Latest Feature Articles
Posted on 13 May 2013 | By Richard Friswell
Does life imitate art, or art imitate life? Addressing that very quandary, a stunningly-curated show at the Met demonstrates how to pull out all the stops, with the depth of a collection being parlayed in the interest of a good story. The exhibit, Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity takes a revealing look at the role of fashion in the works of several impressionist painters. More than 80 major figure paintings by the most notable of the period are assembled from the Met collection, along with some key loans. Paintings are presented in concert with examples of period dress, accessories, fashion plates, photographs and prints, highlighting the vital relationship between artist and subject, the vastly divergent worlds of painter and patron, and the mise-en-scene of bourgeois Paris—between 1860-1880—just then emerging as the style and cultural capital of the world.
Above, left: Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926) Camille (1866), Oil on canvas, 90 15/16 x 59 1/2 in. Kunsthalle Bremen, Der Kunstverein in Bremen. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 13 May 2013 | By Mark Favermann
Experiencing the creative work of architectural brothers, Greene & Greene, is like sipping a rare, richly-made wine—offering sensory delights from the firm of two authentic American Arts and Crafts masters. As the brothers Greene—Charles and Henry—worked primarily in California, they created the ‘gold standard’ for the Arts and Crafts design style. Their work, both as entire projects and in the detail found there, serves as an exquisite example of design, presented in clear, concise and elegant terms. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 6 May 2013 | By Edward Rubin
Mary Hrbacek’s solo exhibition, Peopled Forest of My Mind, curated by Elga Wimmer at the Creon Gallery in New York City in April, 2013, featured Hrbacek’s new, very small and very large, personified tree paintings. Inspired by her dense, dramatic charcoal drawing executed on stark white paper, Hrbacek cultivates eerie hybrid plant forms as they emerge through the drawing process, coaxing these unfathomable figural apparitions into coherent, energized, human-like entities embodying the organic origins of all natural systems. Her work reveals our primal link to nature in an increasingly high-tech, global existence.
Left: Mary Hrbacek, Woman Withheld (2011), 22 x 30″. Courtesy CREON Gallery.
The following conversation was conducted with Mary Hrbacek on the telephone, as well as via email, by Edward Rubin on April 23, 2013. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 2 May 2013 | By Stephen Kobasa
left: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Salome Receives the Head of Saint John the Baptist, c. 1606–10. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery, London.
There are other portraits in this painting on loan from the National Gallery, London, of the aftermath of John the Baptist’s killing. One of them is a Salome, not willing to test her bored composure with a direct look at what’s bleeding on the plate. Or, is it her at all? Instead, could she and the other woman in the background be from among the palace’s foundation of servants, arranging the details of the imminent presentation to the king’s table? And then there is the rictus face of John, where Caravaggio finds the vanishing of the self that is death’s clearest presence. It is impossible not to imagine Gericault recalling this portrayal in those later, fearful documents that are his studies of guillotined prisoners. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 25 April 2013 | By Charles Giuliano
In a 1995 set of three paradigmatic, black and white photographs, Ai Weiwei (Born Beijing, 1957), the conceptual Chinese artist, iconoclast, and dissident, is documented Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (below). The setting is austere and generic. The artist is shown dressed informally standing with weight distributed on spread legs in front of a brick wall. In the first image the precious, antique, ceramic urn is held with two hands at an angle just under his chin. In the second his hands are spread out with bent elbows as the dropping object has reached knee high. In the third with no change of impassive facial expression the urn is shattered below him. artes fine arts magazine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 23 April 2013 | By Mary Hrbacek
Kathleen Elliot’s new series of flame worked glass botanical sculptures are both unexpected and intriguing. She achieves rich surface textures and pure luminous colors in imagery that spans natural form from flowers, fruits, pods and nests, to complex entwined linear vines. The artist accentuates details that are often overlooked when one confronts nature, providing a wealth of visual information that captivates the viewer’s imagination. Elliot’s feeling for nature transcends the ordinary; she creates an amalgam of heightened spiritual feeling with a California awareness of animation that imbues her works with a refined otherworldly subtext.
Left: Kathleen Elliot, We’re All On the Same Tree (2008) Glass, 12″ h x 11″ w x 3″ d, (display base). artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 22 April 2013 | By Richard Friswell
John James Audubon (1785-1851) was not the first person to attempt to paint and describe all the birds of America, but for half-a-century he was the young country’s dominant wildlife artist. His seminal Birds of America (1827-39), a collection of 435 life-size prints, quickly eclipsed others’ work and remains a standard against which ornithological renditions that followed are measured. A man of his times, he reflected the surging interest in moving science out of the realm of theological debate, as it endeavored to create taxonomic models for newly-discovered creatures in a rapidly-expanding natural world. With one foot in the arts and the other in the natural sciences, Audubon defies ready characterization. With his eye very much affixed to his future place in history, his gifts as poet, writer and documentarian, he strived to actively engage his audiences in the drama and inherent beauty to be found in the birds he so actively observed, researched and documented with his brilliant, dynamic images. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 16 April 2013 | By Richard Friswell
Loss of a Halo
By Charles Baudelaire, from, le spleen le Paris: petits poèms en prose (1863)
“Eh! What! You here, my dear? You in a place of ill-repute! You, the drinker of quintessences! You the eater of ambrosia! Indeed, this really surprises me.”
“– My dear, you know my terror of horses and of carriages. Just a little while ago, as I was crossing the boulevard very hastily and jumping about in the mud, through that moving chaos in which death comes galloping toward you from all sides at once, I moved abruptly and my halo slipped from my head into the mire on the pavement. I didn’t have the courage to pick it up. I decided that it would be less disagreeable to lose my insignia than to break my bones. And surely, I told myself, bad luck is always good for something. Now I can walk about incognito, commit base actions, and give myself over to filthy debauchery, like simple mortals. And here I am, just like you, as you can see!”
“– You should at least place a lost and found advertisement for that halo, or make a claim for it at the police station.”
“– By my faith! No. I’m quite comfortable here. You’re the only one who has recognized me. Anyway, dignity bores me. And I can’t help but feel joyful when I think that some bad poet will pick it up and impudently set it on his head. What a delight to make someone happy! And especially someone who will make me laugh! Just think if it were X, or Z! Hey! Wouldn’t that be funny!”
When Baudelaire’s poet abandoned his halo in the mire of a Paris street, he did more than disclaim the mantle of adoration affixed to those, like him, who had gone before ; he traded the sacred for the profane, embracing the intimate, familiar surroundings of a brothel in favor of the distant accolades of countless anonymous strangers. Newly-modern Paris had razed the artifice of the past, and along with it, cast aside the historical foundations of classical historicism and sovereign autocracy that had bound it to its own tumultuous history. Europe in the closing years of the century was poised for another revolt—not at hastily-erected street barricades of the garde nationale—but in the studios and libraries of painters, playwrights and poets. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 10 April 2013 | By Mark Favermann
On a recent trip to Europe, my plane had an extended layover in Amsterdam. So, on a pre-planned quest, I journeyed by train from the airport to the ancient university city of Utrecht, The Netherlands, to see the austere, sculptural house—the Rietveld-Schroeder Huis, designed and built in 1924, by Gerrit Rietveld (left: photo by Mark Favermann).
A Dutch architect and furniture designer of extraordinary talent, Rietveld (1888-1964) was still an architectural student in 1916, when he started his own furniture factory in his hometown of Utrecht. His father had a joinery business at which he had previously worked. Rietveld then apprenticed in a jeweler’s studio. During his student years, he became familiar with the work and theories of other Dutch artists and designers. Ever experimenting with form, materials and construction methods, he produced a variety of furniture designs, and especially iconic chairs, in a straightforward strategically simplified, yet abstracted way. artes fine arts magazine Read more
Posted on 2 April 2013 | By Mark Favermann
Set on a verdant 49 acre landscaped campus with 13 other structures, in an odd 20th Century way, Philip Johnson’s Glass House is a bit like the Sphynx. It is iconic, sublime and rather mysterious. Johnson’s Glass House may be one of the best known residential structures in not only the United States, but the world.
Philip Johnson’s Glass House, on the grounds of his estate, now open to the public, in New Canaan, CT
It is by any standard an architectural masterpiece. Aesthetically, materially, visually and even structurally, it is a building form of design importance. It touches various aesthetic and visual chords of anyone who sees it. The Glass House is Philip Johnson’s greatest achievement as an architect and as a lifelong creative professional. artes fine arts magazine Read more