Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sarah McKenzie's paintings look at the phenomena of suburban expansion. Her site is worth checking out - and scrolling to some of the later paintings of suburban neighborhoods. They are clearly images of these residential places, but the combination of a larger scale and aerial viewpoints cause them to read as abstractions.

From her artist's statement: "The generic forms of suburban architecture provide a convenient framework through which I explore the basic structures and issues of geometric abstraction -- stripes, grids, flatness vs. depth, color relativity, and so forth... At this point, my work is only minimally about suburbia. Tract homes and strip malls provide the fodder for the paintings and help to place them in a specific cultural moment in time, but the work is ultimately about paint and the nature of pictures. To the extent that my paintings still comment on suburbia, it is through the moments of visual rupture... which may be interpreted as revealing cracks in the suburban American dream."

Sarah McKenzie

Build Up (2005)
Oil on Canvas

Monday, December 22, 2008

Interior, Strandgade 30, by Vilhelm Hammershoi (Danish)

Going back in history a bit - to the work of Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi. I just recently came across his work and quite possibly have found a new "favorite" to add to the list. He is not as well known, but his paintings feel like a merging of Vermeer and Andrew Wyeth. His best known works are interior domestic scenes, often with a female (usually his wife) with her back to the viewer. Very understated, yet intimate. The focal point almost always seems to reside on the back of her neck. This kind of "reverse portraiture" is a very contemporary move considering the time in which he was painting.

From Wikipedia: "Hammershoi's paintings are best described as muted in tone. He refrained from employing bright colors (except in his very early academic works), opting always for a limited palette consisting of grays, as well as desaturated yellows, greens, and other dark hues. The overall impression of his style is one of coolness, restraint, and quietude. His tableaux of figures turned away from the viewer project an air of slight tension and mystery..."

Hammershoi Images on Google

Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior, Strandgade 30, 1908 (oil on canvas, 79 x 66 cm)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Edge of the Ring, by Andrew Haines

Andrew Haines is a painter I came across a year ago or so. I appreciate his sensitivity to the banality of the everyday. This is from a portion of his artist's statement:

"Observing the tedious details of the every day built environment, I revel in subjects that my aesthetic training originally taught me to hate. Tracking the motion of the sun over a suburban strip mall, vinyl clad housing, or the ubiquitous chain link fence; my subject is frequently a visual irritation that I pass everyday. Working with the pest, I usually manage to eke out some kind of beauty, even if satire or derision were the original intent."

Andrew Haines Paintings

The Edge of the Ring, by Andrew Haines (2006)
Acrylic on panel
16" x 18"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monument, by Jeff Eisenburg

Monument, by Jeff Eisenburg (2008)
Graphite on paper
11" x 16"

Jeff Eisenburg's Drawings