Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kate MacDowell

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words--to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. – C.S. Lewis.

In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment.  These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops.  They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones.  In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world.  In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats.  In each case the union between man and nature is shown to be one of friction and discomfort with the disturbing implication that we too are vulnerable to being victimized by our destructive practices.
I hand sculpt each piece out of porcelain, often building a solid form and then hollowing it out.  Smaller forms are built petal by petal, branch by branch and allow me the chance to get immersed in close study of the structure of a blossom or a bee.  I chose porcelain for its luminous and ghostly qualities as well as its strength and ability to show fine texture.  It highlights both the impermanence and fragility of natural forms in a dying ecosystem, while paradoxically, being a material that can last for thousands of years and is historically associated with high status and value.  I see each piece as a captured and preserved specimen, a painstaking record of endangered natural forms and a commentary on our own culpability.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Samuel Salcedo

Samuel Salcedo has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona and has exhibited at varius venus througout Spain. Speaking about his process the artist says, 'I invent during the process, so I don’t know what will happen at the end of the sculpture. I don’t always remember what I have done. Every time I stop, it’s something new.'

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Oldrich Kulhanek

Oldrich Kulhanek, a Czech painter, graphic designer, illustrator, stage designer and pedagogue passed away this January. In 1917 he was arrested by the Secret Police and imprisoned for 'defamation of the allied socialist states.' His distorted portrait of Stalin and other graphics were considered 'ideologically dangerous.' Kulh√°nek created the design for the current Czech banknotes and postage stamps.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Berlinde De Bruyck

“My purpose is to tell of bodies which have been transformed into shapes of different kinds”, wrote Ovid in his Metamorphoses. It’s a task shared by Berlinde De Bruyckere, who takes in violation and deformity as well as transfiguration and growth – often in the same work.
De Bruyckere first came to international attention in 2000 with a war-themed commission for the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres. The resulting installation of five life-sized casts of horses, their glossy skins animating their contorted pawings and writhings, explored the elisions between man and animal, life and death, that have dominated De Bruyckere’s work since. It also captured the peculiarly immanent quality that has since become the hallmark of her sculptures – the figures are always caught in the moment of becoming, decaying, growing or changing. Never still, never complete.
-Alexandra Coghlan for The Monthly

Monday, April 22, 2013

Subversive Style Project 4

Students in my Subversive Style elective course at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design recently completed their final project for the semester, titled The Nature of Evil.  Students were required to interpret that title in visual form in the medium of their choice.  Here are a few of the results.  

click images to enlarge...

Michelle Furbush

Monique Connett

Sammy Weil

Hannah Brooker

Rachel Little

Graey Erb

Alyssa Davis

Jake Peck

Thanks to all of my students for doing such good work and making the semester interesting and enjoyable.  A special congratulations to the senior illustration students who took this class.  I wish you much happiness and a successful career as you venture forth.  You will be missed!

Graham Erwin

Graham Erwin is an illustrator/designer living in Columbus Ohio.  During the day, he works at a custom t-shirt shop and at night he freelances as a poster designer.