Anna Torma

Anna tormaFrom Hyperallergic - Angels, devils, dragons, and monsters are just a few of the unruly creatures that maraud across Anna Torma’s delightfully chaotic textiles. The Hungarian-Canadian artist’s multicolored, swirling scenes are filled with semi-clothed human-animal crossovers tangled together in curious acts of sex and mischief. Inspired by fairy tales, children’s drawings, Hungarian folklore, and medieval legends, Torma’s playful, hand-sewn worlds present an especially engrossing escape from the bleakness of everyday pandemic life.

Torma was born in 1952 in Tarnaörs, a village in northern Hungary. Her first contact with art came from her parents: her father painted landscapes and still lifes when he wasn’t farming, and her mother and grandmothers taught the young artist regional needleworking techniques used to prepare a young woman’s bridal trousseau. Torma’s facility with class drawing assignments and skill with sewing doll clothes were early signs of her artistic path. “I have always been smart with my hands,” Torma told Hyperallergic in a video call from her New Brunswick studio. Torma, whose sunny studio is filled with potted plants and piles of new works, is shy but quick to smile, and speaks in a soft, melodic voice.

For decades, Torma has collected found textile objects like crochet doilies, embroidery samplers, lace, appliqué, and fabric clippings. Some of her favorites appear in her Personal Ribbon (2020) series. In these works, textile objects like scraps of traditional Hungarian embroidery and a fabric photograph of the artist’s grandparents are arranged along strips of hemp cloth. Collectively, the sequenced artefacts form a sort of exhibition within an exhibition of the artist’s personal and material points of origin. Unlike her previous works, these place Torma’s biography at their center. “Activities with textile are always very personal,” the artist said, and with these works, “I invite you to my life in a private way.”

 

 


Betye Saar

Betye saarAssemblage artist Betye Saar creates a new, mystical world in her work.

"There has been an apparent thread in my art that weaves from early prints of the 1960's through later collages and assemblages and ties into the current installations. That thread is a curiosity about the mystical. I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories, fragments of relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology. It's a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously. The art itself becomes the bridge. Curiosity about the unknown has no boundaries. Symbols, images, place and cultures merge. time slips away. The stars, the cards, the mystic vigil may hold the answers. By shifting the point of view an inner spirit is released. Free to create," noted Betye Saar in 1998.

In Betye Saar’s work, time is cyclical. History and experiences, emotion and knowledge travel across time and back again, linking the artist and viewers of her work with generations of people who came before them. This is made explicit in her commitment to certain themes, imagery, and objects, and her continual reinvention of them over decades. “I can no longer separate the work by saying this deals with the occult and this deals with shamanism or this deals with so and so…. It’s all together and it’s just my work,” she said in 1989.1

Saar grew up in Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, and studied design at the University of California, Los Angeles—a career path frequently foisted upon women of color who were interested in the arts, due to the racism and sexism prevalent in universities at the time. Saar eventually studied printmaking, and her earliest works are on paper. Using the soft-ground etching technique, she pressed stamps, stencils, and found materials into her plates to capture their images and textures. Her prints are notably concerned with spirituality, cosmology, and family, as in Anticipation (1961) and Lo, The Mystique City (1965).


Erro

The acclaimed artist Erró (b. 1932) is considered one of the leading figures in European Pop-Art. During his long and successful career he has delved into diverse subjects in his paintings, often using an overflow of images to reflect on contemporary society of consumption, in addition to references to various political current issues.

From early on Erró was inspired by technology and science, creating works where the human and the mechanic are combined. In particular he examined how technology invades the body and how the human body adapts to the machine. The images offer questions concerning the borderlines between human beings and technology. Are these borderlines perhaps no longer there when human existence is tied to the mechanic and the very identity a collage of various technological creations, an hyperreal presence in social media, drugs cooked up in laboratories, smart-gadgets assembled in factories, the trace of chips in credit cards. The human being has become a cyborg, whether we like it or not.

The exhibition Cyborg gathers together artworks that reflect these ideas in various ways. The word is a combination, a collage of the words ‘cybernetics’ and ‘organism’. In 1960, when scientist were thinking up a new type of astronaut, the phrase ‘cybernetic organism’ was considered cumbersome. As a result it was shortened, cut and pasted into one handy word, ‘cy-borg’. At the same time these scientist where working on the technology behind the cyborg, Erró was working on art works focusing on the interaction between machines and people, often by creating a collage with people – usually women – and various machines.

The collage is very well suited to the cyborg, as the cyborgs very existence is dependent on compositions and excess. The cyborg is always a collage of some kind, de-formed and a combination of diverse images from art and toys. Even though it is already here, it is still being created and is continually changing. Many of the pieces are already here, but they keep being arranged in new ways – in addition new pieces are continually made.

Erró is an artist of the collage. Combinations characterize his work, and collages are the raw materials behind his paintings. The collages bring together different and similar objects and are always marked by an excess of some kind. Excess is also a symptom of the cyborg, it is always too much, something added, de-formed, integrated and transformed. The cyborg‘s collage shows us the familiar in a new light and makes it unfamiliar, until we grow used to it – or not.

Erro


Philip Guston

Philip gustonPhilip Guston ('ust' pronounced like "rust"), born Phillip Goldstein (June 27, 1913 – June 7, 1980), was a Canadian American painter, printmaker, muralist and draughtsman. Early in his five decade career, muralist David Siquieros described him as one of "the most promising painters in either the US or Mexico,"[1] in reference to his antifascist fresco The Struggle Against Terror, which "includes the hooded figures that became a lifelong symbol of bigotry for the artist."[2] "Guston worked in a number of artistic modes, from Renaissance-inspired figuration to formally accomplished abstraction,"[3] and is now regarded one of the "most important, powerful, and influential American painters of the last 100 years."[4] He also frequently depicted racism, antisemitism, fascism and American identity, as well as, especially in his later most cartoonish and mocking work, the banality of evil. In 2013, Guston's painting To Fellini set an auction record at Christie's when it sold for $25.8 million.[5]


Judith Gale

Judith GaleJudith Gale’s artistic drive is inspired by nature, particularly marine life. Her fascination with the complex intricacies and the plethora of shapes and colors found in living things generate her paintings. By enlarging these unique elements of nature on canvas, she aspires to capture peoples’ awareness and appreciation of these spectacular wonders. She hopes her artwork helps to draw the tranquility of the ocean to the world above.

Judith has been actively working with the Molluscan Science Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Maryland focused on the study of mollusks and the preservation of coral reefs. She has been involved in distributing educational material to school aged children all over the world. She hopes that by introducing seashells to children, they will grow to love and value our oceans and help protect them.

This work with seashells shaped her art and influenced the themes of her paintings and photography. A portion of her proceeds are donated to this foundation. Judith Gale grew up in Maryland and is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in NYC.


George Ohr

IMG_4768 IMG_4768 IMG_4768 IMG_4768Known as The Mad Potter of Biloxi, George Ohr was a genius of clay. Not only does his work in porcelain defy shapes and forms, they hold a certain grace and unique beauty. Wikipedia describes Ohr and his work as follows: George Ohr (July 12, 1857 – April 7, 1918) was an American ceramic artist. In recognition of his innovative experimentation with modern clay forms from 1880–1910, some consider him a precursor to the American Abstract-Expressionism movement.

He is considered one of the first art potters in the United States, a precurser to other art pottery designers and creators such as Rookwood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art describes him as "arguably America’s quintessential art potter. He built his own kiln, dug his clay, threw his vessels with extreme proficiency on the potter’s wheel to wafer thinness, altered those shapes, and then covered them with his own novel glazes. In form and decoration they are essentially Abstract Expressionist objects—almost 50 years before that movement was founded. In fact, deemed ultimately very modern in this century, they had great appeal to such modern artists as Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol, who formed collections of them. Ohr’s work is extraordinarily idiosyncratic and he practiced his own mantra of "no two alike," as exemplified by these works.

Ohr was a colorful character, and his quirky pottery became one of the added tourist attractions on Mississippi’s gulf coast. Self-proclaimed the "Greatest Art Potter on Earth," he was well ahead of his time, and the vases that he deemed "worth their weight in gold" would not command such prices until a few decades ago. Barely ten years after he began making such vases, Ohr closed his pottery, and packed up his pots, literally not to be discovered for another 50 years. Both of these vases came virtually straight from the artist’s cache, and were purchased by Martin Eidelberg, the donor, when the rediscovery of art pottery was in its infancy in the early 1970s."

 

 

 

 


Valerie Meotti

Valerie MeottiWorking in a range of disciplines, Valerie Meotti strives to give her art immediacy and understandability.

She explained, "Painting and creating visual art has been my passion for most of my life. My motives are not to send a message but to be felt. What one takes from my imagery is yours alone. I have a difficult time explaining why I create but I can tell you how. I have never felt I was a catalyst trying to reveal a profound message. 

I am not a singular artist in that I can not settle on one technique of expression. I enjoy having the versatility and knowledge to explore and experiment.  Watercolors are my base of operations, the one thing I rely on most. My unique digital transfer technique utilizes my graphic capability but lets me develop it freely like a painting, using both my major influences.  With this I cross over into collage components developing most of my mixed media works. Oil painting, I am new to but I love the color and luminescence that can be achieved.  I will continue my learning. Ceramics are mainly for the quirky characters I developed called Pistachio People and I still illustrate the little guys. I believe they can be in a successful mass market someday.  Someday I will achieve the independence to sustain my art. Just looking for some glimpse of encouragement."

 

Felix Vallotton

Felix vallottonAccording to the New York Times, Swiss painter and printmaker Félix Vallotton was an intriguing, talented but slippery artist. You often don’t quite know what to expect next in terms of style or subject, even within the same year.

Vallotton, who wrote criticism for a newspaper in Lausanne, Switzerland (where he was born in 1865), gave Rousseau an early laudatory review.

Although Vallotton ignored most of modernism, he influenced such surrealists as Dalí and Magritte, and also the Neue Sachlichkeit (new realism) painters of Weimar Germany.

In addition to painting, Vallotton created a series of groundbreaking woodblock prints in the 1890s, which made him famous, provided entry into the Parisian avant-garde and made his place in modernist art history. Their daring black and white compositions depict some of the pleasures, but more often skewer the hypocrisies and inequities of Parisian life. Vallotton did not see life as full of happy endings.

He made his first woodblock prints in 1891, inspired by the innovations of Japanese artists, eliminating their rich colors while exploiting their practice of cutting with rather than against the grain. It facilitated the curving shapes and lines basic to his formal wit.

Within a year Vallotton had a thriving, if not highly remunerative career. His terse exercises in dark and light appeared in periodicals, illustrated books and portfolios in Paris, then London and as far as Chicago. They were nearly instantly understood as radical, and by the mid-90s Vallotton was a regular illustrator for Le Cri de Paris, a left-wing magazine and the like-minded journal La Revue Blanche, which also covered culture (and was founded by Alexandre and Thadée Natanson). The woodblocks have the compression and legibility of cartoons and news photos, the formal daring of abstract art and the literary punch of modern short stories.

 


Viola Frey

Viola freyFrom Artists Legacy:

Over the course of her five-decade career, Viola Frey produced an impressive body of artwork, including ceramic sculpture, bronze sculpture, paintings, and drawings, and explored the mediums of glass, wallpaper, and photography. Internationally respected—with works held in over seventy public collections—Frey was drawn to the expressive potential of clay and, along with her colleagues Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos, instrumental in cracking the barrier between craft and fine art.

Born in 1933 and raised on her family's vineyard in Lodi, California, Frey felt compelled to create and exhibit artwork at an early age. When she was eleven, she submitted a rendition of a Matisse drawing for exhibition at the Sacramento Public Library and was excited when it was accepted. However, as she later reflected in her 1995 interview for the Archives of American Art, even at the age of eleven, she realized "the point was not to draw like Matisse but to draw like yourself."

After graduating high school in 1951, Frey took classes at Stockton College (now San Joaquin Delta College) before receiving a scholarship to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in Oakland. She completed her BFA in 1955 and then traveled to New Orleans to pursue an MFA at Tulane University. While there, she studied under George Rickey, Katherine Choy, and visiting artist Mark Rothko. In 1957, before finishing her graduate degree, Frey moved to New York, where Choy had recently founded the Clay Art Center in Port Chester and was actively engaged with the advancement of ceramic arts. To support herself, Frey commuted into Manhattan daily and worked in the business office of the Museum of Modern Art.

By 1960 Frey had returned to San Francisco, where figurative art and working with clay were in the vanguard. During this period, she produced functional pottery, wall plates, and ceramic sculpture, in addition to continuing a rigorous painting and drawing practice that focused on still-life, landscape, and figural compositions.

Office work helped to support Frey's artistic ambitions. She worked in Macy's accounting department from 1960–70 and during this period also began her teaching career. In 1964 she was hired at CCAC, at first as an Artist Potter in Residence and later teaching a color and light class in the Painting Department. When reflecting on her early teaching years, she mentioned particularly enjoying the freedom to work in all mediums. Frey felt that "the only way to establish oneself as an artist was to show that as an artist [she] was multifaceted and that [she] could work in other media. So no one could put [her] in a box." By 1971 she was a full-time assistant professor in the Ceramics Department and had purchased her first home, converting the basement into a studio.

Frey was a passionate collector. Along with fine art, china, and books, she collected figurines and knick-knacks found at flea markets, which served as inspiration for her junk sculptures, later called "bricolages." By curating and producing her own source materials, Frey created a complex personal iconography that would serve as her creative wellspring throughout her artistic career and assist in her exploration of power and gender dynamics.

In 1975 Frey moved from San Francisco to Oakland, where she could expand her studio outside and study how natural light would interact with the commercial glazes that she preferred. As her figures became more colorful and increasingly taller—eventually reaching over 10 feet—her need for space grew. In 1983, as a supplement to the home and garden studio that she owned, she rented a 5,000-square-foot warehouse to accommodate the monumental works that she was building to challenge both the viewer and herself. In 1996 she purchased a 14,000-square-foot warehouse, where she worked until the day of her death July 26, 2004.

Prior to her death, Frey exhibited annually, traveled the world to expand her art practice, received two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, taught thousands of students, guided the design and building of the Noni Eccles Treadwell Ceramic Arts Center on CCAC's Oakland campus, was honored with an honorary doctorate from CCAC, and co-founded Artists' Legacy Foundation. Learn more about her work and accomplishments at www.violafrey.org.


Adam Neate

Adam neateAdam Neate's art career started in the early 2000s painting as a graffiti artist. He went on to a term he calls free art, where he would paint on found pieces of cardboard and leave them around the streets of London for people to find and take home. Over the years he left thousands of individually painted works and was one of the early pioneers of the movement that is now called Street Art. In 2006 he was given the opportunity to show his paintings in a more traditional gallery setting at Elms Lesters, showing alongside established names like Futura and Phil Frost. Since then he has been featured in prominent solo and group exhibitions worldwide to great critical acclaim.

Adam Neate (born 1977) is a British painter, conceptual artist and described by The Telegraph in 2008 as "one of the world's best-known street artists". He specialised in painting urban art on recycled cardboard, and has left thousands of works in the street for anyone to collect. He is a contributor from the movement in transferring street art into galleries. Neate's street art has garnered global interest, having been documented on CNN reports and European television. Major collectors and celebrities are fighting for his original works and international critics have lauded the artist's work. Since 2011 Neate has been mastering his own language of 'Dimensional Painting'. Elms Lesters publish a range of Adam Neate's Dimensional Editions and Multiples