Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michael Shapcott

Michael Shapcott is 28 years old, and I feel for that young of an artist he has an amazing sense of who he is as an artist. Through his art you can tell that his background in school was illustration and fine arts. I feel he is a great contemporary artist that deserves to be recognized for his intense ideas. He takes bold risks with colors and his subject matter consists heavily of peoples’ faces that usually provoke a strong emotion. His process is something to be admired. Shapcott begins with what is called an under drawing: he uses graphite pencil in order to create an extremely detailed drawing of his subject. He then paints over it in color; he uses oil and acrylic paints that are very watered down in order to create a wash effect: you can see this on his works as you get a feeling of a sort of transparency and lightness about it. He calls this ‘Painting a Painting.’ He also is avid in using technology to show his work; he videos himself creating his works as a sort of document of progression, creation, and unique style. I think his mix of pencil, paint, and video make him an interesting artist.
Opal, 2009
8 x 10
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Illustration Board

Opal was done in 2009. Shapcott used graphite for his under drawing and used Acrylic and Oil paints for the color on top. In this, as in many of his drawings, there is an element of graphics included in the organic nature of the drawing. The white flowing lines are curvilinear and coincide with the curvilinear aspects of the hair. The colors, like all of his work, are absolutely brilliant. He uses unconventional colors to show value in his subject to create a 3D illusion on his 2D surface. You can see a sort of dripping effect on certain parts of her face and in the back ground; this is because of the wash effect that he does. His attention to detail within the use of his color in this piece keeps your eye moving and lets the viewer appreciate certain aspects. The eyes are bright, stark, cold, and wanting. Shapcott’s work always consists of incredible and powerful emotion; you never quite seem to be able to put your finger on the emotion his subject possesses, but you feel touched, as though she is looking straight into you, telling you what’s in her soul. The purple and blue underlays are easily contrasted with the deep orange that high lights and draws your attention to certain parts of her. I think this painting is an incredible example of his type of art.

Pele, 2009
12 x 16
Graphite / Oil on Canvas
Pele was done by Shapcott in 2009. This creates a much different feeling than that of Opal. The colors, although just as powerful, are different as well. It seems he has used the same blue, purple, and deep orange, yet it sends a completely different message. The brush strokes are much harder here. I this one, you can actually see the top of her torso where in Opal, you could only see her face, and her hand came up from an implied space. In this painting, the powerful eyes are in a golden color that plays off of the deep orange around her eyes, in the background, and on her skin. This subject also gives off a very strong emotion; it feels almost demonic in a sense. The splatter and hard strokes on her skin are quite scary, and the strength in her eyes feels as though she might be after you! The strokes show a very strong quality of line and I would venture to say that the dripping effect is also line. This contrasts with the form of the body which is organic and human. Again, this is another painting that fully shows how Shapcott’s love of drawing and painting has successfully come together in an incredibly impactful way.

Drift, 2007
43 x 63
Graphite / Acrylic / Oil on Canvas

Drift was created in 2007. The organic nature of the bubbles keep the eye moving across the painting because of the curvilinear line in creates. When he first was drawing and painting this piece, he had it vertical, but when he finished, he decided he liked it better on its side. I feel that although he came by the idea on accident, it had to have been a conscious decision to keep it sideways. It makes the viewer look at the human subject in a different way. The face is also very emotionally charged. The wrapping of the neutral colored sheet also sends a message. The figure looks very reserved, almost sad at what the world is behind her. Her arm is holding the cover over herself, but it also near to her heart, as if she is clutching it. I think this painting is a great mix between graphic and illustrative design, and humanistic design.    Drift, 2007: time lapse
This website is an example of his video work. It is the time-laps of Drift. Technology and video have become a great art form, and the way that he uses video to document his work is a great idea. And I think he shows this to his audiences, not only to show his progress, but to actually use technology in a creative way. His methodology is incredible to witness!
Michael Shopcott's home page is:
Visit it!!

Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco is a Mexican artist, and a sculpture and a photographer. Living and working in New York, Paris, and Mexico, he explores philosophy, politics, and everyday objectives in his work. Part of his inspiration of his work is his love of traveling; this is mostly why different objects and landscapes appeal to him as an artist. Orozco is genius at turning an everyday object into something new in order inspire, stimulate, and give passion to his viewers. He has shown his work in many places, and these include the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Venice Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Museo Internacional Rufino, and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterey.

   Black Kites, 1997.
         Human skull and graphite
Black Kites was done in 1997. Orozco used a real human skull and graphite in order to make the checkered marks on the scull. It embraces a sense of pattern and geometry that when placed on a human skull can be questioned. A skull seems very organic and biological, and it seems to conflict, yet is also enhanced, by the checkered pattern. Some of the checker squares are pulled and stretched to exaggerate the dips, curvilinear, concave and convex,  aspects of the human skull. The skull is a positive shape, but I would venture to say that the checkers cover up and play into what would be thought of as a negative space in the actual skull: the eye holes would normally be dark and empty as well as the nasal cavities; however, these checkers play into both pieces. Although this is a 2D picture, the viewer can still get a sense of the 3D nature of this object; walking around the entire skull might be necessary to achieve what the artist was trying to communicate. As Orozco is known for playing with different areas of culture and turning objects into something that they weren’t before, this skull represents just that. Maybe Orozco is talking to many different cultures through the human skull; the skull sort of unmasks the human that covered it: no one knows what race, what culture, what gender, this human was. It can represent us all as his subject of humanity. His title, Black Kites, also implies his ideas; think of what you feel as you fly a kite. It might be peaceful, difficult, a wish, a journey; these feelings are humanistic, relative to the idea of the skull.  

Oval with Pendulum, 1996

Oval with Pendulum was created by Orozco in 1996. At first glance, it seems as though it’s just a short little table, maybe a billiards game for kids. But it is oval, not square. It has no pockets. It has only three balls. There is a definite curvilinear feel about the table that keeps the viewer’s eye moving, and the circular balls do the same. The white  and red balls. The red ball in the ‘middle’ is actually hung on some sort of string, acting as a pendulum, differing from the white balls in color and movement. This gives Orozco’s project a kinetic quality. In the setup of this art piece, Orozco invites people to play with billiard sticks set up behind it. The oval shape and the fact that there are no pockets deny a player of the original game of billiards. It forces the viewer to look at it a different way. It is no longer serving as the same purpose of that original game. It represents something much deeper and very deliberate in Orozco’s mind. The people, politics, and objects in this world sometimes, most of the time, all collide; Orozco adds the motion of the red ball to represent just that: motion. Motion in this world is just as important as the collisions that happen; communication, circulation, and difficult times all come in to play.

Horses Running Endlessly, 1995
Wood:    board: ¾ x 341/3 x 34½ in. (2 x 88 x 88 cm.)
64 knights each: 3½ x 1¼ x 1¼ in. (9 x 3 x 3 cm.)

Horses Running Endlessly, created in 1995, is also another example of an average, everyday game and object, turned into something that confronts the viewer’s eye in a different way. The squares are clearly geometric with hard, linear lines. This chessboard differs from the usual: it contains four colors instead of two, it is a 16X16 square board instead of the regular 8X8, and all of the players are knights which also differ in color suggesting that there are three players with three different colors. The way that the knights are positioned defies the ideas and hard set rules of the game. They can ‘run endlessly’ because they cannot be ‘checked’ by any other player and are free to go wherever they wish. In this sense, Orozco’s content becomes a sense of a disillusionment of time and rules within that time.

My Hands Are My Heart, 1991
Terracotta, approximately 6 x 4 x 6 inches


 My Hands Are My Heart was done in 1991 out of Terracotta clay. From the photograph you can see Orozco created it with hands. However, it was clearly not done without a great amount of intention and thought. The ‘terracotta’ color is earthy, and the shape the fingers have created is completely organic. There is a sense of implied line made by the fingers, but it is very curvilinear. This is my favorite of the ones that I have shown you because of the underlying pieces I have noticed. The power of the first photograph feels like he has something hidden inside that he is protecting and savoring, and then we realize it is his heart. The imprints the fingers have made in the clay are especially intriguing; they are, in fact, in the shape of an anatomical heart. I also feel that it represents the rib cage of a human torso, the holder, the capturer, the protector of the heart. Is it his generous giving and showing of his inside emotions to his viewer? Or the continued representation of the human figure and how it relates to the world. Maybe Orozco is leaving it up to his viewer to decide, just as in all of his artworks.