May
12
2010

Why I Love the Renaissance by Heather Goldstein

 


One of my favorite painters of all time is Jan van Eyck because of his amazing attention to detail and impeccable technical ability. Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter known for his oil paintings on wood panel in which he used a glazing technique to create realistic, extremely well executed, precise, objective descriptions of what he saw. He was one of the best Northern Renaissance painters of the 15th century. My favorite painting of his is the Arnolfini Wedding. The couple represented has been traditionally identified as Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, Giovanna Cenami.

Why is this one of my favorite paintings? Where do I start? One of my favorite things about Renaissance art, in general, is its symbolism. A painting may be worth a thousand words, but a Renaissance painting is a epic novel! So, for our art history lesson for the day....

Giovanni Arnolfini holds his wife's right hand in his left, which symbolizes a marriage between people of different classes. The side of the room he stands on is by the window, open to the world where men work, while Giovanna is close to the domestic interior where the "woman's role" takes place being a wife and mother. The room is ruffled with religious details such as the convex mirror that has been interpreted as the all seeing eye of God and the roundels decorating it with details from the Passion of Christ.

There are crystal prayer beads on the wall, Saint Margaret (protector of women in childbirth) is carved on the chair next to the bed, the single lit candle in the chandelier could reprent Christ's presence, and the fruit in the window alludes to both fertility and possibly the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Some more symbolism:
-Discarded shoes signify the sanctity of marriage/ holy ground
-Dog represents fidelity
-The woman is not pregnant, but rather painted as the current queen who was pregnant at the time
-Red is, of course, a loaded color. It represents love and passion, but also cruelty and blood. In this painting, the former is usually used as the interpretation.

This painting has numerous interpretations and objects to interpret. I love it because every time I look at it, I find something new! But I will end with the best part of the painting... the back wall! It is believed that this painting was used as some sort of legal document, possibly a pictorial power of attorney. There are two figures painted in the mirror. One is a man in a red turban, possibly Jan van Eyck, and another unknown male. They are the witnesses to the betrothal. The final clue is the very clever signature. Above the mirror it says, "Johannes de eyck fuit hic 1434." This translates to "Jan van Eyck was here 1434." At only 33"x22.5" this painting is absolutely incredible!
May
12
2010

Levels of Observation by Cheryl Whitestone

I have to say, after 45 years of painting, I have truly trained myself to see. To see in a way that not only understands the energy, feeling or beauty of something or someone but the minute details and nuances that compose the thing I am viewing. I believe if you can truly see, you can paint anything. It is like putting a subject under a microscope. But be careful because this can leak into your life, and it can be easy to see all the imperfections that reside in the world and even in yourself. That's when you need to put on rose-colored glasses and know turning away from irritating issues or resolving them quickly is the best medicine.
I had a friend that confessed that he was scared of me, or rather artists in general. He said it was because he felt they could see through him. In some ways, this is probably true. But I assured him artists, or at least myself, were more curious than anything else.

Audrey Flack said in her book "Art & Soul, Notes on Creating" about seeing:
"When I am working from a photograph, a transparency, or direct observation, I am always amazed at how much more I see as the painting progresses. After I think I have completely perceived a particular area, something else reveals itself. As the work continues, the level of awareness deepens. The process takes its own time. I have come to accept that time and not fight it. I know when I begin my work, no matter how hard I try,
I'll never observe as much on the first day as I will on the last. Life like development will not be rushed, nor will there be full realization before completion..."

I understand DaVinci sat and observed the paintings he was working on for days without making a single brush stroke. Here's what I have been observing and working on:

"The Murphys' Walk on the Beach" 24"x36" Oil Portrait on Linen

May
12
2010

Preparing for an Upcoming Exhibition of my Art by TMNK

 


I've been asked to speak at the upcoming G40 Summit. Actually I'm waxing metaphors here. I'm not really speaking. The G40 Summit is a group exhibition of contemporary art and I've been given the honor of having my art, my creative voice included. I tend to view the opportunity to exhibit, like being asked to give a speech, an opportunity to share a profound message with my audience.

"Ladies and gentlemen... ," yeah, that's the hard part. What do I say, and how do I say it? I could just speak extemporaneously, or ramble on, or perhaps tell a few jokes. I could draw abstract references to arcane matters, but none of these are my style. I was inspired by great orators like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, and Chuck D., so my message must be powerful and have lasting impact. I view an exhibit as much more than an opportunity to show off my newest work; it's an opportunity to have my work impact future generations. It's an opportunity and responsibility I take very seriously.

The curators of the G40 - The Summit issued a call to arms for political art, so I decided to address domestic terrorism. While much attention is placed on the importance of hunting down those "foreign" enemies that would seek to do us harm, I hope the body of work I contributed to this exhibition will provoke a discussion, and perhaps influence change, about the harm we do to each other. The violence that erupts daily in our streets, destroys innocent lives, and leaves many living in terror.

Yes, exhibits are opportunities for the artist to sell their work, and to share their creative offerings with the public. And sometimes, as history has shown us, art can have social and political relevance. I heard the call to arms, and responded with work that questions humanity's inhumanity, and the influences thereof. I saddened daily by the reports of friendly fire in our neighborhoods and the collateral damage that lay in the wake.
There's a war going on. Art is my weapon.

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