Saturday, November 15, 2014

Botticelli & Jean

As a collector of contemporary work, and also a lover of Italian Renaissance paintings, James Jean's soon to be released Seasons, 2014 has me thinking about Sandro Botticelli's Primavera, 1482.

Similar in symbolism, yet certainly upgraded, Seasons has a more linear feel. Reading left to right, Seasons starts with a nod to the winter season, which I find appropriate due to the 11/18 flash sale. Jean creates a rainbow color sequence left to right. Moving from cool hues, then onto the warm. This mirrors Primavera, which starts warm and runs cold.

The main focus in both of these pieces is summer. It's nice to see that Jean kept this strong focal point the same. In Primavera, summer is accented with a cherub. In Seasons, summer is accented with a small red creature - possibly a ripped out heart?

I love looking at both of these pieces together, there is a beauty in viewing them as a pair.

Seasons, 2014 - James Jean

Primavera, 1482 - Sandro Botticelli

Friday, June 11, 2010

Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913 - 1917

"When the student is ready, the master will appear."

Although Henry Matisse is a well-known artist, his name would never come up in a conversation — when talking about my favorite artists. I've always perceived his figures as appearing clunky and at times amateur. His use of black outlines are annoyingly childlike and crude. (

At least this is what I thought, until last weekend.)

"top secret photo" taken by me, while viewing the show

During the show "Radical Invention 1913 - 1917” in Chicago, while viewing a tiny etching he made of Notre-Dame de Paris, I thought to myself:

"This etching is completely absurd. He took a complicated and beautiful piece of architecture and reduced it down to a few half circles and a couple roughly cut rectangles!"

At this moment of art criticism, I caught myself, and quickly realized that Matisse isn't drawing or painting for an audience at all, but generating art for his own self-discovery.

So much art that surrounds me on a daily basis has been made specifically to generate a profit. So much so, that I am conditioned to believe that this is ALWAYS the case when I look at art.

Make it. Sell it. 

Make more. Sell more.

Make a lot. Sell a lot.

On the other side of the coin, there is a belief that, in order for art to truly be a genuine artistic expression, it cannot be made with the intention of selling it. Because when art is created under circumstances of profit, the artist's mindset is about pleasing someone else, and when a creative mind does that, they start to restrain their inspiration, which in turn compromises their vision.

What I discovered while viewing Matisse's work, is a strong sense of what being an artist is really about. As a viewer of his work, I can witness a journey of self discovery and exploration. But Matisse is rarely out to please me; although at times, he might meet me half way.


Jan Davidszoon de Heem, A Table of Desserts, 1642


Henri Matisse, A Table of Desserts, 1893

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Studio

The Studio, quai Saint Michel, 1917

At the end of this week, I'll be attending the Matisse show, I've been waiting for months! I'm quite excited!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Warhol: The Last Decade

I was reluctant to attend this show.

I have viewed SO much Warhol over the years that I felt this show might just seal the coffin on my appreciation for him. Instead, this show raised the bar on my Warhol knowledge and took me further into his world. This exhibition was an opportune moment to reconnect with this artist. The show at MAM focused on the work Warhol generated during the last decade of his life. It features his final series of self portraits, his return to painting and his perspective on Christianity.

The self portraits range from confrontational death masks to colorful repetitive tiles containing comic relief. Warhol's artist persona is iconic, which is the ideal achievement within this pop culture theme. A floating head of wacky white hair = Andy Warhol.

Warhol's later work finally departed from screen printing. Which I greatly admire, because screen printing is his signature method of producing artwork. For him to acknowledge that this process had become a predictable cliché is a true sign of the artist's evolution. He had returned to the timeless medium of painting. Quite the juxtaposition for a pop artist who owned The Factory.

The Christianity remix pieces intrigue me the most. Warhol stays true to the original content within The Last Supper. But he brakes away by adding a bright yellow field of color behind the classic imagery and presents this piece as an oversized dyptic. I combed the piece for other discrepancies as I'm sure he predicted a viewer would and I found none.

107 black & yellow Jesus portraits tiling along the back wall of the gallery is the largest piece in the show and the one with the most visual impact. I'm sure the museum hung this piece as the grand finale for this reason. So many deities together, representing the many facets of Christianity. Some tiles are clean representations falling within the intended stencil lines and others are sloppy and off register.

Powerful symbolism.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ale Asylum Holiday Bazaar

Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009
Time: 11:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Ale Asylum, 3698 Kinsman Blvd, Madison WI 53704

Friday, November 27, 2009


I will be selling 33 new pieces at the Craftacular show tomorrow.

Date: Saturday, November 28, 2009
Time: 10am - 5pm
Location: Madison Masonic Center, 301 Wisconsin Ave., Madison, WI 53703

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gold Leaf Flourishes while in London

Today, was a study of contemporary work.

After an amazing vegan lunch at Saf, we toured several galleries including Saatchi & Stolen Space.

Sylvia Ji is a painter from San Francisco. I have followed her work and have collected limited edition prints of hers for a few years now. But my timing is always off, because I have never had the opportunity to view a hanging show.

A couple of years ago, while we were in San Francisco, we went to White Walls only to arrive to a gallery in complete transition. A new group show was just being uncrated and nothing was hanging. The owner, Justin, was very hospitable and said we could mill through the new arrivals if we wanted to.

Ji's show had just ended and I couldn't find any of her paintings. I was disappointed that we had missed the remnants of her show and that her work had been removed. As I sifted through the new arrivals, I spied a loose painting sitting next to a column facing inward. I picked it up and in my hands was an original Sylvia Ji - I gasped! It had already been sold and was waiting for it's new owner to retrieve it. But for the next 5 minutes, I closely looked at Till Death in full detail, I was in bliss! Layers of translucent glazes and gold leaf detailings in the roses & the bees were revealed. Gustav Klimt would be proud.

Back to present day.

I knew that Stolen Space was hosting Sylvia Ji's first London solo show. The opening wasn't until the following week, but I was hoping that maybe we could get a glimpse of the new work. I mentioned to the gallery attendant working that afternoon that we had come from afar. If Sylvia's work had already arrived, I would be forever grateful if there was a possibility to view it.

To my surprise, we were lead to the back room for a private viewing of the Sylvia Ji's that had just been unpacked! All of them were lovely and incredible. Hemlock is my favorite from this show.

Bursting with gold!