Work That I Love
Lawrence Weschler on "Girls Turning Away," from Everthing that Rises: a Book of Convergences.
|Gerhard Richter, Betty, 1977|
|Gerhard Richter, Grey Mirror, 1991|
Gerhard Richter, Confrontation 2 (Gegenüberstellung 2). 1988. Oil on canvas, 112 x 102 cm
|Diego Velazquez, Rokeby Venus, c. 1647–51. 122cm x 177cm (48in x 49.7in)|
|Gerhard Richter, Confrontation 1-3 (1988)|
From her website, her Statement on her recent work:
I grew up in the West, so am inclined towards mighty spaces. Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt’s grand landscapes make perfect sense to me. Our family’s version of a cheap vacation was camping in gorgeous National Parks such as Yosemite and Lassen. Like Cole, the places we visited got us as close to god as we could possibly imagine being. At the same time, they represented what we had lost.
My recent work is focused on making sense of the world around me after calamities such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. We are slowly making our world unlivable, and I want to bring to the surface the destructive action, waste, and contamination that is generally invisible to us. I need to imagine another way, to outfit myself with signs and banners that speak louder than I can, to envision how we might remake the world as it is slowly falling apart.
I have always been up for a good journey and that is what painting offers me. Like the game Chutes and Ladders, the basic thrust of which – flying down slides and plodding up pathways – I always loved as a kid, my work allows the eye to meander through spaces, across rivers, get lost in thickets, singed by forest fires, pass by warning signs and under control towers that speak, in smoke signals, to our great distress.
Julie Heffernan, Self Portrait with Cargo, 2014 from her website
Julie Heffernan, Self Portrait as Emergency Shipwright, 2013
Julie Heffernan, Self Portrait as Boy in Flight, 2011
Julie Heffernan, Self Portrait as Spill, 2007 See more of Heffernan's work here.
from a Statement about Celmins at C4 Contemporary Gallery
Apart from being an incredibly accomplished 'technician', which is perhaps MOST of the reason that attention is bestowed upon Vija Celmins, there is a tenacious - even obsessive quality seen in her works - at least in the aggregate. And so, syntactically - they fascinate. That is to say that seeing a collection of her work over time is rewarding... to explore the variations in treatment, framing, subject matter and technique. And it is a fascinating exploration, a controlled one at that, into the psyche of an artist and a human being. This is perhaps the most powerful aspect of her work -and the aspect that you will RARELY hear being talked about. This is where we discuss thematics. There are several enduring themes running through her work which appear time an again - all loosely intimating a sense of mortality - the ocean(water)... the night sky... the spider web... disasters. The universality of such existential tropes resonate soundly with all of us.
But it's not even so simple. The degree to which craft is exercised embeds a layer of communication, a layer of intimacy - in her work which is all but absent in the conceptual musings of the last 20-30 years of efforts by our best artists. She exposes us to a level of mastery and that is haunting that we wish not acknowledge nor discuss because it's not convenient to the narrative of the 'contemporary'. I think that Celmins' work provides a reminder of the soulful aspect of art that is all too often missing these decades. It is a challlenge that needs to be answered.
|Vija Celmins, Big Sea II, 1965|
|Vija Celmins, Ocean, 2005|
|Vija Celmins, Suspended Plane, 1966|
|Vija Celmins, To Fix the Image in Memory, 1977|
Great Piece on Celmins' work here.
|Vija Celmins, Heater 1964|
Oil on canvas 1205 × 1219 mm
And what is it that connects Vermeer, Palladio, Bach, Cage?
It's that same quality I've been talking about. It's neither contrived, nor surprising and smart, not baffling, not witty, not interesting, not cynical, it can't be planned and it probably can't even be described. It's just good. I Have Nothing to Say and I'm Saying it, Conversation between Gerhard Richter and Nicholas Serota, Spring 2011 From Richter's website
|Sally Mann, Jessie Bites, 1985|
|Sally Mann, Night Blooming Cereus, 1988|
|Sally Mann, Jessie at 12, Before and After, 1994|
|Sally Mann, Virginia...|
|Sally Mann, The Last Time Emmet Posed Nude|
|Sally Mann, Emmet, Virginia, Jesse|
|Sally Mann, Virginia...|
|Sally Mann, The Big Girls, 1992|
|Sally Mann, from Southern Landscapes, 2010|
|Francesca Woodman, House #3, 1976|
Nicholas Nixon: Brown Sisters since 1975
Emmet Gowin: everything
|Emmet Gowin, Nancy, Edith's niece in Danville (Virginia), 1969|