Monday, November 21, 2011

Children’s Action Network, Shawn & Larry King, Angela Featherstone, Kathy Rose, Alison Van Pelt, Norton Wisdom, etc...

Please Join Us!
One of a kind wreaths and art by Los Angeles artists and designers will be auctioned off to support Children’s Action Network’s work to help find families for the more than 107,000 children in foster care in need of permanent, loving homes.
Hosted by Shawn and Larry King at their home December 6, 2011 from 6:30 - 9:00pm

Guests at the fun and intimate evening will bid on wreaths and art designed by
Ron Allen for Dawn Moore, John Arsenault, Bonesteel Trout Hall, Steve Burtch, Winston Carney, Cy Carter, Elaine Cohen, Xavier Coll, Tissy Eggleston, Empty Vase, Hickey Freeman, Antwone Fisher, Scott Flax, Layna Friedman, Gary Gibson, Healthy Happy Design Co, Inner Gardens, Dayna Katlin for Catherine Bach, Siri Kaur, Stacey Kohl, Shawn and Larry King, Sandy Koepke, Claudia Laub, Linda Maglia, Mary McDonald, Andre Miripolsky, Mariah O'Brien, Darcy Parsons, Charles Phoenix, David Phoenix, Maria Pineres, Lulu Powers, Sylvia Raz for Toujours, Ellwood Risk, Kathy Rose, Gali Rotstein, Leslie Sachs, Mark Sacks, Windsor Smith, Marjorie Stafford, Mary Stanley for Just Folk, Cole Sternberg, Students of the Art Institute, Jim Swanson, Hillary Thomas, Alison Van Pelt,         Todd Williamson, Norton Wisdom, Dan Zelen, Angie Zupan and more.
Children are welcome to come and create their own wreaths. We ask that they bring a gift for a child in foster care from the children’s wish list CAN has compiled.

Host Committee:
Donna & Steve Antebi, Jana Basset, Dr. Gabriel and Christine Chiu, Neil Cohen,
Angela Featherstone, William Fenton-Hathaway, Michele Vega & Sean Kanan, Pat Kandel,
Bridget Gless Keller & Paul Keller, Shawn and Larry King, Linda Maglia & Nicholas Koutouras,
Virginia Madsen, Leslie Mayer, Hillary Metz, Pati Miller, Dawn Moore, Kirk Nix,
Barbara & Robert Patrick, Shelley Reid, Cristan & Kevin Reilly, Shannon Rotenberg
Susie & Jon Sheinberg, Anne & Robert Simonds, Maria Tanquary, Elizabeth Wiatt
Susan Woods, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin & Bud Yorkin, Dan Zelen

Address upon RSVP
For more information: call (310)470-9599 or visit our website at www.childrensactionnetwork.org
Special thanks to: Bread and Butter Catering Cellure Stem Cell Skin Care Dayna Katlin Interiors EO Products Hydroxatone Jenkins Jellies Josip Muder - Finished Dimensions

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MY FIRST LIMITED EDITION ALISON VAN PELT – Self Portrait X Ray

        MY FIRST LIMITED EDITION

 

ALISON VAN PELT – Self Portrait X Ray

Alison Van Pelt is a Los Angeles, CA artist.  Utilizing found images Van Pelt begins the complex process of drawing and painting, then blurring and rebuilding the oil on the canvas, accumulating and disintegrating.  Van Pelts work has been exhibited in solo shows at The Fresno Art Museum and The Dayton Art Institute, as well as in galleries throughout the North America and Europe, and is represented in significant public collections, such as the Armand Hammer Museum, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, the Jumex Foundation in Mexico City, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, NASA, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
A poster of Van Pelt’s painting Self Portrait, X-Ray.
2011
24″ x 33 1/4″
unframed
Edition of 100

EVERYDAY ART

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Ochi Shop is an adjunct of Ochi Gallery, which is located in Ketchum, Idaho.

Since 1974 Ochi Gallery has had the privilege of working with both
contemporary masters and emerging artists.

 

 www.ochishop.com

 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alison Van Pelt, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, George Co... on Twitpic

Alison Van Pelt, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, George Co... on Twitpic

AH ALLEN : works by louise bourgeois, claes oldenburg, alison van pelt, richard serra, nan goldin, francesco clemente, yoko ono, george condo, brice marden,bernard picasso, william s. burroughs,donald baechler, etc...

AH ALLEN




 : AH ALLEN
variant image variant image variant image variant image variant image variant image variant image variant image





Editorial Review:

Product Description:
this huge tribute volume to allen ginsberg was produced to benefit the jack kerouac school of disembodied poetics. LETTERPRESS TYPOGRAPHY BY THE GRENFELL PRESS. INCLUDES RELIEF PRINTS, LITHOGRAPHS, SILKSCREENS, C-PRINTS, DUOTONES, SILVER PRINTS. OUTSTANDING QUALITY.
contains works by and is signed by: brice marden, john giorno, nan goldin, robert frank, arthur miller, antoni tapies, anne waldman, francesco clemente, yoko ono, sebastian guinness, donald baechler, elizabeth murray, bob holman, dennis hopper, joe strummer, terry winters, alison van pelt,
gary snyder, bernard picasso, robert wilson, sandro chia, eileen myles, philip taaffe, robert creeley, gregory corso, george condo, philip glass, john mcnaughton, louise bourgeois, peter orlovsky, gus van sant, robert lavigne, mark dagley, czeslaw milosz, rolf sachs, claes oldenburg, eugene brooks, richard serra, quincy troupe, and gordon ball. signatures of william s. burroughs, louis ginsberg and jack kerouac are stamped. nam june paik and amiri baraka did not sign.

# 53 OF ONLY 200 COPIES . SIGNED BY 41 outstanding ARTISTS POETS AND WRITERS. MAGNIFICENTLY BOUND AND SLIPCASED BY MASTER-BINDER CLAUDIA COHEN


Binding: Hardcover
Edition: 1st & only - limited to 200 copies
Label: a/c editions, new york
Manufacturer: a/c editions, new york
Publication Date: 1998
Publisher: a/c editions, new york
Studio: a/c editions, new york

Features:
  • over-the-top quality
  • amazing collection of signatures
  • brand-new flawless condition
  • bound & slipcased by claudia cohen

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hyperrealism

Hyperrealism
 
This article is about the art movement of Hyperrealism. In painting and sculpture, the word "Hyperrealism" describes a photorealistic rendering of people, landscapes, and scenes.
Hyperrealism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 2000s. [1]
Contents:
1. History
2. Style and methods
3. Themes
4. Hyperrealists
5. References

1. History

Belgian art dealer Isy Brachot coined the French word Hyperréalisme, meaning Photorealism, as the title of a major exhibition and catalogue at his gallery in Brussels in 1973. The exhibition was dominated by such American Photorealists as Ralph Goings, Chuck Close, Don Eddy, Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean; but it included such influential European artists as Gnoli, Richter, Klapheck and Delcol. Since then, Hyperealisme has been used by European artists and dealers to apply to painters influenced by the Photorealists.
Early 21st century Hyperrealism was founded on the aesthetic principles of Photorealism. American painter Denis Peterson, whose pioneering works are universally viewed as an offshoot of Photorealism, first used [2] "Hyperrealism" to apply to the new movement and its splinter group of artists. [3] [4] [5] Graham Thompson wrote "One demonstration of the way photography became assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealist painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also called super-realism or hyper-realism and painters like Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, and Chuck Close often worked from photographic stills to create paintings that appeared to be photographs." [6]
However, Hyperrealism is contrasted with the literal approach found in traditional photorealist paintings of the late 20th century. [7] Hyperrealist painters and sculptors use photographic images as a reference source from which to create a more definitive and detailed rendering, one that often, unlike Photorealism, is narrative and emotive in its depictions. Strict Photorealist painters tended to imitate photographic images, omitting or abstracting certain finite detail to maintain a consistent over-all pictorial design. [8] [9] They often omitted human emotion, political value, and narrative elements. Since it evolved from Pop Art, the photorealistic style of painting was uniquely tight, precise, and sharply mechanical with an emphasis on mundane, everyday imagery. [10]
Hyperrealism, although photographic in essence, often entails a softer, much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living, tangible object. These objects and scenes in Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a reality not seen in the original photo. That is not to say they're surreal, as the illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself. [11]
Hyperrealism has its roots in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, ”the simulation of something which never really existed.” [12] As such, Hyperrealists create a false reality, a convincing illusion based on a simulation of reality, the digital photograph. Hyperreal paintings and sculptures are an outgrowth of extremely high-resolution images produced by digital cameras and displayed on computers. As Photorealism emulated analog photography, Hyperrealism uses digital imagery and expands on it to create a new sense of reality. [2] [13] Hyperrealistic paintings and sculptures confront the viewer with the illusion of manipulated high-resolution images, though more meticulous. [14]

2. Style and methods

The Hyperrealist style focuses much more of its emphasis on details and the subjects. Hyperreal paintings and sculptures are not strict interpretations of photographs, nor are they literal illustrations of a particular scene or subject. Instead, they utilize additional, often subtle, pictorial elements to create the illusion of a reality which in fact either does not exist or cannot be seen by the human eye. [15] Furthermore, they may incorporate emotional, social, cultural and political thematic elements as an extension of the painted visual illusion; a distinct departure from the older and considerably more literal school of Photorealism. [16]
Hyperrealist painters and sculptors make allowances for some mechanical means of transferring images to the canvas or mold, including preliminary drawings or grisaille underpaintings and molds. Photographic slide projections or multi media projectors are used to project images onto canvases and rudimentary techniques such as gridding may also be used to ensure accuracy. [17] Sculptures utilize polyesters applied directly onto the human body or mold. Hyperrealism requires a high level of technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate a false reality. As such, Hyperrealism incorporates and often capitalizes upon photographic limitations such as depth of field, perspective and range of focus. Anomalies found in digital images, such as fractalization, are also exploited to emphasize their digital origins by some Hyperrealist painters, such as Chuck Close, Denis Peterson, Bert Monroy and Robert Bechtle. [18]

3. Themes

Subject matter ranges from portraits, figurative art, still life, landscapes, cityscapes and narrative scenes. The more recent hyperrealist style is much more literal than Photorealism as to exact pictorial detail with an emphasis on social, cultural or political themes. This also is in stark contrast to the newer concurrent Photorealism with its continued avoidance of photographic anomalies. Hyperrealist painters at once simulate and improve upon precise photographic images to produce optically convincing visual illusions of reality, often in a social or cultural context. [19] [20]
Some hyperrealists have exposed totalitarian regimes and third world military governments through their narrative depictions of the legacy of hatred and intolerance. [21] Denis Peterson, Gottfried Helnwein and Latif Maulan depicted political and cultural deviations of societal decadence in their work. Peterson's work [22] focused on diasporas, genocides and refugees. [23] Helnwein developed unconventionally narrative work that centered around past, present and future deviations of the Holocaust. Maulan’s work is primarily a critique of society’s apparent disregard for the helpless, the needy and the disenfranchised. [24] Provocative subjects include enigmatic imagery of genocides, their tragic aftermath and the ideological consequences. [25] [26] Thematically, these controversial hyperreal artists aggressively confronted the corrupted human condition through narrative paintings as a phenomenological medium. [27] These lifelike paintings are an historical commentary on the grotesque mistreatment of human beings. [28] [29]
Hyperreal paintings and sculptures further create a tangible solidity and physical presence through subtle lighting and shading effects. Shapes, forms and areas closest to the forefront of the image visually appear beyond the frontal plane of the canvas; and in the case of sculptures, details have more clarity than in nature. [30] Hyperrealistic images are typically 10 to 20 times the size of the original photographic reference source, yet retain an extremely high resolution in color, precision and detail. Many of the paintings are achieved with an airbrush, using acrylics, oils or a combination of both. Ron Mueck’s lifelike sculptures are scaled much larger or smaller than life and finished in incredibly convincing detail through the meticulous use of polyester resins and multiple molds. Bert Monroy’s digital images appear to be actual paintings taken from photographs, yet they are fully created on computers.

4. Hyperrealists

5. References

  1. Bredekamp, Horst, Hyperrealism - One Step Beyond. Tate Museum, Publishers, UK. 2006. p. 1
  2. ^ Thompson, Graham: American Culture in the 1980s (Twentieth Century American Culture) Edinburgh University Press, 2007 P. 77-79
  3. Jean-Pierre Criqui, Jean-Claude Lebensztejn interview, Artforum International, June 1, 2003
  4. Thompson, Graham: American Culture in the 1980s Edinburgh University Press, 2007 P. 77-79
  5. Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective by Michael Auping, Janet Bishop, Charles Ray, and Jonathan Weinberg. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, (2005). ISBN 978-0-520-24543-3
  6. Thompson, Graham: American Culture in the 1980s (Twentieth Century American Culture) Edinburgh University Press, 2007 P. 78
  7. Mayo, Deborah G., 1996, Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. P. 57-72
  8. Chase, Linda, Photorealism at the Millennium, The Not-So-Innocent Eye: Photorealism in Context. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York, 2002. pp 14-15.
  9. Nochlin, Linda, The Realist Criminal and the Abstract Law II, Art In America. 61 (November - December 1973), P. 98.
  10. New Britain Museum of American Art - Educational Resources
  11. Meisel, Louis K. Photorealism. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York. 1980. p. 12.
  12. Jean Baudrillard, "Simulacra and Simulation", Ann Arbor Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1981
  13. Horrocks, Chris and Zoran Jevtic. Baudrillard For Beginners. Cambridge: Icon Books, 1996. p. 80-84
  14. Bredekamp, Horst, Hyperrealism - One Step Beyond. Tate Museum, Publishers, UK. 2006. p. 1-4.
  15. Fleming, John and Honour, Hugh The Visual Arts: A History, 3rd Edition. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York, 1991. p. 680-710
  16. Meisel, Louis K. Photorealism. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York. 1980.
  17. Meisel, Louis K. Photorealism. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York. 1980. p. 12-13.
  18. Battock, Gregory. Preface to Photorealism. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York, 1980. pp 8-10.
  19. Petra Halkes, "A Fable in Pixels and Paint - Gottfried Helnwein's American Prayer". Image & Imagination, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005 (ISBN 0-7735-2969-1)
  20. Alicia Miller, "The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection at SFMOMA", Artweek, US, Nov 1, 2000
  21. Jean Baudrillard, "The Precession of Simulacra", in Media and Cultural Studies : Keyworks, Durham & Kellner, eds. ISBN 0-631-22096-8
  22. Thompson, Graham: American Culture in the 1980s Edinburgh University Press, 2007 P. 77-79
  23. Robert Ayers, Art Critic, “Art Without Edges: Images of Genocide in Lower Manhattan”, Art Info June 2, 2006 [1]
  24. Daniel Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1992). ISBN 978-0-679-74180-0
  25. Christoper Ashley, Denis Peterson - Don't Shed No Tears"
  26. Julia Pascal, "Nazi Dreaming", New Statesman, UK, April 10, 2006
  27. George Ritzer, The McDonaldization of Society (2004). ISBN 978-0-7619-8812-0
  28. Christoper Rywalt, "Denis Peterson", NYC Art, June 7, 2006
  29. Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator in Charge, "The Child - Works by Gottfried Helnwein", California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, ISBN 0-88401-112-7, 2004
  30. Daniel Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (1992). Random House ISBN 978-0-679-74180-0
  31. During 1967 Paul Thek's exhibition at the Pace Gallery in New York City called Death of a Hippie, [2], predicted the hyperrealist sculptural movement.
· · Art movements

5th to 18th century Merovingian · Carolingian · Ottonian · Romanesque · International Gothic · Renaissance (14th-15th) · Mannerism (16th) · Caravaggisti (16th) · Baroque - Classicism (17th) · Rococo - Neoclassicism - Romanticism (18th)

19th century Nazarene · Realism · Historicism · Biedermeier · Gründerzeit · Barbizon school · Pre-Raphaelites · Academic · Impressionism · Post-Impressionism · Neo-impressionism · Divisionism · Pointillism · Cloisonnism · Les Nabis · Synthetism · Symbolism · Hudson River School

20th century Cubism · Orphism · Purism · Synchromism · Expressionism · Scuola Romana · Abstract expressionism · Kinetic art · Neue Künstlervereinigung München · Der Blaue Reiter · Die Brücke · New Objectivity · Dada · Fauvism · Neo-Fauvism · Precisionism · Art Nouveau · Bauhaus · De Stijl · Art Deco · Op art · Vienna School of Fantastic Realism · Pop art · Photorealism · Futurism · Metaphysical art · Rayonism · Vorticism · Suprematism · Surrealism · Color Field · Minimalism · Nouveau réalisme · Social realism · Lyrical Abstraction · Tachisme · COBRA · Action painting · Fluxus · Lettrism · Letterist International · Situationist International · Conceptual art · Installation art · Land art · Performance art · Systems art · Video art · Neo-expressionism · Neo-Dada · Outsider art · Lowbrow · New media art · Young British Artists

21st century Hyperrealism · Intervention art · Stuckism International · Remodernism · IMMAGINE&POESIA · Pseudorealism · Sound art · Superstroke · Superflat · SoFlo Superflat · Relational art · Video game art

Related articles Avant-garde · Modern art · Postmodern art
Categories: Modern art, Photorealism
The article "Hyperrealism (painting)" is part of the Wikipedia encyclopedia. It is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Oil Painting by Robert Dawson, Inspiration - Photorealism and Hyperrealism


 

Inspiration - Photorealism and Hyperrealism

In thinking about what to paint, I find myself remembering art movements and artists I discovered in art school. When browsing art in bookstores and libraries, I tend to initially gravitate towards more realistic art. And one of the art movements I loved in art school is photorealism.
Since graduating, it seems that a new variety of that movement has sprung to life called hyperrealism, which essentially takes photorealism to a new level by making a work of art look more realistic than a photograph. This is achieved by adding richer shadows, brighter highlights, and more saturated colors. In the Wikipedia article on hyperrealism above, I found several artists whose work I particularly admire:
You might ask what these artists have in common or, conversely, what others in the list of hyperrealistic artists lack. The answer is that the artists whose work I admire the most tend to interpret hyperrealism more creatively or loosely. They don't seem as bound to the creed of their movement as others in the list.
What I like about photorealism and hyperrealism is that they showcase technical proficiency. You cannot deny that the artist can paint, draw, or sculpt what he or she sees. (That is, unless they employ technical assistance, like a projector or tracing paper, tricks that may be common and can certainly be justified with a simple, if "immoral," plea to the inherent goodness of technological progress.) You look at their work and instinctively think, "This artist has talent."
However, what I dislike, and more so in the case of photorealism, is that their work typically looks exactly like a photograph. But, so what? The question isn't, "Can you make a painting look like a photograph?" but, rather, "Why should you?" I applaud technical ability, that seemingly basic ability to draw what you see, but such fidelity, while a fundamental of visual art, does not define or encapulate it. Art is more than drawing. Art is also about creativity and ideas.
So, while I deeply admire photorealism and hyperrealism, I find that they lack creativity and, aside from the call to appreciate beauty in the everyday, fail to communicate compelling ideas.
Yet, we can all certainly agree that photorealistic and hyperrealistic art can be visually stunning. With that in mind, here is another gallery of hyperrealistic artists, many of which do offer visually stunning works of art.

Oil Painting by Robert Dawson Inspiration - Photorealism and Hyperrealism

Inspiration - Photorealism and Hyperrealism

In thinking about what to paint, I find myself remembering art movements and artists I discovered in art school. When browsing art in bookstores and libraries, I tend to initially gravitate towards more realistic art. And one of the art movements I loved in art school is photorealism.
Since graduating, it seems that a new variety of that movement has sprung to life called hyperrealism, which essentially takes photorealism to a new level by making a work of art look more realistic than a photograph. This is achieved by adding richer shadows, brighter highlights, and more saturated colors. In the Wikipedia article on hyperrealism above, I found several artists whose work I particularly admire:
You might ask what these artists have in common or, conversely, what others in the list of hyperrealistic artists lack. The answer is that the artists whose work I admire the most tend to interpret hyperrealism more creatively or loosely. They don't seem as bound to the creed of their movement as others in the list.
What I like about photorealism and hyperrealism is that they showcase technical proficiency. You cannot deny that the artist can paint, draw, or sculpt what he or she sees. (That is, unless they employ technical assistance, like a projector or tracing paper, tricks that may be common and can certainly be justified with a simple, if "immoral," plea to the inherent goodness of technological progress.) You look at their work and instinctively think, "This artist has talent."
However, what I dislike, and more so in the case of photorealism, is that their work typically looks exactly like a photograph. But, so what? The question isn't, "Can you make a painting look like a photograph?" but, rather, "Why should you?" I applaud technical ability, that seemingly basic ability to draw what you see, but such fidelity, while a fundamental of visual art, does not define or encapulate it. Art is more than drawing. Art is also about creativity and ideas.
So, while I deeply admire photorealism and hyperrealism, I find that they lack creativity and, aside from the call to appreciate beauty in the everyday, fail to communicate compelling ideas.
Yet, we can all certainly agree that photorealistic and hyperrealistic art can be visually stunning. With that in mind, here is another gallery of hyperrealistic artists, many of which do offer visually stunning works of art.

Alison Van Pelt w/Lee Krasner, oil on canvas, 9ftx7ft, Brooklyn, New York


Alison Van Pelt w/Georgia O'Keefe, oil on canvas, 9ftx7ft, Brooklyn, New York


American Horse, oil on canvas, 40"x30", 2010


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Creating the new century : contemporary art from the Dicke Collection (Book, 2011) [WorldCat.org]

Creating the new century : contemporary art from the Dicke Collection (Book, 2011) [WorldCat.org]

Interview with WLM Art Advisor Hayley Miner

Hayley Miner gets interviewed

September 3, 2011

Interview with WLM Art Advisor Hayley Miner

Posted on September 1, 2011 by OchiGallery| Comments Off
Hayley in the middle of a Mia Babalis installation at Ochi Gallery New Years Eve
Hayley Miner has worked as an interior designer at her firm, Hayley Miner Design and is currently a partner of WLM Advisors art consulting (wlmadvisors.com).  She splits her time between Los Angeles, CA and Sun Valley, ID.
How did you first get interested in contemporary art?
I’ve always been moved by art so I started to go to art fairs around the world.  The contemporary art fairs were the most stimulating.  The main draw of contemporary art is the accessibility of living artists’ works.  As an art consultant, having the chance to talk with them about their work, attend their lectures and see them in their work environment is a plus.  As I was looking for art for clients’ homes, it was evident that unless they have heirlooms to display, most of them were interested in collecting vibrant and more accessible works that have significance yet feel current.  It’s also hugely inspiring to be in L.A. as it has become the hot center for contemporary art.  With its numerous prestigious art schools exploding with talent as well as the impressive number of gallery districts, collecting contemporary art has never been more enjoyable and enriching.
As a contemporary art consultant with an interior designer background, how do you balance “matching art to the couch” with your interest in cutting-edge art?
I don’t!  I started my design education at Michael S. Smith Inc. where I was lucky to work with the most talented and celebrated boss as well as the best resources. We would never source art to match anything!  The clients I worked with typically had their own impressive collection that we would mine from.  If they didn’t, we would scour auctions, art fairs and established galleries to compile collection-worthy pieces.  To set the right mood and style for a room, sometimes we do select a piece of work with that in mind, but never because it goes nicely with the sofa or that it has the right colors for the room.  That’s objectionable in my design book!!  Quality design deserves important art, regardless of color scheme.
 What are some of the most important pointers you give to neophyte collectors?
I’m sure most of them have heard the art collecting adage: buy what you love within your budget.  I always remind collectors that they have to live with the piece and look at it daily so put your money into a piece that brings you immense joy, lifts your spirits and/or ones that you feel represent your philosophical & social beliefs.  Something you would like your children to keep one day would be a bonus.  If budget is a main concern, instead of allowing that to stop you, look into photography, prints or works on paper.  They are typically more affordable than paintings or sculptures.
Any artists more people should know about?
El Anatsui, Vik Muniz, Katy Moran, Mona Hatoum, Annie Lapin, Alexandra Grant, Alison Van Pelt.
 What kind of work are you drawn to?
Difficult work, works that expose the human condition and ones that makes us think or feel deeply.  Labor intensive work.  Works that require an emotional investment.  (I loathe lazy works by artists who give us flimsy slap-ups or works that are intentionally bad).
Who are you personally most interested in collecting now?
Louise Bourgeois, William Wiley, Eric Fishl, Peter Doig, Mark Bradford, Alex Prager, Cecily Brown, Kelly Kleinschrodt.
If there were no constraints (money, availability, access etc.), what piece of art would you most like to own?
It is pure torture to allow only one piece of art! Forgive me if I cheat slightly but…Here are my top 5:
1. Louise Bourgeois’s “Cell (Choisy”) 1990-1993 (a marble house with a guillotine above)
2. A self-portrait by Lucien Freud
3. Cecily Brown’s “Girls eating birds” 2004
4. Gerhard Richter’s painting he did in Japan of bamboo fields (exhibited at Documenta 1992)
5. Andy Warhol’s “Orange Marilyn”
Favorite Ketchum spot for people watching?
A toss up: Outdoor summer concerts and our monthly art walks. At the Avett Brothers concert at the Sun Valley Pavilion this summer, the grooviest bunch of fun loving and impressive dancers were spotted.
Favorite LA spot for people watching?
Culver City gallery opening nights, especially the ones during the September art storm. The most outrageous sartorial choices, dogs in strollers, the most touted L.A. food trucks, celebrities, hipsters and groovy art collectors abound.  Besides that, I would say the stretch of Silverlake where Intelligentsia cafe is located.  Total hipster central.  Joan’s On Third is popular among the fashion and film industry crowds. Oh, and of course, Gjelina resto in Venice.
Favorite Ochi Gallery show?
Young collectors show.  I look forward to more of these types of well-curated, fresh and exciting shows.  Also, I am obsessed with the newly launched Ochi Shop.
We appreciate that!
Favorite artist quote?
Louise Bourgeois often spoke of pain as the subject of her art, and fear.  Her work expresses themes of anxiety and loneliness.  About the spiritual and emotional energy that she poured into her work she said, “I’m afraid of power. It makes me nervous. In real life, I identify with the victim. That’s why I went into art.”
Fall shows you’re looking forward to?
Pacific Standard Time – the art event starts in October celebrating the birth of L.A. art scene.
“De Kooning: A Retrospective” at MOMA, opening Sept 18, 2011
Kelly Kleinschrodt’s solo show at Carter & Citizen unveils Sept 10
Frieze Art Fair in London
Art Platform L.A. – Oct 1
Ai Weiwei’s installation of “Circle of Animals/ Zodiac heads” at LACMA
Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim Nov 4





Hayley with a Marilyn Minter

Monday, October 3, 2011

Orange Bird, oil on canvas


Red Bird, oil on canvas


Red/Silver Bird, oil on canvas


Red Kiss, oil on canvas


Hot Pink Nude, oil on canvas


Deep Pink Bird, oil on canvas, Alison Van Pelt


Blue Bird, oil on canvas


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inner-City Arts hosts the Imagine Awards Gala and Auction, including Dennis Hopper, Alison Van Pelt, Allen Ginsberg, Kenny Scharf, Tierney Gearon



How You Can Help - Art Auction & Sale


Every year, Inner-City Arts hosts the Imagine Awards Gala and Auction, honoring the contributions of outstanding supporters while raising much-needed funds to continue providing arts education for thousands of children.
Over time, the art portion of the fundraising auction has grown in scope and depth to include an Art Auction & Sale. This year the Art Auction Preview and Sale is on
Sunday, September 25, 2011.
Here is a partial list of artists whose work will be auctioned of in support of our programs:

Eve Arnold
Charles Arnoldi
Bob Bates
Carolyn Blackwood
Barry Brukoff
Laurent De Brunhoff
Brigitte Carnochan
L. Chan
Dean Chamberlain
Grey Crawford
Laddie John Dill
Allen Ginsburg
Jill Greenberg
Tierney Gearon
Joel Grey


Jeanne Hahn
Jim Hahn
Dennis Hopper
Erica Lennard
KAWS
Marialuisa Morando
Ed Moses
Alison Van Pelt
Richard Phillips
Alxis Ratkevich
Marilyn Sanders
Kenny Scharf
Julius Shulman
Larry Vogel
Dennis Williams

Artwork not sold at the Preview will be available for further bidding online and at the  Imagine Awards Gala on October 27, 2011 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

For more information about the Art Auction & Sale or any other questions regarding the Imagine Awards Gala, please contact Karin Volpp-Gardela at (213) 627-9621 or karin@inner-cityarts.org.

“Interview in Alison Van Pelt’s Studio, New York” by Michael K. Komanecky Published in Alison Van Pelt: The Women. The Dayton Art Institute

“Interview in Alison Van Pelt’s Studio, New York”
by Michael K. Komanecky
Published in Alison Van Pelt: The Women. Ed. Michael K. Komanecky. Dayton, OH: The Dayton Art Institute


MKK: How did you become interested in painting this group of portraits?
AVP: I love painting faces. These women have such great faces to paint. It was interesting to me that they themselves could be the subjects of my paintings when it was their paintings that influenced me. I’ve always been especially interested in painting Georgia O’Keeffe. I first painted her in 1978. I remember having O’Keeffe Museum posters in the house as a child.
MKK: When did you want to be an artist?
AVP: When I was a kid I never really thought about it. I always drew and painted. My mother painted, her mother painted. My parents encouraged me to paint. I took violin lessons for a brief period – they encouraged that less. Throughout grade school and high school I continued to paint. I was enrolled in art classes and did a lot of drawing on my own. I was pretty driven scholastically and was headed more in the direction of law or medicine. When I was twenty-one I was really lost. It was a difficult time for me. I realized that I could have given up everything – except painting. It became the most important thing to me. I guess I was always an artist, and it became clear to me at that point.
MKK: This group of portraits, with the exception of those artists who died at a young age, Frida Kahlo and Eva Hesse, are of mature, older women who are also highly accomplished artists.
AVP: As a society, we are presented with a narrow scope of beauty, exalting nubile women. I wanted to paint the faces of these women and explore their physical beauty, a result of their experience.
MKK: Why these artists?
AVP: I was interested in them as artists, but also as exceptional women. They were mavericks at a time when women were marginalized from the mainstream art world. I like what Grace Hartigan said, “If you are an exceptionally gifted woman, then the doors are open to you. What women are fighting for is to be as mediocre as men.” These women are extraordinary and stand out to me. Not only where they good, they were determined, original, unorthodox, and persistent. They seem to have been driven by an individual internal mechanism at a time when success, in market terms, was not a factor. The motivation seems to have been more about one’s potential, or even, as Louise Nevelson said, “…fulfilling one’s destiny.”
MKK: It is a fascinating group of women spanning almost three generations. Käthe Kollwitz is the only one whose career really began in the nineteenth century. How did you choose her as one of the women you wanted to portray?
AVP: While in Germany, I went to see Kollwitz’s self portraits at the eponymous Museum in Cologne. She was a survivor. I could see that in her face. I responded to that.
MKK: Frida Kahlo is another artist of this earlier generation, younger than Kollwitz but of an older generation than all the reset. She is something of a cult figure in our world and time. Why her?
AVP: This is more personal choice than a comment on history. Clearly, though, another survivor.
MKK: Kahlo is one of those artists who is seen largely in that context, a powerful personality and important as an artist almost as much for that personality as the work itself. Yet it is hard in some ways to think about her apart from her torturous relationship with Diego Rivera, one that seems at times undeniably destructive.
AVP: Many of these women had relationships that were destructive, perhaps not as abusive as Kahlo’s, but in many ways they subjugated themselves in their relationships with men.
MKK: And Georgia O’Keeffe?
AVP: It was an issue. She had to get out of the shadow of Stieglitz. The same goes for Krasner and Pollock. They were independent at a time when society didn’t encourage women to pursue careers and personal goals.
MKK: When I think of Georgia O’Keeffe, I think both of her powerful work and the striking photographs of her by Stieglitz that capture both her physical beauty and her strong independence.
AVP: You get a sense of her strength from those images.
MKK: Each of these portraits was done on an enormous scale and most focus solely on the face. How did these issues of scale and focus evolve?
AVP: I painted these women on a grand scale, somewhat as a form of idolatry. I admire them now and have looked up to most of them since I was young. In terms of framing the face there is subtle variation. I am trying to capture character, with some I went close in on the face like Helen Frankenthaler – while with others like Frida Kahlo, I pan out slightly, depending upon what I find to be essential. Kahlo’s hair, ribbons, and the line of her neck were all a part of her character as were her facial features.
MKK: You worked in large scale in previous series, the Flight and Fight paintings, but all of your current portraits are of uniform scale and even larger. How did that decision come about?
AVP: I wanted paint them in large scale format and 9’ x 7’ was the biggest stretched canvas I could get through the studio door.
MKK: Did you conceive this group of pictures as a series or did it just happen?
AVP: It began with a general preconception, the sequence unfolding as I worked. Lee Krasner and Georgia O’Keeffe were first and I finished with Eva Hesse and Frida Kahlo.
MKK: Were you interested in Frida Kahlo more as a figure of what an artist could be, Eva Hesse more for the body of work?
AVP: Whatever difficulties Frida Kahlo faced, she had the capacity to express herself without editing her work. My attraction to her revolves around her independence from approval. This engenders confidence, without which, life as an artist is much more difficult. For Eva Hesse self-confidence was more of a struggle. But she emerged with a powerful, original voice.
MKK: Is that something you identify with?
AVP: Somewhat; I have issues with approval, but I think I have the tenacity to work them through.
MKK: Were there some women artists whose portraits you thought about painting but rejected?
AVP: No. There are so many from Artemesia Gentileschi to Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, Natalia Gonchorova, Rosa Bonheur, Romaine Brooks, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Malvina Hoffman, and more. While I was working within the parameters of a group of artists building careers just before the women’s movement, this is not a historical commentary. These fourteen women were prominent in my mind, the decision being based on an emotional and personal response.
MKK: Are these artists you became familiar with in your own training as an artist?
AVP: Some I was introduced to in childhood under my mother’s influence, some I learned about later.
MKK: You said from an early age you wanted to be an artist, or would be.
AVP: I knew that I was.
MKK: Which is a different thing?
AVP: It was always an avocation. I didn’t know it would be a vocation.
MKK: Was there any hesitation in going to art school and pursuing art as a profession?
AVP: No. Once the decision was made to study as an artist I was completely focused.
MKK: You studied first in the U.S. and then went to Italy.
AVP: I went to UCLA, Art Center Pasadena, and Otis College of Art and Design. Italy was much later. I went back to school in Florence at the Academy of Art.
MKK: How was that different from the training you had up to that point?
AVP: The training was very specific. We drew from life casts, made paint using raw pigment. Our practice was informed by the schools of Renaissance masters. There was strict adherence to that tradition, to building a strong foundation. I still feel like a student of painting and I think I always will.
MKK: Drawing has played an important role for you as an artist, first as a young child and right up to your time in Italy. Drawing certainly informs much of what you do.
AVP: Drawing is the bones, the armature. Drawing is the foundation of my work. When the drawing is tight, I have more freedom to be loose in my painting.
MKK: Being more a student of old master than contemporary painting, it has always puzzled me in a way knowing that Rubens or Rembrandt would make a drawing on canvas or panel and then paint it over. It seems such a destructive act.
AVP: Much of great painting is destructive. It’s a lesson in non-attachment. You have to be willing to allow a painting to change and evolve. Look at Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning. Einstein said, “Matter is neither created nor destroyed – simply rearranged.” Much of my process is the rearrangement of the paint – for me, that’s what makes it exciting.
MKK: A photograph has been the source of each of these paintings.
AVP: Sometimes several photographs.
MKK: And then you go about making a drawing?
AVP: I do drawings until I am happy with one that will translate into a painting. This becomes the basis of the painting.
MKK: Then comes the destruction of the drawing.
AVP: There is the destruction of the painting as well. A very detailed painted image is broken down.
MKK: Do you do color studies?
AVP: I like to experiment with an image using variations in color, size and surface texture. I do image studies on wood, paper, canvas…
MKK: It seems evident that some artists seem to know exactly what they want to get before they start. Although some alterations, accidents, and discoveries take place in the process of painting, the near total conception has to be there.
AVP: I can plan, visualize, and make an exact drawing, but with these paintings I have to give up a certain amount of control. I think it’s the accident that is really so beautiful and interesting. Francis Bacon said, “I move the paint around until it takes on a life of its own.” That’s what’s happening in these paintings. At a certain point I am moving the paint and just watching what it does.
MKK: The remarkable quality of these paintings is that from a certain distance one can feel the presence of the people you have portrayed, and yet as one gets closer and closer to the pictures they have a different existence, as paint on canvas. It is striking to me how you can keep both things working at the same time, particularly when you talk about the intensity of the process, having this limited window of time.
AVP: The paint itself is the most interesting thing to me. The process of painting is foremost. The subject is a vehicle to create an image, and that’s always changing, but the technique is constant. The fact that the texture of the paint contains the disintegration of the image is the most exciting part to me.
MKK: Do you feel a sense of control over this while doing the painting?
AVP: Not entirely. I like to feel surprised by what the paint does – to an extent. Each time I feel total control, I like to push a little into the realm of chance.
MKK: Working on such a large scale is a special kind of challenge and it has been for centuries. Again, referring to artists of earlier eras, working on canvases so big required building a scaffold just to do it.
AVP: It’s a very physical endeavor to do the larger paintings.
MKK: Let’s talk about color. There is color in each of these pictures, but they are each relatively monochromatic. What was the role of color in each?
AVP: I worked in black and white for years. I was interested in form, light and shadow, creating images in light and dark. Color is relatively new for me. These portraits seemed to have demanded it.
MKK: Frida Kahlo is an example that comes to mind, there is a striking range of reds.
AVP: Yes. There is a deep crimson, orange, black, a fiery red, a hot pink.
MKK: In your recent series it is interesting to see that in Flight it is an action that you have captured and frozen. In Fight, you have again frozen action, but only in a few instances can one actually recognize the images in those paintings. In this most recent group the subjects are different. They are immediately identifiable, they have been chosen because of their identity.
AVP: Sometimes my objective is to convey motion, to get a sense of movement, a captured instant, usually movement across the canvas. But with a portrait or still object, my concern with movement is a recession from the surface. I want the blurring of the image to create depth. As the image moves deeper into the painting it can begin to breathe and vibrate. The blur obliterates pieces of information and can leave space for the viewer’s imagination. But most importantly, especially with portraits, the blurring is a way to get to the essential, to break down and unify. To blur the image, removing the distraction of surface details, allows the essence of the thing to be revealed. The essence of that person or thing becomes the subject.
MKK: It seems you have come to a new point n doing these pictures. Is there something that is starting to form as to what will be next?
AVP: I’m working on a new group of paintings in the direction of the Agnes Martin piece, white-on-white, working with a perceived minimal surface that reveals a complex, unexpected image.
MKK: Do you work on only one picture at a time?
AVP: Not always. It depends on scale and the amount of attention needed for a particular painting.
MKK: How long does it take you to complete a work from the initial drawing to the completed painting?
AVP: It varies including preparation and recovery.
MKK: What happens when you finish a painting?
AVP: I pray no bugs fly into it and hopefully I can sleep.
MKK: How long is it before you begin the next?
AVP: I get on a roll. Once I’m working on a series I stay focused on it. I need to keep the momentum going. It’s easier to keep going than to stop and start. But between projects sometimes it’s good to just live a little – to have a life to bring to the work.
___________________________________________________________________________________
“Introduction.”
by Jim Dicke II and Alex Nyerges
Published in Alison Van Pelt: The Women. Ed. Michael K. Komanecky. Dayton, OH: The Dayton Art Institute
2004

An image of Frida Kahlo stares back at the viewer through a murky haze of time. The extraordinarily large canvas, measuring nine by seven feet, captures the late painter in a moment of pause, a hesitant moment of thought and introspection. This canvas and those of the other women artists in this exhibition ALISON VAN PELT: THE WOMEN illustrate the grace, power and beauty of these exceptional women and reflect the powerful imagination and talent of their creator, Alison Van Pelt.
The series is comprised of a veritable “who’s who” among women painters and sculptors of the twentieth century. Not meant to be comprehensive in any sense since they reflect the emotional and personal responses of Alison Van Pelt, they are quite impressive both individually and in the collective form. Van Pelt means to impress us. She painted these works on a grand scale “somewhat as a form of idolatry.” And it works. Her large canvases were limited only by the size of her studio doorway through which they entered and departed. The finished works are much larger in the psychological sense than a mere illustration in a catalogue can portray. These are works that need to be experienced – the value of the viewer’s personal interaction is as important as the interaction between the painter and the canvas at the point of creation. They are a wonderful homage to a group of women who, in Van Pelt’s own words, were “mavericks at a time when women were marginalized from the mainstream art world.”
Life is made of moments that pass as quickly as they arrive. Van Pelt’s images are based in photography but then are translated into a thin surface of paint. They capture those fractions of time for the viewer to ponder and contemplate.
We quickly recognized that it was important to exhibit and document this series before the inevitable occurred – these women would be separated and find homes in disparate points across the country and possibly the globe. This exhibition allows us to view the series of portraits in their entirety at the point in time closest to their creation. This is a rare and precious moment. And like that frozen slice of time in which we see Frida Kahlo’s inquisitive gaze, this exhibit and publication will stand as silent sentinels upon which we can reflect and contemplate.

Imagine Awards Gala & Auction: Bill Viola, Kira Perov, Alison Van Pelt, KAWS, Jill Greenberg, Ed Moses, etc...

Imagine Awards Gala & Auction

Art Auction & Sale

Every year, Inner-City Arts hosts the Imagine Awards Gala and Auction,
honoring the contributions of outstanding supporters while raising
much-needed funds to continue providing arts education for thousands
of children.

Over time, the art portion of the fundraising auction has grown in
scope and depth to include an Art Auction & Sale. This year the Art
Auction Preview and Sale is on
Sunday, September 25, 2011.

Here is a partial list of artists whose work will be auctioned of in
support of our programs:

Bill Viola
& Kira Perov
Alison Van Pelt
KAWS
Allen Ginsburg
Kenny Scharf
Eve Arnold
Laurent De Brunhoff
Julius Shulman
Jill Greenberg
Ed Moses
Charles Arnoldi
Laddie John Dill
Dennis Hopper
Tierney Gearon
Richard Phillips


Sunday, September 4, 2011

artwork by brice marden, nan goldin, francesco clemente, alison van pelt, yoko ono, dennis hopper, george condo, louise bourgeois, claes oldenburg, & richard serra

AH ALLEN

allen ginsberg

arthur miller

robert creeley

gregory corso

jack kerouac

william s. burroughs

this huge tribute volume to allen ginsberg was produced to benefit the jack kerouac school of disembodied poetics. LETTERPRESS TYPOGRAPHY BY THE GRENFELL PRESS. INCLUDES RELIEF PRINTS, LITHOGRAPHS, SILKSCREENS, C-PRINTS, DUOTONES, SILVER PRINTS. OUTSTANDING QUALITY. contains works by and is signed by: brice marden, john giorno, nan goldin, robert frank, arthur miller, antoni tapies, anne waldman, francesco clemente, yoko ono, sebastian guinness, donald baechler, elizabeth murray, bob holman, dennis hopper, joe strummer, terry winters, alison van pelt, gary snyder, bernard picasso, robert wilson, sandro chia, eileen myles, philip taaffe, robert creeley, gregory corso, george condo, philip glass, john mcnaughton, louise bourgeois, peter orlovsky, gus van sant, robert lavigne, mark dagley, czeslaw milosz, rolf sachs, claes oldenburg, eugene brooks, richard serra, quincy troupe, and gordon ball. signatures of william s. burroughs, louis ginsberg and jack kerouac are stamped. nam june paik and amiri baraka did not sign.===============================================# # 53 OF ONLY 200 COPIES . SIGNED BY 41 outstanding ARTISTS POETS AND WRITERS. MAGNIFICENTLY BOUND AND SLIPCASED BY MASTER-BINDER CLAUDIA COHEN

William Burroughs and the Arts: Ports of Entry book cover, LACMA, cover image by Alison Van Pelt, William Burroughs, 1992, Oil on canvas.

photo

william burroughs ports of entry

William Burroughs and the Arts: Ports of Entry book cover.
"Nothing is True - Everything is Permitted - - Last words, Hassan I Sabbah", Nova Express.
published by Los Angeles County Museum of Art, distributed by Thames & Hudson.
(c) 1996 by Museum Associates LA County Museum of Art.
Cover image by Alison Van Pelt, William Burroughs, 1992, Oil on canvas.
alisonvanpelt.com/

Alison Van Pelt: Portraits, by Christopher Monger, Published by Pharmaka, Los Angeles, CA

Alison Van Pelt: Portraits
by Christopher Monger
Published by Pharmaka, Los Angeles, CA


Alison Van Pelt’s latest series of paintings are pulled from the American landscape of popular culture. She addresses her subject as an iconographic symbol that hovers like a black and white dream. These newsprint style images are instantly recognizable portraits of people that are now considered public domain, like the portraits of Tom Cruise and Britney Spears.
Alison meticulously renders the portrait using a brush with oil (not airbrushed) and from a distance the face looks like it was cut out from a newspaper and blown up. When you get close you see there are no pixels and the brush strokes are so refined that we are instantly seduced into believing we are looking at a large photograph that has somehow gone through a filtering process, thus making the image seem soft and slightly blurred.
Alison’s portraits are not directly linked to the mechanics of photography like Chuck Close’s oversized photorealist portraits of the 1970s. Those paintings engaged in a direct dialogue with photography by replicating how the camera lens was mechanically able to focus on one area of a subject, while the rest became blurred. Instead, Alison’s images are preexisting and lifted from out media-driven world and placed in a contrasting environment – the same way a Ruscha word is lifted out of a conversation and thrown into a foreign context.
The area that surrounds Alison’s portraits are painted in acrylic, creating a flat and stark, almost hostile contrast to the illusionary face. This collision of two surfaces pushes the image forward into the viewer’s space. There is a visual confrontation: We either reject or project our personal identity onto the image of the celebrity. The celebrity persona has been so well crafted – mythologized into the Pantheon of Gods.
Alison paints celebrity portraits as they appear to us through the machinery of the media, having been removed countless times from the interaction that occurs between the artist and the sitter. They stare out at us in their all too familiar way, but the color field that surrounds them is what is real. A flat, bright color that refers to nothing else but itself in the tradition of the color field painters of the 1960s and 1970s. The Ellsworth Kelly fields of brushless strokes are ruptured by the fading image of the person. Without the talking heads of the entertainment or news shows to give background noise to these images, these portraits radiate a deafening silence – almost a death knell.

Fight: Alison Van Pelt by Robert A. Sobieszek, senior curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art


Fight: Alison Van Pelt
by Robert A. Sobieszek, senior curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art


To plunge beneath in order to arrive at a surface, to ground one’s vision on the palpable where there is none, and to assault the apparent because too much is still hidden – these thoughts may be useful in approaching the paintings of Alison Van Pelt. She was trained in modern painting at Art Center in Pasadena and Otis Parsons in Los Angeles, and then was classically retrained at the Florence Academy of Art. Much of the art taught at both Southern California schools centered around conceptualism, appropriation, word/text synergy, and postmodern theory. Florence presented her with something more ancient: beautiful form, the love of looking, and techniques of painting, of laying succulent colors in oil onto a canvas, of forming images that have still to be plumbed for some fugitive essence.
Contemporary painting, especially representational and figural painting, is fraught with a love/hate relationship with the photographic image. When patently obvious the symbiosis is taken for granted, when visually redacted as a critique of our culture of images the praxis is applauded, and even when the source is obscured its presence can be felt. The photos behind Gerhard Richter’s figures and still lives are exquisitely and magically transformed into paint. The photos that act as models for Chuck Close’s portraits are critical to the scaffolding of his painted enlargements. Richard Phillips takes the faces of young modes in advertisements and monumentalizes them. The photographic covers of popular magazines of the 60s and 70s are rather melancholically vested in the teenage reminiscences of Elizabeth Peyton’s paintings.
Alison Van Pelt’s relationship to photographic images is quite direct and unapologetic, as well. Carefully choosing images that interest her, she manually copies them, simply painting what she sees, and often manipulating and enlarging their scale. So far, there is little by way of innovation; earlier painters did this as a matter of procedure. In traditional representational painting, the image on the surface of the canvas was a mere analog to the image on the surface of the photographic emulsion, only the painting was done by hand, as if that gave it an edge of superiority. Modern artists had a choice; accept the surface of the image as it had been since Alberti – as a window onto the world – or challenge that surface for what it was: a fraud, a simulacrum, a fiction. Neither realist paintings nor photographs are “windows to the world” or “portals of perception.” They are simply surfaces which someone has played with, regardless of their chemicals or techniques.
Interrupt that surface, alter it, transform it, however, and something deeper may be gotten to Man Ray knew that in the 20s when he solarized his photographs, making us look more deeply upon their surfaces. Lucas Samaras knew it in the 70s when he physically disturbed his Polaroids’ emulsions before they dried. Van Pelt also knows this, and here, she breaks from slavish appropriation of the photographic image. While her faithful rendition of her source is still wet, its oils not yet set in their ways, she takes a dry brush to subtly blend, striate, blur, and dematerialize her forms until, as it were, they become mere Platonic shadows or suggestions or hints of themselves. Hidden within the surface of the paint and not atop the canvas, her subjects take on an essential quality of becoming, of yet to be finished, of possibilities rather than definitions, Caught in some viscous primal ooze, embryonic, dreamlike as in a dense fog, her images appear more within our vision than without, or as if they were projected from us outwardly upon the external retinal field from some deep recess of memory.
Van Pelt’s latest series, Fight, grows out of her last two series which also began with the same letter: Flight and Figures. Not the dynamics of startled birds imaged in mid-flight, nor the elegiac voluptuousness of barely emergent female torsos, Fight goes right to the matter of male aggression at one of its extremes, the heavyweight boxing match. Selected stills from videotaped classic fights are the primary source for the images: Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Randy Turpin, 1951; Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Lisson, 1964; Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman, 1975; etc. The artist has discovered an extreme range of emotions in these stills, from animal violence to physical grace, from the exuberance of the victor to the despondency of the vanquished, from violence to tenderness. She also finds the beautifully dramatic and harsh overhead lighting of these old fights utterly irresistible.
Aside from portraits of celebrities or friends, this series is Van Pelt’s first foray into representing the male body, its masculine forms, its muscular physique, its martial singularity. In her series on the female form, her Venus-like Figures were pictured as strictly iconic, reverential, totemic, and purely in offering; here, in Fight, the male figures are in diametric opposition to both the earlier series and to themselves: they are portrayed as narrative, transactional, removed, and ultimately in action. Yet, while her female figures rose to the surface towards us in remote suspension, her male boxers remain just as remote, out there in some other depth, some other conflict. Van Pelt’s subjects are basic: primal mothers in iconic verticality and feral warriors in narrative horizontality.
Across this horizon, the fighters feign, jab, block, slug, recoil, clinch, and fall – fundamental steps in a complex metaphor of life, perhaps. Joyce Carol Oates may have called boxing the “drama of life in the flesh” and “America’s tragic theater,” yet many of the boxing images Van Pelt chooses to render anew show us the visual poetry of this sport, its masculine choreography, its athletic balance, its atavistic prowess. It really does matter which of the heavyweight champions or contenders was captured on film or videotape; the simple primitive nature of this complicitous and immemorial dance performed by males is sufficient for Van Pelt. The poetic essence of this dance, however, is not to be found in any specificity or particular details, but beyond them; not in the factualness of historical films, but in the thickness of the image’s transparency; not on the surface of the painting, but beneath it; not in pigments but in dreams. And dreams are never the surface of things.