Frame what you see…Look up and beyond…Learn about yourself… Six months ago when I published my first post, I recognized these as axes underpinning my personal grid. I have always looked intently. I love to learn. Yet what triggered this blog was really the need to frame it all in my eyes, my mind and my life. Along came the hope that others would get it (get me!) and perhaps go see and look a bit more. Writing became a way to crystallize it all while facilitating the sharing element. It was no accident that I chose Robert Irwin’ s caged bougainvillea trees at the Getty Museum as opening picture to my first blog post then. Now at my 6-month mark of weekly publishing, I am thinking about another Robert Irwin’s masterpiece. This one I use like others use prayer beads.
Do yourself a favour, go see a point of view from Saudi Arabia that’s mainly ignored by the media these days. Pause by Abdulnasser Gharem is at LACMA. Rush to it before it closes on July 2, 2017. Here is why… September 11, 2001 changed the world as we knew it, for all of us. And here it is, creeping in, the “us” which goes with, or rather against, “them”. The self-perpetuating lack of understanding feeding only more violence. That knee-jerk reaction of protecting ourselves by closing off when we are in a state of shock and feeling under attack. We can’t begin to understand what happened and is still going on to this day… Don’t you wish we could hit Rewind and Stop? Erasing the bad dream… Instead, hit Pause at LACMA and look intently at Abdulnasser Gharem ‘ s powerful perspective. Gharem is from Saudi Arabia. He is a Muslim, an Arab, a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi army and he discovered that two of the 9/11 hijackers were old classmates.
Over the last few weeks, it’s all been monumental scale with the works of Yayoi Kusama or Richard Deacon (still showing at SDMART until July 25, 2017 – click the link for more info). Today, let me shrink your world to the size of a netsuke 🙂 Netsuke are very small in size (1-1.5 inch / 2.5- 3.8cm, think smaller than your thumb) and yet they are probably more exquisite in details than anything I have ever seen. Even the world of jewels that I know so well can look static and stiff compared to the movement and life that netsuke convey. During my recent trip to Japan, I visited the Kyoto Seishu Netsuke Art Museum. With netsuke being so small, forget about grand scale architectural landmarks: the word “museum” takes on a very different connotation. I entered the only surviving samurai house in Kyoto, dating from 1820. I stepped back in time, or rather stooped.
Like last week, I am playing with Spark Page to share strong visuals I recently experienced on the Second Avenue Subway line in New York City. Make sure to visit these striking permanent art installations by renowned artists Chuck Close and Sarah Sze (Part 2, this week) and Jean Shin and Vik Muniz (Part 1, last week) when in New York. At 86th Street, I met a member of staff who proudly showed me his picture taken with Chuck Close in front of one of his mosaic work. These art installations definitely made him re-think his appreciation of his working environment…something that should apply pretty much everywhere for everybody’s benefit. Please click the link below and enjoy the ride! https://spark.adobe.com/page/dDwPrItKfsYho/ © 2017 Ingrid Westlake All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.
This week and next, I am playing with Spark Page to share strong visuals I recently experienced on the Second Avenue Subway line in New York City. I hope you will enjoy the pictures and go visit these striking permanent art installations by renowned artists Jean Shin and Vik Muniz (Part 1, this week) and Chuck Close and Sarah Sze (Part 2, next week). Please click the link below and enjoy the ride! https://spark.adobe.com/page/VSTzqOrHVAQ5j/ © 2017 Ingrid Westlake All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.
If you think about Seurat, dots should be the next word popping into your mind. My 5th grade daughter and her class made their own version of Seurat’s The Channel at Gravelines, Evening to be auctioned at the school gala. They used a multitude of dots to recreate local and illuminating colors and paid a brilliant homage to Seurat. He formalised scientific discoveries on color theory as a systematic approach applied to his painting technique. His breakthrough was termed Pointillism and was achieved with just six major paintings that are so familiar to all. He did not have time for more: he died aged 31.
Remember the days when you were a student? Can you clearly picture yourself almost drinking every word uttered by your favorite teacher or can you only see the blur of the parties? What about going from one class to the next, head bent watching your steps, on automatic pilot. Fully absorbed in your thoughts on managing your work load with all your upcoming deadlines, how often did you remember to look up? What about today? What does it take to look up and what difference does it make to your day? This is a subject dear to Robert Irwin’s heart, a Californian artist who keeps inspiring my vision of life. His art is all about engaging you to look, not just see. Between 1981-1983, he had an opportunity to fight what he so aptly calls “habituation” in a place where this matters most crucially. A university campus. Try walking through a university some time. Each time I do I can’t help but think about which one of these bright kids is thinking hard about a new approach or a new discovery that will change the world we know. If these students succumb to “habituation” and become immune to their surroundings […]
Studying a painting is the exact opposite of the better part of our life spent glued on our smartphone. Isn’t it weird then that sharing this blog through social media brings me so many personal connections and mini-conversations that I would not have otherwise? Truly honoured that people I know (and some that I don’t) decide to Follow me, I am thankful for the Likes and the time you take to fill the Comment box. Active looking versus passive flicking, it all comes back to squeezing more out of the little time we have and getting something meaningful in return. Like most, I flick through Facebook (sometimes) and Instagram (more often) to check on my friends and to feast on the visual world I love so much. Yet, for my sanity, I try to balance the fast and furious short attention span of social media with slow, detailed observations of artworks from a bygone era. Looking at the Impressionists, I envy the sophistication of what people used to wear, the refinement of outings to the opera and the silent dialogue that such scenes establish with our modern days. Until I spent too much time recently looking at Renoir’s La Loge. I suddenly realised the lorgnette and opera glasses […]