Carter Hodgkin

Carter Hodgkin
From a comment on my previous post about Fractal Images (thanks, Cedra), I learned of Carter Hodgkin, an artist working on one of those wonderfully fuzzy borders between art and science.

Hodgkin’s paintings, drawings and prints are inspired by the tracings of “exotic” particles, strange bits of matter born in the miniature cataclysms created in the bubble chambers (or “cloud chambers”, I love that phrase) in the heart of the great atom smashers like the Tevatron at Fermilab or the Large Hadron Collider.

These particles, the examination of which is one of the gateways to our understanding of the fundamental nature of space/time, exist for only the briefest blips of time, increments so small they defy understanding.

The tracks that trace their fleeting expression in this world are the paths they take out of the collision, usually in graceful spirals and curves with their own strange beauty (you can see a couple of actual images here and here).

Taking these spirals, curves and lines as a starting point, Hodgkin creates images that are partly digital, then inkjet printed at a fairly large scale and painted into with oil enamel or watercolor.

The resultant images carry some of the mathematical geometry of the original cloud chamber inspiration, imbued with the artist’s range of color and value choices, and are somewhere in between representational and non-representational, as well as in between art an science, and in between nature and imagination.


60 Fractal Images

60 Fractal Images
I just love fractal generated images. These computer based images, crafted out of mathematical formulae, carry with them some of the visual characteristics of both natural forms and of abstract mathematical beauty. At their best, they resonate with a brain-tingling hint of infinity.

Dainis Graveris has collected 60 prime examples, in this case all generated using a freeeware flame fractal program called Apophysis (Windows only, unfortunately), and posted them on the 1stWebdesigner blog. The article is listed as “Part 1”, with the rest presumably to follow soon.

Many of the images are linked to larger versions, frequently on deviantART, that show some of their intricately recursive worlds-within-worlds details (see the detail of the last image, above).

Credits, in this case, are often just screen names. (Images above, Gibson125, babymilk and parablev.)

For more on fractal images, see my previous posts listed below, particularly my article on Benoit Mandelbrot.

Update Part 2 has been posted and is a list of links to 33 Apophysis tutorials.


George Loftus Noyes

George Loftus Noyes
George Loftus Noyes was an American painter, born in Canada of American parents, who started painting at an early age, and became a noted landscape painter in the Boston area just after the turn of the 20th Century.

Noyes studied with English artist George Bartlett in Boston, and later studied in Paris at the ateliers of Gustave Courtois, Joseph-Paul Blanc and Paul-Louis Delance. It was there that he joined in the new enthusiasm among French painters for painting “en plein air“, and was undoubtedly influenced by the French Impressionist works making headlines at the time.

Noyes was able to exhibit successfully at the Paris Salon, and on his return to Boston, established himself as a landscape painter, painting many coastal paintings. Noyes was one of the first painters to paint Cape Cod. He also painted in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Noyes is generally mentioned in association the the Boston School, though I can’t find any indication if he was in direct contact with artists of “The Ten American Painters” like Tarbell or Twatchman, of if he was in contact with the Cos Cob or Old Lyme art colonies.

He did travel and and paint with Frederic Edwin Chruch, including a painting trip to Mexico.

Noyes was also a teacher, whose Summer class students included Henry Peck, Clifford Warren Ashley and N.C. Wyeth.

Tragically, much of his work was lost in a barn fire. I’ve found a few reproductions showing a bit of variety in his approach over time. In the image above, The Gorge, which I assume is of the mountains in New England, he reminds me a bit of Daniel Garber’s paintings of the Pennsylvania countryside.


Richard Amsel

Richard AmselWell known for his film posters in the 1970’s and 80’s, illustrator Richard Amsel started his career early when he won a contest to illustrate the poster for Barbara Streisand’s Hello Dolly while he was still a student at the Philadelphia College of Art (now The University of the Arts) here in Philadelphia.

He soon translated that early success into a series of album covers, magazine ads, and movie posters. Many of the latter are well remembered, including posters for Chinatown, Papillon, The Shootist, Murder on the Orient Express and his iconic poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark (Left, top; see this interview with Drew Struzan, who did the other famous Raiders poster).

Amsel’s oeuvre included great posters for great movies as well as great posters for not-so great movies. His poster for the 1980 heavy-handed camp bomb Flash Gordon, for example, was the best thing about the movie (image at left, bottom).

Though he had a recognizable style, Amsel varied his approach to suit his subject matter, often evoking period styles of art or even paying homage to classic illustrators, as in his nod to J.C. Leyendecker in his poster for The Sting (left, middle).

Amsel also had a long run doing cover illustrations for TV Guide, with memorable portraits of both movie and television personalities. Amsel was one of the most popular of the illustrators who did TV Guide covers, creating over 40 of them during his career.

There is a new exhibit of Amsel’s work, Richard Amsel: A Retrospective, opening at the University of the Arts’ Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia on April 15, and running to May 14, 2009.

The exhibit, featuring over 50 pieces, is from a collection donated to the school by Dorian Hannaway, director of Late Night Programming at CBS television for 15 years, and a close friend of the artist.


William Degouve de Nuncques

William Degouve de Nuncques
William Degouve de Nuncques was a French-born Belgian Symbolist painter.

He was self-taught, though his style was influenced friends and roommates Jan Toorop and Henry de Groux.

His art was particularly shaped by his contact with the group of Symbolist poets to whom he was introduced by Juliette Massin, also an artist, who he married in 1894.

His paintings are often of representational scenes, landscapes, views of buildings and parks, but strongly tinged with a poetic softness and muted colors. He frequently chose to depict the subtle lighting of mist, dusk or night. He traveled and painted extensively in Austria, Italy and France and was at one time part of the group of painters known as “Les XX” (“The twenty”).

His painting The Pink House (image above, bottom left) is said to have inspired René Magritte’s famous Empire of Light paintings (also here). (Here’s an article about that notion on The Blue Lantern.)

Someone has put together a short video of some of Degouve de Nuncques’ work, set to a bit of Bach.


MicroVisions 4

MicroVisions 4, Chris Buzelli, Greg Manchess, Volkan Baga, Justin Gerard, Paolo Rivera
MicroVisions is an auction, now in its fourth year, in support of the Society of Illustrators scholarship fund.

The auction is organized by Irene Gallo, the well known art director at Tor Books and author of the excellent blog, The Art Department, along with illustrator Dan Dos Santos (see my posts on Irene Gallo, Tor Books and Dan Dos Santos).

The participating artists, all renowned illustrators, particularly in the field of fantastic art, science fiction and fantasy illustration, each donate a small artwork, usually created specifically for the event, to be auctioned off via eBay. All of the proceeds go to the scholarship fund. The first three MicroVisions auctions raised a total of $16,000 for the fund.

This years contributing artists are: Welsey Allsbrook, Volkan Baga, Chris Buzelli, Justin Gerard, Michael Kaluta, Greg Manchess, Paolo Rivera, Greg Ruth, Francis Vallejo and Michael Whelan.

(See my posts about Volkan Baga, Greg Manchess, Paolo Rivera, Justin Gerard and Michael Whelan.)

The auction will take place via eBay in late April. I’ll try to keep you informed about the exact dates, but to be sure, you could follow Irene Gallos posts about MicroVisions 4 on The Art Department. (Anyone who is interested in science fiction or fantasy illustration should be reading The Art Department on a regular basis anyway.)

(Image above, left to right: Chris Buzelli, Greg Manchess, Volkan Baga, Justin Gerard, Paolo Rivera)