I finally finished a piece that has caused me a great deal of angst, then joy. Work on this canvass has been ongoing for over a year. It has been reworked at least three times. Translation: I have said “I hate this!” at least three times. That is the wonderful thing about exploring creative outlets. It is called Woods.
I am delighted to have come across the work of Bill Miller. Bill Miller creates images made from recycled linoleum and vinyl flooring cut into pieces and thoughtfully put together into rich, warm, folksy, provocative and emotional works of art.
His subject matter ranges from John and Yoko’s “bed-in” to the Cleveland Zoo, a portrait of Abe Lincoln and bucolic landscapes. One can feel a soul in these images, a personal connection, some how. The worn but colorful mosaic of flooring pieces seem to hold a sort of presence, a “je ne sais quoi”.
There is something more. I cannot help but to be reminded of Paul Cezanne paintings. I’ve put a few together for comparison. See for yourself:
Do you realize how much art is out there? I would love to see statistics: ratio of population to product. How many of us create or do art formally? There is a huge body of work out there – people are speaking, writing, painting, sculpting, dancing, composing – expressing. (Why? Because they have to) Is it all art? I think so.
“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known” – Oscar Wilde
As individuals, we may not like everything we see or hear. We may be partial to a genre and within that genre have our own preferences. We like what communicates to us something that may have gone on in our own brain. We connect with the artist in that way and the artist connects with us.
Art is symbol of thought. Art is communication of thought. Some of it is recognized with universal interest.
I am on my way to visit “Huong’s Peace Mural”, 3336 M St., NW, Washington D.C. The video captures the artist talking about why she created this body of work. She made me cry. I have to see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpaeTDZcEOs
Certain art has a way of overtaking your brain like water laden acrylic drippings, filling crevaces. I found this happening to me with the works of Iona Rozeal Brown.
I did not expect it to happen. This is not the art to which I usually gravitate. Yet, it makes me think again and again. She combines the delicacy of Asian artistry with gangsta graffiti pop. For example, “Shapeshifta” is a Samurai with an Afro making sexual gestures, has bold clean lines on a delicate backdrop – blue and brown and gold. There is no grit, only juxtapositions of a harsh subject matter and delicate style. Let’s face it, words are inferior. That is exactly why we have people making art like this. Look for yourself. This work and others are exhibited at G Fine Art in Washington D.C. : http://www.gfineartdc.com/artists-detail.cfm?recordID=8
Ms. Brown has expressed a sore place of confusion with mixed races, making it beautiful. I would love to meet her.
I realize that I am all over the place in my discussions. The Arts and Humanities are broad subjects. I go where the spirit moves me. Won’t you join me?
Today, I read that the National Gallery of Art has obtained a collection of depression era prints from Dave and Reba Williams. Included in the collection are works by Jolan Gross Bettelheim and Louis Lozowick. They capture an essence of the time in which they lived. One female, one male – both were immigrants to the U.S. from Eastern Bloc countries.
Bettelheim’s work created in the late 1930’s can be compared to images you might see in an “Alien” film; very dark, some simultaneously bulbous and sharp, with tentacle like features; Less industrial, more oppressively militaristic, very rich imagery that comes from the darker mental recesses. http://keithsheridan.com/bettelheim.html
Many of Louis Lozowick’s works are gritty with industrial machine soot, yet, his lines are clean and orderly. In “Winter Fun”, Central Park, 1941 lithograph, is wonderful contrast of light and dark – technically and subjectively. Children sledding in the foreground on newly fallen white snow against a backdrop of a gritty New York skyline, settled in a bleak grey sky. I see hope in this one, which is interesting, considering that around the time he made this work, December, 1941, the U.S. was pulled into the war and Moscow was being surrounded by German forces. Lozowick emigrated from Kiev to the U.S. around 1907.
His “Coney Island”, 1935 casein on paper, renders a darkly frightening composite of carnival machinery. It doesn’t make me happy – more like being in the presence of a scary clown.
We live in different times, although world economic woes, wars, fear, poverty, inhumane acts of aggression against humanity are not happy places either. I am interested in the art that will come of this.
How’s this for dark and gritty?
It is times like these that propel artists into creative frenzies. There is much to communicate. I maintain that all art communicates something. Art is expression. Artists create symbols of thoughts, like extensions of words.
“If the world were clear, art would not exist” – Albert Camus
I like this quote simply and by itself. Nothing is clear; human beings strive to know their world, get clarity. So, we question everything. Our questions have given sight to a universe, metaphorically and literally. Through the eye of a telescope, we can spy on the universe – and ask more questions then reveal more. Our technology provides us with new ways to communicate and create. You might ask a software developer why they like building software. It is as exciting as making a sculpture or a painting to other artists. That is the thing I am trying to get to –
It is the artist in every one of us that communicates thoughts. It is an amazing thing, how we communicate. From one brain to another – symbols fly.
Support for the arts and artists happens here.
It will be interesting to see the art that comes from these difficult and changing times. Artists communicate the temperature and pulse of the human condition.
Explore with me. Do we need art? If so, why? What is art, really?