Stylistic Duplication or Earnest Search?— An Open Letter To Kitsch-Painters and Self-Proclaimed Followers of Odd Nerdrum by Matthew Ballou

I came across a great article by Matt Ballou about Nerdrum,  his followers, the nature of Nerdrum’s kitsch, and the interplay of all three.  Be sure to check it out!

Stylistic Duplication or Earnest Search?— An Open Letter To Kitsch-Painters and Self-Proclaimed Followers of Odd Nerdrum by Matthew Ballou.

Advertisements

List of Recent Posts

The Green Man at Etsy

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another week, another painting.   This time a portrait of the Green Man.  He is generally considered a spirit of the woods and is particularly common in European lore.  Link to the painting.

I ran across an old anonymous poem about him:

I am born on May Morning – by sticks, bells, and ribbons I am the sap – in the dark root
I am the dancer – with his six fools
I am the tump – behind the old church
I am the lost soul – under the misericord
I am the oak – against the stars

I am the face – that peers through the leaves
I am the fear – in a child’ s mind
I am the demon – on the roof-boss

I am killed in October – and laid on church altars

I am the guiser – on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain – sown with the seed
I am the flame – in the pumpkin ‘ s grin
I am the spirit – in the kern-baby’s bosom

AoTW: Exhibit of Andy Hope 1930’s Work

Andy Hope 1930

 

Andreas Hofer aka “Andy Hope 1930,” is currently exhibiting  his work in New York.   I came across this artist’s work on another blog but couldn’t re-blog it because it’s on another platform so I thought I would make the effort to write a regular post about his work despite having 4 stitches in my left middle finger–good times.   

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images from Hauser & Wirth   

I’ve never encountered Hope 1930’s work before now and I was intrigued by the minimalist dimension of the work within this exhibition.  Although this exhibit does include some beautiful minimalist work (which I can handle in measured doses), this is, I pleasantly discovered, largely atypical of his oeuvre.   

He is, as evident by much of his work, a beneficiary of Polke who I blogged about here.  Hope 1930 employs numerous media in an often incongruous manner juxtaposing images of the past with the present in seemingly nonsensical ways.    

Employing artistic methodologies that can trace their origins to Duchamp, he brings disparate elements together which, if considered separately, have no discernible relationship to each other.  As such, his work continues the Post-Modern dialogue by utilizing and melding together elements of pop culture, historical artistic imagery, modernism, and national history which forces the viewer to construe possible interpretations.   

His work escapes easy classification and although this may be off-putting for the casual art viewer, I think that this his work provides an important contribution within a contemporary art scene that all too often applauds not the content of the artwork but the personality of the artist.  His work says as much, if not more, about who we are within an emerging global community dominated by image saturation, mass consumerism, and the reconciliation of cross-cultural encounters as it does about Andy Hope 1930, the artist.   

For more information, please see the following:   

Five Reasons Why We Should Create

I’ve been thinking about the creative process lately and how it can be plagued with inertia.  Creating can be frustrating, difficult, painful, and leave the creator in a very vulnerable position.  Greater investment in one’s work leads to greater potential for a painful rejection if the work is not accepted or grossly misunderstood.  All of these things boiling in the cauldron can make inaction seem like a more desirable state-of-being.

So, I wanted to provide some points about the creative process that will hopefully help us (me) continue rolling that rock up the hill.  The points apply mostly to visual artists but anyone who creates can benefit from the following:

  1. The Visual Arts speak in a way that words cannot.  Continue your contribution to the discussion because if you do not, who else will?  What you contribute is important and it is valuable.
  2. Everything that we create continues to develop our cultural mileu.  Whatever you make continues to shape and define/redefine our cultural heritage.  Your voice is an important contribution to this ongoing process.
  3. Your artistic heritage is ancient and unique.  Not everyone can or is willing to expend the effort to create.  You belong to a select minority of artistic individuals whose legacy reaches back to pre-historic times.  Think about how we attempt to understand ancient cultures–through their artwork.
  4. Your work is your legacy–it will outlast you.  A culture is defined and outlined by what is created by artistic-minded people.  Contribute to the legacy that will help future historians define who we were.
  5. You have the power to leave a lasting artistic/creative legacy.  Every great artist began as an unknown.  What distinguished them was their persistence and their sense of self-efficacy.  The crowd tries to pull people back down to their own level–for the sake of your own soul, do not let them do this.

“The World Tree Moments after Odin Hung Himself,” now available on Etsy

The World Tree Moments after Odin Hung Himself

 

I read Neil Gaiman’s book, American Gods, recently and I was intrigued by his reference to Odin and the myth in which he hung himself from the world tree for nine days as, essentially, a sacrifice to himself.   

Ancient cultural practices with regard to sacrifice, particularly human sacrifice, are a macabre interest in that the prevalence of such occurrences were more than I would have suspected.  The notion that the death of one can increase the potency or virility of the larger group is fascinating in that the logic of it with regard to our modern perspective seems unnecessarily absurd and brutal.  Yet, within the confines of a particular ancient culture, the practice made perfect sense much as our modern-day ethos seems a perfectly comfortable way in which we view the workings of the natural world.  

The new painting is available here: link to painting

Another New Painting at Etsy

The Story Teller, watercolor on paper, 5"x7"

 

I have another painting available now on Etsy: right here 

Otherwise, all is quiet.

AoTW: Contemporary Artists from the Middle East

There seems to be a tremendous amount of attention on the Middle East and Islam as of late with many news stories revolving around the “ground zero” mosque, Koran burning, Iran, the upcoming arms sale to Saudi Arabia, etc, etc.  

Untitled by Egyptian artist, Amal Kenawy

 

With all of the above in mind, I wanted to highlight the works of artists who are from the Middle East and I found that tracking some down is a somewhat difficult task as there isn’t a lot of coverage here in the West.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by an article in The Guardian which highlights the work of several contemporary artists who are from the Middle East.  The link and the source of the imagery can be found here: Guardian article  

Champions by Iranian painter Behrang Samadzadegan

 

As one might imagine, some of the central themes revolve around consumerism, the interface between the West and the Middle East, stereotypes, perception (in the broadest sense of the word), and so forth.  I may pick a couple of the pieces and analyze them in a later post but for now, I’ll leave it at this.  Be sure to check out The Guardian’s article.

New Painting up on Etsy

*edit* Item sold

The Ifrit's Dream

 

Despite my previous post in which I whined about not being able to create, I posted a new painting onto Etsy.  You can find it at Etsy, here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/56619231/the-ifrits-dream

Creative Doldrums….

I generally don’t like to write articles that are personal.  I understand that everything that someone chooses to write about or discuss is as much an autobiographical portrait as any other self-aggrandizing bit, but turning inwards for inspiration is counter intuitive for me.

Anyway, on to the point.  I have been a painter for as long as I could hold a brush and I have often found solace in the immersion and self-absorption that occurs when one is very focused on painting–or working in any medium for that matter.  I lived off of the continual cycle, the ritual if you will, of inspiration, refinement, and execution of the work.  Although the themes were constant for me, the paintings always had something new to say about me or to me.

Lately though, for the past year and a half or so, I haven’t felt like painting.  Like all artists, I’ve had periods of time during which I step back and allow my thoughts to gather–some call this procrastinating, but I disagree.  Eventually, something would surface and after the proper devotional time, a painting would emerge, perhaps successfully or less so, but still a final product.

I still have ideas, plenty of them, but the drive is lacking.  I have concluded, perhaps falsely so, that most of what needs to be said within the field of painting has been said.  I grew tired of rehashing the same themes and concepts.  They now are hollow to me and that concerns me because I want to create and feel again that energy that courses through every artists soul as they channel whatever Muse they may lay claim to.

This isn’t a simple matter that can be remedied by all of the old tricks but instead a darkness that follows closely at my heels.  It will pass I am sure and I perhaps may be stronger for it but the mere idea of creating–not just applying paint to a canvas but really investing myself within the work–instills nothing within me…no excitement.  Nada.

Que Sera.

The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
                                                                                         Albert Camus