Visiting The Milwaukee Art Museum with Marcus

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My good friend and former student Marcus met up for a day at the Milwaukee Art Museum today. While there, we took in the wonderful and hilarious Thomas Sully exhibition that was on view. We visited old favorites, like the two Richard Diebenkorn works they own. We also enjoyed a couple new friends, like the Audubon piece below:

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While taking in the Thomas Sully: Painted Performance exhibition, I decided to do a number of quick sketches. I spent between 30 seconds and two minutes on these pieces. If you click on my drawing, you’ll see what the original piece looked like.

They really reminded me of the fantastic Kyle Staver’s work. Staver, who just recently had a show at Tibor de Nagy in NYC, often uses classic themes and large, dynamic compositions in her work. She also manifests a unique sense of the shaping of forms, particularly in how she develops the figures in her paintings. Sully, though very different from Staver and far removed from her in time, also had a feeling for the strange shapes that flesh may take on. What he lost in correct anatomy (foreshortening, proportion) was gained in drama and formal structure. The strange figures he painted often loom from the surfaces in terms of their abstract shapes rather than their representational effect. In some way Sully feels like a progenitor of Staver.

Anyway, here are the sketches – click to see the originals. Enjoy!

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s Self Portrait, 1807.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mary Ann Paton, 1836.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Major Thomas Biddle, 1832.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mary Siddons Whelen, 1812.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Rosalie Kemble Sully as The Student, 1848.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of John Terford David, 1813.

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Sketch of Thomas Sully’s portrait of Mrs George Lingen, 1842.

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All in all it was a pretty nice day. Here’s one more shot of Marcus for the road…

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Chromatic Intensities

 

Glory in Color Drawing 2

Marcus, the Assistant, casts chroma

Null’s large drawing in anamorphic distortion

The array of shadows in Color Drawing 1

And another view…

The box, electric.

Did I mention that I love teaching Color Drawing? Epic, every semester. Stay tuned for good shots of current students’ works.

 

Inspiration – Richard Serra

Just got back from a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth to visit the Diebenkorn Ocean Park retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. It was stunning, and I’ll be writing my reflections on the show soon. But before we even got inside, we experienced one of the best Richard Serra sculpture I’ve ever seen. Below are some shots from my visit – I’m with one of my best students and friends, Marcus Miers.

Marcus at the base.

A shot of the cor-ten behemoth against the sky.

A spire of light wedging into the interior of the piece.

Gazing upward from within.

And here I am against the space and light.

Serra’s piece at MMA in Fort Worth is spectacularly aural in its manifestation. There is the quintessential feeling of massive heaviness, the sense of the density of the steel, the way the work shapes the space and the sky and the light within its parameters – but the sense of sound is truly unique. In most of Serra’s semi-enclosed works there is a kind of stillness to the air and the sound, a weightiness similar to the feeling of walking through a forest heavy with new-fallen snow. In this piece, however, the sound is fast and expansive, and every slight movement or sound is magnified and compressed within the interior space. What happens inside is heightened for those within, but people outside have their sense of the interior sound scape dampened. This inside and outside duality of sound is integral to the piece and makes the normally ominous quality of Serra’s steel more whimsical and lightly-felt.

Two New Books

First off, I received my new Diebenkorn book this week. Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series is lush (in design), expansive (it contains many reproductions), and – best of all – it’s full of never before seen (in broadly-published form) paintings, prints and drawings. I’m doubly charged up by this book since I (and one of my students, Marcus Miers) are heading down to Fort Worth to see the Diebenkorn show next week!

Also, my own slim tome – 62 pages, 9 essays – just came out, published by Neoteric Art in Chicago.

It’s available in standard paperback version and in an ereader version. It should be up on Amazon in a few weeks as well.

Craft Studio Gallery Show, Presenting Context

I’ve got an installation up at the Craft Studio Gallery of the University of Missouri in Columbia.

I proposed the show and brought in the additional artists and their works. See below for more shots of the installations and to read our group statement. Be sure to click on each artist’s name to see more of their excellent work.

The Reception will take place February 19 at 4pm. Hope you can make it. Check back here soon for some details from the installed contexts.

Work and Installation of Context by Nathan Sullivan.

Work and Installation of Context by Derek Frankhouser.

Work and Installation of Context by Sloane Snure Paullus.

Work and Installation of Context by Catherine Armbrust.

Work and Installation of Context by Marcus Miers.

Presenting Context Group Statement

Artworks are almost always presented to viewers far removed from the circumstances of their creation. The inspirations, research, sources, methods, and background information that form the basis for all artworks are usually unavailable to the audience. This amounts to a veil of mystery surrounding the finished work, masking and focusing it. Artworks appear to have simply sprung fully formed into the world, though we know this to be false. This exhibition proposes to change that – at least in some small way – by displaying singular artworks in tandem with the ephemera that lead to their creation. Alongside completed works, artists will show some background to the art: inspiring data, evocative objects, images historical and pop cultural, as well as the more traditional sketches showing trial and error. Taken together, these artifacts will serve to illuminate the experiences artists go through to process their ideas and actions into finalized pieces of art.

Exhibiting Artists

Visiting Assistant Professors Matthew Ballou and Nathan Sullivan
MU Graduate students Catherine Armbrust and Sloane Snure Paullus
MU Undergraduate students Derek Frankhouser and Marcus Miers