Wednesday, November 29, 2023

James Turrell: Of Light & Space


As artists are quick to point out, the presence of light is very important. That's never more so than for an artist who is described as a "sculptor of light." The artist is James Turrell (1943-), who was born in Los Angeles and received his education there. 



Turrell classes included astronomy and perceptual psychology, which explains his interest in light and space. Working with a high-intensity projectors as light source some 55 years ago, he produced the first of his Projection Pieces. It was from that experiment onward when he participated with engineers, physiologists, and artists to study the "Ganzfeld Effect," or perceptual deprivation.

 By 1967, Turrell had his first exhibit at the Pasadena Art Museum. It was an essay in a magazine about the exhibit that would put Turrell in the forefront of the Light & Space movement.

 Not only has Turrell have 22 permanent installments in prestigious galleries across the United States, but he also continues his development of the Roden Crater Project, which is a 400,000 year old cinder-cone volcano in Arizona's  Painted Desert region. He's been able to build his
"naked-eye observatory" from a Guggenheim Fellowship Award and more recently from a MacArthur Fellowship Grant.



(This man of high accomplishment in the art of light and space movement is certainly a pioneer. I have to admit that every photo of him with white hair and beard puts me in mind of the actor, Monty Woolley (1888-1963). Anybody else?)

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

William Degouve de Nuncques: Autumn Scenes






The change of time and the darkness coming so early has me thinking that I should put on my pjs and hunker down under a warm blanket, but it's only 5 PM! I searched for an artist who might have known what autumn feels like. Found! He was William Degouve de Nuncques, (1867-1935) who was a Belgian artist.

 Degouve de Nuncques was an artist who found his own way. He did go to art school for awhile, but preferred to be self-taught. He was influenced with the artists with whom he shared a studio.Those were Dutch artist, Jan Toorop (whose painting of the Crucifixion is the most stylized I've ever seen) and Belgian artist, Henry de Groux.

 For most of his life, he was regarded as a painter of post-impressionist,atmospheric landscapes. That is why he seemed so appropriate for this time of year. 

While his subjects and style changed in the 1900s, partially due to his loss of use of one hand, this blog will be on his works during the time before.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Sandra Mollon: Art Quilts Extraordinaire

 As the weather cools, my mind returns to the grandmother quilt that covered my bed. I recall how worn out pants, dresses and other garments were examined by the elder ladies for places where the fabric was still "good." These pieces of fabric would reappear as warm quilts for winter. While that form of quilting still continues, the usage has changed into an art form more likely to be found as wall art. 

There is an expansive use of fabrics today that inspire the art quilters into exhibits in galleries, museums, and even international challenges these days.Among the most talented of these art quilters is Sandra Mollon.


 Mollon has been quilting for over 30 years. She began as a traditional quilter. Over the years, she extended into art quilting.  Her inspiration for subjects is far and wide. 


 They include scenic, flora, animals and even traditional applique'. She has received many award,s including a quilt that was acquired by the National Quilt Museum.

Mollon not only creates videos and books, but also teaches her techniques nationally and internationally - going as far as Tuscany, Italy!  Beyond all the awards and accolades, as she says, "... the most important aspect of what I do is the lives I touch, and those that touch me."

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Caspar David Friedrich: Romantic Era Influencer

 As we enter the transition from Autumn to Winter, it feels like a moody time of year. There's fog, cold days, rainy days and the first hints of snow. All this brought to mind the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) and his works that seem to express this time.





Friedrich was the most highly regarded German painter of his generation. His main source of inspiration was nature. (No wonder I like him) He particularly drawn to night skies, morning mist, barren trees and ancient ruins. His timing and choice of subjects was perfect.


It was a time when people were questioning the material world and reaching towards natural surroundings. In some respects, he predated Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) and his search in nature at Walden Pond. 

 At the peak of Friedrich's popularity, his works were prized by royalty, especially in Russia. There were many of his paintings featured in Saint Petersburg where he also gained a patronage.

Alas, time meant his subject and style were regarded as dated

and he lost his audience. However, he left a legacy with his form of landscape painting which influenced certain Russian and American painters, including the famous Hudson River School.