Wednesday, April 29, 2020

2020 04 Andrea Matus deMeng Challenge No. 1: Odilon Redon

Andrea Matus deMeng
April 23, 2020

No photo description available.
Challenge #1: Collage, paint or sketch a small work inspired by Odilon Redon's piece "The Eye, Like a Strange Balloon, Mounts Towards Infinity".

Odilon Redon is a French artist who lived from 1840 to 1916. While he worked in a number of mediums, I am familiar with the work from which Andrea selected the image above. To me, this type of work reminds me of surrealism and Freud. They have a creepy challenge to them that really makes me look for the story in the piece.

When I was studying the work of Redon above, another familiar piece of art came to mind:

Joseph Cornell, Tilly Losch, 1935-1938

What came to my mind when blending Redon with Cornell was Cornell's early collage work could look similar to Redon's work (maybe without some of the psychological depth).

Joseph Cornell, Untitled, c. 1931, collage | Joseph cornell ...
Joseph Cornell, Untitled, 1931

So, now I know what direction I want to go. While Cornell would build his own boxes, I went the easy route and headed into my basement to find something appropriate in my stash.

Painted backdrop

For the edges of the box (and because I was eager to try out this product because of another on-line project I am embroiled in) I used Seth Apter's Baked Texture which turned out pretty cool.

Thus we have, I Should Have Remained Burdened With Destination.

The title is from a poem by Weldon Kees called The Patient is Rallying.

I want to thank Andrea for the Challenge. I find these challenges by many of the artists I follow on the web a great life saver while we are all staying indoors and social distancing. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

2020 04 Picture What Happened to Us

Picture What Happened to Us

One of the nice things of having a cadre of friendly resources and friends on the Internet is that I never have a block on projects to work on. It also helps to have a basement full of crap when quarantined as there is an endless amount of inspiration there as well.

But, like the Cowardly Lion, sometimes I need a nudge to have the courage to tackle a subject and this project was like this.

First, let's start with the origins. At this point it might be a reveal to tell you that the theme could just have easily been "things Gary breaks." The first piece to feel my wrath was the perfect circle that was going to make the background of the whole work. In the very first step in the project, I tried to screw it into the board shown below--at which point the circle cracked in half.

I have always said that artists should never venture into assemblage unless you want to be a problem solver. However, in the whole making lemonade out of lemons, sometimes the wreckage can be a "happy accident" that is a better idea than the one the artist had at the beginning. 

Here is the results of rummaging my own basement and what survived to become a part of the project. 

Now securely attached together, it was time to gesso up the boards so that they can hold paper and paint. 



As I started on the project, the base was a composite statute that I (yes, it was me) had busted the head off quite awhile back. However, now it becomes the perfect support for what I have in mind.  

Because the bust needs to be secured to the boards, I made the decision to chop off the shoulders. 

The tool of choice for shoulder chopping: a Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool

Well, here we go again. While trying to attach the statute to the boards, I snapped the boards AGAIN!!!!!

Thanks to some wood glue and some Aves Apoxie Clay, all was restored

All along I knew that the head of this creature was going to be a this camera. The question became--to what purpose.

I don't have to tell you that the worldwide pandemic and our quarantine is on everyone's mind--but artistically it was not something I wanted to use as a theme until my mentor, Michael deMeng began to make this series and not only inspired me with his artistic style but reduced my fear to use something so contemporary as a theme.

Corona the Distancer

Corona the Isolator

Corona the Separator

One of the great things about Michael is he is very much a connector and so his deMeng Workshop Junkies page on Facebook let's me see the work of my fellow followers. Who could not be inspired when another artist like Susan Greaves is inspired to make a piece like this?

Susan Greaves, Dr. Wenliang's Prophecy

It is not uncommon for me to be well into the assembling of a project before the theme announces itself. Here, viewing the work of other artists launched me into my theme. I decided that there would be a secret reveal within this work and it would be housed within the former lens housing on the camera.

In order to accomplish that, I used a tin type and some paint to create this image. 

This piece was put together, some painting done, more assemblage and more painting until it was done. Every once in awhile I would find that I needed to add an element to make the piece flow. 

Up shit creek without a paddle 

These three fail to social distance and covid-19 just spreads and spreads 

My wife Denice and I had our last social activity, a concert, on my birthday
March 11th 

And thus we have, Picture What Happened to Us, my piece about the covid-19 pandemic. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

My Eyes Averted From This Hollow Future

My Eyes Averted From This Hollow Future

Here is a collage and assemblage on a cradled board. It is 12"H x 15"W x 4"D.

The title is from a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire called Cortege.

And thus we have My Eyes Averted From This Hollow Future.