Archive | June, 2011

Art in Astoria

14 Jun

Last night, as my hubby was catching up on my blog posts ( he reads them all, even if he has to sit and catch up on a week’s worth at a time, such a good hubby! ), over his shoulder I re-read my In Search Of post from last week and man, what a whiney little whiner!  To save you all from more self-pity-filled posts from me, sweet George took me on a day trip to Astoria, OR on Saturday, in the hopes of helping me feel a bit more connected to the 3-dimensional art world.  You know, the one that doesn’t live inside my laptop.

Astoria, Oregon

Despite the gray day, my spirits were sunny.  Astoria’s main claim to fame is the movie, The Goonies, which was filmed here way back in 1985 ( yes, we made a children of the 80’s pilgrimage to The Goonies House ).  But movie history isn’t the only draw to Astoria.  Its downtown area is super charming, filled with a mix of restaurants, coffee houses, shops and YES, some very interesting and diverse galleries.

Our first stop was Lightbox Photographic, a wonderful little gallery dedicated to the photographic arts.  Their current show, Plastic Fantastic II, features images created using plastic toy cameras.  Absolutely beautiful, emotion-filled images.  Be sure to check out their website to see images created their member photographers.

Inside Lightbox Photographic

Astoria was definitely starting out with a bang!  We continued our walking tour of downtown, stopping for coffee and treats along the way.  Right across from the Astoria Coffeehouse, was Lunar Boy Gallery, whose quirky-look caught my eye.  And LunarBoy definitely brought the quirk.  June 7th was Astoria’s Official Goonies Day, so Lunar Boy was exhibiting a special show of Goonies-related work.  Fun!

This Is Our Time Now! Goonies Show at Lunar Boy

Landscapes by Nicholas Knapton at Lunar Boy

After lots of cool art & laughs at Lunar Boy, we perused a few bookstores & other shops ( it can’t be ALL about me ) before finding RiverSea Gallery.  This contemporary gallery features a wide variety of work by artists from the Northwest and beyond.  I was thrilled to find that their current show, The Fabled Landscape, featured the work of Marla Baggetta.

Artist, Marla Baggetta

Since my days of specifying art for the corporate & healthcare industries, I’ve been a fan of Baggetta, her landscapes bring that perfect combination of happy color and peace, perfect especially for healthcare.   Her work is even more lush and gorgeous in it’s original state than her reproductions even begin to show.  I was in awe.

Artist, Marla Baggetta

Artist, Marla Baggetta

Though seeing Baggetta’s original work was a highlight for me, RiverSea had many other artists whose work caught my eye.  Like…

Maple wood sculpture by Michael Hampel

Encaustics by Paula Blackwell

Figurative work by Shannon Richardson

Wonderful urban landscapes by Brin Levinson

George had his favorites, too– like the work of abstract mixed-media artist, Charles Schweigert ( told you he was loving abstracts now! ) and kooky sculptures by Pamela Mummy.

Namikaze by Charles Schweigert

A Lot on His Mind by Pamela Mummy

Our little day trip to Astoria was just what the art doctor ordered.  I was able to peruse some lovely, unique galleries and found some really interesting artists to share with you.  We even spotted a couple of empty storefronts that would make great galleries.. you know, just in case.

Have You Exploited an Artist Lately? (via YCL Art: The Art of Yvonne C. Lozano)

13 Jun

Wonderful post by Jacksonville artist, Yvonne Lozano. Very well articulated, Yvonne!

Have You Exploited an Artist Lately? The exploitati­on of artists seems to be an ongoing topic of conversati­on lately. The more these conversati­ons pop up, the more upsetting it is to hear how so many people prosper from the very existence of artists yet the majority of artists continue to be in “starvatio­n mode.” I think the problem starts even earlier than most people realize. Think about the general life of an artist, most start dabbling in arts & crafts even before they c … Read More

via YCL Art: The Art of Yvonne C. Lozano

Masterworks Monday: Brancusi

13 Jun

Thanks to our next door neighbor, who creates “sculptures” out of found objects and has a rotating display in his front & side yard, I’ve been thinking a lot about sculpture lately.  Which has led me to discover an egregious error here at Artsy Forager and that is the incredible, unforgiveable lack of sculptural work on this blog!  I am here to rectify the situation, beginning with one of my favorite contemporary masters, Constantin Brancusi.

Sleeping Muse, 1909-10

Born in 1876 in Romania, Brancusi came to fame in France, after working under the guidance of Auguste Rodin, Brancusi blossomed into his own style, creating clean, simplified organic forms, Brancusi came to be known as the Patriarch of Modern Sculpture.

Bird in Space, 1923

In his work, Brancusi breaks down the forms of his subject into simple, geomtric shapes, so that the end result is less a representation of the actual subject, but rather the essence of the feeling that subject’s form evokes.

Mademoiselle Pogany, 1912The Newborn, 1920

The elegance of Brancusi’s lines and the restfulness and peace his forms suggest, even when depicting a screaming baby ( see The Newborn, above ), help to quiet my spirit.  What about you?  Any artists whose work “quiets your spirit”?  Or maybe you’re not in to Brancusi ( and that’s OK ).. Whose sculptures do you love?

Friday Forager Faves: Rooms With a View

10 Jun

Yesterday I went out searching for some artsy inspiration in the area around Aberdeen.  I’m sorry to say that, though I visited a couple of galleries in Ocean Shores, I found only one artist’s work that caused me to take a second look.  Unfortunately, most of what was there was pretty touristy, not-great-art-but-there-must-be-a-market-for-it kind of stuff.  So I came home feeling a tiny bit defeated.

To give myself a pick-me-up, I watched an episode of So You Think You Can Dance ( guilty pleasure confession time! ).  While the commercials were playing, I found myself glancing out of the windows of my office/studio and found myself inspired.  So I started sketching– for the first time in a long time.  It turns out I did find some artsy inspiration yesterday, from a surprising combination, the view of Aberdeen out of our windows and my own inner spirit.

So today, we’re celebrating other artists who’ve inspired me to make the most out of my current view!  On with the show!

Vertical Horizontal Break I by Hamish MacEwan

Early Morning Breeze by Camille Engel

Windowpane by Sharon Sprung

Parthenon I by Lisa Ernst

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  Take the time to enjoy your view, whatever it may be.

In Search Of.. Art or Something Like It

9 Jun

Do you remember the old TV show In Search Of?  You know, the one with Leonard Nimoy aka Dr. Spock, and he was always looking for the Loch Ness Monster or some such?  Didn’t it seem like they were always searching but never quite finding exactly what they were looking for?  Well, today my friends, I’m going on a little In Search Of mission of my own.  But this time, instead of Sasquatch ( who is rumored to have been seen ’round these parts ), I am on a quest for art.  Real, live, see-it-in-person and maybe touch it art.  Yes, I can sit on the interweb 24/7 and never run out of fantastic art to see online.  But, seeing it in person is a completely different experience.  Plus, I really need to get out of the house.

You may be thinking, Lesley, come on, you’re living near some of the best art centers in America, yet you have to go out searching for it?  Um, yeah.  See, though we are living within a 2 hour drive from Seattle, Portland, etc., the little town we are actually living in, Aberdeen, WA is a bit lacking in the culture department.  Don’t get me wrong, the surrounding area is gorgeous and there are tons of wonderful old homes to see when we take our nightly walks around the neighborhood, which continually delight me.  But despite being the birthplace of visionaries like Robert Motherwell and Kurt Cobain, Aberdeen is seriously deficient art-wise.  At least, I haven’t found it yet.  Who knows, this may be my lucky day.

PS– Just for fun, here’s a little In Search Of.. Big Foot for you.  Enjoy!

In Search of.. Big Foot on You Tube

PPS– Did you know Dr. Spock was also an accomplished photographer?  

My Husband GETS Abstract Art.. finally

8 Jun

My hubby is a very intelligent and creative person in his own way– the stories he concocts and “sketches” he comes up with are Saturday Night Live-worthy and he reads books like A People’s History of the United States for fun.  But when we started dating, he was definitely an art-world novice.  Questions like, “But what exactly is wrong with Thomas Kinkade?” made my head want to explode.  But maybe the biggest struggle was trying to explain what I loved so much about abstract painting and why no, honey, a 3rd grader could NOT have done that.

George checking out Rauschenberg

Part of what I love about George is how much he appreciates my creative side and artsiness.  Makes me more interesting than the average-gal, I suppose.  And, like all lovey-dovey types, I wanted to be able to share that part of myself with him.  We went to art festivals, galleries and openings, all in pursuit of awakening his mind to a world of art he may have never experienced before.  He became a fan of Christina Foard, following the opening of her Williams-Cornelius show, admiring her use of color and texture.

Moonlight Solitude by Christina Foard

We also discovered that he doesn’t always care for abstract expressionist-type work, i.e., seemingly random slashes of paint across a canvas, which will more than likely elicit a shoulder-shrug and a “eh” from him.  He does, however, appreciate light and texture, as he surprised me by totally digging these pieces we saw recently in a gallery in Hood River, Oregon.

Artist: Barry Mack

Artist: Barry Mack

Surprisingly, his tastes have emerged as running a bit more deep & avant-garde than mine.. where I get drawn in by beautiful color, texture and form, what may draw him to a particular work is the narrative of the story it is telling.  For instance, he was very interested in investigating the details of the Rauschenberg prints we saw in Tulsa.  He also tends to lean more toward multi-media work, such as this kind of creepy haunted-house-like part sculpture-part installation at the Denver Art Museum held his interest far longer than it held mine.

Installation at the Denver Art Museum

But what really keeps me on my toes is how inquisitive he is about what he is seeing– the process, the motivation, background story, etc.  He asks questions that I don’t always have the answers to, which results in us making discoveries together.  ( Who could ask for better? )  It is that inquisitive & curious nature that I think finally led him to the realization of just what it is about abstract art that makes it so interesting and provocative.

Admiring the work of Hilary Williams

As we were leaving the art gallery at The Pines in Hood River, George said to me, “I think I understand why you like abstract art so much.  When you see another realistic painting of a tree or landscape, it’s usually just another painting of a tree.  But abstract art draws you in, makes you think.”  YES!  Here’s to more discoveries with you, my love.

Museum Hopping

7 Jun

Though our time in the cities we visited on our cross-country tour was short, we managed to hit a couple of wonderful, yet very different museums along the way.  In Tulsa, we spent a few hours exploring the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Front facade of the Philbrook Museum of Art

My Jacksonville readers will be familiar with the Cummer Museum of Art in Jax.  The Philbrook is, to me, like the Cummer on steroids.  Like the Cummer, the Philbrook was once a private residence, which was donated to the city of Tulsa by its owners, oilman Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve.  Once we entered the museum doors, we found ourselves in a gorgeous, domed center hall, light streaming through the oculus in the center of the dome.

Center hall at the Philbrook

Philbrook oculus

Just walking the halls of this Renaissance style villa, built in 1927 and designed by architect Edward Buehler Delk for the Phillips as “a place where there two children could entertain friends” ( Imagine the sleepovers you could have! ), is a pleasure in itself.

Corridor at the Philbrook

The museum houses a varied and extensive permanent collection of art, ranging from African & Asian collections, Native American art to Italian Renaissance and a surprising and delightful modern collection.

Bougereau at the Philbrook, a favorite artist of the Frenz's

Lovely little Picasso at the Philbrook

Fabulous modern design collection at the Philbrook

While the museum collections are enjoyable, it is the museum grounds that really steal the show.  Though we visited on a gray and rainy day, it didn’t stop us from exploring the extensive gardens behind the museum.  The original formal gardens extend from the rear colonnade of the museum down to the tempietto.  Let’s take a little walking tour..

Rear collonade at the Philbrook

View from the colonnade down to the tempietto

Wonderful stepped fountain

Beautiful, naturalistic water feature

No formal garden is complete without a koi pond!

View from the tempietto back toward the museum

Yours truly in the tempietto ( wouldn't this be a romantic spot to pop the question? )

Contemporary sculpture walk beyond the formal gardens

Let’s switch gears now, fast-forward through another 12 hour day on the road and pay a little visit to Denver.  While in the mile-high city, we spent some time downtown including a tour through the Denver Art Museum.  While the Philbrook is classically ornate, the DAM’s Hamilton Building, where we spent our time, is splendidly contemporary.  Designed by Daniel Lubeskind, the structure represents the Rocky Mountain peaks surrounding Denver.

Denver Art Museum

We started at the top and worked our way down, discovering lots of fun & interesting contemporary work along the way.

Noguchi sculpture and Motherwell painting **Sidenote: Motherwell was born in Aberdeen, WA, the town where we are living for the summer.

Ceramics at DAM

Did you notice in the pictures above how the walls are slanted?  The angled walls created a very interesting visual space, especially in the 4th floor gallery where they were prominent.   They were a bit disconcerting when walking down the main stairs, though!

Artist: Mark Tansey

We were all fascinated by the piece above, by Mark Tansey.   Another highlight was the Fox Games installation by Sandy Skoglund.  I first saw Skoglund’s work in Jacksonville and am always fascinated by the environments she creates.

Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund

And there was just something about “Minotaur with Brushstrokes” that appealed to us.  What can I say, we like work that makes us smile.

Minotaur With Brushstrokes by Richard Patterson

Speaking of making us smile, George & I also loved the piece below, although I’m sad to report that I don’t recall the name of the artist.  But it reminded me of spring in the Northwest.

Kicking myself for not writing down the title & artist for this piece! Anyone have any clues?

The museum also boasts an impressive Western American Art Collection, as well as African, American Indian, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial Collections.  We toured through the current special exhibition, Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy, but alas, no photography allowed in the exhibit, so you’ll have to check out the DAM website for a taste.  As you can see, our art experiences on this trip were widely varied and we are looking forward to more such experiences here in the Northwest.

Masterworks Monday: Rauschenberg in Tulsa

6 Jun

Hello Artsies!!!  After being out of the blogosphere for the past three weeks or so, I am finally back behind the computer, as it were and it feels great.  I have so much to share that I hardly know where to begin..  As many of you know, my hubby George and I recently moved from Florida to Washington.  We were incredibly blessed to be able to make a vacation out of our cross-country trek, with stops to see friends, new places and old favorites along the way.

Our first stop ( OK, first fun stop.. we spent the first night in a motel outside Little Rock, AR, not super exciting ) was Tulsa, Oklahoma.  George lived in Tulsa for several years and we hadn’t been back since we got married, so decided to take a couple of days to introduce me around to Tulsa friends and places.  It just so happened that the friends we were staying with in Tulsa had a friend who owned a gallery, Exhibit by Abersons at Center 1 Tulsa.  Said friend of friends happened to be having an opening the night of our arrival in Tulsa, so even though there was a whole gang of people expected for dinner, we popped over to the gallery to have a peeksy.

 The exhibit, which opened on May 19th was curated by Master Printer Bill Goldston of Universal Limited Art Editions and follows the progression of Rauschenberg’s print work through the years.  Like any good Art History Major, I recognized Rauschenberg’s work and his importance as a painter & print maker, but beyond that, I admit I didn’t know much.  Rauschenberg came to the forefront toward the end of the Abstract Expressionist movement and toward the beginning of the Pop Art movement.  The prints included in the exhibition lean more toward the Pop end of the spectrum, showing examples of his collaging of photographic images through silk-screen processing showcasing pop culture imagery of the 1950s and 60s, such as Guardian ( 1968 ).

Guardian is compromised of transfer images from Life Magazine, the transfers being done by brushing the images with solvent, placing them on the lithograph stone, then passing the stone through the printing press.  These are works that demand a closer look, there is so much going on, even little details are significant.  George enjoyed scrutinizing the work ( see photo below! ), which are so accessible that they seem just as relevant today as they must have 50 years ago.

The work George is pondering is Bazaar, an intagilio print and lithograph on paper created in 1984.  Other highlights for me included, Aquafix ( below ), a haunting image created by Rauschenberg in 1981.  As the years progressed, his work evolved into cleaner, more simplified compositions as exemplified in Aquafix and Lotus VII, both favorites of mine from the exhibit.

  

Lotus VII ( above ) is part of Rauschenberg’s final series of prints, completed only a month prior to his death.  The Lotus images were created for an exhibition of Rauschenberg’s work in Beijing and are compilations of photographs taken by the artist on two trips to China.  The photographs were transferred to panels, then an intagilio process, photogravure, was used to tie the images together visually.   The results are stunning images, which surely pleased Rauschenberg as his final legacy.

If you are in the Tulsa area, be sure to check out the show at Exhibit by Abersons.  If you can’t get to Tulsa, Rauschenberg’s work can be found in many major museum collections with images, biography and other info available online, check out the websites of MOMA, The Tate, the Guggenheim and many more.

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