In: American photographer
Kary Janousek – Connecting to HistoryMarch 11, 2022
Kary Janousek Connecting to History Wind - Kary Janousek Kary Janousek is a prairie transplant. She found herself living in Fargo,... Read More
The Art of Richard DiebenkornDecember 18, 2021
The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, 1997
Jane Livingston, with essays from John Elderfield and Ruth Fine (The University of California Press)
Forgive me for saying something positive about social media, but it’s allowed for a proliferation of art and images online (which is one of the motivating factors that helped create the Covert Collective); the art historian in me welcomes this, as on Twitter, for example, there’s numerous ‘art bots’ that have filled the sphere with many fine artworks – such as those of Richard Diebenkorn.
“Recognized as a major figure in postwar American painting, Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) was an artist strongly identified with California but whose work is beloved throughout the United States and the rest of the world. This catalog is the most comprehensive volume on the artist now available.
Jane Livingston’s extensively researched biographical essay covers Diebenkorn’s entire career and concentrates on the artist’s inner life and purposes as revealed in his paintings. Ruth Fine deals primarily with the figurative aspect of Diebenkorn’s work (1955-67), and John Elderfield concentrates on the Ocean Park period (1967-93). All three authors provide valuable insights based on their personal relationships with the artist and his widow, Phyllis. On both page and canvas, the reader can sense Diebenkorn’s complexity and highly self-conscious working methods, as well as his formidable integrity.
The Art of Richard Diebenkorn will give readers with an interest in all phases of modernism new thoughts about the relationship between abstraction and representation. Stunningly illustrated, with 192 full-color reproductions, this book is an exhilarating testament to a distinctive American artist.” (from the publisher, The University of California Press)
The essays are enjoyable and informative: but the majority of the book is defined by almost 200 full-colour reproductions and that’s why I recommend this book. From Diebenkorn’s still life paintings to his rough portraits to his ephemeral repeated meditations where place and abstraction intersect, this book is rife with beautiful images. “If painting doesn’t offer a way to dream and create emotions, then it’s not worth it”, to quote Pierre Soulages, a contemporary to Diebenkorn, and one can easily get lost among the many images of Diebenkorn’s in this book
This is hopefully to be found at your library (UC Press offers a space to request a copy for the same), or your locally owned bookstore. Since I mentioned social media in this Library suggestion, it would be remiss to not offer links to a Richard Diebenkorn #artbot on Twitter, as a teaser to encourage you to seek out this book.
~ Bart GazzolaRead More
Life In Movement – The Tanya Liedtke storyNovember 8, 2021
Life In Movement
I have 3 ½ left feet. As a sometimes musician I have a great sense of rhythm, but it has never been able to translate into my limbs. As a pre-teen and adolescent, I never knew anyone taking dance classes, never attended any recitals or ballets or other artistic events involving dance… in short, I am the last person you might think who would offer up Closer Productions’ Life In Movement as a documentary film that made such a difference in my artistic practice.
The multi-award-winning film focuses on Tanja Liedtke, the late choreographer of the Sydney Dance Company, who was killed at age 29 before she could take her position. A lauded professional dancer, Life in Movement documents Liedtke’s intentional cultivation of a creative life and her near obsessive process. The dance sequences she created seem to defy physics; she would push her dancers to their breaking points yet pushed herself even further.
Watching the film made me question my own motives as an artist. Liedtke was “all-in” to an extent that I could not emulate as a musician. My passion for photography was/is a completely different animal, and I poured everything I had into it. Life in Movement helped me to focus my intent and my path forward.
The documentary will bring joy, sadness, admiration and reflection to any artist who watches. It is NOT available for streaming in Canada but you can purchase a copy from the Closer Productions website. ~ Mark WaltonRead More
Edward Steichen – In High Fashion, The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937September 28, 2021
Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937
by Todd Brandow (Author), William A. Ewing
W. W. Norton & Company
To anyone with even a smattering of knowledge of photographic history, Edward Steichen stands as a giant. He, along with Alfred Steiglitz, helped to solidify the medium’s standing as a fine art form, and embellish his own reputation in the process.
Much to the chagrin of Steiglitz and the other purists, Steichen had the audacity to construct a lucrative career for himself, as evidenced by the book Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937, and became the pre-eminent photographer of fashion and celebrity culture.
I was very lucky to see the show for which this book serves as the catalogue at The Art Gallery of Ontario… actually I was lucky enough to practically LIVE at the gallery as I wore out my membership card poring over these stunning images again and again. Steichen DEFINED fashion photography as we know it, taking the work of Baron de Meyer (and others) from the end of the Belle Époque and perfecting it.
One can stare at “On George Baher’s Yacht” and “Screenwriter Anita Loos, C. 1928“ and marvel at their fluid tonality. You can see evidence of Steichen’s work to this day as photographers continue to mimic the poses and backgrounds used by him.
~ Mark WaltonRead More
Liz Potter – Everything is going to be okaySeptember 22, 2021
Liz Potter’s series of panoramic self-portraits should be viewed while listening to an Aaron Copland playlist. Like the great American composer, Potter captures the expansiveness of the American frontier, or what’s left of it. She pits her everyman heroine against its searing heat, its beautiful skies and its unforgiving majesty. Small and alone, she confronts it with courage and humility, and does not fear failure or setbacks.Read More