Thursday, February 27, 2014

new work: “Man of La Mancha”

David M. Versluis
Untitled on Four Legs / Feet
Wire and Steel
26"H x 17"W x 9"D

Artist Statement:
This whimsical sculptural piece made of wire and steel uses all metallic materials and basic metal-working skills to suggest the breastplate and shield of the invincible “Man of La Mancha”.

This piece was selected for recognition for the Juried Exhibit—Artists’ Showcase: Orange City Arts Council’s 2014 Regional Exhibition, February 14–22 at the Northwestern College DeWitt Theatre Arts Center in Orange City, Iowa. The show ran concurrently with the Northwestern College musical production of “Man of La Mancha.” Orange City Arts Council promotions stated, “Artworks are related to the themes in de Cervantes’ tale of Don Quixote: from madness and idealism to the fine line between illusion and reality.”

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jean Miotte: painting the spirit of Liberté

Jean Miotte, (b.1926)
(title is not known)
Wall mural in Paris
© Copyright Jean Miotte. All rights reserved
photographs by versluis, 2010

While in Paris we came upon this mural by the French / New York artist artist Jean Miotte. This large piece offers an element of surprise—the joy of encountering the unexpected in the urban environment.

Miotte mentions this about his work: “My painting is a projection, a succession of acute moments where creation occurs in the midst of spiritual tension as the result of inner conflicts. Painting is not a speculation of the mind or spirit, it’s a gesture from within.” (1)

In addition, a website dedicated to the work of Miotte states:

Coming from traditional painting Jean Miotte’s work is characterized by a constant and important development leading to very individual and personal forms. The works display a strong tension in their aim to discern human existence with its anguish but also with its happy moments, in his quotidian acts, in all its complexity. (2)
  1. Miotte. Chelsea Art Museum, Home of the Miotte Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
  2. Ibid.

A view of the mural.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Three-dimensional design à la Wucius Wong: Wall Structures—Cube, Column, and Wall

© Nathan Morehead, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Wall Structures
8" w x 12" h x 2" d
photographs by versluis

Pictured are examples of Dordt College student work from the Three-Dimensional Design course this semester. Artist / designer Wucius Wong writes in his book, Principles of Form and Design: Three-Dimensional Design that: “All formal two-dimensional structures can become wall structures with the addition of some depth, and their structural sub-divisions can be made into spatial cells.” (1)

The design shown above is the systematic arrangement of cubical spatial cells. The unit forms are composed of slightly curled strips with the cut-out square that join the two edges of the spatial cell to construct an alternating angle.

© Kit Drennon, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Wall Structures
12" w x 12" h x 3" d
photographs by versluis

The wall structure in this design relies on the contrasting arrangement and modification of spatial cells. Unit forms are cut-out tear-drop triangular negative shapes, which allows the viewer to see through the spatial cells.

© Kim DeBoer, 2014
Dordt College—Three-Dimensional Design Foundations
Wall Structures
15" w x 15" h x 4" d
photographs by versluis

The projections of spatial cells in this design creates a strong impact as indicated in this vantage point. Unit forms are the open ends of the cells, which are accentuated by the suggestion of a tessellation-like structure. This pattern seems reminiscent of Friedrich Froebel’s “The Twelfth Gift”

  1. Wong, Wucius. Principles of Form and Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993. 259. Print.

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

John Farson House/Oak Park, Illinois: veranda floor tiles

George Washington Maher, architect
Farson House; 1897; Oak Park, Illinois
Main entry (east) veranda floor tiles
photograph by versluis, 2013

Quotes on architecture by George W. Maher (1864-1926):

“The architect should grasp all opportunities and adhering strictly to the requirements of the situation, harmonize all inspiration into his work.” (1)

“dip deep into the currents of life around us, feel the pulse of the times and then actually execute the ideals of the present hour, and if we do this work truthfully, intelligently, our efforts will be enduring.” (2)

  1. Woolever, Mary. “Prairie School Works in the Department of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago.” The Prairie School: Design Vision for the Midwest 20.2 (1995): 142. Print.
  2. Ibid.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

The “Holly Hunt on Opus” brochure designed by Thirst/3st: Learning how to see by asking what do you see?

Holly Hunt on Opus Image Book
Height: 13 inches / 33.2 cm. x Width: 9.5 inches / 24.13 cm.
Design Firm: Thirst/3st
Art Director/Design Director/Designer: Rick Valicenti
Photographer: Tom Vack
Client: Holly Hunt Inc.
Illustrator: John Pobojewski
Designer: Robyn Paprocki
Printer: Classic Color
Photographs courtesy of Thirst/3st © 2013

Collaborative work by graphic designer Rick Valicenti of Thirst and photographer Tom Vack for the “Holly Hunt on Opus” (Sappi) publication was truly a graphic design crème de la crème event of 2013. Featured in this publication are the newest pieces from the Holly Hunt furniture collection that goes beyond what words can express. In noble fashion Holly Hunt says these new furniture artifacts “make things new again.” The “Holly Hunt on Opus” brochure is a highly aesthetic effort, a visual narrative that reveals the sophisticated and subliminal visual journey of Holly Hunt product design. Glossy, heavy Sappi paper makes the Holly Hunt product brochure unusually weighty, and allows for exceptionally high-quality images of photos and art, to a point seldom found in product brochures. The publication (64-pages with end sheets and cover) also emphasizes the performance of extraordinary printing techniques of Classic Color on high quality Sappi’s Opus paper.

In reviewing this publication here are a few observations:

  1. It is very apparent that Rick Valicenti and Tom Vack convey that the visual medium can be a valid mode of narrative without words (or using very few words). 
  2. In graphic design classes at Dordt the Holly Hunt publication becomes a new instrument in art and design educational methods as a case history. In this piece graphic design director Valicenti teaches students/viewers how to see by asking, “what do you see?” 
  3. “Holly Hunt on Opus” is a commitment to a high level of visual excellence and encouraging example of a superbly produced brochure. To lavish attention on aesthetics achieves an artifact of preciousness that becomes a keepsake.
For the “Holly Hunt on Opus” brochure Valicenti and Vack respond distinctively to the objet d’art and what Rick has described as real human presence:

“I encourage all of you to avoid formulaic methodologies and look—inside to see if indeed the communications we foster and we bring to the humankind are full of real human presence—let’s bring life to form….” (1)

A Holly Hunt display case in the Merchandise Mart, Chicago. Graphic identity by Thirst/3st photograph by versluis, 2013.
  1. Valicenti, Rick. “Human Presence.” TEDxMillCity. Minneapolis. 16 June 2010. Web. 3 Feb. 2014.

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