Tag Archives: art

Leaning Into the Wind — Andy Goldsworthy

11.December – Andy Goldsworthy

Art and Nature. Inspiration and Material. For Andy Goldworthy, to whom I dedicate today’s post, nature is both. And more. “Art for me is a form of nourishment. I need the land,” he states in ‘Rivers and Tides’, a must see documentary. If you have a baby you may be interesting in design ideas for a nursery, https://www.mummypages.co.uk/10-nursery-design-ideas-that-you-will-absolutely-adore.

As both sculptor, Goldsworthy creates installations in situ using naturally occurring materials like leaves, ice, or branches. He then documents the evolution of the work in it’s habitat through photography.

“A lot of my work is like picking potatoes; you have to get into the rhythm of it.”

Andy Goldsworthy

And without much further ado, I would like to share some images of Goldsworthy’s work, that I feel a particularly strong connection to:

The sheer scope of the work is massive and it can span entire hillsides. Art it turns out, isn’t just for walls of museums but can ‘live amongst us’ and be part of our landscape or cityscape.

But more about that tomorrow…

Storm, Philip Govedare

9.December – Philip Govedare

Today, I want to dedicate a post to a contemporary artist, whose work – which I stumbled upon by accident – has the power to pull you right into it: Philip Govedare.

Not much is known about this artist, except that he has an extensive exhibition catalogue and teaches at University of Washington in Seattle. So I’ll let his work speak for itself. I have chosen 4 works to show you.

Dusk, Philip Govedare

The first piece ‘Dusk’ I picked, because I think it is a great way to connect my previous post about William Turner to this one about Philip Govedare. Can you see Turner’s inspiration here? I can. Whether actually true or not. The next piece, I chose because the use of red and red hues and light blue lines is really magnificent. This is a painting I would simply love to have on my wall, because I’m sure I would feel differently about it every day. It’s got a depth and lushness, I simply find irresistible.

Anthropocene #2, Philip Govedare
Anthropocene #2

Yet, Govedare’s work is about the natural world and warns of it’s destruction (much like my own work) as you can see very clearly in this next piece, entitled ‘Excavation #5’.

Excavation #5, Philip Govedare
Excavation #5
Laguna, Philip Govedare
Laguna, Philip Govedare

And finally, the last work I want to share today is entitled ‘Laguna’ and it really takes my breath away. The use of blurring and sharp lines reminds me of Gerhard Richter’s treatment, but it’s used in a very different manner with a very different result here. Again, I am also really in love with the use of color and hues and values. Unforeseeable combinations, with subtle changes. It makes for an image that is very natural and realistic, yet entirely abstract and surreal.

Do visit Philip Govedare’s website, as there is more to discover there (such as his drawings and monoprints and a video about his work).

Turner-A Storm at Sea

8.December – William Turner

The work by JMW Turner took me a while to discover. The old masters weren’t something I was easily drawn to. Not during art college, nor later during my professional career. I discovered something in Turner’s work I hadn’t expected during my visit to the Tate Gallery in London in the 1990ies. Turner’s work, as it turns out, had everything to do with modern painting and I began to understand him not just as a master, but as a visionary in his field. Turner wasn’t the romantic painter we talked about in school, he was a modern abstract expressionist in disguise!

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Fishing Boats Bringing a Disabled Ship into Port Ruysdael  exhibited 1844
Fishing Boats Bringing a Disabled Ship into Port Ruysdael, Joseph Mallord William Turner
Detail of ‘The burning of the houses of Parliament’

When you see his work up close, you can see, that he really didn’t focus on the scene, but on HOW to bring about his vision. His brushstrokes and knife-marks push the paint around the canvas as if it’s a statement in and by itself. The colors are disassembled and leave the viewer to his or her own interpretation. You want to smell the painting and when you do, a strong scent of linseed oil and wax oozes from the canvas and transports you almost tangibly into his studio!

He reduces his use of color to chromatic palette and begins to distort and dissolve reality by applying layers upon layers of thin glazes. His tactile brushwork is used to abstract facts and hide little details all over the canvas.

Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway, 1844, oil on canvas, National Gallery
Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway, 1844, oil on canvas, National Gallery

Gerhard Richter - Kölner Dom

7.December – Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter’s opus encompasses a number of distinctly different series. The first paintings I saw in Hamburg (or was it Bremen?) in the 80ies, were his snowscapes. If I had seen these paintings as reproductions in a book or poster, they would likely not have had the impact they did when I stood in front of the large canvas in the museum.

Gerhard Richter - Davos S., 
1981, 70 cm x 100 cm, Oil on canvas

You have to see Gerhard Richter’s work in the flesh! You have to be able to walk up close and then move away from the pieces. And allow the size change the as your perspective changes.

He uses wide brushstrokes to smudge the wet paint and makes it appear blurry. When up close to it, all you can see is vaguely changing colors, but you can’t make out an image at all. When you walk away though, suddenly out of the blur emerges a landscape. So real, you can’t believe you couldn’t see it before. So you walk up close again, and it disappears. The brain can’t keep the image of the landscape when it focuses on the detail.

Gerhard Richter - Italienische Landschaft
Gerhard Richter – Italienische Landschaft, 1967, 105 cm x 100 cm, Oil on canvas

Richter also famously created the glass art for the Cologne Cathedral, connecting the play between color and light to something divine or other-wordly. But to me, Richters use of contrast has had the greatest impact on my own visual language: blurring and sharp edges, color and monochrome, light and dark, city and sea, busy and calm.

On several occasions has a connection between Richter’s work and that of William Turner been made.

But more about that tomorrow….

Anslem Kiefer

1.December – Anslem Kiefer

I grew up in Germany, where Anslem Kiefer‘s art is cherished and widely exhibited. So it’s hardly surprising, that he should be the first artist in my December art list. But Kiefer’s work to me, is much more than something I grew up with. His work represents in essence one of the main pillars of art: having something to say. Something important. Something that cannot be easily said in a conversation and something that should be remembered beyond one’s own personal time. So artists turn to the tools at their hands: music, paintings, prose, film, theatre, etc… to get the essence across.

Anslem Kiefer in his studio
In his studio, the sheer physical nature of Anslem Kiefer‘s work, is evident. Image credit: CBS News

Kiefer’s work is impressive. Massive. Dark. It can be materially and physically experienced. It makes an impact upon its viewers. You don’t need to like it or think it beautiful, but you will be touched when in the presence of his work!

Most of Kiefer’s paintings involve sculptural 3D elements and go beyond what is normally considered ‘painting’. And it was this fact, that first drew me to the work of this artist from the Black Forest. His visual language is unique and quite overwhelming. There is emotion. Pain. Brutality. War. Suffering. Hopelessness. But there is also Love. And Beauty. And there is hope. The hope that something new must – and will – evolve, no matter how massive and devastating the destruction. The phoenix will rise from the ashes.

But more about that tomorrow… 2.December (stay tuned!)