Friday, June 20, 2008

Torpedo Factory Art Center

I visited the Torpedo Factory Art Center (TFAC) located on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria (in Virginia, just south of Washington, DC). First of all, old town was SO cool, with the old-style, beautifully maintained row houses with planters, and box/window gardens. Some houses even had the faux burning lampposts. The front doors and back gates are brightly painted, ivy winding up the old brick walls.

The TFAC was actually a torpedo factory for several years after World War 1. The inside of the factory has been changed into more than 160 artist studios. The artists have open studio and you can walk in and see their art on display in the front of the studio space, and talk with the artists as they work. My favorites included (no particular order, and not comprehensive, though I noticed I tend towards painters and printmakers who use outrageously bright colors): Printmakers, Inc, Betsy Anderson, JoAnn Clayton, Kathy Beynette, Tory Cowles, Susan Finsen, Marcia Dale Dullum, Murney Keleher, Marsha Staiger (plus her website is cool how it is set up with portfolios and folders - check it out), Mina Oka Hanig (particularly the picture below), and Ann Barbieri. I talked to Rosemary Covey, who is friendly and talented. She had many prints from woodcuts on her gallery walls.

I saw many inspiring works of art. You MUST go browse the innards of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, AND the surrounding environs. It is a tremendous concept (and execution) to have a bunch of artists working together and in studios open to the public, both for the artist(s) and for those of us who make the opportunity to visit. You will not be disappointed, or you can have your money back (it's free!).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I visited NY's Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way from the metro to the Met, I got caught in a torrential downpour, it was beautiful and I decided to stay out in it, and ran to the museum from the 77th St/Lexington metro stop. That's about 10 blocks. By the time I got inside the museum, I was soaked. I had to go into the ladies room and literally wring out my clothes. I always love thunder and lightning though and don't mind getting rain on me. My favorite work in the museum is the Paul Klee painting shown above, 'May Picture,' 1925, oil on cardboard.

My second favorite painting, after the Klee, is this bright work by Jean Dubuffet, 1944, oil/canvas, "A View of Paris with Furtive Pedestrians" (it's kind of a funny title but I love the bold colors and the playfulness):
There were so many wonderful works of art at the museum, but I'll put just a few that I liked here for you to see. The Met's website has a great online database of all the works of art at the museum, with MUCH better resolution than these here.

Detail of Henri Edmund Cross, Landscape with Pine Trees, 1896 (aren't the colors wonderful!): Picasso's 1901 "Girl in Profile," oil on cardboard mounted on masonite (I particularly like the soft colors and the blending, this work is very different from his later stuff):
Picasso's 1901 "Harlequin" - I like the geometric and floral fabrics depicted:
"Figures on the Beach" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir:
Paul Signac, (detail) "View of Collioure," 1887 ( I love the play of light and shadow in the architecture):
Niles Spencer, "Erie Underpass," 1949, oil on canvas (Precisionism):
Cezanne's "Antoine Dominique Sauveur Aubert," 1866:
Paul Gauguin's "A Farm in Brittany," 1894:
Edward Hopper, 1929, The Lighthouse at 2 Lights, oil on canvas ( I love Hopper's play of light, simplicity of arrangement, and the color of the sky and wispiness of the clouds in this work):
Maurice de Vlaminck, "The Seine at Chatou," 1906, oil on canvas - I love the colors and the organization of the various elements in the composition (ie about 2/3 of the composition is water, and 1/3 is the sky) - also, I like the simple little houses and simple trees on the opposite shore at the skyline:
Edgar Degas, "View of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme," 1896-98:
Andre Derain, "House of Parliament at Night," 1905-6:
Andre Derain, "Fishing Boats Collioure," 1905:
Andre Derain, "Lucien Gilbert," 1905:

The museum had an exhibit of works by local public schools, the exhibit titled "P.S. Art 2008." I enjoyed many of the works, including this by Chelsea D., age 12, "The Gentle Touch," linoleum-cut print, PS 859, teacher Laurie Marcus:

A random window I saw while walking through the streets in the downpour (I like the shapes, it reminds me a little of some of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's stuff):

I saw this chair I really liked in a store window across from the Manhattan Home Depot (yes, there IS a Home Depot downtown - don't know if people haul their lumber on the subway):
Here is some more art from the Met. This is Gustave Caillebotte, "Le Pont de Argenteuil":
Paul Cezanne's 1892-94 "The House with the Cracked Walls" (I love most all of Cezanne's work but I particularly like this one. Do you think he named the painting himself, or did someone later find the work and title it:
Cezanne, "The Card Players," 1890:
Josef Alvers, "Pillars,", 1928, glass, fiberboard (I'm thinking: inspiration for a quilt):
Thomas Hart Benton, (detail) "July Hay,", 1943, egg tempera/methylcellulose/oil on Masonite:
Umberto Boccioni, "The Street Pavers," 1914:
And last, but definitely not least (in fact, well into my top five favorite works at the Met), this art by Victor Brauner, "Prelude to a Civilization," 1954, encaustic, pen and ink on masonite - each little animal/character inside the cow/large animal has a lot of detail and pattern that could inspire a different quilt or artwork (three detail shots follow after the main piece) - click on the artist/title link for more detail about the painting:

NJ Quilt Convention

The NJ Quilt Convention in Edison, NJ had many gorgeous quilts on display. I really like bright colors, simple lines, and geometrics. There were some art quilts on display, as well as many quilts using a variation of the New York Beauty block. (Above is Barbara Brown Esserman's "Fun Color Go-Round" - isn't it fun!)

Gloria Dighton's "4th of July in The City":
Helen Ernst's "Autumn Eyes":
Debra Harry's "Sea Kelp" (woven ribbons and fabric strips, 18"x 20") (the woven ribbons idea reminded me of my mom):
Debra Harry's "Garden Strata" (14" x 20"):
"Corn Flowers" by Elena Hartzell:
Jane Lange's "Life on the Technicolor Highway":
"Flowery Suns" by Patricia Saklas, 18"x25":

Princeton University Art Museum

Since I was heading to Edison, NJ to go to the NJ Quilt Convention, I stopped by the Princeton U. Art Museum. There was some good artwork. I saw another Sean Scully painting (I saw one at the High Museum in Atlanta), I really like his work (his painting from the Princeton Museum, 'Labna,' 2006, oil on canvas, is shown above). The painting was huge, about 10 feet by 15 feet, I would say. Here is detail from Vasily Kandinsky's 1903 painting titled "Promenade (sketch)." I love the little colorful houses and it is a beautiful painting and do you see how the buildings weren't 'perfect' - it's okay to dash off some houses (not that it is easy) without feeling the need to make them 'architecturally accurate' (then again if you've ever been to some places, the buildings there really AREN'T architecturally perfect, but here now I'm just rambling): Here is a detail shot of DiCandia Cretani's "Virgin of the Passion" from 1451-1492:
Detail of a "chinese vessel" circa 1100-770 BC (well, those were the years of the rule of the particular dynasty this vessel is attributed to, but I DO wonder how "they" date these things, whoever "they" is):
Il Guercino, 1635, Boy in Large Hat, pen and ink, wash:
Also, the museum had a huge collection of Mayan/Incan vessels and figurines. And this is Japanese, from the Kofun period (300 - 710), "Haniwa Tomb Figure, ca. 6th century). I think the little clay guy looks cool and I'm amazed it stayed in one piece for 1500 years (I can't keep my dishes unbroken for 2 years - I put cold water in my favorite glass that was hot out of the dishwasher the other day, then it cracked and broke in several pieces, so sad):Here are some great Roman mosaics, there were several walls/fountains/floors covered in Roman mosaics inside the museum. On the wall:
From the interior of a Roman fountain (3rd century AD):Here is a description of the mosaics on the floor:
Additionally, the buildings on Princeton University's grounds were beautiful. I love the brickwork. And check out the quantity of green plant life:

Isn't this building cool? I especially LOVE the door (you'll probably have to click on the photo to enlarge it enough to see the door).