Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guardians by Andy Freeberg

One of the things I love about this blog is getting to share work that I really like.
Andy Freeberg is a photographer who has a fresh new take on the art world, both thru his Sentry and Guardian portfolios. I was at the Hermitage in 2005 with a tour group and found the guards at the museum to be captivating.

Andy also recognized the beauty of these women and created an amazing body of work after several trips to Russia.
HermitageRussian State Museum
Pushkin Museum
Here is Andy's artist statement
"In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each way to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country."
The Guardians will be exhibited at the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon from March 5-29th. He is also the winner of Photolucida's Critical Mass Award for 2008.
Old Tretyakov Gallery

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mapplethrope Polaroids at the Block

If you haven't seen the Polaroids : Mapplethorpe exhibit at the Block Gallery yet,
It is worth a trip. They are little gems. It is not so easy to make well seen photographs. This show boasts one elegant composition after another. The lighting, focus and subject are so well done.
The exhibit is up until April 5, 2009.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Photography of Hans Silvester

This work was brought to my attention last week. Stunning! Hans Silvester is a german photographer who worked in the Ethiopian Omo Valley. It really speaks to our relationship with nature and beauty...

Roberta Smith of the New York Times wrote on September 26th, 2008

"At once revelatory and disturbing, these color photographs taken over the last five years by Hans Silvester, a German photographer, document the extraordinary body painting of the Surma and Mursi peoples of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. Semi-nomadic warriors, they live primarily by keeping large herds of cattle; their only Western accessory seems to be the Kalashnikov rifles they trade with Sudanese tribes.

They paint themselves or one another two or three times a day, using pigment made from earth or ground stone mixed with water. Executed quickly, the abstract, vibrantly patterned motifs reflect a sophisticated vocabulary of mark-making, finger-painting and hand-printing techniques; they extend across faces and sometimes center on a single feature, like a breast. They function as personal decoration, cultural expression and, when ash and cattle urine are added, insect repellent. Mr. Silvester says these people's interest in their painting supersedes any in sculpture, mask making, music or dance.

Mr. Silvester's pictures are almost exclusively closely cropped views of painted torsos, which objectify the subjects and enable us to look at them without them looking back. Yet the ephemeral art we encounter is humbling; it further erodes the idea of abstraction or painting as Western forms. They become basic human traits, expressed here with a skill that accrues through daily practice from childhood on. I'm grateful to learn of their existence, but can't help wondering what, if anything, art-world attention might bring them."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Acts of Kindness

Thursday, February 5, 2009; 3:45pm

I am heading to the CTA El stop to take the train into Chicago. I say hello to the CTA worker at the bottom of the steps as I head up to the platform, chatting away on my cell phone. I hear the train in the distance and quickly flip the phone shut and start rummaging around in my purse for the CTA card.
Once located, I rush to the turnstile and insert the card into the slot only to learn I do not have enough money on the card. No entry, no way.

I quickly retrace my steps back to the money/card kiosk machine and start frantically searching for some dollar bills. Next thing I know, the CTA worker is at my side helping me to work the machine.
I come up with a single dollar…won’t do. I am struggling to find more bills…I finally find a five dollar bill. He begins to insert that into the machine and then changed his mind. He gave me back the bills, pushed a button to eject the card and motioned me to follow him to the turnstiles. He then proceeded to insert his card into the slot to get me thru…I then run to the train. I am seconds too late. The doors close. Feeling the disappointment of missing my connection after such great effort, I hear him calling out to the conductor and the doors magically reopen. I am on my way. Totally, totally awesome!
(the Obama effect).

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Articles of Faith

Entrance ~ Dave Jordano

I just received an email this morning from a dear friend who lives in DC...
"We were walking to work this morning, and a block from our house, Obama was speaking at a national prayer breakfast (at the Hilton hotel). It is crazy to start walking, not quite yet awake, and run into secret service and the most black suvs with tinted windows you have ever seen fit into a hotel parking lot. We asked a cameraman what was going on and he said "Obama is praying for us".
Click here to read about it in the New York Times.Articles of Faith, Dave Jordano

Speaking of Faith, I have just learned about the soon to be released photographic book by Chicago photographer Dave Jordano titled Articles of Faith. The work is FANTASTIC. Click here to get to his website.
Dave states “This documentary project investigates the concept of how a sense of belonging and place can influence the development of a small segment of a community and helps preserve long-standing traditions of cultural and religious belief.”

Pulpit, Chicago Traveler's Rest Spiritual Church, 2006 Dave Jordano

Darius Himes, a Santa Fe based writer and publisher wrote a review of the work which is posted on his blog...
“The vast diversity of religious expression that is found on our planet stems, ultimately, from the vast diversity of humanity itself. Jordano’s photographs of Christian faithful and the houses of worship on chicago’s south Side are a telescopic view of the richness of spiritual sentiment and devotion that has flourished in one tiny corner of this vast, diverse landscape. The insightful and educative essay by Carla Williams is of particular note, perfectly complementing the tender gaze of Jordano’s images. Out of the specificity that these photographs of such particular places conveys rises a sense of binding unity. Worship of the Divine, no matter where it is found, is touched by the same set of universal human impulses and yearnings. The tension between the particular and universal is wonderfully captured in this book.”
Pastor Mallett's Back Room 2005, Dave Jordano

Monday, February 02, 2009

Discoveries ~ Lynda Lowe

Evidence by Lynda Lowe

I am so happy to have discovered the work of Lynda Lowe, who is also one of the artists
showing at The Poetic Dialogue at The Chicago Cultural Center. Her work is so evocative, mysterious, beautiful and epherimal. I can't wait to get back down to the exhibit to see her work again. Friday night was so busy and noisy (as most openings are) that I couldn't concentrate on the work.

There is much to be gleaned from the show and I think the panel discussion they have scheduled for Saturday, February 14th
in the Sidney Yates Gallery from 5:00-7:00pm should be very interesting.