Poetic and Spiritual: The Photography of Noell S. Oszvald

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by Noell S. Oszvald

by Noell S. Oszvald

Poetry, meditation and spirituality are often linked. Since the Romantic movement, poetry has been about using an economy of words–condensing meaning only to the essential–to express our profound feelings. Similarly to meditation, this process requires looking within.  The photography of the Hungarian artist Noell S. Oszvald is poetic and spiritual: a visual meditation through images rather than a verbal one through thoughts and words.

by Noell S. Oszvald

by Noell S. Oszvald

It seems to be inspired by the the Buddhist practice of focused thought to achieve peace of mind and the cultivation of wisdom. There’s also a certain animism in it, as the human figure–usually a willowy and beautiful young woman with long dark hair–appears in total harmony with her environment. She often mirrors the positions of the objects or beings around her.

by Noell S. Oszvald

by Noell S. Oszvald

Like in poetry, form itself takes on the utmost importance. In one image we see the young woman from behind assuming exactly the same position as the cat sitting next to her. In another photo, she bends like the tree close to her, in an environment as minimalist and stark as the setting of Samuel Beckett’s plays. In fact, the human being mimics so well her surroundings that she, too, appears to be a prop in the theater of life.

by Noell S. Oszvald

by Noell S. Oszvald

Beckett once said, “All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.”

by Noell S. Oszvald

by Noell S. Oszvald

Existential in mood without being somber, Noell S. Oszvald’s photographs do not offer, however, a long sonata of the dead. They stage the perfect setting for a meditation about life, simplicity of forms, oneness between body and mind, and a sense of harmony with our surroundings that doesn’t place human beings on top, but rather as one with nature.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

 

A Surrealist Futurism: The Art of Adam Martinakis

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by Adam Martinakis

by Adam Martinakis

The cosmopolitan artist Adam Martinakis was born in Poland, grew up in Greece and lives in England. His style combines a unique mixture of Surrealism and Futurism and his genre can be described as highly versatile. Adam creates sculptures, intallations, and 3D models (via digital photography).

by Adam Martinakis

by Adam Martinakis

Although many of his works would fit right in as the posters for science fiction movies, they are, quite literally, multidimensional, not only in form but also in content. These silent humanoid figures speak volumes about the complexity of romantic love; the angst of the human condition (reminsicent of Edvard Munch’s expressionism); the pieces of our personalities and external influences that compose each and every one of us socially and psychologically.

by Adam Martinakis

by Adam Martinakis

There’s a clear scientific bent to Martinakis’s images and installations, as many of the human figures are positioned within structures that look like the orbits of planets or the makeup of atoms, reminding us, as did the ancient philosophers, of our material place within the universe.

The remains of a memory by Adam Martinakis

The metaphysical dimension of Adam Martinakis’s artwork is very evident in the sculpture “The remains of a Memory,” which reveals both the physical closeness of the lovers and the ephemeral nature of their temporal bond. Like the lovers themselves, memory and existence are inseparably intertwined. As their memory of each other disintegrates, so do their bodies. Adam Martinakis combines art, philosophy and science to create works of art that make profound statements about the human condition.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

Commemorating childhood: The figurative art of Mark Lovett

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by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

I find it rather extraordinary that we commemorate through art important historical events, war heroes, authors and political leaders, yet we rarely commemorate in art what is most important to most of us: our family lives and our children. During the 19th and 20th centuries, depicting children in art was usually relegated to female painters (most notably, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot) or depicted with unsettling undertones of sexuality, as is the case in Balthus’s controversial paintings.

The figurative painter Mark Lovett commemorates through his beautiful paintings and photographs what matters most to so many of us: our children. Mark Lovett depicts children,  particularly girls, during the years (between 3 and 12) when they are old enough to appreciate family activities yet young enough to still enjoy the company of their parents. The subject of family and children is inherently personal, so I will mention one personal note, which is part of the reason why I’m so touched by Mark Lovett’s art. I remember with great fondness the many activities my husband and I did with our children, Alex and Sophie, when they were younger: apple orchards, zoo trips, museums, Renaissance fairs, art camps, cub scouts, hiking and vacations in so many beautiful places around the world. The kids, and their joie de vivre, added enormous pleasure and sense of meaning to our lives.

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

Because this part of childhood and family life lasts roughly ten years, it’s easy to have the false impression that it will never go away. Yet like everything beautiful in life, it’s ephemeral  and it passes. As the children grow up,  you can relive your their early years and the joy they brought to your family in your memory, in your heart and, if you’re fortunate, in great artwork like the one created by Mark Lovett.

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

Mark is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where he studied figurative and portrait painting at Nelson Shanks’ Studio Incamminati in Pennsylvania and of The Art League School in Alexandria, VA. As  you can probably tell by looking at  his realist paintings, Mark finds inspiration in the old masters. He is particularly influenced by the works of Bouguereau, Sargent, Renoir and Monet. He employs many of their techniques, particularly in depicting his subjects in a realistic fashion. Yet ultimately, like all great painters, he has his own unique style.

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

Mark’s works depict children in an unsentimental fashion that nonetheless evokes the best experiences many of us have of our family lives. His backgrounds tend to use bold strokes, while his figures themselves–the children–are very finely painted, with a delicate touch that captures their individual features and expressions.

As you can see on his website,http://www.marklovettstudio.com/,Mark has won numerous awards including: 2006 Portrait Society of America Children’s Portrait Competition;  MD Annual Art Show and 2005 Rockville Art League Art Show Winner. His works have been featured in numerous magazines, including Washington Spaces Magazine 2007 and 2006; Who’s Who of Strathmore Worldwide 2007-2008; Preview Magazine Art Expo, NY 2007; Strathmore Applause Magazine cover 2006; Art Business News Magazine 2006 and 2005.  You can view his works primarily in his own studio, MarkLovettStudio, as well as in several galleries in the U.S. and Europe, including the prestigious gallery Galerie Pierre in France (http://about.me/GaleriePierre). Thanks to Mark Lovett’s talent and works, we can commemorate our children’s most fun and memorable years through art, as well as in our lives and fondest memories.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

E. H. Gombrich and Arthur Danto: Setting the highest standards in expository writing in the arts and humanities

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The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich

The Story of Art by E. H. Gombrich

Like many scholars of my generation, I have lived through the “culture wars” in the arts and humanities, marked by the rise and critique of poststructuralist and postmodern theories. My personal view on these so-called “culture wars” is that life’s too short to focus on the negative. Why get bogged down in largely academic debates, when there’s so much of value in art and culture? Early on in my career as an art and literary critic, I made a conscious decision to concentrate on the aspects of art, literature and scholarship that I believe make major contributions to culture internationally.  This is what the postromantic art movement, which I co-founded with Leonardo Pereznieto in 2002, is all about.

https://fineartebooks.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/what-is-postromanticism/

http://www.catchy.ro/manifestul-postromantismului/29786

famous quotes by Albert Einstein

famous quotes by Albert Einstein

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Albert Einstein                                

The inspiration I found in the writing of art historians/aesthetic theorists E. H. Gombrich and Arthur Danto kept me going along this positive and constructive path. In my opinion, their books set the highest standards in expository writing in the arts and humanities. Both of them felt equally comfortable writing for a large general audience as for a smaller group of specialists. In fact, they wrote different books for these different audiences. Though highly respected for their scholarship, both Gombrich and Danto are best known for explaining art history and aesthetics to the general public in a simple, clear and engaging manner. They abide by one of the most famous sayings attributed to Albert Einstein—“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”—which, I believe, should be a mantra for expository writing in the arts and letters (creative writing being, of course, another matter).

forgetting-renoir-2

E. H. Gombrich and “The Story of Art”

Gombrich put into practice his belief that clarity, logical elegance and simplicity are the best ways to communicate ideas about the history of art. Although the author is appreciated among scholars for his later theoretical works, The Sense of Order (1979) and Art and Illusion (1960), which present a psychology of perception and explain the artistic process, his best-known and best-selling work is, by far, The Story of Art (1950). Originally intended as a high school textbook, the book is written so simply and clearly—and it reveals such a genuine appreciation of art–that it quickly became very popular with the general public. Translated into 39 languages, this introduction to art history has been a bestseller for over 50 years, selling over six million copies worldwide. “This is a book which may well affect the thought of a generation,” The Times Literary Supplement declared in 1950. This high praise turned out to be an understatement. The Story of Art has influenced many generations and, I predict, it will continue to do so.

Brancusi-TheKiss

Aside from its clarity, simplicity and eloquence, this book explains cogently and persuasively how the artistic process works. It also introduces the most important artists and art movements of Western civilization. E. H. Gombrich declares from the start: “There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists” (“The Story of Art,” New York and London, Phaidon Press, 15). By this the author means that art has no timeless standards of value or beauty.

egyptian_princess

There is no essence that encompasses that which different periods and cultures call artistic. Rather than trying to capture the essence of art, Gombrich focuses instead on the particularity of artistic movements and the accomplishments of individual artists. Which is not to say that he leaves aesthetics to the philosophers. His descriptions of artistic movements interweave the texture that holds groups of artists together under a dialogue of assumptions, perceptual problems they are working on, innovations, economic possibilities and modes of representation.

famous Picasso quotes

famous Picasso quotes

“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” Pablo Picasso 

Although written for a general audience, and therefore in a much simpler more accessible style, The Story of Art is not worlds apart from his best-known scholarly book, Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. In both books, Gombrich describes the creative process from a psychological—and hence social–perspective. He contends that artistic creativity is never fully original. In fact, originality didn’t become important until the Renaissance and didn’t become the main artistic standard until the nineteenth century. But no matter what period we are considering, no artist reinvents the wheel, Gombrich contends. Each artist inherits artistic conventions (which he calls “schemata”) and selectively incorporates some of the techniques of established artists that came before him (or her).

Rodin-The-Kiss

This doesn’t mean, of course, that new art is a simple regurgitation of the past. Rather, the past—with its diverse styles and traditions—offers inspiration for new generations of artists.  This leaves a lot of room for creativity. The best artists abide by Pablo Picasso’s famous quote, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist”.

M. C. Escher

M. C. Escher

According to Gombrich, artistic creativity consists of a trial and error process of experimenting with former techniques and inventions to create something fresh and new for your times. His main contribution, however, is that he manages to make even indifferent readers appreciate art. There’s no way to describe, without having the pleasure of reading The Story of Art, how Gombrich’s clear, simple and eloquent writing style captures readers’ attention and imagination, making us fall in love with art. This is any art historian’s greatest achievement.

fountain

Arthur Danto and “Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present”

Arthur Danto has a unique background that prepares him equally well to be both philosopher (of art and aesthetics) and art critic/historian. He thrives in both fields, which are not only close, but also complementary. The field of aesthetics explains the underlying structure of art: what is art; how is it created; what is an artist; how does art reach an audience; what are the relationships between art and other fields, like sociology, religion, psychology and life in general. Art history touches upon all of these questions, since the works of every artist are, simultaneously, a creative process, a form of knowledge, an expression, and a contribution to society (even if for some, like the Dada movement, it’s just to negate meaning, “high art” and knowledge).

Like Gombrich, Danto expresses his ideas and theories equally well for both a large mainstream audience and for a small group of specialists in  art and aesthetics. From 1984 to 2009, Danto was the art critic for The Nation. For many years, he also taught philosophy at Columbia University, where he is now Johnsonian Professor Emeritus in Philosophy. He’s known as one of the most effective and earliest proponents of postmodern art. In fact, he introduced Andy Warhol to the general public before he was (in)famous.

andy_warhol_gallery_5

In most of his theoretical work, Danto explains the rise of conceptual art. His artistic heroes are Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, who arguably contributed most to make art what it is today: aesthetic in the critical and reflexive ideas it raises about art, not in the way it represents objects. Duchamp’s urinal and Warhol’s brillo boxes, Danto argues, are not artistic in their materiality. There’s nothing intrinsic to these objects that makes them different from ordinary household objects. Their aesthetic qualities, Danto suggests, lie in the way their make us question the nature and existence of art in a radically new and provocative way.

discobolus+Myron

The millennia-old Platonic tradition of understanding art as some kind of inferior mimesis or imitation of reality is clearly gone in such ready-made objects and pop assemblages. Gone is also the equally old tradition, famously initiated by Plato and resurrected by the Romantics and even by Gautier, of art as a special, almost daemonic, inspiration that leads to the creation of beauty. Last but not least, in reading Danto we get the impression that the notion of creativity and originality, so vehemently defended by Emile Zola, remains in artists such as Duchamp and Warhol, but is hard to match after them.

Damien Hirst

Once originality is pushed so far as to eliminate the intrinsic qualities and extrinsic social functions of art, what’s left of aesthetics? Does art even continue to exist as a separate domain of creativity? Even Danto, the philosophical defender of pop art before it became popular, is not optimistic about the future of art. In After the End of Art (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1998), Danto sees no innovation possible after the destruction of the aesthetic object. Tracing the path to this destruction and seeing if it can be, in some ways, reversed or pushed beyond the current impasse hence presents a real challenge.

Encounters and Reflections by Arthur Danto

Encounters and Reflections by Arthur Danto

As is the case with Gombrich, Danto’s writing is most effective—and moving—in his art criticism. Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1997) contains many of his vivid art reviews published in The Nation between the years 1986 and 1990.  In these essays, the aesthetic philosopher takes a back seat to the art historian. Danto reveals the wonders of the greatest artists in the history of art, from old-time favorites such as Van Gogh and Klimt, to relative newcomers—and two of his personal favorites–Warhol and Mapplethorpe.  Accessible, clearly written, poetic in style, and reflecting not only a deep appreciation of art history but also a genuine love of art, Gombrich’s The Story of Art and Danto’s Encounters and Reflections continue to enlighten countless readers and set the highest standards for expository writing in the arts and humanities.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754