Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2013

Works on Paper by Picasso at the Art Institute

This new show has opened at the Art Institute exploring the links between Chicago and Picasso. Actually, the starting point are the large holdings of works by Picasso both in the museum and by Chicago collectors. The actual exploration that emerges from putting more than 400 of those works together is mostly about Picasso's creative process. The great things that reflects on the lenders is that a) they made the works visible to the public, many for the first time, and b) they allowed all sorts of interesting reflections and contrasts to emerge.

I just filed a piece for Hyperallergic that goes into those connections in more detail. For now, what I'm left with is still the strong impression of how dominated the exhibition is by works on paper. There are paintings and sculptures, of course, but each of those pieces is informed by the smaller, more intimate works in the drawings, sketches, etchings, books, and so on. I was particularly thrilled to see the complete Vollard Suite, …

Learning from Students

In the Journal and Sketchbook class yesterday (which I am co-teaching with writer-wife Patty at Columbia College Chicago), I saw lots of good things, and some new things.

Bear in mind that this is primarily a creative writing class, with drawing activities used to heighten a writer's "seeing in the mind". In other words, most of the students are writers first, and drawers second (if they draw at all). I taped photocopies from some of the students' sketch-journals to the walls so we could talk about them, and it was interesting to see the different ways they are putting text and image together on the page:




Patty and I also ask the students to prepare a ten minute presentation on an artist-writer, or a writer-artist -- basically they can choose anyone for who uses text and image as a way to feed the process of their chief creative practice. The canonical examples for this class, then, are writers like ee cummings, Franz Kafka, or DH Lawrence, who did a lots of paintin…

A New Place

I moved studios nine days ago,and am currently in the middle of setting things up in the new space. It's a process that will probably take until the end of the month, which in turn means that I won't get seriously into making new work until March. This is one of the reasons why I postponed moving from my last studio in Wicker Park, even though that one had been very unsuitable for me for a long time: I hate the whole moving thing, the waste of time involved in packing up boxes, throwing things out, moving, and unpacking the boxes at the other end.

But it's done, and now I have a clean slate to set up a new space in the way I want, and to try to get it right this time. The ceilings are very high in this space, so no more scraping the flesh off my scalp like I did many times in the previous space. I've got a printmaking area set up already (see photo above), and on Sunday I decided to give it a test drive, using an etching that I made in 1998:


It's a four inch x fou…

A Dedicated Woodcut Artist

Karen Kunc is an artist living in Nebraska who has been making prints and artist's books for more than 25 years. Her chief medium is woodcut, which she combines occasionally with other media to create these striking, beautifully coloured images that are derived from natural forms but developed into her own personal abstract language.

Whether in book or as an editioned print, her work always has a balance of multiple elements within the picture space, small shapes overlaid with larger shapes, geometric forms and organic forms, straight marks against flowing marks. Sometimes she inks all the colours on one block, and at other times (I'm guessing) she makes an image by overprinting two or more woodblocks.
Her books are true exemplars of the form, particularly the accordion fold:


I've known about her work for a long time, but recently I saw one of her books again in The Book as Art, which a friend lent to me. If you go to her website, you'll see hundreds of pictures of her…