Monthly Archives: January 2012

Janet Ternoff

Janet Ternoff
Self taught New York artist Janet Ternoff finds great fascination in the facades and interiors of buildings.

She works in a realistic style, at times with considerable detail. She works in a range of sizes, from 8×10 to considerably larger.

Her series of exteriors of bars, stores and restaurants feel in a way as if portraits of the establishments, with lots of attention to details of signs and other characteristics of the facades.

She also has a series of surface and subway trains as wall as a series of interiors that I particularly enjoy, particularly when they feature staircases in older buildings.

In all of her compositions, Ternoff is continually finding fascinating play of light, from brief splashes of highlights against weathered brick to deep contrasts of shadow and sunlight. She also paints scenes of twilight and nighttime, as well scenes with stormy or overcast skies.

Her website has a gallery divided into subsections, one of which, “New collection” is divided again into further subsections.

Ternoff also maintains a blog called New York Street Art.

Carel Fabritius

Carel Fabritius
Carel Fabritius was a Dutch painter whose adopted name comes from the latin for carpenter, or if more broadly used, craftsman.

Fabritius studied in the the studio of Rembrandt, and is generally considered to be Rembrandt’s most talented pupil, and the only one to really break free of the master’s influence and develop his own style. This is notable in particular in the contrast of his color and texture filled portrait backgrounds with Rembrandt’s deep pools of darkness. His use of cool color harmonies is also distinctly different from the color choices of his master.

On leaving Rembrandt’s studio, he established himself for a time as an independent artist in his hometown of Beemster, and then moved to Delft, and is generally thought of as a Delft painter.

Fabritius was one of the most influential Dutch painters of his time, despite the fact that his career, and life, were tragically cut short in the “Delft Thunderclap“, an event in 1654 in which the Delft armory, and its large store of gunpowder, exploded, devastating a large part of the town.

It is presumed that much of Fabritius’ work was also lost in the explosion, as only about 12-15 of his paintings (depending on questions of attribution) are known to remain. Among those, however, is considerable variety, and Fabritius is also credited as one of starting points of trompe l’oeil painting.

I had the pleasure of seeing The Goldfinch (images above, top two; zoomable version here) in a Vermeer show in New York some years ago that included work by some of Vermeer’s contemporaries. It was the only non-Vermeer painting in the show to which I repeatedly returned. From a few feet away it is effectively trompe l’oeil illusionistic, close up, it’s a marvel of painterly loaded-brush painting.

Fabritius is generally acknowledged to have been an influence on Vermeer as well as De Hooch, who were also working in Delft at that time; though he was likely not, as you will sometimes see suggested, Vermeer’s teacher.

Like Vermeer, Fabritius is presumed to have made use of the camera obscura, and was fascinated with optical effects and linear perspective. Only one of his perspective experiments survives, but it’s a fascinating painting,

View of Delft (images above, bottom three; larger version here) has a fascinating curved perspective and oddly positioned and cut-off rendering of the violin in the left foreground. Taking clues from similar works by other artists, it was probably meant to be displayed on a curved surface inside a “peep-box“. These, viewed through a peephole, provide only one fixed-point view of the painting, giving the artist more control over what the viewer sees, and would have provided a realistic illusion of space and sense of place that must have been mesmerizing.

The painting, along with one of Fabritius’s presumed self-portraits, is in the collection of the National Gallery , London, which provides a wonderful full-screen and zoomable high resolution view of the painting (use controls at right of the image).

Anthony S. Waters

Anthony S. WatersAnthony S. Waters is a California based concept artist and illustrator who does work for the gaming industry. He has worked with companies like Sony On-Line, DNA Productions, Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Hasbro, among others.

Waters works in both traditional and digital media, and often works with a bright palette, though at times almost monochromatically. His richly organic designs for environments and creatures seem at times to revel in convolutions of form, a feeling of graphic playfulness beneath their more dramatic surface.

I particularly enjoy his creature designs, in which he experiments with imaginative variations on subjects that can too often be formulaic.

His website has sections for Environments, Creatures, Characters, etc. and within each there are both finished work and sketches.

Waters also maintains a blog, contributes to Design-o-Matic and has a gallery on deviantART that has additional images.

Met Museum’s American Wing reopens

Met Museum's American Wing: Matthew Pratt, Kenyon Cox, Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John White Alexander
The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which has been undergoing extensive renovations, reopened this week, with a revitalized showcase for one of the best and most extensive collections of American art in the country.

For those who can’t visit in person, I’ll take the opportunity to point out again the terrific resource that is the Met’s recently redone website.

I know I just did an article on their extensive collection of John Singer Sargent on the recent anniversary of his birth, but I can’t resist the opportunity to point out more terrific images, and mention that most are available on the site in high-resolution versions, as my detail crop of the John White Alexander painting, above, bottom, shows.

There is a sampling of images from the collection on this page, from which the above examples were drawn.

(Images above: Matthew Pratt, Kenyon Cox, Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John White Alexander)

Rob Gonsalves (update)

Rob Gonsalves
Canadian magic realist Rob Gonsalves likes to portray the juxtapsotion of two differing but related points of view.

These are often presented in scenes in which objects gradually morph through a series of similar shapes into something else entirely, and compositions in which two different aspects of the same scene are viewed at an entirely different scale, but are gradually joined into parts of a seemingly impossible whole.

Gonsalves plays with similar themes in a variety of compositions. There are also other repeated themes, such as scenes in which bodies of water in the distance gradually become something else in the foreground- stretches of mirrored tiles or a crowd with umbrellas.

I mentioned in my previous post about Gonsalves, that I see his work in a way as a collision between visual approaches to rearranging reality utilized by M.C. Escher and René Magritte.

Some of Gonsalves’ brain-teasing shifts in reality are more successful than others, but at their best they can give you that delightful “Ah-ha!” feeling as your perception slips from one level to another.

In all of them it’s fun to trace through his transitions and try to decide exactly where one view of the world transforms into the other.

Gonsalves works in acrylic, and in the short video you can see here on YouTube, shows the scale of his work and describes the time frame for painting an individual painting as about two months.

Gonsalves does not appear to have an official web presence. Since I last wrote about him, one of the resources I knew of has disappeared, but there is a new one that is even a bit more comprehensive.

You may find other resources by searching, but most of what I’ve found to date is redundant with the two gallery sites I’ve listed below.

Unfortunately, none of them have images that are very large.

There are books featuring Gonsalves’ work, though they’re not exactly collections, but combinations of his images with bits of text and aimed at children: Imagine a Day, Imagine a Night and Imagine a Place. Each contains about 16 or 17 pictures by the artist.

You can also find a 2012 Master of Illusion wall calendar featuring his work, and similar calendars from previous years if you just want them for the images.

Gonsalves’ work is also featured in, and highlighted on the cover of, Masters of Deception, a collection of work by 20 artists working in illusionistic styles that includes 16 pages on Gonsalves.

Stop PIPA and SOPA

Stop PIPA and SOPA
If you stopped by Lines and Colors yesterday, January 18, you may have noticed that Lines and Colors had gone dark, along with a significant number of other sites, in protest, and to raise awareness of the “anti-piracy” internet censorship bills looming in the U.S. Congress.

If you didn’t happen to stop by yesterday, but would like to know more about why it matters, what I had to say about the issue, and why the continued existence of Lines and Colors and websites like it hinges on the defeat of these bills, here is the page that was up in place of the site yesterday.

The effort to raise awareness of this issue across the web has apparently begun to have an effect, as a number of legislators have withdrawn their support for the bills, at least in their current form. But the fight is far from over; the hugely powerful and influential lobbies that represent the entertainment industry will not slink quietly away and call it a day; they will continue to pressure congress to give them the kind of extraordinary and frightening control over internet content that these bills provide.

Those in other countries may feel this doesn’t affect them (it will if hundreds or thousands of websites go dark at the whim of the big corporations), or you may feel frustrated that you can’t affect it directly. Right now, the spread of information and awareness is important, and those of you in Europe and elsewhere will soon enough have your own fight on your hands over similar legislation that these companies are trying to force into law around the world.

Those in the U.S. can directly affect the immediate danger of these bills passing by calling or writing your U.S. senators and representatives and urging them to reject the bills. Here is a site called Stop American Censorship that has more information on how easy it is to do that.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that if these bills pass, Lines and Colors, and significant other portions of the web, will cease to exist.

-Charley