Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rebecca Hutchinson: “Florilegium” Show / Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis

Tranquil Burst, an installation by Rebecca Hutchinson.
porcelain, paperclay, handmade paper, adhesive, adobe, willow, 2016.
Northern Clay Center—Contemporary clay work and ceramic sculpture gallery in Minneapolis. Photograph by © versluis 2016

The following information is from the exhibition label:

In nature there are d1verse states of existence that I continue to study the structure of nature. the resulting state of nature after interact1on with other forces of nature. the resilience of nature. and the complexity and awe 1n the engineering of nature All of these states of nature are rooted and formed by the motivation and need to survive, and they provide countless influences for diverse construction and conceptual possibilities for art making. More specifically. they provide endless opportunities for metaphor, as they speak to the depth and complexity of living with the hopes of revealing the human condition in visual and sculptural form, utiliZing traditional and non-traditional ceramic materials and processes.

My work focuses on the respect for process and the endless influences found in nature. Formally and structurally, my interest is in the details—quality of craft, connections. and structure -and conceptually. 1n an understanding of all physical parts to the whole. I build clay and fibrous sculptural works made from indigenous materials. such as recycled 100% natural fiber clothing or harvested garden materials beaten down to pulp and formed Into handmade sheets. and industrial cast-off surplus materials. like cotton thread from the bedding industry, shredded 100 dollar bills taken out of circulation, or sisal from the burlap bag industry.

Clay is either site-dug or purchased and mixed with pulp to create a slurry of paperclay. I hand model, slip trail, and dip surplus industrial materials or handmade paper forms and pour paperclay slip between papers, and cut and construct. Each paperclay form is built to be fired or remain non-fired A sticky mixture of paperclay mixed with glue binds the handmade paper and the paperclay florets to each other and to a simply constructed, wooden frame. Installation construction is influenced conceptually by specific growth patterns. but does not replicate nature. Like an animal that uses the vernacular from place. I, too, upcycle humble materials and remake them into what I hope to be exquisite sculptural forms. …

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oskar Kokoschka: Cowles's Portrait at the Des Moines Art Center

Oskar Kokoschka (Austrian, 1886-1980)
Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. John Cowles 1949
Oil on canvas
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collection; Gift of John and Elizabeth Bates Cowles.

Rudolf Arnheim, author, art and film theorist, and perceptual psychologist, once mentioned that his favorite artist was Oskar Kokoschka.

John Cowles Sr. was the co-owner of the Cowles Media Company, whose assets included the Minneapolis Star, the Minneapolis Tribune, the Des Moines Register,Look magazine, and a half-interest in Harper's Magazine. Also, Drake University’s Cowles Library is a namesake.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Isamu Noguchi: “Mountain Landscape (Bench)” 1981 — three views

Isamu Noguchi (American, 1904-1988)
Mountain Landscape (Bench), 1981
Collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri 

The following is from the museum label:

Mountain Landscape (Bench) reveals Noguchi’s outstanding ability to combine refined carving and roughly chiseled surfaces within one work. The massive, horizontal bench was carved from a single p1ece of stone and rests on two stone feet. The flat-topped form on the sculpture’s upper surface suggests a great mesa or mound rising from a primal landscape. These forms relate to Noguchi’s lifelong study of ancient pyramids and burial mounds, which he explored on his world travels. Like a distinctive rock that has been carefully placed in a traditional Japanese garden, Mountain Landscape (Bench) also served as an aid to meditation. At Noguchi’s studio in Mure, Japan, he and others rested on the bench and observed other sculptures.

Gift of the Hall Family Foundation F99-33/70

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rick Valicenti and David Versluis attending the AIGA Design Educator's Conference at BGSU, Ohio

Rick Valicenti and David Versluis at the AIGA Design Educator's Conference: “Nuts+Bolts” at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. June 15-16, 2016.

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Donald Drumm: designer and sculptor and master craftsman

Donald Drumm (American, b.1935), designer and sculptor
The 10 story concrete mural at Bowling Green State University’s Jerome Library building. Concrete, carved/chiseled relief panels with paint for contrast, c.1966. Drumm was artist-in-residence at BGSU in the mid-1960s. In 1996 the mural was refurbished to it’s original state.

The scale of this work is fantastically impressive and the syncopation of the visual elements are delightful.

Drumm is based in Akron, Ohio. He was born in Warren, Ohio and received art degrees from Kent State University.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Walker Art Center “Ordinary Pictures” Exhibition: Amanda Ross-Ho

Amanda Ross-Ho (American, b. 1975)
OMEGA 2012
aluminum, steel, wood, high-density foam, extruded rubber,
enamel paint, cast urethane, glass
Courtesy the artist; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; and Mitchell-lnnes & Nash, New York

Color Calibration Card (Artifact from THE CHARACTER AND SHAPE OF ILLUMINATED THINGS) 2013
exterior MDF, aluminum, UV print on Sintra, latex paint
Courtesy the artist; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; Mitchell-lnnes & Nash, New York; and The Approach, London

The following is from the Walker Art Center label:

Amanda Ross-Ho’s sculptural works often begin by identifying the potential of cast-off objects and personal ephemera, combining them with the residue of past projects. For example, OMEGA-a giant replica of a darkroom photo enlarger-applies the magnifying function of the device to itself. At the same time, this particular enlarger carries a personal history: it is a painstaking re-fabrication of an actual object given to a young Ross-Ho by her photographer-parents.

Similarly, for a recent outdoor installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Ross-Ho produced a giant replica of a color-calibration card, a professional photographer's tool for color correction and exposure settings. In both works on view here, the re-creation of these photographic apparatuses as massive sculptures calls attention to the fundamental tools of traditional image-making and production

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lyonel Feininger’s “Barfüsserkirche II”: a quintessential and beautiful example of crystalline Cubism

Lyonel Feininger (American, 1871-1956)
Barfüsserkirche II (Church of the [Franciscans] Minorites II) 1926
oil on canvas
Collection of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Gift of the T. B. Walker Foundation, Gilbert M. Walker Fund
Acquired in 1943
Photograph by versluis 2016

The following is from the Walker Art Center label:

In 1943, the Walker Art Center launched an ambitious exhibition plan with the dual goals of highlighting contemporary American art while also promoting its purchase within the museum and the local community. The first project to embody this new mission was 92 Artists, a survey of national trends in landscape, portraiture, figuration, and abstraction. Its curator, T. B. Walker’s grandson Hudson Walker, framed the exhibition in terms that reflected the patriotic pride of the World War II era and recognized New York as the “creative artistic capital of the world” that supplanted Europe. Among the artists Walker chose to carry the nationalist flag is one that strikes an odd note: Lyonel Feininger. His painting Barfüsserkirche II (Church of the Minorites II), with its German title and European Cubist-Expressionist style, along with the artist’s surname, might have given viewers the impression that he was not American, but German.

In a sense, Feininger was both. He was born in New York City but moved to Berlin in 1887, at age 16, to study art. He remained in Germany for 50 years, becoming a celebrated avant-garde painter who was associated with Expressionism and on the faculty of the Bauhaus. He returned to the United States in 1936 because the Nazis declared his work “degenerate.” Once at home, he encountered intense anti-German sentiment that made life difficult for his family and threatened his livelihood. He began emphasizing his roots and seized every opportunity to be seen as an American artist.

Church of the Minorites II was among the dozen works purchased from 92 Artists for the Walker's collection. Today, it is considered a superb and important example of Feininger’s mature style and reflects the Walker’s embrace of artists and histories that do not fit monolithic definitions or categories.

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