M.C. Escher was a skilled print-maker who produced amazing works of art that experimented with space and time, geometry, artistic composition, playing around with values in a drawing, capturing reflection, and so much more. This particular Escher exhibit is the first exhibition of its kind in a Boston museum featuring original prints and drawings. The exhibit consisted of over 50 of Escher's masterpieces, most of which were under-appreciated by the mainstream art world. I even learned that M.C. stands for Maurits Cornelis Escher. Escher loved Tessellations, arrangements on a two-dimensional surface of shapes that interlock without gaps or overlapping. The majority of Escher's prints are woodcuts, which he preferred for the art he was personally creating.
In the artwork "Day and Night" shown above, Escher explores the balance between two dimensional and three dimensional forms. The black and white birds in his woodcut are flying in opposite directions, morphing into a landscape below. Escher plays with the ideas of symmetry and contrast. The right and left sides of the paper are mirror images of each other. The white birds appear over a nighttime landscape, and the black birds appear over a daytime landscape.
For those interested: A Lithograph is printed from a flat surface, most often stone, where the artist would draw on stone with a greasy crayon. The stone after being treated so that the crayon will work with the printing ink on it and the stone surface is kept wet to repel the ink. A Woodcut is a relief print where the artist carves into a wooden block to create areas that are raised that will hold the ink that will be printed. A Linocut is a relief print made by gouging and cutting a piece of linoleum, then inking it, and printing it. Linocuts are preferred when printing flat areas of color since the linoleum has no grain as compared to wood. Some of Escher's works are Mezzotints, which is a labor intensive process, so Escher stopped doing it soon after starting it!
Shown here above, are two studies for "Drawing Hands" (shown below), completed around 1948 with graphite pencil. It's fascinating to see how these hands are drawing one another into existence. The two hands are in a never-ending state of drawing and appear to be bringing life to the other. On a technical note, it's very cool to see how Escher depicts the tendons and veins of the hand with only slight changes of value in light and dark.
In the Self-Portrait shown above, it's interesting to note that it is a very serious drawing that has a tremendous amount of detail in it. However, there are a lot of abstract elements in this Self-Portrait such as his wavy hair.
Many of Escher's works of art focused on impossible structures. They are akin to optical illusions, where the buildings seem to violate the laws of gravity and physics.
The theme of Reflection appears often in Escher's work. Below the distorted perspective of a room is captured in the reflection of a silver sphere. And shown below, in "Eye" he captures the reflection of a skull.
Here is Willem de Kooning's 1937-1938 Oil on Masonite painting titled, "Untitled (The Cow Jumps Over The Moon). I learned that de Kooning was trained as a commercial artist and his artistic styles move back and forth between abstract and figurative methods. This painting below is one of his earlier works, which reminds me of Joan Miro's work to some degree. His later artwork, for which he is more well-known, is more gestural and epitomizes the abstract expressionism movement.
I stared at this painting below "Grazing Horses IV (The Red Horses), painted in 1911 by Franz Marc for quite a long time. Not because I love horses, but rather it struck me as fascinating. Franz Marc painted horses a lot, and was known for his preoccupation with animals. I learned that this particular painting was actually his first work of art to enter a museum's collection, the same year it was made. What struck me was his use of unnatural colors in a very natural scene. It's hard to see in the photo, but I was intrigued with the use of bright red in only one or two spots on the horses.
Below is Jasper johns' "The Dutch Wives", encaustic on canvas, created in 1975. If you haven't read my blog article on the Jasper johns retrospective exhibition at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, you can find it HERE.
Below is a wonderful painting from a German artist that I was unfamiliar with named Corinne Wasmuht. It is titled, "50 U Heinrich-Heine-Str." oil on wood and created in 2009. The painting is a portrayal of Berlin's Heinrich Heine Street subway station and its surrounding neighborhood. It's hard to tell scale from photographs, but this is a huge painting and it's scale immerses the viewer, but the paintings various perspective points and different scales of objects also disorient the viewer. It's really a magnificent painting and I can see why it was gifted to Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum.
Below are some fascinating samples taken from the Forbes Pigment Collection. Edward Forbes was the director of the Harvard Art Museums from 1909 to 1944. During his tenure, he traveled the world, collecting a large number of pigments for the library. Today, the Pigment Collection contains more than 2,500 samples that are beautifully displayed in cabinets on the 4th floor and are used to this day to help identify pigments used in historical artworks.
I came across this wonderful, short video on the Forbes Pigment Collection that was created about 2 years ago. Check it out!
For more information about The Harvard Art Museums, please visit their website: www.harvardartmuseums.org. I definitely recommend visiting the Museum as you're in for a wonderful experience!
This past week I learned that I was being featured in Boston Voyager Magazine in their article titled, "Flashes & Strokes: A Tale of Two Mediums." The article celebrates artists working in both traditional and digital mediums. You can view the article HERE!
Two years ago, my wife and I stumbled upon an amazing event happening in Boston near Fenway Park. It was Illuminus Boston, and we were completely blown away at how much fun it was to experience incredible and unique works of art. All of them used light in spectacular ways for an immersive experience in this public art event.
This year, I made every effort to attend Illuminus Boston, which was held this weekend in the Downtown Crossing and surrounding areas part of Boston. It was a great night, and the artworks were equally terrific. I've posted photos from a number of the exhibits but here are some highlights.
Perhaps my favorite exhibit was one called "Depth Compression" by Callie Chapman. I believe another performance art piece was done in conjunction with this exhibit called "Public Displays of Motion." Depth Compression basically took imagery of the sidewalk and projected it in a compressed format, duplicated, and at a 90 degree angle. The effect was very cool. There were three dancers with bright colored wigs that made various dance and body movements along the sidewalk that were then projected behind their performance. Perhaps you "had to be there" to get it, but it was very cool. Trust me.
Another exhibit was a projected movie showing dance, with a live DJ, which turned into a live Dance Party in the middle of Washington St. in Downtown Crossing.
One of my favorites was a collection of abstract video imagery created by several artists projected on the facade of a large downtown building. I've seen a similar type of thing before in Sydney, Australia, several years ago.
The event was Friday November 3, and Saturday November 4, 2017 from 6-11 pm, so if you missed it already, be sure to catch it next year!
Below are some of my photos, but I encourage you to check out illuminusboston.org and also look it up using the Hashtag: #illuminusboston
I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, which is always an incredible experience. There are always new exhibits to see as well as a chance to see some of one's favorite works of art since visiting last.
Henri Matisse, perhaps one of the most famous artists in the world, was the subject of a fascinating exhibit. The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit pushed the limits of how one experiences Matisse's work. Having seen his artwork countless of times at museums all over the world, including visiting the Matisse Museum in the south of France, I've never quite have seen artwork presented in this unique format.
Henri Matisse was an artist who revolutionized 20th Century art. This international exhibition examines the critical importance of the objects in Matisse's studio and how they influenced his creative process and finished artwork.
The exhibit has a number of thematic sections that each focus on different stages of his career as an artist. Matisse didn't limit his work to one medium like painting or sculpture, but also did many drawings, cut-outs, collages, prints, and more. What makes this exhibit particularly fascinating is that the artwork is presented next to the objects that helped inspire Matisse's creativity and served as subject matter for much of his work. Matisse found inspiration everywhere: In sculpture, in a chocolate pot, textiles, furniture.
Below, the pewter jug served as inspiration for the painting below. You can see how the curved lines of the jug, the waviness, are imitated in the lines of the background tapestry, the woman's robe, and the actual jug he painted as a vase of flowers. As you can see in the close-up photos below, the wavy lines are not painted on, but Matisse rather scratched the paint off the surface of the canvas. This reminds me of how I used this technique in some of my artwork. You can see some of those paintings here and here.
Show above is a table that appears in the painting to the left. And below is a female torso Roman sculpture that Matisse used to create the "Formes, Plate IX" for the illustrated book "Jazz". Matisse used cut paper as its own medium. He also uses Guache paint on paper that he cut and pasted on canvas to create "Mimosa" and "Panel with Mask". The movie, "A Model for Matisse" discussed the relationship between Matisse and his longtime friend and nun, Sister Jacques-Marie. Their relationship began when she started working for him as his nurse, but later she often served as a model for Matisse's most famous artworks. The nun also helped paint the paper that Matisse used for his cutouts. The sister was instrumental in helping Matisse design the Vence Chapel (the Chapelle du Rosaire), one of his greatest accomplishments in his career as an artist. The two large cutouts were designs for the robes that the priests were to wear while celebrating Catholic Mass.
The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit runs from April 9, 2017 to July 9, 2017. For more information, please visit www.mfa.org.
Art of the Americas. Level 3
Below is just a few snapshots I took during this visit to the MFA, some of my old favorites as well as some new favorites. Below from are some wonderful photos of Piet Mondrian's work, "Composition with Blue, Yellow, and Red," Georgia O'Keefe's "White Rose with Larkspur No. 2," Joseph Stella's "Old Brooklyn Bridge" large, oil on canvas painting, Pablo Picasso's sculpture, and his "The Bull" series completed in 1945 and 1946.
Also below are two of Jackson Pollock's incredible paintings, along with a close up shot of his drip-work, splattering, etc. and lastly, I've included a piece by Charles Sheeler titled "On a Shaker Theme" and an incredible work of art by Stuart Davis, "Apples and Jug" where he takes the traditional still-life and transforms it into his modernist universe, with elements of cubism and even of advertising imagery.
In the Contemporary Art galleries, two pieces struck me on this visit. One is Carmen Herrera's, "Blanco y Verde (#1)", Acrylic on Canvas. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Herrera studied painting in New York. The simplicity of the forms here was really striking. I love the exactness of her straight lines, and her minimal use of color. We don't know if there is a background or a foreground, and we almost lose our-self within the painting completely. Carmen Herrera recently had a retrospective exhibit of her work a the Whitney Museum of American Art a few months ago.
Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross
This powerful exhibit recently opened in March and will be on view through July 30, 2017.
“Memory Unearthed” is a very moving exhibit that provides a rare glimpse of life during the Holocaust. Holocaust Survivor, Henryk Ross took this incredible display of photographs of life inside the Lodz Ghetto from 1940 to 1944.
Henryk Ross was confined to the Lodz ghetto in 1940 and enlisted by the Nazi regime as a bureaucratic photographer taking photos for Jewish identification cards, for propaganda materials, etc. Secretly, Henryk Ross documented the horrible living conditions and persecution of the Jews under the Nazis. Ross his the photos and negatives before the last of the Jews were sent from the ghetto to the Auschwitz and Chelmno death camps. The photos seen in this exhibit survived because Ross buried the photos and negatives hoping to provide a historical record of the persecution of the Jews.
All the photos were very powerful to see. However, there was one piece of artwork that I found completely incredible and breathtaking from an artistic perspective. I've included the photo below. It is actually a modern print from an original 35mm negative, depicting Ghetto police escorting residents for deportation. The image itself and the unfortunate and horrifying circumstances in the photo are very compelling. But beyond the face value of what is happening in the photo, you can see that the negative is partially destroyed, burned, or deteriorating. From one perspective, the visual piece of artwork is quite beautiful and striking. And from another perspective, it is quite ugly, off-putting, sad, and even symbolic. This exhibit helps us Never Forget the horrors of the Holocaust and its victims of persecution and death.
Overall, this was an incredible visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. With every visit, there are new things to see, experience, learn, and explore.
I wanted to create a piano for Street Pianos Boston because I love Boston and I love public art. I believe there are incredible opportunities to use art to represent Boston as one of the world’s best cities; a city that has a vibrant and thriving arts community that adds to the inherent value of everyone living here or visiting Boston.
The Play Me I'm Yours Street Pianos exhibit is something I've admired since I first saw it a few years ago in 2013. When I first heard that "Play Me, I'm Yours" was coming back to Boston, I was very excited about the opportunity to paint a piano for this project. My artistic style is about fun, bright colors, using the illusion of mosaic tiles, and bold lines, and I believed that my art would complement the exhibit really well, drawing people to the pianos and interacting with them on the streets of Boston. It was a real honor to have been selected to be a participating artist.
I was excited about Street Pianos Boston because it would be my first public art project. My art is loved by people who have my art in their homes, but I also believe that my art has a place in the public realm; my style lends itself for large murals, even sculpture, in public places as well as in corporate office settings. I'd love to do more in the public realm so that art can be accessible to everyone.
Being part of the Celebrity Series of Boston Street Pianos exhibit was particularly meaningful to me because I realized how much I enjoy the process of creating public art and am excited about the possibilities for other terrific public-domain art projects in the future.
More videos of the Piano being played can be found on the Eddie Bruckner Fine Art YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCamBWngXFOwL9AZhBjoy24A
And more photos and videos can be found on the Street Pianos website: www.StreetPianos.com Look for Downtown Boston: City Hall Plaza.
The hashtag for the project is #streetpianosboston if you'd like to follow it on social media.
I am very proud that my painting/piano added value to this city-wide, public art and performing arts exhibit. It was really special to see Bostonians, visitors, and tourists enjoy playing all the pianos that were created for this wonderful project. The piano will be at Boston City Hall Plaza through October 10, 2016.
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