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From the Hyperallergic.com article: "[T]he album is a romp from its opening rave-up, 'Moonbeams,' which, after a poetic recitation backed by gentle birdsong, erupts into [Ono's] gasping yelps and a blast from the band, through 'Shine, Shine,' a hard-charging call for everyone to, well, shine. [...] Acorn invites readers to take part in collective imaginings. As the artist has often stated, 'A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.'"

 

26 July 2014

In the farm shed of a rural-Nebraska recluse, an astonishing healing machine

Emery Blagdon (1907-1986) was a reclusive, former farmhand, saw mill worker and gold prospector who settled on a farm in his native, rural Nebraska, not far from the city of North Platte. He lived alone and, over time, in an 800-foot-square shed on his property, used wire, metallic foil, scraps of wood, colored lights and assorted found objects to create unusual, talisman-like sculptural objects and abstract paintings. Densely packed together inside the shed, these

   
Above, left to right: Various components from Emery Blagdon's larger, all hand-crafted "healing machine" creation, including a mixed-media, chandelier-shaped sculpture, an abstract painting on board and a box-like wire sculpture. First photo by Kelly Rush; photos in center and at right courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York.  

“pretties,” as Blagdon called them, collectively constituted his “healing machine.” Blagdon believed his creations, individually and together, possessed a curative power that could positively affect people who found themslves in their presence. Just to be near them, he believed, was to absorb a soothing electromagnetic energy, which supposedly emanated from them. The artist was prompted to make his “machine” after having been deeply moved by the deaths from cancer of many of his family members. That disease would also lead to his own demise.

Now, Kelly Rush, a longtime promo-spot producer for Nebraskas statewide public-television network, has made a short film about Blagdons life and accomplishments. Click here to see my just-published article in HYPERALLERGIC about the film, Emery Blagdon & His Healing Machine. Click here to go to NET Nebraskas website, where the film may be viewed in its entirety. That website also offers a special section filled with archival photos and other material related to Blagdons life and remarkable artistic creation.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

10 July 2014

More about the Japanese modern artist Akira Shimizus intriguing art — collages and sculptures

LONDON — Im in sunny and hot, summertime London right now, but back in the U.S.A., Art & Antiques magazine has published a second article of mine about the work and career of the Japanese modern artist Akira Shimizu. It appears in the summer 2014 issue (the July-August double issue) of this publication. Recently, in New York, Shimizu presented his first-ever solo exhibition in the U.S. at Pavel Zoubok Gallery. I wrote about that show in Hyperallergic. See the orange-colored picture box above, at the top of this home page, to go to that article, or simply click here.

   
Above, left to right: One of the works from Akira Shimizu's Guidebook series of mixed-media collages, made with printed topographic maps of Japan, 1962-1972; Mesien, a mixed-media collage, 1999; Shunkou, a collage, 2011; and another work from Guidebook. Photos courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York.  

My Art & Antiques article echoes that earlier text but it also offers a different selection of photos of Shimizus works in various media, especially his sumptuous collages. Shimizu is an unusual figure in the annals and within the specific context of Japanese modern-art history in that, unlike many other Japanese modernists, he has always worked alone, not as a member of any artists association or artistic school or movement. Also, he has always been a collage-maker. Collage has been a big part of his oeuvre. However, among Japanese modern artists, collage-makers have been relatively rare.

Click here to see a PDF showing my complete, published Art & Antiques article as it appears in the print edition of this magazine.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

3 July 2014

Art in the streets: Its where you find it

NEW YORK — As I emerged from a long meeting, which had taken place in a building filled with offices and art galleries in Manhattans Chelsea district, the early-evening, summer light illuminated the street like a stage set. My mind was on the business matters I had just discussed with a friend and colleague, but as my eyes surveyed the urban landscape, an extraordinary object caught my attention. It was a large, clear-plastic bag filled with shredded paper — garbage, that is, from one of the nearby office buildings.

Above, left to right: Clear-plastic trash bags, each one filled with shredded papers from offices, lying in a dumpster on West 20th Street in Manhattan in early July. Photos by E.M.G..  

The fluffy ball glowed in the warm, yellowish light of the artificially long, late afternoon. (Thanks, Daylight Saving Time. Look up the history of this human-concocted, time-controlling practice here.)

Simply put, what I saw was one of the most evocative sculptural objects I had encountered in quite a while; it was plain, unassuming, even charming in its teasing play of visual textures and shadows and light. I wanted to touch it but I did not do so. Maybe it was sleeping or at least lounging lazily in that delicious, enticing, mood-changing light.

Of course, what I spotted there in the street was not a work of art at all. Still, it had more of a sense of presence (or what some aesthetes like to call an aura) than many works of contemporary art Ive seen in recent years. Certainly it had more going for it aesthetically and, dare I say it, emotionally, than anything in the bloated, vain, soulless Jeff Koons extravaganza that is now on view at the Whitney Museum in New York. Make a discovery like this, and the joke is on whom, exactly? Attention, conceptual artists: Back to your drawing boards!

Posted by E.M.G.

 

28 June 2014

At the leading folk art museum in the United States, an insightful re-examination of a diverse field

NEW YORK Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum is a new, wide-ranging exhibition now on view, through August 17, at the American Folk Art Museum, the leading institution in its field in the United States. Featuring roughly 100 creations in a variety of genres and materials — textiles, furniture, functional-decorative objects, paintings, sculptures and more — it is a rich, diverse survey of folk art that examines what the term self-taught” can, does and perhaps should mean when used to describe artists and artisans from many different backgrounds who produced highly original works from the mid-1700s to more recent times. This exhibition also looks at the notion of genius — at what it means, what its sources might be, and where, across a broad landscape of artistic creativity, it has been found.

Above, left to right: Logo of the current exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum in New York; David Cordier, Birth Record for Hana Oberholtzer, 1816, watercolor and ink on paper, 7 3/4 x 12 1/2 inches; uknown artist, Flag Gate, circa 1876, paint on wood, with iron and brass, 39 1/2 x 57 x 3 3/4 inches . Photos courtesy of American Folk Art Museum.  

My article about this exhibition has been published in HYPERALLERGIC. Click here to read it online.

Stacy C. Hollander is the American Folk Art Museum’s deputy director for curatorial affairs, chief curator and director of exhibitions. In her essay in the catalog that accompanies “Self-Taught Genius,” she notes that “the concept of ‘self-taught genius’ [...] has changed dramatically over time” from the 1700s to today. She writes, “The idea of ‘self-taught’ in America is entrenched in a culture of self-actualization that was fundamental to the revolutionary temperament and critical to the growth and success of a new nation.”

Hollander also points out that Enlightenment-era thinkers in Europe debated whether or not genius was something innate or God-given, a state of being or a psychological phenomenon. Whatever it was or wherever it originated, it certainly got swept up in the heady vapors of Romanticism. Hollander writes that, in “liberating genius from God and classical precedent, [and] by placing it within the life spark of man,” Romantic and Enlightenment ideas “opened [up] the possibility for freedom” of the self and the individual.

In other words, however much certain objects tagged as “folk art” might have been shaped by particular cultures or communities, or however much their forms might perpetuate or emulate certain well-established models (think of traditional baskets, ceramics, furnishings or painting genres, for instance), often there is a lot of self-expression packed into them, too — and it’s just waiting to be recognized and appreciated.

Check out this new article of mine to find out about some of the highlights of this intriguing exhibition, which, after its New York showing, will travel to six other venues in the U.S. through early 2017.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

12 June 2014

Kazumi Kamae packs mystery and emotion into her unusual expressions in fired clay

TOKYO — The Japanese self-taught artist Kazumi Kamae, who was born in 1966, lives in Shiga Prefecture, near Kyoto, where she produces her unglazed, fired-clay sculptures at Atelier Yamanami, an art-therapy workshop in the city of Koka. Her creations are among the most unusual to have appeared anywhere in recent years in the self-taught art field.

The central theme of Kamae’s work is her affection for Masato, a male staff member at the workshop. Kamae lives in a country whose popular culture is loaded with expressions of cuteness and sometimes mawkish sentimentality — smiling bunnies, puppies or fish routinely turn up in company logos, and Hello Kitty’s mouthless mug is ubiquitous. By contrast, despite the fact that Kamae’s subject matter is so personal, in her art she manages to abstract it in a manner that yields objects of mystery, intriguing ambiguity and considerable charm.

Above: Unglazed, fired-clay sculptures made by the self-taught Japanese artist Kazumi Kamae, on view at Yukiko Koike Presents, in Tokyo. Photos courtesy of the gallery.  

An excellent selection of Kamae’s works is now on view, through June 20, 2014, at Yukiko Koide Presents, a gallery in Tokyo that specializes in works made by self-taught artists. Titled “Kazumi Kamae: Masato, My Love,” the exhibition offers a good overview of the expressive range of Kamae’s art. Some of the sculptures on view are semi-abstract, totem-like forms with stubby arms and multiple eyes and mouths. Others seem to slouch like strange animals in repose. Kamae meticulously covers her sculptures with short, thick daubs of clay that resemble three-dimensional brushstrokes. From a distance, her works appear to be covered in fluffy pelts, belying the hard, crusty character of their surfaces. The artist’s remarkably skillful transformation of her humble material and the unusual aura of her creations contribute in a big way to her work’s allure.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

24 May 2014

17 May 2014

13 May 2014

12 May 2014

 

4 May 2014

A dialog in art: The folk art of Ilija (Bosilj) Bašičević and the heady conceptualism of “Mangelos”

   
Above, left to right: Dimitrije Bašičević (known as "Mangelos"), Paysage, 1951-1956, watercolor and ink over printed text on cream paper, 7.5 x 10.625 inches; Ilija (Bosilj) Bašičević, Noah's Ark, 1967, oil on wood, signed "Ilija," upper left, 31.875 x 48.25 inches; Mangelos, Pithagoras, 1951-1956, tempera on the centerfold from a book (ivory wove paper), inscribed "pilogora," lower left and "ser. d-5," lower right, 7.75 x 11.25 inches. Photos courtesy of Galerie St. Etienne.  

NEW YORK — Taking family ties and the notion of different categories of art (what is folk art or outsider art; what is “academic” art; in the former Soviet bloc countries, wasn’t avant-garde art “outsider,” too?) as starting points, Galerie St. Etienne, at 24 West 57th Street, in midtown Manhattan, is now presenting “Ilija/Mangelos: Father & Son, Inside and Out.” On view through July 3, this exhibition looks back at the distinctive oeuvres of two art-makers who lived and worked in what used to be Yugoslavia.

It pairs the paintings of Ilija (Bosilj) Bašičević (1895-1972), a Serbian peasant who in his lifetime received only four years of primary-school education and made pictures with allusions to the Bible, folk poetry and myth, and the conceptualist works of his highly intellectual, well-educated, critic-curator son Dimitrije Bašičević (1921-1987), whose nom d’artiste was “Mangelos.”

The aesthetic dialog between their two bodies of work is highly charged; Ilija’s pictures are full of color, fantasy and whimsy, while his son’s works are printed texts or images that he blacked out or obscured with gouache and, apparently, a minimalist aesthete’s determination — or glee. Literally or symbolically, what was Mangelos obliterating? At the time in his country, how provocative was such an artistic act? The frisson of tension that emanates from these two, side-by-side bodies of work is unusually compelling.

Painting at right: Ilija (Bosilj) Bašičević, Blue Lady,1967, oil on cardboard, signed "Ilija," center right, and titled, center left, 27.5 x 20.5 inches. Photo courtesy of Galerie St. Etienne.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

3 May 2014

 

27 April 2014

Now tracking: Michael Newman’s long journey to the heart of gestural abstract art-making

 

Above: Nuances (2014), pencil on Magnani paper; two sheets, each sheet 21.125 inches high x 23.75 inches wide. Click on the ART PROJECTS button on the menu in the upper, left-hand corner of this home page or click here to read my description, with photos, of artist Michael Newman's paintings and drawings in various media, which I'm looking at and thinking about now, and about which I'm working on an in-depth critical essay. Posted by E.M.G.

 

 

25 April 2014

Sculptor John Crawford: The subtle monumentalist

   
Above, left to right: The sculptor John Crawford at the opening of his current exhibition at Lori Bookstein Fine Art on April 24, 2014; Bifurcation—Arches (2013), forged steel; detail of Bifurcation—Arches; detail of a tall, free-standing work, Tower 1 (2006), forged steel, showing the triangularly shaped elements of which it is composed. Below: Interlock 3 (2014), forged steel. Photos by E.M.G.  

NEW YORK — As some art historians have noted, something happened to public sculpture after World War II. When it came to creating and displaying sculptural works whose purposes were to commemorate historic events, heroic individuals or groups, or such lofty concepts as world peace, abstraction as the language for evoking or expressing such themes was inherently not literal. Sometimes it lacked the oomph of more traditional, figurative forms. Also, assemblage and minimalist sculptures changed viewers’ perception of the space they and such works actually occupied and in which they engaged each other’s energies. Non-public or studio sculpture felt the effects of such tendencies. In any case, modernist abstract sculptures do not have to be as huge, imposing and bombastic as Richard Serra’s COR-TEN steel leviathans to make an impact. The American sculptor John Crawford proves this point convincingly in his new exhibition at Lori Bookstein Fine Art (138 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea, through May 24). Muscular, full of allusions to organic shapes and confidently clever (these works don’t have to show off), Crawford’s creations, like fine woodwork, seem to celebrate the craftsmanship that gave them form in texture-rich forged copper or forged steel.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

19 April 2014

Strange — and strangely compelling — images from the Iranian-born painter Marzie Nejad

Marzie Nejad self-taught artist Luise Ross Gallery

NEW YORK — The self-taught, Iranian-born, New Jersey-based painter Marzie Nejad has come up with some of the strangest images I’ve seen in a long time. How about a picture of Frida Kahlo, that unibrowed, cult-worshipped patron saint of Mexican modernism, appearing to enjoy a pleasant nap as she tumbles down a rushing waterfall in a Chinese-style canoe? (See “Frida” [2012], here on the left.) In the background: a high ridge topped by the ruins of an ancient Roman aqueduct. Or how about “Memory” (2014) with its row of vine-filled flower boxes rolling out into the far distance of the pictorial space against a curtain of foggy color that is joyously multi-striped, like a rainbow. Where do such images come from?

In a recent interview, Nejad, who gladly retired from medicine (kidneys were her specialty) to devote her time to painting, told me, “My pictures come more from visions than from my dreams.” More evidence of Nejad’s audacious image-making will be on view in “Conversation,” her solo exhibition at Luise Ross Gallery in New York’s Chelsea district, which will open on April 24 and run through May 31. See my article about the work in this show in HYPERALLERGIC. In it, I consider whether or not looking at this kind of art from a typically ironic (and, implicitly, somewhat condescending) postmodenist point of view is the most appropriate way to examine it or not.

 

12 April 2014

Primoridial, mark-making gestures and texture-rich surfaces in Gene Mann’s New York debut

Gene Mann Andrew Edlin Gallery abstract art

NEW YORK — The Swiss-French artist Gene Mann is presenting her first-ever solo exhibition in New York at Andrew Edlin Gallery (through April 26). On view: Richly textured works, which blend gestural painting, figurative drawing and collage on everything from small pieces of cardboard to big boards. Often an air of something primordial and elemental wafts through Mann’s art. Her images of semi-abstract human figures and freewheeling abstractions celebrate the basic act of making lasting, even yearning personal marks. They’re gestures that emphatically say, “I am alive. I am here.” For more about Mann’s life and work, see my article about this exhibition in the online arts-and-culture magazine HYPERALLERGIC.

 

10 April 2014

Make it big, really big: Artist Jack McLean’s strange, funny, crowded, sprawling drawings

NEW YORK — A few months ago, in Tokyo, I met the Scottish-born artist Jack McLean, who has lived and worked in Japan for two decades and who sometimes likes to dress up as a tree. In my just-published article about McLean’s art and ideas in the April issue of the American art magazine Art & Antiques, you can read about his unusual drawings in ink on paper or canvas, and about how packed they are with overlapping, weird-funny scenes and goofy characters. You might even recognize some of the neurotic urban types and 21st-century zombies McLean depicts in his visual offerings of the human comedy in all of its self-absorbed, head-turning, gadget-obsessed, curse- and laughter-inducing splendor. See a PDF containing the published pages of this magazine article here. McLean is represented by The Container, a gallery in Tokyo.

 

23 March 2014

Carve it! Near Chicago, the works of self-taught artist William Dawson in career survey

MUNSTER, INDIANA — In this town some 30 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, the South Shore Arts Center is presenting “William Dawson” (through April 20), a retrospective of the work of the well-known American self-taught artist who was born in Alabama in 1901, spent most of his life in Chicago and died in 1990. The exhibition was organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Alabama. Known for his wooden totems featuring stacks of heads with nearly generic facial expressions, Dawson also made paintings on paper of animals and the occasional abstract creation. Highlights of this survey include carvings of birds, several stand-alone figures (including a forlorn-looking Uncle Sam) and a charming but somewhat ghoulish depiction of the cheery 1970s pop-music act, Tony Orlando and Dawn (left). Remember “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” the group’s big hit from 1973? Probably better not to... I love the idea that Dawson compressed his depiction of this chart-topping trio’s two female back-up singers into a single figure. That’s them/her on the right in this photo, with real human hair, too.

 

21 March 2014

Strange images from a sometimes spontaneous, sometimes masterfully controlled flow of ink

Marcos Bontempo    
Untitled works on paper (2012), made with ink and/or acrylic paint, and sometimes with salt or iron oxide, by Marcos Bontempo. Photos: Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago.  

CHICAGO — Here in the Loop’s gallery district, Carl Hammer Gallery is presenting “Spiritual Meanderings” (through March 29), an exhibition of 52 small-format drawings by the Argentine-born artist Marcos Bontempo. Bontempo, who has lived in Spain since his childhood, sometimes suffers from schizophrenic episodes. To make his art, he uses ink or acrylic paint, occasionally mixing salt or iron oxide into these materials (which can give his black ink a molten, blood-red appearance) to make images the surrealists of the 1920s probably would have found captivating.

Using a technique that seems to be as controlled as it is spontaneous, Bontempo masks out certain parts of his larger, animated forms, such as their hands and feet, while allowing broader brushstrokes to shape the main trunks of their bodies. From a distance, some of the artist’s primordial-feeling, half-human, half-animal figures — a man with a bird’s head, a giraffe with a man’s head — appear to be ornately decorated with line work as fine as that of old engravings. On closer inspection, however, it turns out that it is the free flow of his ink or paint that naturally generates such richly, randomly patterned passages.

Bontempo’s strange figures, with their gargoyles’ wings, curling tails or spiky plumage jerk, twitch, bend and stretch in silhouette, like bizarre characters in shadow-puppet plays. Compelling and mysterious, his haunting pictures leave after-images that are hard to shake.

Carl Hammer will bring a selection of Bontempo’s works to the 2014 Outsider Art Fair in early May (May 8-May 11).

Posted by E.M.G.

 

25 February 2014

In New York, artist Yoko Ono presents the 2014 Courage Awards for the Arts

NEW YORK - First presented in 2009, Yoko Ono’s Courage Awards for the Arts are among the less well-known expressions of philanthropy and cultural activism for which the internationally famous multimedia artist, performer and peace activist has been recognized. Still, as Ono has said, it is an awards program whose mission and character resonate deeply with the artist herself. That’s because, Ono has observed, over the decades she has learned a thing or two about perseverance, struggle and striving to remain true to one’s creative vision, often in the face of harsh criticism, misunderstanding or rejection.

Above, left to right: Artist Yoko Ono presiding at the podium at the presentation of the 2014 Courage Awards for the Arts in New York this past Sunday, Feb. 24, 2014; Ono’s white top hat; performance artist Laurie Anderson, one of this year’s laureates, at the awards ceremony.. Photos by E.M.G.  

With such themes in mind, Ono’s Courage Awards acknowledge the achievements and the stick-to-itiveness of art-makers, music-makers, creative visionaries and determined champions of free expression, that indispensable, basic human right that allows creativity to flow. Past recipients of the awards have included, among others, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange; the feminist artist, writer and activist, Kate Millett; composer-performer Meredith Monk; the Guerrilla Girls; composer-performers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela; and the 19th-century writer Émile Zola. (In fact, PEN American Center, the organization that supports writers and freedom of expression, picked up Zola’s 2010 award for him in that long-deceased author’s name.) Each award consists of a framed certificate and a check in the amount of $25,000.00.

Speaking to a gathering of guests that included Patti Smith, composer and WNYC-FM radio-program host David Garland (“Spinning on Air”), artist and Franklin Furnace Archive founder Martha Wilson (a 2012 Courage Award laureate), museum curators and other art-world figures, Ono presented the 2014 Courage Awards for the Arts to performance artist-musician Laurie Anderson; the Vienna-based, Austrian artist Valie Export; the British singer-actress Marianne Faithfull; and the London-based artist Gustav Metzger, who is most often associated with “auto-destructive” art.

More... (Click here to open a PDF containing full news report.)

Posted by E.M.G.

 

14 January 2014

American Visionary Art Museum

In this article, the American Visionary Art Museum’s founder-director, Rebecca A. Hoffberger, who organized the exhibition, notes that it “proposes that we can either use technology to empower or to diminish what it means to be human. The choice, as the art and information on display suggest, is ours to make — and it’s one we have a responsibility to make wisely.”

 

Below: Some of my articles and essays published in late 2013 and early 2014

Click on each box to go directly to a PDF or website, where you can read the text in its entirety, as it appeared in its original publication.

 

11 December 2013

In Japan, a Scottish artist creates fantasy worlds (on some very large sheets of paper)

Click here for the website of The Container, the Tokyo gallery that represents artist Jack McLean.

 

1 December 2013

Ati Maier’s complex compositions explore outer (and inner) space

 
Above, left to right: Paintings by the artist Ati Miaier, including Giant Dipper (2010) and Savvy (2010). Dimensions of both works: 53 inches x 94.5 inches. Materials used to make both paintings: Airbrush and ink on paper. Photos courtesy of Pierogi.  

NEW YORKPierogi, the well-known gallery in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the very epicenter of world hipsterdom, recently presented “The Map Is Not the Territory” (September 6-October 6, 2013), an exhibition of paintings by the German-born, New York-based artist Ati Maier. At its nearby sister space, The Boiler, it offered a mixed-media installation and thematically related video works Maier had created.

The exuberant, complex compositions of Maier’s paintings (which she makes with ink, wood stain and acrylic on paper, often using an airbrush) especially caught my eye. They were dazzling. I wrote a brief article about this artist’s work for the American magazine Art & Antiques, which has been published in its winter 2013 issue (its December 2013/January 2014 double issue).

“I’ve long been very interested in outer space,” Maier old me. She added, “I see my recent work as a reflection of my exploration of inner space, too.” Packed with overlapping, web-like thickets of pulsating lines, roller coaster ribbons of color and spinning wheels of vibrant hues, Maier’s abstractions bring to mind various points of reference. Among them, she notes, are “constellations of stars, the palettes of the expressionist Blue Rider group — artists like Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc — and outer-space phenomena like black holes and comets.”

Click here to see a PDF containing my article. Please note: It’s a large file (9.6 megabytes). Give it a few seconds to download.

Posted by E.M.G.

 

6 November 2013

In Tokyo, a self-taught artist celebrates the human spirit in intricate, abstract drawings

TOKYO—In Japan, the 67-year-old, self-taught artist Hiroyuki Doi, a former master chef who worked in some of Tokyo’s top restaurants, has been making abstract drawings in ink on paper for several decades. Since his art first emerged on the international scene in a solo exhibition at the now-closed Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York in 2002, Doi’s compositions, which are made up of little more than dense groupings of tiny black circles, have become increasingly complex in form and ever more expansive in the themes they have addressed.

Doi has observed that, for him, “using circles to produce images has provided soothing relief from the sadness and grief” he has felt since the death, many years ago, of his youngest brother from a brain tumor. Since then, Doi has created works that have alluded, as he puts it, to such themes as “the transmigration of the soul, the cosmos, the coexistence of living creatures, human cells, human dialog and peace.”

He feels strongly about art that reveals the touch of its maker’s hand; he believes the most soulful, expressive artworks let viewers know they were made by fellow humans, not by machines. Doi told me: “I want to create works that will convey to future generations a message about the importance of this human touch.”

To create his drawings, Doi uses a kind of Pilot brand pen that is manufactured and marketed only in Japan. Its .005 milimeter, polyacetal tip keeps its shape and, unlike a felt-tip pen, does not dry out. It dispenses black, oil-based ink smoothly until its last drop. Doi draws on Japanese washi, or handmade paper, which can be produced using various ingredients. Doi has used washi made with fibers from the bark of such shrubs or trees as the kouzo (the paper mulberry), the ganpi and the mitsumata.

Now, with “Hiroyuki Doi: Pen & Art,” a mini-retrospective of his small and large drawings of recent years at Pen Station Museum (near Kyobashi subway station in Tokyo; on view through December 20), Japanese viewers have an opportunity to get to know the work of an artist who has become better known overseas.

My article about Doi’s drawings and his current exhibition at Pilot Pen Station, an art space operated by the Pilot Pen Corporation, has been published in the November 6, 2013 edition of The Japan Times/International New York Times. Find the text of the article, with photos, here, on the newspaper’s website.

Posted by E.M.G.

Photos at left, top to bottom: Doi at work in his studio in Tokyo; one of the artist's untitled abstractions; Edward shooting a photo of the artist at his current exhibition at Pilot Pen Station; a view of some works in the show. All photos by E.M.G. except second from top, courtesy of Ricco/Maresca, New York.

 

 

Below: Some of my articles and essays published in the summer and the autumn, 2013

Click on each box to go directly to a PDF or website, where you can read the text in its entirety, as it appeared in its original publication.

   

 

OLDER POSTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Vernacular photography" is the term that's being used nowadays to refer to photos whose creators and, sometimes, whose intended purposes are unknown. It's also the name of a hot collecting category. My article about this field and some of the leading collectors of these unusual, often dramatic images was published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Art & Antiques (U.S.A.). See it here. A PDF will take a few seconds to open and download.

My article about the legendary, British-born surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, who died in Mexico City in May 2011, was published in the September 2011 issue of Art & Antiques (U.S.A.). I was one of the last foreign visitors to meet with the reclusive artist at her home in the Mexican capital before she died. See the article here in the form of a PDF. It will take a few seconds to download and open.

Now available: My essay, "Nostalgia for the Future," about the American painter Stephanie Brody-Lederman, in a limited-edition chapbook published by Ballena Studio.

To order a copy, send a check or money order for U.S.A.$6.00 (U.S.A.$7.00 for orders outside the United States) to: Edward M. Gómez, P.O. Box 7339, J.A.F. Station, New York NY 10116-7339 U.S.A.

My article about an interesting discussion that is now going on in the field of outsider/self-taught artists' art has been published in the February 2011 issue of Art & Antiques(U.S.A.). The debate focuses on this question: Should there even be a distinction of categories between art made by academically trained, "professional" artists and art that is created by self-taught art-makers? Here is the complete Art & Antiques article in PDF form.

My article about the Japanese modern artist Takesada Matsutani, pegged to his recent museum exhibition in Kamakura, Japan, has been published in the May 2010 issue of Art in America. (See my 7 February 2010 "Journal" item for information about this artist and his recent exhibitions in Japan.) Matsutani, who has been based in Paris since the late 1960s, was a member of the so-called second generation of the post-World War II Gutai group of prototypical performance and abstract-expressionist artists in Japan. Here is the complete Art in America article in PDF form.

My interview with the artist Aurora Robson was published in the October 2009 issue of Art in America. In it, the Brooklyn-based, Canadian creator of paintings and mixed-media collages, and of sculptures made from cast-off plastic bottles, talks about her philosophy of art-making and the techniques she employs. Of special interest: Robson's environmentalist outlook and how she puts her save-the-planet values into practice as an artist and teacher. Read the article here. A PDF will open.