Skinner is a California Artist from Sacramento. He has been very successful with commercial art including toys and other merchandise. His art has been featured on record covers and band posters, including the stage decoration for last year’s “Outside Lands Concert” in Golden Gate Park.
Leslie Shows is a local Bay Area artist whose paintings have titles like ” The Arrangement of Salts and Metals by Properties,” where she succeeds in melding elemental natural tones with moody pychedelic lightning and rainbow crystals. The vibrant colors and the explosive use of paint in Leslie Shows work, balanced with the subtle greys and stone. Her paintings reunite the rift between science and art by utilizing color and form to explain what is happening in our real world sometimes on such a grand scale that we are usually unable to notice. The first image is detail of her painting called “The Nitrogen Cycle.” She magically displays working concepts on thge working of our physical world by combining elements to create something as basic as the air we breathe. Everything is located on a grand Geologic Time Scale which surpasses our normal experience of the world by millions of years and can destroy our reality with one shift.
I especially love the displays of lightening in her art. She is using the paint as a medium often without use of a brush to create gradients and layers like the sedimentary layers of the earth. There are many textures created by metals and remnants of the manufacturing process being scratched through the painted surface. The fractal physics of liquid dynamics is visible on a smaller scale.
Here is a brillant installation which suits her work on a grand scale at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. She brings a timeless element to a world that is always changing and we are just a passing moment in it.
Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón de Rivera
July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954
Frida Kahlo has intrigued me since I was a child. She was the second female artist I recognized, after Georgia O’Keefe, when I saw her work in a museum in Fort Worth, Texas. It was her poignant portrayal of pain that shocked me and made me aware of a new aspect of life I hadn’t considered. Of course this was a very marked aspect of herself that she dealt with through out her life. As a teenager she was in a streetcar accident that fractured her spine, pelvis, collarbones and forced her to wear full torso body casts and be in bed for much of her life. She also suffered in a relationship with Diego Rivera, a famous muralist that was 20 years older that her. They were in love and overcome many obstacles, but not without sadness that you see expressed in her art.
Frida Kahlo was painted in this mural in 1940 by Diego Rivera. The couple had recently divorced when he came up to San Francisco to participate in Art in Action. During the World Faire held on Treasure Island that year, he painted this fresco which was later transferred to San Francisco City College. The couple remarried shortly afterwards and they lived in a specially designed house with a bridge between the two separate parts.
This is a painting of Frida’s father who took many pictures of her growing up and encouraged her as an artist. She had a multicultural background. Her father was a Hungarian Jew and her mother was of Mexican and Native Indian decent.
Frida is most famous for her self portraits which give us a glimpse of what her life may have been like at the time. While she didn’t recieve much fame during her life, she is now the subject of a major movie and her image is found everywhere in gift shops and museums around the world.
I especially appreciate her visceral images of nature and was struck by this painting I originally saw in the Kimball Museum at age 8.
She and Diego were very political, housing the soviet refugee Leon Trotsky. They actively held communist party meetings in there home and had a very lively social life. In 1953 she had her first and only Solo Exposition in Mexico. Doctors orders were to stay in bed so she had her bed delivered in an ambulance so she could attend the opening.
“I suffered two grave accidents in my life…One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
Leonora Carrington is a Mexican Surrealist Artist who was born in Britian in 1917 and died this year, 2011. She met artist Max Ernst in London and escaped the NAZI occupation of Paris she fled to Mexico City. She is one of the top three female surrealist artists of all time and remained in Mexico for the rest of her life.
Her paintings are very detailed and they portray a secret or obscured aspect of the world. She uses many symbols and ritual shapes to express the mystical order and activities in the universe that most people do not notice. She was very well educated in europe but left it all to pursue art and express her point of view.
She wrote and illustrated this children’s book in 1977 and she also made sculptures and masks for theatre.
“You may not believe in magic but something very strange is happening at this very moment. Your head has dissolved into thin air and I can see the rhododendrons through your stomach. It’s not that you are dead or anything dramatic like that, it is simply that you are fading away and I can’t even remember your name.” -Leonora Carrington The Hearing Trumpet
Remedios Varo was born in Spain. During the Spanish Civil War she escaped to Paris with her husband Benjamin Peret a Surrealist Poet. However she again escaped to live in Mexico as a politcal exile and she stayed there the rest of her life. There she met other the artist Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Leona Carrington.
She developed a unique style all her own which was influenced by psychology, mystic traditions, pre-colombian art and surrealists like Breton, Picasso and el Greco. She often includes architecture, nature, and detailed line work in her paintings which critique science, culture and women’s roles in society and art. Ultimately she brings a deep curiosity and intrigue into the transformation from within.
This post on Pollock has almost as many pictures of him painting in his studio then actual paintings. I think his work has to be appreciated close up because it is all about texture, layering and colors. They way he paints is an important aspect of his style because he broke conventions about what a painting is supposed to be and was harshly criticized for it. I like to see the progression of how his paintings changed and what eventually held his focus was the more abstract.
Georgia O’Keefe has always been my favorite artist because she and I share the same birthday. She captures the essences of those things that seem simple and pure, but are actually complex and common if you only change the way you look at it.
“To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.”
Julia Morgan was one of the first women to graduate from University of California at Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering, the first to graduate with an architecture degree at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the first woman to work as a professional architect in California. During her 45-year career, she designed more than 700 homes, churches, office buildings, hospitals, stores, and educational buildings, including the famous Hearst Castle.
I especially love the pools she designed with blue mosaic and sometimes gold glass inlaid. She also designed Hearst’s Summer House in N. California called Wyntoon, right on the river.
Several other places she designed include Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, Redo of the Fairmont Hotel in SF after the Earthquake and YWCA’s in Oakland, Utah and Hawaii.
Julia Morgan Quotes:
“Never turn down a job because you think it’s too small; you don’t know where it can lead.”
“Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.”
“My buildings will be my legacy… they will speak for me long after I’m gone.”
Nicolas Roerich was a Russian Artist who was part of the Czar’s Family who escaped when the Revolution happened. He traveled in the Himalayas and painted many of the sights. Some say he visited the secret city of Shambala and he brought back with him a special box with an unknown relic in it.
He created the slogan “Peace through Culture” and designed the emblem. In 1939 Franklin Roosevelt signed his Pact the “Pax Cultura.” Saying that culture, as distinct from civilization, must be protected. He founded the Agni Yoga Society, Pax Cultura Initiative, an Art School called Master Institute of United Arts and the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati” in Kullu Valley.
The Great Helpers of humanity do not abandon the Earth so long as sufferings go unhealed. Wholehearted fellowship can easily heal the wounds of a friend — but it is necessary to develop the art of thinking in the name of Good. And this is not easy amid the day’s hustle and bustle. But the examples of the Great Helpers of humanity can encourage and infuse new forces.
“Wealth in itself does not generate Culture. But broadened and subtler thinking and the sense of Beauty produce that subtlety, that nobility of spirit which are distinctive for a cultured person. It is this kind of person that can build the future of light for its country”.
Living Visionary Art Culture – Realizing the Power of Imagination