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Was Mark Tobey inspired by Jack Frost?

January 29th, 2015

As I was walking the dogs today, I noticed an abstract pattern on the slate sidewalk, below left, which were frost markings on this cold winter day … or as we might say, some natural art by “Jack Frost.” But a quick glance at this natural pattern made me think of the painter Mark Tobey (American, 1890–1976). When I did a search to refresh my memory of some of his specific paintings, the piece titled “Wild Field” (below right) from the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art seemed to have some similarities … do you think Tobey was ever inspired by frost patterns?

natural frost pattern reminds me of Mark Tobey's paintings


GIF-iti artist Insa

January 29th, 2015

I saw something online the other day that really grabbed my attention … street art that moves. How does that work? Let me explain … scroll down for more.


British artist INSA began his career as a graffiti writer, and has painted large-scale murals around the world. He now also designs furniture, a line of high heels, as well as custom cars, yacht sails, and private collector’s homes.

The term “GIF-ITI” was coined by the artist when he started creating his unique animated paintings; street art that paradoxically is only viewable online. GIF-ITI is made via a laborious physical process involving numerous layers of painting and meticulous planning. GIF-ITI entails photographing each layer the artist paints by hand. These images are then uploaded and overlaid to create the final piece, a looping GIF file which comes to life when released to global audiences online.

Here’s another one to check out:

Animated GIFs featuring street art by INSA


Make some music with this

January 27th, 2015

I wonder if the Metropolitan Museum of Art ever lets anyone play this harpsichord? It’s cool to look at, but I’d like to hear it too!

Michele Todini Harpsichord


Having a library without any real books

January 20th, 2015

This installation view is from Sean Landers’ recent exhibition titled “North American Mammals” at Petzel Gallery in NYC. What might appear at first glance to be a series of built-in book shelves covered with books is in fact a series of paintings. It’s like being in a library that doesn’t have any real books. But it’s the titles of these “books” that creates the story. Scroll down for more on the show …

exhibition of paintings by Sean Landers at Petzel Gallery

As you can see in the detail below, each book’s “title” is in fact a word or group of words, which, when read from left to right along the shelf, creates philosophical questions. For example, below we have: “If your thoughts go unheard, do you exist at all?” And: “If a bear lives in the woods and no one was there to see him, did he exist?” Below this is the depiction of a bear in a snow globe-like container, or rather, as the gallery press release describes: “In each painting the symbol appears twice – once as the title of the book and later as visions of the animal in their natural habitat as seen through a crystal ball poised upon a shelf below.”

Sean Landers paintings at Petzel Gallery

The gallery show had three main rooms with different groups of paintings, and I was more-intrigued by the paintings in the following two rooms, which portrayed the North American Mammals (of the exhibition’s title) with unnatural “coats” of fur or skin covered in a variety of Scottish tartan designs.

paintings by Sean Landers North American Mammals

The artist writes, “I have cloaked them in tartan fur to help protect them from indifference on their journey through time.” All of this gets a little too esoteric for my tastes, but they’re beautiful paintings no matter what message they’re supposed to express. Below are a few more installation views from the exhibition … the Moby Dick painting was especially impressive as it depicts a 28 foot-long tartan sperm whale. The gallery’s press release had some interesting insight on this painting:

Moby Dick (Merrilees) references the famed novel by Herman Melville, published in 1851, recounting Captain Ahab’s monomaniacal search for the elusive white whale. Landers, long fascinated by this epic novel, strongly identifies with Captain Ahab’s single-minded pursuit—arguably a metaphor for the pursuit of greatness and immortality, or, in the case of a visual artist, a place in the art-historical canon. The harpoons and trailing ropes that scar the red-and-blue whale’s body are symbols of Landers’s attempt to make a lasting work of art. The tattered whale eludes the determined artist, emphasizing the immensity of the struggle by violently diving just below the murky water’s surface.

In this case, I have no doubt that Landers has made a lasting work of art … to stand in front of this massive canvas makes a strong impression (now if only I had a wall in my home large enough to hang it!). It’s quite a stunning and beautiful painting that threatens to swallow you up both physically and metaphorically.

painting of Moby Dick by Sean Landers

whale detail in painting by Sean Landers


The Patron Saint of the Arts appears to be taking a nap

January 19th, 2015

I saw this painting of St. Luke, “Patron des Artistes et Ouvriers de Art (“patron of artists and art workers”) at the L’église Notre-Dame-du-Travail-de-Plaisance (The Church of Our Lady of Labor de Plaisance) in Paris, which is also known as “The Industrial Church.” If you’d like to know why it’s called The Industrial Church, check out our visit to this church via our sister site, The Arts Adventurer.

Taking a closer look, it appears that St. Luke must be tired from a full day in the art studio. With his head tilted forward and his chin resting on his chest, I’d say it looks like he’s taking a nap. I guess being involved with “art workers” all day can be a tiring task, or so the artist, Giuseppe Uberti, must have thought so. Uberti has several paintings in this church, but I can’t find out anything about him in my Google searches so far … any art historians out there familiar with this artist?

painting by Guiseppe Uberti at the industrial church in Paris


An unexpected style of wrapping paper

January 19th, 2015

It was my birthday recently, and one of my birthday presents was wrapped in this paper … pretty funky stuff, don’t you think? This particular wrapping paper is called “Paparazzi,” and is made by under the label name “Black Ink International Papers,” which is owned by Graphic Products Corporation. Click here to see what else they make in the realm of decorative papers, or click on the image below to buy your own!

wrapping paper with abstracted faces


Lit up by an octopus

January 16th, 2015

I love these octopus chandeliers by Adam Wallacavage, seen at the Jonathan Levine Gallery’s current exhibition titled The Lost Mitten Society, Annual Winter Salon Show at the gallery at 529 West 20th Street. While originally a photographer, Wallacavage taught himself the art of ornamental plastering and began making octopus shaped chandeliers in 2001. His chandeliers have been exhibited in galleries in São Paulo, Rome, London, Miami, Los Angeles, Vienna and New York. These two pieces are amongst the Salon group show which runs through February 7th.

octopus chandeliers by Adam Wallacavage


Only 4 more days for Murakami in New York!

January 14th, 2015

I had a chance to visit the Takashi Murakami exhibition at Gagosian Gallery again yesterday for the 2nd time in a month. It’s very rare that I bother to see the same gallery show twice, but this one is definitely worth it. If you’re in the New York area and have a chance to see it, you’ve only got 4 more days (including today), as the show closes on Saturday, January 17th. Just don’t get too close to the art – there’s an army of security guards to watch you every step through the show.

Takashi Murakami exhibition at Gagosian Gallery


Architectural diversity in NYC

January 9th, 2015

I like how photographing this particular spot in NYC captured 4 different styles of architecture, as well as the contrast between the bold graphic design of the Asian restaurant in the foreground and the fading ad signage on the building behind it. This location is 10th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets in NYC.

Tia Pol restaurant in NYC on 10th Avenue


Renaissance Painters? Or Ninja Turtles?

January 8th, 2015

Just saw a Jimmy Kimmel segment where his staff reporter asks a guy, “name 3 Renaissance painters,” to which the guy says, “I don’t have the answer to that question.” Then he’s asked, “name 3 Ninja Turtles,” and the guy lights up, all excited, and quickly says “Oh! Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo!” (and let’s not forget Leonardo, to round out the group)

Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo


Vincent Van Gogh at Artsology Artsology offers free online games about the arts, and delivers investigations into topics in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artsology is a good resource for fun learning about the arts for people of all ages and is enjoyed by students, homeschoolers, and adults. Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page. Pablo Picasso paintings at Artsology

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