Bits and Pieces

Today we’re starting a new exhibition, Bits and Pieces which will be looking at details, miniature items, and small components  of bigger pieces.

This installation by German artist Nils Volker inspired the name and theme of the exhibition.It consists of 108 expandable toys suspended in space. The balls are moved by small motors (each one has its own) for smooth movement. This installation was on display for a month at Gallery Nome in Berlin, and you can learn more about it here.

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Images and video courtesy of the artist

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Spectral Bond – Light as Wave

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Image courtesy of McKenzie Fine Art

Today we’re looking at a drawing by Amy Myers, whose work reflect on her childhood in a family of physicians and on the female body. Yay for self-reflection again. This drawing from 2015 is gouache, pastel, and conte crayon on paper. Actually, Amy Myers uses many sheets of paper that she assembles together during her process. Her drawings are always symmetrical, but not always centered. I just picked a centered one because I’m a sucker for perfect symmetry. I like how whimsical and light her drawings are, while at the same time being very complex. Also as you may know by now, I like art that has a strong concept behind this; and this is definitely the case. You can really grasp the concept of atoms and networks, space, and the human body by just looking at the piece, which is what makes it successful in my opinion.

So keep an eye out for Amy Myers, cause I think she’s going places.

And here is a detail of the artwork since I couldn’t get a high res picture of the full one.

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Image courtesy of Hyperallergic

Self portrait in the studio at Peckham after Steenwyck the Younger

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Image courtesy of Art Daily

Today, we’re looking at a 2015 painting by the amazing Raqib Shaw. It’s part of a series of four paintings based on works from the National Gallery. I picked this one because it fits the exhibition particularly well, being a self portrait set inside the artist’s studio. A lot of imagery is reminiscent of himself and his work, such as the bronze sculpture which was first exhibited at the same time as this painting. Other elements that refer to the artist in this painting are his dogs and his champagne case.

I also like that there is an actual mirror at the center of the painting where the representation of the artist is reflected. This might be linked to the fact that it is adapted from an older painting by Steenwyck, dating back to 1610. As you can see if you compare it with the original below, Shaw kept the basic structure and format of the painting, as well as some striking elements: the architectural features, the tablecloth, and the floor design. His painting is more charged than the original, in his usual opulent style and with his particular technique of painting with enamel using a porcupine quill, which renders this precision and realistic feel. Another difference you will have noticed is the background, which features views on a garden in Shaw’s version. This is the view he has from his studio; so effectively, he hasn’t represented his workplace in terms of structural features but in terms of its exterior.

I’m a big fan of this painting because of its very personal nature but also because there is plenty to look at. It’s full of technique, color work, but also choices, which gives it a striking personality that I fell can sometimes get lost in a lot of contemporary art.

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All Art Has Been Contemporary

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Image courtesy of the MFA Boston

This neon installation by Maurizio Nannucci is part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. You can check out the picture below to see how it looks like on display today. Nannucci is an artist who works a lot with neon, but this piece is particularly striking to me because it’s self referring. It’s a reflection on art by an artist, and more specifically on contemporary art by a contemporary artist. Now for the backstory, I’ve been getting more and more interested in contemporary art thanks to my current job, and I find it interesting how simple it can be while at the same time conveying some important depth. All art has indeed been contemporary, but not all art has been called contemporary. Should we have a new designation for what is understood today as contemporary art or is that the job of future generations to classify it and figure it out? A lot of artistic currents in the past were self named and it’s not all a categorization imposed by art historians. So yeah, after all, a piece of art is something that should trigger some sort of thinking; and this is working quite well here.DSC_1234

Tackle

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Image courtesy of Chris Cosnowski

This oil on panel from 2014 by Chris Cosnowski represents an American Football trophy.  It is a theme very recurrent in Cosnowski’s work, which focuses a lot on American culture and the meritocracy. His reflection goes into the symbolic of the trophy, how it aims to be grand and metallic but is in fact only a small plastic figurine; so basically an illusion. I think the idea of the illusion works well because his paintings are also very good at creating this sensation thanks to his great technical skills in depicting metal (or in fact, gilded plastic).

If you’d like to check out some more of his work, this is his website.

Silence/Shapes

All images courtesy of Filippo Minelli

Today I’m posting some contemporary art. This series by Filippo Minelli is a work on shaping silence and bringing attention to a happening in a certain set. The artist creates his photographs by setting up smoke bombs in selected locations. The essence of it is to capture the moment in a photograph; not to create a performance or installation.

The use of colored smoke bombs for silence is well thought through as they are usually associated with protests, crowds, and loud noises. This is entirely reinterpreted here and we see them put out of context, which is what art does I guess. There’s a lot more of conceptual thought behind the project, and you can read about that and see more pictures here but I like the fact that they have a high aesthetic value (in my opinion at least) in addition to a solid concept. I think that a lot of contemporary art is so conceptual and abstract (in the semantic not the artistic sense) that it eats up on the looks of it.

So if you’re a fan of Minelli make sure to check out his website here. He has other works about silence, and a favorite of mine is the Geometry of Silence installations which I might post about as well.