Your Weekly Mixx! DAF’s Weekly Mixx is a selection of contemporary art and/or art related videos chosen from artist and gallery submissions and from our own search for new and interesting works. This week, we feature the work of Steven Powers, Malcom T. Liepke, James Ettelson, Remy Soubanere, Sebas Velasco, Travis Collinson, Saba Ghole and Shilo Shiv Suleman, Hopare, and a short video by Will Farrell featuring Edourd Martinet’s whose “art will make you reimagine the insect world. The Frenchman’s sculptures are distinctly creepy, true to nature, and full of life. His medium is piles of bent metals and cast-off bits and pieces with shapes that appeal to him: bike parts, kitchen spatulas, trumpet parts, umbrella ribs—anything can be of use.” (via YouTube)
Born on October 14, 1894, most people know E.E. Cummings, the writer. As a poet, Edward Estlin Cummings was very popular throughout the 20th century and received tremendous critical acclaim. Less well-known is Cummings’ accomplishment as a visual artist. Cummings considered himself as much a painter as a poet and he devoted a tremendous amount of time to his art. He also produced thousands of pages of notes concerning his own opinions about painting, colour theory, the human form, the “intelligence” of painting, and his thoughts about the Masters.
Cummings painted primarily in oils on canvas, canvas board, particle board, cardboard, and sometimes burlap. His painting is generally divided into two phases. Between 1915 and 1928, he produced large-scale abstractions which were widely acclaimed. He also produced very popular drawings and caricatures that were published in The Dial journal. Between 1928 and 1962, Cummings created primarily representational works including still lifes, landscapes, nudes, and portraits.
Cummings spent the last ten years of his life traveling, attending speaking engagements, and at his summer home, Joy Farm, in Silver Lake, New Hampshire. He died on September 3, 1962, at the age of 67 in North Conway, New Hampshire of a stroke.
For a more in depth look at the art of E. E. Cummings, visit EE Cummings Art.com.
Your Weekly Mixx! DAF’s Weekly Mixx is a selection of contemporary art and/or art related videos chosen from artist and gallery submissions and from our own search for new and interesting works. This week, we feature the work of Kate MccGuire, Herakut, David Alexander, Gonzalo Garcia Calvo, Jessica Eve Rattner, Rick Berry, Sergey Kalinin, Zemer Peled and a video with Greg “Craola” Simkins painting his piece “When Life Give’s Lemons”.
Born on October 8, 1930, in Harlem, New York, Faith Ringgold is considered to be one of the most important living African American artists. Working in a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, and performance, Ringgold is best known for her “story quilts” that combine narrative paintings with quilted borders and text.
Ringgold’s mother, a fashion designer and seamstress, nurtured her daughter’s creative abilities from a young age. Ringgold attended City College of New York where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and Education in 1955. She taught art in New York’s public schools from 1955 to 1973 and earned her Master’s degree in art in 1959. During this time, Ringgold also married and divorced jazz pianist Robert Earl Wallace with whom she had two daughters. In 1962, she was remarried to Burdette Ringgold.
Ringgold’s oil paintings and posters of the mid-to-late 1960s carried strong political messages and were supportive of the civil-rights movement. In 1970, she participated in a demonstration against the exclusion of black and women artists by New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art. This resulted in the inclusion of Betye Saar and Barbara Chase-Riboud in the Whitney Sculpture Biennial, making them the first black women ever to exhibit at the Museum.
In the early 1970s, Ringgold abandoned traditional painting and began making unstretched acrylic paintings on canvas with soft cloth frames after viewing an exhibition of Tibetan art at the Rijk Museum in Amsterdam. During this time, Ringgold also began lecture tours and traveling exhibitions to colleges and universities around the United States. In 1973, she retired from teaching altogether to continue touring and create art full time.
In 1983, Ringgold began to combine images and handwritten text in her painted “story quilts,” which conveyed imaginative narratives. In 1984, a 20-year retrospective of her work was held at The Studio Museum in Harlem. That same year, Ringgold also became a professor at the University of California, San Diego, a position that she still holds today.
Over the course of her career, Ringgold has published 12 children’s books including the award winning “Tar Beach” which is based on her story quilt. As well, a book of her memoirs was published in 1995. She has exhibited in major museums in the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Ringgold is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art.
Retrospectives of Ringgold’s work have been held by Rutgers University, New Brunswick (1973), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1984), and the Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, Hempstead (1990). Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions devoted to political art, women’s art, contemporary quilts, and African-American art, as well as in the Whitney Biennial (1985). Ringgold has received many honours, including the National Endowment for the Arts awards in sculpture (1978) and painting (1989), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1987), and fifteen honorary doctorates.
Ringgold currently lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey. To learn more, visit Faith Ringgold.com.
Your Weekly Mixx! DAF’s Weekly Mixx is a selection of contemporary artworks and/or art related videos chosen from artist and gallery submissions and from our own search for new and interesting works. This week, we feature the work of Michael Adamson, Bordalo II, Guennadi Kalinine, Christina Mrozik, Derick Melander, Molly Wood, Oleg Oprisco, Nicole Watt and a video on the installation “Narcissism : Dazzle room” by Shigeki Matsuyama. This installation is one of a series of dazzle camouflage themed works the artist has been creating since 2013.
Dazzle camouflage was a type of ship camouflage used during World War I. As its name suggests, it was meant to dazzle and confuse the human eye. In an era where radar technology did not exist, an enemy vessel’s range and heading needed to be visually identified for targeting. The complex black and white patterns painted on ships with dazzle camouflage made it difficult to ascertain whether a target was moving closer or farther away and prevented accurate firing.
The person in the room covered with dazzle camouflage uploads selfies to social media while surrounded by a larger self representing narcissism. In an era where much communication occurs over social media, metrics such as likes and follows fulfill our desire for recognition; however, the ease of which we can obtain validation from others leads to the growth of this desire, and we attempt to satiate it using our self-image or “larger self.” The boundary between self and self-image is unconsciously blurred by dazzle camouflage, and as a result, we ourselves cease to recognize our own boundaries. (via vimeo)
Born in Milan, Italy on September 29, 1571, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is considered one of the first great painters of the Baroque school and a revolutionary figure in European art.
Caravaggio trained in Milan under the Lombard painter Simone Peterzano, a pupil of Titian – the leading painter of the 16th century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance.
In 1592, Caravaggio fled Milan for Rome after becoming involved in a quarrel that resulted in the wounding of a police officer. With next to no money to survive, he found work with Giuseppe Cesari – Pope Clement VIII’s favourite painter. Here, he painted flowers and fruit in a factory-like workshop until 1594.
Carvaggio’s luck changed in 1595 when Cardinal Francesco del Monte became his patron, taking him into his house, where Caravaggio received his first public commissions. These made him popular in a short period of time.
Carvaggio preferred to paint his subjects with intense realism with all of their flaws and defects in contrast to the typical idealized representations produced by Italian Renaissance painters such as Michelangelo. He also differed in his method of painting, preferring the Venetian practice of painting his subjects directly without any traditional lengthy preparatory drawings.
From 1600-1606, Caravaggio received numerous prestigious commissions for religious works, increasing his fame over this period. But for all his success, Caravaggio led an unruly life. He was known for brawling and was arrested and imprisoned numerous times. In May of 1606, Caravaggio killed (possibly by accident) a man named Ranuccio Tomassoni. Wanted for murder, he fled Rome for Naples where he also became well known, receiving several important church commissions.
Caravaggio stayed in Naples for only a few months before traveling to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta where he hoped to gain the patronage of the Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt, who could help him obtain a pardon for his murder charge. The Grand Master was so impressed with Caravaggio that he made him a knight.
In August 1608, Carvaggio was in trouble again after a brawl and was arrested and imprisoned. It was not long after that he was expelled from the Knights and was on the move again – this time to Sicily where his friend Mario Minniti was living.
Caravaggio returned to Naples after nine months in Sicily, still hoping to secure a pardon from the Pope and return to Rome. In 1610, believing his pardon would be granted, he began his journey by boat back to Rome. With him were his final three paintings which he planned to give to Cardinal Scipione, who had the power to grant or withhold his pardon. Caravaggio never made it home.
Carvaggio’s death is the subject of much debate. No body was found and there were several accounts of his death including a religious assassination and malaria. A poet friend of the artist gave July 18, 1610 as his date of death. In 2001, an Italian researcher claims to have found the death certificate which says that he died on that same date in S Maria Ausiliatrice Hospital of an illness.
For a full biography and to view Caravaggio’s complete works, visit Caravaggio-Foundation.org.
Born on September 25, 1903, Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz), was a major Abstract Expressionist artist and had an important influence on the development of colour field painting. Latvian by birth, Rothko emigrated with his mother and sister to the United States in 1913, joining his father and two brothers who had come a few years before. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Rothko did well in school and upon completion was awarded a scholarship to Yale which he attend from 1921-1923. He found the Yale community to be elitist and racist and dropped out after two years of study.
Rothko moved to New York in 1923 where he worked in the garment district. He studied sporadically at the Arts Students League but was essentially a self-taught artist, educating himself by visiting exhibitions and the studios of other artists. In 1929, Rothko began teaching children at the Center Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Center, a position he retained for more than twenty years.
Rothko’s first paintings were typically of Expressionist landscapes, still-lifes, and bathers. He was also commissioned to illustrate for Rabbi Lewis Browne’s The Graphic Bible (1928) which included maps, sphinxes, lions, serpents, and other symbols and scenes that reflected the book’s content.
Rothko’s paintings of the 1930s had an eerie mood and created a sense of mystery with tragic figures in apartments, on city streets and subway platforms. From 1935-1940 Rothko, along with other artists including Ilya Bolotowsky and Adolph Gottlieb, was a part of an independent group called “The Ten” that held exhibitions in New York and Paris.
In the early 1940s Rothko abandoned Expressionism and, under the influence of Surrealism and Jung’s ideas on the collective unconscious, began to use archaic symbols as archetypal images. The first of these paintings were based on mythic subjects and were composed of humans, animals and plants arranged in a manner similar to archaic friezes. By the mid-1940s Rothko was also painting organic forms that were close to abstraction. During this time, he also developed his technique of applying watercolour, gouache, and tempera to heavy paper. Rothko’s paintings during this time were well received and he exhibited at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, the Betty Parsons Gallery, and the San Francisco Museum of Art.
Between 1947 and 1949, Rothko sought to create an original approach of abstraction by replacing the figure with shapes. His large canvases with bold colour and form were intended to create the impression of constant movement. His goal was to express profound human emotions as directly as possible stating: “The progression of a painter’s work…will be toward clarity; toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer.”
Beginning in 1958, in conjunction with three major commissions, Rothko darkened his colour palatte painting with maroon, black, and olive green. He believed his view of the tragic human condition would be conveyed more clearly than with his earlier brightly coloured works.
Despite his success, Rothko felt he was misunderstood as an artist and feared that people purchased his paintings out of fashion. He rejected the label of an abstractionist and colourist saying that his interest was “only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point.”
In 1968, as a result of chronic high blood pressure, Rothko suffered an aneurysm of the aorta. Despite his physicians advice, he continued to drink and smoke heavily, avoided exercise, and maintained an unhealthy diet. He did however focus his efforts on smaller format works that required less physical exertion. On February 25, 1970, Mark Rothko committed suicide. He was 66 years old.
Your Weekly Mixx! DAF’s Weekly Mixx is a selection of contemporary artworks and/or art related videos chosen from artist and gallery submissions and from our own search for new and interesting works. This week, we feature the work of Carlos Garaicoa, Dan Tirels, Eric Esterle, Michaël Husser, Gilles Bensimon, Kiki Xue, Linda Jacobson, Shai Yossef and a video from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Human Interest: Martha Wilson on John Coplans, artist Martha Wilson discusses honesty in John Coplans’s portrait Frieze, No. 2, Four Panels, 1994 and her own.
If you would like your work featured in the Weekly Mixx, visit the Submissions page for information on how to apply.
Born on September 22, 1891, in Columbus, Georgia, Alma Woodsey Thomas grew up in a family that encouraged education and appreciation of literature and the arts. In 1907, the family moved to Washington D.C., partly due to the Atlanta race riots, but also because Washington had better education and employment opportunities for African Americans than most other cities at the time. That same year, Thomas enrolled at Armstrong Manual Training High School where she excelled at math, and was exposed to the visual arts.
Thomas attended Miner Normal School (today, the University of the District of Columbia) in 1911 studying kindergarten education. She received her teaching certificate in 1913 after which she taught for four years at Thomas Garrett Settlement House in Wilmington Delaware. Thomas returned to Washington in 1921 to study home economics at Howard University. Initially intending to pursue a career as a costume designer, she switched her studies to the newly created Fine Arts department and in 1924, became the first graduate of the program.
In 1925, Thomas began working as an art instructor at Shaw Junior High School in Washington D.C. – a career which she would remain at for 35 years. With a desire to cultivate appreciation for art in young people, Thomas organized the School Arts League based at Shaw as well as organizing the school’s first art gallery.
Between 1930 and 1934, Thomas earned her masters degree in Fine Arts Education from the teachers college at Columbia University. In 1943, she was vice-president of the Barnett Aden Gallery – the first private gallery to welcome art created by artists of any race, colour, or creed. While there, Thomas was able to increase her awareness of art trends and directions. As well, she was involved with the Little Paris Studio where artists met and worked together, improving their skills, exchanging critiques, and holding exhibitions.
Thomas initially painted realistic images but moved toward abstract painting in 1950, when at the age of 59, she returned to school, taking art classes at the American University. She studied with Robert Gates, Ben Summerford, and well-known painter Jacob Kainen with whom she became close friends. A passion for learning, Thomas continued her evening and weekend classes for ten years. During that time, her painting evolved from realism to cubism, abstract impressionism, and finally her own style of abstract art.
In 1960, Thomas retired from teaching to focus exclusively on her art. Her primary inspirations were her observations of nature and the abstract patterns of light created when shining through flowers and plants. Her paintings reflected this with their bold colours and short jagged brush strokes.
Thomas’s work began receiving recognition in the late 60s and early 70s. She had solo exhibitions at Howard and Fisk Universities, at the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, and was included in the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program. In 1972, she was the first African American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
From the 1970s onward, Thomas minimized the number of colours in her paintings and experimented with optical effects. Her brush strokes had the appearance of wedges and commas and created rhythmic patterns that often resembled mosaics. During these last years of her life, Thomas was challenged by arthritis and deteriorating eyesight, but she continued painting, drawing on nature and music for inspiration, up until her last days.
Alma Thomas died on February 24, 1978 in Washington D.C. from complications following surgery. Today, her paintings are on display in major art museums and university galleries across the United States. Her 1966 painting, Resurrection, currently hangs in the White House.
Takao Tanabe, considered one of Canada’s leading painters and printmakers, has shown work nationally and internationally for over sixty years. Though he studied in New York, Tokyo and London, it was his native area of the coast of western Canada that attracted and inspired him to move from the Abstraction painting of his youth to landscape, the painting that he has become most known for. A self-described minimalist painter, his painting and his teaching have garnered him many awards including the Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
Takao Tanabe was born Takao Izumi in the small village of Seal Cove (now Prince Rupert) on September 16, 1926, the son of a commercial fisherman. The fishing village on the coast of northern British Columbia was primarily a Japanese-Canadian community and Takao spent the summers of his youth in fishing camps on the Skeena River. The family moved to Vancouver in 1937, however just a few years later, they were forced to leave their home. The 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor in World War II saw the Canadian government impose restrictions on Japanese-Canadians and the family was interned at a “relocation” camp in British Columbia as Japanese aliens. The young man, along with his two older siblings, were then moved to eastern Manitoba as indentured workers on a sugar-beet farm.
At the end of the war, Takao, now with the last name of Tanabe, after his mother’s family, went to Winnipeg in 1946. He began courses at the Winnipeg School of Art and also attended the University of Manitoba.
In 1950, Tanabe studied at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School in New York. His work reflected the major genre of Abstract Expressionism that was taking hold in America after World War II. He was fortunate enough to take drawing classes from Hans Hofmann, a major artist of the Abstract movement. Tanabe was to remain an Abstract painter, “using geometric shapes, flat spatial planes, perspective and bold colours in a range of mediums”, for more than twenty years.
Tanabe returned home to Canada in 1952, exhibiting to good reviews in Vancouver and taking a few classes at Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta. Over the next ten years he would have the opportunity to travel and learn different aspects of painting and art in England and Japan. In 1953, he was the recipient of an Emily Carr scholarship and was able to attend the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, England. By 1957, Tanabe was gaining recognition and had a one-man show at the Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as exhibits across the country, and internationally – at the Bienal de São Paulo and in Milan.
Support from the Canada Council for the Arts allowed Tanabe to visit Japan in 1959, where he learned the arts of calligraphy and sumi-e (Japanese ink painting) at the Tokyo University of Arts. His new knowledge impacted his painting, and by the early 1960s he was creating Japanese-influenced ink drawings (Falling Water, 1967).
Tanabe returned to Vancouver in 1961 to teach at the Vancouver Art School and was to stay there for seven years, during which time he painted large-scale murals. In 1968, he went back to the States, working in Philadelphia and then in New York City until 1972, when an offer from Banff Art Centre in Alberta, Canada, not only brought him back to Canada but also coincided with a significant change in his work.
“After 22 years of painting abstract painting, I decided it was time to try something else…painting landscape…” he said. His week-long journey across the prairies to his new position inspired a whole series of landscape painting reflecting the flat and vast prairies. Tanabe has said that it is “simpler for my brain to think in series”, and indeed he has painted many landscape series including a series of 20 of the mountains in winter.
After seven years at Banff, and after influencing hundreds of students, Tanabe and his wife moved to Vancouver Island in 1980 where he could paint full time in a place of which he has said, “If you know B.C., you know the variety of landscapes and seascapes…islands, mountains, and valleys. It’s got a prairie-like atmosphere up in the Cariboo area…you don’t have to go look anywhere else…nothing holds a candle to the variety of views that BC offers.”
When last we checked, Tanabe still paints in his rural B.C. studio every day. His work, purely devoted to nature, explicitly without the human intervention in the landscape (railway lines, telephone poles, silos, etc.) and with the smooth finish of the artist who wants the paint to look as though it “just floated on”, has been collected by the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and many other public and private galleries. He is well known for “his transcendent light and atmosphere, which fluctuates from delicate and misty to stormy and brooding in his landscapes”, and his work appeals to collectors and is in high demand – perhaps for the meaning that Tanabe sees in the weather it depicts.
In 2000, Tanabe said in his artist statement for an exhibition of his work in B.C., “However much we desire order and clarity in all the details of our lives, there are always unexpected events that cloud and change our course. Life is ragged. The typical weather of the coast is like that, just enough detail to make it interesting but not so clear as to be banal or overwhelming. It can be a metaphor for life.”