Saturday, April 18, 2009

Maria Grazi Rosen

Today we went to see Forum 62: Maria Grazia Rosen at the Carnegie Museum of Art, part of the Venetian artist's series of installations called Gelatine Lux. The twenty illuminated glass chandeliers are other-worldly, glowing in electric colors within a darkened room like a beautiful aquarium. The imagined creatures in glass are described as "aquatic or cosmic."

Here are a couple of Rosen's individual chandeliers:

And this is one lit, as the chandeliers are in the installation:

Below is a photograph of real jellyfish I took at the Pittsburgh Aquarium one time. Their electric light is very reminiscent of Maria Grazia Rosen's installation:

Kay Nielson

An early illustration for Disney's Little Mermaid, drawn by Kay Nielson (above)

On a great blog called Drawn!, I learned of some fantastic early illustrations for Disney's Little Mermaid, many of which are posted by Snufkin on Livejournal here:

The illustrations are by Kay Nielson, drawn in the 1940s, a long time before the Little Mermaid movie we all know. I love Nielson's stylized watercolor and charcoal images, and how cinematic they seem.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kevin Francis Gray

Ghost Girl, sculpture by Kevin Francis Gray

Flipping through issue Y of Beautiful/Decay Magazine this past weekend at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina, I was struck by photographs of beautiful sculptures by an artist named Kevin Francis Gray. I jotted his name down in my memo tablet and promised myself I'd look him up when I got back to the Burgh.

Face-off, bronze, automotive paint, wood plith, by Kevin Francis Gray

Ghost Boy, fiber glass resin, crystal beads, automotive paint, wood, by Kevin Francis Gray

Goth Girl, fiber glass resin, crystal beads, automotive paint, wood, by Kevin Francis Gray

These teenage figures in contemporary clothes belonging to various subcultures are presented as neoclassical sculpture with a twist. Their stark silhouettes and pouring bead veils are haunting. The real twist though is revealed here beneath Ghost Girl's veil:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fremont Troll

Pittsburgh is the city of bridges, so we really need to get a troll! When we visited our friends in Seattle, they took us sight-seeing under a bridge to see the Fremont Troll. He has a glass eye and seems to like Volkswagens. Here's a picture of him in all his greatness:

Elizabeth Peyton's portraits

Elizabeth Peyton's self-portrait (above)

Popular contemporary artist Elizabeth Peyton is famous for her portrait paintings of friends, family, and stars, derived from photographs, and influenced by fashion illustration. Loosely painted in thin washes that often drip down the canvas, her paintings seem fresh and immediate.

Jarvis by Elizabeth Peyton (1996)

Two of Elizabeth Peyton's portraits of Georgia O'Keeffe, painted from Alfred Steiglitz photographs, below:

Friday, April 3, 2009

The End: Analyzing Art in Troubled Times

Face of God by Robert Davis and Michael Langlois, The End: Analyzing Art and Troubled Times, The Andy Warhol Museum

The End, a group exhibit curated by Eric Shiner at the Andy Warhol Musuem, is a reflection on death, doom, violence, and the collapse of civilization. Relevant Warhol images hang alongside works by contemporary artists responding to the sense of dread felt in our current time of economic recession and war.

Viewing the show, you can imagine you are entering a science fiction narrative, perhaps frightfully close to this moment. Enter past the names of government militarty projects, to a white slab on the floor with the second amendment carved in Latin (the right to bear arms), and head toward nuclear explosions. Then look all around the room at the world in collapse. Police hellecoptors shine lights down on suburban homes, and suburban housewives pull back the curtains to reveal soldiers in some sort of military operation. Wander toward panoramic photographs of the seven deadly sins, depicting what people might indulge in after civilization has utterly collapsed.

It's a story with an unhappy ending, that begins at the end. The end here is purposely bleak. One might leave the exhibit bewildered if convinced of the inevitability of the narrative presented. The optomist might leave the exhibit grateful that things aren't that bad, and the activist might leave more determined to change the direction of the narrative toward an end that he does not bring upon himself.