Archive | March, 2011

New American Paintings: Interview with Claire Cowie

30 Mar

Oh how I wish we were already on the West Coast!  Claire Cowie’s work is intriguing and this exhibition is hanging in Seattle only for a few more days.  The article goes into the importance of placement and hanging for the exhibition, something many gallerists overlook, but is often so important to the artist’s vision of how the work is to be viewed.

Read on!

A Colossal Place of Being: A Q&A with Claire Cowie.

A Velázquez in the Cellar?

30 Mar

OK, perhaps not exactly your grandmother’s attic, but it seems that a previously unattributed, damaged work stored at Yale University is thought by many experts to be a Velazquez.

A Velázquez in the Cellar?.

Springing Forth

29 Mar

WINTER TRANSITIONS;  SPRING STORMS is R. Roberts Gallery’s celebration of the transition from the grey, dreary days of winter into the fresh bloom of spring.  The show features the work of three very different artists, mixed media artist Madeline Peck-Wagner, sculptor James Oleson and encaustic painter Kathleen Wobie.

As you enter the gallery, you may almost miss James Oleson’s tiny bust sculpture.  This diminutive piece, made of repurposed metal, will definitely make you stop and take the time to really check it out.  I couldn’t believe I walked right by it when I first came in!  Beyond the bust is one of Oleson’s horse sculptures.  With its stilt-like legs and flowing tail, this equine could be right out of a Tim Burton movie.  Oleson also has some much larger scale sculptures that are interesting in their own right. 

Speaking of equines, Madeline Peck-Wagner’s mixed media works were defnitely, for me, the star of this show.  She takes subject matter that could be trite and cringe-worthy ( think cheesy Southwestern art ), but treats it in a unique, contemporary and elegant way.

These are delicate line drawings possessing an intense presence and power, much like the impressive animals depicted.  The cross-hatching & precision of the lines are reminiscent of architectural drafting, giving the figures depicted a strutctural, landscaped quality.  Conversely, blots and washes of brightly colored paints call to the spiritual significance such animals, both living and decayed possess.

Just as the delicate, bare branches of winter transition into the full, heady blooms of spring, so we move from Madeline Peck-Wagner’s graceful lines into Kathleen Wobie’s encaustics, thick with wax, paint & color.   Kathleen’s pieces, in the context of this show, seem to depict spring at its height– full of pastel tones and sunshiney warmth.

For me personally, I found the larger, abstract piece below to be Wobie’s most successful of this show.  This piece, rather than being the literal translation of winter to spring that the piece above is, instead represents more the feeling of spring– of rebirth, renewal and the joy of being alive.

As we in North Florida transition into spring ( though some days lately, it feels as if summer is already upon us! ), take the time to drop by R. Roberts to see how these artists make the switch and enjoy this last show in the gallery’s current space.  R. Roberts is doing some transitioning of their own, can’t wait to see the bountiful blooming that is sure to be in store!

R. Roberts Gallery is located at 3606 St. Johns Ave in historic Avondale, in Jacksonville.

Winter Transitions; Spring Storms will be on display through April 23rd, the gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm.

Masterworks Monday: Vermeer

28 Mar

I love modern & contemporary art.   Artists who find a new way of translating our reality fascinate me.  But the Art History geek in me also loves to look back at what was groundbreaking eons ago.  We have so much to learn from those who came before us, so each Monday will be dedicated to a work by one of the “Masters”. 

First up, one of my favorite artists whose work I’ve seen in person when visiting the Frick Collection in New York.

Officer and Laughing Girl  by Johannes Vermeer, Dutch painter 1632-1675.

Most of us are familiar with what may be Vermeer’s best known work, Girl With a Pearl Earring, but for me, he is at his best in his “slice of life” compositions such as Officer and Laughing Girl.  In this captured moment, Vermeer gives us a glimpse into a private, shared conversation.  Is this a young girl being courted by a gallant officer?  What is their relationship?  Vermeer leaves us in wonder.

Vermeer’s paintings are usually much cooler in tone than those of his contemporaries and this one is no exception.  The light coming in through the leaded glass windows is clear, but feels frostly, especially in contrast to the warm tones of the officer and girl’s clothing and the looks being exchanged.

For more information on Vermeer, here are a few sources:

The Essential Vermeer

The Frick Collection, which houses several Vermeers, including the one above

Seedling Saturdays: Samantha Hamilton

26 Mar

One of my passions is encouraging anyone who has even the slightest interest in the arts.. but especially young children.  Their minds are still so open and fertile, they still believe they can be the next Picasso.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if they were able to hang onto that belief?

So Saturdays here at Artsy Forager are dedicated to kids.   It is my hope that the excitement brought by seeing their artwork on the internet will continue to foster confidence in their abilities.  Even if they don’t grow up to be professional artists, they will know that someone thought their efforts were valuable.

We kick off our “Seedling Saturdays” with one of my brother Jason’s own, ahem, seedlings.. my niece, Samantha Hamilton, age 10.  Samantha showed an affinity for art early on and has taken a few art classes, in addition to studying piano.  Her favorite artist is Georgia O’Keeffe ( a girl after my own heart! ).

After Monet by Samantha Hamilton, age 6

Circles by Samantha Hamilton, age 7

SHH.. Samantha Holly Hamilton by Samantha Hamilton, age 7


Portrait by Samantha Hamilton, age 8

Friday Forager Faves

25 Mar

 A few of my favorite things this week.. in honor of the beginning of spring, a little light, some flowers and birdsong.

1. Dogwood Branch by Pamela Viola

2. Get Lucky by Christina Baker

3.  Fading Boundaries by Maribel Angel

4.  Everyone Loves a Parade by Casey Matthews

Wearing Picasso

24 Mar

One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.  ~Oscar Wilde

Image via The Sartorialist


Image of Guernica by Pablo Picasso, via Museo Reina Sofia

Pick of the Crop: Eng’s Eye

24 Mar

One week into being an official blogger and I’ve already found that though I may plan to write about a specific artist on a specific day, sometimes the universe seems to be telling me to write something different.  All signs today pointed first to photography, then to Jacksonville photographer, Doug Eng

Double Reflection - Modis

I first saw Doug’s nature photography and definitely knew he had something.  While working for a gallery & art consulting firm, I saw A LOT of mediocre photography.  But Doug’s images were different– not only were they many notches above most others in terms of the quality of the image itself, but the compositions were unique and unusual.  His way of seeing, especially in capturing architectural structures, is extraordinary.

Old and New - SunTrust, BOA, Modis

Unlike many photographers today, Doug doesn’t rely on heavily manipulating his images– he mostly composes his images in the camera, taking hundreds of different shots to get to that one “magic” piece.

Last Light on County Dock, Mandarin FL

Capturing moments in time is Doug’s specialty– whether the moment is filled with humor, sentiment or a changing cityscape.

Pizza Guys - Florence, Italy

Each image tells a story, some more obvious than others, but all equally interesting and relevant.

Fallen - Pisgah NF - SR 1206

Doug’s work can be seen in person at Southlight Gallery in Downtown Jacksonville or online here at Artsy Forager or on Doug’s own website.   When not out shooting fabulous imagery, he can usually be found working at Studio 121, a co-operative studio of artists in Downtown Jacksonville.

Seeing Much, Much More

23 Mar

SHAWN MEHARG: SEEING LITTLE MORE is the latest exhibition of work at the Williams-Cornelius Gallery located inside Daryl Bunn Studios in Riverside.  If, like me, all you’ve ever seen are Shawn’s more representational works, you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was to discover this new series of abstracts.

I am a huge sucker for lots of texture, so this show had me at hello.   These abstracts are LOUSY with texture ( and I mean that in the best possible sense! ), color and depth.   Layer upon layer of paint, charcoal, etc., give way to artwork in which the viewer can get lost.  There are a few pieces that are lighter in tone, but for the most part the color is heavily saturated, but somehow still remaining translucent, giving the feeling of looking through wet stained glass. 

Lots of edgy endings in color and straight lines add to the stained-glass effect.  There also seems to be a reflectory vibe happening, especially in the darker pieces– they could be reflections of city lights in pools of water on asphalt streets.

The visual depth is especially evident in the pieces in which the canvas seems to be opening up into a world beyond– as in “City Mouth” below.

I don’t want to give too much away.  If you’re in Jacksonville, go see this show for yourself and find out what “more” you can see.

Williams-Cornelius Gallery is located inside Daryl Bunn Studios, 643 Edison Ave in Jacksonville. 

The gallery is open Monday- Friday, 9am-5pm.

Art by.. Google?

22 Mar

Google has become a dominant source for the information we seek.  “Google it” is our answer for everything.  It provides us with a way to gain knowledge and now has introduced a means for visiting some of the world’s most renowned museums and viewing their collections.

Art Project, powered by Google ( ) is a Google-run website in which Google has collaborated with some of the world’s best known museums and collections in order to bring us all up close and personal with these masterworks.

Using Google’s Street View technology, you can actually explore the halls & rooms of the museums themselves, which allows the viewer a helpful sense of scale & context when viewing the artwork.   You can “walk” the corridors of Versailles without ever leaving your living room!

To see the collections up close & personally, Art Project also provides high resolution imagery of select pieces from the collections.   You can zoom in with such incredible detail, even cracks in the paint will be visible!! ( Excuse me while the Art History geek in me goes a little crazy ).  In addition to the visual fun to be had, also included for each piece of artwork is comprehensive information regarding the artist, subject matter, time period, provenance, etc.  You can even create your own collection of favorite works– become your own curator!

So while I gather my notes from the two galleries I visited today and prepare to share those goodies, I’ll leave you with this fun little piece of the internet.   Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: