Thursday, November 21, 2013

Visual Food For Thought- Week 2 Shepherdess Seated on a Rock (1856) by Jean-Fran├žois Millet

As Thanksgiving comes rushing 'round the corner, I find myself thinking about all the things that make me happy. That's why I chose this shepherdess for this weeks VFFT post. Jean-Fran├žois Millet  is one of my favorite artists. His work always speaks to me of hard work, faith, and contentment in places of hardship.
I may not be a shepherdess in 19th century France, but I know it is (and was) a hard and dirty job. Yet the kindness in this women's face really touched me the first time I saw this painting at the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art). She is one of two Millet works I know to be exhibiting at the museum right now. The soft brush stroked that Millet used in making her shawl, apron, and skirt emphasizes the warmth and wooly texture of her clothing. The tall bushes behind her are like encompassing arms around her. Even the she look noble, with their heads bowed low to the ground.
It shows a kind moment in a hard place. I can not help but love it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Plethora of Prints- Seen at the Park Avenue Armory Print Fair! Pt1

This Wednesday, the Park Avenue Armory debuted its annual Print Fair for 2013! Colors, shapes, styles, and techniques varied as far as the eye could see. While I had to pay ten dollars to enter (as a student), I have to say I enjoyed every minute of my time there. The best part is, now I get to share it with all of you, admissions price included!

PLEASE NOTE: All artwork displayed belongs to the artists mentioned! I was given permission by dealers to take the pictures used here. Please enjoy! 
The fair was set up in the large scale hall that makes up the center of the Armory. White walls partitioned the different dealers representing modern artists AND old master pieces alike. Shifting from one "booth" to the next, a viewer could find anything from Chick Close to Henri-Toulouse Lautrec!

Featured Artwork #1- Untitled (cityscape) by Nicole Lopez (2013, Intaglio print)

As a native New Yorker any work depicting an urban setting is bound to draw my attention. I was astounded by the incredible amount of detail that the artist put into each little building involved, and not just the large players in the background. The scale of the work (around 28 by 40 inches) leaves a lot of room for a rolling landscape. I love that her city isn't in a grid formation, like Manhattan. It makes it unique and alien to me. It makes me wonder, what city did she use for inspiration, if any?

It was nice to see a modern artist doing such extensive details in a realistic looking piece! Perhaps its because I'm more used to the abstract and crazy being more popular. Whatever the case, I didn't see any other print just like hers throughout the fair.

To show you how different prints can look, here is another artists work which showed up at the fair....
Featured Artwork #2- "Tracy" by Alex Katz (various printing methods, 2011)

These pictures can't begin to depict the rich color and texture to Katz's portraits! Her work is most definitely worth seeing in person. If you would like to see Katz's large scaled paintings, I know of three that are displayed at the MET. More artists and works in the next Plethora of Prints installment!

*For more info on the print fair, its location, how long it runs, and admissions prices, please click here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Visual Food for Thought- Week 1, The Large Cat by Cornelis Viccher

Starting this week, I will start posting VFFT posts, highlighting one piece that I would like to ruminate on. Whether it's thought provoking or just plain beautiful, take it as a mini museum visit to satisfy your art craving!

This week I would like to give pause for "The Large Cate" by Cornelis Viccher. This is an engraving (when an artist scoops out thin strips of metal from a plate to create lines, instead of etching them in with acid), which was made in the year 1657 by said Dutch artist. This means it was made during the time of the master artist Rembrandt van Rijn, and before the United States of America even existed!

What struck me about this piece is the warmth it gives of. I have just recently gotten into etching (another closely related form of printmaking), which is why I learned that EVERY LINE COUNTS. Whatever direction you make it in will either enhance or take away from the realism of your subject. This cat looks real enough to snuggle in your lap, so, bravo for Viccher! Although, I feel a little sorry for the mouse. It doesn't look like it has a chance getting past those soft paws of fury...

As for this cat, it currently resides in the National Art Gallery in Washington DC.

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