Allied Member, ASID
Licensed General Contractor
AZ ROC 287314
October 6, 2014
Many many years ago, my family had a home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My parents had gone in search of the sky as they had visited there and then decided they needed a “piece of Heaven”. For those of you that know New Mexico, you will be able to relate to that phrase. Santa Fe is the oldest capital in this country , and I had the privilege of living there for several years. Way before Santa Fe was on the map as a tourist destination. There is a town north of Santa Fe called Abiqiu where Georgia O’keeffe lived. I had the pleasure of seeing the compound and it was quite serene. To know that part of this country is very special. The skies are unreal and the freedom you feel is not really able to be expressed, or rather I am at a loss for words. I have the same feelings with the skies in Arizona. Less I digress!
Enjoy today’s post, and have a wonderful day!
To quote Georgia O’Keeffe, “I have things in my head that are not like what anyone taught me — shapes and ideas so near to me, so natural to my way of being and thinking.”
Among the great American artists of the 20th-century, Georgia O’Keeffe stands as one of the most compelling. For nearly a century, O’Keeffe’s representations of the beauty of the American landscape were a brave
counterpoint to the chaotic images embraced by the art world. Her cityscapes and
still lifes filled the canvas with wild energy that gained her a following among the critics as well as the public. Though she has had many imitators, no one since has been able to paint with such intimacy and stark precision.
Georgia O’Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1887. The second of seven children, O’Keeffe longed to be an artist from an early age. In 1905 she attended the Art Institute of Chicago and a year later went to study at the Art Students League of New York. Though her student work was well received she found it unfulfilling,
and for a short time abandoned the fine arts. She worked briefly as a commercial artist in Chicago before moving to Texas to teach. During the summer of 1915, O’Keeffe took classes at the Teachers College of Columbia University in South Carolina, and there began her re-entry into the world of painting.
Teaching in South Carolina was Arthur Dow, a specialist in Oriental Art. Dow’s interest in non-European art helped O’Keeffe move away from the forms she had found so stifling in her previous studies. She said of him, “It was Arthur Dow who affected my start, who helped me to find something of my own.” Soon after O’Keeffe’s return to Texas,
she made a handful of charcoal drawings, which she sent to a friend in New York. The friend, Anna Pollitzer, showed them to Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer and gallery owner. He was enthused with the vibrant energy of the work, and asked to show them. So, without her knowledge, Georgia O’Keeffe had her first exhibition in 1916 at Steiglitz’s “291 Gallery.”
Within two years, Steiglitz had convinced O’Keeffe to move to New York and devote all of her time to painting. His regular presentations of her work had begun to cause a buzz, and create for a her a small following. Six years later the two were married, beginning one of the most fruitful and well-known collaborations of the modernist era.
For the next twenty years the two would live and work together, Steiglitz creating an incredible body of portraits of O’Keeffe, while O’Keeffe showed new drawings and paintings nearly every year at the gallery. Living in Lake George, New York, and in New York City, O’Keeffe painted some of her most famous work. During the 1920s,
her large canvasses of lush overpowering flowers filled the still lifes with dynamic energy and erotic tension, while her cityscapes were testaments to subtle beauty within the most industrial circumstances.
In 1929 O’Keeffe took a vacation with her friend Beck Strand to Taos, New Mexico. The trip would forever alter the course of her life. In love with the open skies and sun-drenched landscape, O’Keeffe returned every summer to travel and to paint. When Steiglitz in 1946 died, O’Keeffe took up permanent residence there.
More than almost any of her other works, these early New Mexico landscapes and still lifes have come to represent her unique gifts. The rich texture of the clouds and sky were similar to her earlier, more sensuous representations of flowers. But beneath these clouds one found the bleached bones of animals long gone.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, O’Keeffe’s fame continued to grow. She traveled around the world and had a number of major retrospectives in the U.S. The most important came in 1970 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, placing her categorically as one of the most important and influencial American painters.
The next year O’Keeffe’s vision deteriorated dramatically, and she withdrew from artistic life. It was not until 1973, after meeting Juan Hamilton, a young ceramic artist, which she returned to working. With his encouragement and assistance, she resumed painting and sculpting. In 1976 her illustrated autobiography,
GEORGIA O’KEEFFE was a best seller, and the next year she received the Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford.
In 1985 she received the Medal of the Arts from President Ronald Reagan. In March of the next year, at the age of 98, O’Keeffe passed away at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Georgia O’Keeffe’s work remains a prominent part of major national and international museums. For many, her paintings
represent the beginnings of a new American art free from the irony and cynicism of the late 20th century.
October 1, 2014
I have wanted tow rite about JACK TWORKOV for some time, so today is it! I do hope you enjoy this post! Much Love,
Jack Tworkov: “I don’t try to accumulate the picture bit by bit—like pennies in a piggy bank.” And, in a c. 1959 note, out of The Extreme of the Middle edited by Mira Schor .
“ I have practically no need for esthetic experience, for the worship of beauty or the nuances of fine feeling. I envy the real world, the world in which real things are made. I mourn the fact that I am a stranger to real voyages, to factories, to the modern mysteries of machines, science and mathematics, warfare, all the things that make the world, hard, deep, impenetrable, and as a matter of fact, cruel. I am a foreigner to all these enormous energies. “
“ My painting represents me in my chagrin, my alienation, my laziness, my impotence. To have to paint with a brush instead of with horsepower. The world of the ordinary man expands with the speed of light. Every schoolboy travels in space. The painter’s fate deals with square feet. No wonder we are a vanishing race.”
That un-trampled sense of the picayune, the futility of art—how terribly limited its means and effects when opposed to the shrillness of the claims made on its behalf. Tworkov, too, insistent in a belief that richness lies in the overlap, the point of commingling, systems interfering with systems (“walking the hedge-row” in the ornithologist’s lingo, or “torn between the calligraphic and the structural”) and adamantly opposed to the way personality it self, becomes a commodity in the arts (“If one wants to preserve integrity one must hide ones personality behind a bushel”). How refreshing Tworkov’s plain sense of trying to make art un-corrupted and honest. He writes (in a journal begun 21 January 1947 with the astoundingly self-possessed line: “Style is the effect of pressure”):
Tworkov’s quietly refuting of the heroics of art, pointing to Jackson Pollock, and asking: “Is He the Greatest Living Painter in the United States?”): (beginning with the extraordinary question: “Did it ever occur to Sophocles to write a play about himself?”):
Everyone who is an artist does it at the expense of being a hero. When the artist conceives himself a hero, he ceases to be an artist and proceeds to destroy himself. . . .
I like Tworkov’s sense of testing the “original impulse”—painting, opposed to constructing, or accumulating “bit by bit,” lines that follow the opening sentence:
Whenever in the course of the painting the picture arrives at some concept I submit it to random unrelated activity, to chance, to the opposite of itself. I submit the picture to a bettering and if something of the original impulse survives all that, then it stands. Often all I’ve got out of months of painting is what one would salvage from a shipwreck. Not perfection but the nearly inevitable consequence of having preferred a certain kind of action to another. . . .
Why all that? Out of less than satisfaction with one’s self, to spring open the limits of self. . . . To get out. The opposite of integration—to break open and out.
September 26, 2014
I decided since there have been record breaking auction totals that boosted one sale to more than three times its estimate, I decided to bring you what all the fuss is about! This blog post is on one of the blue chip artists, ZENG FANZI. Because the asian art market has been considered anemic at best,
and the downfall of the stock market and the economy, it is a wonder that these prices were fetched. I love these works and find the asian art market so interesting! I had the pleasure of seeing ZENG’S work at an exhibit at Sotheby’s years ago and totally flipped! when you see the images I bet you will recognize some of them!
When Zeng Fanzhi was at school (1987-91), he particularly liked the work of the German Expressionist painters. In the third year of his studies, he put Soviet Realism aside and began to explore expressionistic approaches to painting. His works of this period have further echoes of another of his favorite artists, Beckman, but when it came to creating work for his degree show, the Xiehe series, Zeng Fanzhi had already established his own style and the impact of the work had won him a strong reputation in Chinese art circles.
As the series of works on the theme of hospital interiors, the image of the figures is basically true to life, but within the structure of the composition, Zeng Fanzhi pays particular attention to the psychological mood of the figures and the power of expression derived from
various brush strokes. In describing the relationship between doctor and patient, he makes allusion to the masochism and sado-masochism that exists in pockets of life. The faces of the doctors make a disturbing impression, while the patients lie nervously on their bed, silently staring.
The coolness of the pale pigments, the bloody tone of the flesh and the expressionistic brush strokes suggest a hidden danger and the aura of death. The message arising from this triptych reflects the artist’s pessimistic vision on life. This pessimism is found not only in the implied masochistic
and sado-masochistic relation between doctor and patients, but in the violence of the expressionistic brush strokes and the cold, deathly mood of the colour. This triptych laid the foundation for the bloodied sense of colour in Zeng Fanzhi’s painting, which became increasingly market,
the brush strokes ever more searing. The form of the figures became more and more disturbing, especially the expression concentrated in the eyes. The hands are marked by a size that is distinctly disproportionate to the body, each individual joint emphasized to excess. There is a pervading
sense that these figures are caught up in a fit of hysteria. Aside from all this, the allusion to fresh meat suggests a venting of frustration and anger: the act of venting, of itself, removes – kills off – the frustration
September 22, 2014
I was browsing an auction catalog, a modern auction catalog and came across Wharton Esherick and I had never heard of him and was intrigued by the asking price, which almost doubled! I thought the table was Nakashima and i read it wrong. But no.
So I decided to find out about him and share what I found. OK so, ESHERICK is the founder really, of sorts, of this whole carving and organic movement in furniture around 1913-20′s 30′s. So consider the time period. The world is awakening to post Rococo and all of the ornamentation,
going into world wars, the start of Deco, then Nouveau,and now think of the posts I did on nakashima and Noguchi and their influences. I always thought those two were the start, so to speak of the whole, organic, slab table that Hudson is doing now which is so clever with the
polished metal bases. but alas, you see, just when you think you know something, or rather I do, I realize I know very little and am always so happy to learn more.
Wharton Esherick (July 15, 1887 – May 6, 1970) was a sculptor who worked primarily in wood. He reveled in applying the principles of sculpture to common utilitarian objects. Consequently he is best known for his sculptural furniture and furnishings. Esherick was recognized in his lifetime by
his peers as the “dean of American craftsmen” for his leadership in developing non-traditional designs, and encouraging and inspiring artists/craftspeople by example. Esherick’s influence continues to be seen in the work of current artisans, particularly in the studio furniture movement.
Born in Philadelphia, Esherick studied painting at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts (now the University of the Arts and at the Pennsylvania school of Fine Arts. In 1913 he moved to a farmhouse near Paoli, Pennsylvania to pursue his painting career. He began carving decorative frames for his paintings in 1920,
which led to making woodcut prints and finally to sculpture.
Esherick’s early furniture was derived from the Arts and Crafts style, and decorated with surface carving. In the late 1920s he abandoned carving on his furniture, focusing instead on the pure form of the pieces as sculpture. In the 1930s he was producing sculpture and furniture influenced by the organicism
of Rudolf Steiner, as well as by German Expressionism and Cubism. The angular and prismatic forms of the latter two movements gave way to the free-form curvilinear shapes for which he is best known.
From furniture and furnishings, he progressed to interiors, the most famous being the Curtis Bok House (1935–37). Though the house was demolished, Esherick’s work was saved.
In 1940, George Howe used Esherick’s Spiral Stair (1930) and Esherick furniture to create the “Pennsylvania Hill House” exhibit in the New York World’s Fair “America at Home” Pavilion. Esherick’s work was also featured in a 1958 retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and in the 1972 “Woodenworks” exhibition
at the Renwick Gallery. He exhibited hundreds of times during his life and his work is now in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Whitney Museum in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and many other museums. Most of his work remains in private hands.
His greatest creation was his home and studio, outside of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The buildings evolved over forty years as Esherick lived and worked there. He continued working on the studio until his death in 1970. In 1972 the studio was converted into the Wharton Esherick Museum. The property, known as Wharton Esherick Studio
was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
September 17, 2014
I love fashion, as we all know! So today I bring you a great-an innovator a dreamer and a true visionary-when you think of certain silhouettes, think, Celine, the Row, Jil Sander, you start to think of shapes and simplicity. When you think of drama with one fabric and all the draping, for me, I start to think of the fabulous rooms of Jacques Garcia! Take a look at the silhouettes and see if you don’t see inspiration for great interiors!
A true fashion innovator, Cristobal Balenciaga radically altered the fashionable silhouette of women in the mid-twentieth century. With the methodical skill of an expert tailor, he created garments of fluidity and grace. Unlike many couturiers, Balenciaga was able to drape, cut, and fit his own muslin patterns, known as toiles.
He was respected throughout the fashion world for both his knowledge of technique and construction, and his unflinching perfectionism.
Balenciaga achieved what is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women.
Balenciaga was born in the small fishing village of Guetaria in the Basque region of Spain on January 21, 1895. From his early years, he spent many hours by his mother’s side as she worked as a seamstress. In his teens, the most prominent woman of his town, the Marquesa de Casa Torres, became his patron and client, sending him to Madrid for
formal training in tailoring and proudly wearing the results.
By 1939, Balenciaga was being praised in the French press as a revolutionizing force in fashion, with buyers and customers fighting to gain access to his collection. During World War II, clients risked travel to Europe for Balenciaga’s designs, especially his celebrated square coat—in which the sleeve was cut in one piece with the yoke—and anything shown
in his unique color combination of black and brown or black lace over bright pink. In the postwar years, Balenciaga’s designs became streamlined and linear. The clothing he created was different than the popular, curvy hourglass shape that Christian Dior promoted with his New Look. Balenciaga favored fluid lines that allowed him to alter the way
clothing related to a woman’s body. Waistlines were dropped, then raised, independent of the wearer’s natural waistline. In 1953, he introduced the balloon jacket, an elegant sphere that encased the upper body and provided a pedestal for the wearer’s head. In 1957 came the creation of his high-waisted baby doll dress, the gracefully draped cocoon coat,
and the balloon skirt, shown as a single pouf or doubled, one pouf on top of the other. Neither the sack dress, introduced in 1957, nor the chemise of 1958 had a discernible waist, but both were considered universally flattering and were copied by a large number of ready-to-wear manufacturers at every price range. With these design innovations, Balenciaga
achieved what is considered to be his most important contribution to the world of fashion: a new silhouette for women.
Throughout the 1960s, Balenciaga continued showing collections of unparalleled technique and beauty. His innovative use of fabric—he liked bold materials, heavy cloths, and ornate embroideries—led him to work with the Swiss fabric
house of Abraham. Together they developed silk gazar, a stiffer version of the pliable fabric that Balenciaga used in suits, day dresses, and evening wear. Loyal clients such as the Duchess of Windsor, Pauline de Rothschild, and Gloria Guinness continued to appreciate the discreet but important touches he provided in his clothing: collars that stood away
from the collarbone to give a swanlike appearance and the shortened (seven-eighths-length) bracelet sleeve, so called because it enabled the wearer to better flaunt her jewelry. When the Balenciaga salon closed in 1968, the occasion marked the end of the career of a great artist whose influence is still being felt in the twenty-first century. The modern look
that he created has been sustained by André Courrèges and Emanuel Ungaro, who both apprenticed at his atelier, and by Hubert de Givenchy, among others. Balenciaga died on March 24, 1972, at home in his beloved Spain. A longtime client offered a fitting epitaph: “Women did not have to be perfect or even beautiful to wear his clothes. His clothes made them beautiful.”
The style of Cristobal Balenciaga was a mixture of simplicity, minimalism, and drama in powerful colors and dynamic shapes. He used fabrics that could form and support his structured clothing such as taffeta, silk gazar, faille, upholstery weight wools, and mohair. However, his clothes differed from his contemporary Christian Dior, in that he created
a looser line than Dior did, with his barrel back jackets, kimono-shaped, bracelet-length sleeves, and ballooning shapes. His designs were pared down and rather than molding a predetermined shape for the figure, they instead skimmed the body.
Balenciaga was inspired by non-western clothing and religious-influenced or ecclesiastical garments. His clothes were known for their elegant starkness and austerity. This was most likely a result of his goal to reduce the decoration of garments to only the most essential.
Balenciaga was temperamental, secretive, and very private. Because of this, pictures of his work are very hard to come by. In fact, he would rarely let photographs of his collections be taken, expect for the few exclusive editorials in Vogue magazine by photographer Irving Penn. An example of his difficulty with the press: he chose to show his
collections a month later than the other Paris houses, which caused a conflict for the foreign press who then needed to return because of his importance and reputation in dressmaking.
September 9, 2014
You know, when I sit to write these blogs, I consider myself insanely lucky! As I get to write and recall all of the inspirations that so make my world what it is. In continuing with my love of California abstract Expressionists, I bring to you today Nathan Oliveira. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you each day.
(Nathan Oliveira passed away on November 13, 2010.)
For more than 30 years, internationally recognized painter Nathan Oliveira occupied a serene studio nestled in the foothills above Stanford University, where he taught for decades. Spark visited Oliveira where he created some of his most famous works.
Oliveira is well-known as a major painter associated with a group of artists called the Bay Area Figurative School. Taking a cue from the abstract expressionist style that characterized East Coast painting in the postwar period, Oliveira and others used a thick, painterly style,
but used it to represent rough, abstracted figures and landscapes.
Over the last 20 years, Oliveira had intermittently worked on “The Windover,” a series of paintings named for a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The canvases, which depict abstract forms recalling wings, were inspired by the red-tailed hawks living in the foothills that surround Oliveira’s studio.
In an effort to keep the series of nearly
20 paintings together as a group, Oliveira had been meeting with Stanford officials to create a quiet space somewhere in the foothills to house “The Windover” and be designed as a peaceful refuge where visitors can go to meditate and collect their thoughts.
Nathan Oliveira earned a B.A. in 1951 and an M.F.A. in 1952 from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now known as the California College of the Arts).
Oliveira received critical recognition early on in his career for emotionally charged paintings that are an attempt, in the artist’s words, to “make a spiritual contribution.”1 His main artistic preoccupation throughout his oeuvre has been the depiction of a solitary figure,
usually female, and often wraithlike, emerging from an atmospheric and
undefined space. In the early 1960s, Oliveira’s palette shifted and he began to incorporate more vibrant colors. His subject matter, however, remained the same. The influence of Northern European expressionism, such as Edvard Munch and Max Beckmann, with whom Oliveira
studied at Mills College, Oakland, in 1950, is evidenced in his work
as is the portraiture of Rembrandt and the attenuated female figurative sculptures of Giacommetti.
Oliveira’s graphic achievements have established him as a major figure in American printmaking. His innovative work in lithography and monotype has been compared to that of Goya, Picasso, Edvard Munch, and Eugène Carrière, and he has created procedural standards
that artists continue to follow today.2 In the 1980s, also Oliveira began
working with sculpture, creating works that draw inspiration from Pre-Columbian iconography to 20th-century modern works, most notably those of Giacommetti.
July 10, 2014
Ettore Sottsass is one of my all time favorite designers! He is credited with the style known as memphis, and his designs and jewelry were fantastic!
I hope you enjoy this post! Love, Jamie
Ettore Sottass worked as a design consultant for Olivetti from 1958 to 1980, creating the Elea 9003 calculator and the popular portable red typewriter, released on Valentine’s Day in 1969. Mr. Sottsass referred
to his typewriter as the “anti-machine machine.” Its features included a carriage that dropped to the level of the keyboard and a storage case, though it was the color that made it memorable.
“Every color has a history,” Mr. Sottsass said two years ago. “Red is the color of the Communist flag, the color that makes a surgeon move faster and the color of passion.”
In the 1970s, Alessi hired Mr. Sottsass, who designed various items for the company, like ice condiment sets, soup plates and coasters. He also designed a decanter for Baccarat; a chair for Knoll; and
carpet for Namastre.
In the 1980s, Mr. Sottsass was one of the founders and the leading figure of Memphis, the Milan design group famous for brightly colored postmodern furniture, lighting and ceramics. Its collection includes
glassworks, and large sculptural cabinets made of acrylic, aluminum and tropical wood.
July 8, 2014
My love of photography and introducing you to artists as such continues today with Arthur Siegel. His photographs are etherial and serene.
I hope you enjoy this post!
Arthur Siegel was an American photographer known for his intricate photographs and graphic documentary photography.
He introduced creative ways of back-lighting and projection to achieve abstract, often ethereal forms also experimenting with variations in colour both in these
and his more documentary images.
The simplicity and conceptual nature ofh is photographs encourage the viewer to explore the singular characteristics of photography as a medium based on the transference of light.
July 3, 2014
Tony Rosenthal was among the most amazing public sculptors that ever lived. His work, most of us have seen in person and adore. I hope you enjoy this post! Love,
In sheer visibility, Mr. Rosenthal occupied a leading place among contemporary artists. His five works of public sculpture in Manhattan, and dozens of similar works in Los Angeles,Philadelphia and other cities, guaranteed him a vast audience every week, yet he remained, if not obscure, much less than famous.
He was best known for “Alamo,” familiarly called “The Cube” and a neighborhood favorite since it was installed in 1967 as part of the city’s
“Sculpture in Environment” program. All 25 works in the program were intended to be temporary installations, but after residents in the Astor Place area petitioned the city, “Alamo” stayed.
A 15-foot-square cube, made of Cor-Ten steel plates, it stands on one point and revolves on a pedestal, which has endeared it to students at nearbyCooper Union, skateboarders who rally around it and East Village tourists
Mr. Rosenthal is also represented in Manhattan by “Rondo”
(1969), the gleaming bronze circle in front of the New york Public Library’s branch on East 58th Street; “5 in 1” (1973) at
Police Plaza; “SteelPark” (1980) at 80th Street near First Avenue; and “Hammarskjold,” originally installed at Hammarskjold Plaza in 1977 but acquired the next year by the Fashion Institute of technology on Seventh Avenue at 27th Street.
July 1, 2014
« Newer Posts — Older Posts »
Man Ray was one of the artists to be considered the embodiment of surrealism! There used to be a famous bar/hangout on 26th and Sixth in
the City called man Ray! Fond memories, less I digress! I hope you enjoy this post and my trail of thinking on Surrealism! Have a wonderful day!
Man Ray, the master of experimental and fashion photography was also a painter, a filmmaker, a poet, an essayist, a philosopher, and a leader of American modernism.
Known for documenting the cultural elite living in France, Man Ray spent much of his time fighting the formal constraints of the visual arts. Ray’s life and art were always
provocative, engaging, and challenging.
Born Emanuel Rabinovitch in 1890, Man Ray spent most of his young life in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The eldest child of an immigrant Jewish tailor, he was a mediocre student
who shunned college for the bohemian artistic life in nearby Manhattan. In New York he began to work as an artist, meeting many of the most important figures of the time.
He learned the rudiments of photography from the art dealer and photographer, Alfred Steiglitz and began to experiment on his own.
In 1914, Man Ray married the Belgian poet, Adon Lacroix, and soon after met the experimental artist Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp was to be one of Man Ray’s greatest influences
as well as a close friend and collaborator. Together the two attempted to bring some of the verve of the European experimental art movements to America. The most energetic of these
movements was “dada.” Dada was an attempt to create work so absurd it confused the viewer’s sense of reality. The dadaists would take everyday objects and present them as if they
were finished works of art. For Man Ray, dada’s experimentation was no match for the wild and chaotic streets of New York, and he wrote “Dada cannot live in New York. All New York
is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.”