Monthly Archives: January 2017

Artwork that surprises….and delights

Don’t you love it when you stumble upon amazing artwork?

There I was, nonchalantly drifting into the Alcheringa Gallery in Victoria, B.C., expecting to see their usual offerings of high quality, global aboriginal art.  (One could look at Dennis Nona‘s artwork many, many times….and The Art Caravan does.)

Little did I know that I would be sideswiped by their fall show Soaring High, Falling Hardby Rebecca Jewell.

Songbirds Mist Net, Rebecca Jewell

Songbirds Mist Net, Rebecca Jewell

Here’s a closer look at this piece:

Songbirds Mist Net (detail), Rebecca Jewell

Songbirds Mist Net (detail), Rebecca Jewell

Yes!  Real feathers, and some with bird images printed on them  Not only is the work beautiful, it is technically stunning.  Intaglio printing on….feathers?!!!  Here is an article about the printing process.

Songbirds, Rebecca Jewell

Songbirds, Rebecca Jewell

The subtitle for the show, Soaring High, Landing Hard is the veneration and exploitation of birds.  Jewell references the extinction of species, and the abuse and threats to birds.   Mist nets, for instance, are used to capture birds, for both research and profit motives.  All the while, the work delights in avian beauty.

Great Tit, Rebecca Jewell

Great Tit, Rebecca Jewell

Falconer's Headdress, 2014, Rebecca Jewell

Falconer’s Headdress, 2014, Rebecca Jewell

Rebecca Jewell is not an aboriginal artist but she has lived in Papua New Guinea and studied Cultural Anthropology at Cambridge. Rebecca Jewell has a PhD in Natural History Illustration from the Royal College of Art.  She is an Artist in Residence at the British Museum.  Please click here for her detailed website and here for more information from the Rebecca Hossack Gallery.  You’ll find a short, informative video here.

If you’re in Victoria, you’re in luck.  Some of this extraordinary work is still on display at Alcheringa Gallery.

 

 

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Epiphany

January 6 is Epiphany, the last ‘Day of Christmas.’  In many cultures, it is a day of celebration, marking the visitation of the wise men, the magi, to the baby Jesus.  The wise men revealed the divinity of the baby Jesus to the world.

The Magi Journeying, Tissot, 1886-1894, Brooklyn Museum

The Magi Journeying, Tissot, 1886-1894, Brooklyn Museum

The Cambridge English dictionary defines epiphany as a moment when you suddenly feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, something that is very important to you.

The Art Caravan’s theme for this year, 2017, came as a ‘mini’ Epiphany when writing the posting about Robert Irwin’s 1°2°3°4°.  Speaking about his installation, Irwin said,

And here it’s like I am saying, you know the kind of attention you have been taught to lavish on a Renaissance landscape within its as-if window frame, try lavishing that sort of attention on the world itself. In fact, get rid of the window. Just experience the world!

The Art Caravan will be doing its best to experience the world this year.  Off we go!

 

 

Final Days of Christmas….

We’ve been marking the days of Christmas by looking at some of my favourite  art.  I limited the discussion by stipulating that it must be art I personally experienced in 2016.  (Click here for the first post in this series.)

I am taking creative license with the ‘works of art’ category, and devoting this post to the general category of mosaic tile floors found in countless buildings in Italy.

I am crazy for the floors. The colours, the patterns and the textures are gorgeous. I am sometimes mesmerized. Thank goodness for digital technology, as I have countless photographs of mosaic work..  (Never fear:  I will severely curate.)  Mosaic floors are beautiful.

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Perhaps, more importantly, they also work on a symbolic level for me.  The floors represent things I value:  good design; the appreciation of craftsmanship; the willingness to spend exorbitant amounts of time creating something beautiful; the recognition that our built environment should be beautiful, and not only utilitarian.

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Venetian mosaic, photo by T. Vatrt

Venetian mosaic, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Roman floors, photo by T. Vatrt

Granted, most of these images are from churches, or grand residences.  Below is a photo from the ‘back stairs’ in a Venetian convent.  The floors are not nearly as extravagant, but the design is simple, and pleasing.  Consideration for daily life is evident.

Venetian mosaic, photo by T. Vatrt

Venetian mosaic, photo by T. Vatrt

May we all experience more beauty in our daily lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Days of Christmas continued…..

Today we are leaping from the Renaissance, in Italy, to installation art in southern California as we continue to celebrate the days of Christmas.

One of my favourite Robert Irwin pieces is 1°2°3°4°. ( I’ve written about Irwin here and here.)

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1°2°3°4° is a semi-permanent installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.  It’s an excellent example of a site specific work of art, which looks deceptively simple:  three squares of glass removed from the windows.

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

1° 2° 3° 4°, Robert Irwin, 1997, photo by T. Vatrt

Listen to what Irwin says about his work:  And here it’s like I am saying, you know the kind of attention you have been taught to lavish on a Renaissance landscape within its as-if window frame, try lavishing that sort of attention on the world itself.  In fact, get rid of the windowJust experience the world!

….now you’ve taken the frame and sort of bent it, which just brings that even into more focus, it turns out that before it was slightly out of focus, but now, bang, it snaps into focus, becoming completely pictorial while in fact being the opposite of pictorial, which is to say experiential, because on top of everything else now you get the sounds drifting in from outside, and the soft breeze blowing, the whole thing becoming truly four dimensional.  (from page 270-271, seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees by Lawrence Weschler.)

Experience the world!  They are inspiring words for the new year.