Thursday, October 23, 2008

Friday: 6 Down. Former Nigerian capital (5), by Ben McLaughlin (2008)

Ben McLaughlin is one of my favorite painters. He is not very well known - and at first seems to paint relatively benign images. Most of his work is very small, 4 or 5 inches in size. The images are of seemingly unimportant places - sometimes they have a muted narrative. His titles are often pulled from crossword puzzle instructions or random headlines in the local paper (completely unrelated to the images themselves). There seems to be a sense of simultaneity in these paintings - that even as this elevator door remains closed, someone is figuring out the Former Nigerian capitol which contains five letters...

Ben McLaughlin's Paintings

Friday: 6 Down. Former Nigerian capital (5), by Ben McLaughlin
Oil on panel (2008)
4.5" x 6.75"


Untitled, by Ben McLaughlin
Oil on panel (2008)
4.5" x 6.75"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Three Men at Dawn, by Odd Nerdrum (1996)

Odd Nerdrum is... "odd." He is a rare contemporary artist in that he holds to an old masters approach to painting, in the tradition of Rembrandt, yet many find his images to be disturbing in their subject matter (the one below is tame by comparison to his other works). He is a storyteller, often depicting individuals involved in strange narratives in post-apocalyptic settings.

Three Men at Dawn, by Odd Nerdrum (1996)
Oil on Canvas - 61" x 73.2"

Friday, October 10, 2008

When Faith Moves Mountains, by Francis Alys (2002)

Documentation of an event in Lima, Peru orchestrated by the artist involving 500 volunteers equipped with shovels and asked to form a single line in order to displace by 10 cm a 500 m long sand dune from its original position.

Francis Alys is an artist that crosses mediums and often "performs" events that range from epic collaborations involving many people to single, simple actions that he documents with a handheld camcorder. He describes much of his work as "poetic gesture."

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fontis, by Betsy Stewart (2007)

Each box: 5"x5"x5"
Acrylic and Sumi Ink on wood

I've just recently discovered Betsy Stewart's work. One of the things I appreciate is how she seems to literally "build" a painting, creating a sculptural object that projects itself off of the wall and into the viewer's space. In person, we would be drawn into looking at these paintings from every angle. Her work could be defined as a kind of abstracted "landscape." However, the effect is that of being able to go to microscopic level of nature, then retrieving a "cross-section" sample of nature for us to study. If you go to her website and look up some of her other works, you'll find this same approach to studying nature, but in the form of totems and other vertical, sometimes free-standing columns.