Monday, April 8, 2013

Tawney and Martin

Two artists whose artwork and art practice I admire are Lenore Tawney and Agnes Martin. Tawney and Martin were friends while both lived in New York and I definitely see parallels in their art and statements.


Lenore Tawney from an article in ‘American Craft’

Tawney writes of that art is just beyond language. She states that the magic found in the artist’s creation always retains the memory of its origins and is destined to return. She also notes that these origins are closer to the silence of the universe than to the noises and verbalizations.


Lenore Tawney, Even Thread


Lenore Tawney, Seed Puzzle


Lenore Tawney, Discourse


Lenore Tawney, Untitled


Of course, Tawney is most known for her spectacular weavings and I acknowledge those but wanted to focus on her drawings, collage and assemblage for this post.

Agnes Martin writes about her artwork:

I would like my work to be recognized as being in the classical tradition (Coptic, Egyptian, Greek, Chinese), as representing the Ideal in the mind. Classical art cannot possibly be eclectic. One must see the ideal in one's own mind. It is like a memory-an awareness-of perfection.
from Dia Art Foundation.


Agnes Martin “With My Back to the World”

You may be very familiar with Martin’s art as she was quite prolific and her work is displayed in many museums. I’d like to show some pieces that are not seen as often and those to me that most closely align her with Tawney. All artwork below by Agnes Martin:


Untitled, 1960


Falling Blue


Untitled, 1960






The Sea

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Artwork

I’ve been experimenting with some new artwork that focuses on color, color relationships and form. I’m still in the designing stage working on sketches and doing samples. Here’s one of my earliest sample pieces. It isn’t quite there yet as I’m still working out materials and relationships between the forms and the question of “do I want to stay formal and use pure forms”? I’m purposely trying not to over think at this stage and just play.


Also, a couple of sketches that play with pure forms but give them a more interactive background:

sketchbook1-30-2013 sketchbook1-31-2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

Jiro Yoshihara

Est-Ouest Auctions Co., Ltd. - UNTITLED

Artwork from Jiro Yoshihara, 1970, 17.91" x 20.87".

Circle, acrylic on canvas, 1971, 45.5 x 53 cm.

Untitled, 1962

White Line on Black, 1968.

Circle, 1971. Exhibited in “Gutai’s Splendid Playground” currently at the Guggenheim through May 8, 2013.

Red Circle on Black, 1965


Untitled, silkscreen, 1969. I love the rawness and energy in Yoshihara’s artwork and, yes, the scale:

White Circle, 1965.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Japanese Postwar Art – Gutai

After the end of World War II, Japan saw a rise in young artists who called themselves the Gutai Art Association. In the fall of 2012, Hauser & Wirth mounted an exhibit of work called “A Visual Essay on Gutai at 32 East 69th Street” featuring artworks by twelve members of the Gutai. From the web exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, the exhibit “traces efforts by these artists to resolve the inherent contradictions between traditions of painting – the making of images on a flat, framed plane – and the core tenets of a movement that called for experimentation, individuality, unexpected materials, and, perhaps above all, physical action and psychological freedom.”

Although the members of Gutai attempted to distance their work from the past and from reminders of the war, death and destruction, I found several artworks that don’t escape the reminder of the horror of the atom bomb. Others allude to the mushroom cloud yet also hint at renewal and rebirth. Saburo Murakami’s Work, 1963, Paint, polyvinyl acetate adhesive, plaster on board, 182.5 x 107 x 10 cm / 71 7/8 x 42 1/8 x 3 7/8 in.Hiroshima echoes: Saburo Murakami's Work, 1963

Work — Jiro Yoshihara, 1967, Oil on canvas
90.9 x 115.5 cm / 35 3/4 x 45 1/2 in.


Work — Jiro Yoshihara, 1965, Oil on canvas, 182 x 227 cm / 71 5/8 x 89 3/8 in.


White Ceremony - E — Norio Imai, 1966—2012, Acrylic, cloth, plastic mold, 63 3/4 x 51 1/4 x 7 1/8 in

White Ceremony - E

Work65-Daiwa — Takesada Matsutani, 1965
Polyvinyl acetate adhesive, paint on canvas
183.4 x 183.5 cm / 72 1/4 x 72 1/4 in


Some of these artists were also featured in an exhibit called, “Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2012. I’ve been working on a new series that focuses on form and color. The artwork of the artists of the Gutai is something I want to explore more fully, especially the artwork of Jiro Yoshihara.

All images courtesy of Hauser & Wirth. A book on Gutai, titled “Gutai: Decentering Modernism” is available, as is a catalog from the exhibit at Hauser & Wirth.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Warming Huts in Winnipeg

In August I was contacted by an architecture firm in Cambridge, MA. about collaborating with them on a warming hut for a contest in Winnipeg, Manitoba. A warming hut is used along a winter trail as a place to “warm up” as you ski or skate. The contest is for international firms and artists and ask that the designs “push the envelope in terms of design, craft and art.” Out of over 100 entries, our design was chosen as one of the three from the open submission process. See the entries here.

The architecture firm had seen my work on Pinterest and was very interested in using industrial felt to line the inside of the warming hut. The city of Winnipeg has two rivers that intersect within the city and this is where this competition is centered. The frozen rivers have been turned into trails and there are a lot of activities during the winter months. See more about The Forks here.

I was unable to go due to work commitments, but have received some images and some wonderful feedback about my work. I was also able to participate in the 10x20x20 presentation from the warming hut participants via Skype. A blog post about the presentation is here: I must say that it was very challenging to talk to an empty room, I was unable to see or hear anything as it was happening but I am so, so grateful to the organizers for allowing me to participate. In fact, everyone associated with this event has been amazing. I’m particularly grateful to Mette Aamodt and her partner Andrew Plumb of Aamodt / Plumb architects for choosing me as their artist collaborator. They are an exciting firm in Cambridge and have had a lot of success with their designs. See the original proposal under Warming Hut here.

Following are some images from the finished hut and a few that I took before shipping the felt panels. Unfortunately, my camera quit working before I could get good images – I have been told that the organizer of this event has hired a professional photographer so I’m hoping for better images in the future. The images I chose to stitch centered around the rivers and their intersection. I also used images from pictographs in the area and the animals that have roamed the area for hundreds of years. I wanted to use imagery that 1) was an homage to the area, and 2) stayed true to Mette’s initial inspiration of huts she remembered that were lined with animal pelts. It was a challenging project but I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to participate and was very happy with the outcome.

exterior_warminghut1 exterior_warminghut2

exterior_warminghut3 interior_warminghut1



buffalo_panel1 buffalo_panel2

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I received several books for Christmas via a nice cash gift that enabled me to pick and choose some favorites. One of the books I chose was Inside the Studio, two decades of talks with artists in New York. From Strand Books, a synopsis:

In1981, Independent Curators International, a New York organization with a record of innovative art programming, began “New York Studio Events,” an annual series of visits to the studios of prominent artists. Inside The Studio presents excerpts from the talks delivered by nearly seventy-three artists to their guests over the last two decades. Transcribed, excerpted, and shared here for the first time, ICI’s tapes of these talks constitute a remarkable record of the thinking and conversation of key artists of the 1980, 1990, and today. The artist variously provide personal insights, philosophical reflections, stories, and discussions of the origins of their practice, the evolution of their ideas, and the intellectual, psychological, spiritual, and even physical bases of their work. Includes color reproductions of artists’ works. Index of Artists, Photograph Credits. 296p.

I’ve really enjoyed the fact that I can pick up this book and choose an artist, see his or her photograph and an image or two of their work, and read the 3 page compilation of the studio visit. Many of the visits are from the 90s but I think are still so relevant. Most are well known artists, but some were new to me. Here’s a paragraph from the visit with artist Jane Hammond:

“When I start the painting, I don’t ever know what the meaning is, I don’t know why it’s important, I just come to trust that the things that occur to me at night while I’m lying in bed are real. I say to myself, “This is a painting idea,” and I find my glasses and kind of drag myself up and make some notes about it. In a fascinating and ever deepening process, what happens to me is, as I make the painting, or after I finish the painting, or sometimes a month after I finish the painting, I realize why the idea came and what the painting is about. I wouldn’t get that insight if I didn’t make the painting, so the painting, for me, is a process in which I get to access something that I couldn’t access but for painting it. Painting is like a tool for self-knowledge. Maybe it sounds kind of corny to say that today, but that’s how I see painting.”

Wow. I know that I find insight into my artwork when I review it years after first completing it, and I’m able to articulate more clearly what I was trying to say. I even find links between small series to the larger whole that confounded me initially.

One more recommendation is the film Gerhard Richter Painting. Highly recommended. If you have a Netflix streaming account, it is available to view. I’ve heard that people consider him a bit crotchety but I found him very insightful and at times somewhat embarrassed when the camera records him starting a painting. Can you imagine? It’s such a painful process for me to sew that first stitch. See the trailer here.