Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Michiko Itatani: hi-point contact at the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago

Michiko Itatani
Redon’s Garden painting from Moon-light / Mooring 2007
96 x 154 in. (243.84 cm x 391.16 cm)
Oil on canvas
Michiko Itatani’s solo exhibition “hi-point” is currently on view at the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago. photograph by versluis 2016

I was mesmerized by the Dripstone wall of the Wallenstein Palace in Prague and the White sand sea of Jisho-in in Kyoto. Both stopped my breath momentarily when I saw them for the first time and my eyes were trans-fixated. The Baroque of the West and the Dry landscape of the East are human achievements of the early 17th Century. 

I am fascinated by these parallel achievements in different places at the same period. Both demonstrate to me their extreme development of a concept and their contradictions. Their extreme development seems to be toward the opposites: West went to additive, ecstatic and anthropomorphous, East went to reductive, meditative and symbolic. West commands physical and emotional participation, while East commands abandonment of them.
In my most recent body of work, “Cosmic Theater II”, I am presenting my personal parallels in two series of work. One is HyperBaroque and another is Moon Light / Mooring. These are my two parallel fictions based on the human desire to reach out into the mental and physical space beyond our reach. One is looking out and another is looking in.…

—Michiko Itatani (statement is from her website

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Award-winning photographer René Clement to visit Dordt

Liberty ©2015 René Clement

New York City-based and award-winning freelance photographer René Clement is giving a presentation and showcasing some of his work in the Ribbens Academic Complex Classroom Building  at Dordt College this semester. The public is invited to attend the presentation on Wednesday, September 28, at 3:30 p.m. in SB 1641 in the Science Building.

One of Clement’s current fine art photographic projects is called “Seasoned”, which is making complex montages of trees and the atmosphere created from in NYC environs. Another intricate and highly imaginative montage/collage project are called “Timescapes” and “4Sight”. Recent editorial photographic projects feature Egypt, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and Syrian refugees at the Health Care Center of Amel Association in Tyre, South Lebanon.

His honors include Zilveren Camera awards for Foreign Documentary and News Pictures, and publication in Time Magazine’s Pictures of the Year in 2003. He has published seven books of photography including Promising Land (Land vol Beloften in Dutch) about Dutch Americans living in Iowa.

Clement will be on campus as a visiting artist. The Dordt community is invited to view Rene Clement’s photographs before and after the public presentation. The photos will remain on display throughout the semester.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sola Scriptura art exhibit at Dordt College

Geneva Bible leaf, 1597
Sola Scriptura: Biblical Art and Text is on display in the Campus Center Art Gallery through September 28. A reception for the exhibit will be held on September 22 from 6:45 until 8 p.m., with a gallery talk from Dordt English Professor Bob De Smith at 7 p.m.

The exhibit celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, to be marked in 2017, by recalling “how Martin Luther brought the Scripture to the forefront as a way to center our personal and communal lives more fully on Christ.”

Sola Scriptura features over 35 works and is divided into three sections: Translating the Bible, Illuminating the Bible, and Picturing the Bible.

Translating the Bible includes portrait engravings of Martin Luther, an 1875 Martin Luther German Bible, and one leaf from a 1541 edition of Luther’s Bible. Illuminating the Bible features New Testament engravings from a German prayer book, illuminated pages from a 15th century Vulgate, and a parchment manuscript used by medieval choirs. Picturing the Bible features contemporary artists who use Biblical text as “an integral part of their artwork.” A few of the contemporary artists featured are Sandra Bowden, Timothy Botts, Susan Coe, and the late Guy Chase.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Cover design by Milton Glaser, Pushpin Studios, 1965 Signet Classics: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Milton Glaser

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Friday, August 5, 2016

James Castle, a small show at Mia, Minneapolis — was Castle, an isolated, self-taught artist, influenced by Frans Kline’s “Chair” (1950) or Robert Rauschenberg ?

James Castle (American, 1899-1977)
Untitled (Chair), undated
The following information is taken from the museum display labels:

Light brown corrugated cardboard faced with tan paper; cut, folded, wrapped, and adhered; sewn and tied with white cotton string, blue cotton string, sisal twine; red-brown wash, red-brown wax crayon, soot, wood. Private collection, Minneapolis.
For this large-scale construction, Castle combined pictorial and sculptural elements to create a highly distinctive interpretation of a common wooden chair. At nearly two feet tall, the work is larger than most of his constructions, approaching the actual size of a child’s chair. It functions on two distinct planes—emblematic and descriptive—mimicking the form and physical attributes of its model. Is this chair, or is this an image of chair? It’s actually both, a hybrid that challenges our preconceived notion of “chairness.”

[About] James Castle
The Experience of Every Day

James Charles Castle was a self-taught American artist who lived his entire life in southwest Idaho. Born profoundly deaf in 1899. Castle grew grew up on a modest farmstead operated by his parents and seven siblings. The family farm would become a lifelong sanctuary for Castle, who remained at home with his parents until their death. and then with other relatives until his own death in 1977. Despite his family’s unwavering love and support. Castle was socially isolated, due to is inability to communicate conventionally. As a child. he attended a school for the deaf and blind, but never learned to read. write. speak sign. or lip-read. He never married or had children of his own.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art: Twentieth Century Modern Design

Pictured L-R (following information taken from the museum display labels) Photograph by © versluis 2016:

Marcel Lajos Breuer, American (born Hungary), 1902-1981
“Wassily” armchair, model B3 c. 1926
Chrome-plated steel, canvas
Standard Möbel, Manufacturer, Berlin, 1927-1928

This armchair helped change the course of the furniture industry in the early 1900s. Marcel Lajos Breuer used tubular steel and canvas in the design, instead of wood and other conventional materials. Breuer was reportedly inspired by the lightness of his bicycle frame, made of strong tubular steel, and wanted to use the material in his furniture design. The chair is nicknamed “Wassily” because of painter Wassily Kandinsky’s appreciation of the chair.

Eero Saarinen, Designer, American (born Finland) 1910-1961
Studio Loja Saarinen, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Maker
American, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Loja Saarinen, Maker, Finnish 1879-1968
Wall hanging, c. 1934
linen, silk; discontinuous supplementary weft patterning

This object can be seen as the product of an extremely talented family. The angular leaping fish and muted colors are hallmarks of the American Art Deco style, and are attributed to Eero Saarinen. The piece was created in the studio of his mother, Loja at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, a leader in the development of modernism in the United States. Cranbrook was itself a family affair, guided by Loja and her husband, architect Eliel Saarinen. In the late 1930s, Loja and Eliel's daughter Pipsan and her husband, J. Robert F. Swanson, placed the hanging in the Charles J. Koebel residence in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Swanson designed the house and Pipsan designed the interiors. 

Marcel Lajos Breuer, American (born Hungary), 1902-1981
Nest of table (model B9-9c), 1926-30s, 1926-30
Gebrüder Thonet, Manufacturer, Frankenberg, Germany, est. 1849
Chromium-plated steel, ebonized wood

Smaller tables are concealed within larger ones in this nest of tables, and can be pulled out at a moment’s notice. The tables are primarily made of tubular steel, a highly innovative material at the time and easier to bend than wood. Originally intended as stools, these tables were a favorite design of Breuer’s simple, functional, space-saving, and inexpensive.

Attributed to Fritz August Breuhaus de Groot, German, 1883-1960
Table lamp, c. 1928
Chromium-plated metal, glass
Metallwaren Fabrik (a.k.a. WMF)
Manufacturer: Württembergische

Breuhaus de Groot designed interiors for large modes of transportation, such as trains, ocean liners, and, most famously, the doomed Hindenburg airship that met its fiery demise on May 6, 1937. This lamp would have fit perfectly in the compact travel spaces he typically designed.

Alvar Aalto, Finnish 1898-1976
“Paimio” chair, c 1932
Laminated birch, bent plywood

Alvar Aalto, an architect and designer, is perhaps best known today for has furniture. He designed this relaxing armchair for the Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium in southwest Finland One of h1s earliest designs, it uses laminated birch, an uncommon material for furniture at the t1me. The chair was extremely strong, comfortable, and attractive, and could be inexpensively and easily manufactured. It is still produced by Artek, the company founded by Aalto and three partners.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mika Negishi Laidlaw: 2015 McKnight Fellowship Recipient, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis

Mika Negishi Laidlaw, Winter’s Hope, 2016, slipcast porcelain, 27 x 16 x 13".
photograph by ©versluis 2016

“…From early on much of her work has involved irregular curving forms suggestive of the body.…” [Negishi Laidlaw then stacks these forms upon one another to support on object]—“an abstract body”.… She associates these with the protective comfort of her grandmother and describes the emotive feeling as “unconditional love”. Her forms imply human relationships and comfort—‘home’ in the largest sense. (1)
  1. Koplos, Janet. “Mika Negishi Laidlaw: Home.” Six McKnight Artists. Ed. Elizibeth Colemen. Minneapolis: Northern Clay Center, 2016. 6-7. Print.  

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