In Praise of Trees is the name of my show with printmaker Kerry Corcoran, which opened about a week ago at the Bozeman Public Library. The Atrium Gallery is essentially the combined entrance halls from two sides of the new (environmentally-certified) building, resulting in a broad, L-shaped space intended for exhibitions. It does get lots of traffic, though much of it under 12 years old. We applied and were accepted over a year ago.
I’ve been photographing horses for well over a year now, and I’m feeling it’s time to put together a show, or at least a portfolio. I would be happy just continuing to make photographs indefinitely, but I’d be happier grappling with the work in another way as well, reviewing it and thinking about it and looking for themes or ideas. A few thoughts have been mentioned in previous posts, but none has risen to the level of forming the backbone of a potential statement. Perhaps the most striking thing to emerge from my photographs is a lack of interest in anything resembling a classic, noble, iconic western horse. In fact, I notice that none of the images selected for this post even depicts an entire animal (though I have some that do).
One thing I realized in the course of the recent Morandi discussions is that the edges of the bodies are often blurred, or more generally obscured, either through intervening snow or grass…
After sending me to the Morandi exhibit at the MET, my friend and mentor, Nancy Plum, introduced me to Janet Fish’s paintings. She lent me Gerrit Henry’s 1987 JANET FISH and as a present for Hanneke (Psst, don’t tell her), I bought Janet FISH PAINTINGS by Vincent Katz, a more recent version.
Below are photographs of two of JF’s paintings, first F.W.F, 1976 (72 x 56″):
Fascinating to see geometry outlined by edges! The dazzling quality of the painting appears to be due to, quoting JF:
…I started sitting the bottles on mirrors, to bounce the light back up through them and intensify it. I’d paint the set-up all day long. If the light was terrific in the bottle at one moment, that’s when it was painted. I sort of set up a watch. And I’d look at things, and whatever was exciting that happened – in this situation where everything was always in flux – was recorded in the painting. The light is never in the same place for more than a second…
Vincent Katz likens the ‘artificiality ‘ in lighting due to capturing highlights at different time points to the artificiality in Dutch still life where flowers that bloom at different times of the year nevertheless appear in the same painting.
The next picture is Orange Cloth/Orange Poppies, 2000 (48 x 60″):
Edges are still accentuated. And, I think in this painting, there may be some dissolving of boundaries due to similarity in color of different shapes.
Has anyone thought about Morandi and Fish at the same time?
So far, I have only seen Morandi’s paintings in real life. I will attempt to see Janet Fish’ Grey Day (1978) in my town at the Kresge Art Museum Collection, Michigan State University. Nancy thinks that the painting may be archived. Thus, I will have to put in a request for special viewing after I return from Germany. More later,
Happy New Year!
On Monday, I painted two plein aire oils from the uppermost level of a parking garage. On Tuesday I attended a crit session with some other painters that I meet with regularly. OF course, I showed them the paintings.
I managed to remember to photograph the first painting twice — once as it emerged from the garage session, and then again after I had been through the critique and had tweaked it in the studio. I didn’t do a lot to this painting in my second go-round, but when I finished I was concerned about the loss of some of the “naive” quality of the red building. Here are images of the two versions:
Library Parking Garage, View South (first draft) 12 x 16, oil on board more… »
The two paintings by Giorgio Morandi shown here interest me because of what Steve called their ‘dissolving boundaries’. The first one was done in 1960:
It’s been instructive to continue experimenting with photography à la Morandi: not attempting to imitate, but rather to explore some of the themes he seems to be working with, or at least what I find myself working with as I go about it. One thing I realized looking at more of his pictures, both online at the Metropolitan and the Morandi Museum, and also in a book found at the library, is that he was often interested in the modeling of masses by the light falling on him. This was contrary to my impression from the quite flat images that seem to be more common. Perhaps working in both modes was his own form of experimentation.
Birgit’s post and subsequent discussion on Giorgio Morandi has inspired me to try my hand at the same subject using photography. Not with the goal of trying to create an imitation Morandi, but more as an exploration for myself of some of the same ideas I see and enjoy in his paintings. I don’t claim these are necessarily Morandi’s ideas, but I think the process will certainly help me understand his work better. Essentially, I am taking up again the concept of studio as laboratory.