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Marcin Roncancio.

I have always disliked expressionism. The style never really appealed to me, so imagine my trepidation at something I thought could only be far worse– Abstract Expressionism, oh the horror! Despite this, I knew the value of seeing a gallery alongside of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, and Ms. Goldberg, who gave the talk did not disappoint.

The gallery was flooded with works by Pollock, which I will admit, even with my interest at its height, I could not bring myself to truly appreciate. What interested me most in association to his work, was the term “action painting,” and the particular way it was explained to me: it describes art, such as Pollock’s, in which the process of creating was just as important and full of meaning–if not more so–than the final product. To me, it describes art for the artist, not for the viewer or the patron. Art that is cathartic and full of feeling, if not any particular meaning.

Speaking about painting full of feeling, full of emotion, I find it impossible not to squeeze in mention of Rothko, by far my favorite artist in the gallery, and perhaps the saving grace of abstract expressionism in my personal taste. His large broad canvases with bold streaks of color somehow spoke to me. I understood the use of color, and appreciated the layering and amount of work put into these paintings. I also thought it fascinating to see how matured as an artist and developed his own trademark.

Finally I’d like to mention how incredibly interesting I found the connections between the various artists influenced their works. From what I gathered, the scope of the art world during this period, and within the particular movement was quite small. It seemed as though all of the artists knew each other, and in constructing what we now call “abstract expressionism” they worked off of each other’s ideas, and provided each other with great inspiration. The influences of individual artists can be seen in the works of others, through use of color (the black and white room), structure (biomorphism, cubism), technique (dripping, “action painting”, zips), and materials (use of masking tape, plaster, oil and enamel paints).

(I apologize for the late post.)

Our visit to the chelsea galleries was quite interesting and eye opening. Not only were we exposed to different types of painting, but also, we were exposed to different messages and themes conveyed by the painters. However, if I did have to pick one of the painters as my favorite it would definitely be Kim Dorland. Those works were absolutely fantastic and introduced a new technique to painting.

The most remarkable thing about Dorland’s works was the use of 3-dimensionality. Dorland used so much paint that the images actually popped out at you from the surface. For instance, in the giant painting of a tree, Dorland actually had at least a solid inch-thick layer of paint on the whole piece of wood, from which he carved out a tree. This gave the piece 3-dimensionality because by having the tree set in the paint itself it created an illusion of distance, which was remarkable. Aside from this, we learned that Dorland used about $10,000 in paint alone and was selling the piece for $45,000. This in itself was quite amazing an added the the grandeur of the piece.

The other amazing part of Dorland’s works was the use of non-paint materials. For instance, the use of actual bark for the construction of the wooden hut piece was awesome. Again it created 3-dimensionality on the piece, but also it showed a rare yet awesome mixture of painting with sculpture and improvisation. Dorland showed a command of the materials at hand that is quite rare in painters and quite honestly it was superb.

My personal favorite, in terms of Dorlands’s works, was the crying ghost piece. It appeared to be made with water colors, although I might be mistaken. Something about the cool blue’s used in the piece is what really set it apart from everything else. I could really see the pain and suffering in the ghost’s eyes. For me the cool colors and the tormented look really set this piece apart and made me want to buy it. Again, this exemplified Dorland’s command of the materials at hand and exemplified the skills of the painter.

In all, I’m glad we went to the galleries, and I will definitely be heading back there on my own time for a visit.

Visual Art Paper- Nicole

Comparing Jackson Pollock and Jorge Queiroz

visual art paper

My idol, Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is my idol. She has been my artistic role model since the age I began to recognize paintings. After a trolley accident when she was fifteen up until she died at age forty-seven in 1954, her life was filled with constant physical and emotional pain and disappointment. The accident injured her pelvis and spine, stripping her of her ability to have children and forcing her to wear various types of plaster corsets and metal braces for the rest of her life. She suffered miscarriages and had to undergo almost thirty-five surgeries on her back and spine. She was an individual, decorating her self every day like a little Mexican doll. She was an intelligent girl who managed to get kicked out of school for pulling pranks. She was bisexual and was rumored to have cheated on her husband with men and women to “get even”, Lenin Trotsky among them. She drank hard liquor and smoked cigars. For all these reasons and more, Frida is unlike any other female artist I have ever heard about.

It may be slightly humorous, or maybe pathetic, to note the great lengths I have undergone to form some sort of connection with the great Frida Kahlo. I’ve tried to replicate her painting style to gain some Mexican influences to no avail; drawn myself a poster sized tribute of Calaveras, or Mexican sugar skulls, and flowers in time to remember the anniversary of her death, and even traveled all the way to Mexico to visit her home. La Casa Azul, or the Blue House, is located in the small town of Coyoacan in Mexico City. The town is filled with sidewalk restaurants, colorful houses, and blocks filled with costume shops for tourists. Frida grew up in the Blue House, built by her German father Guillermo Kahlo, and moved back during the final years of her life. It was converted into a museum only a few years after, but most her work was moved to other museums around Mexico. Even though I was not able to see her works there, or even take photographs inside the house, I felt a strong bond with Frida the moment I stepped into her garden, right in the center of the house. Walking around and in and out of her rooms, I could almost see her painting, crying, sleeping, smoking, or writhing in pain. My eyes were constantly moving and resting on different areas, her abandoned brushes and canvases, a painted corset, and the red Communist sickle and hammer adorning several walls around the house.

Some of Frida’s works remind me of car crashes, or finding a dead animal–there’s a grotesque and graphic quality and yet the viewer continues to look, analyze, and attempt to commit every detail to memory. One of the most graphic is My Birth, which portrays…well…her birth. Her mother lies on her back, legs spread wide open, and naturally delivering a newborn Frida. In A Few Small Snips Frida twistedly paints the domestic attack of a young woman by her husband. She found the story in a newspaper article where a woman was viciously murdered in an act of jealousy. The woman’s husband told the judge, “But it was just a few small nips!” Her mental state was severely unstable after discovering her sister Cristina sleeping with her husband and channeled her pain into this piece.

Of her collection of almost two hundred paintings, my absolute favorites are her first Self Portrait from 1926, the Two Fridas, and The Broken Column. The self-portrait looks so different from the dozens of others she came to paint, reflecting the style of the Italian Renaissance. She sits up straight, body lengthened and slimmed, hair pulled back, and clothed in a red velvet dress. The warm colors are very romantic, which is understandable considering she painted this as a gift to win back her boyfriend. The Two Fridas was painted after she divorced from Diego and reflects her two personalities, the Frida in a Victorian wedding dress that Diego abandoned and the Frida in full Tehuana costume that Diego loved. She paints a stormy, cloudy background, expressing her storm of inner emotion and heartbreak. Both Fridas “wear their hearts on their sleeve”; the Frida in Victorian dress is missing part of her heart and trying to stop the blood flow while the others is perfectly intact. Either way, they grasp hands desperately; she was her only true friend. The Broken Column is one of her more tragic paintings, clearly depicting her intense physical pain. She stands all alone in a desert, breasts exposed and making her vulnerable to the audience (originally, she was entirely nude but she thought it took away from the emotional distress), and she is crying. The reference in the title comes from the fact that Frida’s Ionic column was broken and she was forced to wear a steel corset that tightly gripped her body and kept her strained. She has nails all over her body, representative of physical pain; the largest one piercing her heart is from Diego. Overall, her works utilized styles of Art Noveau, the European Still Life popular in the 20s, characteristics of Mexican folk art, and Surrealist concepts.

The Evolution of Painting

Here’s my paper on how painting has changed over time. Check it out! 😉

The Evolution of Painting by Darren Panicali

Izaya’s Paper on Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

Chelsea/MoMA Responses (Zoe)

I’ve always had an odd relationship with the visual arts. I enjoy visiting museums, there are a few illustration blogs I pay attention to, and there is even a short list of artists who I consider my favorites above all others. That said, I’ve never been especially skilled at “understanding” the art that I so enjoy looking at. While I cannot honestly say that I feel I “understand” painting anymore than I did before visiting the galleries in Chelsea, or the Museum of Modern Art, neither experience was in any way an intellectual waste of time.

Like most of my classmates, I quite enjoyed the Kim Dorland exhibit. I think the main reason his art resonated with me so strongly was because of the way it lent itself so easily to a narrative. I have found that the art I enjoy the most is frequently the art that, in its own limited way, tells a story, or at the very least inspires a story within me. His depiction of life in rural Canada was potent, without being overbearing. There was a certain amount of subtlety in the artwork; we, the viewers, are not beaten over the head with Dorland’s narrative.

Speaking more technically, one could attribute the potency of Dorland’s images to his use of color as a means of creating drama and tension. Unlike some of the other works we viewed on our tour of the Chelsea galleries, Dorland’s paintings were vibrant, and added real emotion to the pieces.

At the Museum of Modern Art, I found myself attracted to another vibrantly colorful (if monochromatic) piece: Barnett Newman’s Vir Heroicus Sublimis. According to our guide, Ms. Joan Pancher, the piece was separated according to a mathematical concept known as the “golden section”. This piece of information made me appreciate the painting more—the painting no longer seemed to be a meaningless, arbitrary non-statement. Now it had a purpose, a purpose that I could respond to and understand. I also found it remarkable how Newman used color in such an intense fashion that even staring at the painting for a few seconds (up close, as the artist intended) made my eyes vibrate. I had never really considered the possibility that such a seemingly bland slab of red could contain so much life.

My favorite gallery out of the ones we visited was definitely Kim Dorland’s. The gallery smelled of “New Material,” such as drying paint and freshly cut wood. I liked the sloppy layers of paint on his paintings, which still came out to form beautifully frightening figures. I admired his choice to include the animals of the Canadian forest he spent his childhood. For instance, the crows made of feathers, glitter, and black goo and the graffitied caribou. The wolf, of course, stood out the most, because he wasn’t simply in a painting. The combination of feminine lavender with the masculine features of a wolf was cleverly expressed in that piece. Kim Dorland included tons of nature in his paintings, such as naked trees and mysterious waters. He mixed fantasy with reality when he painted monsters, such as the boogieman, big foot, and unknown sea creatures, among natural settings. We all imagine such things when we’re alone in the dark, especially in a quiet place such as a forest. His rebellious childhood is clearly revealed in his choice of black paint and the “rocker” vibe he applied to some of his paintings. I liked how he emphasized man’s infiltration of nature through his art, because I strongly feel that people are blind to their wrongdoings, especially when it comes to their environment.

Another gallery I thought was quirky was the first gallery we stopped by. Although I couldn’t quite understand what was going on in most of the paintings, I noticed pattern among them: nearly all contained various body parts positioned among splatters of paint. I noticed many eyeballs, peeking faces, and bleeding hearts. The haunted faces I noticed in these paintings seemed highly introspective and mysterious. I enjoyed the artist’s sculptures more, however. Some of them appeared to play with my vision. For example, the sculpture that contained a mirror image of a face with tongues under it appeared to be a 3-D box, when it was really just a cardboard separating the two mirror images. The elephant that was holding a baby cradle toy looked both like an elephant and a human. The 12 feet of different size looked like they were all dancing tango with each other because of the way their hands were elongated and connected.

The Bruce Marden gallery barely interested me, because it seemed very repetitive and hard to grasp. Maybe if the color were at least more vibrant, his paintings would’ve been more pleasing to the eye.

Kent Dorn’s “Remains” gallery slightly reminded me of Kim Dorland’s gallery, just a little more calming and realistic. I noticed several hippies in his paintings and glued-on eyes, as if from a collage. That was slightly different than the typical camping setup with friends that he drew.

William M. Copley’s “X-Rated” was quite amusing. It was painted in a way that reminded me of pop art from the 1950s, except with a perverted twist. Nothing strange, just silly and humorous.

The last gallery, Nicky Nodjoumi’s “Invitation to Change Your Metaphor,” was very interesting to me, mainly because of its political background and the recurring images of naked women in a culture that does not permit it. I didn’t really understand a lot of the paintings, but that’s probably just because I don’t know enough background information on all the politics in Iran.

-Polina Mikhelzon

The Chelsea Galleries were fun.  Not all of the galleries appealed to my taste, but there were a few that stood out among the rest.  Such exhibits that intereseted me were the Chinese calligraphy/squiggly line exhibit from Bryce Martin and “New Material” by Kim Doland. I also feel that I would have enjoyed Nicky Nodjoumi if I had seen it earlier in our tour.

The squiggly line exhibit fascinated me.  I didn’t know I could find emotion in such a seemingly senseless collection.   At first glance I didn’t know what to think of the gallery.  I couldn’t see where any of the paintings required the skill and artistic outlook that it takes to have one’s art recognized.  I also couldn’t understand how these pictures were inspired by Chinese calligraphy; they all just seemed like bunches of multicolored yarn on worn-out canvas.  But after further observation I began to recognize the insight of the artist.  I began to find meaning, or at least a personal meaning, in the layering, colors, and borders.  Brightly colored lines were meant to stand out from the more bland colors of the other lines and the canvas.  Each line was drawn under the second line but above the third line.  I saw juxtaposition in the colors, and the layering represented an unending battle between brightness and darkness.  When considering the exhibit as a whole, the paintings each represented emotions, from anger to jealousy to happiness.  Different feelings were represented by different colors, and the squiggles and layers implied complexity in each emotion. I left the emotion with a different opinion from the one I walked in with.

My favorite gallery was the “New Material” gallery by Kim Dorland.  There were so many things I liked about this, but what I liked the most was the ingenuity.  I thought it was ingenious how he used glitter, feathers, and dried paint on top of dead wolves, bark, and a deer head in order to reduce painting to its basic constituents, thereby expanding the field by applying it in a new way.  I also liked the environmentalist touch to the paintings.  The graffiti on the deer head, the beer cans in the trees, and the fiery colors on some of the paintings illustrate man’s intrusion on nature, which is given a negative connotation throughout the gallery.  The wolves, ghosts, and other scary objects are evidently moments from Dorland’s childhood that have stayed in his subconscious, but what they actually represent is fascinating. This ghost effect also characterizes the humans in the woodland area (all of the paintings have a woodland setting) as a boogieman, adding to the negative connotation previously mentioned.  Particularly, I found it interesting that a demon-like figure standing by a lake was representative of his father.  The fact that each painting has its own value to me and a separate meaning to the painter is what I have always enjoyed about art.

One thing I didn’t like about the tour is that there were so many galleries.  I enjoyed a few of them, but I felt that by the end of the tour I was tired of appreciating pictures. This fatigue influenced how I viewed the later galleries.  I didn’t find anything interesting in the sex gallery. As I watched the Israeli gallery I could tell that I wasn’t enjoying, but not because of the art.  If we had seen this exhibit earlier I would have loved it, but so late I was just tired of interpreting things. After about 5 galleries my open mind had been filled and I no longer found appeal in the arts.  However, I loved the Telsa cars.  Those were amazing.  I think those, combined with the highline and Dorland’s gallery made this trip very enjoyable and insightful.

The walking tour of the Chelsea galleries  was a rather enjoyable experience. The galleries that stood out to me the most were Kim Dorland’s and the X-rated gallery.

Kim Dorland’s work was like none I had ever seen. He made his paint stick out in his monster paintings to make the monsters pop out as well as look repulsive with the shape of the paint thickness. The giant moose head with all the graffiti and pollution was meaningfull in that it showed how the mess we leave as human beings is affecting the animals in their natural habitats. Although I have never seen a moose with that mind of mess on its head, the head symbolizes what kind of mess we are causing. What I found really impressive was that for one of his paintings, thousands of dollars were spent on the amount of paint used. It shows how seriously the artist takes his work to get across the feel and message. I found the cabin painting to be my most favorite of the gallery because Dorland used actual pieces of wood to stick out and make it look like a real cabin. Once again he incorporated the theme of pollution to leave a powerful message. The graffiti saying “Keep the Fuck Out” left a lasting impression but more interestingly, there was a small window on the piece of wood sticking out. I looked in and saw an image of a naked woman which I thought was pretty funny and clever.

The X-rated gallery was a nice way of entertaining us after seeing so many abstract and serious paintings. In addition to the sexual content, I found some of the paintings to be quite humorous such as the paintings with women with insane amounts of hair. There was also a painting where a woman was holding what I think was a hammer to her genitalia which was surprising but in a funny way. Another painting that had me thinking was one where a woman had a bug on her buttock and I was debating whether or not it was a tattoo or a real bug. On the topic of tattoos, I also found it humorous that some of the men in the highly sexual paintings had tattoos like “mother” with an anchor right next to it on their arms.

I did not find the other galleries as amusing, such as Nicky Nodjoumi’s. We learned that Nodjoumi was highly involved in politics and that he was from Iran. However, I could not understand a singleone of his paintings even with that bckground information on him. Many of the people in his paintings were composed of parts that were uneven, almost sliding off of each other. I did not know what to make of that, nor the animals that were in his paintings. The animals most likely represented political figures that he was making fun of or criticizing.

Overall, I enjoyed the galleries and the different things they had to offer. There was an interesting variety of paintings from artist to artist and it was fun seeing all these paintings.

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