Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mark Peckmezian

The charming dog portraits by Mark Peckmezian;

Mark Peckmezian's elegant and ageless images within a snapshot aesthetic predominantly focus on portraiture. He has a bold confidence in his own style developed from experimenting in his darkroom, and is driven by a compulsion to make valid and authentic work.  His personal work treats analogue images as photo-objects, playing with the refinements in context and meaning implied by printing choices – adding borders, ripping edges, showing test strips and creases, folds and dust. Mark is influenced by vernacular photography and spontaneous portraiture, drawn to the beauty in the pensive moment, elusive emotional states and sometimes humorous. His art practice gives a depth and substance to the rigours of effective commercial, editorial image-making and he enjoys the dialogue between the two.
Peckmezian's dog portraits are hopelessly sweet. Peckmazian's canines have been selected to represent a broad range of breeds – some large (a giant Great Dane), others small (a panting Pug). Aptly the characteristically experimental analogue photographer also bestows each portrait with its own format, printing technique and layout, further accentuating each dog's individual personality. From a delighted-looking Golden Retriever in a series of monochrome mug shots to an Alsatian in shades oozing cool in a colour close-up.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tomáš Gabzdil Libertiny

Another collaboration between bee and artist for you. When I first saw this I originally thought it was by Damien Hirst, to me it had his name written all over it.  Libertiny's work is more about manipulation and controlling a society, compared to Aganetha Dyke's work which is more about environmental concerns, she works with the bees rather than trying to control what they do. It is a really beautiful sculpture when you see it, you don't want to like it, but you are pushed over in the end.

Unbearable Lightness was created by Dutch designer Tomáš Gabzdil Libertiny. The sculpture is suspended on four chains the small cabinet is a clean-room unit that has been built from custom 
aluminium profiles, glass sheets and plastic inserts, elements which are typically used in the automation industry. For this specific event, the base plate of the glass was cut with a queen restrictor mesh.Over time 40,000 worker bees were released into the case to complete a wax honeycomb structure over the figure of a martyred christ rising out of the chaos, his weight seems to be upheld by the mass strength of the swarm. The artist has managed to gain complete control over the bees, luring them to construct their hive precisely over the figure within the vitrine that is made of a laser sintered framework. 
The diligent bees created a honeycomb skin over the figure before filling each cell with the honey they produced. The bees then worked to remove the honey from the cells and return it to the beehive, cleaning the martyred Christ back to the wax cells they originally created. 
Libertiny's allegory engages us with his desire to manipulate and control a social wild-life entity 
as the means to fulfilling the final product. 
The bees engage in their repetitive natural process while unknowingly creating the world's most recognised religious effigy. 

The suspended closed cabinet references the strict boundaries of society where the toil of everyday duty is masked by the hope of eternal rest in an after-life promised by the believer. 
The bees are programmed to work for their queen who rules her kingdom for the artist. 
The viewer is able to recognise this element of manipulation of the bees while ignorant to the invisible constraints and measures imposed on our own existence. Initially, Libertiny introduced a natural red pigment into the mold which the bees spread evenly across the whole figure. The red relates to blood and flesh and is also the only colour in the visible spectrum that bees do not see.

Aganetha Dyck

Collaborative work between artists and bees is a trend that is becoming a lot more common these days. Artists are really starting to take advantage of the humble bees natural creative instinct. And I have to say I have yet to see works created by this creative partnership falter. The work is really something special and unique, no piece is alike and can ever be reproduced the same way. Its all down to chance and the artists ability to completely loose control of his or her work, allowing the bees to take over and do what they do best.
 I recently came across Aganetha Dyke, a Canadian artist who is interested in environmental issues, specifically "the power of the small," and is interested in inter species communication. Her research asks questions about the ramifications all living beings would experience should honeybees disappear from earth. 

Below Dyke describes her work, which only she can do best!...

"First, a clarification; I am not a beekeeper. I rent the colonies of honeybees, bee hives, and apiary space from a qualified beekeeper. All my work with honeybees is overseen by a scientist and is always completed under the direction of a beekeeper. The beekeeper takes care of the bees. I am an artist interested in environmental issues and in inter-species communication, specifically interested in the power of the small. My ongoing research asks questions regarding the ramifications all living beings would experience should honey bees disappear from earth.
To begin a collaborative project with the honeybees, I choose a slightly broken object or damaged material from a second hand market place. I choose damaged objects because honeybees are meticulous beings, they continuously mend anything around them and they do pay attention to detail. To encourage the honeybees to communicate, I strategically add wax or honey, propolis or hand-made honeycomb patterns to the objects prior to placing them into their hives. At least I like to think my methods are strategic. The honeybees often think otherwise and respond to what is placed within their hive in ways that make my mind reel.
At times, the honeybees encourage me to add or delete honeycomb after they have worked on an object. As an example, by overextending their honeycomb, the honeybees encourage me to sculpt into this mass of waxed cell"

The Large Cupboard, (canned buttons), 1984

Feeder Boards
Dyck is using apiary feeder boards and hive blankets to develop her new body of work.
After Dr. E. Assumus

The MMasked Ball, 2008

The MMasked Ball

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Alice and the Fawn

Alice and the Fawn by Sir John Tennial

Just then a Fawn came wandering by: it looked at Alice with its large gentle eyes, but didn't seem at all frightened. `Here then! Here then!' Alice said, as he held out her hand and tried to stroke it; but it only started back a little, and then stood looking at her again. 

`What do you call yourself?' the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice it had! 

`I wish I knew!' thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, `Nothing, just now.' 

`Think again,' it said: `that won't do.' 

Alice thought, but nothing came of it. `Please, would you tell me what you call yourself?' she said timidly. `I think that might help a little.' 

`I'll tell you, of you'll move a little further on,' the Fawn said. `I can't remember here.' 

So they walked on together though the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice's arms.
`I'm a Fawn!' it cried out in a voice of delight, `and, dear me! You're a human child!' A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away a full speed. 

-Lewis Carroll

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paintings of people and their cats

Some paintings I discovered via a phone book of women with their cats. Thought they were loverly. If I couldn't find information about the painting, I added some about the artist...
Sita and Sarita, 1893 by Cecilia Beaux
Cecilia Beaux portrait is of her cousin and her black cat. In Sita and Sarita (1893),  the placement of the woman’s hand has recently been likened to that of the courtesan in Manet’s Olympia. Whether one accepts this analysis or not, the sexy undercurrent of the picture is certainly there. Beaux  was anxious about the display of this picture but she needn’t have worried, because in her day the suggestion of sensuality (in the portrayal of a woman caressing a cat) was overlooked by commentators or, at least, it wasn’t mentioned. The portrait was rightly admired for its stylish verve.

Portrait of an Artist's Daughter by John McKirdy Duncan

John Duncan was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1866. His father was a cattleman. John, however, had no interest in the family business and preferred the visual arts. By the age of 11 he was a student at the Dundee School of Art, then based at the High School of Dundee.
Called a madman by some and a mystic by others, Duncan admitted to hearing "faerie music" whilst he painted. Although his work remains strongly rooted in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, there is a certain graphical quality which sets it apart from his contemporaries and likens it to Art Nouveau, while the subject matter is thoroughly Celtic Revival —he is generally referred to as a "symbolist" by art critics. His interest in Celtic Revival was also shared by the Scottish singer Marjory Kennedy-Fraser; they eventually became close friends and Duncan painted her while on a trip to Eriskay in 1905.
His dreamy, mystical nature led him to fall in love with a woman whom he believed to have discovered the Holy Grail in a well in Glastonbury and who later divorced him. He never remarried and died in 1945.

Woman and a Cat, 1875 by Pierre Auguste Renoir

French painter originally associated with the Impressionist movement. He was one of the central figures of the impressionist movement (a French art movement of the second half of the nineteenth century whose members sought in their works to represent the first impression of an object upon the viewer). His work is characterised by a richness of feeling and a warmth of response to the world and to the people in it.

His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling colour and light. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women.
Renoir was so passionate about painting that he even continued when he was old and suffering from severe arthritis. Renoir then painted with the brush tied to his wrists.

Feeding Time by Fritz Zuber Buhler
Fritz Zuber-Buhler was a Swiss painter who was born in Le Locle, Switzerland in 1822. Fritz Zuber-Buhler moved to Paris, France when he was 16. This is where he studied under his first named Louis Grosclaude. After this he studied at the “École des Beaux-Arts” and then with François-Édouard Picot, who followed the artists such as Bouguereau, Léon Perrault, and Alexandre Cabanel. After some time, he was in Italy looking for inspiration. After five years abroad, he returned to Paris, where he made his debut at the Salon in 1850. He showed his works in several media including drawings, oil paintings, watercolours and pastels.

Young woman holding cat by Philippe Mercier
Phillippe Mercier was a French painter and etcher, who lived principally and was active in England. He was appointed principal painter and librarian to the Prince and Princess of Wales at their independent establishment in Leicester Fields, and while he was in favour he painted various portraits of the Royalties, and no doubt many of the nobility and gentry. 

The Wool Winder by J. B. Greuze

 On the eve of the French Revolution, Jean-Baptiste Greuze was hailed by his contemporaries as one of the most versatile and original painters of his generation. Modern audiences are still fascinated by Greuze's anecdotal genre scenes as reflections of the moral attitudes of the rising French bourgeoisie. In depicting middle class domestic genres, Greuze is often hailed as the inheritor of France's greatest genre and still life painter, Chardin. However, the strong moral and didactic nature of Greuze's genre scenes also reflects the 17th century Dutch genre tradition.
Like much of Greuze’s early work, The Wool Winder owes something to Chardin’s genre pictures of the 1730s, which in turn recall the Dutch seventeenth-century genre scenes the French were collecting avidly in the early eighteenth century. But Greuze’s pictures are usually, as here, more whimsical and anecdotal, as well as more refined in execution. The letter B carved into the top rail of the chair suggests that the subject may have been a younger sister of the artist’s wife, Anne-Gabrielle Babuti, whom he married in January of 1759. The Wool Winder, exhibited the same year, is related to a series of portraits of his new family that Greuze exhibited in 1759 and 1761 — likenesses of his wife, of her brother, and of her father, in addition to one of himself. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mari Andrews

I came across Mari Andrews while looking at another blog. More so than anything I was fascinated with her studio space and her habit of collecting....

Mari Andrews work has evolved out of years of drawing and obsessive collecting. Although drawing is now no longer her main focus, there is still a strong drawing element in her sculptures. She uses linear materials, such as wire and branches to mimic hand-drawn lines in her sculptures.
Andrews combines both man made and natural materials bringing her three-dimensional sculpture together to create primitive, but elegant works.
Structures of all kinds from cellular and mineral to plant and skeletal inspire Andrews work. Andrews states that, "Various temporal and delicate objects I elect to work with often mirror our human sensitivities and vulnerabilities."
For the most part these three-dimensional drawings are presented on the wall. They are made as singular pieces and often come together in larger wall installations. 
Her work and studio space make you see overlooked objects in a newly intimate way. Her studio is like stepping into an old-world apothecary's shop, where rows upon rows of small glass jars are filled with specimens gathered on her hikes.

Occupy, 2007, steel, sponge, wire, 10 x 8 x 1” and Volcanic, 2007 paper, wire 29 x 23 x 7 in

Podpocket, 2012 lead, lotus pod 8 x 6-1/4 x 2”

Monday, August 19, 2013

Twin Deer - Peregrin Hogin

In case you cant read the text in the above photo:

"I came upon twin fawns in the display case of a mom and pop toy and science store in kansas city, Missouri  it took me two years to win the trust of the shop owner and save the money to buy them. a taxidermist spotted a dead deer by the side of the road. he stopped to properly dispose of the body and realised she was pregnant. he opened her and found near full-term twin fawns, he removed and preserved them. 

Deer rarely have twins and the taxidermist retained the uterine gesture of their bodies. i built them a vitrine with a light blue base. their prematurity exaggerates the delicacy of an incredibly sweet thing. the points of their hooves, the length of their lashes, the spots of their hides, nose to small nose in an ur-cartoonish realism … viewers’ eyes trick them into believing the fawns are breathing. the tragedy of beauty is its transience. 

The twins live forever in their own demise. They are sleeping beauties. they have been muses since i first saw them.

We dress death in lilies and bronze the names of our dead sons on walls. we erect altars of toys and hold candlelight vigils to express hope. My twin fawns sleep endlessly on their baby blue block in my studio. the twins never opened their eyes yet their wondrous fatality evokes an acceptable alternative to death." -Peregrine Hogin

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Daily Rituals: Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse in his studio
 I have been reading a wonderful little book called, 'Daily Rituals; How Artists Work,' by Mason Curry. This little book gives a delightful insight into the daily routines of artists, writers, poets, scientists and many other creative types. You can learn so much about someone in just a page or two. It is wonderful when writings like this humanise people, allowing you to see what they are like behind their creations, their thinking, habits and humour.
One artist who I got a kick out of was Henri Matisse, a French artist. I thought I'd share his short paragraph which I found rather amusing. Also below are some images of him with cats, I love seeing a man who loves cats, it is a rare thing to see!

'Basically I enjoy everything I am never bored." Matisse told a visitor in 1941, during a tour of his studio in the south of France. After showing his guests his working space, his cages full of exotic birds, and his conservatory stocked with tropical plants, giant pumpkins and Chinese statuettes, Matisse talked about his work habits.
Do you understand now why I am never bored? For over fifty years I have not stopped working for an instant. From nine o'clock to noon, first sitting. I have lunch. Then I have a little nap and take up my brushes again at two in the afternoon until the evening. You won't believe me. On Sundays, I have to tell all sorts of tails to the models. I promise them that it's the last time I will ever beg them to come and pose on that day. Naturally I pay them double. Finally, when I sense that they are not convinced, I promise them a day off during the week. "But Monsieur Matisse," one of them answered me, "this has been going on for months and I have never had one afternoon off." Poor things! They don't understand. Nevertheless I can't sacrifice my Sundays for them merely because they have boyfriends.'

Monday, August 12, 2013

E. A. Scholfield

Self-portrait of photographer E.A. Scholfield in a rocking chair with a dog, c. 1860-1880
I always think its wonderful that back then when it cost a lot of money to take a photo, and was something that was reserved for family portraits, that people would still spend the money to have it taken with the four legged critter they love most.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Cat Show

The Cat Show celebrates cats of all shapes, sizes and subjectivities with cat themed work by over 50
artists.  The show was conceived and organised by Rhonda Lieberman.
One of the main features of the show in 'The Cats-in-Residence Program' were cats from Social Tees Animal Rescue, who lounge on a feline fine art, play and run about on a playground designed by architects Gia Wolff and Freecell, were they will hopefully find their forever homes from enthusiastic gallery viewers and cat lovers.
Samantha Brody of Social Tees said, “The cats were having the time of their lives -- the artist-designed enclosure is like a jungle gym/spa for kitties. And the visitors (especially those who went inside the enclosure!) were just as overjoyed as the cats. It was awesome to see so many faces light up.”

When discussing the background for the show, Lieberman provided this anecdote revealing her first impulse to create a platform to bring awareness to animal rescue in New York City and how to integrate this into an art gallery environment:

"Back in the mid-’90s, I lived in a loft in Long Island City (LIC) and started tending an outdoor cat colony in an empty lot on my street. I wasn’t even a cat person when I moved in, but LIC had tons of street cats then and they pulled me in. The cat party started at dusk when we arrived with the cans. It was my favorite art installation at the time!
Hi-rises were about to go up on the lot — displacing the cats my neighbors and I had grown fond of. We placed some and approached some rescue groups — all overflowing with adoptable pets — and that’s when I got a crash course in the over-extended rescue situation in NYC. I thought it would be so amazing to help the rescue groups by creating an undepressing space where the public could meet the cats, a place where strays would be appreciated as the gorgeous creatures they are and not wretches in a cage-lined facility! I thought the cat area itself was a great installation and this project would use the art context to actually facilitate adoption — as well as being an aesthetic, meditative space."
The exhibition features an impressively long list of artists:
Michele Abeles, Rita Ackermann, Antonio Adams, Bill Adams, Laura Aldridge, Graham Anderson, Araki, Cory Arcangel, Atelier E.B. (Lucy McKenzie, Beca Lipscombe, Marc Camille Chaimowicz), Michel Auder, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Matthew Barney, Will Benedict, Olaf Breuning, Janet Burchill, Kathe Burkhart, Carter, Antoine Catala, David Colman, Ann Craven, Cynthia Daignault, Lucky DeBellevue, Jake Ewert, Bella Foster, Magdalena Frimkess, Jeff Funnell, Rainer Ganahl, Paul Georges, Eric Ginsburg, Karin Gulbran, Tamar Halpern, Michelle Handelman, June Hamper, Michelle Handelman, Daniel Heidkamp, Robert Heinecken, John Hiltunen, Ann Cathrin November Hoibo, Jonathan Horowitz, Marc Hundley, Gary Indiana, Jane Kaplowitz, Nina Katchadourian, Matt Keegan, Mike Kelley, Wayne Koestenbaum, Barbara Kruger, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Sadie Laska, Elad Lassry, Mark Leckey, Cary Leibowitz, Rhonda Lieberman, Cassandra MacLeod, Alissa McKendrick, Ryan McNamara, Matthias Merkel-Hess, Siobhan Meow, Marilyn Minter, Dave Muller, Takeshi Murata, Eileen Neff, Laura Owens, Elizabeth Peyton, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Eileen Quinlan, , T. Cole Rachel, Jennifer Rochlin, Sam Roeck, Ruth Root, Kay Rosen, Jason Rosenberg, Theo Rosenblum and Chelsea Seltzer, Gus Van Sant, Joe Scanlan, Steven Shearer, David Shrigley, Patti Smith, Frances Stark, Amy Taubin, Nicola Tyson, Andy Warhol, Jordan Wolfson, B. Wurtz, Rob Wynne, and Freecell with Gia Wolff.

This exhibition is a fantastic way to create awareness to the over crowding in animal rescues and the need for homes for so many cats that have been abandoned and need homes.
This is hopefully were my studio work will be heading this year. I hope to create an exhibition along similar lines as this one, using local artists to help raise much needed funds for smaller shelters in my area and neighbouring counties. Hopefully I will create awareness to the dire situation involving Irish animals and the shelters who are struggling to cope with the situation.
I like the idea of having adoption days in the gallery space, as it will allow people to come and see the animals for themselves and also to see art.
Hopefully if this event is successful I can have an annual one featuring a different rescue each time.
I have never organised a show and have a lot of work ahead of me, hopefully I will be successful and it will be fun.
I will keep you updated and any help or suggestions to get the ball rolling would be greatly appreciated.

For more information please see: