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May 18, 2009

Artist Research Project- Jennifer's Group

I chose to research Shazia Sikander because I've recently been aquainted with her work and I really like what I've seen. She is definitely a new favorite artist of mine, an inspiration for sure.
Sikander paints miniature pictures, in the style of indian and persian miniature paintings, on hand-made paper that she soaks in tea to 'age' it a little. She also has painted the complete opposite scale of these minis, large murals, and more recently, she has used mixed-media techniques. She mixes her own paints from powder and vegetable dyes as well. When she began to learn this old tradition, it was considered a dead art. Perhaps it was, as she infuses her work with a new twist to the old, has taken a dead form and made it into something else. Sikander does this by using imagery from her life and modern situations, and by blending two different painting traditions, Pakistani and Indian.
She also deals with issues of cultural identity in her images. She has said that she aspires to transcend boundaries in her work, which I would say it definitely does. Cultural, gender, religious tradtions are all challenged in her pictures. It's funny how when looking at some of them, I don't immediately see how they're any different from other miniature paintings of the syle, but them I look closer and see things happening that have never occured in pictures like this before. And she has mixed both Muslim imagry as well as Hindi into a nice blend of the two.
I compare Sikander to Shirin Neshat because they are both women from Muslim, Middle-Eastern backgrounds who include this in their work, and because they both aim to challenge the current status quo through their art. They are also both exiles. Not in a politcal way, but they both have lived in the U.S.A for quite a while now, and are estranged from their homeland, home culture, their roots.
I love the itty bitty tiny details in her paintings. And I love her use of a long-held traditional practice in new and scandalous ways. I love the whimsy in some of them, the subtle humor,and the beauty of color and compositon. I will most surely recommend her to other people, and as I said, she is a major influence in my creative ideas right now.

Gallery Visit- Jennifer's Group

I went to see the work of one of my high school classmates during the St. Paul art crawl, Kelsey Anderson. She showed her paintings with one of her friends, an african artist.
She had eight paintings left when I arrived, having sold quite a few during the day. I noticed a lot of pallette-knife technique, and she replied that she used that exclusively! Even the tiny details on the piece that I bought a print of, a tropical boat scene from her honeymoon in Thailand. It was amazing. One painting she had looked like brushwork, but she said that she used her fingers! Wow.
Most of her paintings were of nature, either of Australia, where she lived for a few years after marrying an Aussie, or of Africa, where she did some sort of teaching for a while after college. There was one self-portrait in the gallery. That one in particular showcases her skill in rendering life-likeness.I can't think of anyone that we've studied in class who resembles Kelsey in their work, but I would liken hers to Ansel Adams, except that it's painting instead of photography.
My favorite of her dispayed works was the aforementioned tropical boat scene. I've included a picture of the print that I purchased from her. There is no title. It was painted this past year from a photograph from 2005.
I would definitely recommend anyone check her work out. In fact, it was a mutual friend who took me to the gallery!

May 13, 2009

Rowan's Group: Artist Research Project

Theo Jensen
Kinetic Sculptor

For my artist research project I choose the kinetic sculpture Theo Jensen. I first remember seeing his sculptures on a BMW commercial a while back. Some time this year I came across some of his videos on youtube and for the sake of doing an artist research project I choose him.
Theo Jensen is a native to the shores of the Netherlands, born in Hague and a graduate of Delft in the Netherlands, works on perfecting his moving, “living” sculptures. He didn’t always see him self as an artist since he graduated with a degree in physics, but messed around with painting until he began working on his “strandbeests”.
He likes to call them strandbeest but they are no more than sculptures or creatures capable of surviving in an environment between the dunes of a beach and the surf of the sea. His is capable of accomplishing this by simply using electrical tubing (like PVC), pneumatic tubing, used lemonade bottle and plastic sheeting. By putting these elements together and with enough wind, his creatures are able to come alive. His goal is to make it so that his sculpture can survive on the beaches by themselves. He hopes to do this by a type of evolution where models that work best are crossed with another to make a superior strandbeest.
He like to pull his ideas for new sculptures from nature and what has already been proven to work. From there he can mix and match features that work best for a model. He even says that when deciding on how to build the next “beest” he thinks purely practical and that they come out looking like awesome sculpture only because that’s how it worked out.
To him the motivation for his work is to understand what it takes for life to occur and continue. By making these “creatures” he is able to understand the needs and limits that can be impressed on a creature.
One of the biggest reasons that I choose Jensen’s work was because of the way that I first saw it. I was surfing YouTube and I came across his strange pipe built creatures and just from seeing them and how they moved I wanted to look at more of his work and mainly do this essay on his work. So after looking at how I was able to see his work I’d like to compare that to the way Susan Opton and the way that she was able to display her work and the controversy that sprung out of it.
Though the ways that that Jensen and Opton display their work in different ways the fact that there is a certain amount of mystery behind them is what really pulls their viewers in. Watching a minute long clip of Jensen’s “beests” I tried to figure out exactly what these things are and what there supposed to do. You’re able to make out legs and wings but the movements of multiple parts make it impossible to identify. But for Opton and her soldier photos, there’s questions like “is that solder alive or dead” and “why is he on the floor with that face.” I find that these artist that although they work in different mediums there art work isn’t strait forward and make the viewers have to answer some of their own questions.

If someone asked me if they had the chance to see work from Theo Jensen or hear him speak, I would have to express my jealousy towards them. Jensen having the thought process of an engineer and the products of an artist, and the fact that very few other people have tried to approach something like this way before make him a unique person that I think anyone would enjoy.

His own website
An interview by Delana

Good video that covers his work. As show on TED

Rowan's Group: Artist Research Project

Rosson Crown was born in Dallas, Texas in 1982. She studied art in New York where she began painting in her junior and senior year of undergrad. She studied in Paris before show moved to Los Angeles where she currently lives and works. Crow has gallery shows around the United States and also in Paris. She works on a large scale in oil, enamel, and acrylic. Rosson Crow works with places of former glory. She captures the feeling and energy of a space “as if capturing the moment after a party has ended” (whitecube). Crow has a very loose style of painting that enhances the theme of her work. Her vivid colors and elaborate strokes evoke a feeling of presence that lasts longer than a single moment. She’s not interested in the fuss. She paints in a couple big blocks of time, and leaves the piece be. Although she does plan her palette, she wants the spontaneity and energy to stay in tact.

Rosson Crown appreciates the classical and neoclassical work of western art. She paints with Baroque and Rococo influences, with an intention to be over the top. Many of the spaces she paints are those of the bourgeoisie. Old night clubs of L.A. and Paris in times gone by. She wants the viewer to be overwhelmed with a lingering presence. Crow paints without anthropomorphic imagery. She removes the figures to focus on the space. Even without figures, her paintings hold so much energy; the viewer still experiences a feeling of nostalgia. She is interested in “lost spaces” (Brooks) Crow takes inspiration from places she’s been. Not just on place, but a mixture of her experiences and her imagination. As she says in her interview with Kimberly Brooks, “I enjoy taking on these historic spaces that no longer exist and reviving them for my own purposes.” One of her favorite paintings is Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa. The influence of the dramatic nature and energy of this painting does show through in the work of her spaces.

Rosson Crow’s interest in spaces reminded me of Rirkrit Tiravanija. He also is interested in public space. Although he does focus on people, Tiravanija is also interested in the relationship between a space and the energy that occupies it. Like his apartment with many people passing through and leaving their mark, so to does Crow’s work show a development of space and energy throughout a period of time. Her actual style reminds me of Kentridge Cooper’s Felix in Exile. Her loose brush stroke leaves a ghostly image and feeling of a time period elapsed. This is similar to the idea of Cooper’s eraser marks through which Cooper leaves a ghostly presence behind as he deals with time in his work as well.

I was attracted to this artist because of her unique mix of classicism and history with modern themes. Her appreciation for time and history are showcased in a new way. She paints presence and feeling within a space. Her exemption of figures strengthens this theme as the viewer can see the lingering auras of what was there. It helps the viewer to understand her ideas and the energy of the space without being distracted by what brought about the energy. Her focus is on the energy and time itself. I would definitely recommend her work to a friend. It is a fresh and passionate idea that is also beautiful and unique to see.

A link to one of her works:

Rosson Crow, "Five Minutes Late and Two Bucks Short at the Cha Cha", 2007, Oil, enamel, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas, 90 x 132 inches:



Brooks, Kimberly. “A Night At The Palomino With Rosson Crow” The Huffington Post. March 29, 2008. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kimberly-brooks/a-night-at-the-palomino-w_b_93987.html.

“Rosson Crow.” London. http://www.whitecube.com/artists/rosson_crow

T.D. Neil, Jonathan, “Twenty-five Artists To Look Out For In 2007”, Art Review, March, Issue 9, p. 83. (article can also be seen at: http://www.nxtbook.com/dal/artreview/issue09/index.php?startpage=30)

May 12, 2009

Rowan's Group: gallery visit

Max Rossi
Gallery Review

I went to Wiseman Gallery to do my exhibit review. I chose to do the exhibit shared between Ly Hoang and Dan Bach Nguyen. The exhibit was in a square room where each artist has two sides dedicated to their own work. They are in the same exhibit because they are both Vietnamese artists, not because their styles of art are similar. There was ten pieces in the room, between both of the artists combined. The medium for those pieces were different from artist to artist. Nguyen only had two different mediums in his work that was displayed. He only used Ink on Paper and Chinese Ink on Xuyen Chi Paper. Hoang used more mediums than Nguyen, she used Oils on canvas, DVD- multimedia, and VHS boxes, used diapers, and packages of sanitary napkins for one of her sculptural pieces.
The main theme of this exhibition is to show the work of two Vietnamese artists and how different they can be. Nguyen’s art was all paintings done with black ink, each piece seemed to be based off of nature; whereas Hoang focuses more on Vietnamese culture, specifically “women’s sensibility and perserverance”. The sculpture of Hoang’s in the exhibit reminds me of Felix-Torres Gonzales because, they both use sculptures in galleries to portray their view of something. Hoang with her view of Vietnamese women and Gonzales with his view of AIDS but Hoang doesn’t give out art like Gonzales did.
“Seagrass Cove” by Dan Bach Nguyen, materials: Chinese Ink on Xuyen Paper. This piece is a beautiful representation of a scene in nature done abstractly. His strokes of black ink are very apparent and yet also very beautiful. He used various brush strokes to draw your eye to certain things. For example, in the for-ground of this piece its all horizontal strokes and in the back ground it’s a mixture of vertical and curved lines. He was inspired to do this piece based off of a cove somewhere in the world that he had seen before. He draws inspiration from nature and the movement that occurs in nature.
My friend, this exhibit is a great one to go see in Wiseman for free; not only is it free it has great art in it too. I would recommend that you go visit this exhibit because, of the different types of art that you can see. Just in this one exhibit there are black and white paintings, movies, sculptures, and more. It also gives an inside look at Vietnamese culture, and how vastly different people from different places can be; how vastly different art can be from different types of people.

May 10, 2009

Rowan's Group: Gallery visit

Gallery Visit Report
Ashley Huegel
Group 4
Rowan's Group

The piece that I was most intrigued and drawn to was a piece called “Natural History of the Enigma” by Eduardo Kac. The art was a beautiful flowering petunia plant that stood in the middle of the room on a pedistool. What made this plant so special and unique was that the plant contained proteins from the artist Eduardo Kac and a petunia plant. It is intriguing to think about the merge of human and plant to create life! The artist felt that his genes actually gave the plants flowers red streaks throughout the petals, like veins coursing with blood.

This was a one person installation, however the artist did work with a scientist from the University of Minnesota (Neil Olszewski) to help him with his creation. What added to the installation was the stark and bleak room within which the pedistool stood. The lack of distractions within the room allowed for you really focus on the plant and take in all the beauty that it had to offer. I feel that the artist was trying to covey to the viewer the bond between human and nature.

I would absolutely tell a friend about the “Natural History of the Enigma” because it is a beautiful and an innovate piece and it is amazing to see how the artist thought and used his own genes fused with that of the plant which caused the red veining.

May 6, 2009

Rowan's Group: Gallery Visit

This exhibition is called Sin and Guilt by Nancy Robinson. It is currently being held in The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This exhibit featured work solely of Nancy Robinson. It was held in one of the medium sized rooms in the gallery. The work was spread out about four works to each wall depending on the size of the piece. The works were mostly on a large scale: Two by three feet to five feet or more. I went on opening night as it was very busy however; it was a traditional gallery experience.

The main theme of her exhibit is a new take on women and feminism. Many of her works showcase her in a self-portrait among other symbolism. Through vibrant colors and imagery, we see Robinson tackle the struggle between a woman and herself. Self-image, and feminine power are often addressed in her works. One symbol that is recurring in many of her pieces is the banana peel. She takes this traditionally phallic symbol and repurposes it throughout her paintings to give power to the opposite sex. In Yellow Self Portrait, 2009, She is wearing a banana peel gown. Taking on a position of power, the figure (herself) is displaying a confidence not evident in some of the other works. This was also true of Woman Warrior where she was standing wearing animal skins and banana peel pumps. Men are not seen as characters of strength in her paintings. However, I found this to be more so because she is emphasizing female issues not because she finds men less significant. The ways that the characters are painted along with the smaller figures that seem to create their own vignettes remind me of the work we saw of Jenny Schmid. She also had female figures with a slightly disturbing quality playing on gender roles.

Yellow Self Portrait from her exhibit, Sin and Guilt, is a powerful painting. It is a 60 by 36 inch oil painting. She paints herself sitting triumphantly on a rock in a beautifully tailored banana gown. Two little cherubs are on either side of her and a bluebird is at her feet. The waves crash behind her underneath a blackening stormy sky. Fish leap up to catch little hearts as if they are trying to get food. She is definitely comfortable with her sexuality in this picture and is fine with herself the way she is. The cherubs seem disturbed, but Nancy is happy with her current situation despite what is going on around her (this is seen in the turbulent storm and seas behind her.) As with most of her works, she is interested in the feminine psyche and how one relates to the world through a feminine perspective. Although all her works are obviously different, Yellow Self Portrait is about success and confidence.

I liked the exhibit, Sin and Guilt very much. I loved how she used classic practice of realism and portraiture to portray a modern ideal. It’s modern art with a classic twist. The themes she addresses are very modern and contemporary as she paints with a neoclassical style. I would definitely recommend anyone who appreciates art to view this exhibit. It’s easy to understand as she uses realistic portraits and symbolism. One can view and experience art without the liberal views that are sometimes mandated by many modern art works. For example, the work of Margo Maggi is contemporary, but far more abstract. His pieces require a great deal of time and effort from the viewer. Although one is not better or worse, I appreciate Robinson’s skill and ease at getting her point across in a purposeful way.

I don't know how to post a pic, but here is a link to one of the paintings in this exhibit:

May 1, 2009

Rowan's Group: Gallery Visit

Changing Identity: Recent Works by Women Artists from Vietnam
Keit Osadchuk

Changing Identity was an exhibition at that Weisman Art Museum at the U of M campus. This exhibit consisted of 35 artworks by a group of women Vietnamese artists. Media used ranged from paper to cloth to video to watercolor to photographs to wood. The pieces were organized in four rooms, each with about eight works collected on four walls. Sculptural pieces made out of wood were usually in a room with drawings, while photographs were grouped with more modern media such as video.

The main theme was Vietnamese culture in Vietnam and abroad, as well. Some artists portrayed daily life while others focused on specific heritage and culture traits associated with being of the Vietnamese nation. The individual pieces, however different in concepts they might have been, tied together as a whole by portraying Vietnam. One artist, for example, made series of plain, daily self-portraits in different locations across the globe where there has been Vietnamese culture present. Another artist has focused on portraying the traditional Vietnam with older materials like wood, paper, and cloth; making figures draped with long cloth, her work nods to the history of Vietnam. There is a connection to the work of Kentridge, in the sense that there is historical and cultural reference in both his work and that of the Vietnamese women in this exhibit. Their work is based on both their country as it is today and its history.

One great work was "Dialogue," 1998, by Dang Thi Khue, the oldest artist in the exhibition (b. 1946). Her piece consisted of 25 paper masks colored in different, rich tones, two of which were embellished with gold and silver. The masks were hung on the wall, arranged in a rhombus. The inspiration behind Dang Thi Khue's work has been the traditional spirit of the Vietnamese women.

This exhibit is a good insight to Vietnam's artists today, as it shows both tradition and modernity within the culture. The range of media and the detailed skill is inspiring and impressive, so I would recommend any friend to visit the gallery.