Friday, 29 May 2009

Stefan Luchian

Peisaj de la Moinest

The Well on Clucerului Street

"His study life began at the Fine Arts School in Bucharest (1885-1889), to continue for one year in Munich at the Academy of Fine Arts, and to get its accomplishment in Paris at the Julian Academy (1891-1892). In the country, he was among the artists who in 1896 took part in the organization of the "Non-affiliated Artists' Exhibition". Two years later, he was one of the founders of the "Ileana" Artistic Society. After he had participated in 1892 in the "Artistic Youth Exhibition", his reputation as a painter was well-established. At the dawn of the 20th century, Luchian was the Romanian painter with the most remarkable creation. He had inspiredly followed Grigorescu's and Andreescu's art , his two famous predecessors and fathers of the Romanian painting . After a serene childhood , blessed with the natural beauties of the vineyards overshadowing the Prut river banks and of the river meadows, his existence took a dramatical course in that he had to make passionate and painful efforts for his artistic fame, given his temperament of either excitement or despondency and the tragedy of a suffering leading to a premature death. His art is full of life and pathetical joy for everyday waking in the clear daylight. With him light intensity makes the solidity of forms, in an impressionistic touch. His preference for a solid form, where senses associate reason, is visible in both the elements of the composition and the selection of colours. The secret of keeping the picture balance, which he possesses, makes the painter avoid an image dispersion and realise a good capturing of the real scenes. A series of motifs- bunches of flowers or prints with vegetal models on, etc.-, certain pictorial intuitions , say, a subtle intertwining of curves and countercurves, remind the viewers of the artist's apprentice years and his congeniality with the Art Nouveau style (see Stilul 1900 the 1900 Style). He perfectly knows how to integrate such motifs in the whole, letting the picture absorb the flow of his sensibility. A remarkably clear composition will result and a rare emotion will be shared. He painted landscapes and portraits as much as he painted compositions and still life, especially flowers. His landscapes equally show the interest in picturesque sights of nature for once and in the symbiosis between abundant vegetation and human appearances for another."

alinka echeverría - underwater photography

the unbearable lightness of being


Jorge Colombo - New Yorker Cover (created on the iphone)

from CR blog

The drawing was created by Colombo in just an hour, while he stood outside the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Times Square. "I got a phone in the beginning of February and I immediately got the programme so I could entertain myself," says the artist on the New Yorker website, where a film of his process can also be viewed. "Before, unless I had a flashlight or a miner's hat, I could not draw in the dark." Colombo also stated that drawing on the phone had the advantage of allowing him to draw without being noticed, although he does mention one drawback of phone painting: that when the sun is up, it is hard to see, "because of the glare on the phone".

There are many more of his pictures on the CR blog.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Paintings in Synecdoche

The miniature paintings done by the wife of Caden in the brilliant film Synecdoche are actually regular size paintings by the artist Alex Kanevsky, and very good they are too. More here

Friday, 22 May 2009

Chuck Close

Chuck Thomas Close (born July 5, 1940, Monroe, Washington) is an American painter and photographer who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits. Though a catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed, after regaining the ability to use his hands Chuck Close continued to paint and produce work which remains sought after by museums and collectors.

The above image is a portrait of Chuck Close, contrary to many peoples beliefs it is not a black and white photograph but is in fact an acrylic painting on canvas. It is called Big Self Portrait and was created between 1967 and 1968.

Mark (1978 - 1979), Chuck Close. Acrylic on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

A recent interview with Chuck Close at his New York studio can be seen at:


Production of the Emma print took over eighteen months to complete. Also in the Gates commons is an etching of Close's daughter, Georgia, made completely from impressions of Close's fingerprint, and an incredibly detailed linoleum-cut self-portrait (both shown below). Close's prints and printmaking techniques are described in the book Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration.

Chuck Close Self Portrait II & Georgia Fingerprint

The depth and detail of Close's work can be seen in Lucas. Shown below. The image on the right depicts the detailing and style in which the portrait was crated.

Lucas (1986 - 1987), Chuck Close. Oil and pencil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Edgar Degas - Place de la Concorde

Degas' real name was de Gas. He changed it in 1873. He trained as a lawyer. He was once present when one of his paintings was sold at auction for $100,000. When asked how he felt, he said: ' I feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey'.

"No art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing." EDGAR DEGAS

Place de la Concorde


Place de la Concorde or Viscount Lepic and his Daughters Crossing the Place de la Concorde or Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter is an 1875 oil by Edgar Degas. It depicts the cigar smoking Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, his daughters, and his dog, and a solitary man on the left in Place de la Concorde in Paris. Tuileries Gardens can be seen in the background behind a stone wall. The Vicomte Lepic was an aristocrat, artist, and flâneur. Many art historians believe that the large amount of negative space, the cropping and the way in which the figures are facing in random directions was influenced by photography.
This signal artwork was considered lost for four decades following World War II, until the Russian authorities put it on exhibit at the Hermitage Museum, where it remains to this day. It was stolen by the Red Army from the German collector Otto Gerstenberg during the post-World War II Soviet occupation of Germany.

Degas also painted the Viscount Lepic and His Daughters in separate 1870 painting.

Count Lepic and His Daughters

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson reworks the American suburb into a stage-set for the inexplicable, often disturbing, events that take place at twilight. In creating what he calls 'frozen moments', he has developed a process akin to the making of a feature film. Operating on an epic scale, he uses a large crew to shoot and then develop the images during post-production.

Every detail of these images is meticulously planned and staged, in particular the lighting. In some instances, extra lighting and special effects such as artificial rain or dry ice are used to enhance a natural moment of twilight. In others, the effect of twilight is entirely artificially created.

All the images propose twilight as a poetic condition. It is a metaphor for, and backdrop to, uncanny events that momentarily transport actors from the homeliness and security of their suburban context.

David Hockney - Garrowby Hill

Garrowby Hill, 1998

The Road to York through Sledmere, 1997

Wheat Field near Fridaythorpe, 2005

Magestic paintings from David Hockney, pin points the exact beauty of Yorkshire.

Brian Cooper


Art in Public (blue boxes)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Jacques-Louis David - The Death of Marat

"The drama is here, vivid in its pitiful horror. This painting is David's masterpiece and one of the great curiosities of modern art because, by a strange feat, it has nothing trivial or vile." Baudelaire

Oil on Canvas, 1793 Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts at Brussels

Marat, friend of Robespierre, Jacobin deputy to the Convention, and editor-in-chief of L'Ami du Peuple, was a fiery orator; he was also a violent man, quick to take offense. Some saw him as an intransigent patriot; for others he was merely a hateful demagogue On July 13, 1793, a young Royalist from Caen, Charlotte Corday, managed, by a clever subterfuge, to gain entry into his apartment. When Marat agreed to receive her, she stabbed him in his bathtub, where he was accustomed to sit hour after hour treating the disfiguring skin disease from which he suffered.

David, Marat's colleague in the Convention, had visited him only the day before the murder, and he recalled the setting of the room vividlly, the tub, the sheet, the green rug, the wooden packing case, and above all, the pen of the journalist. He saw in Marat a model of antique "virtue." The day after the murder, David was invited by the Convention to make arrangements for the funeral ceremony, and to paint Marat's portrait. He accepted with enthusiasm, but the decomposed state of the body made a true-to-life representation of the victim impossible. This circumstance, coupled with David's own emotional state, resulted in the creation of this idealized image.

Marat is dying: his eyelids droop, his head weighs heavily on his shoulder, his right arm slides to the ground. His body, as painted by David, is that of a healthy man, still young. The scene inevitably calls to mind a rendering of the "Descent from the Cross." The face is marked by suffering, but is also gentle and suffused by a growing peacefulness as the pangs of death loosen their grip. David has surrounded Marat with a number of details borrowed from his subject's world, including the knife and Charlotte Corday's petition, attempting to suggest through these objects both the victim's simplicity and grandeur, and the perfidy of the assassin. The petition ("My great unhappiness gives me a right to your kindness"), the assignat Marat was preparing for some poor unfortunate ("you will give this assignat to that mother of five children whose husband died in the defense of his country"), the makeshift writing-table and the mended sheet are the means by which David discreetly bears witness to his admiration and indignation.

The face, the body, and the objects are suffused with a clear light, which is softer as it falls on the victim's features and harsher as it illuminates the assassin's petition. David leaves the rest of his model in shadow. In this sober and subtle interplay of elements can be seen, in perfect harmony with the drawing, the blend of compassion and outrage David felt at the sight of the victim. The painting was presented to the Coinvention on 15 November 1793. It immediately the object of extravagant praise; one critic claimed "the face expresses a supreme kindness and an exemplary revolutionary spirit carried to the point of sacrifice."

Read full article from

Monday, 18 May 2009

Ben Roberts

Cecily Brown was born in London in 1969. She studied in London and received her Bachelors in 1993 in Fine Arts from the Slade School of Art in London. Shortly after moving to the U.S., Brown had her first solo exhibition in New York at Deitch Projects in 1997 and a second in 1998, both were met with tremendous critical and commercial success.

She has since established herself as one of the key figures in the strong resurgence of painting at the end of the nineties. Brown revels in the freedom she has forged as a young female painter, her work liberates and celebrates the sacred cows of old master figure painting. from here

Shadow Burn

High Society

High Society reads like an F. Scott Fitzgerald orgy: little men in tails and top hats, muscle-bound millionaire hunks pulling themselves to climax, indiscernible bits of sensuous bodies, detached penises, the allusion of gossipy dinner-party crowds. Set against a lavish gold-and-blue background, Cecily Brown’s fantasy is a rich girl’s predilection – a notch in her bedpost for Cézanne and early Pollock.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Stunning Image of Atlantis, Hubble in the Face of the Sun

WOW. 'nuff said.
see the incredible uncropped pics here

if david lynch directed dirty dancing

Typeface Portrait of Steve Jobs: How It Was Done

An amazing portrait of everyone's favourite CEO created using Apple's classic typefaces and Illustrator. Using the words of Apple's emotional "Think Different" ad . Good work.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Odilon Redon - Flower Clouds

"My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined."

Flower Clouds, 1903,Pastel, with touches of stumping, incising, and brushwork, on blue-gray wove paper with multi-colored fibers altered to tan, perimeter mounted to cardboard

Redon alternated layers of pastel with sprayed fixative, wiping or brushing the pastels into each other to develop rich, velvety surfaces. The entire background of "Flower Clouds" is composed of striations and brush strokes of pastel. Once he fixed these passages, Redon further manipulated them with a brush to uncover the underlying pastel colors.

Another quote from the artist...

"I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased."

And here's what the great author of À rebours, Joris-Karl Huysmans thought of Redon:

"Those were the pictures bearing the signature: Odilon Redon. They held, between their gold-edged frames of unpolished pearwood, undreamed-of images: a Merovingian-type head, resting upon a cup; a bearded man, reminiscent both of a Buddhist priest and a public orator, touching an enormous cannon-ball with his finger; a spider with a human face lodged in the centre of its body. Then there were charcoal sketches which delved even deeper into the terrors of fever-ridden dreams. Here, on an enormous die, a melancholy eyelid winked; over there stretched dry and arid landscapes, calcinated plains, heaving and quaking ground, where volcanos erupted into rebellious clouds, under foul and murky skies; sometimes the subjects seemed to have been taken from the nightmarish dreams of science, and hark back to prehistoric times; monstrous flora bloomed on the rocks; everywhere, in among the erratic blocks and glacial mud, were figures whose simian appearance--heavy jawbone, protruding brows, receding forehead, and flattened skull top--recalled the ancestral head, the head of the first Quaternary Period, the head of man when he was still fructivorous and without speech, the contemporary of the mammoth, of the rhinoceros with septate nostrils, and of the giant bear. These drawings defied classification; unheeding, for the most part, of the limitations of painting, they ushered in a very special type of the fantastic, one born of sickness and delirium."

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Anton Stankowski -Diagonal Band, Centrally Positioned

1960, 84 x 60.5 cm
Oil on canvas

From Swisslegacy
Anton Stankowski (June 18, 1906 - December 11, 1998) was a German graphic designer, photographer and painter. He developed an original Theory of Design and pioneered Constructive Graphic Art. Typical Stankowski designs attempt to illustrate processes or behaviours rather than objects. Such experiments resulted in the use of fractal-like structures long before their popularisation by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975.

"The Obliques" – from the 1931 Brochure to the Visual Objects of the 1980s

With the diagonal, Stankowski brought his own element into his constructive work, which distinguishes it from works by the Zuricher Konkrete, for instance. He used it for the first time in his paintings in 1960. Yet even before that, the oblique line in graphic design stood for new beginnings and dynamics — or for a fall. Depending upon the color coordination, diagonals created harmony or aggression in motion; depending upon their position, they affected space in terms of height, depth, and width. Stankowski developed the oblique from the rectangle, yet another important element in his work. Obliques can be found in all areas of Stankowski’s work: at first, in the deliberately selected diagonal perspective in his photography, then in the diagonals in the trademarks — just think of the Deutsche Bank symbol — to the rich variety of diagonals in his paintings. Still, he never allowed himself to use the oblique line as a simple formal element. It had to have a function, and if it did not, then he could also choose the softness and joy of a curve.

“The Obliques“ – From the 1931 Brochure to the Visual Objects of the 1980s
Curator: Stephan von Wiese

The Floating World: Ukiyo-e

Inspired by the ancient Japanese artists of Ukiyo-e and a polymath’s myriad references, John Warwicker has for over 10 years been one of the most original thinkers in the design and creative industries. As a founding member of Tomato, he established an international reputation in the 1990s and has been formative in shaping popular media. The Floating World: Ukiyo-e is the first monograph of John Warwicker’s work. Rather than simply collecting together old work from commercial commissions and personal projects, Warwicker has written and designed an extensive book that only occasionally references prior work and which sets out to document his experience in an authentic voice. He has taken the themes, ideas, histories and memories which have informed and influenced him to produce a sophisticated and yet elegiac book constructed from his critical writings, photography, drawings, film, print, typography, poetry and prose. Every text page is an original artwork, delicately constructed in layers of typography, and the interwoven illustrations confirm Warwicker as an innovative visual artist.
see a few spreads here

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

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Follow up - David Hockney Brings iPhone Art to Gallery

Following up on my previous post and Tamsin's related post below, a little more information on iHockney... via cultofmac and Times Online

I think Brushes (warning iTunes link) is the app that Hockney is using to create his new fangled art

David Hockney on his so-called computer art

Rainy Night On Bridlington Promenade 2008 Inkjet printed computer drawing on paper by David Hockney

David Hockney on his so-called computer art - Sunday Times article

The Best Office in the World

Link via Gizmodo

One Dream Rush

We all share the waking world together, but half our lives are spent asleep, alone with our dreams. With this thought in mind, an alcoholic beverage company has commissioned 42 film-makers to make 42-second films about their dreams with free creative licence. The results veer between the beautiful and mystical to - in the case of Arden Wohl, who used her 42 seconds to display a gruesome exorcism - the plain creepy. Every one is almost subliminal in its brevity; if a movie is a meal, then these mini-films are a handful of popcorn. That they're so short means they load quickly, which adds to the compelling nature of the project. Films from some impressive names are still to come, including David Lynch, Mike Figgis and Chan "Cat Power" Marshall.

Kees Van Dongen - The Corn Poppy (LE COQUELICOT)

Oil on Canvas, 1919

For me this was the stand out piece of Van Dongen's work, the colour and expression perhaps sum up the voyeuristic nature of Van Dongen's style. I couldn't find any information on the composition and such and I'm certainly no equipped to do it myself so instead here's some of his other paintings and a more in depth look at the last. If any one has any info on the Corn Poppy please add it below.


SPRING - 1908

Anita aux fleurs 1905

Here is a some info about this painting from, the full article is really good.

Painted in 1905, Anita aux fleurs is filled with the life, movement, sensuality and colour that marked the high point of Van Dongen's unique and idiosyncratic Fauve pictures. This was the year of the famous, and at the time notorious, Salon d'Automne when the paintings of Vlaminck, Derain and Matisse had resulted in the coining of the phrase 'Fauve' to describe them. Van Dongen had already been associated loosely with these artists, and his own pictures from the period were exhibited in another nearby room at the Salon. The works from his Fauve period, often considered the greatest of all his paintings, were fuelled by the artist's own uninhibited, unrestrained enthusiasm for life and the senses, for the modern pulsing existence of Parisian nights in the clubs and the private homes of the bohemian circle of his acquaintance.

Where other Fauve artists focussed on landscape and portraiture, Van Dongen took a long, penetrating and highly subjective look at the Parisian nightlife that so fascinated him and translated it into his vigorous, incandescent canvases. Discussing his decision to move to the French capital from Rotterdam, he said, 'Paris attracted me like a lighthouse' (Van Dongen, quoted in The Van Dongen Nobody Knows: Early and Fauvist Drawings 1895-1912,, Rotterdam, Lyons and Paris, 1997, p. 26). There, he captured modern existence in a way that the other artists of his generation did not. Indeed, arguably his only true forebear was Toulouse-Lautrec, an influence seen in the style of Van Dongen's late nineteenth-century works on paper and in the content of these scenes of the constant festival, the moveable feast, that was Paris. Van Dongen's ability to capture the unique energy and sense of decadence of the era earned him acclaim and criticism in almost equal measure, even a decade and a half after Anita aux fleurs was painted.
full article

Thomas Allen - Magical book art photography.

Thomas Allen’s Book Art Photography, certainly one of the best things I've seen in ages.

see more and more

Monday, 11 May 2009

Rapeseed oil - the way forward...

Great locally produced (in Yorkshire) rapeseed oil from Breckenholme Trading Company. The benefits are vast; taste, health, environmental...

JMW Turner - Ulysses deriding Polyphemus

Turner created a mythological painting that Ruskin felt was perhaps his finest accomplishment (and which was duly copied by Moran a copy that hung in his studio for the rest of his life.)

J. Turner, Ulysses deriding Polyphemus Homer's Odyssey, 1829; composition study of the same
The mythological subject matter here allows Turner to 'personify' nature more gracefully than in the previous example. In this episode from 'The Odyssey,' Ulysses, having put out Polyphemus's eye and escaped with his surviving crew from the Cyclops's cave, is making for open sea at top speed, while the wounded giant has been blindly throwing great boulders in an attempt to sink the ship. Knowing his prey has escaped, however, Polyphemus craftily asks the name of the one who maimed him. Ulysses, blinded in his own turn by pride, names himself, not realizing that Polyphemus will ask his divine father to take revenge on the wily Greek. As Michael Bockemuhl points out, in Turner's painting the 'divine' elements of the story are pictorially identified with the energies of nature:

Polyphemus' at upper left'can hardly be distinguished from his surroundings, almost disappearing into it Nereids and a number of mythical fish may be seen in front of the ship's bow. These figures, too, cannot be clearly distinguished from their background. The effect of their transparent forms is as if they were woven from the foam, the sparkle and the reflections of the water's surface, half-figure, half-glittering wavecrest.

But what I suspect most caught Moran's eye is that Turner has managed to compose this picture so as to create the same rotating, energizing movement of the spectator's eye without the heavy-handed visual metaphor of the Hannibal picture. As the composition study shows above, the eye travels around a 'diamond shape,' starting from Ulysses' ship, following a diagonal downwards past the rising sun to the sea, up along the sail of another ship, then bouncing off the edge of the canvas and running up along the gold-flecked clouds, finally dipping downward past Polyphemus on the hilltop, half-obscured with mist, and down to the dark note of the Cyclops' deadly cave. In doing so, the composition incorporates the not-very-visible protagonists into the larger pattern of the landscape about them, underlining the theme of the picture: that human nature is merely one part of the dynamic 'natural order.' The same energies that drive the tiny human Ulysses also drive the huge monster Polyphemus, while the thrust of the hero's escaping ship echoes the rising sun. Moreover, while Turner presents us with a glorious, golden-toned landscape as the setting in which an adrenalin-drunk Ulysses stupidly forgets himself and blabs his name, the painter does so to remind us that Nature, even when it presents itself as benevolent, hides a threatening power that will ultimately humble the pride of even the most heroic of men.

Full article here

Georges Seurat - A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

The island of la Grande Jatte is in the Seine in Paris between La Defense and the suburb of Neuilly, bisected by the Pont-de-Levallois. Although for many years it was an industrial site, it is today the site of a public garden and a housing development. In 1884, the island was a bucolic retreat far from the urban center.

Seurat spent two years painting it, focusing scrupulously on the landscape of the park. He reworked the original as well as completed numerous preliminary drawings and oil sketches. He would go and sit in the park and make numerous sketches of the various figures in order to perfect their form. He concentrated on the issues of color, light, and form. The painting is approximately 2 by 3 metres in size (approx. 6 feet 10 inches x 10 feet 1 inch).

Motivated by study in optical and color theory, he contrasted miniature dots of colors that, through optical unification, form a single hue in the viewer's eye. He believed that this form of painting, now known as pointillism, would make the colors more brilliant and powerful than standard brush strokes. To make the experience of the painting even more vivid, he surrounded it with a frame of painted dots, which in turn he enclosed with a pure white, wooden frame, which is how the painting is exhibited today at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In creating the picture, Seurat employed the then-new pigment zinc yellow (zinc chromate), most visibly for yellow highlights on the lawn in the painting, but also in mixtures with orange and blue pigments. In the century and more since the painting's completion, the zinc yellow has darkened to brown—a color degeneration that was already showing in the painting in Seurat's lifetime.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Ghost in the Machine

"Ghost in the Machine." The pieces start with old cassette tapes and end in awesome. - from Engadget

see the Flickr collection here