Posts Tagged 'art'

Still Lifes of Georgio Morandi (by Clairan Ferrono)

Still Life 1956

Still Life 1956

 

I was introduced to the work of Georgio Morandi several years ago by my friend Barbara Fitzpatrick, who is an architect, painter, and now my drawing instructor.  At first I was puzzled by her enthusiasm for what looked to me like dull, repetitive, almost monochromatic, paintings of bottles and boxes? painted chunks of cement? blocks of old cheese?  I couldn’t even always make out what the objects were.  But Barb assured me I should keep on looking.  So look I did.  And the work began to intrigue me.

 

Still Life

Still Life

 

And I found myself going back to look again and again. The paintings are quiet, deceptively simple.  The objects can appear both flat and 3 dimensional at the same time.

 

Natura Morta II

Natura Morta II

 

Despite the apparent lack of color, there are many subtle shifts of value.

Still Life 1946

Still Life 1946

Still Life 1952

Still Life 1952

 still Life 1955


still Life 1955

 

When I first started drawing with Barb as my teacher, she had us look at Morandi carefully and attempt to draw one of his still lifes.   And it was then that I really started to look at the relationships among his objects, the shapes and volumes of his forms, the spaces between the bottles and boxes, the shadows, the subtle textural shifts, the places where one object almost, almost fades into another, but just doesn’t quite. or perhaps, in fact,  does.

Still Life 1960

Still Life 1960

 

But the aha! moment really came very recently.  I had been working on a piece and I knew it was close to finished,  but I was reverse appliqueing shapes to a background and I couldn’t get them quite right. I was satisfied with the shapes themselves and the background was good too. But they wouldn’t come together.  And then, the Morandi moment. . . . I remembered to look at the negative space.  And that was it.  Bang, they came together.  Thank you Morandi (and Barbara).

 

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Clay and Fiber: More in Common Than You Think (by Karen Musgrave)

In September 2012, I decided to move outside of my comfort zone and take a pottery/ceramics class. In addition to learning the art, I began studying the history and the work of ceramic artists. I discovered that the historical flow of knowledge and influence began in China then moved to Korea and finally to Japan. I choose to spend some time studying Japanese ceramics because I could more easily find translations and information. As I studied, I was struck by the many similarities between ceramics and quilts. There is the art vs. craft debate. Despite names like “bowl,” “jar,” or “vessel,” that imply some sort of practical function, pieces are created with the idea that personal fulfillment and self-expression are often more important than practical utility and commercial success. There is also the tension between the traditionalists and those who breaking away from tradition.  And finally, there is the educated vs the self taught debate.  It is my hope that this provides food for thought.

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Kishi Eiko (1948-) took archeology and anthropology courses in college, studied dyeing and painting and art history before taking up clay. She has no formal ties to a ceramic tradition. This independence has enabled her to develop a unique style. She uses a technique of her own invention, which she calls “color inlay” and usually works on two pieces at a time for months at a time. This piece took three months to make. “It is only in making my work that I understand where the piece is going.”

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Katsumata Chieko’s (1950-) work reflects a distinctive ceramic education. All her formal training took place in France, where she traveled with a plan to study industrial design. A meeting with Texas-born potter Fance Franck inspired her to pursue a ceramic career.  Her love of ancient artifacts bearing the marks of time owes something to the sixteen-century Japanese tea-ceremony masters and the aesthetic of wabi sabi. Yet Katsumata uses colors that are far removed from those traditional Japanese ceramics. “I am attracted to things…that convey the passing of time.”

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Yabe Makoto (1947-2005) lived and worked full-time outside of Japan. He began studying ceramics at 18 and completed his training at twenty-four, following a four-year apprenticeship with Shikokai, a small avant-garde group. He moved to Massachusetts in 1977 and remained in the U.S. until his death. Yabe experimented with the demanding nerikomi marbling technique that originated in Tang-dynasty China ((618-907). His work reflects the struggle between functionality and expression. “Mostly, it doesn’t come out as I expected!”

A great book to lean more about contemporary Japanese ceramics is Contemporary Clay: Japanese Ceramics for the New Century by Joe Earle (2005, MFA Publications). I look forward to your thoughts.

Aesthetic Appeal: Is it in our DNA? – By Kate Themel

Why do smooth organic shapes appeal to some people while others are drawn to stripes and zig-zags? Our emotional response to art is undeniable, but why we react is the tougher question. Scientists think the answer may be in our genes.

Above Left: Bleu II by Joan Miro

Above Left: Isiquabetho and Iqoma Bowls, traditional Zulu grain bowls

Continue reading ‘Aesthetic Appeal: Is it in our DNA? – By Kate Themel’

Craft vs. Art, one more time – Angela Moll

Yes, I know that this debate is supposed to be over, that this issue is so yesterday… Except it is not over. Many of my fellow quilt artists, as an example, are running away from the word “quilt” like the plague, and for good reason. A couple of recent articles have inspired me to bring this issue up with you, Ragged Cloth Cafe regulars. Here we are: sitting at our tables, a cup of coffee and our laptops on the table. It is just the place to engage in eternal debates, like the artists of the Parisian avant-garde whiling away their afternoons endlessly discussing those issues that refuse to go away.

The tension between modern craft and fine art had been stirring in the back of my mind for a while, when I chanced upon Paul Greenhalgh’s piece in American Craft (vol 67, n. 5, p. 121). Greenhalgh describes how the treatment that modern art historians granted the different visual arts have determined their economic and social fate in the 20th century. “Painting existed and thrived in the 20th century as part of the discourse of modernity”. However, “the concept of craft (…) is something the modern leaves behind (…). To be ignored in the project of modernity is to be denied space within the cultural hierarchy, and it largely explains the philosophical, cultural, and, alas, economic, state of things.”

Anna von Mertens, MATRIX 207/Suggested North Points

Anna von Mertens, “MATRIX 207/Suggested North Points”, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California, 2003. Photo courtesy of Jean-Michel Addor.

Continue reading ‘Craft vs. Art, one more time – Angela Moll’


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