At ArtBomb, we truly believe that art makes life better. ArtBomb wants you to transform your spaces and fill your white walls with original works of art.
I love art that is BIG, MESSY, chaotic but that has something that pulls it all together into a greater whole. This something is elusive and abstract expressionists spend eons trying to pin it down, define it and to master that je ne sais quoi. What is it that makes one set up brilliant and another look like a random and unfortunate accident in an artistic parcours? We intellectualise with concepts like composition, contrast, value, color theory etc… but in the end the something that makes it work is ethereal. The painting has soul or the painting moves the viewer. These are the thoughts that I entertain as I look at the work of today’s artists that inspire me; Robert Burridge, Nancy Hillis, Mary Ann Wakely, Wendy MacWilliams, Anne Laure Djaballah, Charlotte Faust, Robert Kingston and others.
These artists are BIG, they are MESSY, their work is all over the place. It’s exciting!!!! But it is not n’importe quoi, anything goes. I look at their work and think I should have painted that. It’s just so obviously right. Why didn’t I paint that? I am the first one to be fooled into forgetting that it’s damn hard to make beautiful (de)compositions like those. Hours can be spent deliberately trying to be nondeliberate, orchestrating spontaneity, and chasing freedom of expression. The whole endeavour is an oxymoron. There is passion in the doing but there is tension also. The thrill of inspiration in midflight can abruptly nosedive when that élan that should turn a good painting into a WOW painting ruins it instead. The damn-ugly-artwork was so close to being awesome. Let’s go, Gesso!
The opposite is also true when there is a synergy between me and the painting. In my studio, this happens when I follow the painting instead of leading it. When I allow it to unfold, I feel like the painting is calling out for something,calmly inviting me to intervene in a certain way. If I look, wait, listen to it, I will know. It’s about being with it. These ideas are not new to me – they bring me back to these words that I use when training psychotherapists…Trust the process. Trust yourself. You are the tool and the technique. Painting is quite similar in that way, It will only feel right if I do it through myself as the principal medium. I can’t be Robert or Nancy or Wendy and I will get lost if I go that route. It’s ok to be inspired but straying away from my own ground will result in ok paintings but ones that don’t have that something. The something that gathers and makes complete. I suspect that somethingis the felt sense of coherence that comes from being truly oneself through the painting. And then there is the matter of wild abandon…..
Anne is a painter a psychologist and an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa. Her paintings can be found in multiple private collections throughout Canada and the US. Anne`s work will be feautured on Artbomb next week and in September. You can also find more of her available artwork on our available page. http://www.artbombdaily.com/archive/artwork/available
Today we introduce you to an emerging artist from Nova Scotia. Her name is Abigail Lower and her journey in creating art has been a winding road through life that has come full circle.
Abigail was the youngest of four children born to artistic parents in the UK. She grew up in Devon near the the Moors, spending endless hours drawing at the kitchen table. Her abilities and interest in realism grew throughout her childhood as she tuned her talents day after day. Leaving the UK in 2006 with her husband and nothing more than a few suit cases, they travelled the world living in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and finally, Canada. As a young adult and part of a newly married couple travelling the world, her creative interests shifted and her pencil lay dormant. It was here in Nova Scotia that Abigail rediscovered her passion for drawing. The journey back to creating art began in 2015 when she picked up a piece of coal from the fireplace and began sketching the familiar rock formations of her youth on the moors. She describes it as “a firework, explosive inspiration igniting inside me” that she had never felt before. Within 24hrs she had drawn her first buffalo. Not only had she found her medium, she had found her subject matter.
We had a chance to sit with Abigail to ask her about her work and her thoughts on the artist’s role in society. Subscribe to the ArtBombDaily Newsletter for information on Abigail’s upcoming auctions.
Five of My Favourite Movies About Artists
Take some time off from watching TV series and immerse yourself in art! There are literally hundreds of documentaries, biopics, and imaginative cinema on the subject. Here is a completely subjective selection of my favourites.
Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003)
Of course you’ve seen it already, but well worth watching again. This subtle, sensual Peter Webber film is really just a shrine to the goddess Scarlett Johansson, but it gave me an appreciation for the paintings and world of Johannes Vermeer that I didn’t have before seeing it. The premise, from the same-titled book by Tracy Chevalier, is plausible but completely speculative- we know almost nothing of the Dutch artist’s life. Johansson plays the girl with the pearl earring, a housemaid who faces ruin because of the scandal of posing as an artist’s model, and the subject of one of Vermeer’s most iconic artworks.
I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)
Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol imagines the life of Valerie Solanas, the woman who wrote the “feminist classic” SCUM Manifesto, which is really a terrorist document of toxic vitriol that calls for the humiliation and eradication of men. Solanas eventually lived her ideology and shot that most oppressive patriarch, the effete artist Andy Warhol. If I made this film, I would have been a lot less sympathetic to the killer- my feminism means equality, and women who are violent and hate-filled and shoot to kill are just as heinous as men who do so. I also would have tried to make my movie easier to follow. But I too would have chosen Lili Taylor, a brilliant, underrated actress who makes this curious mess into something riveting.
Radiant Child (2010)
Forget about Julian Schnabel’s 1996 Basquiat, even though David Bowie plays Warhol and Jeffrey Wright is great as the tragic New York street artist. It is too predictably hagiographic, and in trying so hard to be epic, it manages to be as boring as Schnabel’s ego. Radiant Child, the documentary by Tamra Davis, is also a little guilty of saint-making- the whole Jean-Michel Basquiat industry has been embarrassing in this regard, missing the mark entirely in its efforts to be sympathetic to a complicated and broken man. But this doc does a lot more to get to the heart of the art and the truth than anything else on the subject, with actual, fascinating footage and interviews with people who knew the painter personally.
West Wind: the Vision of Tom Thomson (2011)
This is a stunning film, one of the most beautiful documentaries ever made. It matters not whether you are a new or a long-term fan of Canadian art, Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, or the Canadian north. Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer take you there, by canoe, right into the source of the deep quiet and profound beauty the artist captured. For folks like me who are not cut out for wilderness camping, this is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the Algonquin, and to see it through an artist’s eyes.
In the Realms of the Unreal (2004)
Jessica Yu brings to vivid life the intriguing story of Henry Darger. The friendless janitor lived completely invisible, seen only at the hospital he cleaned every day and at mass. No one knew a thing about his vivid interior world until he died, and the landlords took to dismantling the hoarding they found in the room he lived in most of his life. It is speculated that Darger was a closeted gay person, a child molester, and even a murderer, based on the disturbing and obsessive nature of the artwork and writings discovered after his death. He wrote and illustrated epic good- and-evil novels that were tens of thousands of pages long! Given what little is factually known of the artist’s history, it is most likely that he was just a simple and reclusive man damaged by childhood loss of parents, abject poverty, and abuse he experienced, witnessed, and eventually escaped in orphanages. He possessed no intellectual powers but a huge imagination, and he illustrated all the violent fears that danced through his mind. An unforgettable story, and beautifully filmed.
Lorette C. Luzajic
Lorette C. Luzajic is a writer and an artist. Visit her at www.mixedupmedia.ca.