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Jacob Lawrence (by jane davila)

Jacob Lawrence: African-American Harlem Renaissance Painter, 1917-2000

While looking for something else on the ‘net I came across an artist with whom I was completely unfamiliar. I find his graphic style very appealing and I can easily see it translated into fiber. The story-telling aspect of his work is also intriguing, it dances on the thin line between fine art and illustration.

Jacob Lawrence, Ironing
Jacob Lawrence, Ironing

“Jacob Lawrence, a figurative painter with an unequaled gift for storytelling, is renowned for visual dramatizations of the black American experience. “- Wadsworth Atheneum

Jacob Lawrence, Story Painter
Jacob Lawrence, Story Painter

Jacob Lawrence has become one of the most acclaimed African American artists of the twentieth century. His work is characterized by small scale tempera and gouache paintings of genre scenes of African Americans and their sociopolitical struggles. His work is often organized through a series, typically accompanied with a simple text which serves as a narrative, based on the artist’s careful research. Lawrence has been classified as a social realist and the style of his work is associated with Cubism. Continue reading ‘Jacob Lawrence (by jane davila)’

Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (by Jane Davila)

I’m going to do my best with a work and artist who is near and dear to June’s heart. Feel free to jump in, June and anyone else, with more and better insights.

The work is permanently installed at the Brooklyn Museum and is now open to the public. The description of the exhibit:

The Dinner Party, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized. The Dinner Party comprises a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored. The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating biographical gallery shows relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table. Pharaohs, Queens, and Goddesses is the first such exhibition.

Judy Chicago The Dinner Party
The Dinner Party, Judy Chicago, 1979

Continue reading ‘Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (by Jane Davila)’

Rufino Tamayo – (by jane davila)

Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) was a Mexican painter, a contemporary of Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Unlike the political/socialist muralists, Tamayo’s work was determinedly apolitical and was influenced by his independent studies of the modern artists of the day, his subsequent trips to New York and Paris, and his exposure to the art of the Impressionists, the Fauvists, the Cubists, the Surrealists and the Abstract Expressionists. In each case, the influence of these movements informed his art, but did not overtake or subvert it. His Mexican heritage and his lifelong, avid fascination with pre-Colombian art shows in his use of color, his subjects and the texture and the plasticity of his use of paint. He combined modern European painting styles with Mexican folk themes. By a continuous process of assimiliation and change, Tamayo turned his painting into his own visual, metaphorical language.

In Tamayo’s first period we find many still lifes, the Music mural, the Homage to Juarez and other compositions that show a certain affinity, inevitable and natural, with the work of other Mexican artists of that time. But soon he was to give up this style forever and embark on a very different adventure. Between 1926 and 1938 he painted a great many oils and gouaches, still lifes and landscapes: arches, cubes and terraces, to place him in the line of Cezanne. — Octavio Paz

Naturaleza muerta con pie, 1928
Naturaleza muerta con pie, 1928

Continue reading ‘Rufino Tamayo – (by jane davila)’

Jane Davila. Form, function and the perceived limitations of the medium

I’ve been thinking a lot about the place of art quilting within the larger fine art and fine craft worlds. Some really good points were brought up in comments June, Jaret and others made in response to other posts. I see myself as an artist who happens to work in the medium of quilt as a means of expression. I see baggage attached to the label of the medium and I also see potential in and beyond this label.

Using the word “quilt” raises an expectation in the viewer and I feel it holds a perceived limitation. “Quilt” carries with it an implied function – bedcovering, blanket, etc. “Quilt” also carries an implication of form – three layers, two dimensional, textural surface, double sided. As part of a previous discussion about the choice of “quilt” as medium, we asked what can “quilt” do that other media can’t? Are we exploiting that enough? If we do exploit it, are we challenging the viewer’s expectations? In another medium, there are artists working in embroidery, for example, who have so broken away from the perceived limitations of their medium that it is nearly unrecognizeable. Janet Edmonds immediately comes to mind.

Janet Edmonds

Janet Edmonds

I would love examples of artists pushing quilt this far.

How do artists in other media break away from the perceived limitations of both the form and function of their media? Is it necessary to break away to be taken seriously as artists? Continue reading ‘Jane Davila. Form, function and the perceived limitations of the medium’


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