Friday, September 23, 2011

Check it Out Friday
Nil, Nil #5, 2008
Shadi Ghadirian is an Iranian Photographer whose work clearly reflects the culture she is surrounded by. Like the image above (Nil, Nil #5) most of her pieces reflect a duality and contradiction that is experienced in life.  

Shadi Ghadirian was born in 1974 in Tehran, Iran. She is a photographer who continues to live and work in Iran. Ghadirian studied photography at Azad University (in Tehran). After finishing her B. A., Ghadirian began her professional career as a photographer. Currently, Ghadirian works at the Museum of Photography in Tehran.
Her work is intimately linked to her identity as a Muslim woman living in Iran. Nonetheless, her art also deals with issues relevant to women living in other parts of the world. She questions the role of women in society and explores ideas of censorship, religion, modernity, and the status of women. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across Europe, and the U.S.A. She has also been featured in print and electronic media (including the New York Times, Photography Now, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC and others). Her work is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. 
The image provided merely scratches the surface of Ghadirian's style. Check our more of her work at her official site.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Technical Tuesday
Self Portrait
Rembrandt, 1658
Oil on Canvas
 Why do artists work in bold color and dramatic light? For one, it helps to tell a story and demands attention. It all started during the Renaissance when artists worked to embellish illuminated manuscripts and quickly found its way to figurative works of art, adding instant drama to the mural-esque works of art commissioned by the catholic church. 
Enough of the history though (that's for Mondays). Chiaroscuro refers to strong contrast between light and dark, usually affecting the entire composition of a work of art. Regardless of the date, chiaroscuro is a timeless quality that adds instant drama to whatever you create. Consider strategies for getting this effect in your work - a single light source in a dark room, candle light, a direct light source... These approaches and more can help you get that dramatic edge that your work may be lacking. So what are you waiting for? Try it out!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday History
Artemisia Gentileschi
Judith and Maidservant, 1625
The Power of Equality

We've come a long way in modern society, but image a time when men held a more prominent social status then women. The Baroque period (1600 - 1750) of art brought us some of the most dramatic paintings ever created. Lighting was the single most evident characteristic of the period, offing compositions that appear lit by candlelight with vibrant illumination in the points of emphasis. I could go on and on about how much I love the movement, but I'd like to introduce you to one of the most accomplished painters of that time: Artemisia Gentileschi.

Feel free to click the link above for the wiki version of what she was all about. I'd just like to refer back to my initial comment and offer you my thoughts. Women were not supposed to be well-known, accomplished artists at this time, in fact  I challenge you to find 5 more important women artists from the dawn of time to Impressionism. That's not to say that there weren't incredible women painters/ artists, but to be a famous artist, you pretty much had to be a dude.  With that said, Gentileschi was the exception to the rule, and thank goodness for that! Her story telling matched with dramatic compositions and amazing rendering ability made her work captivating to say the least. In Judith and Maidservant, you look past the dark undertones initially because Gentileschi's vibrant light source is captivating - but the story lies at the bottom of the painting. This is from a series of works that held a popular theme during the Baroque period - Judith beheading Holofernes. So what is happening here? How does this work compare to others created by Gentileschi? What other artists were of prominence during the Baroque period? All food for thought on this lovely fall morning.

Happy Monday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday History

The term "Art History" can take on a boring overtone if you're not careful, so I'd like to begin the school season by suggesting an artist who has fun with it.

This piece is inspired by the work of Surrealism Painter Rene Magritte. What is the purpose of such a work? Perhaps it's a clever editorial or satirical response to the work of the master Surrealist, but one thing is evident when you look at the work of Ron English, he is clearly influenced by the work of the past. You may not find all of his work socially acceptable or "family friendly," but at least it is thought provoking (to say the least). Take some time to browse through his galleries and find other artists whose masterpieces have led to one of his works of art.  
Happy Monday and welcome back!