You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

pig topiary

As everything around us seems to be getting bigger, we are feeling the pinch and reminded of the inherent virtues of smallness.  Doing more with less continues to be a powerful idea–and an admirable choice for those who can well afford to have more.  Artists from far and wide and then and now have shown us, over and over, the magic of small productions.

Alexander Calder, best known for very large sculptures in front of very large buildings in very large cities, never lost sight of the special charm of small work you could hold in your hand intended for a small audience.

calder small pieces gift414-1024x803This set was made by Mr Calder as a gift for a friend.

Glass is a perfect medium for making hold-n-your-hand-sized sculpture.Glass figures Amsterdam thumb_IMGP2868_1024These little creatures made of glass are on display in a gin joint in Amsterdam.

The glass menagerie below was dreamed up by Kiki Smith and the critters were made by Venetian Pino Signoretto.  It is at home at the Corning Museum of Glass in NY.   Glass KikiSmithFull

But this devotion to smallness is not an invention of our time. We humans–all over the world– from our earliest days have dedicated time and talent to making small versions of ourselves.

terra cotta Denmark thumb_2017-08-05 05.09.31_1024

terra cotta 2 Denmark thumb_2017-08-05 05.09.14_1024Each just a few inches tall (the wall behind them is made of standard sized bricks), these ancient little men are captivating to modern eyes.  Conceived long before the electric light or glass shelving, they are now at home in a Danish museum.  Meanwhile, in Canada, visitors to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts can have their mood swiftly elevated by the little man below.

Smiling figure Montreal IMGP2736

Small scale also works wonderfully for two dimensional art.  In 16th century England, the Kings, Princes, and their pals, who could afford just about anything, any size, found they had a deep attraction to the smallest of paintings–miniature portraits.holbein jane small v & AMiniatures7That’s the eighth king named Henry, no Tiny Tim he, and a woman fittingly named Jane Small.  North Americans in the 18th century took to the same notion, not just Kings and their social circle this time, but plain proud people wanting a keepsake. This is Lottie Hills aged 15 painted by Rufus Porter, “inventor”.

miniature Rufus Porter Fig10

Stamps!  Engravers, mostly anonymously, spend their working lives and eyes to give us this to put on our envelopes for delivery near and far.  From the 20th century, however, the artists were more frequently acknowledged.

Stamp LacaqueMonaco-1119-LittleRed-Perrault-MG-11-8-78-PLambertStamp LarriviereMonaco-1116-PussBoots-Perrault-MG-11-8-78-PLambertStamp JumeletMonaco-1121-TomThumb-Perrault-MG-11-8-78-PLambertThese three above were all issued in 1978 by Monaco to celebrate Conte de Perrault who collected and published versions of these famous ‘children’s stories.  Artists top to bottom are Eugène Lacaque. Jacky Larrivière. and Claude Jumelet depicting tiny boy Tom Thumb.  Stunning images found here.

Wow, this love song to small is getting more than a little long.  Out of respect for the theme, we’ll stop here for now and pick it again after a small break.

Advertisements

2017-08-06 09.48.26Look, up in the sky…

2017-08-06 07.22.182017-08-06 07.18.29

Look, there’s people.  Up in the sky.  Walking around and round inside a coloured ring2017-08-06 06.04.41Don’t worry, it is only–ONLY!–a work of art from Olafur Eliasson, this time in Denmark where where was born, this time in the city of Aarhus.  It is called Your Rainbow Panorama.

This is the same artist who put a waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridgeolafur waterfalls01

And managed to get another one to fall out of the sky at Versaiilesolafur-eliasson-waterfall-versailles-designboom-10

So maybe creating a rainbow you can walk inside on top of an art museum wasn’t such a stretch for him.  But he seems all alone (to us, anyway) in his capacity to astonish so many people from all over the place, time after time, with ‘public works’–open, visible, engaging to anyone.  Water, light, colour, always unexpected, always accepted.

Will we ever see another like him?  Is that even worth thinking about?

Olafur E Model for a Timeless Garden IMG_MDA107810_1600pxAbove Moments from a Timeless Garden, water fountains, made to freeze in mid splash.

Truth is, maybe, some things only come along once.  So get used to it and make sure you don’t miss any part of it.  Wherever you go next, Mr O, we’ll be watching.

With thanks.

colleen H Wellof Exaggeration

When you first come across a painting that turns out not to be a painting, but rather an arrangement of pieces of fabric sewn together, you might feel tricked.  But never mind how it’s done, your eyes are right: it’s got everything a painting should have, except paint.

Colleen H IcePoint80x62

Canada is not known for boasting, but there’s no getting around the fact that it boasts one of today’s finest practitioners of the stitched fabric picture.  Her name is Colleen Heslin.  Two Images above and four below from her website and that of Monte Clarke Gallery in Vancouver.

colleen H 4 FirstBase2014

colleen H white on white.cloudfront.net

colleen H 03_Somatic

You can’t help but think there is a connection between what Ms Heslin is doing and what tailors and seamstresses and emergency room doctors attending to flesh wounds do on a daily basis.  But whatever the connection, you won’t be able to hold it in your head very long once you see these pictures live and up close.  There’s only room for swooning.

colleen h 3 in a row 03_house_photographer

 

Ms Heslin is one of a kind, through and through.  Still, curiosity got the better of us and a little searching revealed that a few other contemporary artists have put down the brush and taken up the needle.  One is from Denmark and he is Sergej Jensen.

sergej J

sergej J blu

Sergej JENSEN-1-popup

You can find out more about him from this report on a show in Denver 

And to see these and more images in context, just put Mr Jensen’s name into mother google’s magic window.

sergejensen3

People bent on explaining Art are trying their polysyllabic damnedest to claim this stuff for themselves by naming it, for example here. But we’ll have none of that.  Let your eyes do all the work, see where they take you.

boro patchwork dsc024011

We landed here, and our last word on the subject is boro.  Apparently Japanese patchwork from quite a while ago.  Crazy boro.

harry g hotel

Sometimes the best discoveries don’t require meticulous planning, a long journey, or special shoes.  Sometimes you just have to see what’s in front of you.

harry-gruyaert- woman phone restaurant 07

Harry G gas up 47b16

harry_gruyaert_Road London_3x2_1600

This is some of what Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert has been seeing and recording for the rest of us over the last 40 years.

harry g russia children

Harry G two girls with visors_R

Henry G two wolvesg10

He is credited with helping to prove the point that European photographs could be in colour and still be taken seriously.  Not that there is anything wrong with black and white.

ITALY. Sardinia. Near the town of Cagliari. Poetto beach. 1998.

Harry G beach PAR15697

SOUTH KOREA. Seoul. 2007.

Mr Gruyaert claims that he doesn’t think much about all this, and he avoids talking about it if at all possible.

Harry G spain treeleaves shadows light

The British Journal of Photography did manage to get a few words out of him, which can be read here

All images © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos

 

Music Stravinsky-Music-Maker-325x488

As we noted a while back: “Music, good music, SOUNDS good, of course.  But we’ve noticed that the best music also LOOKS good.”  This time, we’ve turned our eyes to music on the page, music made  with pen and ink (or whatever) for other musicians to read and play.        Above image from the cover of Stravinsky the Music-Maker seen here

https://i1.wp.com/www.mfiles.co.uk/illustrations/brahms-musical-quote-signed.jpg
A note from Johannes Brahms

MS Mus. 1 - an easy prelude by Purcell
Even if you can’t read music, you can tell this is music and you know it sounds pretty good.  Henry Purcell at the British Library


This too.  It is Robert Schumann  @ Yale

Music on the page goes as far back as words on the page.  In either case, it’s all about letting other people know what you hear in your head (and your heart), whether it is a thought about Spring or the sound of Springtime.

music vatical chant
Lots more here.

 

https://i0.wp.com/oemf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Dow-2.jpg
This old beauty found at Oxford Early Music Festival.

Coming back closer to our time, you can see the music loosen up, take chances, leap, fly.

This lovely thing lives at Yale.

Music Monk-Thelonious-Sphere-Autograph-musical-manuscript-signed-Thelonious-M-Monks-Mood-detailAutograph musical manuscript signed (Thelonious M), Monk’s Mood, 1 Page, New York, c.1956-7

Apart from the divine Mr Monk, 20th century music makers have shied away from showing us their direct hand-i-work.  Keyboards and computers come between the fingers and the page.  But with the digital tools available, new ways of showing our eyes the look of music have sprung up.

This video give us Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as an animated score.  Of course Nijinsky basically did that a hundred years ago, with bodies and fabric and genius.

music convos-joffrey.jpg

So, we give the last word to the visual artist who deeply understood the look of music.Music: stop Look listen.

welcome

Sponsor

Head Office

Advertisements