is just one aspect of an artist whose work ranges from sculpture and installation to performance and painting.  Inspired by evolutionary thinking and fascinated by western science's obsession with collecting, cataloging and labeling she creates extraordinary creatures as lifelike as she can make them, but always slightly off, or out of place, jarring us into that state of wonder that is the province of the arts. In the "flayed bears" series, the initial image is a slightly grotesque one, but closer inspection reveals that the anatomical structures are rendered in exquisite needlework. It is such an odd choice but it gives the work an intimate feel of handcrafted care so at odds with the cold objectifying nature of dissection and vivisection evoked by the imagery. Her coyote puppets (above) were part of a multi-media presentation called "Coyote Pursues" in which the two central characters explore "an austere world newly bereft of people". I would simply love to see video of these two in motion, but alas, that is not available on her website. Plenty of other images are however, so go take a look at www.deborahsimon.net

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eric Joyner

"Lunch Break"


"All Wrapped Up Again"

"Home Away From Home"

"Jungle Trek"
It's odd. This morning I suddenly had a craving for a donut. I don't eat donuts all that often often. But I like them. Only I'm at work and there's no place nearby to get one. So instead, I thought it was high time to revisit the work of Eric Joyner. He has turned donuts and toy robots into his personal iconography. Armed with a real talent for traditional realism, an exuberant sense of humor and a wry taste for nostalgia he has created what can modestly be described as a unique body of work. I can imagine someone saying that this isn't really serious art. To which the only reply could possibly be, hooray! Serious art can be great, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it's all just so... well, serious. It can give you a headache after a while. The perfect remedy for that sort of thing might be right here. Of course you can't fill up on donuts all the time, but every now and then they're just the thing.
His website is very complete and includes full galleries for every year going back to 2000. So go, and enjoy: ericjoyner.com

Thursday, February 6, 2014

"Brink" at Antler Gallery

My favorite little gallery in Portland is Antler. The title of their current group show is fairly self explanatory. More and more creatures teeter on the edge of oblivion and more and more fall off that edge every year. A new mass extinction event like the one that killed off the dinosaurs is well under way. And it depresses the hell out of me. But small glimmering bits of light may circle such ominous events and this show is an example. 20% of sales go to the Audobon Society of Portland which does some very fine work. Not that they can do anything to slow the crisis or even make a dent, but we must look for light wherever we find it, especially in the dark.

Kevin Sloan  "Birds of America: Memorabilia"   acrylic on canvas  20" x24"
Juan Travieso  "Endangered Bird #130"  acrylic and ink on yupo  10" x 10"

Neal M. Perry  "Abyss (Polar Bear & Mangrove Rat Snake)"  acrylic on wood 13" x 23"

 Annie Owens  "Island"  watercolor and acrylic on paper  24" x 16"
Josh Keyes  "The Messengers"  acrylic on wood  12" x 20"