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Art Critique Feburary 2013

We’ve been busy, to say the least, and the latest crit shows some real progress in all participates. But before the work came out we began a lengthy discussion hovering around art history.  The discussion started with the idea of anti-art at the turn of the 20th century and how Dada seemed to clear the way to the modern esthetic which was manifested through Futurism and Surrealism.  Since then we have a long and diverse groups of ‘isms’ which can be manifested is artist like Gerhard Richter.  It was a great start of the evening filled with different styles of art and personal ’isms’.

Thom has two art pieces with exemplifies the diversity of the post-modern art.  His first piece is a cubist piece that extols the love of music, painting and gardening.  The red in the painting livens up the space and helps to bring the abstracted objects into focus. The upper left corner of the work lacks this activation and seems to fall away from any importance or contribution to the work.  Ways of dealing with that may be to warm up the grays in order to dialog with the reds and/or break up the space to be more in tune with the motif.  The formal aspects of the painting are well developed and it really is a fine piece.


The other object was experimental in the since that it was sourcing past abstract work about global warming and mapping.  Unfortunately it is at the mercy of the red circle and greenish gray that dominates the work.  Suggestions range for paying additional attention to the mark-making, to greater separation of the value structure, or to simply repaint with the under painting in mind.  The most constructive criticism seemed to us to be the need to gradate from the edges to the center; this can go from dark to light or vice versa.  It will be interesting to see if he can resolve this difficult motif.

Ron’s Yellow Cab painting highlighted the night’s critique.  The quality of the watercolor is well received and the range of values give the piece a since of drama and depth.  In order to differentiate the objects though, it might be better to apply texture to the surfaces, particularly the road and building.  A little work on the darker area can be done, but not too much. Other minor changes are to define the people more, but be careful not to lose the personalities already present. All in all, it is a wonderful piece that deserves to be shown to the public.

In January Donna brought a beautiful mixed media work of reeds in water.  The reeds roam harmoniously on top of and into the watery medium which leaves one in a meditative state.  There is an oriental feel to the reeds and a western abstract feel to the marks making, which make for an interest amalgamation of cultures.  The piece is on the high key side, so some coordination of darker elements could add to the depth of the work, and the upper portion of the work seems a bit unfinished and loses a lot of importance when compared to the low foreground; I’m not sure if that is as much as an observation than a criticism. We all loved the work and again it adds to our collective consciousness as a family of Artist.

This last month Donna brought some sketches of Joshua Tree.  These are well articulated drawings in color pencil that will give her adequate information for a larger formal drawing.  Creating essential information for the artist in a sketch is not easy and can take a lot of practice.  We each have our own vision, and Donnas’ unique style can be immediately seen in these sketches.  It is always rewarding to see a member of the group grow and Donna is a good example of that phenomenon.  The compositions are sound and the definition of space is clear.  It will be exciting to see if she chooses to make these into larger works of art.

I’ve been doing these blogs for quite some time now and can grow from your comments and observations.  Criticisms of the writing are greatly appreciated too.  If you haven’t yet, please read through these critiques and notice the growth in all participates; I see it and have grown from it as well.

Please feel free to join us by commenting and/or contacting me directly.



2 thoughts on “Art Critique Feburary 2013

  1. Thanks to all participants for their constructive inputs on these two works. I have to also mention that this ninth Cubist guitar painting began with an unfinished still life of a large brown chair that my wife Linda had painted (plus other objects that I had to remove to make this into a Cubist still life with guitars). The perspective content of the chair forced me into dealing with a mix of flat spaces and depth spaces. For movement and flatness, I developed the cross diagonal shapes of red and black, while the lighter greys counter the red pattern and flow from upper left to lower right. The dark structure lines and the white nasturtium leaves also add movements in and around the guitars. With all of the patterning of flat shapes, there is a balance of push/pull flatness and depth. And as you mentioned, Matisse proved that a painting does not necessarily ever have too much red.

  2. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts on my painting – The Clinic. A little different subject for me, but provided a challenge to achieve a greater range of value with the paint…among other things. Since the crit, I pinned it up on the wall and have been staring at it. The lower right road area was troubling me even before bringing it in. The general comments confirmed the need to nudge the area a bit, so… I went back into the road surface and deepened the value and made it a little “cooler” which improved the visual weight and structure of the area.

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