Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Frida Kahlo Y Su Mundo at Bozar Expo, Brussels

This was probably the most meaningful exhibitions I have ever seen.
As some of you may know, I am an avid fan of Frida, ever since my Aunt and first Art Teacher, Boo Ehrsam, showed her two me when I was but a wee child.
Naturally, I was completely awestruck at these bizarre, beautiful works. When my Mom came to pick me up from class, I immediately ask her to tell me all about this crazy Mexican woman I had just discovered. (And thus, my Mom had to learn how to explain Frida to a 6 year old...)

I have been waiting a very long time to see her works in person, and am thrilled that my Belgian visit was timed just right.

Frida Kahlo is an all-around inspiration to me, being a thoroughly successful female artists, and having one of the most intriguing, tragic, and adventurous lives. I trust that you have all seen the Frida Movie, staring the beautiful Selma Hayek, so you must surely be familiar with her life (the movie is a rather accurate portrayal) so I will spare you from an incredibly verbose biography (I could go on for days). Instead I will share with you some (almost all) of the pieces from the exhibition (a modest 27 works):

1. El camion (The Bus), 1929

2. Retrato de Alicia Galant (Portrait of Alicia Galant), 1927

3. La nina Virginia (Portrait of Virginia), 1929

4. Retrato de Luther Burbank, 1931

5. Retrato de Eva Frederick, 1931

7. Autorretrato con changuito (Self-Portrait with Small Monkey), 1945

8. Hospital Henry Ford, 1932

9. Frida y el aborto (Frida and the Miscarriage), 1932

10. Unos cuantos piquetitos (A Few Small Nips), 1935

11. Mi nana y yo (My Nurse and I), 1937

12. El difuntito Dimas Rosas a los tres anos de edad
(The Deceased Dimas Rosa at the Age of Three), 1937

13. El pollito (The Chick), 1945

15. La columna rota (The Broken Column), 1944

16. Sin esperanza (Hopeless), 1945

17. La flor de a vida (The Flower of Life), 1944

18. El circulo (The Circle), ca. 1954

21. Fantasy, 1944

24. La mascara (de la locura) (The Mask of Madness), 1945

25. Retrato del ingeniero Eduardo Morillo Safa, 1944

26. Retrato de dona Rosita Morillo, 1944

El diario de Frida Kahlo (Frida Kahlo's Diary), 1944-54
slideshow of sketchbook and photographs

I was fortunate enough to pay a second visit to this exhibition, in which I really got to experience the work itself, instead of feverishly writing and being shoved about in the throws of on-lookers. I was surprised at the size of some of her works; much smaller than what I imagined. But size aside, this was powerful retrospective.

Until Next Time

Monday, April 26, 2010

Return to W139

There is something incredibly satisfying about witnessing glimpses into the process of art. The ambiguity you experience; the skepticism that comes with ambitious works; the vulnerability of a work exposed half finished; it all contributes to the magic and integrity of art itself.
Another trip to Amsterdam afforded me just this chance, while once again visiting Gallery W139. The exhibition I had previously seen, in-progress, was now in full swing.

It was really a beautiful show in all; I could have easily spent hours with each piece. The overall impact of a floor to ceiling mural-sized exhibition was breath-taking.
Here are some pictures of Doktor Faustus in its entirety:


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gustave Van De Woestyne - MSK Gent

My latest adventures took me the Gustave Van De Woestyne Exhibition at the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Citadelpark, Gent. I spent the most time with Gustave's work, but did I have time breeze through some of the other rooms of the museum.
De Woestyne is an artist I knew nothing about prior to this exhibition, and I was completely floored by this retrospective. Undoubtedly, Woestyne has become one of my favorite artists of all time.

Gustave lived and worked in Belgium his entire life (1881 - 1947), save a few years spent in Great Britain during the First World War. He was a deeply introverted, and religiously inspired person which translates through his work, making it thoroughly distinct, and ladened with personality. His work falls into the Symbolism movement of the late 19th century. Originating out of France and Belgium, Symbolism (following the drama and glory of the Romanticists) was a very personal, intuitive, yet a broad geographic reach. Works, specifically those of De Woestyne, mesh the audacity and drama of Romanticism, with the austerity and ambiguity of the "decadent" and Pre-Raphaelites movement.

Woestyne's work was heavily influenced by the previously stated movements, as well as Flemish and Italian Primitives and other iconographic work.
His works contain a subtle yet jarring tension; impeccable draughtsmanship and sheer ability met with knowledgeable and deliberate distortions of figures and other elements. Combined, these elements bring about haunting paintings with classical abilities and avant-garde compositions that are quite timeless.

The exhibition was broken down like any typical retrospective; chronological, highlighting each period of his work. Not so surprising, it was a bit hard to find De Woestyne's work online. Though his work is really amazing, it is not so well known. Here are some of my particular favorites that I manage to capture.

Deeske (1907-08)
watercolor, pastel, pencil on paper

The Blind (1910)

Portrait of Karel Van De Woestijne (1910)
graphite on paper

Self Portrait (1912)
watercolor and oil

Country Girl (1913)
oil on canvas

The Grandmother or Portrait of Roos Van Wijnendaelen (1914)
oil on canvas

The Children's Table (1919)

Portrait of Professor Fabrice Polderman (1919)
oil on canvas

Portrait of Adrienne with a Little Dog (1919)

Christ Shows His Wounds (1921)
oil on canvas

The Liqueur Drinkers (c. 1922)
charcoal and oil on paper

Gaston and His Sister (1923)

Christ Sacrifices His Blood (1925)

Fragments (above and below) of
Christ & His Apostles from the Last Supper (1927)
casein, charcoal, chalk on canvas

His work inspires me in so many ways, I am at a loss for words. The stylization, experimentation, the subtle somewhat dark sense of humor and overall sensibility of the artist really shines through his work. His technique and sheer drawing ability are so in line with my aesthetic It is truly timeless pieces, and I feel as if my art will never be the same after experiencing this show.
Until next time