Art & Design
A new Painting/ drawing series seems to be taking shape !
'Medusa' CJ 2011
The Year in Emotion series seems to be come to a close (for now), the last piece was already beginning to buck the restraints of the quintessential thread that was binding the series of paintings together - even although the concept was conceived in the same time frame as the previous pieces.
Since I feel my mind pulling away, it's best to follow intuition and run with it.
What I decided to do is go back to decalcomania, the Surrealistic technique of unsettled minds, and let the image form itself out of the chaos of coincedental color fields and dots. The result of the first painting was - a self-portrait! It started out as an intended portrait of my husband, but since he didn't cooperate and stay in the optimum position I just let me hand wonder. Curiously enough, the subconscious mastermind turned me into a Medusa.
The snakes to me symbolize thoughts and ideas that turn and twist in various ways to cast doubt and fear, harming ourselves just as (and maybe even more than) anyone around caught in the deluge of projected chaos. But then, a deep psychological inspection might reveal a much more sinistre/delightful background that I might not necessarily want to delve into...
There was a second paint blob image in the first batch, which is already starting to reveal itself to me as I am watching it. So I feel fully justified in saying that a new series might be born!
"Disturbing Muses" Giorgio de Chirico, 1916
"The Rise of Surrealism - Cubism, Dada, and the persuit of the Marvelous" (2002) by Willard Bohn
While this book is very insightful to the philosophical and cultural changes that formed Cubism, Dadaism and finally Surrealism, it is not written for the casual art fan. It does not focus on the poetry and art per se or displays the famous paintings in brightly colored folios, but tries to illuminate the deeper thought and metaphysical idea behind them.
This is demonstrated by analyzing quotes, writings and work of a select group of artists (who may not necessarily all be the flashiest artists of the era, but certainly represent the mind and soul of the time).
Be it Apollinaire with his thoughts on the 4th dimension and its spatial aspects, De Zaya and his extraordinary 'abstract charicature' portraits, de Chirico and his complex system of symbolism, metaphor and deeply personal mysticism of myth and dreams, Andre Breton's precise vision of the art movement he aimed to guide and develop, J.V. Foix, or Joan Miro- they all contributed to the development of the modern art revolution at the beginning of the 20th century.
With its 248 pages and small format, it is surprisingly compact for a book on art movements and history. It expounds on the well-known images and texts of the time to make the culture of Surrealism contemporaries accessable to the interested reader today.
I can highly recommend it as a supplemental read on the philosophy of Surrealism, but as mentioned in the beginning, it is not a introduction to the art for the novice to the topic.
'Breakfast in fur' Meret Oppenheim
Oppenheim (artist, sculptor and poet) was born in Berlin in 1913, but grew up in Switzerland and at age 18 moved to Paris. She was part of the Surrealist art movement as both muse and artist, (black and white art photographs and prints by Man Ray featured her as a young model) and is mainly know for her iconic and clever art objects. 'Breakfast in fur' is arguably the most recognized of her objects and has recently been displayed at MoMA.
The cup, spoon and saucer, lined with the fur of a Chinese gazelle, have been described as the 'ultimate' surreal art piece by contemporaries. According to some sources, it was inspired by a breakfast get-together with a small group of artists, including Pablo Picasso, at which it was reportedly remarked that you could cover anything in fur.
The popularity of her art in her early twenties brought continuous bouts of depression, she struggled to live up to the initial success and fame. Only a part of her art pieces survives, as she destroyed much of her own work during that period of identity crisis.
"My Nurse" Meret Oppenheim
My personal favorite is another one of her early objects: 'My Nurse'. It is a pair of high-heeled shoes, tied together and presented on a platter like a roasted bird, the heels angled apart like a woman lying on her back with legs spread.
Oppenheim's art has been seen as a criticism of women's exploitation by the opposite sex, and although I can not be certain it was intended by the artist, to me, it clearly hints at the tradition of bound feet for young girls (the title also points to the pressures, cliches and conditioning of youth upbringing).
Untitled - Oscar Dominguez(1936)
'Decalcomania' was a technique popular with Surrealist painters like Oscar Dominguez, Max Ernst and others. The word is derrived from French 'decalquer' (to transfer or to copy by tracing) and was first used to transfer prints or engravings at the end of the 18th century.
In painting, a non-absorbent surface (such as glass, metal or coated paper) is partially covered with ink, gouache or other paint. Then the paper (or canvas) is pressed against the surface, which creates intricate, lacy patterns.
The Surrealist painters picked up the technique and used it in a similarly way to the "Rohrschach" inkblot tests as painting "with no preconceived object" in mind, as Dominguez put it.
Fascinated by everything subconscious and spontaneous (Freud, Jung, were being absorbed into the mainstream culture), they used the patterns created by the printed decal as ispiration from free visual association.
Europe after the Rain - Max Ernst
I started to research background and techniques of Surrealism in more detail over the last couple of months - and it seems like a good approach to some difficulties I have come across lately: It is a great way to overcome the 'fear of the blank canvas' if used as a starting point to get going. And for anybody suffering from inspirational doldrums, it might also be good technique to make a fresh start. You can always add to, cover and change the pattern as much as you like. Once I get going with a painting, it does in a way seem to paint itself!
"No Eye in Team" Cornelia Jolitz
So, this is my first try with this technique. I was feeling ambitious and tried to combine 4 colors in the same decal, but I think next time I'll stick to a more subtle hue and start with only one or two colors. The lack of contrast left me with not much to go on to make visual associations.
I added the black lacing and eyes with black permanent marker and paintend some background over with white.
Starting a new painting is always difficult for me, even if I have a concrete idea and concept in mind. Somehow, the blank page sets loose an overwhelming urge not to mess with it, a fear of destroying the pure concept I have in mind. Over the last month I've realized how much I tend to over-think my art, it gets stuck in the details and technique rather than the subject and the content .
As a way to remedy this, I started a new series purely as a counter-balance to brain control: The heart / "Year in Emotion" series. The concept developed out of a simple doodle in the sketch book - and promptly it multiplied into a mini-series of ideas!
Doodling is such an under-utilized way of starting a concept - letting the hand subconsciously guide you to new ideas really does work. Who knew! Two paintings have already been created out of those spontaneous sketches, the next ones will follow shortly as I find the time for it. I will post the new painting on the Art page soon as well.
After the small successes of the 'doodling experiments' I am starting more research into the Surrealism painting methods, which are heavily invested in the subconscious and chance-driven techniques like decalcomania, frottage, and automated writing. It seems like a good way to overcome a domineering, pushy brain....
Art in Hawaii
Living in Hawaii is an inspiring experience, both artistically and spiritually.