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We may not make things anymore in America, but there’s one group that still does – the artist. The artist is the one still making things – tangible objects for us to observe and connect with our society. Art is what we still make.
And, what is it that makes art? Mix irony with a reflection of the times. Cervantes does this with his Don Quixote, Jon Stewart in pointing at us every day in social satire, and the Coen Brothers with their latest film “Hail, Caesar!”
And, as for this film, leave it to the Coen Bros. to give us a mirroring tale of the search for human redemption by posing it in the light of Corporate Production Image-Making Hollywood and extolling [its] sincerest virtues while admitting its ultimate power over us.
The film has irony play lead – it’s all over the place, and, so too, is…
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Beautifully written description of the artistic process. I was just thinking about a student today, that is having difficulty doing just that– “pulling back, in order to see the whole” and realizing that even in the area of computer graphics where images are made up of discreet units, 1’s and 0’s (black and white) about as concrete as you can get, there is such variation, even down to the way that the GUI of any given user’s screen will look because of Preference settings– the areas of “gray” are aplenty. How we see this is one thing, how we “read” it is another.
Being in the profession of teaching visual communication, I am constantly trekking back and forth between the nitty gritty of ‘what it is’ and ‘what does it mean’? while at the same time attempting to get my students to ask these very same questions. How we attach meaning to what we see, and by extension, taste, smell, hear, feel– this is not only what we need to understand today, but also how we’ve altered the very systems of perception by creating the virtual space that we inhabit right alongside (inside, outside of) our daily lives.
How to describe our experience of these landscapes is the next step– albeit one that many never take. In the work world, simple interactions between colleagues take on wholly new meanings when expressed across digital platforms rather than face to face. In some cases, we “lose our cool” in that face to face interaction, simply because we’re no longer as used to a real time verbal exchange. Synchronously, we decry the inability of the e-mail message to convey the true emotion of our message. Thus the emoji:) and
artists such as New media artist Carla Gannis reimagining Hieronymous Bosch’s 16th century masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights by collaging signs & symbols of everyday virtual speech – called emoji – over a copy of the original work. Gannis just gave an art talk at Real Art Ways last week.
And Alina Gallo’s “Keleti Station” a life-sized egg tempera mural to be painted directly onto the walls of Real Art Ways, Real Room, re-creating Keleti Station, a train station in Budapest, Hungary where thousands of refugees (many from Syria and Afghanistan) were stranded on their way to Germany, Sweden, and other European destinations during the summer and fall of 2015. Gallo will use imagery sourced from traditional and social media, anti- and pro-migrant graffiti, and disparate first-hand accounts, to create a composite graphic rendering of Keleti Station directly on the walls of the Real Room in April, 2016.
Artists and designers alike, have always been involved in a conversation with the history of images from the past. The unique thing about the conversation today, is the connection to a split sense of reality, just like a split screen, and the juxtaposition of these images with the technology and/or implications of our technology laden society. Artists like Christopher Sullivan who paints beautifully designed, formally arranged canvases, that contain jarring content with associated meaning depicted by the chosen imagery are showing work in the New England area. “You, Me, Humility and Pride,” will be on exhibition at Easthampton City Arts+ Gallery, February 1-25, 2016. According to the write up for the show, “Christopher Sullivan exhibits a collection of recent paintings – a pastiche of figures found in art history, pop culture, and the artist’s imagination. The mash-up of images incorporated with abstract elements create a sense of traditional formal coherence between space, light, and color. Sullivan, formerly a minimalist abstract painter, experiments with a balance of the sometimes incongruous forms and colors until they work harmoniously. The extraordinary precision of Sullivan’s paintings result in a complex orchestration of juxtaposed elements.” and the artist himself, comments:
“I don’t have a particular image or story in mind as I begin. It develops through playing/making. It’s a very open process and that keeps it surprising/revealing for me.”
The “artspeak” and the gallery invitation and the artist’s own description of process, doesn’t convey the power of the work to the viewer. But with any work, the power is found in the viewing itself.
“The artist considers himself neither an abstract nor a realist artist, but simply a painter, creating conditions which cause a viewer to be involved and interested enough to look harder, longer and deeper into relationships. In seeking definition, his paintings and drawings deliberately contrast color, light, spaces, imagery and paint handling to arrive at an unplanned and at times surprising resolution and balance.”
I would go farther to say, this is what all good art and design attempt to do– interrupt the stream of data, the stream of consciousness of day to day life, the blather, the bother, the minutiae. They do this by interrupting the visual code by which those of us who can see, live by. And in doing so, they invite us to the table of contemplation.
“Our electrically-configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-by-block, step-by-step, because instant communication insures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in a state of active interplay.”
1967 from ”The Media is the Massage”
The way in which we both read and communicate is being altered by digital technology with its quantity, pace, immediacy, and accessibility. Information is transmitted and made available all of the time, and foremost, is generated in “real time”. Images, the same. This poses all sorts of changes made to how we write, read, interpret, and, ultimately, make changes to our existing language.
If the form of writing changes from handwritten correspondence to instant messaging, the language in turn, follows suit. The limited time and space of the text message and the tweet…
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I would love to begin my blog discussing the latest Star Wars movie and tie this in with [a] recent Guerrilla Girls appearance on The Stephen Colbert Show, along with the SNL ‘Undercover Boss’ sketch with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, and, how these entertainment incidentals (the grist of our Postmodernist mill) tie in with where we are in our society with regard to Art and Culture.
But… I think I need to first identify my angle of approach in Getting Art : Now = where I simply want to discuss contemporary art in a way so that we all can try and understand it (why are Warhol’s soup cans so important?) and participate in the discussion no matter our level or background in art. How I will do this will be by looking at contemporary art shows at galleries and writing about the work shown. The art on the walls…
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