Friday, April 30, 2010

The Obsessive Ones...

I am drawn to, and fascinated by artists who seem obsessive to me. When I looked up the word OBSESSION I realized that perhaps that is not quite the word I should be using. These type of artists I am referring to work with very small pieces of paper, or wood, or cloth, or metal and end up creating very large scale art works. Perhaps the word I am looking for is PERSISTENCE or TENACITY. For example, when I saw some of Leonardo Drew's assemblages (featured below) at a gallery in NYC, I was 'blown away' by the size of the entire artwork that consisted of hundreds and hundreds of wooden boxes. I realized that this sort of obsession is not the same as when I say to myself that I am obsessed with collecting rocks or tools.

Through a labor intensive process of cutting and gluing thousands of pieces of board and paper, Lance Letscher, creates large scale collages. He obsessively crafts his collages out of cutting fragments from old ledgers, diaries and books.


You can find a fabulous book of Lance Letscher's collages at Amazon.com. You can find his work at the DBerman gallery here.


Mark Bradford transforms materials scavanged from the streets into wall-sized collages and installations. His map-like multi-layered paper collages often refer to city streets as well as social commentary. He cuts up very small pieces of paper to become part of very large billboard sized artworks. You can find his work in the gallery Sikkema Jenkins here and in museums all over the world. You can also find more of his work at this website here.


Leonardo Drew builds up his assemblages with rows of hundreds of stacked wooden boxes, covered with found objects, and caked with rust to suggest decay. Drew's gigantic wall assemblages function as social statements and as meditations on creation and process. You can find his work in museums and in the gallery Sikkema Jenkins here. You can also go his website here to find his bio and see more of his work.

You can find a truly wonderful book of Drew's monumental assemblages at Amazon.com.
The title of the book is EXISTED: LEONARDO DREW. The title refers to the profound human urge in the face of life's transience to leave a trace, to state "I was here".


"I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one---my intuition, the essence of any art."
---- Erich Fromm, THE ART OF LOVING

50 comments:

Noela Mills said...

Thanks for the link to Leonardo Drew, Donna. I love his work
N

Delwyn said...

Hi donna

this art really appeals to me Donna, I wonder if it is the accumulation of all the small objects and how they blend together to make a unified image - like our life experiences...

I especially love the Fromm quote you finished on. I treasure his little book... Loving is an ART which we repeatedly practice and perfect throughout life...

I am inspired.

Thank you donna

happy days

Chemin des Muguets said...

Hello Donna,

I am so glad you found my blog. Your work is so special, and I look forward to reading through your posts, and seeing more of it.


Avec Bonheur,
Marjorie

ArtPropelled said...

I'm in my element in this post! Leonardo Drew continues to intrigue and I look forward to following all the links.

Annie said...

Great set of shots. Lots to explore later. Thanks for collecting them together. I might just have to go and get busy with the scissors.....

mano said...

I never heard about lance letscher and leonardo drew, but I am sure, I love their works. In german I would say: "seelenverwandt"! I don't find an english word for this - perhaps someone else knows a translation!
thanks for this post - I feel inspired!

Kathy said...

Louise Nevelson was an important pioneer in this area. She struggled for nearly 50 years for recognition, which (thankfully) was eventually achieved.

Studio Sylvia said...

Donna,
these artists are new to me. I think Mark Bradford's piece appeals to me the most. reminds me of life and especially the human spirit. Building layers, little pieces, different colours, lines like arteries - the activity in the centre is for me an analogy of a person's core, the heart of one's spirit/soul. Intriguing.

lyle said...

What an interesting group of artists! dont you wish you could see inside their minds and learn what got them started in this direction! what is it that makes us all gather certain things as if to keep them from disappearing? thanks so much for introducing me to this group of hunters and gatherers.

dosfishes said...

Thanks for sharing these artists Donna, they are new to me and I wonder how their lives must be so inward focused to be able to build up so much material into the larger works. Fascinating.

Christine O'Brien said...

These artists are new to me as well, thanks for posting. I am finding myself drawn to Mark Bradford's work. The intricate process is amazing.

Nancy Natale said...

Hi Donna,

Thanks so much for introducing me to Lance Letscher. I've seen bits and pieces of his work around but I've never connected the name. His work is great and I've ordered the Collage book. I already have the Drew book and find it fascinating. Happy collecting!

La Dolce Vita said...

oh I think obsessive is quite a good word to describe it and do not feel it is derogatory in any way, rather it creates the feeling that the art takes over and demands the completion of such intricate detail. just remarkable post Donna as always!

paperwerks said...

wonderful, wonderful. (oops, i feel like lawrence welk suddenly.) inspiring, fascinating work you have found. thanks so much for posting. love your work -- i'm so glad we have made acquaintance. will you ever do any workshops east of the mississippi?

ELFI CELLA said...

encore en vacances..je me réjouis de regarder tout ça!

zendotstudio said...

Its interesting isn't it how one word (obsession) might have a negative connotation and (tenacity) a strong positive quality. And therein lies the power of words!

It is also my experience that every quality that we view as negative has a positive flip side. I used to say that my mother was very stubborn, the flip side of that was perseverance.

Great batch of new to me artist. Especially love Mark Bradford's work.

Thanks for another inspiring, thought provoking post.

Kim Hambric said...

What a thrilling collection of art and artists. I think I feel an art book or two coming my way.

Now, I need to go off and think about obsession and tenacity.

alteredbits said...

i love the artists you have shared here, and thank you! i am particularly drawn to leonardo's work as i am "obsessed" with boxes, caked rust and found objects. i will definitely be checking his book out.

i love large scale art like theirs and one day would love to have the space to meticulously work on something so grand. how fun that would be!

Debrina said...

What a wonderful collection of obsessions you have here, Donna! And thanks for leaving a comment on my blog...I totally agree with you!

Oh, and this post of yours is timely for me as I have just borrowed from my local library, Lynne Perrella's book on collections and obsessions.

Marie said...

This is one post that has truly spoken to my heart and my eye as well, (love the photos & artists you present). Perserverance trumps obsession in my book! It is really about the integrity of remaining true to a body of work that is slow to manifest, but worth the wait. "What we need more of is slow art, art that grows out of modes of perception and making." Robert Hughes.
I have been contemplating that sentiment for some time now & you seem to have nailed it!

Hannah said...

Donna,

Thank you for introducing us to these two artists, Drew and Letscher--I often think of perseverance (as Marie above said) but also tolerance-as an essential part of the art making process. Tolerance for the ebb and flow of ideas, patience, energy, and fresh inspiration. Robert Hughes' quote about art growing slowly out of perception and making is so accurate. Are you familiar with the work of el anatsui, the Nigerian artist?

neva gagliano said...

remarkable attention spans!
i can not imagine this kind of "tenacity", a well-chosen descriptor...it does "blow my mind" too, even via the photos: to stand in front of one of these=wow!

Barry said...

D Thanks for sharing these images and links - it is one of the things I love about blogs - people are morelikely to share and people like me are more liklely to continued to be inspired. B

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

An over used word amazing but these photos are amazing. I will be back later to take the tour...I'm shaking my head and saying 'amazing'!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I have to admire the dediction it takes to prepare and collate so many diffent pieces! The amount of 'bits' that go into one large piece is quite mind boggling. I often only work with 5 or 6!

Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

As someone who is obsessed with layers, depth and the timely process of weaving elements together.. this was an interesting and inspiratinal post. Would love to stand in front of those large pieces and explore...

Shayna Prentice said...

So many wonders to be inspired by - much appreciated, Donna ~.~

sukipoet said...

years ago when looking for a house to buy I went into an old wreck of a place, huge, and many of the walls were "wallpapered" with hundreds of tiny pieces of paper which made a crazy quilt upon the walls. I was in awe. This was not an offical artist who did this, I assume, but someone whiling away the very long and cold winter hours.

I probably would use the word obsession to describe the process of gluing or whatever so many small objects into one whole, however I looked it up too and it is more of a psychological dysfunction as presented in literal definition.

Maybe the artists are avoiding psychological dysfunction by spending all this time gluing or whatever these little papers or objects (:) LOL)

i am quite fascinated by these works you have shown and also I have always been fascinated by what I consider "obsession" which is a primary focus on doing something (art, wriiting, music, scientific explorations etc) to the elimination often of daily tasks and the usual things that the "ordinary"person focuses on. Writers who write a lot fall into this category for me. Beethoven, Mozart. Einstein. The absent minded professor's of the arts and sciences.

Sandra said...

you've made me really love collage. I've just signed in for a workshop on collage.

Coffee Messiah said...

Inspiration comes from so many different places. Thanks for the new info and links.

Recycled "anything" to be used in artwork is indeed a plus.

Cheers!

Ian Foster said...

Thank you for this introduction to several artists that I knew nothing of.
One thing struck me in particular and that is the value of the repetition of a motif, several of the artists you have shown make good use of this.
There was a program on UK TV last night about Andy Warhol and the same thing occurred - one image of a can of soup dose not mean much but repeated many times and it has real impact.

bob Cornelis said...

This relationship of the micro and the macro has many analogues in the world, as some have pointed out here. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

In the photography world, Chris Jordan (www.chrisjordan.com) has made a name for himself by photographing large numbers of small objects as a commentary on mass consumerism in our world.

Eva said...

Many of us are collectors of things. I think it was wonderful that he made art with his collection. Maybe I could do the same with all of my "stuff". Possibly I would feel better about it and it would say something positive about my "obsessions".
Thank you for another great post!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I like "the profound human urge in the face of life's transience to leave a trace, to state "I was here." Legacy again. We were here. Thanks Donna for another great post.

Sharmon Davidson said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful images. I'm not sure if these artists are obsessive, or just more dedicated to the implementation of their vision. Perseverance? Persistence? Hmmmm..... whatever it is, it's amazing!

Art Trip said...

Loving looking at your work!

mansuetude said...

these too, wonderful.

i would say meticulous drive for order making; it could be in another culture a form of mandala making, of matching some inner pattern of the psyche with an outer meditation tool (not psychosis but active silencing of what the world is so over ripe with in chaos and waste).
.
have been transfixed and changed by my Horiuchi; thanks for the introduction. Its full of grace.

.
Thank you.

oneartistjournal said...

Stunning obssesions...Thanks for taking the time to pass on to us so much beauty seen through your eyes..time and again...
XOXOrly

San said...

Donna, the Fromm quote you chose to "sum up" this post is appropriate. I thank you for introducing me to these "obsessive" artists. The intricacy of their collective vision is dazzling. And by "collective," I mean the way each has the vision to collect and reassemble into something bigger. And the way in which their works, taken together, enlarge one another.

Inspirational post.

Deborah said...

Amazing artists! I really enjoyed seeing their work. Thanks for sharing.

rivergardenstudio said...

I love how all these tiny pieces of wood and color make such incredible designs of color and texture. Thank you for sharing this and I hope your spring is beautiful. I tried to leave a comment the other day, but must not have followed through correctly... roxanne

Don said...

I think we are all obsessed one way or another but these artists have found a way to capture it and make it physical. Another good post!

Sea Angels said...

You are amazing, and I love your clever and lovely comment by the way. Thank you.
I am obsessed myself, and it is comforting to see other obsessions, but more than that i love your analysis of art, and i apply or try to apply many of your suggestions to myself..your previous post for example, in the hope of finding out 'who I am' it is a trying but fun journey for me , and I wanted to say thank you to you for your help so freely given .
Big hugs Lynn xxx

Judy said...

Fascinating, love the concept of leaving a trace. Thanks for the tip.

Laura Hegfield said...

perhaps "attentive", "focused", "lovingly detailed", could describe what you are drawn to in the works of these artists? A knowing that each tiny element is precious and integral to the whole...metaphor for how we treat ourselves, the people we love, the people we meet, those we never meet but have compassion for nonetheless, the way we walk and care for this earth we all share. I don't know, but that's what comes to mind for me.

SKIZO said...

WONDERFUL
WORK
good
creations

Sondra said...

Attention to detail beyond belief, just beautiful. Thank you for sharing these works.

LOVE STITCHING RED said...

Hi Donna

I've just had a good read all down your page, all the wonderful posts I missed while working on the cottage, so much to catch up with! I love the work you have brought to our attention esp. that of Lance Letscher and would love to find out more about his work

Thank you for bringing us such a wonderful blog

Carolyn
xo

paula said...

i like that map ...interestingly i find the obsessive thing sometimes tiring for my mind. sometimes i think that if one puts together enough of anything it will look fantastic which is very cool but i'm personally torn between being attracted to minimalism and 'clean' 'uncluttered' over mass stimulation. i get it though and admire people who have that kind of vision!

Jill Zaheer said...

Wow- each and every piece is fascinating- with so much energy and content within their spaces. I love the patterns formed with the gradations of color and tones among similar shapes. Each and every photo is mesmerizing. Thanks so much for putting all of these artists' works and sites together. They are all new to me- but won't be for long!