Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colorful Influence

Peacock tiles by William De Morgan and Co., c. 1888-97, The Fitzwilliam Museum
University of Cambridge, UK.

William De Morgan was closely associated with William Morris the British Arts and Crafts movement, like Morris, De Morgan believed that looking to the skilled crafts of the past would greater enrich the lives of the people of Victorian Britain, as the hand-made work was both fulfilling and beautiful. His work was influenced by the ornate and colorful ceramics of the Middle East.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another View of the Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore by Mabel Hewit, c. 1935, Mary Ryan Gallery.

Mabel Hewit was from the Cleveland area and created woodblock prints in the "white-line" technique. Most of her subjects were everyday people and scenes. She enjoyed creating these prints, in part, because she felt that the brightly-colored woodblock prints were mare accessible to working people who were looking for colorful art for their homes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Small Work on a Large Scale

Continuous Mile (Black) by Liza Lou, 2006-08, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Liza Lou is known for creating artwork out of beads and also for creating ambitious pieces. This work is a mile long length of beaded cotton rope that is then coiled around itself so that it forms a circle. It is created in a South African beading technique used by the Zulu peoples. Lou lives and works in both South Africa and Los Angeles.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Favorite Sons

Spring in Town by Grant Wood, 1942

I am headed out to Iowa the rest of this week for a visit, so I will not be posting again until next week, but I thought I would leave you with two of my favorite Iowa artists, Grant Wood and William Bailey. Both of them capture brilliantly the straight-forward simplicity Iowa stands for, to me. Simplicity, with under-layers of pride, truthfulness, and appreciation for life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Birthday John Constable

One of the most important British painters of the 19th century, Constable believed in painting out of doors in order to capture the most true, and realistic atmospheres, for his paintings. He did studies of nothing but clouds, so that he could render them perfectly. This is his most famous work featuring a hay cart, or hay wain, being ferried across the River Stour. The house in the background still exists and is in the care of the National Trust.
Constable was born today in 1776.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Preferring Art to War

Ladies Preparing Newly Woven Silk (detail), att, to Emperor Huizong, 11th cantury, 

Emperor Huizong is the one of the most famous of the Song Dynasty emperors. He followed the Taoist religion and was known to be a fine artist, poet, and writer who surrounded himself with others who shared his interests. His interests in things artistic led to his downfall when his army, such as it was, was easily overtaken and he was replaced as emperor by the Jin forces.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Jewel Within a Jewel

Sainte-Chapelle, 1242-48, Paris, Ile-de-France 

Built by King Louis IX as a Royal Chapel, this piece of Gothic architecture has been likened to an larger-than-life jewel in its own box. King Louis purchased a highly sought after relic, the crown of thorns purportedly worn by Jesus and wanted the finest reliquary he could get so he had this chapel built with 6,458 square feet of stained glass windows.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Honoring Power

Blossom by Polly Apfelbaum, 2000, MoMA, NYC.

This piece is part of a series of installations Apfelbaum did that were named for, and dedicated to The Powerpuff Girls characters from the animated series. Apfelbaum liked the juxtaposition of the young girl characters possessed of super powers and fighting for good. The artist created each "petal" separately and then installed them piece by piece.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Second Glance

NATURE MORT AUX GRENADES by Mona Hatoum, 2006–07, Galleria Continua.

Palestinian in background and raised in Beirut, the art of Mona Hartoum reflects what she knows and what she has lived with. She studied art in London and found herself separated from her parents while she was there, and her art reflects the struggles she and her family have felt. This piece looks like a table covered in glass paperweights, but upon closer inspection you can see that they are brightly colored, glass replicas of hand grenades.


Monday, June 04, 2012

Site Specific

Ahuja Azure, Cirtron and Amber Persian Wall by Dale Chihuly, 2010, The University Hospitals' 

 Dale Chihuly is the most famous glass artist in the world. Since the later part of the 20th century, his installations have been gaining in popularity and recognition. Chihuly himself no longer blows the glass in his pieces, but he conceives and designs them and oversees their installation. The Dallas Arboretum is hosting an exhibition now through November 5, 2012.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Beautiful Death

The Getty Museum is hosting an exhibition whose subject is the representation of death in medieval manuscripts. The manuscript was the most important piece of individually owned art during that time. People would commission artists, usually monks, to create books of prayers for them that were intended for personal use. They were small in size so the owner could easily carry them around. The exhibition entitled Heaven, Hell, and Dying Well: Images of Death in the Middle Ages runs through August 12, 2012.

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