Monday, October 4, 2010

Arcimboldo, Bradford and Boates

"Water"(1566) Oil on canvas

Guiseppe Arcimboldo, an Italian 16th century painter, created these grotesque yet hauntingly beautiful portraits of people entirely out of exotic objects and animals. At a glance it seems that he may have used an object here and there to give the feeling of an ear or a nose but on close observation you discover that every cavet of the human figure even its very flesh is made up out of all of these "foreign" objects which in this painting is mostly an assortment of sea creatures and aquatic vegetation. The intermixing and overlapping of these 'peculiar' non-human forms makes illusionistic imagery even more disturbing. You get the sense that Arcimboldo was a contemporary and foward-thinker of his time as his works exemplified the rising and insatiable taste of the elite burgouise who craved all things that reflected the age of humanism and their conquests of the "Old" non-European world. However what I find most intriguing about his work is trying to decipher whether or not his art was a satire of the age or an explicit moral indictment or possibly a peverted type of praise of the material and intellectual wantoness that characterized this curious time in history.

"Measuring the Moment" (2009)
Mixed Media on Canvas

Abstract expressionist Mark Bradford pushes the collage medium to new heights. His aassemblages which mostly consist of an assortment of street corner posters and discarded billboard paper bills makes his work even more remarkable as he strips them down so completely that they lose their orignial form and meaning. As in this 2009 piece "Measuring the Moment" he creates this colorful grid that evokes a bustling and overly-packed metropolis or it may be a snapshot of an intricate cellular system. You cannot really tell what you are looking at however this is what makes his work so fun as he creates these ambiguiously sumptous spaces out of things that were once loaded with overt meanings. This speaks of his ingenuity and rich imagination as an artist.

"Master's Voice" (2006)
Digital Print on Epson Paper with ink drawing

Conrad Botes 2006 photograph is not exactly a typical collage but that is exactly what caught my eye. His piece "Master's Voice" seem to have a 3-D dimensionality to it due to how he positions man and dog in space. The connections between what is real and not real is blurred and you are not sure who is responding to who and what comes first or what was an afterthought. This straddling of the true and false realities is very interesting . It forces you to really open your eyes and investigate what your seeing. Boates gives you the feeling of being stuck between two worlds like the matrix. Its quite fascinating.

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