Saturday, October 31, 2009

David Wadelton, until November 21, Lister Gallery, Perth

I first saw an exhibition of David Wadelton's paintings in 1986 at Pinacotheca Gallery, Melbourne and instantly became a fan of his art, watching it as it evolved over the subsequent decades. David's "cyber-pop" paintings are almost photorealist in style, these computer-based montages source and re-combine elements found Popular Culture to create mesmerising and hypnotic paintings

The exhibition is held at Lister Gallery Perth, Western Australia.

Creepy, motel, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

Crash motel, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

Sour, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

Kool thing, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

Tongue ride, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

D'licious, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

Mars, 2009,102x152cm, and oil on canvas.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tom Uttech, until November 14, Alexandre Gallery, New York

Tom Uttech is an artist I have greatly admired for some years now and his current exhibition at Alexandre Gallery , New York is one I wish I was able to go see. The tyranny of distance is working against me, but if you are near enough to make it to this exhibition, do so.

Tom Uttech: New Paintings An exhibition of seventeen paintings completed over the past three years, ranging in scale from the monumental to small-scaled oils. The landscapes depicted are both observed and highly imagined of the remote North Woods of Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, and Wisconsin.

The distinguishing aspect of Uttech’s paintings from other contemporary landscapes is that he does no drawings, studies, or photographs on these treks. The paintings are studio inventions based entirely on memory and improvisation.

Enassamishhinjijweian, 2009, oil on linen, 102 5/8 x 112 inches (framed dimensions) © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York


Essay by Lucy R. Lippard

Tom Uttech’s North is a magical place. For a stranger to the border of Wisconsin and Ontario it could pass for an imagined landscape, but it is actually realism revved up to the nth degree in an extreme case of self-identification with place. “I sit down, stare at the blank canvas, and start to draw a place where I’d like to be,” he says. That place is always the north woods, “because that is what I am ….It’s in my body, that image, what’s up there.” Despite his passion for the restoration of native plants of the prairie, it is the lakes and swamps, ancient rocks and teeming wildlife of the forest that has been the subject of his art for so many years.

Nin-Nanagatawabamdan, 2009, oil on linen, 56 7/8 x 61 inches (framed dimensions) © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

Uttech’s commitment to the scrubby natural grandeur and spiritual power of this place is transmitted with extraordinary detail that transcends ordinary experience. The sights come not just one by one, but in multitudes. The deer, bears, wolves, and above all the birds, animate his canvases until they reach a visionary intensity. While the birds are usually in flight and we can almost hear their voices, the mammals are emblematic, still and silent. The looming bears are particularly vibrant presences. They face each other, crowd onto a single boulder, perch on a high rock staring into the distance, or emerge from swirling mists, evoking other worlds. Because of their strength, bears are thought by many indigenous peoples to have special powers. Because of their resemblance to humans, they are often stand-ins for us. In Uttech’s work they evoke the strength of nature, and perhaps stand in for the artist himself, as part of the place, as mediators, messengers from the deeper parts of the woods.

Gete Makwa, 2009, oil on linen, 56 7/8 x 61 inches (framed dimensions) © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

Metaphor has always been a way to confront the depths. Uttech does not paint “scenery” so much as he offers metaphors for his exalted encounters with what we call Nature, suggesting that a true landscape is a composite of all the life within it rather than a frozen image of what is seen out the window. Nature confronted on her own turf is always potentially dangerous, and no amount of beauty can erase that undercurrent of anxiety and exhilaration we feel when we sleep alone outdoors or take risks in the wilds in the name of adventure or love of nature. We are at once part of “nature” and separate from it.
Take, for instance, the recent painting Enassamishhinjijweian. (Uttech concocts his titles from the Anishanabe, or Ojibwe, language, hoping that this is seen as a sign of respect.) It seems literally to depict a sublime, concentric light at the end of the tunnel, shared by the creatures of the land. It could be translated as “hope.” Uttech’s paintings evoke the infinite diversity of an amazing place like this planet. For nature lovers, naturalists, scientists, and ecological activists – in fact for all of us – they stand for what we have to lose and what we have to fight for.

© Lucy R. Lippard, Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

Nind Ajigidisse, 2009, oil on board, 15 1/2 x 19 1/4 inches (framed dimensions) © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

Nin Gagwedjindimin, 2009, oil on board, 16 1/2 x 17 5/8 inches (framed dimensions) © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

I have included a several installation views of this exhibition (courtesy of Alexandre Gallery website), to give you an indication of scale, presence and the austere beauty of the exhibition display.

Installation view © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

Installation view © Courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

To find out more about Tom Uttech, view all the paintings and other installation photos CLICK HERE

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kim Buck, 5 - 21 November, Peter Walker Fine Art, Adelaide

Emerging artist Kim Buck's exhibition Conatus at Peter Walker Fine Art is yet to open and all works are already sold.

A busy year for Kim as she is currently studying to complete her Bachelor of Visual Art at the South Australian School of Art. Kim was also selected as one of fifteen finalists for this year’s highly prestigious National Youth Self Portrait Prize held at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.

To view the entire exhibition Click Here

The Burden of Lachesis , Charcoal Pencil on paper, 40 x 100 cm

G, Charcoal Pencil on paper, 140 x 90 cm

Conatus, Charcoal Pencil on paper, 45 x 70 cm

Conatus (a centro) , Charcoal Pencil on paper, 70 x 45 cm

c, Charcoal Pencil on paper, 140 x 90 cm

Monday, October 26, 2009

An interview with the artist Ron Francis about his recent exhibition at Scott Livesey Gallery, Melbourne

Last month I flew into Melbourne with the goal to only view 5 exhibitions and then fly out that same day. One of those exhibitions which I was most keen to see was Ron Francis' paintings at Scott Livesey Gallery. Ever since seeing an image of one of Ron's more famous paintings "Skateboard" (not in the exhibition, but shown below), I've wanted to see a large exhibition of his paintings. The exhibition was no disappointment, bringing together 17 wonderful paintings by an artist people should keep an eye on.

Skateboard, Oil on canvas,110 x 110 cm

Only now am I getting around to blogging about the exhibitions seen that day and thankfully Ron has agreed to an interview.

Strange Little Clouds, Oil on canvas,120 x 120 cm

In The Real Art World interviews Ron Francis about his recent exhibition at Scott Livesey Gallery, Melbourne

In The Real Art World: What is the Ron Francis story, how have you and your art arrived at this point?

Ron Francis: I was born in Sydney, Australia in 1954.
Like most people, I drew a lot as a child. One defining moment I remember was in 4th grade at school, when drawing a tree trunk, I discovered that shading could make it look round. This was possibly the beginning of my fascination with art.

In the following years, my time was divided between art, being a guitar hero, girls, competitive swimming and later, riding a motor bike. At around 20, painting in oil became an obsession that eclipsed everything else. In those formative years I was Government subsidised in the form of unemployment benefits for longer than I would like to admit.

Over the next 15 years I was represented by a couple of galleries, but never earned enough to support myself. During that time I began developing a way to use perspective so that a viewer in the right position could look around inside a painting as though they were looking around in real life. This in itself isn’t new, but I approached it in a mathematical way which has eventually developed into software that now has more in common with 3D modelling than the geometry of linear perspective.
I was offered work painting trompe l’oeil murals where I was able to directly apply these principles, and this continued for around 15 years.

I became ill with cancer in 2004 and this made me re-evaluate my life. I decided to give up painting murals in favour of fine art and began exhibiting with Scott Livesey Galleries in Victoria, and still exhibit with him today.
And that is how I have arrived at this point.

Darwin, Oil on canvas,91 x 136 cm

In The Real Art World: There is a feeling of unease in your paintings, a controlled tension that isn't overbearing, or overtly menacing. Your use of humour also deflates the impact of what you are looking at, such as in the Painting "Darwin". How important is it to maintain the balance between visual impact and subtlety?

Ron Francis: This is a bit of an odd question. For me, painting is just a form of self expression and you may as well ask the same thing about the way I relate to people in general. So rather than thinking of it as a controlled product, it is more just the way I am.

In The Real Art World: The 2 paintings I most liked in your recent exhibition are "Darwin" and "Dad", two very different paintings. Tell me a little about them?

Ron Francis: Darwin was a recurring nightmare that I had at least 3 times in different forms. Each time I was surrounded by crocodiles and I was so scared that I couldn’t move. The oddest part of the dream was that there were people around me carrying on as normal, completely disregarding the danger.

Dad was an attempt to capture a very early childhood memory. It was almost forgotten and part of the process rediscovering it. The emotions I have about this scene are complex and contradictory, and the sense of uncertain anticipation is one of the things I wanted to convey.

Dad "Selfportrait As My Father", Oil on canvas,170 x 120 cm

In The Real Art World: Your paintings vary dramatically in subject matter, how do you go about finding the subjects for your paintings and what do you really look for when assessing it’s potential to make it as a painting?

Ron Francis: That’s the million dollar question. As I touched on above, subjects often come from dreams or visions.
I will often have an epiphany-like vision after a long period of contemplation of an idea that I don’t know how to render, and I often see it as a complete image that I just have to try to paint as I saw it. Other times visions seem to come from nowhere. In fact, I can never really know if I have fallen asleep for a couple of seconds and it was a dream. Other subjects are formed to try to express how I feel about something, or may be simply a technical experiment.

When assessing an idea, I look at why I want to paint it in the first place. If I find myself wondering if it will be saleable, then it is almost invariably abandoned. The ideas that are the best are the ones that light a fire in my belly and there is no question as to whether I will paint it or not. There is no assessment process at all.
So this is what I look for, the spark of inspiration. Without it, painting for me becomes merely a polite conversation.

The Divine Window, Oil on canvas,160 x 160 cm

In The Real Art World: Tell me about your working process, how does an idea becomes a finished painting?

Ron Francis: Most of the time I have a fairly complete image in my mind, similar to the after-image one has after just having looked at something, and I have to try to reconstruct it as well as I can.
I will usually draw some rough sketches first which will expose all the weaknesses in the scene.
For example, there may be a certain type of house in a scene. I will know the type and period but the details are vague and I will have to invent those parts or research them.
When I think I know what I’m doing, I will use my software to put it in correct perspective and this will often expose other unforseen problems that have to be ironed out.
When I’m happy with this, I will use it to plot points on the canvas and end up with as accurate a drawing as possible.
While keeping the integrity of the drawing, my first paint layer is an attempt to get the hue, value and chroma as correct as possible and get rid of all the white of the canvas.
The next layers a combination of trying to fix the mistakes I made in the previous layers, and add and refine detail. More often than not, I will add other elements that weren’t in the drawing.
The paint is applied quite thinly, but as opaque as possible unless I’m glazing to correct a colour.

On The Edge, Oil on canvas,100 x 100 cm

In The Real Art World: Who are the artists that at the moment you are looking at, or find their work resonates for you?

Ron Francis: To be honest, I don’t look at other artists very often. Past influences that come to mind would be Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, Magritte, Dali.
I am lucky enough to know Robert Hannaford whose work I love.
Anna Platten is another whose technique I respect and quirkiness I like.
Apart from that, I am very impressed with the depth of talent of the members of the Rational Painting forum, including you Jim.

A Gentleman, Oil on canvas,60 x 106 cm

In The Real Art World: I'm always curious of which colours make up the palette used by the artist, what are the colours you use?

Ron Francis: I use a fairly limited palette;
Art Spectrum: Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light, Phthalo Green, Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Lamp Black, Ivory Black, Titanium White.
L&B Stable Violet.
WN: Flake White.

In The Real Art World: Finally, what's next?

Ron Francis: I’m in limbo at the moment, wanting that next great idea to surface. So for the time being, I’m having a polite conversation with my canvas to keep my eye in.

To view Ron's paintings at Scott Livesey Gallery Click Here
There is also a full colour catalogue available, illustrating all the paintings, with an essay by the respected art writer Ashley Crawford. Contact the gallery regarding aquiring a copy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Juan Bautista Maíno, until January 17, 2010, Museo Nacional Del Prado, Madrid

The exhibition Juan Bautista Maíno (1581-1649), includes 35 works by the artist and a further 31 by the painters who most influenced his artistic development, among them Velázquez and Caravaggio. A great opportunity to view and assess the legacy of Maíno's art, as most of the known works by Maíno will be on exhibition.

Maíno is one of the most important figures within Spanish painting of the first half of the 17th century but also one of the least known due to the scarcity of surviving information on his life and work and the problems involved in reconstructing his biography and oeuvre.

The Adoration of the Shepherds: Juan Bautista Maíno. Oil on canvas, 315 x 174 cm. 1611-1613. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

Portrait of a Dominican Monk: Juan Bautista Maíno. Oil on canvas. 47 x 33,3 cm. Oxford, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

The penitent Magdalen: Juan Bautista Maíno. Oil on panel, 58 x 155 cm. 1612-1614. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

The Pentecost: Juan Bautista Maíno, Oil on canvas, 285 x 163 cm. 1611-1613. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

To find out more about this exhibition CLICK HERE

A lavish 320 page catalogue accompanies the exhibition, the result of a process of rigorous research and includes four essays, two of them by the exhibition’s curator, Leticia Ruiz Gómez. 42 Euro and it can be purchased online CLICK HERE

Friday, October 23, 2009

James Neil Hollingsworth, until the end of November, Anne Irwin Fine Art, Atlanta

James Neil Hollingsworth's debut exhibition at Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta is a great opportunity to see the range of paintings that James is fast becoming known for. A latecomer to art, James has successfully made the transition from an artist who started out selling small paintings on his blog to being picked up by major galleries, such as London's Plus One Gallery.

Blocks - 18 x 18 - oil on panel

In The Real Art World interviews James Neil Hollingsworth about his recent exhibition at Anne Irwin Fine Art, Atlanta

In The real Art World: What is the James Neil Hollingsworth story, how have you and your art arrived at this point?

James Neil Hollingsworth: I was fifty years old before I actually began to paint full-time, but drawing was part of my life since childhood. I spent much more time in school sketching in the margins of my papers than taking notes. My grades prove that. The Vietnam war was still going on when I graduated from high-school, as was the draft. My lottery number that year was nine, so I was definitely headed to the military if I didn't enroll in college. I had no interest in higher education at the time, but I loved aircraft, so I enlisted in the Air Force. Things were winding down overseas, and I remained stateside, at a base near San Francisco. While I was there I took a couple of life drawing classes at a local community college. Early stages of taking a past time to the next level. I also discovered the work of Andrew Wyeth on a visit to the De Young museum during that time, which spawned a continuing love for his paintings.

The following years were spent working odd jobs, and attending night school. At the time I assumed my major would be art, but that was never realized. I started flying sailplanes one summer, and my love of aviation took over. Two years of vocational school later I was working as an aircraft mechanic. The next few years revolved around aviation. Soaring, eventually powered flight, and skydiving. In my free time I would still draw. In time I added watercolor to my repertoire. Strictly for enjoyment, giving completed work to friends and family as gifts. These small paintings happened to be noticed by the father of a friend who ran a graphic design studio, and he offered me a job based on what he had seen. It was a tough decision, because I loved aviation, but I made the switch. It wasn't actually art, but it was close.

A couple of years later I bumped into a friend from high school who owned a type shop, and was looking for a paste up artist. His offer came at a good time, because I had just been laid off by my current employer due to a slump in business. My friend and I worked together for eight years. We didn't make any money, but we had a great time. Desktop publishing eventually killed our little enterprise. After we closed the shop I did the freelance thing.

Working freelance got old pretty quick, and I wound up following my wife into the field of nursing. It took about three years to get my license. I began my new career in the ER of a childrens hospital, but eventually moved to the Operating Room at another hospital. Every couple of years the urge to paint would rise up. I'd work feverishly for a few weeks. create a handful of watercolors, and then I'd return to artistic hibernation.

At about the eight year mark in my nursing career, some close friends who were artists showed me how they had begun to sell their paintings over the internet on ebay. They were very excited, and insisted that I give it a try. When I found they were right, I realized this was the time to start taking the art part of my life more seriously. After a year of consistent ebay sales I felt confident enough to end my nursing career, and attempt the job of full-time artist. I just reached my five year anniversary as an artist.

My Right Foot - 12 x 24 - oil on canvas

In The real Art World: Your highly successful blog "Paintings in Oil" which started as a painting a day blog which has evolved into a chronicle of your art and career as an artist. What attracted you to blogging and creating art of a modest scale that can be sold online?

James Neil Hollingsworth: Two years ago when I began my blog, I didn't even know what a blog was. I had heard the term more than once, and was curious. Two other artists really helped me get it going. Belinda Del Pesco and Jeff Hayes showed me the ropes. They were very enthusiastic about their own blogs, and that energy was infectious. I put up mine, and it's been a wonderful plus to my art career. It's a great way to find, and interact with other artists, collectors and patrons of art in general.

The small paintings for ebay were a result of my experiment with the "Painting A Day" movement. For one month I did a painting a day. I chose a 6 x 6 format for continuity. Exhausted after thirty days, and not particularly pleased with the "finish" of the completed paintings I ended the exercise. I did find though, that I liked the six inch square. From that point on I limited my ebay work to that size exclusively.

Red Shoes - 12 x 12 - oil on panel

In The real Art World: Your detailed paintings are of everyday objects such as a shoe, a sandwich, pool balls, light-globes, a mixer etc. How do you go about finding the subjects for your paintings and what do you really look for when assessing it’s potential to make it as a painting?

James Neil Hollingsworth: It's an intuitive thing. My wife Karen (who is also an artist), and I have this habit of seeing something, pointing to it and stating to the other, "that could be a painting". Many times one subject will lead to another. I did a painting a while back of the kitchen at the Waffle House. I loved the stainless steel, stacked plates and utensils. This eventually led to the percolators, which led to coffee cups and mugs, which led to other kitchen items like the mixers. I just like the look of "stuff", especially mechanical stuff. Just about anything can be the subject of a painting if you see it's own beauty. Duane Keiser showed that to me when I first saw one of his dead bees, or stack of life savers.

Pool Bowl No.10 - 12 x 12 - oil on panel

In The real Art World: Tell me about your working process, how does an idea becomes a finished painting?

James Neil Hollingsworth: It all begins with photography. I've spent the last week doing nothing but photography. I'll take over a thousand shots before I settle down to cull out potential images. When I have a rough collection of compositions, I'll refine the search again to those shots I like the best. Then I begin the process of cropping those images into final compositions. Once I pick a specific shot to paint, I'll color correct, and adjust the exposure to my liking, work up the drawing, transfer it to canvas/panel, and begin. I tend to start at the top left of the canvas, and work my way down to the lower right. The first pass is somewhat refined. I hope to get an accurate sense of the color, tonal value and structure of the composition. Then subsequent passes refine the painting until it reaches a point where I'm pleased. I don't use any mediums or glazes. The total number of passes on a painting averages three. More if the subject matter is complicated.

Half Perc - 12 x 12 - oil on panel

In The real Art World: Who are the artists that at the moment you are looking at, or find their work resonates for you?

James Neil Hollingsworth: I'm finding new artists all the time thanks to the internet. It's a well that never runs dry. It's very hard to create a short list. Some names off the top of my head: James McLaughlin Way, a local artist that Karen and I both admire, David Malan is an illustrator and blogger who works with pencil, oil and digital tools, he is someone whom I use the phrase, "I wish I could draw like him" a lot, Alexander Kanevsky, nuff said, I love the figurative paintings of Alyssa Monks, to name just a few. This list doesn't include those who I consider friends and fellow bloggers like: Karin Jurick, Carol Marine, Nigel Cox, Pierre Raby, Paul Brown, and about a hundred more. A complete list including links is presented on my blog ( CLICK HERE

Espresso Cup - 12 x 12 - oil on panel

In The real Art World: Finally, what's next?

James Neil Hollingsworth: My wish is that I can continue to do what I'm doing. Paint. I've got a few landscape ideas I'd like to attempt one day. Do them big, then see what they may lead to.

To visit James Neil Hollingsworth's blog "Paintings in Oil" CLICK HERE

To visit James Neil Hollingsworth's website CLICK HERE

To visit Karen Hollingsworth's website CLICK HERE

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alvin Richard, until October 30, Handiworks Gallery, Saint John, Canada

I have been keeping an eye on Alvin Richard's art for some time and I'm pleased to see his current exhibition at Handiworks Gallery is such a success.

Alvin, a self-taught artist of over twenty years experience also works as a registered nurse and it's this experience that has led him to truly appreciate how fragile life can be. This has in turn become the subject of his painting life, observing the joys of everyday existence.

To find out more about Alvin and see more of his art, visit his blog by Clicking Here

Collecting stamps: A closer look at American Art, 12 x 12'', acrylic on hardboard - 2009

Marbles on Three Coke Bottles, 5 x 7'', acrylic on geesoed hardboard

Bel Air in Monterey, 15 x 11'', 2009, acrylic on gessoed hardboard

Two pinwheel candies on Target, 12 x 12'', acrylic on gessoed hardboard - 2009

BBQ Caddy, 16 x 12'', acrylic on canvas - 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Margaret Ackland, until October 17, Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne

Margaret Ackland's latest exhibition, Mementos at Flinders Lane Gallery is nearly coming to a close and it's well worth a visit to see her current body of work.

Embrace, 76 x 66cm, oil on linen

Touch, 42 x 42cm, oil on linen

Reveal, 40 x 30cm, oil on linen

Run , 150 x 140cm , oil on linen

Shield, 102 x 92cm, oil on linen

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ran Ortner wins first place at ARTPRIZE, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ran Ortner has won first place worth $250,000 at ARTPRIZE with his monumental oil painting "Open Water no.24".

Open Water no.24, 2009, oil on canvas 70 x 228 inches.

ARTPRIZE is unique in the way it operates. Any artist, from established to emerging has the chance to show work. Any visitor can vote. The vote will determine who wins the largest art prize in the world. There is not one official curator or jury for the competition. The top ten win a prize, the most lucrative being First prize $250,000, second $100,000 & third $50,000.

The competition’s creator is Rick Devos, a 27-year-old Web entrepreneur. It took place at 159 venues, with more than 1,200 artists participating and more than 334,000 votes were cast in the competition

To find out more about ARTPRIZE CLICK HERE

Ran Ortner was born in 1959 in San Francisco and lived along the areas rugged coast just north of Half Moon Bay, the location of the world’s biggest and most dangerous surfable waves.

To see more of Ran Ortner's spectacular paintings visit his rather impressive website CLICK HERE

...and I mean spectacular paintings like in this image ( taken from his website ). It's not just about the monumental paintings, Ran's smaller works are equally worth investigating.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ana Bagayan, until November 7, Roq La Rue Gallery, Seattle

I've been a fan of Ana Bagayan's art for some years now and her latest exhibition Critters at Roq la Rue Gallery is well worth a visit.

To find out more about Ana Bagayan visit her website Ana

Also Ana's blog Adventures of Anra is a great source of information about her art and working processes.

Critters, 24 x 36 inches, Oil on Panel

Fox & Girl, 30 x 40 inches, Oil on Panel

Death's Knell, 22 x 43 inches, Oil on Panel

Wendy, 8½ x 11 inches, Graphite on Rives BFK Paper