I am thrilled to announce a whole new axis for Reinventingrid: Artist Studio Visits. I hope you will enjoy discovering the visual art of contemporary artists I have had my eyes on for some time. Who knows, you may decide to add their works to your own collection after reading a bit more about their inspiration, style and personality. Starting this new axis for the blog with Monty Montgomery’s striking fractal lines and colorful grids made perfect sense. So let me take you into his world, to see what he sees. Handwritten notes of personal encouragement, a zen quote and Salvador Dalí stuck over past exhibition images of Monty Montgomery works. Washed-out childhood photographs with Mom, Dad and best buddy Jensen at the beach, all neatly pinned next to graduated bright color swatches. It’s all there: the very personal and inspirational nurturing his art. Monty’s studio walls have become a paper tapestry woven straight from the heart. A small shrine filled with mementos echoing back and forth between Monty Montgomery’s native Virginia and his San Diego North Park studio. Miles away from what I expected from looking at Monty’s graphic and hard-edged works of art…
Have you ever wondered how art can affect us all so much in spite of the strange paradox that you can’t touch itt? What seems fair enough for paintings and installations sometimes seems questionable for sculpture, especially bronze sculpture. A gentle touch of skin on bronze would do no harm and go a long way in elevating our perception of the sensuality of the body rendered by a Degas, Rodin or Maillol, amongst so many others. For me, the one sculptor where the “Do Not Touch” sign is irrelevant is Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957). Even though I know I can’t touch a Brancusi sculpture, it does the work for me, it touches ME. But why? and how?
If you’ve never heard of Zach Harris, it’s OK: I hadn’t either until I stepped into Galerie Perrotin in Paris this summer. And I hate to say it but I was primarily going to write about another show, Civilization Iteration by Xu Zhen for the blog. So why am I writing about Zach Harris three months later? Because that day, I got to glimpse into many phantasmagoric worlds, crafted out of a very clever brain with talented hands. Just as the complexity of Zach Harris’ works started unravelling as I walked to them, past them and then back for a longer look, I knew time, distance and a sprinkling from my early learnings in Indian Art would shed more light and appreciation for the long run. It’s definitely the kind of art that deserves a museum bench or a meditation cushion. The kind of art to look at intently to start travelling without moving. But first, what was it in Zach Harris’ works that immediately reminded me of India?
Earlier this summer, I watched the movie Monet and I on the plane back from Europe. The following day, at a routine vision appointment, I was told I had typical California sun damage AND cataract on both eyes. The drama queen in me immediately thought about Monet and how cataract actually plagued his life, altered his perception of colors and pushed him slowly but surely towards the abstraction visible in his Grandes Décorations (1914-1926) at L’Orangerie. But let’s face it, cataract is no big deal nowadays. I won’t need the routine operation for another 10-15 years so what did I do? I got some cool glasses instead. Then I got a nasty inflammation on my sun damage areas and got to wear my cool frames a lot! This made me think about how much I rely on my eyes. And just like that, I was back thinking of Monet.
As a gemologist, I am never shy about my love of jewelry but lately I haven’t written about it as much. While in Paris this summer, the Médusa exhibition at Musée d’Art Moderne hit the spot on my grid, at the junction between art, jewelry and a 3rd dimension that made this visit a highlight of my summer! Ready to make the most of Médusa, I had signed up for a 3-hour conference which turned out to be…a Writing Workshop in French! The exhibition was not just your typical showcase of aesthetically beautiful jewels signed by the big names from the Place Vendôme. Although many of the glamorous suspects were spotted… Instead, Médusa aimed to rock preconceptions about jewelry.
Are you having a hot summer wherever you’re reading this? Then take a Big Splash with me, courtesy of David Hockney. While in Paris, one of my art stops had to be the Pompidou Centre. It had just received pretty much all of the Hockney retrospective held at the Tate in London I had written about back here. Yet with an artist as multi-faceted as David Hockney, Pompidou Centre built on the Tate exhibition to cover even more of the incredible palette of Hockney’s styles, giving me the opportunity to cover a few other “colours” from Hockney’s rainbow.
Who is the “Father of all Painters”? Duchamp in 1913? He did turn Art on its head with his Bicycle Wheel (1913) and Fountain (1917), refusing to be led by any aesthetic diktat. But he did not paint much… Picasso in 1907? A few weeks back, the blog took you along his rejection of painting only the beautiful when he discovered African Art and created Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). But even before these two game changers of the art world, there was Cézanne, the man whom Picasso declared was “the Father of all Painters”. Let me paint you Cézanne in just a few words and numbers: – apples (vibrating, preferably on a sliding white cloth or drapery), – Madame Cézanne, showing zero emotions (yet there are almost 30 portraits of her) and…
I see a lot of Art but this was something else – for my eyes and my brain. Civilization Iteration by Chinese artist Xu Zhen questions the extent of novelty in the world at large and the art world specifically. His work shows classical statuary from East and West joined where each singular head would have looked proud and tall as cultural representative of their civilization. Such a “head on / head off” collision is a striking comment on the circular nature of human creativity. Yet, in a world gone global, can civilizations fusing into each other lead to a potential loss of cultural meaning?