Monday, November 28, 2011

Gustave Doré

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Dor%C3%A9

 January 6, 1832 – January 23, 1883) was a French artist, engraver, illustrator and sculptor. Prolific artist. Some of his most reknowned illustrations were his work on The Divine Comedy.





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mary Woronov

A few years back I was walking through the isles of Barnes & Noble and I found a book that got my attention. "Wake for the angels". I do love angels, which is why I stopped to look at it in the first place. But then I was captured by the paintings that illustrated the book: fluid bodies that look about to burst in flames or to disintegrate or to materialize outside the book. A strong dose of pesimism or realism. Stories with a strange mix of sarcasm, nostalgia, sadness. It was not really so much about angels, as it was about Los Angeles. I walked out with the book in my hand.

I was never too sure who the author was. At that time I had not been painting for a long while, and yet I found the paintings so inspiring. I loved the stories, and I loved just browsing through the pages, knowing that there was a sensibility there that I could not completely figure out but I could certainly enjoy.

Yesterday I wanted to look up the author of the book and see if she had anything else. Well, was that a surprise... You'll see. During the last two years I've been very interested in Andy Warhol, reading his books (Philosophy of Andy Warhol, Popism), books about him, a collection of his nudes... Watching "Factory Girl"... Anyway, absorbing everything I can about him. During the last couple of weeks I have also been in a very Lou Reed mood, listening to Lou and Metallica's new album, Lulu. Watching "Far away so close", in which Lou Reed has an important role. Listening to Nico.

So, was it surprising to learn that Mary Woronov, author of the book, also happened to be an important figure in the Andy Warhol scene!

American actress, artist and writer. "Mary Woronov first made headlines in the early 1960s as a Warhol superstar. She danced with Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Warhol's multimedia presentation of the Velvet Underground.
Woronov's notable appearances include in the 1975 cult film Death Race 2000 and 1979's Rock 'n' Roll High School (and the 1991 sequel Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever), but her breakthrough role was in the 1982 cult film Eating Raoul. " [Wikipedia]




Affair, by Mary Woronov

Demon, by Mary Woronov

They took George into the woods and tortured him for hours, by Mary Woronov

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Woronov

http://www.maryworonov.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Wake-Angels-Mary-Woronov/dp/1885203004

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Joel-Peter Witkin

Every now and then I have to look at Joel-Peter Witkin. On one side, every time photographers that are willing to get dirty with film and darkroom are less and less common. On the other hand, Witkin has a number of obsessions: "freaks of every kind, idiots, dwarves, giants, deformations, pre-op trans-sexuals ... All the people who were born without arms, legs, eyes, breasts, genitals, ears, noses, lips. All those with unusually large genitals, dominas and slaves...", that's the prime matter of his art. Those that society would rather hide.

Sometimes, in his quest for the dark side of reality, he also uses corpses. His photographs are carefully composed scenes and installations, some times imitating or referencing classic paintings (such as The Fornarina by Raphael, seen in La Giovanissima below, or The Birth of Venus referenced here as well). 

He also uses alternative dark room techniques to create a timeless look on his photos (which somehow makes me think of Von Gloeden). 

Is his work controversial? Sadist? Christian? Merely illustration? When I see it, I think of Baudelaire's projected epilogue to "Les Fleurs du Mal": "Car, j'ai de chaque chose extrait la quintessence,
Tu m'as donné ta boue et j'en ai fait de l'or." ("For I have extracted from every thing the quintessence, You have given me your mud and I have turned it into gold.")

La Giovanissima

Gods of Earth and Heaven


Nudum sequi nudum Christi (Naked follow the naked Christ)

This paragraph is now required history: "It happened on a Sunday when my mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I was no longer holding my mother's hand. At the place where I stood at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it -- but before I could touch it someone carried me away"

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joel-Peter-Witkin/114728931876614

Artnet: http://www.artnet.com/artists/joel-peter-witkin/ 

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel-Peter_Witkin

Edelman Gallery: http://www.edelmangallery.com/witkin.htm 

All Art: http://www.all-art.org/20ct_photo/Witkin1.htm

A critique by Stefan Beyst: http://d-sites.net/english/witkin.htm

I posted the link to Stefan Beyst page, not because I agree with his appreciation, but because I so disagree with it. Critics often use words of authority to place themselves as omniscient judges, and their carefully chosen words seem to hide the lack of substance of their arguments. In order to approve of Beyst's critique, one would have to agree that art is what Beyst tells us that art has to be. I'll rather enjoy the art that I love, than sheeply follow a critic who will tell me that some of my favorite artists are not artists at all. Not especially when what the critic presents as art seems so uninteresting and empty of any meaning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Francesco Salomoni

Francesco Salomoni is an Italian artist currently residing in Florida. I first saw his works on eBay. His portfolio presents a few different styles, with some abstract paintings aside a number of female nudes. I just have to say that I found his paintings of nude females refreshing in their simplicity.

He also includes a number of drawings. Some of them appear to have been sketches for paintings, usually with a couple of minor differences. He also has an area dedicated to photography and a self-published photography book.

"Nude American Girl" by Francesco Salomoni.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Destino

I had breakfast today watching this short film created by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney


I wonder if the swallows were inspired by a poem by Gustavo Adolfo Becquer (1836-1870):

Volverán las oscuras golondrinas
en tu balcón sus nidos a colgar,
y, otra vez, con el ala a sus cristales
jugando llamarán;
pero aquéllas que el vuelo refrenaban
tu hermosura y mi dicha al contemplar,
aquéllas que aprendieron nuestros nombres...
 ésas... ¡no volverán!

 Roughly translated:

The dark swallows will return
to hang their nests in your balcony
and playing, they will knock on your glass windows
with their wings one more time;
but those that delayed their flight
to contemplate your beauty and my joy,
those that learned our names...
those won't return!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Completely Naked - Emotional Censorship

Completely Naked is a visual art initiative in London that, in their own words:

"Specialized in interactive installations, we explore live arts, visual, digital and time-based languages and our ideas are based on a curiosity for human behaviour from individual to collective responses. We create psychological conflicts to activate the partaker's reaction. We explore representations of the human body and challenge social boundaries around personal identity. Our work combines an interest in culture, psychology and communication with design by engaging public audiences in exciting methods of interactivity and art."

I find their projects fascinating, fearless in explore the taboo behind the identity, the privacy of the subject, and the need for self expression.

I'm sharing here a video that Completely Naked recently posted, from the Censura Emocional (Emotional Censorship) project in Portugal. I really recommend visiting their website, their facebook and their vimeo. You are in for an interesting trip!



Censura Emocional / FB / A8 from pau ros on Vimeo.
Website: http://www.completelynaked.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Completely-Naked/190073984824?sk=info

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/user313096

Monday, August 15, 2011

Let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone

In a park in Armenia, Colombia, there was a performance called "El que esté libre de pecado que tire la primera piedra" ("Let him who is without sin be the first to throw a stone"). During the performance, an artist stripped nude and stood in front of a tree, as waiting for the stones to be thrown at him. Later on, he handed something (I'm not sure what, soap?).

During the performance, a reporter was completely outraged. He could not stop staring and yelling: "This is immoral! This might be a homosexual act!". Sure, the reporter showed a lot of ignorance and intolerance (and even homophobia) with his reaction, but wasn't that the point? To provoke, to bring those demons out of the human mind and expose them just as the artist exposed his body.

The reporter held his cell phone just as if he was holding the stone. Perhaps the modern stone is the cell phone used to throw the public forces against everything that we cannot accept.

Perhaps without this reaction the performance would have missed its mark. The sin wouldn't have been exposed. Intolerance, fear, repression, ignorance. Homophobia, but why homophobia? What is homosexual about a nude body? Perhaps the reporter becomes homosexual when he takes his clothes off to shower in the morning? Or does he shower with his eyes closed?

So, the video is obviously in Spanish, but the language of gestures is universal enough.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Luiz Gustavo Martins - Brazil

I almost don't know anything about Gustavo Martins. I found him through Flickr, where there is some brief biographical information:

"Degree in fine arts by Puc, I work in the area of illustration and participated in some halls of humor.
Later in 2010 I started to focus my work in the arts, where I realized I had more creative freedom than picturing memories from the past that hour mix with the realities today."


I love the innocence and matter of fact ways of his characters, and the strong, almost blocky compositions. His use of curtains, windows, walls etc to create the scene and frame is quite classical.

o dia das canções de amor de Aline Maria - " Aline Maria's love songs day"
o dia das canções de amor de Aline Maria - " Aline Maria's love songs day"


retrato para Luzia,a cabrocha que abriu as portas do céu. - "picture for Luzia,the woman who opened the gates of heaven."

retrato para Luzia,a cabrocha que abriu as portas do céu. - "picture for Luzia,the woman who opened the gates of heaven."
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinsland/

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rodrigo Arenas Betancur - Colombian sculptor

Most known in Colombia and Mexico, I think he deserves to be more widely known. He created incredible sculptural groups, sometimes representing the independence battles in Colombia, sometimes just mankind rising to the height of their potential.

Rodrigo Arenas Betancur was born on October 23, 1919 in Fredonia, Antioquia. At the time of his death in 1995 he was recognized as one of the most important sculptors in Colombia and Latin America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodrigo_Arenas

Suramericana



Suramericana

Suramericana

Suramericana

Bolivar de Manizales

P1010167

Centro Administrativo Alpujarra - Medellin

Centro Administrativo Alpujarra - Medellin

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Noewi

A great artist and a wonderful person, Noewi shares a lot of her creative process with her fans through the Facebook page. Her paintings are playful and naughty (but nice) expressions of intimacy, beauty, femininity and masculinity.
Personally, I love this one, which her fans were able to see evolve from the initial drawing to the final painting.
Exposed, by Noewi
Exposed, by Noewi

Noewi (Jindra) was born and raised in Czech Republic, and currently resides in the Tampa Bay area. Besides her paintings, she creates murals and faux finish, and is available for commissions.


Website: http://noewisart.com/

Online store: http://jindra-noewi.fineartamerica.com/

eBay store: http://stores.ebay.com/Noewis-Art

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NoewiArtist?sk=info

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fannybunda @ Flickr

Bruce states in his profile: "many of my pictures involve nudity, I hope tastefully done. I believe that nudity need not be sexual. It can simply be an expression of the beauty and natural goodness of all creation"

"Photography is fun. It's a chance to express oneself and be creative in new ways. I like to experiment and try different things. But I also try not to take myself seriously. I am sure that many times I will play the fool--either intentionally or unintentionally."

Some of his self portraits are very inspiring, such as the one below. He has quite an extensive photo stream, including festivals in San Francisco, nude beaches, landscape, etc etc.



Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fannybunda/

Infinite - by Alonso Arias Vanegas

Sculpture in Medellin by Alonso Arias Vanegas (of whom I have not been able to find any information)

I used to stare at this sculpture with curiosity back in the 70's, when I was in kindergarten and my school bus drove by that street. A couple of years ago I had to make a point of walking by and taking a couple of pictures of it. This, however, is not the photo I took. I grabbed this one from http://medellinrevista.blogspot.com/

infinito

Monday, July 11, 2011

Facundo Cabral - Argentina

While this blog is dedicated to visual arts, a very painful event happened in the latin american music scene last Saturday July 9th. Argentinean singer Facundo Cabral was murdered in Guatemala after his tour, while he was traveling to the airport.

Facundo Cabral was 74 years old. His songs have inspired generations. It's hard to believe that anyone could have raised a weapon against this wonderful man who always sang to happiness, love and freedom.



For an extended version:



He used to say that he hoped that the day of his death would find him totally alive. He also used to say that in spite of all the suicidal and homicidal [men], this world is still a paradise.

Rest in peace, Facundo Cabral. Thank you for all your beautiful songs, you made our lives happier.

The singers should never die.

Friday, July 8, 2011

William Wegman: Flo Day - Lift Off

As we watch the last launch of a space shuttle, William Wegman posted this wonderful image on his blog:



http://wegmanworld.typepad.com/wegman_world/2011/07/flo-day-lift-off.html

Casey Anthony Plain Nude Pancakes Art Auction by Dan Lacey

As Florida and the country got obsessed with the trial of Casey Anthony, Dan Lacey, the Painter of Pancakes, graces us with a series of paintings of Casey Anthony with pancakes, duct tape, etc. This and other Casey Anthony paintings are currently listed on eBay, just visit Dan Lacey's blog to see more.



http://faithmouse.blogspot.com/2011/07/casey-anthony-plain-nude-pancakes-art.html

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rik Garrett - Photography and Magic Together

I've been following Rik Garrett on blogspot and livejournal for a while. What first caught my attention was his use of traditional techniques, like wet plate photography. In our time of digital photography and photoshop, finding artists that take the time to work with real materials is always a treat.

But beyond that, Rik was expressing something more primal with his work. His dedication to create books that were allegorical to Alchemy and Magic, whether a spiritual quest or a metaphor for the photographic process and the artistic creation, is very thought provoking.

From his Earth Magic series:



More recently, Rik created a hand made book called Symbiosis, in a limited edition. The images were created by painting with acrylic paints over original photographs. This is one of the images from the Symbiosis series:



Website: http://www.rikgarrett.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rikgarrettphotography

Blogspot: http://rikgarrett.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Liu Bolin - Human Chamaleon

Amazing creativity and artistry that never fails to surprise. Take a look.

You can see a solo exhibition of Bolin's work at the Eli Klein Fine Art Gallery in New York Jun 29 – Aug. 28, 2011.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/liu-bolin-photos-nyc-2011-6?op=1#ixzz1QgqjjTbu



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Liu-Bolin/109662852393125

Monday, June 27, 2011

Human Installation I "Gender Obsolescence" Performance art by Kyrahm + Julius Kaiser

Human Installation I "Gender Obsolescence" Performance art by Kyrahm + Julius Kaiser from KYRAHM on Vimeo.

Raphael Perez - Gay Paintings

It seems appropriate to feature a gay artist after the Pride day and New York's approval of gay marriage. And a gay artist that I really enjoy seeing in my flickr contacts is Raphael Perez from Israel.

According to his Flickr profile: "Raphael Perez is the first Israeli artist to express his lifestyle as a Gay. His life and the life of the LGBT community are connected and unfold over hundreds of artwork pieces."


Gay love couple dancing


"The subjects of the paintings are the everyday life of couples in everyday places and situations, along with the aspiration to a homosexual relationship and family, equality and public recognition. Perez's works bring forward to the cultural space and to the public discourse the truth about living as LGBT and about relationships, with all of their aspects – casual relationships and sex, the yearning for love, the everyday life and the mundane activities that exist in every romantic relationship – whether by describing two men in an intimate scene in the bathroom, the bedroom or the toilet, a male couple raising a baby or the homosexual version of the Garden of Eden, family dinners, relationship ups and downs, the complexity in sharing a life as well as mundane, everyday life competing with the aspiration to self realization – through Perez's life."


Men kissing and dancing on Tel Aviv building

I particularly enjoy his "naive paintings", so full of color, innocence (even in erotic situation) and simple mindedness of pure love vibrating in the form of flying hearts all around. I find them cheerful and extremely happy.

He also works in more realistic styles with great talent, and his flickr photostream is also splashed with photographs, whether of models in his studio, self nudes, self photos next to his artwork and other pieces that make the artist available and human to the public, and not just a name and a signature in his artwork.


Man on bed

Website: http://www.gaypaintings.com/

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/raphaelperez/


Soldiers parade

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Steven Tynan - A photographer of self nudes

A few years ago the gentleman running the selfportrait gallery blog (which is still up, but has not been updated in a long time now) learned about some of my selfportraits and asked if I would donate one to his gallery. During our interaction he said that some of my work reminded him of Steven Tynan.

Not knowing who Steven Tynan was, I obviously ran a search and found his website. Steven is a professor of photography with an extense body of work in nude selfportraits.



Steven poses in the nude in several indoor and outdoor locations, in what would look like a house or farm. Sometimes he is only partially clothed, as if he was a child in the act of being mischievius. Sometimes he's riding a tricycle, or laying down on the field, or playing with toys (a ball, a dinosaur), working out or dancing. In a few photos he is actually urinating against a wall or in the grass, or even holding his penis, not unlike a baby that finds his penis and just holds it with curiosity. In some of the photos there is a dog or some cows.



His expression is often dry, emotionless, as if he was silently questioning the camera or the beholder. Steven is what you would consider an average looking man, not a supermodel type of person. Bulky, with rough expressions, mid aged. He never tries to look sexy or desirable in the photos. He just happens to be there, he just happens to not have clothes on, or to have his pants all the way down or things like that.



My appreciation of his work is that beyond the normal looking man, there is a child who once was told that it was not appropriate to walk naked outside the house or in front of his peers, and in being told so he was "stripped" from his nudity, stripped from his "innocence". He learned that he had to dress, like Adam and Eve did when expelled from the Garden of Eden. But once the child is no longer a child, once he becomes a proper adult, there is a rebellion, a longing to claim that right that he once had to not care, to be innocent, to walk naked here or there just for the hell of it, and so he tries to claim that right, that feeling once again, and in doing so, he questions the camera and the beholder with his eyes, which seem to be asking: "is this alright? does it matter that I'm naked?"

Some of his photos seem a bit more disturbing. In some of them there is an expression that I can't quite read. Is it anger, pain, or orgasm? Is he rebelling or punishing himself? His muscles are tense, his eyes closed, his face and neck distressed. I lean to believe it is the pain of shedding the social conditioning, it's anger at the loss of innocence. There's nothing else in his work that could suggest sexuality, so I find it hard to think that this expression could be of sexuality, but I'm reminded that as in Queen's song, "pain is so close to pleasure".



Finally, one last element of disturbance, at least from the point of view of our social conditioning, is the presence of a child in some of the photos. I would assume it's his son. The child is usually aside, clothed and unconcerned about the actions of the man. There's nothing inappropriate going on, as long as we assume that there is nothing wrong with a child witnessing the non-sexual nudity of a parent.

In a way, the presence of that child speaks of internal loneliness. Perhaps the only person who has no problem accepting the nudity of the adult (who was once a child) is the child (and perhaps the dog as well), the only one who doesn't see any mistery or any wrong connotation of shame or vulgarity into his actions. Perhaps that child is there to remind us of that innocence, that both the artist and we, the spectators, forgot a long time ago, when we learned that being naked was shameful and that we had to conceal our bodies behind fabric to be allowed in society.

Website: http://www.steventynan.co.uk/page1.html

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Robert Mapplethorpe

One of my favorite photographers is Robert Mapplethorpe. I learned about Mapplethorpe when a friend artist needed a model in order to emulate some of Mapplethorpe's photos for his photography class.


I like about Mapplethorpe his unashamed expression of sexuality. His careful compositions and precise lighting, which joins sacred and profane. Being a Polaroid junkie, I love how he used Polaroid. From flowers to celebrities, from simple nudes to S&M scenes.



In the words of Patti Smith:

Robert [Mapplethorpe] was not a voyeur. He always said that he had to be authentically involved with the work that came out of his S&M pursuits, that he wasn't taking pictures for the sake of sensationalism, or making it his mission to help the S&M scene become more socially acceptable. He didn't think it should be accepted, and he never felt that his underground world was for everybody. [...]

He was no longer using magazine images, just models and himself to produce visuals of self-inflicted pain. I admired him for it, but I could not comprehend the brutality. It was hard for me to match it with the boy I had met.

And yet when I look at Robert's work, his subjects are not saying, Sorry, I have my cock hanging out. He's not sorry and doesn't want anybody else to be. He wanted his subjects to be pleased with his photographs, whether it was an S&M guy shoving nails in his dick or a glamorous socialite.


Patti Smith - Just Kids


Portrait of Andy Warhol


Portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger


Portrait of Patti Smith


This iconic photo seems to be a reference to an old photo by Von Gloeden