Monday, June 24, 2013

Peter Clark

I came across Peter Clark about three years ago via a Telegraph magazine. It was an image of one of his collaged dogs. I cut it out stuck it in my sketchbook and never thought of it since until by chance I came across him again today.
He creates these amazingly intricate and whimsical collages out of found paper. The paper is preferably old, each individual piece a work of art on its own; ranging from maps, to stamps and labels.
Using collage he re-creates animals, garments and inanimate objects. One could stare at each piece for hours and still find something new.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Harriet Bellows

I have always had a soft spot for simple abstract works that remind me of Mark Rothko, and certain other abstract expressionists. I recently came across the work of Harriet Bellows via another blog.
Her work is beautifully simple. Space, minimal figures and abstract forms inhabit her minimal compositions.
Bellows has a background in dance which for the last thirty years has influenced her approach to space and movement within the pictorial frame. Colour plays an integral part in her paintings and tone applied in gestural marks and subtle perspectives creates the wonderful languid movement in her pictures giving her work an emotional quality that is honest and full of life.
Her figurative drawings are  relaxed and playful. Her line reminds me of Egon Schiele's figurative works. They have been drawn on an iPad. This is the first time I have come across this. David Hockney is the only artist I have ever hear of who uses this medium for his practice, and that is mostly because of his age as it is easier for him. I guess in my ignorance I figured it was a practice unique unto him until I came across Bellows. She uses her drawings as a basis for her paintings.
"The groundwork for my art has developed around a sense of structure, line, balance, and color. My involvement with layers of paint, ideas of volume, space and the interaction of these elements has established a platform. Within this context one of my greatest considerations deals with the honesty of simplicity and the demands associated with it." - Harriet Bellows

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I am currently reading a very good book called, 'The Dog, 5000 years of the dog in art' by Tamsin Pickeral. So far so good, I am reading it as part of my research in hopes to benefit my project in fourth year. I think it is best when creating art to go back to the beginning so you can move forward in the future. No matter what medium you are using whither it is painting, photography, printmaking, est. there is always something new to learn.
This painting, 'Diogenes' by Jean-Leon Gerome is one of the first that stuck out to me. Below is a description of the painting taken from 500 years of the dog in art.

"This nineteenth-century work by the master French master Gerome depicts in a wonderfully realistic manner a motley group of shaggy street dogs, each with its own character. Surrounding the figure of Diogenes in his barrel, these seem to be actual dogs: no doubt the artist was alluding to the large number of semi-feral dogs that populated the streets of the ancient world. The painting portrays Diogenes of Sinope, who was the most famous and colourful figure of an ancient Greek sect of philosophers known as the Cynics. Their beliefs, in the broadcast of terms, involved a return to simplicity and a rejection of the comforts of material life, and they used shocking tactics to display their ideals ostentatiously. 
Diogenes, for example, allegedly lived like a dog in all bodily was, and praised the moral virtues of the dog. Accordingly, the word 'cynic' derives from the Greek word kunikos, meaning doglike, and kuon, meaning dog. later the term 'cynic' was used to mean 'faultfinder' (Cynics pointed out the faults in others), while today it describes a person distrustful of sincerity or scornful of other." 
 -'The Dog, 5000 Years of The Dog in Art by Tamsin Pickeral

Isn't it nice to learn something new?!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cristina Garcia Rodero

Spanish Photographer Christina GarcĂ­a Rodero has dedicated her time to researching and photographing both popular and traditional religious and pagan festivities in Spain and Mediterranean Europe, She has traveled around the world in search of other cultures with particular traditions. Over a period of four years, she went several times to Haiti, where she has documented voodoo rituals, producing a series of expressive portraits and moving scenes flanked by engaging documentary observations. 

SPAIN. Almeria. 1991. Old cinema studios used for American movies, today a theme parc also used for advertising shootings.

USA. Nevada. Burning Man Festival. Candle-man and 'unknown'

HAITI. Plaine du Nord. Near the Cap Haitien. Pilgrimage to honour the apostle Saint James (Santiago) who is at the same time the Lwa Ogou, god of war. In this region took place the insurrection of the slaves that lead to the independence of the country.

HAITI. Carnival of Jacmel

ITALY. Puglia. 2000. Holy Saturday. Group of women marching on the streets and singing their grief at the death of Christ.

HAITI. Plaine du Nord. Near the Cap Haitien. 2000.
Pilgrimage to honour the apostle Saint James
(Santiago) who is at the same time the Lwa Ogou, god of war.
In this region took place the insurrection of the slaves that lead to the independence of the country.
HAITI. Carnival of Jacmel

HAITI. Port au Prince. Death-Day.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lee Godin

For nearly three decades, until shortly before her death in 1994 at the age of 85, Lee Godie lived, homeless on the streets of Chicago. She has been described as colourful and unpredictable, she was likely to appear wrapped in a toga and fur coat one day or in a full safari regalia the next. 
No one knows quite how she came to be on the streets of Chicago. Some say there was a marriage breakdown, other believe she may have been traumatised by the loss of a child or children. What is known for sure is that Godie had at least one daughter, Bonnie Blank, who found her mother in 1988. It took several months before Blank revealed her identity to her mother. Soon afterwards Godie was diagnosed with dementia, she went to live with her daughter until she died three years later.

Lee Godie was a local character often seen sketching and painting on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, or sprawled on the marble floor of the library drawing.
 It seemed implausible to some then, that her art might one day hang in galleries such as the Art Institute, but today Godie is now finding growing international acclaim. Today her work hangs in private collections across America and is held by the Smithsonian. 

Lee Godie was an Outsider artist. 'Outsider Art,' is a term coined by the British art critic Roger Cardinal to describe artists living on the fringes of society. Like Godie most outsider artists are untrained, unaffected by social conventions and untouched by the machinations of the commercial art world. Only recently are outsider artists receiving increasing attention from the public and art world.

Only a fraction of Godie's work is gallery worthy. In her decades on the street she made and sold several works a day, simply to survive. She worked across several disciplines, unsing virtually any material she could find, from the conventional (canvases) to the bizarre (window shades), and was known for paintings and drawings that revealed a fascination with 1920s-era beauties. But it was her photographs, taken in a photo-booth in a Chicago bus station and featuring goodie in a various guises, these are her most highly regarded, inventive work. Some of the images have been partially erased, others have been drawn on with pen or paint. Most involve props bought from Woolworth's with the proceeds of the previous day's sales. Today her work, once sold on the streets for $30 no fetches $15,000.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Godie was that she was poor, apparently she was quite the business woman.  She would have her canvases half uncurled, if she was interested in selling to you, she would let the canvas open up so you could see more. If she didn't like you she would curl it up the other way (my kind of lady!) She had an astute business sense. The biggest issue for Godie was how to keep her money safe, she solved this by using stores as 'banks.' Ultimo was the best at that time, the manager would kindly hold her money for her until she returned to collect it.

There can be little doubt that many of those who collect Godie's work do so because they knew her an loved her as much as her art. Her images have been described as powerful on a number of levels, I think this would be more for her photographs rather than her drawings. Her photographs are as gripping as works by any trained photographer.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Odyssey - 4th year degree show 2013

Last week I visited the 4th year degree show. It was opened by Karl Wallace, the 2014 artistic director for the Limerick city of culture.
I did not attend the opening but went later that week to have a peek in my own time. Over all I think the show was successful, and very professional. Ceramics stole the show, followed by print and fashion. But fashion always comes out on top as that department is what the college is best known for.
I do feel the students should have been allowed to take better advantage of the college space. Last year print was able to occupy most of the rooms on the second floor. This year they were stuffed into three rooms, and the hall with the exception of one video piece which was on its own in the octangle room, which was brilliant and being on its own made it easier to watch and appreciate. The video pieces were crammed on top of each other causing works to clash and creating a bit of an information overload. Hopefully next year for our show we will not have this problem. It is a shame as the work was excellent. But at least for print that was the only issue. Same went for ceramics, all the work was stuffed into the exhibition space in the church gallery, which was already made small as part of it had to be cut off for health and safety reasons as the roof is contemplating collapsing because of the pigeons using the attic space for their personal lou. 
The work in the ceramic show was of a very high standard, I wouldn't have minded purchasing a few pieces for myself if I had the money. Again space was the only issue for this part of the show.
Fashion was wonderful but again stuffed into the tutors area in the cafeteria.
Painting was better than last year, unfortunately i don't feel the painting department is up to par. Students seem to leave on the same or similar skill level that they came in at. The joys of relying on students to teach them selves, and not having proper classes. This is my own opinion, I just feel it makes it harder for the students.
Visual communications was very neat and professional and sculpture..well it wouldn't have been my cup of tea. I liked the tree that someone had managed to bury in the concrete floor, I dread to think what the reaction of the technicians was when they saw that! Also there was a very good stop motion video which had strong roots in the work of Alice Maher.
I know I have been very cynical but like I pointed out the only thing that really put me off was the poor use of space which I felt left the artists at a disadvantage, anything else was down to my own personal taste. Luckily for me I can look at works from both sides of the fence. Its important to appreciate a piece of work and what went into it, whether you like it or not. 
The exhibition is worth seeing, there is something there that will appeal to everyone, plus it is so important to support young artists heading out into this world. 
I have posted some photos and statements of work that stuck out for me. 


Rachel Burns:

Joanna Thompson:

Amy Forde:

Caimin Walsh: 

Isabella Walsh: 

Bellas photos were some of my favorite works in the show. She created them by making her own pinhole camera out of a coke can. I found them to be a real inspiration. There were so many I wish I wish I took more photos of them. They were presented beautifully in a very large handmade book. Some of the prints were also framed on the wall. 
Im afraid I do not know who created the two works above.

(Apologies, Did not take note of the artists names)