With so much contemporary figuration built on photography, it is refreshing to meet a painter who puts away the camera. Julie Speed is as much a showman as a painter; the inscrutability and frequent magic of her compositions makes the camera irrelevant.
Born in Chicago in 1951, Speed is a lifelong lover of drawing, an evident fact that likely contributed to her impatience with art school. She dropped out early on and makes no bones about it. After a string of oddball jobs, she landed in Austin, Texas, in 1978. Continue Reading
Paul Caranicas’ minimalist landscapes—if that is what they are—rank among the most interesting paintings on the contemporary scene. They remind us that freshness is a quality of mind, one that has nothing to do with conventional idiosyncrasy. Caranicas views his own contemporary locales through a compositional device used by Canaletto during his stay in London.
Caranicas frames his paintings to the advantage of peripheral vision. He skirts the center of our field of view and explores—no, celebrates—the wealth of overlooked shapes that exist off the center of our gaze. Continue Reading
Francis Cunningham has gone online! What a good thing, and overdue. He brings to the web all the grace and good sense of his years of teaching at the Art Students League. His website details the range of his work. But it is his blog that is so exciting for other painters. It is a valuable extension of his classes. Here are videos filmed in his own studio. Dick talks as he has to a generation of students at the League about every aspect of painting, from initial design to framing. Continue Reading
Culture is not an ornament of leisure to be measured in museum attendance, opera subscriptions, theater going and the like. It is, rather, the fiber of life—a living tradition of values—that lends meaning to a society’s artistic production.
The nature of our culture is gauged more accurately by the character and political temperament of the men and women a still-free people entrust with public office. By that measure, American culture is on the ropes. No amount of art appreciation or museum acreage can sustain a people who confuse a presidential election with voting for American Idol. Continue Reading
Patrick Courrielche, film maker and all-aound art macher, is something of a gadfly in the “art community.”. On August 25th, he posted an account of his participation in an invitation-only conference call enlisting artists to play the missionary for Obama’s policy agendas on” heath care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.” The call was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve. (That last is a spanking new iniative of the White House, kicked off by Michelle Obama on June 22nd. Continue Reading