All Art Friday
'New Mythology' at the Athenaeum
Local oil painter Tracey Clarke has a lovely show of 19 paintings at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a number of which had already sold by the time I arrived at the opening reception on the 22nd. All of the paintings — oil on panel, some just 5" x 7" and the largest, 40" x 30"; all priced to be affordable — take as their subjects animals, which for Clarke are a transfixing narrative source. "With animals as my subjects," Clarke says, "I discover great freedom in employing my imagination as a catalyst to create a new mythology. . . . " It was obvious from talking with Clarke that animals hold a deep fascination.
A skilled painter who has exhibited in Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Colorado, Clarke manages to evoke in some of the exhibited works an otherworldly and, in the case of "Ovis Nectarus: The Sheep of Wisdom", an even surreal, quality; yet, at the same time, she grounds the animals in reality, their expressions, as in the sweet but not cloying "The Chosen", true to life. She gets the scale of the paintings just right for the subjects, which include birds, an insect, unikoi, a delightful mouse, a llama, and a magnificent bull.
The exhibition runs through January 3, 2010. The Athenaeum is at 201 Prince St., Alexandria 22314; telephone 703-548-0035. Hours are Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Clarke's work is also in a show at the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts, located in the historic Silversmith House in Old Town Fredericksburg, Virginia (813 Sophia St. 22401). That show closes tomorrow.
My friend the photographer Diane Walker has started a new blog, The Gospel of Thomas. At this site, Diane is posting words from the Gospel and her responses, which are beautiful photographic meditations. Take a look, read the words, and return often.
Diane's other blogs are here and here.
The Status of Artists During the Recession
On Tuesday, the New York Times published the results of a survey of artists' economic well-being. Already a low-earning group, often with no or inadequate health insurance, artists have found it tough-going. Some 18 percent of the 5,300 respondents said their income had declined by 50 percent or more in the last year. Read the complete article, "A Survey Shows Pain of Recession for Artists", here.
Chuck Close Offers Advice to Artists
In this brief video, the internationally known painter Chuck Close gives artists some advice on how to get through our current economic crisis.
About That Artist's Statement. . .
I'm sure that all of you non-artists who have ever visited an art show, flipped through an art magazine, or attended a museum opening have had occasion to pick up and read an artist's statement. (I collect and hold on to some of the better ones.) And after reading said statement, you've probably also walked away scratching your head and rubbing your eyes. (I've done this a lot.)
Ever wonder who writes such a thing?
Having done a bit of sleuthing, I've struck gold. It's online and it's easy to mine. It's "Market-o-Matic".
All you have to do to churn out the perfectly indecipherable artist's statement is click here, check a few boxes, and leave the rest to the wizard behind the virtual curtain. Whatever you do, don't forget to press that magic button, which explains it all!
Now, for you professional artists who are reading, stop laughing and click here for some tips about writing an artist's statement that matters. (Oh, go on. You know you need one.)
Artists and 8 Visions of Hope
At 8 Visions of Hope, artists are coming together to help realize by 2015 the eight United Nations Millenium Development Goals, which include reducing poverty and child mortality, promoting gender equality, eradicating diseases such as AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, and establishing global partnerships through development. The organization is founded on two pillars: international networking and artistic and creative education, awareness, and advocacy. Consider how you as an artist might play a role in making our world a better place. For more about 8 Visions, click here.
The Oxford Journal of the History of Collections is devoted to the subject of collecting — the contents of collections, collectors' motivations, circumstances giving rise to collecting — and includes original papers and reviews, as well as lists of relevant forthcoming events, conferences, and exhibitions. Currently online is the special issue, "The Art Collector — Between Philanthropy and Self-Glorification", which comprises a series of articles on such famous collectors as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Richard Wallace, and Henry Clay Frick. To browse and read from the current issue, click here.
He Said It!
Pope Benedict XVI describes artists as "ingenious creators of beauty". He also asks, "The Church needs art, but can it also be said that art needs the Church?" Read more here about the Pope's reception of some 250 artists as part of last Saturday's worldwide Arts Renewal Celebration, which launched New Renaissance Rising.