Kaleidoscopic Paintings by Sarah Helen More Pulse with Vibrant Energy

Featured image © Sarah Helen More: “Hide and Seek”

Textile design and the visual language of quilting shine through in Sarah Helen More’s paintings. Her kaleidoscopic works pair various geometric and botanical motifs in patchworks of flat graphic color. Emitting a joyful, meditative energy, the vivid compositions directly tie to the artist’s childhood memories and experiences.

Growing up in Portland, Oregon, and Houston, More was exposed to her mother’s quilting practice and her father’s vast geology collection, and she fuses the two in her works, as organic imagery melds with stripes and bold blocks of color. Now inspired by her daily walks around her home in Seattle, the artist often begins with a photograph or sketch before translating the patterns to the canvas.

Read the original article here…

Why Did Art History Marginalize Janet Sobel?

Featured image: Janet Sobel, “Untitled” (c. 1946), oil and enamel on board, 18 x 14 inches (artwork © Janet Sobel; photo © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY; image courtesy the Menil Collection)

HOUSTON — In the fall of 1944, the gallerist and collector Peggy Guggenheim was confident that she’d found the next big thing. “Put Janet Sobel on your list,” she once wrote to a fellow gallerist. “She is the best woman painter by far (in America).” A year later, Guggenheim included Sobel’s work in a group show at her renowned New York gallery Art of This Century, which then hosted the artist’s solo show the following year. Covered in vibrant, dripping colors and web-like layers of texture, Sobel’s groundbreaking paintings attracted the attention of New York’s key critics and artists; in fact, Jackson Pollock created his now-iconic all-over drip paintings sometime after seeing Sobel’s work. But in 1947, at the height of her fame, Sobel left New York and its art scene. Soon after, American art history largely left her behind, too.

Janet Sobel: All-Over at the Menil Collection is a timely, captivating glimpse into this formative but nearly-forgotten figure through 30 of her paintings and drawings. Curated by Natalie Dupêcher and on view through August 11, the exhibition not only presents visitors with the rare opportunity to experience Sobel’s unique work, which broke the mold of mid-century American avant-garde art, but it also raises important questions about the ways that we remember and historicize artists who have long been pushed to the margins.

Read the original article here…

Through the Work of More than 60 Artists, ‘The Golden Thread’ Traces the Rise of Textiles in Contemporary Art

Featured image: Rachel B. Bayes, “Pixel Dreamin’” (2024), monofilament thread, polycarbonate Roscolux filters, shimmer poly-organza, and marine vinyl binding, 92 x 108 x 36 inches

In the historic South Street Seaport area of Manhattan, a former 18th-century mercantile warehouse sets the scene for a monumental exhibition of contemporary textile art. The Golden Thread: A Fiber Art Show, presented by BravinLee, gathers more than 100 artworks by 61 artists into the cavernous space, including ten site-specific installations that riff on the building’s history, character, and original machinery.

Metaphorically, the golden thread is a feature or concept that is present in all parts of something, holding everything together and imbuing it with value. This notion provides the framework for an ambitious presentation of dozens of pieces by artists who utilize or incorporate fiber into their work, formed around questions like, “How are textiles enmeshed with power?” or, “How can the medium’s previously outcast status at once be challenged and reclaimed?”

Tracing its roots back tens of thousands of years, fiber has played an intrinsic role in human society, used in everything from garments to homewares to industrial equipment. Historically defined as a craft, trade, or hobby, fiber encompasses a vast range of practices, from knitting and embroidery to weaving, quilting, and carpet design. During the past century, textiles and their processes have increasingly found their way into fine art, tying contemporary practices to timeless traditions.

Read the original article here…

The Hunt: Leonardo da Vinci’s Fabled Lost Mural

Featured image: Leonardo da Vinci, The Battle of Anghiari, 1500. Photo by Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

by Brian Boucher May 8, 2024

Cerca, trove. “Seek and ye shall find.”

So reads a painted flag in a mural in Florence’s town hall, which one researcher is convinced is a clue to the location of one of art history’s great lost artworks: a major mural by Leonardo da Vinci. The Battle of Anghiari, from the first decade of the 16th century, was commissioned by statesman Piero Soderini and intended to glorify Florentine forces’ victory over Milanese troops in a 1440 battle.

But does it even exist? No one knows for sure.

It lives on in drawings by artists who admired it, including one by no less than Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, now in the Louvre’s collection. But if today you visit the Palazzo Vecchio’s Hall of Five Hundred (a room built to accommodate the city council) and go to the spot where Leonardo’s mural may have been, you’ll see one from decades later by artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari, wherein the cryptic Cerca, trove message is tucked away.

Read the original article here…

Expressionists Great and Not So Great

Featured image: Robert Delaunay, “Circular Shapes, Moon no. 1” (1913); Lenbachhaus Munich and Gabriele Münter and Johannes Eichner Foundation, Munich

LONDON — Sometimes life gets a little queasy. Take today, for example, as I walk toward the entrance to the Press View (my capitals) of a new show called Expressionists at Tate Modern.

The table is laid with heaps of paper to be given away — and one to be signed to prove you are who you are and not, say, Franz Kafka, returned from the grave to add further thickenings of gloom and despondency to the tragedy of our times.

Glancing ahead over a muscling of shoulders, I see that many people are already in Gallery One, looking at this and that, and perhaps even scribbling too. Some do both. The true connoisseur just looks, fingers knotted behind back until they ache.

What’s up then? Why the queasiness? The problem is in the word itself: Expressionists. Am I sure that I know, after all these long years of gawping at thousands of paintings, what the word really means? I mean REALLY REALLY means? It readily attaches itself to Germany, of course, like an overcoat introduced to any random door hook.

Read the original article here… and return to share your comments below.

Willem de Kooning’s Italy

Featured image: Willem de Kooning, “Screams of Children Come from Seagulls (Untitled XX)” (1975), oil on canvas, 77 x 88 inches; Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland (© 2024 The Willem de Kooning Foundation, SIAE)

VENICE — The press conference to celebrate this spasmodic retrospective of Willem de Kooning — about his four-decades-long encounter with Italy and all things Italian, and comprising 75 works — takes place in the Grande Sala of the Accademia, against a backdrop of one of the finest and widest paintings of the Italian Renaissance, Paolo Veronese’s “Feast in the House of Levi” (1573).

Is this a religious painting or not? Jesus sits centrally at a table almost as broad as the painting itself, as if presiding over an event called The Last Supper, soon to be rendered poignantly meaningful for millennia to come by his own crucifixion.

Read the original article here… and return to share your comments below.

The Quiet Urgency of Barbara Takenaga’s Paintings

Featured image: Barbara Takenaga, “Cirrus” (2023), acrylic on linen, 24 x 30 inches

Barbara Takenaga has always been a restless artist. Since the early 2000s, she has slowly but continually expanded her process and vocabulary, which has included pouring, chance, pattern, repetition, spheres, and linear marks. In the work of the past two years, however, she has made a major breakthrough. It is not her first breakthrough, but I feel it is the most extensive, elevating her art to a new level of marvelous and engaging complexity. In addition to expanding her formal vocabulary, she has incorporated colors not seen in her previous work, which often relied on closely valued hues. This new territory can be experienced in the artist’s current exhibition, Whatsis, at DC Moore Gallery.

In earlier works, Takenaga found and articulated images almost solely through the process of pouring paint onto a wood surface. Her more recent responses to external sources, which she identifies in works, broadens her range of formal possibilities.

Read the original article here… and return to share your thoughts below.

Musée d’Orsay Revisits the First Impressionist Exhibition—With a V.R. Boost

Featured image: The exterior of the building that held the exhibition in 1874. Photo: Musée d’Orsay.

The story of Impressionism’s birth has been told so often, it’s more myth than historic event. Generally, the tale goes something like this: in 1874, a ragtag gang of disaffected artists reject the Paris Salon by staging an alternative exhibition, critics lambast the art, and the ‘impressionism’ movement is born.

It’s an inaccurate simplification, one the Musée d’Orsay is keen to counter and complicate in an encyclopedic new exhibition “Paris 1874: Inventing Impressionism.” The show arrives 150 years on from that exhibition and together with Washington’s National Gallery of Art, which will host the show in the Fall, the curators stress the primacy of context.

Read the original article here… and return to share your thoughts below.

Kaleidoscopic Paintings by Edie Fake Invoke the Spiritual Wisdom of Plants

Featured image: “Suasion” (2024), acrylic and gouache on wood panel, 36 x 36 inches

In Persuasions, artist Edie Fake turns their attention to the wise, enduring insights of plants. The new series of acrylic and gouache paintings expands Fake’s bold visual language to incorporate flowers, which they render amidst the kaleidoscopic geometries they’re known for. Evocative of architecture and mechanics, the colorful graphic works veer into the spiritual, melding the myriad systems that order our lives.

Fake often begins with a meticulous sketch in graphite. Using rulers and protractors, they render impeccably precise shapes that together, comprise a highly engineered network of gears, bottles, and lanterns.

Read the original article here… and return to share your comments below.

In ‘Epinal,’ Kristof Santy’s Vibrant Tableaux Nod to 19th-Century French Print Traditions

Featured image © Kristof Santy : “Bureau” (2024), oil on canvas, 200 x 180 centimeters

In 19th-century France, a style of bright, illustrative prints known as Images d’Épinal emerged as a way to portray subjects in sharp colors. The name was derived from the works’ first publisher, who hailed from the municipality of Épinal. And while the designs proved popular in children’s items like card games and books, their use as propaganda glorifying Napoleon I solidified the prints’ rise to fame. Today, “image d’Épinal” has become a proverbial expression in French to refer to a naïve depiction of something, showing only its good characteristics.

Roeselare, Belgium-based artist Kristof Santy nods to the legacy of the narrative tableaux in his striking paintings, portraying everyday scenes in vibrant colors, bold lines, and flattened perspectives. His playful, idealized compositions are simultaneously specific and universal; each painting brims with personal or idiosyncratic details that at the same time represent observations we all experience, from getting ready in the bathroom to going to the office to passing vehicles on the road. “Veevervoer,” for example, which means “livestock transport,” depicts a parked yellow truck with its driver-side curtain pulled shut and cartoonish animals peering out from the trailer.

Read the original article here… and return to share your thoughts below.