May 21st, 2013

STREET FASHION INSPIRES ART

Claude Monet, “Luncheon on the Grass” and a vintage, white cotton pique day dress at the Metropolitan 

Claes Oldenburg, “Two Dresses” at MOMA

The streets have long provided inspiration for artists. “Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity” at the Metropolitan Museum and “Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store” at MOMA in New York both illustrate the fertile ground historically provided by street fashion. In the mid-1960’s-1980’s, the Impressionists injected the vibrancy and allure of modern life as manifest in fashion into their paintings. Monet, Manet and Renoir, among others, were captivated as the emergence of fashion magazines, the advent of department stores and ready-to-wear emerged to crown Paris as the arbiter of international style.

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April 12th, 2013

VISUAL DELIGHT!

Contemporary art enthusiasts who eschew art history and the work from other cultures in favor of solely focusing on the present miss a critical link in understanding current art. Artists continually mine the past. Recognizing the use of and nuance from antecedents is part of the appreciation and pleasure of contemporary work.

Richard Jackson at the Orange County Museum of Art

This approach is in clear evidence in the wonderful Richard Jackson Retrospective currently on view at the Orange County Museum of Art through May 5.  Although I had not previously been a fan of the work, this show won me over. Imagination and an unconventional spirit infuse the pieces. The exhibition is filled with innovation, bold execution and plenty of artistic connection to both antecedents and contemporaries. Take pleasure in the nod to Jacques-Louis David, Duchamp, Pollock, Keinholz, Richter, Nauman and others.

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February 5th, 2013

AROUND TOWN

Lesley Vance & Ricky Swallow at the Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino

Renown for its European art, the Huntington Art Gallery is currently hosting its’ first exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture, showcasing the work of the Los Angeles-based artists Lesley Vance and Ricky Swallow. The exhibition is a visual dialogue between the two artists who also happen to be husband and wife.

Lesley Vance, “Untitled”, 2010, oil on linen, 16 x 12″, Huntington Art Gallery

Lesley Vance is one of my favorite abstract painters so I was particularly intrigued to see her work in this context. While the conversation between the two artists is of some note, the serendipity lies in her relationship to the European paintings in adjacent galleries. Vance’s process begins with a still-life setup. Through reduction, insight and ingenuity, she transforms the shapes into pure abstraction. While passing through various rooms at the Huntington, Vance’s palette and composition find great resonance in the historical echo. It’s a lovely viewing experience, until March 11.

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November 28th, 2012

THE TEACHABLE MOMENT

 

Andy Warhol, “Mount Vesuvius”, 1985, acyrlic and silkscreen ink on linen,
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh

 

A teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises unexpectedly, offering insight or revelation. It may be a sidetrack from some initial intention or expectation. It occurs organically and may take one by surprise.

Most museum exhibitions strive to teach us about a specific artist, a movement or a time period. Wall labels, instructional videos and audio guides educate and offer valuable information. I enjoy learning about art from the voice inherent in the work itself and from the context in which the work is placed. The trigger for a deeply felt connection often comes from one’s own interpretation and association with individual works.

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