Monday, 30 March 2015

Rothko Harvard Murals, USA, until July 2015

A short discussion with Rothko's children, Christopher and Kate, talk about the show here.


Harvard Art Museums
'This new presentation of Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals features innovative, noninvasive digital projection as a conservation approach. The exhibition returns this mural series to public view and scholarship while also encouraging study and debate of the technology.
The technique employs a camera-projector system that includes custom-made software developed and applied by a team of art historians, conservation scientists, conservators, and scientists at the Harvard Art Museums and the MIT Media Lab. The digital projection technology restores the appearance of the murals’ original rich colors, which had faded while on display in the 1960s and ’70s in a penthouse dining room of Harvard University’s Holyoke Center (now the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center), the space for which they were commissioned. Deemed unsuitable for exhibition, the murals entered storage in 1979 and since then have rarely been seen by the public.
Featuring 38 works from 1961–62, including the murals and many of the artist’s related studies on paper and canvas, the exhibition also explores Rothko’s creative process. A sixth mural painted for the commission—brought to Cambridge by Rothko but ultimately not installed—will be presented publicly for the first time. Many of the works on paper contain relevant sketches on their reverse, which will be displayed during the second half of the exhibition beginning in March 2015. The studies on canvas provide perspective on Rothko’s process as he worked from small to large scale.
The majority of the works exhibited are from the Harvard Art Museums, with loans from Kate Rothko Prizel, Christopher Rothko, Dr. Corinne Flick, the National Gallery of Art, and the Menil Collection.
The exhibition includes multimedia components accessible via interactive screens in the gallery. Those components are all also assembled in a Vimeo channel. The content includes interviews with members of the project team as well as with Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, the artist's children, and other individuals who have expert knowledge about Rothko and the Harvard Murals commission.
Each day at 4pm, the projectors are turned off to provide visitors an opportunity to see the murals without projected light.
Curated by Mary Schneider Enriquez, the Houghton Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums; in collaboration with Narayan Khandekar, senior conservation scientist, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums; Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, director, Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums, and associate director for conservation and research, Whitney Museum of American Art; Christina Rosenberger, research coordinator, Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums; and Jens Stenger, conservation scientist, Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University (formerly of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums). The camera-projector system and software were developed with Ramesh Raskar, associate professor of media arts and sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and head, MIT Media Lab's Camera Culture Group. Digital restoration of Ektachrome transparencies was completed together with Rudolf Gschwind, professor and head, Digital Humanities Lab, University of Basel, Switzerland.'

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Bert Irvin's obituary by Mike Tooby

"The artist Albert Irvin, who has died aged 92, created an extraordinary body of abstract paintings, watercolours and prints. His work became prominent in the reinvigoration of British painting in the 1980s and 90s, and latterly became familiar through wide exhibition and reproduction. He made colour sweep and spray over pictorial areas that give the illusion of depth, created by complex and dynamic marks and gestures of the handheld brush. He often took on a grand scale, but also created brilliant and beautifully crafted works on paper.
Irvin’s celebratory approach epitomised the idea of painting as the expression of the life force within the space of the image. His personal code of street names as titles was a cipher for this. Some, like Nicolson, stood for people close to him. Groups of paintings might capture significant routines: Plimsoll and Kelvin recall his match-day route to Arsenal’s old Highbury stadium in north London; others like Sauchiehall or O’Connell recall his favourite cities.

photo credit Dom Moore 2013
His career defied every model of art-world success, but also characterised the struggles and ambitions of his generation. By the time of his first solo show he was 38. Eventually finding a wide audience in his 60s, he joked that he was “the oldest up and coming young artist in Britain”. That his work became ever more vibrant as he grew older was striking evidence of his affirmative view of life and art." An excerpt from Mike Tooby's piece in the Guardian the rest can be found here .
Photograph from Michael Canney's website a friend and contemporary of Bert Irvin's, Bert is on the right.
And this is a video of Albert Irvin talking in 2013 whilst exhibiting work at Plymouth College of Art.
Gallery Shorts: Albert Irvin from Plymouth College of Art on Vimeo.

His advice to young painter's: "Keep going and don't let the bastards grind you down."

Saturday, 28 February 2015

New short Brice Marden film of the artist in his studio..

'From his sprawling studio space and the large moss garden outside his home, artist Brice Marden discusses his approach to abstraction and the ways paintings can serve as vehicles to take viewers to another time and place.' See the Brice Marden short film here.


Monday, 16 February 2015

Carole Pearson and Guy Bigland at Salisbury Arts Centre

By the Rules and exhibition of work by Carole Pearson and Guy Bigland  at Salisbury Art Centre 26 February – 29 March 2015
An exhibition of paintings and sculpture sparked by creative rules.
Carole Pearson is drawn to industrial materials which she considers playfully and with a lightness of touch.

Guy Bigland’s Solution Paintings are generated from set criteria which convert the numbers in a Sudoko puzzle into instructions for making paintings.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Seven from the Seventies at Flowers

Seven from the Seventies Flowers Gallery 16th January - 21st February

This exhibition brings together the work of seven influential abstract painters from the decade, featuring Colin Cina, Bernard Cohen, Noel Forster, Derek Hirst,
Michael Kidner, Jack Smith and Richard Smith.

Each demonstrates a reductive and disciplined articulation of the sensations of light, form, sound, colour and space. Their ordered, procedural and systematic approach to painting opened up new possibilities for future formal experimentation within abstraction.
Michael Kidner Column (no.2) in Front of its own Image, 1970 (c) Michael Kidner Art Ltd., Courtesy of Flowers Gallery
Michael Kidner’s rigorous intellectual approach to colour and form also resonates emotionally: ‘Unless you read a painting as a feeling,’ he has said, ‘then you don’t get anything at all’. Column No.2 In Front of Its Own Image, 1972-3 systematically records the grid or lattice formed by the movement of a three dimensional object in space, itself a solid representation of the intersection of two wavy lines. Exploring the complex effects achieved by the arrangement of simple elements according to a set of self-imposed rules, he generated “visual metaphors for the opposing manifestations of order and disorder in nature.” (Irving Sandler -Michael Kidner, Flowers Gallery, 2007).
Colin Cina, MH39, 1973  (c) Colin Cina, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery
Colin Cina’s MH series has been described as the artist’s “homage to the rectangle” (William Feaver - Art International,1972). Finding a sense of freedom within its formal confines, his lyrical coloured panels are rhythmically orchestrated by vertical lines and chevrons, the relational aspect of which set Cina’s work apart from much Colour Field painting of the time. Like so many younger artists of that epoch in London, most of my paintings then were defiantly big, chromatic works, in loose kinship with those of the New York school of that period - broad and tall and deliberately ‘anonymous’ with respect to paint-handling. New York was then still in thrall to Clement Greenberg’s somewhat uncompromising pronouncements on how a poetic but very new abstract art could be achieved. London’s ‘hard-edge’ painting of that decade was less reverent about the Greenberg approach: you might say, it was more eclectic, more rooted in pioneer Modernist European ideas. – Colin Cina
Colin Cina photo courtesy of R Demarco 1968

With prominent roles in British art schools as well as international professorships, their ideas impacted upon a generation of artists. Colin Cina, and Michael Kidner were tutors of mine when I was at Chelsea but unlike John Carter, a contemporary constructivist and fellow tutor, they were not set on imposing their approach. They were well informed artists with a real sense of the place and influence of abstraction in the UK. They encouraged open enquiry and if anything I remember them being almost reticent to introduce students to their own paintings. However I recall with affection my only Colin Cina studio visit where he shared with excitement the latest evolution in his work. Colin's delight was because he had broken the picture plane with shadows. This nuance of painting, this small adjustment was where our discussions were focussed, seeing the small personal and formal boundaries being tested.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Dragomir Mišina at the Pound

Dragomir Mišina's solo show 'At First Glance' at The Pound Corsham  Fri, 9 Jan 2015 - Sun, 22 Feb 2015

The work has been carefully selected and curated by me and Fiona Cassidy, taken from five different series dating from 2011 to present. During this process we have considered the unusual gallery layout, positioning paintings according to view point, and the relationship which they form when viewed from the distance. Moving closer to a painting, focus shifts to the complex surface of expressive mark making, carefully edited with use of layers, repeated several times. That is where the idea for the title comes from. First impression, from the distance, when viewing the work is different from the impression when observing a painting close up. Each visit to the same painting will reveal something new to the previous time.

This exhibition invites the viewer to look around at the diverse painting techniques, discovering contradictions and connections.

Mickey Mouse was here

Mickey Mouse was here

Last Supper

Monday, 5 January 2015

Adventures of the Black Square Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015

Peter Halley Auto Zone 1992
Following on from the Whitechapel catalogue post it is the Whitechapel again but this time with Iwona Blazwick's curated exhibition that is opening on 15 January, this epic show takes Kazimir Malevich’s radical painting of a black square – first shown in Russia 100 years ago – as the emblem of a new art and a new society. The exhibition features over 100 artists who took up its legacy, from Buenos Aires to Tehran, London to Berlin, New York to Tel Aviv. Their paintings, photographs and sculptures symbolise Modernism’s utopian aspirations and breakdowns.

Presented chronologically the show follows four themes:
‘Utopia’ is expressed through Malevich’s black square, the progenitor of new aesthetic and political horizons, seized by artists fromVladimir Tatlin to Hélio Oiticica.
‘Architectonics’ presents floating geometries that propose new social spaces as imagined by Lyubov Popova or Piet Mondrian and Liam Gillick.
‘Communication’ spreads the message to the masses in manifestos and avant-garde graphics.The ‘Everyday’ embeds routines and objects in the aesthetics of progress as observed in a textile by Sophie Taeuber-Arp or the abstract motifs painted on Peruvian lorries captured by Armando Andrade Tudela. Middle Eastern artists such as Nazgol Ansarinia link Modernism with Arabic and Persian decorative arts; while Western artists such as Lewis Baltz, Peter Halley or Jenny Holzercritique economic and political abstraction.Adventures of the Black Square explores how abstract art has travelled worldwide, permeating our life and times.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

New American Painting catalogue 1959

I recently went to supper with friends who were clearing out a number of items. After the meal they asked me to take a look and among the variety of prints, paintings and books was this catalogue produced by the Arts Council in 1959 for the exhibition at The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in association with MOMA New York. I knew of the exhibition but I had never seen the catalogue before. The artists in the exhibition include Baziotes, Brooks, Francis, Gorky,Gottlieb, Guston, Hartigan, Kline, de Kooning, Motherwell, Newman, Pollock, Rothko, Stamos, Still, Tomlin and Tworkov. 

I have scanned it an uploaded it asa PDF here for you to read New American Painting Catalogue 1959

Friday, 5 December 2014

Earliest evidence of abstract thought?

Photo credit Josephine Joordens

Nature magazine has published these images of this engraved shell which is from a freshwater mussel species and was collected in the 1890s by the Dutch palaeontologist Eugène Dubois, at a site in eastern Java called Trinil. There, Dubois discovered the first Homo erectus fossil — a skullcap — and other ancient human bones. He also brought home dozens of shells excavated from the site. They were examined in the 1930s and then packed away into a box in a museum in Leiden, the Netherlands.
The engraving might have stayed undiscovered, were it not for Josephine Joordens, a biologist at Leiden University. 
By 40,000 years ago, and probably much earlier, anatomically modern humans — Homo sapiens — were painting on cave walls in places as far apart as Europe2 and Indonesia3. Simpler ochre engravings found in South Africa date to 100,000 years ago4. Earlier this year, researchers reported a 'hashtag' engraving in a Gibraltar cave once inhabited by Neanderthals5. That was the first evidence for drawing in any extinct species.
But until the discovery of the shell engraving, nothing approximating art has been ascribed to Homo erectus. The species emerged in Africa about 2 million years ago and trekked as far as the Indonesian island of Java, before going extinct around 140,000 years ago. Most palaeoanthropologists consider the species to be the direct ancestor of both humans and Neanderthals.

Henk Caspers/Naturalis
The shell, from a freshwater mussel, shows a hole made by a member of Homo erectus.