Saturday, May 30, 2009

Plastic Phantasm

My favorite museum goer checks out Dutch artist Folkert de Jong's "The Shooting... At Watou", on exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Bold and interesting, but not a place that you would want to linger due to the violent depiction, the freakish figures, and the terrifying and wholesale use of such disquieting materials as polystyrene and polyurethane. It was the first time I wanted to wear a dust mask at a museum. Still, a memorable work.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wonder and Action

What an age we live in.

All the tools are at hand for the positive and good, or for mayhem and destruction. Man seems hard wired either to create or to destroy, depending on the ideas entertained by the individual.

To build takes creativity, focus, acumen and perseverance. To destroy requires very little really, and those without the drive and purpose to create are prone to destroy what they cannot produce. The weak succumb to their weakness, would deny others of the good, and destroy themselves in the process.

Good design, good art, and fun. These, and other good things, like compassion and hope, are what will elevate us and provide the critical mass to make the day, this day, and tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photo Finish

I am in the midst of a couple of quieter days in the home office, just prior to the long holiday weekend. It’s a chance to catch up on paperwork and get a little better organized, hopefully to step back a bit and get some perspective on the bigger picture.

While in the process of clearing off my drawing board, in the hopes of actually using it for drawing, I came across some old brochures from art exhibits I had attended. One particularly caught my attention, entitled “again, serial practices in contemporary art.” This was largely a photography exhibit, but also included other media, and was on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, an exhibit in conjunction with The Cartin Collection. The exhibition took place back in the fall of 2007.

I recall several images from the exhibit, particularly some odd portraits and a large number of photos of electric chairs and the chambers that housed them. What struck me most was, off to the side, in a partially enclosed darkened area, a collection of small, almost crudely produced, and seemingly badly archived, portraits of women. This was the work of Miroslav Tichy, a Czech artist and photographer. For better or for worse, mostly for lacking the patience at museums and galleries, I tend to focus on the work and less on the write ups. I knew nothing of Miroslav Tichy, but attempted to decipher, for myself, what I was looking at. It appeared that none of these women were aware that they were being photographed. The artist loved the female form, to be sure. This was at the other end of the spectrum from fashion photography. It appeared that he had many busy days at the beach, stealth camera in hand, and many subsequent busy hours in the darkroom. Hours and minutes of private joy, no doubt.

I thought one photograph was particularly lovely, of a young woman, caught unawares, in all likelihood, walking home from a swim on a summer afternoon. She appeared quite relaxed, in bathing suit and top, and flush with a generous dose of vitamin D. Miroslav Tichy was at the ready, silently seizing the moment. Perhaps he used one of his homemade cameras fashioned from found materials, lenses having been cleaned with toothpaste and mounted in old toilet paper rolls. No viewfinder here, just point and shoot. Who knew?! The photo would be lovingly developed at home and custom printed. Later, he would often sketch right on the photograph enhancing it to his liking, and perhaps make one of his homemade frames, playfully decorating it with colored pencil or ink. This work was not produced for commercial success. This was the eccentric “artist in his own garden” at work. This was the work of a confirmed recluse and a political and social outcast.

Miroslav Tichy is in his mid eighties now and by all accounts his output has tapered considerably. The story has a peculiar twist near the end of his career, with his work being “discovered” sometime around 2005, widely exhibited and commanding big money. It is difficult to find much written about him except in blogs. He has no listing in Wikipedia as of this writing. When profiling his work, bloggers often begin by saying some such thing as, “where do I begin?!” He defies convention, in every sense of the word, and walks a fine line between the acceptable and the unacceptable. He sought to document his environment, and, I believe he succeeded.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Design and Utility

I just discovered, nearly by accident, that an additional two new patents were registered on a project I worked on for a client, one in the USA, and one in China. This brings the number of patents I have to a grand total of four. That and a subway token will get me a good ride. That and a glass of port on a winter evening will give me a warm glow. But, it does feel so good! To view the patents, click here, here, and here. For the link to the patent in China, click here. For the Chinese patent, when asked to install the "Language Pack Installation", click "cancel."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

As Art As Life

Performance art, music, dance, party, science fiction, fun.
The B-52's have it all.

It was that good.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

True and Blue

Every few months or so, I check images listed under my brush name, Rachmeal, on Google images. It can be an especially fun exercise when using the free software, Cool Iris, which displays the images in gallery fashion. Cool Iris is great any time you are performing an especially visual search.

Recently, while searching for the term "Rachmeal" at Google images, I was surprised to see a large number of images that were posted, including several images from this blog. I was most surprised to see one of my paintings, “Blue Nude 04”, seen above, embedded within a composite image of paintings posted on what seemed to be a blog originating in Portugal. While not one of my favorite works, my painting was posted and credited alongside master works created by Matisse, Picasso, Egon Schiele, Roy Lichtenstein and others, as well as a small host of other, more contemporary and largely successful artists. The theme of the grouping had to do with the blue nude. I was thrilled to have one of my paintings selected for this, although, friends and colleagues had suggested that I should have been contacted for approval beforehand. Since the posting did not have commercial implications, I decided to let it go and just enjoy the exposure. To view the web page, click here.