When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Katherine Ace

BRIAR ROSE BIRTHDAY  oil on canvas

FISHERMAN'S WIFE  Oil and charcoal on canvas

FITCHER'S FEATHERED BIRD (with eggs)  Oil/alkyd with paper and small objects on canvas

FROG KING  Oil/alkyd with paper and small objects on canvas

TALES FROM THE GROUND UP  Oil/alkyd with paper on canvas

There is a narrative aspect to Katherine Ace's paintings that does not stem solely from the fact that many of them are based on the tales of the brothers Grimm. It's rather that they function in very much the same manner as the stories.  By juxtaposing unexpected and often improbable elements they create associative possibilities that encourage interpretation and meaning. Although some of the paintings have clearly illustrative aspects, picking specific visual imagery from the source material, illustrations usually interpret a text more literally. But underneath the literal imagery of folktales lies a bottomless well of meaning. As the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim pointed out in his book "The Uses of Enchantment", the message of a fairytale may change many times even for a single listener or reader depending on age and experience. Each story is so loaded with images and ideas that one must construct a relationship between it and one's personal experience in order to develop an interpretation. Interpretations will vary as widely as the audience. Ace's paintings work much the same way, attempting to trigger a kind of narrative instinct. A painting cannot tell a story on its own, being only a static image frozen in time. But stories bloom in the minds of human beings like wildflowers in spring. We dream them. We select moments in our past and ignore others in order to create stories about who we are. Stories define us. At their root, and at the root of all language, and possibly human consciousness itself, lies metaphor. Science is mankind's best tool for creating and discovering knowledge about the world around us. But far older, metaphor, in the guise of language, art and stories is how we create and discover knowledge about ourselves. These are the kind of paintings one could live with for a very long time, allowing their meaning and interpretation to slowly evolve and grow.

There are a lot more to look at on her website. Although there is no easy browsing through the images they're worth the extra little effort.

In other news: I'd like to apologize for the huge delay. Unfortunately I will be gone most of August so don't expect new posts then either. After that, we'll see. I want to continue the blog but may change it in some ways. Maybe add some interviews? Maybe more thematic posts featuring multiple artists. I'm not really sure. But thanks to everyone who's enjoyed following along.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A few new posts soon!

I will post some new work very soon. Unfortunately I will then be unavailable for most of August. But this blog is not being abandoned. I am thinking about different kinds of posts to do. Maybe some interviews. Perhaps thematic posts with different artists. We'll see. But in the short term I will post a few new people. Promise.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Due to schedule changes and now computer problems the blog has gotten hung up. I will post more artwork soon. I promise.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gwen Davidson

"Reflection"  48" x 60"  acrylic and charcoal on paper on canvas  2014
"Wallowa Mountains"  48" x 36"  acrylic and charcoal on paper on canvas  2014

"Fields near Galway Bay"  36" x 48"  acrylic and charcoal on paper on canvas  2012
"Beach Fire"  24" x 36"  acrylic and charcoal on paper on canvas  2013
"Neahkahnie Haze"  48" x 60"  acrylic and charcoal on paper on canvas  2014

Here's another artist whose work will be on display this month in my home town of Portland, Oregon (see also Jackie K. Johnson featured in my previous post). Both artists explore the gray areas between landscape and abstraction, but while Ms. Johnson sets out on what seems to me an almost narrative endeavor, Ms. Davidson's art is more descriptive and meditative. She works initially with a combination of acrylic paint and charcoal on paper. The paper, in rectangular strips of varying proportions, are then applied to canvas. The method gives the work a rigid geometric framework but the organic nature of her subject not only survives but somehow thrives within it. Perhaps the human mind is so powerfully predisposed toward order and pattern that their imposition relaxes the eye to the point where we can more comfortably see. Or perhaps in this age of digital pixellation we are simply more accustomed to viewing re-ordered and restructured interpretations of the world than we are to looking at the real thing. Either way it is clear that Ms. Davidson is a keen observer of both. Even her most abstract pieces unfailingly capture a genuine sense of place and atmosphere.

You can see more of her work at Froelick Gallery where her current show which opens tonight, will run through the end of May. You can see still more at Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah.