Monday, April 26, 2010

Personal Expression Part 1

I have recently returned from teaching a workshop on Personal Expression. I help artists explore and search for deeper meaning in their art. They participate in many exercises and activities and one of them involves answering questions about themselves. One of the questions I ask the artists/participants is: Who are the artists you admire, and why? I believe the answers can help discover what an artist is thinking, and more about their aesthetics and how other artists influence their own work. For myself, I am attracted to subdued colors, textures, mark making, circles, dots, minimal or limited palettes. I also am very attracted to art that expresses a more personal concept or feeling. And I love work that is quirky or unique or different. Here are a few artists whose works I have been attracted to for many years or who I have just recently discovered.

Franz Kline (1910-1962) is famous for his black and white abstractions. His expressive calligraphic lines and bold contrast of color is well known in museums and in books.

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) was a realist painter. His favorite subjects were the land and people around him, that he was most familiar with. His love for both shines through in his subdued colors and subtle textures. You can find his work in museums and in books.

Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) began as an abstract expressionist. He evolved into a figurative and still life painter, and eventually came back to abstraction ending with his Ocean Park series. You can find his paintings in museums and books on his life and works.

Geoffrey Gorman works with wire, bones, paper, and found objects to create his whimsical animals and birds. You can find his work at his website here and at the Jane Sauer gallery here.
He writes in his statement "Found and lost objects assembled into curious and evocative shapes is what excites me." Me too.

Gary Weidner is a minimalist painter who uses a limited palette, marks, and subtle textures.
You can find his work at his website here, and at a number of galleries including the Gruen Gallery in Chicago.


Leonor Anaya works with clay, incorporating subtle textures and subdued colors. You can find more of her work at Reece galleries here.

Hisako Sekijima works with natural fibers, twisting, binding and tying. She has a book available at Amazon.com and you can find more of her work here.


"Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement: for transfiguration, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our self that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we must all make. -- Max Beckmann

39 comments:

La Dolce Vita said...

welcome back Donna! this is a great post, I have seen Gorman's work at the Sauer gallery and it is very interesting and highly textural, but I love the clay piece by Anaya, amazing!

Ian Foster said...

It is good to have you back Donna, your collage is exquisite as ever and the other works you show are very inspirational, I love them all but I admire the work by Gary Weidner most, especially the first one.

jbkrost said...

great post....
these are all really good picks, Gorman's work makes one smile

merci33 said...

A most gorgeous and thought provoking post.

I appreciate the idea of considering the works that inspire us and help us 'stay the course'even as we're developing our own voice.

I enjoy 'having lunch with the masters'absorbing images and filling notebooks with wise words, each nourishing like pure healthy food. yum yum

I love the classical masters and also Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and many of our comtemporaries including April Gornik and Jane Quick to See Smith.

dosfishes said...

Artists we admire, Diebenkorn, Tapies, Frankenthaler, would have to be tops on my list and also somehow I think we fall in love with those that are so NOT like us
because we admire what we cannot do.

I had the pleasure of finding a shiva lingham stone and seeing the James Castle exhibit. James Castle was simply astonishing in his depth as an artist. I was overwhelmed by his work.

Thanks as always for a splendid post and your collage's which I so enjoy.

willow said...

Your piece is simple and elegant, Donna. I particularly like the Diebenkorn and Anaya's fabulous shoe!

ArtPropelled said...

It sounds like an inspiring workshop, Donna. There are so many artists that I admire including some of the artists you have mentioned. I enjoyed seeing Gary Weidner's work for the first time. Top of my list would probably be Cecil Skotnes.

ZenDotStudio said...

Thought provoking post accompanied by fabulous art. Love your new piece. It's interesting that I am attracted to some works in these lovely subdued colours but my work always ends up in chartreuse green and magenta! (not quite but close) Thanks for introducing Gary Weidner's work. It particularly calls to me.

Kim Hambric said...

Donna, your piece is beautiful. I love how you have used that vibrant red.

I also love your gathering of artists, some of which I have heard of (and still did not expect the artwork you have selected), and some that are new to me. I'm looking forward to an evening of exploration.

Kathy said...

Welcome back, Donna! There's something alluring about a subdued palette combined with rich textures. Although I produce highly-chromatic work for the most part, I can truly appreciate the work of those who don't. Yours, for example, always intrigues me.

Don said...

Another wonderful post! I would have trouble keeping my list under one hundred. Let me think...

paula said...

love gormans and Hisako Sekijima's work!!!! thanks for turning me on to more stellar art.

Shayna Prentice said...

Donna ~ I asked myself the simple yet thought provoking questions you ask of your students ~ thank you for helping me to pause - and ponder. (I imagine you've been to the Tai Gallery in Santa Fe, it is a favorite of mine.) Your art and sharings are real pleasures.

bob Cornelis said...

It's interesting, though not surprising, that there is a common aesthetic that runs through all of these artists, despite their different mediums, styles, techniques, etc. Just shows how similar expression can be made with different tools.

Do you like artists that do things that are completely different than your own personal aesthetic? I would guess the answer is yes, but I'm sure you have a different relationship with their work.

SusuPetal said...

An interesting question! For me the Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck has been the most important. Especially her self portraits.

Shayla said...

Donna, your favorites are delightful. That sounds like a good workshop. My current fixation is with Klimt, byzantian art, symbolism, and traditional Japanese art. Modern influences would be the thinking of Scott McLeod and my artist community. There's nothing like talking about what inspires your art for making you want to make some now. Thanks!

Art said...

I love Franz Kline too--so expressive with such a simple palette. And Cy Twombley is another favorite painter of mine. I can certainly see the connection between the two. Good question to ask.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Asking good questions is such a helpful way to facilitate growth. And your sense of aesthetic is so exquisite. Thanks for another eye pleasing and though provoking post Donna!

Laura Hegfield said...

thank you so much donna for introducing us to these wonderful artists. I can see their inspiration in your work...but yours is YOURS and that is clear.

Suzanne Silk said...

Your work + your blog, are both so nourishing to my soul. Blessed to open to your post + the interactive comments today. As fellow art makers, we witness, we inspire and affirm the possibility of creative expression that comes from one's Being.
Namaste, Suzanne Silk

Tonya Vollertsen said...

Beautiful piece, Donna! I always thought I liked big fun colorful works better but am finding that I am working more toward the subtle colors with more texture. I start my paintings with lots of color and boldness and then spend the rest of the time sort of covering it up and toning it down, although they are still pretty colorful conpared to yours I guess. Everything is realitive. LOL! I find your color pallet very inspirational. I love coming to your blog.

neva gagliano said...

so organic!

that last quote is a keeper for me, as i continue my little journey. . .the quest.
the work and writing are such gifts along this path.

Kerin said...

It's been way too long since I've been by! Once again, loved so much of what you've shared. : )

Coffee Messiah said...

Some interesting work and Thanks for the links.

Peter Max came to a gallery in Sausalito before I moved out here and looked forward to it. Sadly, his latest work was a bit boring and he wasn't very friendly to anyone. Very stand offish.

Thanks for the Banksy info too!

sophie munns said...

Donna,
I love the incredible connection between the artists you admire and the work you produce....its so strong and consistant and that in itself is a telling quality of your work.
I on the other hand have had to be very patient with the inner promptings that will push out in one way for a time... and force me to pursue a palette almost strange to myself... only down the track to need to aquaint myself with an altogether different palette and sensibility.
Its only over the truly long term that the patterns make sense and the continuity is apparent. There's a cyclical nature to the changes and I am now not so intimidated by this as I used to be.
For me mystery is huge part of the journey. Motifs and compelling ideas come long before the meanings are apparent.
Of course I can come at it differently to this...but its been a constant lesson to get out of the way and sloow the inner promptings to come through.
For this reason I have shift in the artists I am drawn to. Yet once again I return often to old familiars because they are anchors and deeply inform my work.
In all things I seem to have to travel away and take in the new... even become uncomfortable at times in order to do this... and then quite naturally there is a circling back... and perhaps a weaving of something new with something old.

I though it interesting that Dosfishes suggested we may fall in love with those whose work we cannot emulate perhaps...and I thought...yes...I see what shes saying.I think I can fall in love with that which is not in me to be...something so outside my aesthetic and nature but that I am attracted to anyway...for the fact it represents otherness.

There's much to consider in all this... thanks for prompting such thought Donna. Loved your beautiful work at the start of the post!
Sophie

sophie munns said...

Just realised I had not even left a note on the fact I would give a right arm and a leg to be in your workshop group having your gentle prods to reflect further on all these questions you raise Donna!!!
Such a flow of thoughts came from your post that this part of the message I forgot to say...
best,
S

kenza said...

beautiful choices! i love Andrew Weyth especially. Thanks for this view of art.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Beautiful. I love it here, I feel so at peace. Wish I could take one of your workshops. Know I would learn a lot.

mano said...

great artists you present in your post! I am fascinated by the work of gorman, his objects are so imaginative. for myself I love artists, who have quite a lot of humour and a suggestion of irony - that may be reflected in my own work, particularly in my collages. YOUR new piece is so beautiful, particularly the three suggested red circles...

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Workshops can be great on so many levels...I see by your sidebar that October will be a busy traveling month! Thank you for mentioning Diebenkorn...big fan of his work.

Seth said...

What a meaningful exercise and what a stellar collecton of artists. As I have said before, our choices often overlap and this was no exception. Some artists new to me here and I am off to explore their links.

Deborah said...

Your posts are always a treat, both Informational and inspirational!

mansuetude said...

Another wonderful post. Though I love abstract, Wyeth has always nestled inside me like the New England woods of my childhood, that kind of old stillness of walking quietly with my mom or brother; life both brisk and a solitary relic.

alteredbits said...

nice to have you back, donna! one day i would LOVE to take your workshop on personal expression if you were to be doing it again. how insightful it must be.

i love the piece of yours you've posted -- gorgeous! the black and white printed papers look so luscious and beautiful. and of course i adore geoffrey gorman whom embarrassingly enough i've only recently learned of.

rivergardenstudio said...

Donna, your workshops always sound so intriguing, questions...
You make me want to ask myself questions, and study more.
There is so much I do not know.
But I do love Andrew Wyeth as well.
(as I write this I am just realizing how much his windows and fields influence my art, thank you...)
I saw a show of his work in San Fransisco many years ago.
A sweet gift from my husbands mother who knew my love of art.
I hope your Sunday is completely lovely,
roxanne

Lisa said...

Hi Donna, Catching up myself too! A wonderful thought provoking post...I share your love of texures, limited palettes and subdued colors among others so really enjoyed all the artists featured here..each so unique in their own way. Hisako Sekijima's book is an absolute must have...I'm off to visit her link now. Thanks for the wonderful share!

Trudi Sissons - Two Dresses Studio said...

Loving your latest collage Donna and thank you once again for linking me to your incredible resources of master artists!

San said...

I've always found the quietude of Andrew Wyeth's work poignant and I was glad to see an image of his included in this eclectic collection. Diebenkorn too. I have to admit though--when it comes to Diebenkorn, I'm more attracted to his more vibrantly colored work. Color is so personal, so emotional. I've seen Gorman's quirky pieces in person and they have a certain "creep" factor, almost like museum specimens. Of course, creepiness can be quite thrilling. : )

SKIZO said...

YOUR
WORK
IS
BEAUTIFUL
good
creations