Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pretty, pretty pictures

When I was young I drew all the time. I drew at school, and then I came home and drew in the evenings. The thing I liked to draw best were women. I drew women and goddesses from the greek myths I read, then I drew superhero women like Wonder Woman and Catwoman, then I drew women like the ones I saw in magazines. Sometimes I thought I should draw guys just so I could learn to do it well, but I'd get bored. Partly it was a way of self expression, and I would draw the kind of women I wanted to be, but also for some reason it's just a delight to draw the feminine form. I was just thinking about this the other day and it inspired me to post some images of women throughout history that I have found particularly interesting.

Francesco Melzi "Flora"
I mainly am enchanted by the whimsical joy on her face...

Cosme Tura "Spring"
Love the regal composition and the folds of her dress are amazing. I like that she is sitting "like a man" rather than in a daintier pose.

John August Dominique Ingres "The Countess of Haussonville"
The blue satin and the red ribbon look lovely with her sassy but friendly countenance.

Charles-August Mengin "Sappho"
The goth in me digs this...

Jonathan Viner "A Pale Girl in a Pale Camo"
I adore this painting. I love her awkward pose and the bruise on her leg.

Lori Earley "Drained"
My favorite Earley painting by far. I think it's the lighting...

Audrey Kawasaki "Blue Girls"
or anything by Kawasaki. It's like an eyeball massage to look at the art nouveau linework and delicate precise shading against the wood grain...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The economy versus art

Arrested Motion blog has a post about how the economic downturn is affecting art galleries. There have been many closures and it sounds like some galleries lost their shirt at Art Basel. In my own little section of the art world- I think this is a good thing. NOT because I want galleries to close (although I will readily admit I'm sick of hearing about a new Pop Surrealism/Street Art gallery opening every other freaking week)...but rather anyone familiar with this scene knows that the huge explosion of popularity and interest in this scene has lead to a lot of derivative crap being exhibited. I think the outcome of wallets tightening means collectors are going to be a lot more picky about what they buy, meaning artists are going to really have to step up their game or get left behind. I think and hope this is a great impetus for artists and I'm really hoping we start seeing the same stellar quality works amongst the younger artists, that the top tier artists in this "movement" have been creating for some time. I also think there is going to be a big schism, with many of the greater artists leaving behind the gallery rotation everyone seems to do, and settling in with just a few good galleries, Pop Surrealism focused or not. This means the galleries will also have to really step it up (me included). This will be great for everyone and most especially the legacy Pop Surrealism leaves behind.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My favorite Christmas song

I dont really go in big time for Christmas- but I like some of the little family traditions my family observed anyway. One of them was listening to Missa Luba- a mass sung in a traditional Congolese style. Here is a particularly lovely version of "Kyrie". The outpouring of joy in the beautiful voices in this song sounds like a waterfall. It always makes me feel happy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kristine Moran

I just discovered Kristine Moran's sensually messy paintings that combine a tension-inducing hyper-speed blur effect and the most delectably vibrant color palette I've seen in a long time.

From her site:
"Kristine Moran draws on the immediate world around her as inspiration for the chaotic beauty of her car crash paintings. "It's something I feel living in the city," she says from her Toronto studio, "how hectic it is, the sensory overload." She also lifts ideas from action and sci-fi movies. - The Fifth Element is a favourite - from Japanese anime, videogame Websites and from the most reliable source for anyone on the lookout for disaster, the daily news.

"I'm attracted to the choreographed violence in the media and to the intense colour, surround sound and fast-moving images of action movies. It becomes pure aesthetics and it takes away any emotional connection we might have to the actual tragedy. That melodramatic action is what I am trying to portray in my paintings."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Laurie Hogin

Because I have been too busy I totally flaked on posting Laurie Hogin's new show at Littlejohn Gallery in New York, where she has several large scale, allegorical and decadently psychedelic wildlife tableaus. I love it. That's really all I have to say about it. The combinations of color, form, and tension is to die for.

Daniel Martin Diaz

I really like Daniel Martin Diaz's work, which is redolent of Mexican folk art and heavy on the catholic references, with the splash of gothic morbidity and the teeniest pinch of a punkish irreverence. He has a show up at Billy Shire which I think is one of his best.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dutch Treats

Femke Hiemstra
"Marie Antoinette"

hand embellished giclee (white gold leaf border), edition of 100

Ok- that was bad. But my life right now is the upcoming Chris Berens show, and getting ready to release a brand spanking new Femke Hiemstra print- and both artists are from Amsterdam. There must be something awesome in the water over there that makes such excellent artists.
Anyway- here are some sneak peeks!

Chris Berens
"Darkest Hour Before Dawn"

Chris Berens
" The Gift"

Chris Berens
" Half Way There"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art Break

For the past week Kenny and I have been taking a break and visiting our family in Hawaii. Let me bore you with some pics...

Kailua Beach!

Portugese Man of War...these are all over Kailua Beach lately.

Coconut and Macadamia Nut Pancakes.

It's kinda pretty here.

The place is lousy with lizards

Me and Charlie. He only tried to bite my finger off once this time- a record!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Miriam Makeba ~ The Lioness Sleeps Tonight

Growing up, for some inexplicable reason Miriam Makeba's music was a staple in our house. As kids, my Mom would put "The Click Song" and we'd all jump up and down trying to sing along to it. I still listen to Miriam's records all the time. Her voice is utterly amazing, powerful and soothing at the same time. To really get a feel for her you should try listening to good recordings of " Kilimanjaro", " Mbube" (aka "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"- her version will make your hair stand up) or "The Click Song "(in this clip she also gives you a breakdown on the Xhosa language). Here is a clip of her singing Kilimanjaro in 1966...

RIP Miriam.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Charles Krafft

Here is a really great video profiling one of the NW's greatest contemporary artists, the ever-controversial Charles Krafft.

Charles Krafft from Patricia O'Brien on Vimeo.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day

Sorry again for being incommunicado folks. I'm working on a zillion things as usual. Anyway- in honor of tomorrow's historic vote, allow me to gift you with this...possibly THE worst video ever made.

Arcadia's "Election Day". Pull your shirt off and pray.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mijn Schatje

I am really enjoying digital artist Mijn Schatje's mermaid themed new show at Ad Hoc Art in NY. I really dig the image above of the wierdo jellyfish baby. It's like a piece of candy. Her work normally is of big eyed girls in soft pastel colors. They have simple compositions but are very pleasing I think. Mijn also has a show in Portland at Compound Gallery coming up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chris Berens interview

So Kenny and I made a video of our visit to Chris Berens studio in Amsterdam. It's on Hi Fructose and Boing Boing which is exciting- especially as it's our first video we've made! Kenny taught himself to edit and he's done amazing for his first try I think! We were really nervous because we are perfectionists and we know it's not perfect, but people have been kind and given us a good response. We'll be posting part 2 soon, and hopefully starting on a series of artist interviews.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Madeline von Foerster

I just came across the work of Madeline von Foerster and I'm pretty spellbound by it. Obviously influenced by the old Flemish masters, she adds a touch of 18th/19th century occult weirdness and contemporary issues such as the eradication of species. She has a new show coming up in Berlin.
Here is a clip from an interview with her on her site:

In your early development as an artist, who/what inspired you?

Although as a child different things attracted me than do at the present, my aesthetic sensibility has actually been rather consistent. I have always appreciated things that looked old and slightly arcane. I loved the beauty inherent in mystery...I used to spend a lot of time looking for secret passages in the flat where I grew up! During my childhood, there were three artistic discoveries which had great influence: the Carravaggio painting of Christ being lowered into the tomb, which I saw in the fifth grade when the Vatican Collection toured this country; the Helga Pictures which I saw at the same museum two years later; and a tiny book of Hieronymous Bosch which some intuitive adult gave to me when I was about seven years old, which sits on my bookshelf to this day.

What about recent sources of inspirations?

I'm afraid that's difficult to narrow down! But here are a few of them: All the fifteenth century Flemish Masters, with van Eyck and Memling as particular favorites, but also David, Van der Weyden, Van der Goes, and several others. Bosch, Brueghel, Durer, and Grunewald. And all of the alchemical illustrators, whether engravers or manuscript illuminators. Most of them are unfortunately anonymous. I also have a passion for certain Surrealist artists: namely, Leonor Fini, Remedios Varos, Leonora Carrington, Hans Bellmer, and Ernst Fuchs.


I don't normally show "landscape" art. I have shown Jean Pierre Roy in the past, and I have an upcoming show with Jeremy Bennett in October who will be my second foray into the genre. I decided to do a quick and dirty post about a few landscapes that intrigue me. Now, I know some of these aren't traditional landscapes as many also features figures, but oh well. I picked works I liked in which the environment was a crucial part of the painting.

Marion Peck "Landscape with Submerged Deer" oil on panel

Jean Pierre Roy " The Black Damp " oil on canvas

Jean Pierre Roy "Farsang" oil on canvas

Ronald Kurniawan "O" acrylic on panel

Ronald Kurniawan "D" acrylic on panel

Mala Iqbal " Lupine Lake" acrylic on canvas

Mala Iqbal "Swamp" acrylic on canvas

Rebecka Woodward

Normally I'm just not really a fan of collage (with the exception of Francesca Berrini)'s rare to see it done really well and it can all too easily end up looking like craft projects/bad surrealism. I got a little flyer for a local show with Rebecka Woodward's imagery and Myspace address on it so I checked it out. It's kind of "fashion-y" but I find it very appealing and well done. These two are my favorites.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Excellent new blog

The art aficionados over at Arrested Motion have a fantastic new blog up!
Check it out here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Most Cathartic 80's Video Ever

If you were a alienated teenage new wave art freak in the 80's like I was odds are you remember Blancmange. This is my favorite video...footage of them just throwing a tantrum and trashing a house.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Art and Fashion

Parisian jewelry artist Lydia Courtielle enlisted digital artist Natalie Shau to create images for her assorted lines of breathtakingly cool jewelry. Artists and designers have a history of working together (Dali and Schiaparelli come to mind, and even recently James Jean and Prada) but you don't see to much truly innovative work these days in terms of advertising. I love this. I wish there was more of this type of thing. How cool would it be to open a magazine and see a Lori Earley painting of an elongated dress, or an Esao Andrews girl wearing Marc Jacobs as her head explodes into flame. Totally brilliant.
I like Natalie Shau's works mainly because it feels like she is having a total blast creating them. It's endearing.

Taken from Paintalicious blog

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Roq La New

Oh- did I mention- Roq la Rue has a new website! That's a big part of why I have neglected this blog- been busy doing content for the new site as well as fixing up the gallery space...

Max Klinger

Another one of those Symbolist artists I harp on and on about, is Max Klinger (1857-1920)(No, not him.)
Klinger was a German artist skilled in various media, mainly etching, painting, and sculpture.
Klinger "was cited by many artists (notably Giorgio de Chirico) as being a major link between the Symbolist movement of the 19th century and the start of the metaphysical and Surrealist movements of the 20th century."
What I find compelling about his work is the overall sheer weirdness of his imagery- mainly in his etchings. They have a formalness to them that is at odds with the chaotic, morbid dream imagery happening within. I get a strange sort of gut dropping feeling from them, like seeing a fight on a street, the moment just before you suddenly realize what you are he's tapped into something I'd rather not know about.

What on earth is going on here? I dont know, but I like it!

"The Dead Mother" Oh dear.

"The Plague" Pretty straightforward for Klinger, actually.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yeah, I Know.

Victor Castillo

Sorry for being lame and not posting much lately- I am really under the gun getting the gallery interior done and my brand spanking new gallery website completed. I have zero free time right now. I did get a kick ass intern/assistant so that will help once we get the new show opened. I am working on a great "Creepy Paintings" sequel for you!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Merry Prankster

Jim Blanchard sent out this email commemorating the 15th anniversary of an art prank he was involved in. "The Hammering Man" is an iconic giant sculpture outside the Seattle Art Museum which is a tribute to the working man or some such (I'm not a fan personally). Jason Sprinkle and his band of Merry Men made a huge ball and chain and attached it to the Hammering Man's leg, and creating one of Seattle's most memorable art pranks in recent history.

My second favorite art prank was when the Sculpture Park opened in Seattle- a crew of art hooligans that go by the name PDL were inspired by Calder's "Eagle" and made a nest of "Eaglets" and dropped it off in the park on night.

Adorable. I wish I owned this.

More Chris Berens

Commandax over at Erratic Phenomena just posted an incredible piece about artist Chris Berens, with lots of mouthwatering imagery.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Going Dutch

Well I'm back from our trip to Amsterdam. What an amazing city- we had heard some negative stuff from people we knew who had gone there but we had a pretty magical time (and no, we didn't partake in the "coffeeshops"- I saw enough Cat in the Hat fashion in the early 90's thanks). We went to visit artist Chris Berens and his dealer and our new friend Robbert van Ham from Jaski Gallery, who graciously put us up in an amazing little apartment over looking the Keizergracht...this meant we were pretty centrally located and we could walk almost everywhere. We visited with our gal Femke Hiemstra which is always great, found some rare old art books in a decrepit (in the nicest way) second hand bookstore, went out every night with artists and dealers for dinners. We went to the Rijksmuseum and saw Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" (which they sure love in Amsterdam) as well as Vermeer's "The Milk Maid", which is another one of those situations where you've seen that painting in books your entire life and feel pretty ho-hum about it, and then you see it in person and it's jaw dropping.
I really can't say enough good things about the city- we'll be back for sure.

Our place in Amsterdam thanks to Robbert at Jaski Gallery. Not too shabby at all! It was full of great art we longed to steal.

View of the canal out our window. All of Amsterdam seems to look like this- not just a couple of blocks.

These lil guys were in our apartment, by Les Deux Garcons.

The Rijksmuseum, most of which was closed for renovation.

Lots of stores have cats hanging around to deal with mice and rats. This guy hung out at a flower stall on one of the canal bridges. I became very fond of him quite quickly.

More street views

So pretty.

EVERYONE rides a bike in Amsterdam- in fact it becomes a bit exhausting always dodging them. Here comes Femke to meet us for dinner!

Also- lots of girls ride in heels. Here Femke and artist Angelique Houtcamp show off their amazing shoes. I was quite jealous of Femke's green boots with the cat head buckles. Fashion is pretty subdued in Amsterdam- but everyone is very tidy and groomed, no sweat pants. They settle for being tall, slim, and gorgeous instead.

One of the highlights was getting to spend time with artist Chris Berens and see his studio. He was working on the Roq la Rue show and I was blown away. I've never seen anything like his technique before. This is part of a new painting he was working on. Kenny and I filmed an interview and I took a ton of pictures- I will save that for Hi Fructose, will let you know when it goes up...

A shot of Chris' studio...high up in a little warren overlooking a canal. Pretty nice!