Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Art in Unexpected Places

I had a minor scrape with the car at the weekend, which meant that I had to take it to the dealer yesterday to get it repaired. This meant that I had to go out to the northwestern part of Chicago, to a suburb called Niles (where my wife was raised, as it happens). There's not a lot to do there while you're waiting for four hours, so I walked a few miles to a Catholic cemetery. When I got to the middle of the cemetery, I came across a series of well-designed memorial chapels faced with this mosaic mural:

Photo of mosaic mural in Maryhill Catholic Cemetery Chicago

I think the artist was somebody called Wilfredo Bonsol, thought I couldn't find any information on him online, so I'm not sure. But the skill in the mosaic tiling is really impressive. Look at the gradation of tones and hues in the sky:

Close up photo of mural at Maryhill Catholic Cemetery Chicago

In between the interment crypts, I found a bronze statue of the baptism of Christ, again a well-executed piece, kind of old fashioned in its theme, but made in a style that reminds me of religious sculpture from the 1950s:

Photo of bronze sculpture at Maryhill Catholic Cemetery Chicago

The suburb itself is mainly just houses, highways, and shopping malls, sometimes without any sidewalks (so I was occasionally forced to walk on grass embankments to avoid the cars). And yet, purely by chance, I found this large green oasis amid the mainly featureless district, and some pretty impressive and visually appealing pieces of art.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

More Acrylic Resist Etching Niceness

Yesterday was the second week of my acrylic resist etching class at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago. I assisted the participants in printing a proof of the hard ground on copper plates that they prepared last week. The hard ground is actually acrylic floor polish, and as you can see from the image below, the etch it produces is amazingly sharp:

Photo of acrylic hard ground proof print

There are a few "blemishes" here and there, but those can be corrected or tidied up in subsequent prints. And remember, these are the first prints that two of the students have EVER done, and the first A.R.E. print that any of them have done:

Photo of proof print from etching class

What's great about the etch is that the lines are just as sharp and dark as if made using a traditional toxic ground. If you embiggen the images and look closely, you can see what I mean.

Photo of acrylic resist etching proof print

Monday, September 19, 2016

Video of Picasso's Linocut Process


As regular readers of this blog know, I am a maker of linocuts, and a teacher of the linocut printmaking process, and therefore a huge fan of Picasso's linocuts. The British Museum in London released this video in relation to a 2014 acquisition of several of Picasso's 1950s linocuts. It's got some nice insights into Picasso's process.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Airships and Art Shows

Artist Paul Catanese's blimp at the Cultural Center

On Wednesday, I taught a class at Columbia College Chicago, and took my students to the Chicago Cultural Center on Michigan Avenue. There, I saw an exhibition by Paul Catanese, which involves flying this blimp around the interior of a giant gallery on the fourth floor. More about this when I review the show for Hyperallergic.

Friday, September 9, 2016

COALTOWN: at Terrain Exhibitions, Oak Park, IL

My installation COALTOWN is now on show at Terrain Exhibitions, an experimental outdoor art space in Oak Park, Illinois (which is adjacent to Chicago going west). I spent a long day in the studio last Saturday getting the diorama finished. This is a short video I made at the end of the day:



And here is how it looks in situ, together with some pieces installed in the garden/yard in front of the house:

Photo of diorama in Hartigan exhibition Coaltown

Photo of complete Hartigan installation at Terrain Exhibitions

The work originates in memories of growing up in a mining town in the north of England, and is preoccupied with how to represent memory, industry, violence, death. You know, small subjects.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beautiful Work From a Journal & Sketchbook Class

Journal and sketchbook Shake Rag Alley Mineral Point Wisconsin

Last week, my writer-wife Patty and I taught some classes at Shake Rag Alley Art Center in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. As you can see in the above photo, the grounds of Shake Rag Alley, with their lush gardens and nineteenth century historic buildings, are perfect for sitting outside to do some drawing and writing.

One of the activities we give students to work on is to write a series of instances, beginning with the phrases I remember/I don't remember/I'd rather not remember/I've been told. It's a great activity for stimulating memories of moments that come to be braided together in almost poetic ways. One of the best examples of that came from participant Wendy Moylan, who kindly agreed to allow me to post it here:

Yellow

I remember the old wedding shot, my grandpa lighting a cigarette in the flower girl’s mouth.
I don’t remember if he’s smiling or gravely playing the joke.
I’d rather not remember that he erased all stories in his barn.
I’ve been told he chose a shotgun over cancer.

I remember my mom’s mint plant, the iced tea made for it, and the vegetable garden with corn stalks.
I don’t remember the planting, only the harvest.
I’d rather not remember the cold beets and warm milk or dad’s chain smoke as he waited for my clean plate.
I’ve been told that, when his dad died, his hard sobs were surprising.

I remember struggling with scissors, my sister’s hands helping my paper skeleton smile.
I don’t remember when her freckles faded.
I’d rather not remember my dad’s weight on my shoulders as I played walker to the bathroom.
I’ve been told my brother surprised everyone with a pet snapping turtle.

I remember my dad’s headstone at the end of the Arlington row: two Memorial flags instead of one.
I don’t remember how I got there, among the rows of teeth.
I’d rather not remember the gun salute.
I’ve been told my whole family jumped at the first shot.

I remember standing in a field of red poppies growing wild.
I don’t remember where.
I’d rather not remember anything but this.
But an old photograph laughs and tells me, It was the Arizona desert. And the poppies were yellow

Saturday, August 20, 2016

New blog post about a new piece of work

Diorama 3-d stage set combining sculpture and printmaking


Over on my studio blog, I've just posted a piece with lots of photos, detailing some of the intricate work involved in making a new 3-d piece of work for my next exhibition: link here.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Vincent Van Gogh Site on Artsy

Jpeg image of Artsy.net Van Gogh page
Artsy's Vincent Van Gogh home page
It's just come to my attention that Artsy, the online resource for art collecting and art education, has a page/site devoted to Vincent Van Gogh. I spent a few minutes looking at it and clicking through on some of the links, and it seems to be a museum-quality presentation of the life and work of the great Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, and which includes a running summary of every art exhibition at any one time that contains works by Van Gogh.

Worth looking at it if you're a fan of Vincent Van Gogh's work (and let's face it, who isn't?).

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