Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kara Walker (Nicole's Pick)

My artist of the week is Kara Walker. Greg showed us her work in class and I found it really interesting. Born in California, she moved to Georgia in her early teens. She was apprehensive about the movie to the south due to fears of racial issues. Her work deals primarily with gender and race issues of African American women during “Antebellum South”, creating an almost alternate world and nightmare effect. Her techniques range from painting to drawing. She is more widely known for her signature black paper silhouette installations. I respond to her work because she is dealing with an issue that she originally feared when moving to the south. She confronts her fears through her work and uses it as a type of therapy, much like I am attempting to do with my fear of dolls. Kara Walker relates to Nicholas Di Genova in that they both combine images, whether they be animal or human, to create new and often exaggerated forms.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wolfgang Tillmans

My artist of the weeks this week is Wolfgang Tillmans. His work appeals to me because of his documentary style and his use of color...He shoots mostly his friends, who he considers not only models but his collaborators. I really enjoy taking pictures of my friends as a way to document my own experience of life and I think Tillmans does a great job of portraying his life through his photographs. I also really enjoy the fact that Tillmans works with color film, I feel that it's pretty obvious in his work that the images aren't digital, and there's a kind of preciousness in the idea of using film, as it seems to be becoming increasingly obsolete. The colors to me are obviously the kind of colors you get from film. The colors are also subjective without being completely over the top...I think Tillmans does a great job of controlling and altering the color of his images, without making them look overdone.

Tillmans work could be compared Justin Sunhueza Campoy's work, as both artists draw inspiration from everyday objects and experiences. A large component of both artist's bodies of work is a subjective use of color, which is mostly realistic, but is still used as a vehicle for expression.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Justin Sanhueza Campoy (Jenn's pick)

How Do You Kill Yourself in an
Electric Oven
, Oil on Canvas, 2005 68"x58"

I love this guy. I found him when on some painting contest book/website, and looked him up. I'm glad that he actually had a website because all weekend I've been seeing/meeting people I would like to look up and I can't find anyone.
Anyway, his website was really interesting because he talks about his work, on video. Even though the video is kind of awkward looking, and long, I learned lots of good things.
He says he doesn't bother trying to load his work with meaning, because that back tracks the work, making it less interesting and meaningful. He says that he just does paintings that were originally sketches in his sketchbook. He doesn't try to make them things that they're not. This is interesting to me because I like painting things in in my sketchbook, but have felt a lot of pressure to try to make them link together so that people in class won't ask the horrible question "uh, how does this relate to what you did last week?" He works in kind of Equisite Corpse style- his work relates because he's been drawing it, and thinking it. That's the only way it all relates, yet he has a coherent body of work.
It's good to know that there doesn't really have to be an ultra deep thesis behind everything you're doing. Sometimes you like a picture, so you paint it. After you do this so many times you might find an overall thesis. This also relates to something I learned in my education class- that you write the introduction after you finish the paper, making the paper less limiting. In some of the video, he emphasizes that it's important to make lots of work, and some paintings will be good, and some will be bad, but it's OK as long as you keep going.
Anyway, I like the self portrait "I want to go home, I want sex, I want a new job, I want a pizza"
because he really relates to what I'm thinking about 80% of the time. I'm guessing this relates to what other people are thinking a majority of the time too.
Like other artists people have shown, Monica's, and Nicole's picks... there is a lot of humor, but still a "deep" element. "How to Kill Yourself in an Electric Oven" is funny at first glance, but it's just a more literal meaning for "yeah those legs are sexy but they are going to make you miserable or kill you."

I Want to Go Home, I Want a New Job, I Want Sex, I Want a Pizza, 2006, 36"x48"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nicholas Di Genova

I've been feeling slightly burnt out on art theory recently, so I decided to post about an artist who works in a more illustration-informed mode. I've been thinking about working in non-paint media recently. It's somewhat refreshing to me when I feel that I can enjoy art without needing to set it in a larger art historical context, look for referents, etc, etc. Maybe other people people don't get overwhelmed by a need to find meaning in work this way, but sometimes I do. And what can I say, I've always been a sucker for good line quality. (More hi-res images here)

Nicholas Di Genova, also known as "Medium" is an artist from Toronto. He creates hybrid animals designs, often combining the features of two very different animals to create a strange new creature. The fact that he's coming from a street art background is pretty easy to see in the way his works are primarily character design. In terms of content, I enjoy the way his work references zoology and evolution.

Artists' blogs are always fun to look at: There are plenty more images here, including ones from a recent show he had in Toronto.

Jill Greenberg (Nicole's Pick)

Jill Greenberg is commercial photographer who is probably most well known for her “monkey series”. She stirred up controversy in 2006 when she shot portraits of children’s faces “contorted by various emotional distresses”. She would cause the “emotional distress” by offering the child a piece of candy and then suddenly taking it away. The titles of the pieces “reflect Greenberg’s frustration with both the Bush administration and Christian Fundamentalism in the United States”. I like her work because she is able to capture the vulnerability of a child and also a great deal of emotion within a few seconds. Greenberg could relate to Monica’s pick of the week Maurizio Cattelan. Although Greenberg’s images aren’t necessarily meant to be humorous, she is pushing society to its limits, making people laugh and also get angry about her photos all at the same time. I also liked Whitney’s artist of the week Robb Johnson and his focus on the physicality of photography by layer images. As opposed to focusing on just the “image” he is pushing it further.