Rego’s Girls

Paula Rego: The Bride, acrylic on canvas, 87 3/4 by 79 7/8 inches.

A retrospective of Paula Rego’s paintings was held at the Fun­dacião Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, and the Casa de Serralves, Porto, before coming to the Serpentine Gallery, London, where a considerable number of new paintings were added. The exhibition revealed Rego to be a far more substantial artist than had previously been realized. Born in Portugal in 1935, Rego trained at the Slade School in London and married Victor Willing, a fellow student. Having for many years divided her time between England and Portugal, she now lives in London.

The spacious rooms of the Serpentine Gallery provoked Rego to work on a much larger and more declamatory scale than usual, making public statements rather than domestic observations in a series of new pictures that have the poise and solemnity of history paintings.

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An Exhibition Unearths Rare Production Drawings from the Futuristic Neo Tokyo of the Anime Classic ‘Akira’

Akira, pattern no. 700, final production background Toshiharu Mizutani, poster color on paper, 26 x 37 centimeters

Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 sci-fi classic Akira has had an unparalleled influence on anime and film, and an exhibition at the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin showcases the original drawings that brought its futuristic cyberpunk setting to life. Akira – The Architecture of Neo Tokyo features 59 production backdrops, layouts, concepts, and image boards, many of which have never been shown publicly. The collection includes now-iconic works by art director Toshiharu Mizutani and collaborators Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida, and Takashi Watabe.

Otomo first released the dystopian story as a manga series in 1982 before turning it into the highly influential action film a few years later.

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Blooms Exude Presence and Personality in Bold Cyanotypes by Rosalind Hobley

Image © Rosalind Hobley

In London-based artist Rosalind Hobley’s expressive cyanotypes, flowers assume a portrait-like quality through varied textures and supple shapes. In her Still Life series, a cast of dahlias, anemones, roses, and peonies sit like regal subjects. Originally trained in figurative sculpture, she uses light and shade to accentuate form and gesture. “I aim for my prints to have the weight and presence of a piece of sculpture,” she tells Colossal.

Cyanotype is an early form of photography, first invented in 1842, named for the monochromatic rich blue hue of its prints.

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‘Watercolor Sits on the Edge of Control and Abandon’: How Artist Richard Dupont Rediscovered Drawing With His ‘Islands’ Series

Richard Dupont, Islands 203, 2022. Available now in Buy Now: Islands by Richard Dupont.

When the pandemic began, New York-based artist Richard Dupont found himself far from his studio, with only ink and watercolor paper.

For the artist, who is widely recognized for works that bridge the digital and physical worlds, drawing was always a space for experimentation and spontaneity, and his recent series “Islands” was the next step in his extensive exploration of chance operations.

Begun in Maine during the summer of 2020, these landscapes convey an emotional state, and act as a meditation on the isolation of our online experiences.

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Giacomo Jaquerio and Castello della Manta: new attributions

Giacomo Jaquerio, Prophet (detail), Carmagnola, buttigliera alta, Sant’Antonio di Ranverso, presbytery

In 1936, Don Michele Marchetti, rector of the church of Sant’Agostino di Carmagnola in the province of Turin, published a small volume dedicated to the history of the building. The book describes some interesting frescoes on the walls and columns of the church (formerly the seat of the Eremitani), for the most part rediscovered by Marchetti himself in the years before. At the same time, photographers Marco Sansoni, commissioned by the Frick Art Reference Library in New York, and Turin-based Guido Cometto extensively documented the works after their discovery. Despite the early attention paid to these frescoes, which can be dated back to the 15th century, they remained largely excluded from the historical-artistic debate on Piedmontese art in the years after.

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Tiny Human Activities Erupt into Vast Celestial Nightscapes in New Paintings by Oliver Jeffers

Image © Oliver Jeffers

Whether working in acrylic on panel or illustrating a scene for one of his children’s books, artist Oliver Jeffers is fascinated by positioning. He returns to questions about perspective and finding a place in the world amidst chaotic politics and an overwhelmingly vast universe.

In The Night in Bloom, a series of ten works soon to be on view at Praise Shadows Art Gallery in Brookline, Massachusetts, Jeffers imagines explosive astronomical scenes and impeccably aligned constellations. One work shrouds an abandoned picnic in deep blues and purples before erupting into a bright nebula, cradling stars between the soft glow of city skylines. Another piece, which the artist will replicate at a massive scale on a facade at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, depicts a figure at home underneath a colorful expanse of galaxies and celestial bodies.

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Stanley Lewis in a Wayward World

Stanley Lewis, “View of Our House with Rhododendrons” (2022), pen and ink on paper, 24 1/4 x 28 inches

I think of Stanley Lewis, who paints from observation, as a Sisyphean painter. He attempts to climb a mountain whose summit he never reaches. The struggle is between the overall composition and how many little details can he get into a painting or a drawing without it seeming to implode or becoming clotted. His desire to get it right has led him to make radical decisions, such as cut out an area of a painting and add a new section where he begins again, or cover over part of an artwork with a piece of Bounty paper towel and paint on it. Certain areas of his drawings bring to mind a shingled roof, because so many rectangular sections have been added to the original sheet and reworked. As idiosyncratic and drastic as Lewis’s method is, he seems to share that capacity for doubt known to possess Willem de Kooning, Chaim Soutine, and Albert Pinkham Ryder. Yet, there is no one who works like Lewis: he is the sole member of a club no one else wants to join. 

Lewis’s singularity is the primary reason why I went to his exhibition, Paintings and Works on Paper at Betty Cuningham Gallery (May 12–July 1, 2022). One of the remarkable things about these works — which you can see immediately in the acrylic on paper “View of the Garden with Orange Fence II” (2020) — is how deep the compositions can be.

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Fighting Enfreakment: Lorenza Böttner At The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

Lorenza Böttner, Untitled, 1985, pastel on paper, 51 by 63 inches.

Lorenza Böttner gazes confidently and seductively over her left shoulder in a pastel self-portrait from 1989. Her hair is flowing; meanwhile, her naked and muscular body reflects the bands of rainbow light surrounding her. Though the environment lacks a horizon line, the rainbow fades into a deep, dark blue that helps ground the scene. Chalky, dirty footprints are scattered over the gradient, as if the paper had at one point itself been a ground—or more specifically, a dance floor. The portrait is a record of irreverent dancing in more ways than one: Böttner is grooving, and it’s contagious.

If you know anything about Böttner—a Chilean-German artist who was born in 1959, started presenting as female in art school, made many self-portraits, and died in her thirties of AIDS-related complications—you’ll recall that there is no arm at the end of that left shoulder she’s gazing over, nor at the end of her right one. Though it’s right there, in the middle of the five-foot sheet of paper, the nub on her shoulder is far from the first thing a viewer notices in this work.

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Expressive Watercolor Paintings Are Candid Snapshots of People Living in the Moment

Ineffable in-between moments are immortalized in the graceful paintings of Stephen Zhang. The Texas-based artist uses washes of delicate colors and swift brushstrokes to capture a variety of different people in the midst of living their lives. From serving food to dancing to giving haircuts, these intimate portrayals emphasize smaller occasions that are oft-forgotten.

Originally from China, Zhang relocated to the U.S. to complete an MFA in Communication Design at the University of North Texas, where he currently works as part of the faculty. While he is versed in a variety of mediums, he prefers watercolor as his material of choice. “I have a special connection with watercolor since it bridges Eastern and Western artistic traditions,” Zhang tells My Modern Met. “When I paint, I take advantage of contradictions inherent in the medium—between complexity and simplicity, controlling and letting go, external and internal, and permanent and temporary. My painting always starts with something that moves me, and then it begins to take on its own path.”

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Walter Murch Sought to “Paint the Air” Between His Eye and His Subject

Walter Murch, “Car Heater,” (1957), oil on canvas 21 ½ by 16 ½ inches, (North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh)

On December 11, 1967, after giving a talk at a Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture fundraiser at the River Club in New York City, the 60-year-old Walter Tandy Murch suffered a heart attack and died. At the time, Murch stood at the height of his art fame: He had recently been awarded a Guggenheim and a major traveling show of his work was making its final stop at the Brooklyn Museum.

For the next 50-plus years, Murch’s family and friends sought to produce a monograph on his artwork. With the support of filmmaker George Lucas, who owns an ample collection of Murch’s work, Walter Tandy Murch: Paintings and Drawings, 1925-1967 has finally been realized as a large, handsome coffee-table book featuring generous essays on the enigmatic art by Lucas, the artist’s son Walter Scott Murch, and art historians Robert Storr, Winslow Myers, and Judy Collischan.

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