25 August 2009

Art I Like

I can't stop thinking about paint. "New house... new studio.... come to me..." Painting (the type that requires skill) is alive and well. Are art schools still teaching it? Last couple weeks I've been pouring over painting blogs and getting a good taste of the conversations going on via canvas. The following are not necessarily new painters, but my favorites:


I've never been a huge fan of pop images, but I can't get this out of my mind. A vision of Charlie Brown on acid. The surface somewhat Pixar, the glow, the eminations, and the sudden realization of death are stirring something embedded in my spine. The vibrations of paper comics evoking an evil being. I'm still not brave enough to make it a desktop, but I keep googling it. Ron English has been around a while lending us sadistic versions of childrens cartoon icons although thats not all he lampoons. You might have seen his Abraham Obama ala Warhol.

I've followed Mars-1 (Mario Martinez) for a couple years. I was drawn to his sci-fi robots on exotic planets. Now, he doesn't seem tied down to his imagineerings being a place inhabited by things. There is maturing and freedom in his latest work that is more markedly abstract than it is surreal. I've been a fan of this kind of abstraction, one that doesn't need to be flat. He has a consistent focus to create a detailed experience and the process is open enough that each time he goes to canvas, he can add something new, and not get bored. The product is psychedelic but not in a way I've seen before. I like his palette too, it's toned down enough that you can experience the forms more thoroughly. Love it!


Mark Ryden is pretty much the master of the creepy, doll-like, big eyed character. The palette of of hand colored photos, science text book illustration and geography litho 'plates' you might find with a vellum coversheet in an old book. Here again, an artist playing sadistically with childrens book metaphors, some of which creep me out! The kind of creep that makes you keep looking. I especially like his Santa with a gold crown. These paintings tell a kind of story, with mysterious symbols urging you to explore deeper. Idyllic, clean, artificial, there is no portion of the surface that dips into 'expression.' You have to respect this kind of attention to detail.

I'm a sucker for this 70's pin up erotica. Sweet-tender faces in porn poses. Socks! Sexalicious! LOL Lisa Yuskavage hits the genre with all its blur and dreaminess. In the same ballpark as John Currin. Something in the way she does her landscapes reminds me of Frazetta. (included photo excluded) Yet, she also seems torn about the objectification of women in the images as illustrated by some portraits where the model's face is covered pie. Either way, there is no denying the graphic impact and questions that keep arising.

I met Jeremy Bastian at the 2008 Comicon in San Diego. I have two of his prints framed and hanging in my office. Ok, he's not a painter, but I just want show off his work. First edition of his "Cursed Pirate Girl" comic book is available, and he continues to sell portfolios of prints. There seems no end to the characters in his imagination. His dedication to ink seems out of time and makes me continue to wonder how the hell one develops such an antiquated style in the age of silicon.

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