Color Suspended: the Bright Spectrum of Emmanuelle Moureaux’s Work

Layers of cut out kanji, suspended in midair, fill a large room in a saturated sequenced spectrum

Universe of Words, by Emmanuelle Moureaux

Moureaux is a French artist living in Tokyo, Japan. Her work is largely comprised of intense, spectral displays, which I’m forever drawn to. Her work, particularly the 100 Colors installation series. From her bio:

She uses colors as three-dimensional elements, like layers, in order to create spaces, not as a finishing touch applied on surfaces. Handling colors as a medium to compose space, her wish is to give emotion through colors with her creations

Her Instagram page is full of joy in color.

https://instagram.com/emmanuellemoureaux

Art Students Are Doing It for Themselves

Forgive the bastardization of the Eurythmics. But following on the USC art student walkout a few years ago, students at the Glasgow School of Art are demanding tuition refunds due to poor facilities and lack of resources.

It’s understandable the school would have a hard time after two major fires. But students taking control of their education is a good thing, too. While whether to go to art school at all is a personal decision that needs weighing and specific goals to make the most of, students still guide a lot of their path themselves, and a say in the programs is vital, as are realistic promises from institutions.

What It Feels Like to Realize the Death of Formerly Solid Evidence

For a while, now, it’s become clear that what used to be obvious documentation of events is approaching a cliff. The edge is believability, and we’re all clustered at the precipice, some have fallen off, some are looking at the chasm. “It’s Photoshopped” was the death knell of images as proof of things. Soon, it’ll be video as well.

For smug tech nerds like me who believed we could spot fakes at least relatively quickly, it’s about time to wipe the smirks off. As the above video demonstrates, we are very close to being able—and by “we” I mean random people with easily downloaded apps and some time on their hands—to present any number of people in just about any real world situation. Fakes are becoming indistinguishable from reals.

The philosophical implications are big. It’s going to be a struggle to vet sources and establish trust. For art, this is a massive gate to new worlds opening up, but I think the sociological implications need to be acknowledged. In fact, this is something art can expose and illuminate very well.

Christoph Niemann’s Anxiety and Rumination

A person reading a newspaper in a chair, its back facing us, which is peppered with knives sticking out of it.

Image (c) Christoph Niemann

It’s a rather old story in internet terms, but in 2916, Wired published a long excerpt and many illustrations from Niemann’s monograph, Sunday Sketching. It touches on several aspects of what I talk about here, but offers a glimpse inside the insecurities and doubt that even successful artists harbor.

While working, I must be kind and forgiving with my fragile self. But sometimes I must try to look at my oeuvre with the eyes of an old and jaded misanthropic outsider (or a young and jaded misanthropic insider).

Animals and Mystery in Tamsin Abbott’s Fusion of Magic and Glass

Raycomb House, by Tamsin Abbott

Tamsin Abbott builds wonder from carefully etched drawings on stained glass, usually hand-blown (Abbott tends to use “mouth-blown”) by other craftspeople.

Stained glass not only glows with intense color, it has deep religious connotations. Abbott’s work hints at this spirituality, but resonates with older, more animistic tales and associations.

It’s exciting to see other artists on related paths, and I wish I’d found these wonderful works when I was working on my own series of mythic animal-centric pieces. The inspiration would’ve been fascinating, I’ve no doubt.

Angela Harding Creates Nonverbal Narratvie and Mystery

Three hares stare nervously from a tangked shrub in front of a lit house and distant figures in the snow

“We Three Hares” by Angela Harding

There are a few artists doing something not too far from the things I’m experimenting with. Animals in stories, more abstract forms, saturated color. Angela Harding has a woodcut feel to most of her work, and it’s edging more into the commercial print realm than I usually want to go. But I don’t want to ignore that world, either.

Harding is—and rightly so, I’m sure—taking advantage of the attention on her work to expand her venues to merchandising and business commissions. And why not? There’s more snobbish division than I like between illustration and “fine art,” and I don’t think either is superior.

Her work has an art of the mysterious, a little Gorey in there, some dark shadows contrasting the playfulness of the scenes.

The Beautiful Geology of Karin Waskiewicz’s Paintings

© Karin Waskiewicz

I can’t believe I haven’t shared Karin Waskiewicz here before, but a search of the archives seems to show just that. I came across her work when I was finishing my BFA, and it’s engrossing and beautiful. At the time I bookmarked and clipped several of her online images, I was struck by her simple, careful, and novel approach. I’m also a sucker for saturated color, and there’s lots to be found.

At the time, she worked mainly by layering dozens of paint layers on panel, building them up as they dried. She then used tools to carve back into the painting’s stratigraphy, creating biomorphic forms and patterns. She’s got some new work at her site that’s more atmospheric and subtle, but the heart of it is the same. Mesmerizing work that rewards long viewings, is what it is. Her Instagram is here.

You’re Not Too Old: Sheila Hicks, Strange and Intense Work at 84 Years

A widening column of brilliantly colored ropes of fabric cascade into a heap at its base, seemingly floating atop a forested river.
Sheila Hicks, unknown work from the Horst Festival, Belgium 2018. photo by Jeroen Verrecht

It’s easy to think you’ll be overlooked if you’re no longer young, the stars of the art world mostly fawned and obsessed over in their 20s. But cheer up, most of us will be overlooked! But if you’re thinking you might be past it, Sheila Hicks is 84. She’s a fiber artist making some of the best work of her life. Yes, she started younger. As Mayer Hawthorne said: You’ll never be as young as you are today. It really makes no difference. The sooner you start, the sooner we get your work.

Sheila’s is beautiful, gloriously saturated, and it makes me feel like I should let my eyes take a nap from experiencing so much visual joy.

We aren’t making art to be a star. That might be a nice bonus, and have fun if you get that. But it’s in human DNA to make art, and if you’re alive you’ve got some of that. Do it. Sheila will be.

Joan Jonas’s Art Ecology Reflects the Ocean’s

Joan Jonas has an installation at Ocean Space, a new exhibition venue made to facilitate artists and scientists studying the oceans. It’s fascinating and eclectic. Jonas incorporates performance, sculpture, video, drawing, and painting into the work, which may not be fully finished till the end of its run in September.

She’s paralleling the natural ecology of the sea with a kind of ecology of artistic practice. Everything works together as a whole piece, no one element is meant to stand on its own. They feed and support each other.

Julia Iredale’s Haunting Conceptualscapes

I don’t put a lot of illustrators on the blog, even though I have a soft spot for many, and probably more of my art books feature them than any other type. I really like Julia Iredale’s work, however, and love her sense of color. She often chooses limited palettes, moving deftly through various line styles to suit the piece.

I’ve found quite a few that would fit a “mood” meme post, and Iredale is among the few whose work is deceptively simple, incorporating clever arrangement and scale to tell stories with image alone.