Alberto Savinio - Surrealism

Alberto Savinio real name Andrea Francesco Alberto de Chirico (25 August 1891 – 5 May 1952) was an Italian writer, painter, musician, journalist, essayist, playwright, set designer and composer. He was the younger brother of 'metaphysical' painter Giorgio de Chirico. His work often dealt with philosophical and psychological themes, and he also was heavily concerned with the philosophy of art.Throughout his life, Savinio composed five operas and authored at least forty-seven books, including multiple autobiographies and memoirs. Savinio also extensively wrote and produced works for the theater. Savinio's work received mixed reviews during his lifetime, often due to his pervasive use of modernist techniques. He was influenced by and a contemporary of Apollinaire, Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, and Fernand Léger, and had a significant influence on the surrealist movement.(....) 1927, he gave his first one-man show as a painter, at the Bernheim Gallery in Paris. Savinio's contributions to the Avant-Garde movement during this period sharply contrast with the provincialism that was favored by the National Fascist Party in Italy at this time. Angelica o la Notte di Maggio (Angelica or the Night in May), which was a parodical and surreal revisitation of the Ancient Greek myth of Eros and Psyche was published this year, as well. The novel tells the story of Angelica- a poor actress working in a second rate theater in Greece at the end of the nineteenth-century and Baron Felix Von Rothspeer, a loveless, older aristocrat. In many ways, Savinio makes the theater a central character in the plot; it is painted as a place where the senses and romance can be deeply explored and discovered.Judgments of Savinio's work varied wildly depending on the phase of his life and the reviewer. Many of Savinio's most critically praised works are also amongst his most disliked and misunderstood. This is largely due to Savinio's frequent and controversial use of modernist techniques for creative expression.From a very young age, Savinio's piano playing impressed critics nearly unanimously. Guillaume Apollinaire once said of Savinio's piano playing: " I was surprised and beguiled; Savinio mistreated his instrument so much that after each piece the keyboard had to be cleared of chips and splinters. I foresee that within two years he will have gutted every piano in Paris. Savinio will then go on to destroy every piano in the universe, which may be a true liberation."Judgment of his body of work as a whole was seen in 1954, when the Venice Biennale created a room devoted solely to Savinio's artistic legacy.According to the art historian Jean Clair, the works of Savinio and his brother Giorgio de Chirico were the basis of both the surrealist movement and magic realism.Wikipedia

















Jake Berthot

"Jake Berthot (1939–2014) was an American artist whose abstract paintings contained elements of both the minimalist and expressionist styles. During the first 36 years of his career his paintings were entirely non-figurative. His style changed in 1995 when he moved his studio from New York City to a rural community in upstate New York. While continuing to be abstract his paintings thereafter contained figurative elements and were seen to have greater emotional content. Throughout his career his work frequently appeared in solo and group exhibitions in both commercial and public galleries. It has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, National Gallery of Art, and other major American art museums. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981 and a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1983."(tate.org.uk)
"In the mid-1970s Berthot's style evolved. His work continued to have a painterly, lyrical quality, but he added bright colors to the muted palette of earlier work and introduced rectangular bars and ovals into canvases that were now simple rectangles.Regarding the bars, he later said that he worked to uncover the tension points, or focal points, that were inherent in the vertical and horizontal axes of a grid. He said he sought "a balance between the object and the opening," and thereby "to gradually achieve balance between my two influences: the systemic and the felt." "Yellow Bar With Red," of 1977 is typical of paintings in this period. Another well-known painting from this period, "Walken's Ridge," 1975-1976, is somewhat unusual. Although a pure abstraction, it has the size and shape of Monet's Water Lily paintings—14 feet wide in two equal sections— and has, as Berthot said, the feel of a landscape.During the 1980s Berthot began to exhibit etchings and drawings along with his paintings. The drawings were often graphite on a background of a gray enamel. The lines frequently formed ovoid shapes and were accompanied by quasi-calligraphic markings.A critic said this work contained a "poetic lyricism" that could be accessed "not at a cognitive level but at a more elemental, intuitive one." Berthot later told an interviewer that in it "gradually feeling began to predominate." The paintings of this period continued to employ ovals and rectangles in canvases on which the "materiality of pigment," as one critic noted, produced "a highly tactile surface."Another critic wrote that "the shimmering, encrusted surfaces of the 'ovals' are reminiscent of Claude Monet's late Waterlilies. The use of gold with deep reds and bright blues recall Medieval icons." Of his work at this time, Berthot said: "I try to break the code of painting and let it take on its own life without any code.During the early 1990s, Berthot continued to employ bars and ovals in paintings. Of this period in his career, Berthot later said, "I reached another point where the idea was closing in on itself, there was too much idea; the paintings started to feel too literal, too much like a figure in space. I wanted something more organic, more felt." He said that he wanted to "make the painting something you experience rather than just see."His "Hard Line" of 1980-83 is an early example of this approach, showing a rectangle in a muted background having bright accents that a critic said were and unexpected fiery flame. In 1994, Pepe Karmel, writing in the New York Times, said of works like these: "Despite the lack of recognizable imagery, the paintings seem haunted by a nostalgia for representation."The oval shape appears as well in Berthot's drawings and etchings of this period some of which had representational content, including most often an ovoid skull.Throughout his career, Berthot consciously kept aloof from the labeled art movements of his time. He once said, "I am not interested in the new but in trying to make paintings that refuse to grow old," and on another occasion, speaking of an affinity he felt with Cézanne's approach to his work, he said: "His clear method ... is not a closure but an opening.... You have to have a form and method and within that form and method, at a certain point you have to become the servant of the painting." Summing up this attitude on another occasion he said that as he worked a time would come when he felt that a painting would take over his consciousness "to dictate what it wanted to be." His paintings were his companions as well as the focus of his life."Wikipedia
















Anne Chu - Sculpture and installation art

Anne Chu (1959, New York - July 25, 2016, New York) graduated from Philadelphia College of Art in 1982 and received her MFA from Columbia University in 1985. Anne Chu created painted sculptures from a variety of materials. She was the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, The Penny McCall Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, and winner of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Competition."In keeping with her eclectic sources of inspiration—ranging from photographs of birds and medieval friezes to the biblical love poem “Song of Solomon”—Anne Chu works across media to produce diverse, evocative works that evoke mythology, ritual, and fables. Never literal, her sculptures, prints, paintings, and photographs are suggestive and imaginative musings on her chosen subjects. Chu's expressive sculptures of bears and bears’ heads, for example, reflect her interest in the terracotta warriors of China."(artsy.net)
"Chu received her BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1982 and earned her MFA from Columbia University only three years later. Since 1991, she has had more than thirty solo exhibitions at a number of institutions and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, such as Victoria Miro in London; Monica De Cardenas in Milan and Zuoz; Donald Young Gallery in Chicago; Galerie Karlheinz Meyer in Karlsruhe; 303 Gallery in New York; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro; Marc Foxx in Los Angeles; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.Chu has also been the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards. Among them are a John and Simon Memorial Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 1999, and the Alpert/Ucross Residency Prize in 2009.
In regard to Chu’s exhibition at the Kunstmuseen Krefeld/Museum Haus Lange, critic Hans Rudolf Reust said in the March 2013 issue of Artforum, “Chu’s installation surprises with an array of cultural fragments whose amalgamation seems at once unconventional and natural. The return of ornamentality, a lascivious luxury in spatial geometry, is here more than the return of what modernism repressed. She creates a bucolic and hybrid world that will certainly leave its mark on our memories of the rooms of the Haus Lange, already shaped by so many important exhibitions.”(artforum.com)