Shahzia Sikander / Pathology of Suspension #10 / 2005 / Ink and gouache on prepared paper / 77.5 x 51.5 in. / Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Shahzia Sikander / Dissonance to Detour / 2005 / STILL from digital animation / Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Tags: shahzia sikander, female art, New York, digital animation, gouache, pakistani woman artist
I am a contemporary artist who grew up in Pakistan but my professional life has been outside of Pakistan from age 22. Though the early part of my career as an artist was established primarily in New York, I have been working on projects around the world in the last several years. I find the terminology and the referencing of work in terms of an east and west paradigm, simplistic and dated. It robs the work of all nuances in meaning. In fact these days the world is small and one should really consider work in terms of some sort of global context of ideas. Work I believe should stand on its own, irrespective of geography. I address the work primarily through the lens of an idea and a related project and there is no place where I could not work.
June 3, 2008 1 Comment
For what it is worth, a few selections from the classics. These are excerpted from Lin Yutang, The Chinese Theory of Art: Translations from the Masters of Chinese Art (Heinemnn: London, 1967). If anyone has different translations please post…
Tags: confucianism, Paint, han feizi, zhuangzi, lacquer, confucius
Confucius, Analects, Bk. III
Tse-Hsia sai, “What does this line [in the Book of Poetry] Mean? It says, “How winning her smiles! How attractive her eyes! And the white makes up the pattern.”
Confucius replied, “In the art of painting, the white powder is applied last.”
“Do you mean that the rituals should come last?”
“Oh, Ah-shang, you have suggested a point here. You are worth to discuss the Book of Poetry.”
Zhuangzi, Chapter on “T’ien Tse-fang”
King Yuan of Sung was having a painting session. All the artists had come; the bowed and remained standing, licking their brushes and preparing the ink. Half were still outside. One artist came late, sauntering in. He made the usual bow, but did not join the others in line and went straight inside. The king asked someone to see what he was doing. He had stripped off his gown and was seated bare-bodied. “There’s a true painter!” said the king.
Han Fei, Chapter on Waich’u
Someone was engaged to paint bamboo panels for the ruler of Chou and took three years to complete them. When they were completed, the king saw that it looked simply like splotches of lacquer on plain bamboo and was angry. “Please,” said the painter, “have a wall of ten panels made with an eight-foot window in it. Place the painting against it at sunrise and then look at it.” This the ruler of Chou did, and he saw myriad forms of dragons, snakes, animals and chariots, all complete. He was then greatly pleased. This shows that although the bamboo painting was no mean achievement, it served the same purpose as plain or lacquered panels.
A frined was doing some painting for the ruler of Ch’i.
“What are the most difficult things to paint?”
“Dogs and horses.”
“And what are the easiest?”
“Ghosts. One recognizes dogs and horses for one sees themevery day and it is difficult to make them seem like real ones. Nobody has seen ghosts and therfore it is easy.”
May 20, 2008 No Comments
Yang Chihung / Dreaming Blue / 2007 / acrylic on canvas / 198.1 x 254 cm / 78 x 100 in. / ChinaSquare Gallery
I have been on a Chinese painting kick recently and will be posting more over the next little while I am sure, but…I got to this exhibit at ChinaSquare Gallery last month. Yang Chihung’s paintings are dynamic and exciting, I spent a long time in front of each piece just looking and it still wasn’t enough. Each painting is rich in complexity and reveals itself over time. I admire the energy and movement in the gestures and the spacial dynamics established in the compositions. Unfortunately the paintings were executed in acrylic and finished with an overall gloss varnish. The result was that the paintings had a very uniform plastic surface that was not very inviting. It’s almost as if they were hanging on the walls wrapped in plastic for display, I could look but I couldn’t touch. They lacked that sensuous quality of an oil painting or the complexity of ink or watercolor on a rag paper or silk. However, the color stains and the quality of his gestures are unique to water media, specifically acrylic on raw canvas. They work with the strengths of the medium and display superb understanding and masterful handling of the brush. It is the structure of the brushwork, the building up of the composition with multitude of various strokes and touches, that gives the paints such a wonderful life and energy.
Tags: floating clouds, brushwork, Paint, abstraction, ChinaSquare, abstract painting
Chihung Yang’s deeply complex abstractions and sweeping brushwork transports the viewer into universe ruled by the Chinese tradition of the ephemeral “floating clouds and flowing waters.” In tanding before Yang’s work, it seems as if the universe has come to a standstill, that his clouds and rivulets of paint have been frozen in time. Yet, his balanced compositions hint at the grandeur of nature, or perhaps chaos unleashed and then reigned in. Mixing subtle monochromatic hues with right bursts of paint, the fleeting appearance of color results in a feeling of life breaking through oil, or rays peeking through clouds. Organic structures emerge from the otherwise abstract nature of Yang’s painting in the form of buds, roots and veins. As abstract painting, Yang’s oeuvre stands its own in comparison with the great names of the tradition, whether Western or Chinese.
May 20, 2008 1 Comment
zhang daqian (chang dai-chien) / brown landscape
Tags: zhang, contemporary artist, abstract, color, abstract expressionism, Isamu Noguchi
Unquestionably one of the most important Chinese painters of the Twentieth Century, Chang Daichien has been compared to Picasso in many exhibition essays and catalogs. That analogy is often accompanied by evidence of their ‘summit’ in 1956 at Picasso’s Mediterranean villa, La California, but is meant to more generally suggest the breadth of the artist’s fame, unparalleled productivity and stylistic variety, and charismatic personality.1 Unique in the mastery of historical styles dating back to the 9th Century, reintroduction of brilliant color with painterly modeling, and grand synthesis of these traditions with aspects of Euro-American Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism, Chang Dai-chien is a singular giant of Chinese painting.
Yet even though the artist lived half of his career in the West and a decade in California, his work remains virtually unknown in the American artworld except in the Chinese American community and among scholars. This obscurity is especially surprising in light of the high visibility afforded Asian American artists including Isamu Noguchi, Chang Dai-chien’s contemporary (1904-1988), and contemporary artist Hung Liu. Because ink painting is segregated academically and rarely presented in American museums, there is a widespread lack of familiarity about its traditions, aesthetics and practitioners. Perhaps as few non-Chinese can read inscriptions, rapid or casual appreciation is limited for many. James Cahill has written that Chinese paintings can appear “small and flat and hard to penetrate” to Westerners, in contrast with the seeming “forcefulness and immediacy” of European paintings; conversely, Cahill adds that Chinese painting experts sometimes complain about European painting lacking variety in brushwork.2 Chang Dai-chien felt quite differently, protesting “some people complain that Chinese landscapes are plain while the trees are flat. But this is absolutely false.3 Even though his work is resolutely rooted in Chinese painting traditions, Chang Dai-chien felt “there is no rigid line of demarcation between Chinese painting and Western painting,” except perhaps “in the media and materials of the painter” and “in regional divergence in custom. [Read more...]
May 19, 2008 1 Comment
Rebecca Horn / Tree of Winter Dew Drops / 2007 / pencil, colored pen, acrylic, and India ink on paper / paper: 71 5/8 x 59 1/8 inches (182 x 150 cm) framed: 81 1/2 x 68 3/4 inches / Sean Kelly Gallery
The drawings and paintings are light and airy. The sculptures and installation pieces brought a smile to my face. Like a child encountering and fascinated by the surrounding world populated with birds, butterflies, and a myriad of other flying creatures.
Rebecca Horn’s exhibition will be comprised of both new large-scale paintings on paper and a group of signature sculptures. These important new paintings, the scale of which are determined by the extent of the artist’s physical reach, evoke personal, metaphorical, and metaphysical influences orchestrated through dynamic gesture. The new paintings on paper clearly relate to Horn’s seminal early performance pieces in which she sculpturally extended the body into space. In an accompanying catalog essay Doris von Drathen explains: “Against this backdrop, the paintings on paper assembled here under the title Cosmic Maps are more that just ‘recent works.’ As a group, these paintings from the last few years plot oscillations, for the first time opening out a pictorial space that hazards to sever all connection to topographical space ….”
Rebecca Horn, (born in Germany, 1944), is without question one of the seminal artists of our time. Historically, her work has ranged over an extensive variety of media, including film, performance, installation, photography and sculpture, whilst addressing themes of corporeality, perception and philosophy. The employment of such wide ranging interests as science and alchemy, the rational and the intuitive, the mechanical and the sensual, has occurred repeatedly in her work over the last three decades and has resulted in one of the most distinguished and individual oeuvres in recent memory. Horn has participated in the Venice Biennale on a number of occasions, she has had a retrospective at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and she is one of very few artists who has been selected to participate in Documenta on four separate occasions.
Rebecca Horn, Cosmic Maps, at Sean Kelly Gallery, 528 West 29th Street through June 14thTags: indian art, venice biennale, sean kelly gallery, ink, color, art
May 8, 2008 No Comments
Doug Trump / Choice / 2008 / oil, pencil, collage, ink, on canvas / 65 x 72 inches / Reeves Contemporary
I spent time at Reeves Contemporary Gallery yesterday and was impressed with the abstract paintings of Doug Trump. His work actually touches on a few of the issues I brought up in my piece about craft, I could see areas where the oil paint, laid on over ink or acrylic was cracking, but that does not take away from his work in the least. I plan on going back a few more times before the show closes. His transparent colors, hiding and revealing shapes forms and gestures, create quiet compelling spacial shifts and rhythms that are a visual treat. I’ll come back to this later….In the meantime, here’s what the gallery has to say:
Doug Trump’s newest oil paintings employ rich, industrial color and collaged surfaces, punctuated by gestural marks in pencil, ink, and charcoal. The artist continues over-painting, sanding back painted layers and then obscuring the surface again with new color fields, a process giving Trump’s works their complexity and depth. While the artist’s process remains consistent, the work no longer focuses upon a unified, balanced composition, but rather prizes expressionism as manifested through color and brushstroke. He is allowing his own energy – and thus the energy in the paintings – to jump from one area to another, without qualifying it, without constraining it within a preconceived or determined canvas. Through this spontaneous yet measured approach, Trump allows the paintings to breath in their own vitality. Ultimately, Trump is creating paintings with agitation and friction. For the viewer, there is ample room to move into the work, and receive its kinetic energy.
Doug Trump is on view at Reeves Contemporary, 534 w. 24th Street, through May 24th.Tags: color field, rhythm, collage, Reeves Contemporary Art, acrylic, shapes
April 30, 2008 No Comments
Norihiko Saito: A Hill in His Heart / 2007 / 70 x 165 inches / mineral pigments on screen panels / © Norihiko Saito. All Rights Reserved. Courtesy of the artist and Dillon Gallery
I was able to run down at lunch today to the Dillon Gallery to catch the Ma: New Traditions in Nihonga exhibition before it closes on 4/22. While I can’t speak to the history of Nihonga painting, I thought the work was excellent with both strengths and weaknesses. As a painter when I look at paintings I look at a number of things, first what is the space depicted by the artist, how are they create space in their work, what are they spacial divisions? Is it flat, is it a deep space, perspective, overlapping planes? What are the major shapes and forms and how do they move in space. For the most part the paintings in this exhibition were very flat, relying more on elegant divisions of the surface – positive and negative spaces, contrasts of intense pigments or metal leaf with the airy quiet of the washi paper or silk support – to move the eye and create a sense of mood or drama. At notable exception is Asami Yoshiga’s Invitation Pond, a stunning piece of sumi ink on multiple layers of translucent silk, that moves your eyes into a deep atmospheric space. All of the pieces, use beautiful and luscious pigments that sing and sparkle on the surface and almost appear to be woven in to the silk. It made me lament our over ground tube paints that tend to be more filler than pigment.
The show is a visual treat for the eyes offering a wonderful play of colours, textures, and light. While satisfying my hunger for visual stimulation the works incline toward the decorative and leave weighter issues and ideas aside, but then again there more then plenty of conceptual work to go around. Ma: New Traditions in Nihonga Painting is a fabulous little show not to be missed.
Nihonga is a technique whose roots extend back more than a thousand years. The term, created in the 19th century to distinguish traditional painting methods from Western-influenced art, has often been synonymous with art of the past. Its practitioners incorporate time-honored materials such as silk, rice-paper, ground semi-precious minerals as well as gold and silver leaf into their paintings. Nihonga artists have tended to look to the visual forms and conventions of the past during most of this century. The most recent generation of Nihonga painters, however, has reinvigorated the style in an attempt to change the way the practice is perceived. For a preview click here.
Tags: Chelsea, nihonga painting, washi paper, metal leaf, Paper, shoji screen
Asami Yoshiga / Invitation Pond / 33 x 47 inches each, 2 pieces / sumi ink on silk / © Courtesy of the artist and Dillon Gallery
April 17, 2008 No Comments
TWWOBLCAKSTALLIONSWITHINSAANECOKCSRAMMIINGNAISTYBRUUNETT / ink on paper / 20” x 30” / 2008 / © Courtesy of Ned Snider / www.nedsnider.com
My friend Ned Snider has been working on a series of screen prints based on SPAM e-mails for a while and has just decided he has finished the cycle. As he says about this work
This most recent series of text-based work attempts to serve as a metaphor for the larger context in which spam email exists. This being the relentless and unbiased dissemination of information, which our society is now accustomed to receiving on a daily basis. Unbeknownst to us, much of this information is traveling all around in energy waves organized by our vast telecommunications systems, until they find their proper media terminus.
The visual interpretations within this series are intended to echo this phenomenon of information propagation. Each spam message used was taken verbatim from the original message that found it’s way into my inbox. [Read more...]
What I like about this work is how he has given form to this meat, materialized it out of the ether, sliced it up, transformed it, photographed it, and then dematerialized it back onto the web! See the whole series at nedsnider.comTags: Ned Snider, metaphor, terminus, telecommunications systems, art, silk screen
March 28, 2008 No Comments
Carroll Dunham. (American, born 1949). Age of Rectangles. 1983-85. Casein, dry pigment, vinyl paint, casein emulsion, color pencil, charcoal, carbon pencil, and ink on rosewood, birch, ash, and mahogany, three panels and one inset, 7′ 8″ x 58″ (233.7 x 147.3 cm). Gift of Emily Fisher Landau. © 2008 Carroll Dunham. www.moma.org
Today is a Carroll Dunham day. After coming across Sharon Butler’s post on Two Coats of Paint I started trolling around and came across this painting on moma’s site. Dunham’s work is a lot of fun to look at and I can spend a long time with his work. His use of materials is fascinating and inspires me to push and develop my own work. It’s also funny that the title of this painting alludes to my point yesterday when describing my impressions of the Color Charts: Reinventing Color 1950 to Today currently showing at MOMA and I said that the dominate forms seem to be rectangles, squares, or pixels.
Tags: Casein, Philip Guston, arshile gorky, color, abstract composition, American
American painter. He completed a BA at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, in 1971 and later settled in New York. Initially influenced by Post-Minimalism, process art and conceptual art, he was soon attracted to the tactility and allusions to the body in the work of Brice Marden, Robert Mangold and Robert Ryman. Spurred on by the revival of interest in Surrealism in the 1970s, Dunham began to make abstract, biomorphic paintings reminiscent of the work of Arshile Gorky and André Masson, executed with a comic twist enhanced by lurid colours and the suggestion of contemporary psychedelia. In the 1980s he began to paint on wood veneer and rose to prominence in the context of a broader return to painting in the period. Age of Rectangles (1983–5; New York, MOMA) is a highly abstract composition of differing forms, symptomatic of his work at this time: geometric sketches co-exist with eroticized organic shapes while the forms of the wood veneer show through the surface of the paint to suggest surging forces. Towards the end of the 1980s he began to move towards single, dominating motifs; wave-like forms were particularly common. In the Integrated Paintings series he applied paint-covered balls and chips to the surface of the canvas to further develop the sense of organic life. Mound A (1991; priv. col.) is typical of Dunham’s work of the early 1990s in which his forms began to resemble mounds of live matter, covered in orifices. Around 1993 his paintings began to feature schematic, cartoon figures which suggest the influence of Philip Guston.
From Grove Art Online
© 2007 Oxford University Press
March 26, 2008 1 Comment