Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Absolutely Abstract" Reception Downtown Santa Cruz October 4

October 4
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
224 Church Street
Santa Cruz
Exhibiting artists are:  Ed Smiley, Mary Brooks, Ralph Joachim, Shane Mann, Jim Potterton, Denise Rossi, and Tammy Snyder. 
The show will be up from September 28, 2013 to January 11, 2014.

Here's a couple of pieces I will have in the show:

Here's some other pieces that will be in the show:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Some Recent Paintings: Don't Stop Believing

All images copyright 2013 Ed Smiley.
On canvas unless noted otherwise.

A recurring theme of today's post is "finishing" a painting, varnishing and putting it away.
All with a vague sensation is that something is not right.  

It's a pain, but if you use a removable varnish you can use mineral spirits or paint thinner to remove it (being careful to scrub down and make sure none of the spirits are left, so you have an acrylic surface your paints can adhere to). I usually wash then down with dish soap and water and sand them.

So there's a lot of brand new work here, with experiments with the new Liquitex acrylic sprays, but a lot of the paintings are new states of older paintings, that hopefully lack that earlier sense of unease. 

I reworked this one extensively.
I had to remove the varnish and start over.
Originally it had too many horizontals
and verticals.

I was inspired by the cast shadows of leaves falling on the painting as
it was drying in the sun.

Acrylic and acrylic transfer.
30"h X 24" w

This is acrylic and acrylic transfer.
I used the Liquitex acrylic sprays in a lot of this painting.
I used a large painting knife as a mask.
20" h X 24" w

I am pretty happy with this one.
I wanted to keep the upper right pretty empty,
so I had to decide exactly how much of an accent that arc
on the right would be.

Acrylic and acrylic transfer.
20"h X 24"w

Used a little bit of acrylic spray paint here.
Also used a squeegee.

Acrylic and acrylic transfer.
24"h X 20"w

There's a bit of gold color background in this.
Acrylic and acrylic transfer
20"h X 24"w

I really like this one a lot.
Not sure why.

Acrylic and acrylic transfer.
30"h X 24" w

A very small piece on Ampersand Pastelbord.

Used pastel and acrylic paint.
I used the trick of using clear Liquitex acrylic spray
over the pastel so I could paint over it.

Small 4" X 4" Ampersand panel

This one was slightly reworked form an earlier state.
I discovered I liked this orientation better!
(It was originally horizontal.)

acrylic and acrylic transfer
20" w X 24" h

This one has a title.

"Monster You"
acrylic and acrylic transfer
20"h X 24"w
The basic structure was pretty well defined, but
I kept finding I was still not satisfied, and
had to rework it over many additional painting sessions.

"Harlequin Party at the Galactic Core"
acrylic and acrylic transfer
30"h X 24"w

This was a black and white painting that I did about a year ago,
and it never entirely worked.

I scrubbed off all the varnish and sanded it an reworked it with many new layers,
ended up putting so many things in to it I finally had to stop
because I was reaching the point of diminishing return,
and I honestly could no longer feel I would make it any better.

I can spot quibbles, but I think it is a very strong (and pretty funny) painting.

Here's an older state of this painting, when I "finished" it a year ago.

August First Friday in Santa Cruz

Very good group shows at First Friday.

The Art Loft has a show exploring "Local Scenes", and the Blitzer Gallery has 6 artists from Monterey Peninsula with sculpture, painting, mixed media and printmaking exploring abstraction. 

Also saw the Susanna Arias show at the MAH on the members reception a few days before, that's really great. 

Susana Arias: Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year: July 19 – September 22, 2013
Also the Mary Karlton show at the Octagon is a lot of fun.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Golden Age of Abstraction: Right Now | ARTnews

The Golden Age of Abstraction: Right Now | ARTnews: "It’s tempting to see the years 1912–25 and 1947–70 as the two golden ages of abstract art, and to feel that the present revival of abstraction is no more than a silver age. But the present is always deceptive: it was not evident to their contemporaries that Malevich, Mondrian, and Pollock were the towering giants they seem to us in retrospect. The fact is, there is a vast amount of good abstract art being made today, and the best of it is every bit as good as the best abstract art of the past. The golden age of abstraction is right now."

'via Blog this'

Friday, March 1, 2013

Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art: Review

Francis Bacon and the Tradition of ArtFrancis Bacon and the Tradition of Art by Barbara Steffen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great information on Bacon's art practice, and in general on the dialog between artists of the present and past.
Not a great deal of organization of the material; the presentation seems a bit jumbled, like Bacon's studio.

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"Jackson Pollock: An American Saga": a Review

Jackson Pollock: An American SagaJackson Pollock: An American Saga by Gregory White Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very good and well-researched biography of an extraordinary man and artist.

Pollock was notorious for reticence in expressing himself in words, other than short cryptic utterances, because they never seemed to say the full truth, although he could talk clearly and simply about art when he was comfortable with doing so. He was a man in a great deal of pain, and experienced the world in ways that cut him off from others; the authors suggest that he saw the world in a flashing ever-changing and somewhat threatening yet beautiful flux that was better suited to express in his use of fluid paint than in more traditional media. He was also a classic artist maudit, alcoholic, trouble maker, given to immense rages, and strangely sweet and charismatic moods, insecure about his masculinity, strangely boyish in his immaturity.

The problem with artist biographies is that there is a tendency to "explain" every aspect of their art in one to one correspondence to specific features of their life, when in a sense you are more interested in the struggle to create the art itself (or at least I am). One is more interested in the food at a fine restaurant that the state of the kitchen (I've been there, you don't want to know.) This is the aspect of Pollock that I most valued in the book; being human the obviously sensational train wreck of his life story was also of great interest, of course. Pollock's development was anything but smooth, and he gave little obvious indications of "talent" in his early work; his teacher, Benton, however, sensed in him, something deeper than facile skill, a hunger that would drive him to do extraordinary and tremendously innovative work

The authors seem to have engaged in a degree of heavy psychological archaeology to reconstruct private portions of his life, that when examining the footnotes seem a bit thin to say the least, and based on hearsay. Admittedly, given that reticence to justify and explain it is an overwhelming temptation--the polar opposite of the problem of their other subject, van Gogh, who was so verbose and eager to justify and explain that they were forced into endless cycles of fact checking. This is probably the chief criticism that I would level against the book.

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