Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Louise Bourgeios: A Lifetime of Art & Passion

It seems there are lots of emails poking fun at the way we age. Truly, I find them funny. Yet there is something stereotypical in assuming a loss of our "creative juices" as we age. The renowned French artist, Louise Bourgeois, (1911-2010) an example of continuing original creativity regardless of age.


As a younger woman, Ms. Bourgeois created monumental works in marble, glass, latex, rubber, and metal. Her best-known sculptures are her 30-foot high spiders in a series titled, "Maman." (They are tributes to her mother and the other women who worked in the family business of repairing and reweaving valuable tapestries.)



 When she was 88 years old (1999), she accepted a commission as the first artist to create a monumentally-sized work for the Tate Modern. The commission was to fill Turbine Hall - a room which is 30-feet high and 500 feet long. The installation was titled, "I Do I Undo and I Redo." 


 Louise Bourgeois has also explored her ideas in printmaking, painting and performance. In 2007, the Tate Modern curated a survey of her works over a span of 70 years. The survey included some 200 pieces. 

 She conducted Sunday salons for artists, had an exhibition of her textile prints in Stockholm,and was working on a commission in 2010 for the Maison de Balzac in Paris, before her death at age 99. Her last year, she made art to help finance the activism organization, Freedom to Marry. She also created for HIV and Act Up, believing that all people should be treated fairly and equally.

As one writer stated of her, "At 98, and still working, she is a fierce woman who is original, curious, intelligent, sensitive, generous, wildly imaginative, sexual and uncompromising." All I can add is "atta girl," Louise!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Rachel Newling: Linocuts of Aussie Birds & Flora

 Until I took a few classes in art printing, I didn't realize how much more involved it is than painting. Now, I have an understanding and appreciation for those artists who have mastered the processes. Such an artist is Rachel Newling (1956-). 



Newling was born and studied art in the UK. It was while visiting Australia, that she decided to move to Sydney. It was a fortuitous decision because she finds endless inspiration in the birds and flora of her chosen home. 



Her linocut technique is to draw on the board and carve the design much the same way as in woodcuts. Printing is a matter of placing handmade Washi paper over the inked linocut, and by using a baren, she carefully rubs the design onto the paper. Printing in this manner is more time consuming and tedious, but the results can be more satisfying than running through a mechanical printing press.


 Once the print is removed and dry, she hand colors each one in the series run using archival gouache paints. Hence, each has a slight variation in coloration.


Newling's art is in the collections of museums, galleries and private owners. (BTW she has a wonderful explanation with photos of her technique on her website:  )


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Autumn Borts-Medlock: The Old & New of Santa Clara Pottery

 The Pueblo people of Santa Clara and Santa Ildefonso have a long history of creating some of the most beautiful and prized pottery. Using local clay, they make the famous highly-polished black (also red pottery) with deep engravings of animals and other significant designs.

The skill is passed to succeeding generations by parents and grandparents. A present day recipient of that ancient learning is Autumn Borts-Medlock (1967-) (She's now teaching her daughter.)



As a child, observing her elders, she learned to make small animals and pots. As she matured, she learned how to gather and process clay, the meaning of the carvings of bear paws, feathers, rain clouds, dragonflies and many other motifs. Further lessons taught her how clay coiling becomes a vessel, when to fire and how to create the shininess.  



Not only did she observe and learn, she also evolved. A few years ago, she discovered that the deep carvings in clay were suitable for bronze. She now creates a limited edition of one for each design. A couple of her works in bronze are featured here.



Her work has been exhibited in prestigious shows and exhibits all over the country. She also shows in Santa Fe, NM at the Indian Market in the Pueblo Village with her daughter and sister.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Younger Victor Muller: Timeless Art




Sometime ago, I saw the art of Victor Muller and noted that he might be the subject of a future art blog. Well, the time had come and I opened a search. I was curious as to why his art didn't look anything like what I had expected. Turns out that the name is a bit common. 

There's a businessman as well as an artist by that name. Victor Muller, the artist, was born in 1829 Germany and the Victor Muller, the artist I was researching, was born in 1976 Netherlands - quite a difference - as is their art.

Present-day Muller received his MFA from the Willem de Kooning Academy. His art is influenced by many of the old masters, such as: Vermeer, Fra Angelico and, most of all, Giovanni Bellini. Yet, he has distilled his own subjects and signatures works.


Interestingly, he often combines landscape backgrounds with still life foregrounds. He does this to create a "timeless atmosphere." It also seems to create a sense of surrealism where not only time, but also movement don't exist.


This blog is a sampling of his works with variations on his masterly works that are collected all over the world.