October Light by Alan Singer
This week in The New York Times, critic Michael Kimmelman remarked about the expansion of The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, that the new layout allows the curators to strike a new path by re-hanging the art to show the many diverse histories that visitors can see if they choose. Modern art is and has been much more diverse than has been expressed by our cultural institutions especially because they had so much invested in telling a story about a certain straight line ( from Impressionism thru Modernism ) - which left out loads of art workers from around the globe.
New book by artist and writer John Seed
Sometimes we get an inside story of that change of opinion, for how things should work. I read recently a new book by John Seed who comments about this in "My Art World". He has been published in the Huffington Post, and here in his new book he tells a story that begins on the west coast, and he brings us into contact with Bay area painters like Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown and art dealer Larry Gagosian, to name a few. John Seed writes a short chapter on Robert DeNiro, Sr. ( who I knew in New York City ) - and DeNiro's advice to John when he was a young artist was this: "Don't worry about whether your work looks like anyone else's....simply ask yourself as you work --is it any good?
"Ghost Ranch" by Beverly Rafferty
at Whitman Works Company
The implication is that we sometimes set up goals in artwork that cater to other people's opinions when we should really steer ourselves by our own compass. By doing this - you risk a lot, but stay true to yourself earning strength by maintaining your integrity. I got that feeling from looking at the paintings from one of our R.I.T. students: Beverly Rafferty who has a new show of landscape paintings she calls "The Romance of Western Vistas, or How The West Was One".
That her paintings have an attractive quality not only has to do with the view but also how that vista is conceived and executed. In particular, I liked one of her works ( "Ghost Ranch") that called to mind the artist Marsden Hartley. In Beverly Rafferty's painting there is a stony ledge and a foreground of fan shaped marks that blend and blur - which is kind of idiosyncratic.
Painter, Beverly Rafferty at Whitman Works on Penfield Road
I sometimes remind my students that when painting most artists don't set out to create a photo realist work - they really try to grapple with how to indicate what they see in front of them. Often it is the idiosyncrasy - that small special thing that happens in your work that gives it character - so be aware and don't remove it!
"State of the City" at RoCo
In the Flower City, we have had many wonderful events so far this month including "Current Seen" which is now on through November 17th, and last night was the member's preview at The Memorial Art Gallery of an exhibition of a collection of art by Alphonse Mucha. I found this show to be quite a revelation because I knew so little about this artist and his work as a graphic designer, printmaker and artist.
Memorial Art Gallery presents Alphonse Mucha
During the 1960s his work became famous ( once again ) because of a connection that was made between his art nouveau vision, and the hippies in San Francisco who were busy rolling their own joints. That drugs and the visions they induced were part of the mix here may cloud my memory, and I must admit that the art part of what Alphonse Mucha created was lost for a time, so I am glad that we have this chance to re-examine his life and his prolific outpouring of artistic creation.
Alphonse Mucha poster design
Now, we get a chance to study at length what this artist has brought to the world back when he was in his prime at the beginning of the 20th century. He was in demand for his art and illustration especially for poster designs. What we find in his work is a glorified vision of nature, often with a young model portrayed again and again. The story being told is not too different than it is now - a poster needs to get your attention and make the sale!
I will go back to study the effect of each work in the show. Opening night was so busy that I need some time to let it all soak in!
Alphonse Mucha sculptural portrait
at The Memorial Art Gallery
Rochester, New York