Tuesday, January 31, 2012

James Ensor

James Ensor (1860–1949) was a major figure in the Belgian avant-garde of the late nineteenth century and an important precursor to the development of Expressionism in the early twentieth. He has influenced generations of later artists. Ensor contributed to modernity with his innovative and allegorical use of light, his prominent use of satire, his deep interest in carnival and performance, and his own self-fashioning and use of masking, travesty, and role-playing.

'He knew all the right art-world people but hated most of them and was sure they hated him. He was an aggrieved traditionalist with a pop-culture itch, equally entertained by Rubens and tabloid cartoons. He was a sophisticated artist who helped shape early Modernism, not in a Paris studio but in an attic room over a novelty shop in a resort town on the North Sea'.

Here is a great article about him from the NYTIMES (By HOLLAND COTTER) before the opening of his retrospective at the Museum of Modern 2009.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Antony Micallef

Antony Micallef (born 1975 in Swindon), English contemporary artist and painter.
Internationally acclaimed artist Antony Micallef appeared on the art scene in 2000, winning second prize in the BP Portrait Award competition. Since then his mix of political imagery fused with contemporary expressionism has won him world wide acclaim. Recent exhibitions include group shows at the Royal Academy and the Tate Britain.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bohren and der club of gore

I only discovered Bohren and der club of gore the other day, I have been listening to BLACK EARTH , Reissued in 2004 from IPECAC. Awesome album...very 'Twinpeaks'!

Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Constant Fear...check it out

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jeremy Geddes

Jeremy Geddes is on the cover of this months Juxtapoz magazine. Geddes is a Melbourne based artist. I think his painting technique is incredible, his paintings are photo realistic, portraying extremes in emotion. He’s been published in several books and magazines, picking up a Spectrum Gold Award for his comic cover Doomed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jan De Maesschalck

Jan De Maesschalck’s paintings represent a sharp view on topical subjects and the news. However, his clear observation of current events is depicted within an atmosphere of muse and memory. As such, his work represents an impression of melancholy and mockery, yet both in a mild form. His subjects relate to an impression of intimacy and loneliness, but the mood is never harrowing or heavy. According to De Maesschalck, melancholy leads to beauty. The tone set in the depiction of schadowy interiors and forlorn women is relativising and even humorous. All works speak of a strong but indefinable desire. The paintings are tender riddles.
De Maesschalck’s metier reveals an extreme attention for detail. With technical precision, he prepares his paper and draws with paint. Utilising acrylic paint that dries immediately, De Maesschalck has to work fast. At the same time, the chosen method enables him to differentiate techniques and materials during the creative process. He is drawer and painter at once. Brushstrokes are visible, and hence his secure draftsmanship contributes to the vibrant quality of the works.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The aesthetics of Ghost Box

Ghost Box Music is an English independent record label, established in 2004 by Julian House and Jim Jupp.

In an interview with Cyclic Defrost, Jim Jupp commented; “Part of a theme that’s ongoing in all the Belbury Poly records, and I think all of the Ghost Box records is a tradition of British science fiction, where you’ve got on the one hand the setting of a very traditional background, with very ancient things, but you’ve got this weird, cosmic stuff happening at the same time. A lot of old British sci-fi books – John Wyndham, for instance – have these really mundane, quaint little village settings, but all of a sudden something really freaky and cosmic appears in the middle of it."

I love this song 'A great day out' from Belbury Poly - From an Ancient Star

Releases on the label (presently encompassing The Focus Group, Eric Zann, Belbury Poly, Roj and The Advisory Circle, and a rerelease of a Mount Vernon Arts Lab album) tend to share a common design aesthetic - all record covers so far have been by Julian House, with an acknowledged debt to the iconic design of sixties Penguin Books paperbacks.

Ghost Box had a defined aesthetic from formation; Julian House commenting: “ ...the best way to put our stuff out was to start a label.. There was such a richness to the references we both shared, not just musical.. It made sense that we could put releases out which had this complete world attached to them.. A set of things united by a design identity, fragments of real or imagined books, collections of images, films, links... Something people can become lost in and want to be a part of.."

Monday, January 23, 2012

What makes a masterpiece?

I watched this interesting three part series on 4od called...What makes a master piece?. Well worth the watch. Being a visual artist I was very interested in the last episode were Matthew Cain explores the relationship between neuro-aesthetics and visual art.
At London's Tate Britain a unique experiment is under way. Wearing specially designed goggles to track how eyes move around a painting and receptors to monitor breathing, sweating and heartbeat, Cain and members of the public are monitored to find out whether paintings can literally set our pulses racing or take our breath away.
The experiments throw up some surprising results about what we respond most strongly to, even casting Brit Art enfant terrible Damien Hirst in a different light.
UCL Professor Semir Zeki - one of neuro-aesthetics' leading lights - believes he's discovered a 'formula for beauty'. Zeki scans Cain's brain while showing him artwork from Lucien Freud to Leonardo da Vinci to see what stimulates a part of the brain Zeki terms the 'beauty spot'. Can Zeki tell which art Cain really likes or even if he's telling the truth?
If there's a formula to good art, can the masterpieces of the future be created using a scientific check list? To find out, Matt commissions a painting combining everything he's learned about visual art.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Philip Taaffe

I go through phases were i am completely hypnotised by colour and pattern and other times I am drawn to some what more dreary,subtle palettes. Recently I have been enjoying pattern and colour and was reminded yesterday of the work of Philip Taaffe, which is right up my alley at the moment. I went to see his exhibition at IMMA last year and it was overwhelming but amazing at the same time.

Philip Taaffe (born 1955) is an American artist. Taaffe was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and studied at the Cooper Union in New York, gaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1977. An admirer of Matisse’s cut-outs and of Synthetic Cubism, from the mid 1980s he began to borrow images and designs directly from more recent artists. In We Are Not Afraid (1985), he develops Barnett Newman’s zip motif into a spiral; the title is a reply to Newman’s series of paintings Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue (1966–70). In Defiance (1986), he reinterprets work by Bridget Riley.

'An artist makes something to be physically experienced by another person. It’s a raw, freely chosen, interpersonal relationship between the maker and the viewer, so it’s close to what a musical composer does, or a poet or a dancer. It is something that is coming out of one’s inner being.' Diego CORTEZ: A Conversation with Philip Taaffe, 2009, New York City

Thursday, January 19, 2012


SatOne is an artist from Munich, originally from Venezuela.
The skilled graphic designer discovered his interest in graffiti in early life. He has developed a very unique style of painting combining design, illustration and abstract art . He just had a show in NewYork at the Firstlines Gallery and I came across the flicks of the exhibition through Graffuturism...they are exciting, looks like a great exhibition. The show is entitled CHROMOLOG.

photos by Max Geuter

I like the work of Irish artist Cara Thorpe. This is what she says about her work,

“My paintings involve a process of working and re-working through the application and scraping away of layers of paint to create textured surfaces. From this, fragments of imagery are pulled through and offset by areas of flat colour. There is a documentary quality to the imagery, which borrows from old war photographs and current newspaper clippings, suggesting the timeless dialectic of war. I play with ideas of the "predator", referencing fighter planes, birds of prey, monster tanks and men of power. I also try to communicate the tragedy of the consequences that these predators inflict on the landscape, and their prey. The overall effect I want to encompass with my paintings is one of somber ambiguity. I aim for a dialogue between the viewers perception and the metaphorical resonances of the work.” 
Cara Thorpe, November 2004