Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ross Bleckner

Ross Bleckner was born in 1949 in New York and grew up in the prosperous town of Hewlett Harbor on Long Island. The first art exhibition he saw – The Responsive Eye, a show of Op Art showing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965 had a strong impact upon him. He decided to become an artist when he was at college, studying with Sol LeWitt and Chuck Close at New York University, where he earned a B.A. in 1971. Two years later, he completed an MFA at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he met David Salle.

After moving back to New York Bleckner purchased and moved into a Tribeca loft building in 1974. Painter Julian Schnabel rented out three floors of the building, and the Mudd Club, a nightclub frequented by musicians and artists, occupied space there from 1977 to 1983. (Bleckner sold the building in 2004.) Bleckner's first solo exhibition was held in 1975 at Cunningham Ward Gallery in New York. In 1979 he began his long association with Mary Boone Gallery in New York, which championed several of the so-called art stars of the 1980s. In 1981 Bleckner met Thomas Ammann, an important Swiss dealer who went on to collect his work.

Bleckner's early 1980s Stripe paintings, which pay homage to the work of Bridget Riley, were not particularly well received by critics. His atmospheric Weather series (1983) followed. In 1984, Bleckner's art attracted a burst of attention when he had a single large painting on view at Nature Morte in the East Village. Around this time, he was painting canvases he viewed as memorials, in which candelabras, vases, chandeliers, and rococo motifs seem to float against dark grounds. This imagery was in part a response to the AIDS crisis. Later paintings also manifest his sense of loss stemming from the disease. Some paintings, such as 8,122+ as of January 1986 (1986), bear titles reflecting the number who had died of AIDS to date; others are commemorative works dedicated to individuals; still others employ patterns of dots to suggest the lesions produced by AIDS-related sarcomas.

In the following years, Bleckner commenced his Constellation paintings (1987–93), suggestive of night skies, and the Architecture of the Sky canvases (1988–93), which call to mind domed interiors. In the early 1990s, he made his first Cell paintings, which make reference to diseased human cells. From that time, he has continued to paint apects of the body viewed at the microscopic level, including forms related to DNA and cancer cells, the latter in response to his father's unsuccessful battle with the disease. He has also created a series of bird paintings (1995–2003) and experimented with varied surfaces as well as the use of an airbrush. In 1993, Bleckner bought a property formerly belonging to Truman Capote in Sagaponack, Long Island.

Bleckner's first solo museum exhibition was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1988. His work has since been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including a mid-career retrospective organized by the Guggenheim Museum in 1995. He has been represented in many group exhibitions devoted to abstraction, as well as the Whitney Biennial (1975, 1987, and 1989), Biennale of Sydney (1988), and Carnegie International (1988).

1982 The Arrangement of Things

1984 Memory of Larry

1987 Birds of Japan

1989 Architecture of the Sky V

1993 Galaxy with Birds

1994 Falling Birds

1994 Throbbing Hearts

1996 Dream and Do

1996 History of the Heart

1998 In Replication

1999 Preparation

2000 Birdland

2002 Conserved, Transcribed

2003 Inheritance

2007 Meditation (Ruins Proclaim the Building/For H.M.)

2009 Half is for the Moon

2009 Time/Mechanism

2010 Time (Sort of a Return)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Joe Tilson - part 2

This is part two of a two-part post on the works of English pop artist Joe Tilson.  For biographical information on Tilson and more works, see part 1 also.

1963 Vox Box 

1964 21st 
screenprint and mixed media

1964 Ziggurat 

1965 Three Wristwatches 

1969 Ecology, Fire, Air, Water, Earth 

1969 Letter from Che 
mixed media

1969-70 A - Aperture Card 

1969-70 G - Guillaume Apollinaire 

1969-70 W - Wittgenstein and Muhammed 

1970 A E I O U 
mixed media

1971 Let a Thousand Parks Bloom 

1972 Earth Ritual 

1972 Four Elements - Mudra 
mixed media

1972 Mother Earth 
mixed media

1976 Origins 

1978 Proscinemi, Tyrins 
mixed media

1982 Proscimeni for Demeter Version A 

1989 Liknon Red 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Joe Tilson - part 1

This is the first part of a two-part post on English pop artist Joe Tilson. Tilson was born in London in 1928. From 1944 to 1946 he worked as a carpenter and cabinet-maker before serving in the R.A.F between 1946 and 1949. After leaving military service, he studied at St. Martin's School of Art (1949 to 1952) and then at the Royal College of Art, London (1952 to 1955) where his contemporaries included Peter Blake and Bridget Riley. He received the Rome Prize, taking him to live in Italy in 1955. He returned to London in 1957, and from 1958 to 1963 he taught at St Martin's School of Art, and subsequently at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and The School of Visual Arts, New York.

Tilson’s first one-man show was at the Marlborough Gallery in 1962, followed by an exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool in 1963. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1964, and has had retrospectives at the Tate Gallery in 1978, the Art Museum, Ljubljana, in 1987, and in the Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy (Joe Tilson: Pop to Present), in 2002. He was awarded the Gulbenkian Foundation Prize in 1960, the Gold Medal at the San Marino Biennale in 1963, and the Grand Prix d’Honneur, Biennale de la Gravure, Ljubljana, in 1985. Tilson became a Royal Academician in 1991.

One of the founding figures of British Pop art in the early 1960's, Tilson was an enthusiastic proponent of the hedonism, optimism and political activism that were such striking characteristics of that decade. His work embraced advances in technology, reflected the ever-increasing power of mass media and exposed changing attitudes towards sexual liberation. In the 1970's he moved to Italy and the subject matter of his work radically changed to reflect this new shift, with a new emphasis on the five elements and Greek and Roman mythology.

Tilson has been a lifelong dedicated printmaker and has gained a reputation as one of Britain's foremost artists producing prints, multiples, constructions, paintings and reliefs. His work is held in collections internationally including the Tate Gallery London, MoMA New York, and the Stedelijk Amsterdam.

In this first part I'm looking at one of Tilson's recurring themes in his work - Transparencies:

1967 Transparency Clip-o-Matic Lips

1967 Transparency, Empire State Building 

1967-68 Transparency Clip-o-Matic Lips 

1968 Astronaut Seat E 

1968 Made in Italy 

1968 The Software Chart 
mixed media

1968 Transparency I, Yuri Gagarin 12 April 1961

1968 Transparency, Che Guevara D 
mixed media

1969 Transparecy, Clip-o-Matic Eye 

1969 Transparency Clip-o-Matic Eye 

1969 Transparency, Vellegrande Bolivia, October 10th 

1969 Transparency. the Five Senses, Taste 
screenprint on perspex

1971 Snapshot 

1971 Transparency, Clip-o-Matic Breast