Toyin Ojih Odutola’s Surface Weaving

Toyin Odutola, Unclaimed Estates (detail), 2017 The first thing I noticed about Odutola’s work is the fabulous attention to texture and changes in surfaces. Most obviously, it’s the skin of her subjects. Faces and bodies writhe with sheen and curves tightly bound together. It’s mesmerizing stuff and is worth staring at for a good while to take in the complexity of her drawing.

Lucinda Parker’s Textured Perspective Shifting

Lucinda Parker, Exposed Basalt – Baroque Fugue, 2018

I’m sad I haven’t noticed Lucinda Parker’s work before. There’s a building near our apartment that has two of her paintings in their lobby, which faces the street. I passed by one night recently and they stopped me in my tracks. Her visions are chunky and hard edged, but they fit together and turn in unexpected ways, like I’m seeing them in a dream.

I can’t find a personal website or Instagram for her, but the Russo Lee Gallery seems to be her outlet, and they have many of her pieces to view.

She’s got a visceral style of painting, making lovely rough fields of color that join together in a vaguely cubist way. Similarly, her perspective shifts in unexpected ways. The image draws my eye, but then bends space, pulling me further in. It’s wonderful to experience in the larger works in person.

Karen Kunc’s Dream World Symbolism

Karen Kunc, In Transience (detail), woodcut, 2017

I don’t know how I didn’t come across Karen Kunc’s work before, because it often exhibits a fusion I’m awed by, of at least three spheres of art: symbolic, abstract, and printmaking. There’s so much at her web site to study.

For me, there’s a strong Paul Klee influence, but that would resonate for any artist using bright color and line symbolism. There’s a drifting, dream component to much of her work. It feels like the way one segment of dream merges into another. Beautiful worlds are created here, I recommend spending some time just absorbing each piece.

Artists and AB 5 Is Another Nexus We’ll Probably Have to Start Dealing With

And by “we” I’m referring to the elephant of a state in the room that will hugely influence the rest of the country in this.

And by “this” I mean independent contractors vs. employees and who decides which you are. Lots of art teachers are treated as 1099 type freelancers. That may change soon.

The Teaching Artists Guild has a rundown on the bill expected to be signed into law. I’m a bit worried about budget cuts, but agree with those who say that even taking a stand on the importance of worker protections for teachers, we’re just standing on a shrinking island of funding with even more weakened advocacy for art in general.

Inside a Foundry That Brings Ideas to Reality

Detail of a photo by Ricky Rhodes

Casey Lesser posted an article on Artsy highlighting the craftspersons who work at Pollich Tallix Foundry, which does work for many high end and famous fine artists, as well as things like memorial sculptures.

It’s a beautiful look at some rarely discussed but essential members of the fine art world, people who solve the problems and put together ideas for artists who mostly hand over their concepts to produce in physical form.

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.