Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Harold Sikkema: Curiosity as strange, but also as inquisitive

Dordt College recently completed the run of “I am curious” art exhibition by Canadian artist/designer Harold Sikkema. The following are notes from one of Harold's presentations when he was visiting the College.

By Matt Van Rys—
My Notes on Harold Sikkema, Visiting Artist/Designer
Dordt College Senior Seminar Class Visit / Presentation—21 October 2014.
  • From Caledonia Ontario.
  • Working Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Fine Artist
  • Showed exhibition design, to scale, pillars, wall layouts with templates provided by David [Versluis] (see illustration above).
  • Freelance, Self-Employed.
  • Spoke of the importance of curating as part of the art making process
  • Conversation within a specific space
  • Think about the installation as it reflects with the work
  • Harold is also currently using Google’s Open Gallery to show digital versions of what the “i am curious Show might look like.
  • Expressed habit of being on the lookout for traces of humanity all around, think footprints, scratches, paths, trails and the like.
  1. Borrowing as a way of respecting the people around you (collaboration, making marks in the world together)
  2. Photoshop can be a very lonely place, just you and the screen
  3. It can make you move to get more active engagement
  4. How to connect the dots between art and religion (Reformed as a form of minimalism)
  • Community as performance artwork – committed to a confession
  • Community world service Asia (example of branding and website)
  • Commercial work can enrich your personal art
  • Journaling and writing as a secondary outlet and resource (good and helpful for building and shaping perspective)
  • Curiosity as strange, but also as inquisitive
  • “Otherverse” as nature, the other form of revelation

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Harold Sikkema: i am curious — an art exhibition

Opening reception at Dordt College on 23 October with gallery talk by Harold Sikkema

Somnium in Offertore ©2014 Harold Sikkema

Dordt College presents “i am curious: awe and oddity in the otherverse,” an art exhibit by Harold Sikkema of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His collection of 40 pieces will be on display October 23 to November 30 in the Dordt College Art Gallery in the Campus Center.

The exhibition is an exceptional visual banquet celebrating the myriad of images from the digital curios of artist Harold Sikkema. Most of Harold’s artwork for this exhibition was produced this year especially for the Dordt College community. As Harold says, “These Digital Tapestries or Adobe Photoshop montages have more than a hundred layers. The artistry is revealed through manipulating images on layers that lay beneath the surface.

David Versluis the art gallery coordinator states, “In essence Sikkema’s show subtitled, ‘awe and oddity in the otherverse,’ is responding in a very lyrical manner to the second article of the Belgic Confession, which is one of the three confessions of the Reformed Church tradition. Harold mentions that, ‘The Bible reveals God's revelation of salvation but ‘the otherverse’ reveals the revelation of God through the unfolding of His creation.’”

In one of his pieces called Confluence, (42 in. x 42 in.) Harold suggests that, “You can stay safely in your hive but that's not where the action is…. ‘Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven’”

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dordt College presents “Beauty Given by Grace”

Sadao Watanabe
Adam and Eve
hand colored kappazuri dyed stencil print on washi paper

The following is from a Dordt College news release:

Dordt College presents “Beauty Given by Grace,” a Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) traveling exhibition of Japanese printmaker Sadao Watanabe. The collection of 50 original stencil prints, calendars, and Christmas cards is now on display in the Dordt College Art Gallery, located in the Campus Center, through October 16. The gallery is open free of charge to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Department of Art and Design will host a reception Wednesday, September 17, from 6:45 to 8 p.m., with a program at 7. Refreshments will be provided and all are invited.  Journalist, essayist, and collector Mr. John A. Kohan (The Sacred Art Pilgrim) will be present to discuss the work of Sadao Watanabe.

Watanabe (1913-1996) converted from Buddhism to Christianity at 17 years old. He desired to express his new faith while preserving the traditional Japanese folk art of stencil dying, or katazome. “I have always aspired to portray stories and episodes from the Bible,” said Watanabe. “In this disturbed world, I would like to be able to heed the voice of heaven.”

His work is highly regarded throughout the world and has been displayed at the British Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Vatican Museum. Watanabe’s desire was to create art that could be enjoyed by everyone and displayed in ordinary settings.

Installation view

Installation view

The following is from an interview with David Versluis. Art Gallery Coordinator by Meagan DeGraaf of the Dordt Diamond:

MDG: Why do you think Dordt students should take time to look at this art?

DV: Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe is a special CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) traveling exhibition that brings together the striking and vibrantly colorful original prints produced by Japanese printmaker, Sadao Watanabe. A key aspect for viewers, particularly art and design students, is to see this show as the work of a professional artist who took his Christian faith seriously and was able to convincingly convey his faith in his artwork. Watanabe’s faith is apparent by using the genre of biblical themes as inspiration for developing his images. Watanabe’s prints are truly visual celebrations and accessible while enchanting our hearts and enlightening our minds. In addition, Watanabe’s body of work suggests to us a profound hope in the midst of our divided… troubled times. In this way Watanabe is a reformative artist who serves humanity by encouraging the viewer.

MDG: What does this show bring to the campus? (culture-wise)

DV: Watanabe is a twentieth-century example of how his Christian faith played an important role in his artwork. Artist and writer, Makoto Fujimura mentions that Watanabe is a “trans-modern” artist, which means that Watanabe's artwork is a "synthesis of tradition and innovation.”   A Christian artist in Japan is a great rarity and Watanabe’s perseverance as an artist is inspirational. Fujimura also states: “Wanatabe’s prints lead both a familiar and isolated existence, both publicly known and a novelty of sorts, navigating among the world of mingei (folk art), the Bible, and contemporary art.”

MDG: And why are you excited about it?

DV: I have been attracted to Sadao Watanabe’s distinctive style of biblical narratives since first seeing his work as a college student and when this exhibition came together I wanted it for the Dordt College community. The predominance of Watanabe’s rich autumnal colors found in his prints seem fitting as we move into this fall season. It’s the first time I’ve seen this many of his pieces—there’s nothing like seeing the actual work rather than reproductions. We need to thank CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) for supporting this exhibition. Special acknowledgment goes to Sandra Bowden and John Kohan for their generosity of loaning their collection to the exhibition. The show will be on view until October 19 before heading on to the next venue in Berkley, California.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

“The lilies of the field”: a Dordt College Art Commission

Lilies of the field: Matthew 6:28
David Versluis / Photography
ATS Digital Glass Printing by Skyline Design
Each panel is 24 inches x 24 inches
Commissioned by Dordt College
Science Building Addition, 2014
Dordt College Permanent Art Collection

Artist Statement:

Inspired by the Dordt College prairie, this collection of 12 images shows the Dordt College prairie flora from spring to winter. The series exudes the welcoming effects of nature and offers the viewer a wide array of imaginative possibilities for perception, pattern, scale, texture, color, and transparency.

Northwest Iowa was once covered by tall grass prairie. Today, however, native grassland is one of the most endangered ecosystems on earth and most people would have a hard time recognizing a natural prairie.

This collection, highlighting some of the 80 species of grasses and wildflowers in Dordt’s restored prairie, helps us celebrate the diverse and beautiful original ecosystem known as tall grass prairie.

Ox-Eye Daisy©2014 David Versluis

Butterfly Milkweed©2014 David Versluis

Common Milkweed©2014 David Versluis

Blue Vervain©2014 David Versluis

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

what art is; and how we see God in and through art

David Versluis
Enlaced: a Burning Bush, Psalm 19
18'H x 8'W x 8'D
Dordt College Permanent Art Collection, 2013
photograph by Rick Valicenti

The Dordt College Department of Art and Design was recently asked by the director of Dordt’s Andreas Center to respond to this question, “What art is and how we see God in and through art ?”

The following answer, in 500 words or less, convey the views of David Versluis:

In today’s visual culture art can represent virtually any idea and be made from practically any material. But despite the fact that artworks may look different today than they did in the past, we still mainly experience art by making objects and viewing images.

Art can be figurative or it can be socially relational or contemplative; it can also exhibit a variety of other characteristics.

The best Christian art communicates and projects a world that is implicitly meaningful and poignant. It is sentient and serves humanity in a way that values integrity and veracity.

Art helps reveal and unfold the patterns woven into the structure of God’s creation. It is a gift of life and reminds us of God’s blessing and faithful covenantal grace.  

By working out of a biblical framework, Christian artists and their art humbly and sensitively engage the paradox of sin and redemption by representing a world of sorrow and joy with acute awareness and skill.  Christian art may allude to the light of hope that can overcome pessimistic distrust. In doing so, artistic action becomes service to humankind and enriches life.

The artistic spirit that drives the imagination of Christian art may evoke images of God’s creative work at the beginning of time. It can also honor the compassionate example of Jesus Christ by challenging indifference and cynicism and by respecting creational diversity.

—David Versluis, 20 August 2014

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

“Evocative Poetry: Colossians 1:15-20” — a collaborative work by David Versluis and Jacob Van Wyk

Evocative Poetry: Colossians 1:15-20
David Versluis (designer) and Jacob Van Wyk (ceramic artist)
Ceramic Tile Mural (Glazed Stoneware)
10 x 17 feet—approx. 3,000 lbs.
A 2014 Dordt College art commission for the Science Building Addition.

This view shows Versluis (dark shirt) and Van Wyk (red shirt) who are beginning to layout the finished tiles on the template. Eventually this preparation step will lead the mounting the tiles to the aluminum support panels that are adjacent to the template in this picture.

Nelson Wynia, the metal fabricator and Van Wyk are shown mounting the aluminum baseplate to 30, one and a half inch, protruding wall standoffs.

The work is based on the following Biblical passage:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Col 1: 15-20

Artists’ Statement:

The title “Evocative Poetry: Colossians 1:15–20” was derived from two significant books on Colossians. In The Climax of the Covenant theologian N.T. Wright describes Colossians 1:15–20 as “Paul’s poetry.” Keesmaat and Walsh in Colossians Revisited call it “radical and evocative poetry.”

This relief sculpture is meant to reflect what Colossians says about Jesus, in creation and in covenant with his people. Through the square-cut tiles we want to suggest, as songwriter Matthew Westerholm does in “The First Place,” that “Every inch of this universe belongs to you, O Christ. For through you and for you it was made. Your creation endures by the order of your hand.”

The suggested topographic geographical map alludes to God’s blessing on all creation, all things, and all humankind. With N.T. Wright, we proclaim that “the creator God is also the redeeming, covenant God, and vice versa.”

In the coloration of the piece, we tried to compliment and anchor the interior space in this building. Even though the ceramic tiles are heavy, they seem to float against the wall, creating a sense of dynamic and kinetic energy in this space in which students and faculty will explore and discover the endless wonder and complexity of what God has made.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

At the Walker: Art Expanded, 1958–1978—Fluxus / Zaj

José Luis Castillejo
9.25 × 7.25 inches
Screen printing in pink and black ink on white card stock

This strikingly simple large pink “C” is juxtaposed elegantly with a big black dot in this design for a Fluxus style, Zaj performance announcement—the text is in Spanish. Printed on front and back.

Walker Art Center didactic states that this piece in their collection is one of:

Dozens of pieces of ephemera—posters, programs, announcements, postcards, and the like—document the activities of Fluxus and like-minded artist groups such as Zaj and Aktual Art.”
Fluxus rejected the values and conventions of high art in favor of new forms that were accessible, interactive, hybrid, and playful.… For many, Fluxus is a concept expansive enough to include the minimal compositions of La Monte Young, the mystically tinged performances of Joseph Beuys, the wry photographic sculpture of Robert Watts, the Concrete poetry of Emmett Williams, the manifestos and historiographic charts of George Maciunas, and the conceptual objects and films of Yoko Ono—all artists who stood under the Fluxus banner at some point during their careers.… (1)
  1. Rothfuss, Joan. "Fluxus." Collections. Walker Art Center, 2005. Web. 18 Aug. 2014.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At the Walker: Art Expanded, 1958–1978

George Brecht (American, 1926–2008)
No Smoking
Offset Lithograph on Paper
Collection of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
photo by versluis

George Brecht, was a vital proponent of Fluxus, the loosely connected international group of spirited Conceptualists who were mainly active in the 1960s and 1970s. Below is a promotional clip produced by the Walker.

The following lyrics by Jasper Johns greets the viewer as one enters the exhibition:

One thing working one way
Another thing working another way.
One thing working different ways at different times
Take an object.
Do something to it.
Do something else to it
 "        "         "   "  "
Take a canvas
Put a mark on it.
Put another mark on it
  "      "       "     "  "
Make something.
Find a use for it
Invent a function
Find an object
 —Jasper Johns 1965

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Goodrich House, Oak Park, Illinois

Harry C. Goodrich House, 1896
Oak Park, Illinois
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

Current renovations have removed the third story dormers on the east and west sides, leaving the exterior much as Wright had designed it originally. At this point the house is in the process of being prepped for exterior painting.
photograph by versluis, March, 2013

Renovations are being implemented by:
Eifler & Associates Architects, Chicago, Illinois
Bosi Construction, Orland Park, Illinois

Along with the house’s substantial sheltering eves the following quote seems apropos when viewing this house. In an 1894 essay/presentation, possibly titled The Architect and the Machine, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote:

Let your home appear to grow easily from its site and shape it to sympathize with the surroundings if Nature is manifest there, and if not, try and be as quiet, substantial, and organic as she would have been if she had the chance.… 
I might enter here into a discussion of the various merits of the various styles of “house” building, but would end by saying that it matters very little what “style” your house was as long as it was built like a home and with a true consideration for harmony. There should be as many types of homes as there are types of people, for it is the individuality of the occupants that should give character and color to the buildings and furnishings. (1)
  1. Wright, Frank Lloyd. “The Architect and the Machine.” Vol. 1. Frank Lloyd Wright Collected Writings, 1894–1930. Ed. Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer. New York: Rizzoli/The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, 1992. 23. Print.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

the facination of the uplifting authority word / message

David M. Versluis, ©2014
3-color Monoprint
12" x 18"
2014 Society of Typographic Arts Letterpress Workshop:
Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, Two Rivers, Wisconsin

New work by versluis:
Orchestrating and printing large archaic woodtype letterforms or letter-units by spelling out a word or message. Dividing the word according to syllables suggests a more kinetic effect and message.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Society of Typographic Arts & Hamilton Wood Type Museum: 2014 Letterpress Workshop

Recently, the Society of Typographic Arts celebrated the Hamilton Wood Type Museum’s 15th Anniversary with a weekend letterpress workshop,  May 31—June 1 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

The workshop was lead by Jim Moran, Director of the Museum and Stephanie Carpenter, Assistant Director of the Museum. The above photograph of one of the wood type displays is courtesy of the STA.

David Versluis, one of the participants, is shown inking wood type from the Museum’s collection, on a Showcard Machine Co. proof press. Versluis states, “Working with wood type is not about nostalgia, but about the unique look and feel of the print quality.” The Museum has 12 presses available for workshop groups. Originally, the Showcard press was used primarily for department stores, libraries, and shop owners to print signs and advertisements.
Photograph by Stephanie Carpenter

David M. Versluis ©2014
12 in. x 18 in.
This is a 4-color print. After the first color yellow was printed, the subsequent colors in the order of orange, red, blue were printed and overlaid while the ink was still wet, resulting in textured areas. The kinetic effect is achieved by intentionally revealing registration issues.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dordt College’s Facebook page changed their cover photo, as of May 29

Dordt College’s Facebook page has changed their cover photo, as of May 29. Looking west from Covenant Hall, with new sculpture “Enlaced: A Burning Bush” in the foreground.

It’s nice that Dordt chose to feature the sculpture on their Facebook page. The sculpture, designed by David M. Versluis, was dedicated and celebrated last fall by the campus community in a ceremony with “choice remarks” by Dr. Calvin Seerveld. You may visit Seerveld's comments here

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Three-dimensional design à la Wucius Wong: linear structures

© Kit Drennen, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Linear Structures—top view
photograph by Kit Drennen

Pictured are examples of Dordt College student work from the Three-Dimensional Design course this semester. Artist / designer Wucius Wong writes about linear structures in his book, Principles of Form and Design: Three-Dimensional Design that: “In any geometric form, there are always more edges than faces. Thus construction with lines is more complicated than constructing with planes. Using the cube again as an example, there are only six faces, but there are twelve edges, and the twelve edges become twelve linear sticks which must be connected in order to construct the linear framework of a cube.” (1)

  1. Wong, Wucius. Principles of Form and Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993. 315. Print.

© Kit Drennen, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Linear Structures—elevation
photograph by Kit Drennen

© Kit Drennen, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Linear Structures—close-up
photograph by Kit Drennen

© Wade Vollink, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Linear Structures, Gradation of shape in a layered construction—elevation
photograph by versluis

© Kimberly DeBoer, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Linear Structures—elevation
photograph by Kim DeBoer

© Caleb Vugteveen, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Linear Structures—elevation
Wood — elevation
photograph by Caleb Vugteveen

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dordt College summer art exhibit features Behrens/Versluis Iowa insects

Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery (entrance)

Dordt College is hosting a series of 10 large-scale (40" x 60") digital images of the “Iowa Insect Series,” a collection of collaborative work by artists and graphic designers, Roy R. Behrens and David M. Versluis. The exhibit, subtitled, “Attention to Detail,” will be displayed in the gallery until the end of August.

The idea to produce large scale images came from designer Joseph Michael Essex who suggested that the images would have greater impact if presented in a larger format. Essex was in the audience when Versluis presented the project at the Society of Typographic Arts winter retreat in Chicago in 2013.

Dordt College Art Professor Versluis and University of Northern Iowa Graphic Design Professor Behrens combine rich imagery as they juxtapose representational imagery with graphic elements to create a strong visual dynamic, says Larry Bradshaw, art professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha. In addition, Jonathan Neal an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects writes this about the show, “Behrens has an interest in camouflage and how people perceive broken images. The works can be appreciated both for overall effect, for the multitude of details embedded in the work and the prominent use of insects.”

“The process began in 2012 with David sending me scanned images of insects from his personal collection. One image at a time, we challenged each other to respond to each image, building a digital montage, using Adobe Photoshop,” said Behrens. “We would then pass the image back and forth, responding to each other’s move.”

The image was built with about five or six back and forth turns, until the two mutually decided that the work was finished. Here’s a link to a fuller description of the collaborative process in a piece published in Behrens’s blog, The Poetry of Sight.

This is one of the first times that the collection will be shown all together. Various images from the collection have been exhibited in group shows at the Washington Pavilion Visual Art Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Northwestern College DeWitt Theatre Arts Center in Orange City, Iowa; Nemeth Art Center in Park Rapids, Minnesota; University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art in Cedar Falls, Iowa; and the 27th McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition at McNeese State University Grand Gallery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Several pieces have been included in Dordt College’s annual arts issue of Pro Rege.

Gallery East Wall

Gallery West Wall

Exhibition graphics

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Corita Kent: “come alive!”

Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita)
“come alive!” 1967
Dimensions: 13" x 23"
photograph by versluis
courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles

Corita suggests a parody of brand graphics from the Brillo box and Tide detergent.

The following is from the Corita Art Center:
come alive! you can make it—The glory of Christ is man fully alive man fully alive is the glory of God the blue cross way is very simple we walk together don’t you need somebody to love jefferson air plane you can make it

Quote by Jefferson Airplane, Pepsi generation ad slogan, Saint Irenaeus

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Corita Kent: “Mary’s Heart”

Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita)
May Mary's Heart Immaculate be Forever Praised (1960)
Dimensions: 7.75" x 10.5"
photograph by versluis
courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles

Luke 1:46-55

Mary’s Song:

My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
        but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
        but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
        remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.

New International Version (NIV)

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Corita Kent: “Lucky Earth”

Lucky Earth (1963)
Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita)
Dimensions: 25.5" x 30.5"
photograph by versluis
courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles

The following is from the Corita Art Center:
Spring has come back again. The earth is like a child who has memorized poems, oh many! it seem worth the effort for she wins the prize. Her teacher was strict. We loved the white hair of the old man's beard when we asked what the green and the blue are, right off she knows every word. Lucky earth, with your holiday, and all the children coming to play! We tried to catch you. The gayest will do it. Teacher trained her until she knew it, and all that’s printed in roots and long unruly stems she sings in a song. —Rilke 
Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, Part 1, no. 21

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Czech Graphic Design (book covers) from the 1920s—on display in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, AIC

Zdeněk Rossmann (1905-1984)
Fronta, Mezinárodní Sborník Soudobé Activity (The Front: International Review of Contemporary Creativity)
Brno: Edition Fronta, 1927
photograph by versluis 2014

Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson Library label for this piece states:

The architect and designer Zdeněk Rossmann was a member of the Brno chapter of Devětsil from 1923-1927 and studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1928-1929. Rossmann designed the cover for the compilation Fronta, produced by Brno Devětsil in 1927, which concerned the design and construction of an experimental housing colony. The cover design reflects avant-garde aesthetics of the time with the incorporation of typography into designs based on simple shapes.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Czech graphic design (book covers) from the 1920s—on display in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, AIC

Otakar Mrkvička (1898-1957) [Czech painter, illustrator, cartoonist, art critic]
Plán, Revue pro Literaturu, Umeni a Vedu (Plán, Review for Literature, Art and Science)
Prague: Fr. Borový, 1929-
Number 1, 1929
photograph by versluis 2014

Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson Library label for this piece states:

Magazines and Journals
Devětsil members [avant-garde artists], student groups and publishers involved on the Czech avant-garde produced a number of magazines and journals. These often feathered the same techniques of photomontage and innovative typography found n the book covers of the period. Otakar Mrkvička designed he cover for the journal of literature, art and science Plán.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Three-dimensional design: polyhedral structures—“geodesic domes”

The Three-Dimensional Design Foundations class produced the
geodesic domes pictured above.

Plan view shows the base (in red) as a 16-sided hexakaidecagon. Right: an elevation view.

During the last two weeks while working in two groups of four students each, the Three-Dimensional Design Foundations class produced the geodesic domes pictured above. After a brief introduction and study of Buckminster Fuller the students began to plan and build their domes. One of the objectives of the project was for students to experience the space within the enclosed structure.

The geodesic dome in the background was constructed using roughly 144 struts made from half-inch EPT conduit. The structure itself is tall enough to stand straight up in the center at 2.575m tall and 3.658m in diameter. The project took over 14 hours to plan, to hammer the ends of each strut, drill the bolt holes, and assemble with fasteners. Group members include: Wade Vollink, project manager; Jordan Shaffer, Nathan Morehead, and Erin Francis.

The dome in the foreground is a geodesic 2V dome, constructed using 65 struts made from half-inch (EMT) conduit. The structure itself is 1.524m (5’) tall and 3.048m (10’) in diameter. A plan view would reveal the form of a 10 sided decagon. The group decided to suggest an enclosure by cutting and adding triangular orange fabric to fill the shapes.. Group members: Kim De Boer, project manager; Caleb Vugteveen, Kit Drennon, Kathryn Van Groningen.

Information supplied by the students.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Siebren Versteeg: The History Channel’s mark/letterform parody with three-dimensional “Latin” triangular serifs

Siebren Versteeg
(American, b. 1971)
History, 2003
Silicon, bronze, velvet, and wood
photograph by versluis

MCA didactics state:

The History Channel 
Siebren Versteeg's sculpture History greets visitors at the entrance to (Museum of Contemporary Art | Chicago) MCA Screen, with an ironic nod to the culture of infotainment that spins mainstream narrations of history into pulp fiction.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

“My heart went out!”

Illinois Institute of Technology’s Crown Hall covered in wet snow, March 2014.
photogrpghs by versluis
South elevation and entrance
Mies van der Rohe, architect
Open in 1956

If Peter Behrens, (d. 1940) had seen Mies’s Crown Hall perhaps he would have exclaimed, “My heart went out!” The quote was Behrens’s remark when he saw Mies’s 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung project [*]. (1)

These photographs indicate Mies's classicistic perspective on architectural form in glass and steel. The modernistic formal language and principles of design served the Miesian framework and became the Bauhaus curriculum of architecture. The building is emblematic of Mies’s pedagogical perspective and program on how to become an architect.

*The Weissenhofsiedlung was housing (a subdivision) built for the Deutscher Werkbund in Stuttgart.

  1. Bax, Marty. Bauhaus Lecture Notes 1930-1933. Amsterdam: Architectura & Natura Press, 1991. 53. Print.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

art deco typography in the twin cities

Joseph Claude Sinel
New Zealander, 1889-1975
“Model S” scale, c. 1927 (closeup of the base)
International Ticket Scale Company, Manufacturer, New York City
From the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art
photograph by versluis

“You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Milton Glaser, Mahalia Jackson, and the round arch by Louis Sullivan

Pilgrim Baptist Church, 2014
3300 South Indiana Ave. Chicago, Illinois
A sad view—rebuilding after the 2006 fire.
photograph by versluis

Above is a current photograph of Pilgrim Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago. The building was initially designed by architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler in the early 1890s as a synagogue; in 1922 the building became home to the Pilgrim Baptist Church. By the 1930s the church became well-known for its gospel music with leading members such as Thomas A. Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson. In 2006 the building tragically burned and was mostly destroyed except for the massive stone walls.

Milton Glaser (American, born 1929).
Mahalia Jackson. 1967.
Offset lithograph, two sheets, each 38 x 24 inches

Apparently Glaser was mindful of the entry door and the very prominent and characteristically Sullivanesque large round arch doorway of the Church when he designed this poster in 1967 to promote the Mahalia Jackson Easter Sunday Concert at Lincoln Center in New York. Pilgrim Baptist Church was home base for Mahalia Jackson.

Source for the poster image:
Schreck, Audrey. “Designer Spotlight: Milton Glaser.” Typophile. N.p., 1 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2014.

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