1st: The Ever Expanse, 2011, Paper collage with powdered graphite, 26” x  24”

2nd: Night Flowering Tree, 2008, Paper collage with acrylic, graphite powder and pinpricks, 36 “ x  30 “

3rd: Eight Pointed Star with Sun, 2011, Paper collage with pencil, 10” x 10”

Continuing my interest in geometry and mediums that lie off the beaten path, I found this work by Lena Wolff to be very intriguing. The first image, The Ever Expanse, caught my eye immediately because of my love of astronomy, and drew me to the rest of her work. She works mainly with paper collage (which I think is so neat!) and describes the process of art-making as being very much like quilting, in that she, in her own words, handles the paper “as if it were fabric, using needles and often joining multiple panels of paper together to make paper quilts.” What I love most about these pieces is the amount they are able to communicate and the interest they hold while being so incredibly minimalist. Her goal is to convey a mythical, spiritual air with her work, which I think she accomplishes both effectively and beautifully.

(Source: drawingcenter.org)

1st: This Dewdrop World, 2010, Latex on wall

2nd: Fencing, 2010, Ink and gouache, 15” x 22”

3rd: Icelit, 2008, Ink and casein, 9” x 12”

4th: Catacorner, 2008, Ink and casein, 15” x 22”

The moment I saw Malinda Bray’s work I fell completely in love with it. I had been searching for an artist who worked with geometry, abstraction, pattern and/or mural work, and was greatly rewarded to come across her pieces. In her own words, Melinda’s paintings are “descriptive of both the struggle to discover pattern, and the acceptance of unintelligible complexity.” The patterns and shapes that make up these pieces do tend to play with your mind, bringing you to see coherent images and perspectives in one moment, but leaving you wondering the next. What’s amazing to me is the meticulousness of the component shapes in each painting, the complexity of which give your eyes plenty to feast on. There is a sense of sophistication that comes with each piece as well, despite its whimsical shapes.

(Source: drawingcenter.org)

1st: Brain Storm, 2009, Scrap fabric, wood and recycled paper, approx. 11’ x 17’ x 19’

2nd: Kite Walk, Recycled paper, cardboard, thread, fishing line, staples and buttons, approx. 15’ x 23’ x 26’

3rd: Wyoming Paperscape, 2006, Recycled paper, cardboard, pen and acrylic, approx. 11’ x 10’ x 8’

4th: This Land is Your Land[fill], 2007, Recycled paper, cardboard, shipping pallets, approx. 8 1/2’ x 33’ x 28”

I came to be aware of the power of an installation piece during my time as a high school art student visiting the art museum at Southern Oregon University. On one occasion, there were two displays set up: one that was an artist’s reconstruction of a jellyfish swarm, and another that was a forest made from solid woods, iron beams, and iron chains to represent the foliage. I loved the experience I had of walking through that display and experiencing the artwork in a highly personal way, because I became a part of it. Another artist that I recently came to know of whose work makes the most of this environmental dimension is Nadya Volicer. Her installations (which are usually site-specific) are absolutely captivating. They transform and utilize the space into a statement - a piece of art - that the viewer can walk through and experience first-hand. She specifically makes a point of incorporating recycled materials - particularly wood chips and paper scraps - that she finds around her New England home in the installations, adding a Green perspective to her work. The way she plays with light, such as in Kite Walk, is also very exciting. Now that’s art.

(Source: nadyavolicer.com)

1st: Public Figures, 1998-1999, Installation view at Metrotech Center Commons, Brooklyn, New York, Fiberglass/resin, steel pipes, pipe fittings, 10 x 7 x 9 feet

2nd: Blue Green Bridge, 2000, Plastic figures, steel structure, polycarbonate sheets, 24 x 51 x 448 inches

3rd: Blue Green Bridge (Detail)

4th: Some/One, 2001, Installation view at Korean Pavilion, Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy; Stainless steel military dog tags, nickel-plated copper sheets, steel structure, glass fiber reinforced resin, rubber sheets; Figure: 81 x 126 inches diameter; overall dimensions: 85 1/2 x 281 1/2 x 356 inches

5th: Some/One (Detail)

6th: Doormat: Welcome (Amber), 1998, Polyurethane rubber, 1 1/4 x 28 x 19 inches

7th: Doormat: Welcome (Amber) (Detail)

I am coming to find that I am increasingly interested in art that comes at an idea from a completely fresh perspective. In many ways, that is characteristic of Do-Ho Suh’s work. When describing the kind of art he makes, Suh says, “I have to say that my work actually started from my interest in the notion of space, particularly this notion of personal space or individual space. And that’s actually the result of contemplation on the idea of how much space one person can carry.” This marks the theme of many of his sculptures, which are made of millions of tiny figures who hold and support the world of the viewer. His pieces all play with this concept of the individual vs. the public, and how that relationship is constructed. Not only do I love the detail and visual appeal of his work, I also find these pieces very provocative and insightful.

(Source: art21.org)

First: Dead Into The Fire Swamp, 2008, Hand Knit Acrylic Yarn and Acrylic Paint on Wall, 132” x 60”

2nd: Is This A Kissing Book?, 2007, Hand Knit Acrylic Yarn and Acrylic Paint on Wall, 144” x 192”

Bottom: Mellyn (detail), 2009, Hand Knit Acrylic Yarn and Acrylic Paint on Wall, Dimensions variable

As I have said before, I am attracted to abstract art - particularly when it incorporates geometry into the composition, and the work of Valerie Molnar is no exception. I love not only the graceful and strong geometries that play into here pieces, but also the bold colors and textures that arise from her chosen medium: yarn! I only recently became aware that there are a number of artists who use fibers to create more than just clothing or other more “traditional” fibers pieces, but that the medium could be used to create wall art, as well. I think the combination she makes of yarn and mural painting in her artwork serves to draw these two artistic genres together as one very effectively. Each of Molnar’s pieces is intriguing because of both its abstract nature their three-dimensional quality (the use of yarn really makes the pieces “pop”). Another interesting note: Each of her creations’ titles alludes to the Princess Bride movie, a unifying theme that I think brings an unexpected but interesting perspective to her pieces.

(Source: drawingcenter.org)

Top: My Back Pages (Second Iteration), 2008, vinyl LP records, turntable, wire

Bottom: Diaspora, 2010, vinyl LP records, turntable, record covers, wire

I actually was introduced briefly to Paul Villinski’s artwork a couple months ago (since then it had fallen out of my memory) by my dad who is very interested in re-purposing vinyl LPs, especially in art forms, but it was just now, actually, as I was checking out Sam’s blog that I realized that I had seen his work before! Like my dad, I am really interested in Villinski’s use of recycled vinyl to create his work (and he actually uses other recycled/found materials, too, in other artworks). The shadow-play in each of these creations is amazing as well, and adds a sense of depth and realism to his work. My favorite installations are those that feature the birds and butterflies that appear to be escaping from a playing record. I love the colorful LP labels and glossy black vinyl wings of each individual, carefully crafted creature, but even more so, when combined to create these images, the composition of the flocks of birds and butterflies (can you have a flock of butterflies?) are visually arresting. Even more than the installations’ visual appeal, though, I love the carefree message they send, like the music emanating from the playing record could bring about such a beautiful phenomenon, or that it in fact does, on a more spiritual or emotional level.

(Source: paulvillinski.com)

Waterspout 4 Vase, 1994, Spun blown glass, 11 1/2” x 9”
I have recently developed a great interest in blown glass - and I think it would be a lot of fun to learn how to do. It is amazing to me the patience, carefulness and skill that must go into creating works of art from glass this way, and that something so delicate can come of such intense heat. This vase by Mary Ann Toots Zynsky I think takes that level of craftsmanship a step further that I would have never even considered (that’s two reasons I like it so much!). The texture that results from spinning the blown glass is its crowning feature. I have always been particularly captivated by textures, so this piece  is really fascinating to me - I definitely find myself wanting to reach out and touch it! I think I’m going to make a point of exploring the variety of creations that are the result of experimentation with blown-glass, such as this one.

Waterspout 4 Vase, 1994, Spun blown glass, 11 1/2” x 9”

I have recently developed a great interest in blown glass - and I think it would be a lot of fun to learn how to do. It is amazing to me the patience, carefulness and skill that must go into creating works of art from glass this way, and that something so delicate can come of such intense heat. This vase by Mary Ann Toots Zynsky I think takes that level of craftsmanship a step further that I would have never even considered (that’s two reasons I like it so much!). The texture that results from spinning the blown glass is its crowning feature. I have always been particularly captivated by textures, so this piece is really fascinating to me - I definitely find myself wanting to reach out and touch it! I think I’m going to make a point of exploring the variety of creations that are the result of experimentation with blown-glass, such as this one.

Top: Tetons and the Snake River, 1942, Gelatine silver photograph

2nd: Branches in Snow, 1932, Gelatin silver photograph

3rd: Winter Sunrise, from Lone Pine, 1979, Gelatin silver photograph

4th: Leaf, Glacier Bay National Monument, 1948, Gelatin silver photograph

I know that his work is famous, and I’ve known of him for a long time, but I only just recently became familiar with the work of Ansel Adams (shame on me) and…I love it! Like I said in class the day I did my inspiration presentation, I am very inspired by the landscape, particularly when it is presented in photograph - because it means that the beauty and vitality that you are looking at in the frame is real - it’s a part of the same world you’re in - your world. To have such an intimate connection to such beauty always astounds and, to a degree, humbles me. The work of Ansel Adams certainly communicates this message. The fact that the images he is so famous for are in black and white adds an even greater level of interest to the landscapes, bringing out the texture that often plays second fiddle to the illustrious colors we often see associated with the natural world in landscape photography.

(Source: anseladams.com)

First: Liberty, 2003, Painting

2nd: Piece from the Maui Series, 2011, Painting

3rd: Love, 2004, Painting

4th: Taylor Swift - Speak Now, 2010, Painting

5th: Liberty, 2006, Painting

An artist who’s work I have recently discovered and fallen in love with is Peter Max, the “psychedelic poster” artist of the 60’s, though he continues to do great work today. As one might be able to tell by the subject of much of his work, Max has a passion for astronomy, and even studied it at great length in college, his enthusiasm for it rivaled only by his passion for art. What I love about Max’s work is its utterly carefree, whimsical nature. When I look at his work, which is beautiful and skillful and at the same time vibrant and cheery, it reminds me not to take myself to seriously. Peter Max has also done a number of album cover pieces for a variety of musicians (I think I sense a pattern to the kinds of artists that draw my attention!), though, contrary to common belief, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine is not one of them. Max’s use of color absolutely inspires me to be bold about what I do, and leaves me feeling optimistic that the sky’s the limit.

Peter max’s official website: http://www.petermax.com/

Also see: http://petermax.tumblr.com/

First: Shernevog, 1990, Painting

2nd: Earthfall, 1989, Painting

3rd: Phantom Stalker, 1995, Painting

4th: Stone of Tears, 1996, Painting

Last: Fire Sea, 1991, Painting

I have always been interested in fantasy art,  but I admit I’ve never really taken the time to find out who the artists are who are responsible for this genre or the breadth of their work, and so I decided to explore who the people were who bring us this great art form. As a result of that search, I discovered who I would have to say is my favorite fantasy artist: Keith Parkinson (who, as it turns out, drew inspiration from the work of Roger Dean). Parkinson, who died in 2005 of leukemia, had been doing art since his childhood. He is most well-known for his work on book covers for such best-selling authors as Terry Goodkind, Orson Scott Card, David Eddings and Terry Brooks; Dungeons and Dragons; Dragon Magazine covers; his own collectible card game, Guardians; and video game design.

The thing that make’s his work so spectacular is his extensive application of detail, giving the scenes he creates a sense of realism. I think this juxtaposition - of fantasy and realism - is just what gives the work of fantasy artists like Parkinson their power. The illusion that the people, places and creatures depicted in these artworks may, in some other world, be very real, is what gives them such a high level of interest and intrigue. Parkinson is a master of the brush who presents that doorway to another reality through his paintings skillfully. I definitely look to him and his work as an example of the kind and quality of work I would like to create. Perhaps I’ll venture to do fantasy art as well (as long as I can bring it to par with the likes of Parkinson)!

(Source: keithparkinson.com)