Tag Archives: painting

Modern Art Monday Presents: Hans Hofmann, Deep Within The Ravine

deep within the ravine phot by gail worley
Photo By Gail

In his writing, teaching, and powerful abstract works, Hans Hofmann advocated for what he called the dynamic “push and pull” of color, light, and shape as the best means for achieving a sense of space, movement, and emotion in painting. Filled with bold strokes the in some cases join to form larger, irregular blocks of color, Deep Within the Ravine (1965) features a pool of deep blue-black that appears compressed by passages of green and orange around it. Exhibiting Hofmann’s interest in complementary hues (blue / orange and green / red) for their inherent contrast, the painting is part of The Renate Series, a group of nine compositions he created as a tribute to his wife in 1965.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Spring in Central Park By William Zorach

spring in central park photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Best known for his later work as a sculptor, William Zorach spent two years studying painting in Paris, returning to New York in 1912. He wrote that his depictions of NYC’s most famous park in Spring in Central Park (1914) were “painted at home from the imagination . . . in all wild colors, peopled with exotic nudes,“ but the bold hues in undulating outlines recall the work of the Fauves, notably Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, whose canvases he had seen in Paris. With his wife, Marguerite, an avant-garde painter herself, Zorach associated with many of America’s earliest Modernists in New York in the late 1910s, including Max Weber, Marsden Hartley, and John Maren. In 1913 both Zorachs exhibited at the prestigious international exhibition of modern art,  known as the Armory Show.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Tomma Abts, Kobo

tomma abts kobo photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Tomma Abts (German, b 1967) produces her paintings following a strict, self-imposed procedure. For almost twenty years, she has used vertical canvases measuring precisely 48 by 38 centimeters (19 by 15 inches) for her paintings. Rather than begin with a preconceived structure in mind, she allows her abstract compositions to take shape as she works, sometimes over the course of several years. She paints with the support cradled in her arm, not on an easel.  As seen here, the surfaces of Abts’ canvases are composed of many layers of paint, with the ghosts of past compositions just barely visible underneath subsequent coats of acrylic and oil.  This work’s title, Kobo (1999) is pulled, like all of her titles, from an encyclopedia of German surnames.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Ed Ruscha, The Old Tool & Die Building

old too and dye building photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

The title of Ed Ruscha’s The Old Tool & Die Building (2004) suggests that the industrial space pictured here — decorated with signage in a mix of altered, nonsensical Korean and archaic Mandarin characters, an unidentifiable corporate symbol, and graffiti — was once a place where machinists manufactured parts.

The Old Tool & Die Building is part of the Course of Empire series — a group of five paintings that revisit the subjects of Ruscha’s 1992 series Blue Collar. In those back and white canvases, the artist had pictured the industrial buildings once common to the American urban landscape. The newer paintings, rendered in color, capture old sites repurposed, abandoned, enlarged, or made obsolete

Ed Ruscha named the series after a group of paintings by the Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole (1801 – 1848). Cole’s The Course of Empire (183336) traces the transformation of an imagined civilization from an Edenic state close to nature, through the rise of culture, to a dominating Empire, and then on to decline and ruin. Although Ruscha’s coolly removed depictions do not editorialize on their subjects, like Cole’s works they chronicle the unrelenting developments and the inevitable cycles of human civilizations.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Helen Frankenthaler, Wizard

wizard by helen frankenthaler  photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail Worley

From Situating Helen Frankenthaler’s  Wizard by Louise Byrne

Completed in 1963, Helen Frankenthaler’s Wizard stands apart from her then contemporary paintings, with its vertical orientation, body-sized scale, and figural allusion in both name and form. One of the last paintings Frankenthaler worked entirely in oil, Wizard should be understood as a crucial experiment in both method and medium, presaging key changes in Frankenthaler’s established approach. The artist’s works of 1962 show the last influences of didactic expressionism, where apparently unguided drips and blots of oil punctuate wide expanses of unprimed canvas, each piece emerging as an autonomous work.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Yves Tanguy, My Life, Black and White

yves tanguy my life black and white photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Interlocking organic shapes of dull and sharp appendages support one another like a monument in the characteristic space of Yves Tanguy’s  My Life, Black and White (1944).  Having met the poet Andre Breton in 1925, Tanguy remained true to the Surrealist movement throughout his work, borrowing shapes and motifs from Jean Arp and Joan Miro.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Peter Blume, The Eternal City

eternal city peter blume photo by gail
Photos by Gail

The Eternal City (193437) was inspired by a trip Peter Blume took to Rome in 1932 — ten years after the fascist takeover of Italy. The dictator Benito Mussolini, depicted here as a deranged Jack-in-the-box with a green head, bulging eyes and pouting red lips, dominates the composition.

He lords over a woman begging for money amid marble ruins and an incongruous shrine of a bejeweled Christ. In the distance, people wind through labyrinthine catacombs toward the Roman Forum, where they are greeted by threatening officers. A searing indictment of fascism, the painting presents a nightmarish vision of a once glorious city being steered toward ruin.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

eternal city peter blume photo by gail
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