Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Weekend museum visit...

Last weekend found my wife, our sons and me at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ. This is a little bit of a project that we have on the side that involves visiting all of New Jersey’s museums (can be done over a small part of one’s lifetime whereas a similar undertaking for the state of New York would require several lifetimes)… Montclair Art Museum was not the greatest considering standards set by museums like Newark or Rutgers but they did have some art that did stand out from the usual gilt edged period stuff that gathers dust at a lot of our state museums. Of course, in addition, the already high entrance fees for such a small museum did not make much sense either… They did have a fairly extensive superheroes exhibit that featured drawings for comics and collages as preparation for comic book designs that would definitively catch the interest of print illustrators. I was not very much into that kind of stuff, but some superhero life size mockups had our three year old son salivating and both of us tried imitating Spiderman deploying his extensive webbing to the bemused look of the museum security guards.

Some pictures from the weekend…

Louise Nevelson (1899 - 1988), Black Zag A, 1968, Wood, found objects, pigment, plastic laminate.
Louise Berliawsky Nevelson was a Ukrainian-born American artist. She was known for abstract expressionist sculpture that primarily featured box like objects grouped together to explore form and three dimensional space. She primarily worked from found objects and everyday discards.
In her words:”When you put together things that other people have thrown out, you’re really bringing them to life – a spiritual life that surpasses the life for which they were originally created."
Note: Her work reminded me strongly of the work of another artist that I have the distinct pleasure of knowing online: Corrine Bayraktaroglu, whose artwork that featured a homage to Louise’s work is here. Corrine's entire portfolio here.

Richard La Barre Goodwin (1840 - 1910), String of Game Birds, ca. 1892, Oil on canvas.
His work is distinctive for his many subjects that feature cabin doors decorated with hunting and other outdoor equipment. Trompe d'oeil in nature, his work really startled us for its simplicity, realism and the life of after lived animal lives

William Couper (1853 - 1942), Crown for the Prince, 1896, Marble
I know that marble sculptures is not going to turn any heads, but William Couper's sculpture of this Greek maiden wreathing an olive crown for an Olympian victor is timeless as well as symptomatic of most of the 'class based' art' that was prevalent around the end of the nineteenth century.

Chakaia Booker, rubber tires and stainless steel.
My personal favorite piece from the show. She slices, twists, strips, and rivets rubber and radials to create exaggerated textures, prickled edges, and torqued forms. The resulting sculpture had a strange life of its own, pulsing behind the façade of dirty old rubber tires and radials. She was fantastic.

Herbert Ferber (1906 - 1991), Jay III, 1970, Bronze.
He was an Abstract expressionist sculptor and dentist. He actively practiced dentistry between 1930 and 1950. His best-known sculptures are open, hollow forms in soldered and welded metal and also roofed sculptures ― some parts of which hung from the ceiling while other parts rose from the floor.

Alan Houser (1914 - 1994), Earth Mother, Bronze, 1981 (Cast 1986)

George Inness, The Lackawanna Valley, 1855, Oil on canvas.
The Montclair museum has a great collection of that late nineteenth century landscape artist George Inness. Some of the works have been made maudlin by today’s standards by the prevalence of landscape paintings in our malls, but a couple of these stand out for their stunning originality at a time when the Hudson River artists insisted on an almost total detail replication to beauty and the attendant forces of nature that shape it. This artist would have had principles very close to Thoreau (just looking at the artworks and his writings on display there – an ecstasy in the joy of nature and its unity with the material and non-material world).

George Inness, Evening Landscape, 1863, Oil on canvas

1 comment:

JafaBrit's Art said...

wow, thanks for the shout out sunil :)

I love exploring Trompe d'oeil, always fascinates me (amonst many things)
I met Chakaia Booker at Mason Gros (spelling?) when she had a show there many years ago. I doubt she would remember me as I was one amongst several students invited to ask her questions during a field trip. It was a fabulous show and she is so interesting to see, let alone talk to. I have a sketchbook entry about it and will try and find it and post it.

Anyway the piece you posted on the blog, I can see why it is a favourite.