Feature: Sunday Painter | Bob Law

Feature: Sunday Painter | Bob Law

One of the founding artists of British Minimalism, Bob Law, this week’s #SundayPainter

_

English painter and sculptor. He was taught drawing and watercolour painting as a child by his maternal grandmother but otherwise received no formal artistic training. In 1957 he moved to St Ives, Cornwall, where he painted and made pots. In 1959 he made his first ‘field’ images (see 1978 exh. cat., figs B, C and D), mystically minimalist records of his response to the natural environment, which set the pattern for all his subsequent work. Between 1961 and 1964 he extended these into Metaphysical Field Paintings (see 1978 exh. cat., fig. L) incorporating hieroglyphic symbols. The paintings of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman were to prove a particular inspiration to him, as was his exploration of both Eastern and Western philosophy, psychology, palaeontology, poetry and alchemy. In the mid 1960s he instituted a long series of ‘black’ paintings, which were his best-known contribution to Minimalism. Although they might at first appear to be dark monochromes, they in fact consist of a subtle layering of different colours in a particular sequence as indicated in titles such as No. 88 Black Black Blue Violet (1974; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.). From 1978 he concentrated primarily on sculpture, with which he had experimented briefly in the early 1960s.

( http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bob-law-1476 )

Feature: Sunday Painter | Georg Baselitz

Georg Baselitz

German Neo-Expressionist painting, Georg Baselitz (zʇᴉlǝsɐq ƃɹoǝפ) is this week’s #SundayPainter.

_

In the 1960s, Georg Baselitz emerged as a pioneer of German Neo-Expressionist painting. His work evokes disquieting subjects rendered feverishly as a means of confronting the realities of the
modern age and explores what it is to be German and a German artist in a
postwar world. In the late 1970s his iconic “upside-down” paintings, in
which bodies, landscapes, and buildings are inverted within the picture
plane, ignoring the realities of the physical world, make obvious the
artifice of painting. Drawing upon a dynamic and myriad pool of
influences, including art of the Mannerist period, African sculptures,
and Soviet era illustration art, Baselitz developed a distinct painting
language.

Georg Baselitz (b. 1938, Deutschbaselitz, Saxony) lives and works near
Munich, Germany and in Imperia, Italy. Public collections include Museum
Ludwig, Cologne; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of
Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London. Major museum exhibitions
include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995, traveled to Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,
Washington, D.C., and Nationalgalerie, Berlin); “Aquarelles
Monumentales,” Albertina, Vienna (2003); Royal Academy of Arts, London
(2007, traveled to MADRE, Naples, through 2008); “Prints: 1964 to 1983,”
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); Galleria Borghese, Rome (2011);
Pinacoteca, São Paulo, Brazil (2011); “Baselitz as Sculptor,” Musée
d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011–12); Essl Museum, Vienna
(2013); Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2013); Guggenheim Museum
Bilbao, Spain (2013); and “Georg Baselitz: Remix,” Albertina, Vienna
(2014). A major survey of Baselitz’s paintings and sculpture is on view
at Haus der Kunst, Munich through February 1, 2015.

 

( http://www.gagosian.com/artists/georg-baselitz  )

Feature: Sunday Painter | Amy Sillman

Powerful, chaotic absraction from this week’s #SundayPainter, American artist Amy Sillman.

_

Amy Sillman’s work foregrounds the materiality of painting and its formal, psychological, and conceptual dimensions. She constructs her work in a physical way—through gesture, color, and drawing-based procedures—and imbues it with questions of feminism, performativity, and humor. Sillman earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and her MFA from Bard College in 1995. She has received numerous awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Louise Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, the Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin in 2009. Her work has been widely exhibited and is included in numerous public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The first large scale survey of her work, curated by Helen Molesworth, will premier at the ICA Boston in October 2013. The exhibition will also travel to the Aspen Art Museum and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Feature: Sunday Painter | Marlene Dumas

South African born artist and painter Marlene Dumas is this week’s #SundayPainter

Marlene Dumas (1953) grew up with her two older brothers in Jacobsdal, her father’s winery in Kuilsrivier, South Africa. With Afrikaans as her mother tongue she went to the English-language University of Cape Town in 1972. There she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1975. With a two-year scholarship, she opted to come to Europe and more specifically to the Netherlands because of the language kinship. As well as visual art, language is an important means of expression for Dumas. She gives her exhibitions and individual works striking titles, writes texts about her paintings and makes commentaries on her own pieces. These texts are collected in the publication, Sweet Nothings (1998).

In the Netherlands she worked at Ateliers ‘63 in Haarlem from 1976 to 1978. Twenty years later, in 1998, she returned to art school De Ateliers, now based in Amsterdam, as a permanent staff member. In addition, Marlene Dumas has taught at several other Dutch art institutes.

In 1978, she exhibited her work for the first time, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Work by René Daniels and Ansuya Blom also featured in this exhibition, called Atelier 15 (10 Young Artists). In 1982, her work was shown in Basel, in the exhibition Junge kunst aus die Niederlanden. In the same year, Rudi Fuchs asked her to take part in Documenta 7. In 1983, she got her first solo show, Unsatisfied Desire, at Gallery Helen van der Meij / Paul Th. Andriesse in Amsterdam. In 1984, the Centraal Museum Utrecht became the first museum to invite her to do a solo exhibition. Dumas responded with a collection of collages, texts and works on paper under the title Ons Land Licht Lager dan de Zee. In 1985, The Eyes of the Night Creatureswas her first exhibition devoted solely to painting.

Since the late eighties, her work has been featured in European group exhibitions in museums such as the Tate Gallery in London, under the title Art from Europe (1987) and in Bilderstreit in Cologne (1989). Her first major solo exhibition opened abroad three months after the birth of her daughter in the Kunsthalle in Berne: The Question of Human Pink (1989). In 1992, all the halls of the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven were dedicated to her exhibition Miss Interpreted. This solo show was followed by a tour of Europe and then America. In 1992 her work was also shown at Documenta IX, at the invitation of Jan Hoet. Her first solo gallery show in New York at Jack Tilton received the appropriate title Not from Here. That was in 1994, the year of the first free democratic elections in South Africa. It was also the year in which she exhibited at the Frith Street Gallery in London, along with her contemporaries Juan Muñoz and Thomas Schütte. In 1995, Chris Dercon made the selection for the Dutch contribution to the Venice Biennale, choosing three women: Marlene Dumas, Marijke van Warmerdam and Mary Roossen.

From the mid-nineties, Dumas’ work featured in exhibitions of art from the Netherlands, such as Du concept à l’image (Paris, 1994). She also participated in international, interdisciplinary projects including The 21st Century (Basel, 1993), with Damien Hirst, Roni Horn and others, and the Carnegie International (Pittsburgh, 1995). In 1996, her sparring partners at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC included Mike Kelley, Thomas Schütte, Robert Gober and Rachel Whiteread. The exhibition was entitled, Distemper: Dissonant Themes in the Art of the 1990s. In 1993, Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, staged Dumas’ show, Give the People What They Want. The works in this exhibition then went on to become part of the ‘Der Spiegel zerbrochene’, Positionen zur Malerei (1993), curated by Kaspar König and H.U. Obrist. Other participating artists included Luc Tuymans and Gerhard Richter. Other important exhibitions devoted to painting in which Dumas was represented included Trouble Spot: Painting (1999), Painting at the Edge of the World (2001) and The Painting of Modern Life (2007). Her work has also featured in exhibitions with a focus on Africa, such as the Africus Biennale in Johannesburg (1995) and in Africa Remix (2004-2006).

Although Marlene Dumas has had Dutch nationality since 1989, she has said:

Someone once remarked that I could not be a South African artist and a Dutch artist,
that I could not have it both ways.
I don’t want it both ways.
I want it more ways.

Dumas’ work spans over thirty years. In 2001, Jonas Storsve of the Centre Pompidou staged the first retrospective of her works on paper under the title Nom de Personne. This exhibition was subsequently featured in the New Museum, New York, and in the De Pont Museum in Tilburg, under the title, Name no Names. Between 2007 and 2009 a retrospective of her entire oeuvre, in varying combinations, toured three continents. Starting in Japan under the name Broken White, the overview travelled to South Africa with the title, Intimate Relations. It was the first time that so much of Dumas’ work could be seen on her native soil. The retrospective concluded its tour at the Museum for Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and The Menil in Houston, where it was called, Measuring Your Own Grave.

( http://www.marlenedumas.nl/biography/biography-johannes-vermeer-prize/ )

Feature: Sunday Painer | Josef Albers

Following on from the abstraction of last week’s Sunday Painter Carol Robertson, this week we have a master of the art and pioneer of the Bauhaus and the Black Mountain College; Josef Albers.

_

Josef Albers, who played a leading role in transmitting the modern design principles of the Bauhaus to the United States, was born in Germany in 1888. As a young man he was a teacher, but also spent much time visiting museums in Hagen and Munich, where he was first exposed to the paintings of Cézanne, Matisse, van Gogh, and Gauguin. In 1915 he earned a diploma from the Royal Art School in Berlin and later attended the School of Applied Arts in Essen. He moved to Munich in 1920 to study at the academy, and one year later enrolled at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where he met leaders of avant-garde art: Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Walter Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe. He began to work in stained glass and printmaking and in 1923 became the first Bauhaus student promoted to the role of instructor, teaching the introductory course. When the Nazis closed the school in 1933, Albers and his wife Anni, a textile artist at the Bauhaus, were invited to Black Mountain College in North Carolina. This important school of art attracted leading artists and talented students, many of whom forged notable careers in later years.

Albers is well known for his compositions that explore the relationships of color through a single, simple form, usually the square. In choosing the square, Albers revealed his knowledge of the work of Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, both of whom had explored the form’s spiritual and formal possibilities. Albers was also aware of the Neo-Platonic significance of the square as a pure form. His main interest, though, was in color and understanding the rules guiding visual experience, an interest that had been sparked at the Bauhaus by Paul Klee’s introductory courses, where superimposed squares demonstrated compositional and spatial effects. Albers developed his own theories regarding spatial effects, contrasts, and harmonies of colors and in 1963 published an influential book Interaction of Color, which elucidated his color theories. He was a key faculty member at Black Mountain College until 1949, though he also taught at times at Harvard University and lectured in Latin America. In 1950 Albers became the head of the Department of Design at Yale University. A venerated teacher and theorist, Albers died in New Haven in 1976.

( http://www.phillipscollection.org/research/american_art/bios/albers-bio.htm )

Walls of Water | Maggi Hambling

Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

National Gallery | 26 November 2014 – 15 February 2015

The National Gallery celebrates the return of Maggi Hambling, its first Artist in Residence.

One of Britain’s most significant and controversial painters and sculptors, Maggi Hambling, exhibits a new series of dramatic paintings, which have never been seen in public before.

Occupying Room 1, Hambling’s eight works are vast, intense and energetic, measuring over six by seven feet, with another ninth, smaller canvas that was produced in response to the death of Amy Winehouse in 2011.

Through turbulence and exuberant colour, Hambling continues to affirm painting’s immediacy, saying “The crucial thing that only painting can do is to make you feel as if you’re there while it’s being created – as if it’s happening in front of you.”

Inspired by Hambling’s experience of gigantic waves crashing onto the sea wall at Southwold, Suffolk – the county where she was born, still lives and which has often inspired her work – the works offer visitors a contemporary parallel to the seascapes by Norwegian artist Peder Balke concurrently displayed in the Sunley Room.

Maggi Hambling is represented in all major British collections from the British Museum to Tate. Her sculpture ‘Scallop’ (2003) is permanently sited on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, as a monument to composer Benjamin Britten. In 2013 she was the subject of a solo presentation at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; and her acclaimed series ‘North Sea Paintings’, begun in 2002, was most recently seen in ‘Maggi Hambling: The Wave’ at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2010).

Feature: Sunday Painter | Georgia O’Keeffe

Following on from the news a few days ago that a Georgia O’Keeffe artwork broke the auction record for a work by a female artist, this week’s Sunday Painter features the work of the acclaimed painter.

Flowers, landscapes, shells, skulls, natural forms, leaves…skyscrapers… O’keeffe’s focus was broad across her long career.

_

Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, the second of seven children, and grew up on a farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. As a child she received art lessons at home, and her abilities were quickly recognized and encouraged by teachers throughout her school years. By the time she graduated from high school in 1905, O’Keeffe had determined to make her way as an artist. 

O’Keeffe pursued studies at the Art Institute of Chicago (1905–1906) and at the Art Students League, New York (1907–1908), where she was quick to master the principles of the approach to art-making that then formed the basis of the curriculum—imitative realism. In 1908, she won the League’s William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting Untitled (Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot). Shortly thereafter, however, O’Keeffe quit making art, saying later that she had known then that she could never achieve distinction working within this tradition.

FULL CHRONOLOGY

Her interest in art was rekindled four years later (1912) when she took a summer course for art teachers at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, taught by Alon Bement of Teachers College, Columbia University. Bement introduced O’Keeffe to the then revolutionary ideas of his colleague at Teachers College, artist and art educator Arthur Wesley Dow.

Dow believed that the goal of art was the expression of the artist’s personal ideas and feelings and that such subject matter was best realized through harmonious arrangements of line, color, and notan (the Japanese system of lights and darks). Dow’s ideas offered O’Keeffe an alternative to imitative realism, and she experimented with them for two years, while she was either teaching art in the Amarillo, Texas public schools (1912-14) or working summers in Virginia as Bement’s assistant.

O’Keeffe was in New York again from fall 1914 to June 1915, taking courses at Teachers College. By the fall of 1915, when she was teaching art at Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina, she decided to put Dow’s theories to the test. In an attempt to discover a personal language through which she could express her own feelings and ideas, she began a series of abstract charcoal drawings that are now recognized as being among the most innovative in all of American art of the period. She mailed some of these drawings to a former Columbia classmate, who showed them to the internationally known photographer and art impresario, Alfred Stieglitz, on January 1, 1916.

Stieglitz began corresponding with O’Keeffe, who returned to New York that spring to attend classes at Teachers College, and he exhibited 10 of her charcoal abstractions in May at his famous avant-garde gallery, 291, which O’Keeffe knew he would do, but was uncertain of when. A year later, he closed the doors of this important exhibition space with a one-person exhibition of O’Keeffe’s work. In the spring of 1918 he offered O’Keeffe financial support to paint for a year in New York, which she accepted, moving there from Texas, where she had been affiliated with West Texas State Normal College, Canyon, since the fall of 1916. By the time she arrived in New York in June, she and Stieglitz, who were married in 1924, had fallen in love and subsequently lived and worked together in New York (winter and spring) and at the Stieglitz family estate at Lake George, New York (summer and fall) until 1929, when O’Keeffe spent the first of many summers painting in New Mexico.

From 1923 until his death in 1946, Stieglitz worked assiduously and effectively to promote O’Keeffe and her work, organizing annual exhibitions of her art at The Anderson Galleries (1923–1925), The Intimate Gallery (1925–1929), and An American Place (1929–1946). As early as the mid-1920s, when O’Keeffe first began painting New York skyscrapers as well as large-scale depictions of flowers as if seen close up, which are among her best-known pictures, she had become recognized as one of America’s most important and successful artists.

Three years after Stieglitz’s death, O’Keeffe moved from New York to her beloved New Mexico, whose stunning vistas and stark landscape configurations had inspired her work since 1929.  Indeed, many of the pictures she painted in New Mexico, especially her landscape paintings of the area, have become as well known as the work she had completed earlier in New York. Indeed, her ability to capture the essence of the natural beauty of northern New Mexico desert, its vast skies, richly colored landscape configurations and unusual architectural forms, has identified the area as “O’Keeffe Country,”  Indeed, the area nourished O’Keeffe’s creative efforts from 1929 until 1984, when failing eyesight forced her into retirement. She lived either at her Ghost Ranch house, which she purchased in 1940, or at the house she purchased in Abiquiu in 1945.  

She made New Mexico her permanent home in 1949, three years after Stieglitz’s death, and continued working in oil until the mid–1970s.  She worked in pencil and watercolor until 1982 and produced objects in clay from the mid-1970s until two years before her death in 1986, at the age of 98.

Feature: Sunday Painter | Cecily Brown

Sunday Painter this week, New York-based British artist, Cecily Brown.

_

Painter Cecily Brown lives and works in New York City. She has been in this studio, a former office near Union Square, for two years, since she moved from the nearby meat-packing district.

It is a lovely airy space, with much evidence of the presence of the four-year-old daughter of her marriage to her architecture-critic  husband Nicolai Ouroussoff. Brown was born in 1969 in London; her mother is the writer Shena Mackay and her father is the late art critic David Sylvester. She is that oxymoron, a fashionable painter, with waiting lists of collectors queuing up for her paintings.

Brown has just opened a show in LA and is jet-lagged, although she still manages to look the image of the chic artist. She tells me that the works surrounding us are not finished, but are all in various stages. She works on up to 20 paintings at a time, allowing them to dry in between so she can be as gestural as she wants to be when she goes into a work.

I have not seen a show of her works for a few years and am surprised by the sheer number of recognisable figures in her paintings. I have always associated Brown with gestural, juicy paint, often reminiscent of Willem de Kooning, an artist whose work she openly admires. Looking around, she admits that the recent works are a departure from the obscured and more thickly applied paintings. “I have been looking at Munch and Beckmann. I find as I get more assured of the fact that I can paint, I don’t mind if my influences show.”

I ask about the parallel shift in subject matter and she replies: “I felt  I had been doing female nudes long enough.” As for the notable variety of faces: “As I’m painting, each face has  a library in my mind. I have been teetering back and forth with a narrative recently. With a sea of faces you have to address the face differently, each gives the other permission – they can be photographic or cartoony.”

Brown came to NY after studying at the Slade. She worked as a waitress to make ends meet and then got a job in an animation studio where, during her spare time in the evenings, she made her one and only film, an erotic work that made me blush when I saw it.

Brown says that painting a lot “takes the pressure off”. She tells me that her friend and fellow painter Charline von Heyl gave her the best definition of what painting needs to be: “the left-hand corner does not prepare me for the right-hand corner”. It must always be “unpredictable.” She points to a large canvas in progress, predominantly blue with a recognisable cavorting goat in the foreground.  “I am not sure about that work; it  came to me too easily.”

( http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/in-the-studio-cecily-brown-painter-8970291.html )

Anselm Kiefer

Royal Academy, London

Anselm Kiefer has an unmissable show on now at the Royal Academy.

27 September — 14 December 2014

_

www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/anselm-kiefer :

Over the last decade, our single artist shows have captured the imagination of the public. Always large in scale, ambitious in scope and astonishing in execution, we’ve seen artists including Anish Kapoor and David Hockney take on our Main Galleries. Now, this autumn, it’s the turn of a man described as “a colossus of contemporary art” to make his mark: Anselm Kiefer.

This will be the most significant exhibition of the German artist’s work ever held in the UK, spanning his entire 40 year career and unveiling new work created in direct response to our spaces.

Kiefer’s extraordinary body of work includes painting, sculpture and quite simply monumental installations. Uncompromising in the subject matter he tackles, Kiefer’s work powerfully captures the human experience and draws on history, mythology, literature, philosophy and science.

Full of brave and provocative work, this exhibition will be a testament to the career of a man driven to confront himself and the audience with the big and complex issues of our world’s past, present and future.