Tag Archives: painting

Modern Times

Modern Times - Thomas Hart Benton - BurlesqueBurlesque, c. 1922, by Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889 – 1975. Tempera on panel, 9 1/2x 12 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Edward Suckle, M.D., 2002-91-1. © T. H. Benton and R. P. Benton Testamentary Trusts / UMB Bank Trustee / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition dates: April 18—September 3, 2018

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition exploring the creative responses of American artists to the rapid pace of change that occurred in this country during the early decades of the twentieth century. Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 examines the new and dynamic visual language that emerged during this period and had a dramatic impact on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, and the decorative arts. These developments were shaped by the dizzying transformations then occurring in every aspect of life, from the advent of the automobile and moving pictures to the rapid growth of American cities and the wrenching economic change brought on by the advent of the Great Depression after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. The exhibition features important works by those artists—Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and John Marin, among them—championed by the great photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, as well as many other notable figures of this period. Modern Times is drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s renowned collection, especially the gift from the Stieglitz Collection that it received in the late 1940s, and contains 156 works, several of which will be on view for the first time.

Modern Times, Alexander Calder, Portrait of Carl ZigrosserPortrait of Carl Zigrosser (1891 – 1975), c. 1928, by Alexander Calder, American, 1898 – 1976. wire, 14 x 10 1/2 x 10 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1980-3-141. © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “America’s embrace of modern life—its perils as well as its promise—in the early twentieth century was expressed most clearly in the arts. The work of this period still feels fresh and of the moment. This exhibition provides us with a welcome opportunity to reassess the Museum’s exceptionally rich holdings of modern American art and how we may display them to full advantage in the future when the Museum completes its expansion under its Master Plan. It also holds the promise of many surprises and discoveries for our visitors.”

Modern Times, Stuart Davis, Something on the Eight BallSomething on the Eight Ball, 1953-1954, by Stuart Davis, American, 1892 – 1964. Oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Adele Haas Turner and Beatrice Pastorius Turner Memorial Fund, 1954-30-1. © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

While the Museum has presented a number of exhibitions devoted to this subject over the years, Modern Times is the largest and most comprehensive since it presented the collection of Alfred Stieglitz in 1944. The exhibition opens with the achievements of some of the leading figures of “The Eight,” including John Sloan and George Bellows, who recorded the changing urban scene with a gritty realism as horse carts gave way to motor vehicles on city streets.

Modern Times, Beauford Delaney, Portrait of James BaldwinPortrait of James Baldwin, 1945, by Beauford Delaney, American (active Paris), 1901 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by The Daniel W. Dietrich Foundation in memory of Joseph C. Bailey and with a grant from The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1998-3-1

The exhibition emphasizes those artists—among them Charles Demuth, Morton Schamberg, Charles Sheeler, Benton Spruance, and Paul Strand—who responded to the Armory Show of 1913 and the influence of the European avant garde by seeking to give modernism an authentic American voice. Offering a broader perspective on American art of this period, the exhibition explores the achievements of important African American figures, such as Aaron Douglas, William Edmondson, Horace Pippin and Dox Thrash. It also looks at cross-currents within the arts, including contemporary fashion and design, and work by female artists such as O’Keeffe, Florine Stettheimer, Frances Simpson Stevens, Kay Sage, and Dorothea Tanning.

Modern Times, Charles Demuth, Lancaster (In the Province No. 2)Lancaster (In the Province No. 2), 1920, by Charles Demuth, American, 1883 – 1935. Oil on canvas, 30 x 16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950-5-1.

One section of the exhibition takes a close look at the many artists who explored in their work the abstract qualities of rhythm, light, and sound. Some of their aesthetic strategies were employed to create dynamic still lifes, enlivening what was commonly considered a static genre. Another section explores the expressive use of color, focusing on Arthur Beecher Carles, Henry Breckenridge, and Henry McCarter who stretched the boundaries of artistic tradition by relieving color of its purely descriptive function. These three artists, each of whom lived and worked in Philadelphia, reflected this city’s active engagement with progressive trends in American art. In fact, the significant role that Philadelphia played in the history of American modernism is echoed throughout the exhibition. It includes works by Philadelphia-born artists such as Man Ray and Alexander Calder who became prominent abroad, where they were closely aligned with modern movements in Europe, and others who remained in the city in which the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts provided a center of energy and a place to teach.

Modern Times, Aaron Doulgas, Birds in FlightBirds in Flight, c. 1927-1929, by Aaron Douglas, American, 1899 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 16 1/4 x 14 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest in honor of Anne d’Harnoncourt, 2015-7-1. © Heirs of Aaron Douglas / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Modern Times, Arthur Dove, Chinese MusicChinese Music, 1923, by Arthur Dove, American, 1880 -1946. Oil and metallic paint on panel, 21 11/16 x 18 1/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-2.

Landscape painting was, likewise, revolutionized by the artists of this generation, who found in this traditional genre a sustained source of inspiration. The adaptation of the modernist vision to one of the most enduring themes in American art can be seen most dramatically in works by O’Keeffe, Hartley, and Arthur Dove. Others, such as Sheeler, took the stark, yet impressive geometry of the new industrial landscape as a point of departureThe exhibition also examines another familiar subject, the human figure, which proved to be of abiding interest to the artists of this generation. Included in this rich and fascinating section is a group of portraits by artists such as Milton Avery, Beauford Delaney, and John Graham.

Modern Times, Wharton Esherick, Of a Great CityOf a Great City, 1923, by Wharton H. Esherick, American, 1887 – 1970. Wood engraving, image: 9 15/16 x 6 5/16 inches, sheet: 11 7/16 x 7 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1979-12-11.

Modern Times, Marsden Hartley, Painting No 4 (Black Horse)Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 -1943. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-8

Jessica Todd Smith, The Susan Gray Detweiler Curator of American Art, and Manager, Center for American Art, who organized the exhibition, said: “Modernism changed the way people saw the world around them. Artists pushed their work in new directions, embracing abstraction, while retaining connections to artistic traditions. This exhibition focuses on interrelationships among works of art rather than a single linear narrative. In fact, it gives voice to multiple narratives because the evolution and experimentation in the art of this period is especially fluid. This stylistic pluralism, the beautiful chaos of innovation, was a hallmark of the modern American movement.”

 Modern Times, Alice Neel, Portrait of John with HatPortrait of John with Hat, 1935, by Alice Neel, American, 1900 – 1984. Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the estate of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993-119-2.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red and Orange StreakRed and Orange Streak, 1919, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 27 x 23 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-3.

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication, American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by Jessica Todd Smith. It is published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press ( 272 pp.) The title of the essay, “Seeing Takes Time” is inspired by a quotation of Georgia O’Keeffe: “Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—we haven’t time—and to see takes time . . . “

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red Hills and BonesRed Hills and Bones, 1943, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 40 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-109.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, From the Lake No. 3From the Lake No. 3, 1924, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-2.

With 120 color and 10 black-and-white illustrations, American Modernism is the first book to showcase this outstanding aspect of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was one of the first major museums in this country to acquire what we now call American Modernism. It tells a story that is unique to the Museum, examining the collection’s development since the 1920s and the role that the city of Philadelphia played in promoting modernism in the first half of the twentieth century. While previous publications have focused on European and American modernism, this one considers what it meant to be American and to be modern, exploring how these artists challenged convention without abandoning recognizable elements from the world around them.

Modern Times, Horace Pippin, The GetawayThe Getaway, 1939, by Horace Pippin, American, 1888 – 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 5/8 x 36 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-3.

Modern Times, Man Ray, A.D. 1914A.D. 1914, 1914, by May Ray, American, 1890 – 1976. Oil on canvas, 36 7/8 x 69 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1944-90-1.

In addition to focusing on internationally acclaimed artists from the circle of photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler, Smith also considers those who contributed significantly to the art of the United States during their day but have been left outside the mainstream of art history, whether due to their race, gender, or social standing.

Modern Times, Charles Sheeler, Pertaining to Yachts and YachtingPertaining to Yachts and Yachting, 1922, by Charles Sheeler, American, 1883 – 1965. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 1/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Margaretta S. Hinchman, 1955-96-9.

American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now available online via philamuseum.org or in the Museum Store (paper-over-board, $35).

Modern Times, John Sloan, Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth StreetSixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 32 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000. 1964-116-5.

Modern Times, John Sloan, The White WayThe White Way, c. 1926, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, 1946-10-2.

Exhibition Location

Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor

 Modern Times, Alfred Stieglitz, The City of AmbitionThe City of Ambition, 1910 (negative); c. 1930 (print), by Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1871 – 1944. Gelatin silver print, image/sheet/mount: 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-47.

Modern Times, Paul Strand, The Court, New YorkThe Court, New York, 1924 (negative); 1960s (print), by Paul Strand, American, 1890 – 1976. Gelatin silver print, image (sight): 9 1/2 x 7 7/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Paul Strand Retrospective Collection, 1915 – 1975, gift of the estate of Paul Strand, 1980-21-42.

Support

This exhibition has been made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lyn M. Ross, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, and two anonymous donors.

Modern Times, Florine Stettheimer, Spring Sale at Bendel'sModern Times, Dox Thrash, DemolitionDemolition, c. 1944, by Dox Thrash, American, 1893 – 1965. Oil on canvas board, 26 x 20 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Katharine Levin Farrell Fund, 2002-97-1.

Exhibition-related education programming was generously supported by the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Social Media
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Modern Times, Lloyd Ullberg, PSFS Building, PhiladelphiaPSFS Building, Philadelphia, c.1932 – 1933, by Lloyd Ullberg, American, 1904-1996. Gelatin silver print, image and sheet:10 x 7 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, 1999-121-3.

Modern Times, Artist-maker unknown, Cocktail Shaker with HandleCocktail Shaker with Handle, c.1930s, Artist/maker unknown, American. Chromium, Bakelite, 12 x 6 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martina Schaap Yamin, 2013-28-66a,b.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post. Click the images for large pictures.

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Inspiration

Looking at Other Artists for Inspiration, Robert BohneFrederick John Mulhaupt, Gloucester, Sotheby’s

Looking at Other Artists for Inspiration

by Robert Bohne’

I discovered long ago in my career as an artist that painters, just like writers, can suffer from what I refer to as painters block. Trust me on this. Plenty of people have written on this subject, and what works for me may not necessarily work for you, but I’d like to share what I’ve found to be a very effective way to, not only work through this issue, but to push your work to the next level. And it’s totally painless. As a matter of fact, it’s actually fun.

I, like most if not all artists have times when I just can’t seem to produce. My solution is something that came naturally to me, and it’s quite possible that you deal with this issue the same way that I deal with it. A simple trip to a museum. If you’re lucky like me, you have a wide variety of museums in your area to choose from. It doesn’t have to be a major museum. As a matter of fact, some of the smaller museums offer an environment very conducive for an artists to relax and to meditate on the works of those who are considered to be the best of the best. Why a museum instead of a gallery? Galleries are great, and now and then you will find an exhibit of an exceptional artist who’s work you can relate to, but why not set your sites high?

Will you be able to learn more from studying the works of an up and coming landscape painter or from studying a Daniel Garber? Now you could argue that at one time, Garber was an up and coming landscape painter too. But the idea here is to look at the best of the best. If you’re fortunate enough to be in an area rich with museums, I would suggest that you find a specific artist, style or genre that you are interested in, and focus on that. For example, I’m interested in representational work, with a focus on landscape and cityscape. For representational landscape, I can visit the Brandywine River Museum. There I can study Garber, The Wyeth’s, William Lathrop, Redfield, and a host of others who’s work is good enough to be included in the worlds greatest collections.

Looking at Other Artists for Inspiration, Robert Bohne

The Poetry of Nature: A Golden Age of American Landscape Painting at Brandywine River Museum of ArtMarch 19, 2016 to June 12, 2016, Louisa Davis Minot (1788-1858)

I study the technique, the composition, the palette, I even study the matting and framing of works. After all, presentation should not be overlooked. Keep in mind that this works for any type of art. If your style is similar to Paul Cézanne, go to the Barnes Foundation. Marcel Duchamp? Go to PMA. The idea here is to study the work of those who inspire you.

There are other way’s of doing this too. A good collection of books on your favorite artists is always a good place to start. And let’s not forget a search of Google Images. I was recently studying the works of Frederick Mulhaupt, a turn of the century landscape painter who’s work I have always admired, in an attempt to discover what it was that made so many of his paintings appealing to me. Using the Google image search, I was able to see pages and pages of Mulhaupts, and I discovered a common denominator. The use of strong diagonals in his compositions. Something that I could look for in nature when choosing a scene to paint, and something that I can use when composing a painting.

And last, but certainly not least, you should surround yourself with art that you love. And this doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I’ve built a sizable collection of beautiful and inspirational artwork on a budget. Much of it bought at auction and at thrift stores. I’ve learned from years of experience that you should buy what looks to be exceptional work, regardless of whether or not you recognize the name of the artist. Quite often I buy works that are unsigned, and quite often I’ll find a signature or some other identifying marks that will help in identifying the artist. If it’s affordable and it inspires you, buy it. Even if it’s just a good reproduction.

Looking at Art for Inspiration, Robert BohneUnsigned drawing bought for $20 at auction. Signature found on back – Harry Becker (British 1865 – 1928), Collection Robert Bohne’

To sum it up, most of the accomplished artists that I’ve studied with have reached the same conclusion. That the most important thing an artist can do to advance his or her artistic ability, is the constant analytical study of great works of art.

Paint on. Robert Bohne’

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4 Towns 4 Art

4 Towns 4 Art 20154 Towns 4 Art 2015, 3rd Annual Open Studio Tour Features 27 artists, 8 South Jersey Towns Represented

Saturday, April 11, 11:00am – 5:00pm

South Jersey artists share inspirations with their neighbors 4 Towns 4 Art, founded by Haddon Township fiber artist Jennifer Talarico, presents the third annual Open Studio Tour. Eight South Jersey towns are highlighted: Barrington, Collingswood, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Merchantville, Oaklyn, and Pennsauken with 27 artists participating. Studio disciplines include painting, ceramics, fiber arts, drawing/illustration, photography, sculpture, mosaic, collage, and leather work.

“For the past two years, we have concentrated on educating the community about the ‘open studio tour’ concept,” Talarico explains. “We are now going into our third year with the momentum of name recognition, increased attendance, and strong sales. There has been a learning curve, but this community is truly embracing its artists and we couldn’t be happier.”

4 Town 4 ArtJennifer Talarico By Glenn Hudson

Painter Maria Christopher has shared her SoHA studio on the Tour, and says, “When 4 Towns 4 Art began, it kick started a conversation about art-making in this region. Each year the conversation continues and becomes richer and more interesting.”

Haddonfield artist Missy Schwartz hopes opening her studio for the second straight year will continue the back-and-forth flow of inspiration. “It is exciting for people to actually see where and how I make my art. Artists generally experience a lot of solitude, so it is fun for us to share about our process and hear creative feedback,” she says.

4 Towns 4 Art 2015

The third annual Open Studio Tour is free and open to the public. All members of the community are welcome to visit the studios on Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Artists will be demonstrating, displaying, and selling their creations. A map and complete listing of artists and locations is available at www.facebook.com/4Towns4Art.

Participating Artists, 2015

Eilandarts Center 10 E. Chestnut St. Merchantville

Nicole Eiland, Sculpture, Book Arts, Mixed Media

Gabrielle Holliday, Photography

Kerry Mentzer, Mixed Media

Peter Kinney, 6531 Maple Ave. Pennsauken – Mixed Media, Photography

Eric Wolff,  300 Highland Ave. Collingswood – Pottery

Donna Maxwell, 300 Highland Ave. Collingswood – Watercolor

Evelyn Taylor Bonner, 10 W. Coulter Ave. Collingswood – Ceramics, Jewelry, Succulent Planters

Chris Bonner, 10 W. Coulter Ave. Collingswood – Ceramics, Mixed Media

Linda Figliola, 135 Lawnside Ave. Collingswood – Leather Bags, Boxes, Jewelry

Stephen Coan, 131 Lawnside Ave. Collingswood – Land Art Installation, Conceptual Images, Sculpture

Laura Rutherford Renner, 208 New Jersey Ave., Collingswood – Representational images on wood

Stacey Douglas, 7 Emerald Ave. Haddon Township – Mosaic, Painting, Clay

Jennifer Talarico,112 Cambridge Ave. Haddon Township – Handwoven and Hand Knit Clothing

Terence Smith, 28 E. Albertson Ave. Haddon Township – Works on Paper

Mark Parker, 118 Geneva Ave.  Haddon Township – Painting

SoHa Artists, 1001 White Horse Pike.  Haddon Township

Richard Bell, Photography

Christine Foster, Photography

Maria Christopher, Painting

Jocelynn Tice,  605 White Horse Pike, Haddon Township – Painting

Matthew Green, 215 E. Haddon Ave.  Oaklyn – Painting

Karla Heartsfield, 15 Tanner St. Haddonfield – Handcrafted Clothing

David Howard, 15 Tanner St. Haddonfield – Jewelry

Bob Jackson, 322 Estaugh Ave. Haddonfield – Drawing, Assemblage

Phyllis Jackson, 322 Estaugh Ave. Haddonfield – Button Necklaces

Missy Mohn-Schwartz, 440 Euclid Ave. Haddonfield – Painting

Frandy Jean, corner of E. Atlantic Ave. and Station Ave. Haddon Heights – Watercolor

Patricia Walkar, 1000 Oakwood Rd. Barrington – Paintings on Silk

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Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song, Michener Art Museum

Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song, Michener Art Museumpainting by Alan Goldstein, turned wood by David Ellsworth

“Combine skill of hand and depth of heart, and the spirit of the artist is born, the maker of things: beautiful things, things of mystery and meaning, things that ask questions, that tell us who we are as individuals, peoples, cultures.” – Michener Art Museum website

Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song brings together a group of living artists who evoke the ideals of this well thought out and executed educational art exhibition. Explaining art, especially abstraction and conceptual artworks, can be challenging. But the show brings together artwork, artist statements and videos by John Thornton to illuminate the shadows of modern art. With painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media, the exhibit describes the concepts, tools and techniques of each artist in an educational and entertaining tableau. Each of the eleven artists has a space dedicated to their artwork. the tableaus flow and connect as the viewer meanders the gallery. Even the museum website is extraordinarily informative offering a deeper understanding of the exhibition.

Michael Olszewski, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Michael OlszewskiCreative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

DoN learned a lot about Michael Olszewskis evocative artwork through the excellent videos produced by John Thornton at the request of the museum. The videographer was charged with profiling the artists and video monitors are integrated into the artwork. Pairs of headphones offers the museum visitor a private moment with the artist to learn about motivations, techniques and styles that are included in the show. Every effort is made to illuminate the artists inspirations, workspaces and processes offering explanations to clarify the confounding nature of contemporary art through sight, sound and text.

Check out John Thornton YouTube channel to see all the artist profiles for Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

Bruce Pollack, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Bruce Pollack, Forests in the Tree, oil on linen, collection of the artist, 2013, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

Bruce Pollacks paintings takes mark-making to a cosmic level with the simplest of forms and formulas depicting the elusive concept of a space/time continuum. When the artist works out his paintings sometimes the drawing will expand off the canvas and onto his studio walls as if the idea is so big it can’t be contained. When the painting is done though the window into the meta-magical world of fractals becomes fluid and consciousness-raising.

“I often use fractal geometry in my painrings. Fractal forms are universal archetypes that retain the same shape, whether they’re seen in a microscope or a telescope” – Bruce Pollack artist statement.

Bruce Pollack, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Bruce PollackCreative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

Throughout the gallery are spaces like this where you can sit and look at paintings, many of which are very recent and belong to the artist. To spend some alone time with meditative works like Pollack’s is deeply satisfying as the layers of time, space and thought merge in a unique visual experience.

DoN walked through the exhibition with the volunteer docents who were learning about the show and how they would explain the work to children. The museum has a large community art space where kids can learn about and make art. And the work in the show has that DIY vibe where the elements of creativity are evident and accessible. Helping kids be artists and think artistically is a worthy mission that satisfies both the young learner and the teachers simutaneously.

Jill Bonovitz, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Jill Bonovitz, Wire Composition, painted wire, collection of the artist, 2012. Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

Jill Bonovitz‘ wire sculptures hanging on the wall near her large ceramic platter-like discs use light and shadow morphing the artwork into a drawing in space. If it weren’t for the placement of tiny bit of color, a red string, a couple of beds, a piece of tape, it’s almost impossible to tell where the wire and the shadows separate. The shadows on the wall are darker than the painted wire and fade to blurred lines that convincingly look like pencil. The artist told DoN she only works with fragile mediums like the ceramics and delicate wire and that often pieces come apart, mixing them into new works invigorates the artwork and surrounding space.

Jill Bonovitz, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Jill Bonovitz, Wire Composition – 2, painted wire with berries, collection of the artist, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

“Several years ago I began experimenting with a new material, wire – still pursuing my passion for making vessels or suggesting vessel forms. The quality of fragility is common to ll my work. In the wire sculpture, I am creating the edges of what is not there. In clay, I am creating the essence of what is.” – Jill Bonovitz artist statement

Bill Scott, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Bill Scott, Perennials, oil on canvas, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” – Pablo Picasso

The collection of paintings by Philadelphia artist Bill Scott is like walking into a garden. Many of the paintings are in fact based on his own garden, the elements of nature, light effects and lush colors have an immediacy that is counter intuitive. Even though the paintings have a quality of liveness and exuberance they take years to develop. Each shape, color and stroke of paint is considered and directed to it’s place like characters in a movie. The John Thornton video of Bill Scott offers a wonderful view into the artist’s world. The artist jokes that his paintings actually look like the world to him when he takes his glasses off.

Bill Scott, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Bill Scott, Overlapping Days, oil on canvas, 2012, collection of the artist, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

Paula Winokur, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Paula Winokur, Above and Below, porcelain and lucite,  Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

“My work has been influenced by information gathered at various “sites”, places in the natural environment that I have responded to visually. The earth itself, particularly cliffs, ledges, crevices and canyons: the effects of wind, earthquakes, glaciers and other natural phenomenon such as geological “shifts” and “faults” interest me.” – Paula Winokur website

Paula Winokur, Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song

Paula WinokurCreative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, SongMichener Art Museum

In a quiet room to itself is a collection of ceramic sculptures by Paula Winokur that punctuates the conversation started by the other artists in Creative Hand, Discerning Heart: Form, Rhythm, Song. Abstract art is actually about the world all around us, it’s just trying to explain the obvious using a language that may be hard to understand at first. But when the artist transports the viewer to another time and place just through the power of that visual vocabulary the forms and rhythms sing a song you never forget.

Jill Bonovitz
Paula Chamlee
David Ellsworth
Alan Goldstein
Ying Li
Michael Olszewski
Bruce Pollack
Stuart Rome
Bill Scott
Rochelle Toner
Paula Winokur

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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Jed Williams, Hmm?

Jed Williams Studio, Hmmm?, oil on canvas, 30 X 30 inches, $400

Jed Williams Studio, Hmmm?, oil on canvas, 30 X 30 inches, $400

Jed Williams has refined the direction his painting has taken by working exclusively with oils. Known for his mixed media day-glo meditations, the artist has tamed his palette. Anthropomorphic faces easily appear in a jpg but in his atelier at 615 Bainbridge Street, with the sunlight streaming in the storefront window onto the large stretched swath of linen, the color story is an art experience that is nuanced and deep.

The fractured typography questions everything you know about art; rich, thick layers of oil paint speak with their own voices, echoing the question. The opalescent eyes glance sideways avoiding eye contact, clenched hands reach to  cover the strained lips, restraining the urge to ask the ultimate question: Hmm? The artist searches for the answer in color fields, reaching into the dark indigo blacks, frantic intruding tentacles vibrate with thick paint strokes of citron, olive and naples yellow to mess everything up like a magic marker. The squirmy close-lippedhead simulacra glows with the radiant golden yellows. As yellow as you can get.

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer.

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