Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Matisse as a sculptor and Printmaker

Last Wednesday, I went with a friend to the opening of Matisse as a sculptor at the SFMOMA. Note to self: never go to an opening at SFMOMA. There were so many people. I am surprised that none of the sculptures fell off the podium. I thought the exhibition was nice. I liked how the sculptures were displayed along with some of his paintings, drawings, and paper cut outs. It really brought life and dimensionality to his artistic practice. I did not however some across any of his prints. So I did a little research and found this:

Matisse's interest in printmaking was concentrated into relatively short periods throughout his career, but his output was prolific, both in etching and lithography. His first significant group of etchings, of 1914, are intimate portraits of friends and family executed with astonishing speed.

In the early 1920s he turned with enthusiasm to lithography, and from 1925-30 he produced more than 80 studies of models, nude or draped, surrounded by flowers, fabrics and furniture whose fluid lines merge into an arabesque of pattern. His contact with Diaghilev in 1927 inspired numerous prints of ballet dancers and the portfolio 'Dix Danseuses'.

In 1929 Matisse resumed etching, working directly on the plate from the model and producing a constellation of nudes and odalisques whose lively clarity of line replaces the still, voluptuous atmosphere of the seraglio. His printmaking allowed to him to explore and distill in other media the themes that preoccupied him as a painter.
-Merivale Editions

I realize that it wasn't a retrospective of his life's work, but still I was surprised not to see some prints. Some sculptors have told me how easily they have taken to printmaking because can be similar to a sculptural process, so I just figured a print or two might be interesting. Although now looking at some of his prints I think he took to printmaking more like a drawer would.

He was such an amazing colorist. Okay, so I think I looked more at his 2D work than his sculpture, but honestly his paintings are so beautiful. I've seen his paintings in many different museums, but for some reason when placed with his mostly black sculptures, the colors just vibrated beautifully. It's amazing how he took the most ugly color scheme in the world and made it look beautiful. He is a much greater painter than Picasso when it comes to color. I don't like Matisses flat color designs though. Too boring.

What I find interesting about being a student of art is how little we are actually exposed to a large body of artists work. Sure, we learn all these famous artists from books. We rush from artist to the next. I think if I had taken more time to look at Matisses work....to really study it in person, I might have been more inspired by him. He's the type of artist I know about, but I only took a quick bite without fully digesting his work. The same is true when I go to a museum. He is always thrown in with a bunch of other artists, and I scan quickly.

Another interesting aspect to the exhibition was the selection of other works by artists. It was interesting to see where Matisse got his inspiration from. Even Matisse the "master artist" would study other artists and wasn't afraid to "copy" or "steal" from others. This is always something I've had a problem with. I've been taught it is good to steal, but somehow inside of me if I make a piece of art that resembles any other artist directly even in the littlest bit, it makes me nervous and I don't like it. My first prints that I ever did were based on Egon Shiele's figures. Eventhough a lot of the composition and most of the elements were made up by me, the parts that were not made from me really bothered me. Maybe I'm too uptight. I need to relax more. I need to make lots of work......lots of crap....lots of successful pieces....lots of neeehhhh. Step back, breathe, and not judge. Now that I am not in school, I can do that.

This was my favorite painting: (the picture does no justice):

Look at the colors, lines, textures, shapes: beautiful!

Matisse as a Sculptor

Saturday, June 09, 2007 - Sunday, September 16, 2007 (SFMOMA)

Known primarily for his beautiful paintings, drawings, and works on paper, Henri Matisse was also an accomplished sculptor whose radical style left lasting marks on modern art history. The first major U.S. examination of Matisse's sculpture in nearly 40 years, this exhibition assembles more than 150 works in a variety of media to illustrate his inventiveness, dexterity, and historical significance. Side-by-side presentations of two- and three-dimensional pieces showcase the way themes, imagery, and processes overlapped in Matisse's studio practice, while a selection of works by the artist's peers — including Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and Auguste Rodin — provides a vivid context for considering Matisse's oeuvre.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Well, I finally made it to the Eight by Eight: 64 works on paper by eight printmakers. I didn't make it to the opening because my friends had extra tickets to see Bright Eyes which was a disappointing concert. The show was at the Market Street Gallery. Getting there was a bit of a pain because I had to walk through some sketchy neighborhoods, but I was fine. The gallery itself is in a nicer neighborhood, and it is very nice. I was surprised when I entered by how much work was on display. I knew a couple of the artists by their reputation. Leslie Lowinger is a part of the Graphics Arts Workshop which is a printmaking cooperative. I also knew of Amanda Knowles. I like her works from 2007 it seems to me that she has been somewhat influenced by Judy Pfaff. She graduated with an MFA from UW-Madison, and has shown a lot on the West coast. She is also teaching at Kala another printmaking workshop. The prints were mostly organically abstract with beautiful colors. I don't have pictures because I didn't take my camera with me. The work made me feel very happy. After a first and second round I spoke with the gallery owner Ronald Newman. He is also a printmaker and is a funny man. He advised me to go to City College SF to take printmaking classes. He told me it's cheap and that there is a nice group of people who have been printmaking for years. I think I'll take him up on his offer because I really miss being surrounded by serious printmakers. I also like to be around older people because they make me laugh a lot. He told me that the classes are sort of like open studios where one can play around and use whatever technique they like. We had a good chat about how he started the gallery and the fun he has with the openings. A lot of the time I get ignored by gallery owners, but he was so so nice to me even though he knew I would not be buying art. It's definitely a gallery I will go back to many many more times.

After going to the Market Street Gallery I headed to the Farmers market for some fresh fruit and then went to Aurobora Press which specializes in monoprinting. If you've been keeping up with my blog for a few years you might remember that this press is what got me interested in monoprinting which eventually landed me an opportunity in Greece. Jackie Gendel had an exhibition on portraits that were okay. I liked the composition and subject matter, but the technique was displeasing to me. There is a certain color brown and ugly texture that happens when people don't know how to use the ink on the plate and print properly, and this is what happened to her. It's quite strange though. Even though I was internally technically vomitting it somehow drew me more to her work because her portraits were quite disturbing. So, I have an awkward emotional pull to her work like nails scrapping against a chalk board. I'm not sure where I stand. Also, I like to go to Aurobora Press because Kurt Kemp has an awesome large print collage which is just amazing to look at. I really am starting to like his work the more I look at it. I hope to meet him someday. He lives somewhere North of here and I don't have the transportation to visit him, but I'm sure I'll spontaneously run into him someday.

Right now I'm ready Oscars Wilde's A Portrait of Dorian Gray. It's such a great book. I've always known the premise of the story, but have not taken the time to read it. It's a great book for artists to read. "Art is really quite useless"- Oscar Wilde

On another note, there was a Tony Blair special on PBS last night which was so interesting. I was quite shocked when he announced his resignation. I think he is a great man and has done some wonderful things. Unfortunately, he's been struggling since Bush has become President which has become quite damaging to him. I hope someday that he opens upand talks more about his decisions that he has made recently.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Royal Temple of Ireland

Ancient "Royal Temple" Discovered in Path of Ireland Highway
National Geographic News
James Owen

Artifacts unearthed at the site include a stone axe head, a pottery fragment, and an ornamental pin. An ancient buried dog was also excavated nearby.

Archaeologists say the monument probably formed part of an important ceremonial complex centred on the Hill of Tara, where remains date back to the Stone Age.

Archaeologist Joe Fenwick of the National University of Ireland, Galway, described the Hill of Tara as Ireland's equivalent of Stonehenge or Egypt's Pyramids.

National Geographic

Artist Proof Studio-Johannesburg, South Africa

My friend Nels is currently in South Africa to observe and learn new printmaking
techniques. He is also there to try an be an liason between Prof. Joel Elgin (our printmaking instructor at UWL) and the local art community in order to set up a print exchange to showcase african art at an exhibition at the university. Exciting stuff indeeed! So, since he hasn't sent any photo's yet, I thought it would be fun to follow him visually on my blog. This way I can feel like I'm there too!

The first printshop he went to see was the Artists Proof Studio in Johannesburg S. Africa. The Artist's Proof Studio relocated (after a disasterous fire in a location across the street) into a refurbished bus manufacturing factory refurbished to be an art center. It has become a "home studio" and resource centre for artists from disadvantaged areas in and around Johannesburg. With its state-of-the-art equipment and expert staff, APS offers intensive training programs in printmaking and organizes exchange programs with local and international printmakers. In 2004, Zuva Gallery partnered with APS to provide top printmaking students premier exhibition venues at Zuva's galleries in Johannesburg and Scottsdale. Each show is launched at Zuva Gallery in Johannesburg and run simultaneously at Zuva Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.

APS Mission

The mission of the studio is to provide an environment of excellence for artists to develop printmaking as a democratic and accessible medium of expression.

Artists Proof Press

The South African Development Fund

By the mid eighties, political repression in South Africa had reached new heights. The apartheid government was involved in activities to suppress the democratic movement and in committing the myriad of human rights violations now coming to scrutiny under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Thousands of South Africans fled into exile, and the international anti-apartheid movement was established.

The South Africa Development Fund was founded in 1985 by exiles living in the United States to help the oppressed majority of their country. They were joined in this effort by Americans active in the civil rights and anti-apartheid movements. Originally called "Fund for a Free South Africa, (FreeSA)", the organization became a vehicle by which U.S. donors could show their solidarity with South Africans struggling for political and social justice.

South African society has changed, but the legacy of apartheid policies will take many years to undo. Millions of people still live in makeshift shacks without electricity and clean water. An entire generation grew up without a decent education resulting in widespread illiteracy and massive unemployment.

The South Africa Development Fund is working closely with a number of non-governmental organizations that treat social and economic rights as full human rights. The programs have been implemented to ensure that South Africans have the ability to fully participate in the democratic process, the right to a safe and healthy environment and the opportunity to pursue education and employment.


Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg provides opportunities for disadvantaged artists to study printmaking and papermaking in a cooperative environment.

To donate money:
The South African Development Fund

Monday, May 14, 2007

Anne Ryan

The Power of Women of a Certain Age

From artblog by libby
Post by Andrea Kirsh

I saw another eye-opener at Susan Teller Gallery (not far from the Drawing Center, at 568 Broadway, 212 941-7335), a small overview, not quite a retrospective, of Anne Ryan’s work. Ryan is best known for the collages she made after 1948 when she saw an exhibition of Kurt Schwitters’ work. A couple of these used to be on more-or-less permanent exhibition at MoMA, but that was years ago. I haven’t seen them in decades.

Anne Ryan
The Wine Glass, about 1945, woodcut on black paper, 16 x 21 inches.

Ryan only began painting in her fifties and her career was but fifteen years. This exhibition has one collage and twenty-seven paintings, drawings and innovative wood-block prints. It traces her experience in Stanley William Hayter’s print studio and her exploration of Constructivism and Surrealism. While her collages have a clear debt to Schwitters, they have their own characteristic palette and delicacy, and rather than the urban detritus favored by Schwitters, Ryan favored varied types of fabric and fine papers, some of it hand-made. Her wood-cuts employ a single block which she inked by hand, in multiple colors of varying transparency which yielded variation within an edition. She often printed on black paper in another sort of artistic recycling (they were the wrappers from photographic film). This gives the work a striking coloration and depth. The exhibition is on through May 12, and should you miss it, the gallery will likely have some of her work available.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Kathan Brown on Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt, whose deceptively simple geometric sculptures and drawings and ecstatically colored and jazzy wall paintings established him as a lodestar of modern American art, died last month in New York at the age of 78.

Sol Lewitt made some of the first prints at Crown Point Press and here is a tribute for him from Kathan Brown from her 3 minute egg series.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Market Street Gallery (1554 Market Street, San Francisco)
EXHIBITION: MAY 1st - 31st
RECEPTION: Friday, May 4th
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

8 x 8 is a traveling show of works on paper of eight West Coast women printmakers who work in various printmaking media such as Intaglio, Monotype, and Chine Colle. The show will showcase 64+ fresh works in print that incorporate interesting and innovative techniques.

Printmaking artists include Seiko Tachibana, Amanda Knowles, Leslie Lowinger, Susan Belau, Donna Sharee, Ellen Markoff, Sandra Kelch and Terri Driscoll.

This should be a lot of fun to go to. I have heard a lot about some of these printmakers and it should be fun to meet them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Exhibition: University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and University at Albany

My beloved Professor Joel and his Lynched friend have set up an online exhibit between the two universities of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University at Albany. It's a very exciting opportunity for the L.Mob to get together and check out what each other have been doing.


While graduate printmaking students at Iowa, Brian Lynch and Joel Elgin, took a course in the Art Museum/ Gallery Theory and Practice. The Prof, who flunked them both had no clue that the future would allow for internet based exhibits. This exhibition brings together Elgin's students from the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse and Lynch's students from the University at Albany . We encourage the students from both institutions to comment on each other's images in order to create a dialog from the East to the Midwest. We encourage any reader/viewer who wishes further information on the exhibit or programs to comment under this post to LynchBaby or Beloved Prof Joel.

For further information on... Lynch please go to: http://www.lynchstudio.com/

Beloved Prof Joel: http://www.gracechosygallery.com/

Please visit the UWL Printfever blog to connect with current printmaking activity and to see the prints of UWL alumni: http://printfever.blogspot.com/

Special thanks to BlogBitch Becca for her hours spent collecting and posting images.


Chloe Piene at Lower East Side Printshop

(c) Chloe Piene, 2006
Big Hands
Etching and aquatint
11.75" x 10" image, 17.75" x 16" sheet
Current price: $1,500

Chloe Piene was at the Lower East Side print shop towards the end of last year. I've only seen this one print, so I'm not sure if she made more than one edition. I hope she did.

I get the Lower East Side newsletter, and I'm always excited when I do. Reading it makes me want to go to New York especially to the LES Print shop because it is always buzzing with excitement. They have great opportunities with their on going classes and residences. Maybe one summer I'll take a class there.

More of Chloe Piene's art

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Put Your Art online

I found a great little website called Carbonmade: Your online portfolio.
It's a great way to get your art put online really fast and for free without advertisements. I like the layout, and it allows enough space for me to keep my work for now.

Some other great services are similar to myspace such as:
Deviant Artists
-a great place to get to know other student artists and make fun connections through art.
-set up by the highly respectable Saatchi Gallery. Nels is a part of this, and I think more should join him from LaCrosse.

I'm sure there are others too.