Artist Philip Hartigan talks about art, interviews other artists, and more
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Paintings and Sculpture by Ahavani Mullen
A few weeks ago I saw a show of work by Chicago artist Ahavani Mullen in the beautiful space of the Chicago Art Source on Clybourn. Her paintings are abstract collections of marks and skeins of paint which hover between texture and liquid space, like pools of water through which float branches, sand, stone, and slowly dissolving ink. In the photo above, you can also see her experiments in transferring the discoveries she's made in painting to three dimensions.
Talking to the artist, we covered a range of topics: the process of painting; how a series of seemingly automatic gestures often arrives at the point where one large shape occupies the centre of the canvas/panel; how one knows when a painting is finished; artist's residencies such as the Vermont Studio Center; the importance of an artist having a studio.
Mullen's work is extremely subtle, yet it catches the eye immediately and draws you in for a closer look. To see more of her work, here is her website.
I first read Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises" when I was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it. For the last couple of years, I have had the incredible privilege of teaching a class based around Hemingway in Paris -- while living and teaching in Paris itself, close to the Boulevard du Montparnasse, where most of the action of the novel's first half takes place.
Of the many things that one notices about the book, the colossal amount of drinking is something that stands out. These people didn't just drink like fish: they drank like whales, as if the ocean they swam in was alcohol and they had set themselves the task of drinking the seas of the world dry of it. During my read-through of the book before class started last year, I tried to underline every mention of drink in the book. And now, purely in the interests of science, I am listing the entire menu of booze mentioned directly by name. Some preliminary observations: Most of this is…
Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.
A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…
Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:
Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.