Exposition Art Blog: September 2017

Abstract painting - Harold Zisla

Harold Zisla (June 28, 1925 – March 18, 2016) was an American abstract expressionist painter and art educator. In 1968 he became the founding chair of the Fine Arts Department at Indiana University South Bend, where he taught until his retirement in 1989.Zisla graduated from the Cleveland School of Art and Western Reserve University. He moved to South Bend, Indiana in 1952, where he worked first as a designer at Uniroyal. He directed the South Bend Art Center (now the South Bend Museum of Art) from 1957 to 1966, prior to accepting the professorship at what was then called the South Bend-Mishawaka Campus of Indiana University. Four-year degree programs had just been authorized in 1965, and Zisla had the responsibility of hiring new faculty.
Zisla said about painting that it "should be, more than anything else, a liberation into the spirit of the artist, and to have presence, impact, dynamism, freedom from the trite, the contrived, the boringly dead." Paintings, he said, "must be alive.”
Harold Zisla married Doreen on August 13, 1946. They have two children, Paul Zisla and Beverly Welber.Wikipedia


John Saccaro - abstract expresionism

John Saccaro (1913-1981) was born in San Francisco, and was a camoufleur in France in the Army during WWII.
He began his artistic career working for the Federal Arts Project in the Murals Section at Treasure Island in the 1930s.  In 1939, at the age of 25, he was given a solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and in 1954, he graduated from the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute).  Saccaro later went on to teach at UCLA from 1963 to 1964.
Around 1955, Saccaro began to paint in the manner for which he is best known, using a slashing, angular brush work that bears resemblance to the gestural canvases of Kline.  He called these paintings "sensory raids," defining sensorism as "the scrape, slash, and violence of the sensory."
Saccaro's bright palette contrasted to the earth tones and monochromes more common among San Francisco artists at the time.  He was a major contributor to the San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism, and his works appear in the book of the same name by Susan Landauer (published by UC Press in 1996).  Saccaro's work has been featured in several West Coast exhibitions, including shows at the San Francisco Museum of Art, de Young Museum, and Oakland Museum.(westbrookmodern.com)


Black and white photography Pedro Luis Raota

"Pedro Luis Raota was one of the 20th century's most important photographers. Since his first recognition in 1958, he garnered over 150 international awards and honors for his exceptional work in the humanitarian genre. His photographs have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and are included in public and private collections around the world.
Raota's unique and memorable talent for capturing the depth of human spirit in his photographs has brought him comparisons to other legendary photographers. Like Dorothea Lange or W. Eugene Smith, this Argentinian master presents haunting portraits of a stricken humanity. Other photographs are filled with joy or comical confrontations, spontaneous "decisive moments" akin to Cartier-Bresson or Robert Doisneau. There is a rare focused intensity of spirit in nearly all Raota's portraits, which has been compared to the work of Paul Strand. In the final analysis however, these extraordinary images step beyond comparisons to other photographers and stand apart as powerful masterpieces, unique and singularly moving.

 This is a personal collection of work that comes from the heart of a Latin tradition stretching back through Goya to Ribera, and forward to contemporary Spainish cinema. Emotion is conveyed through an isolated face; gestures of people pictured together bind them into interdependent relationships; suffering is contained in dignity. Raota's artistry ranges from the sweetness of young innocence to raw realism. His compositions are as classical as the lighting is dramatic, yet without artifice. Each photograph becomes a direct, spontaneous glimpse into the life of his subject. The image lingers in our memory long after viewing. This unusal body of work adds a quality of personal feeling to the contemporary world of photography.
Raota has been called "one of the ten best photographers in the world" for the significant number of distinguished honors and awards he received from juries on five continents. Raota's images possess an unmistakable and distinctive style forged from a spirit of infinite tenderness, raw realism and deep humanity. His visual trademark - light highlights against a dark background - are recognizable at first glance and leave a powerful signature across virtually all his work. Today he stands apart from the rest of the world's renowned documentary photographers for the brilliant clarity of his darkroom craft as well as the engaging humanity and sophistication of his compositions. To the end of his life, Raota painstakingly made each print individually by his own hand.
Pedro Raota was born in Argentina on April 26, 1934 in a modest country home in the Province of El Chaco. At a young age he sold his bicycle to buy a camera, determined to learn the art of photography. He quickly took up portrait photography in Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz and later moved to Villaguary where he enthusiastically set up his own studio...."(photographywest.com)

Artistic and experimental photography Zofia Rydet

"Her photographs are deceptively simple, taking an intimate, direct approach to her subject, trailing main tropes of Pictorialism, painting during the Young Poland period, abstraction and surrealism, and applying them to photography. ofia Rydet's images of children and rural families in Poland from the 1960s and 1970s are among the insightful and well-executed photographic series of postwar Poland. Born on the 5th of May 1911 in Stanisławowo, she became a member of the Gliwice Photography Association in 1954. There she met Jerzy Lewczyński link opens page in new window , Władysław Jasieński and Piotr Janik, photographers who were active in documenting changes of postwar Poland and the implementation of socialist ideals in urban planning and society.

Her first major exhibition took place in 1961, with the Little Man series of middle-class children in Poland and other socialist nations. The series was published as an album of over 140 photographs in 1965, edited by Wojciech Zamecznik, in 1965, and the book is considered one of the important albums of 20th-century Polish photography. Rydet described her approach in the series, saying she 'wanted to move away from the stereotype of a care-free angelic childhood and show the multifaceted complexity of childhood experiences and reactions. Through appropriate synthesis, I wanted to say something about mankind, because as Korczak once said 'everything that happens in the dirty adult world also happens in the children's world', alluding to the teacher and author Dr. Janusz Korczak link opens page in new window . Rydet shifted her focus to the broader sphere of children and adults between 1978 and 1989, in her Sociological Record. The series consists of tens of thousands of negatives taken in rural regions of Poland comprise the series, and present people from all walks of life in their typical surroundings. These works were characterised by particular senses of emotion, spanning the spectrum from loneliness, fear and loss, to happiness and hope. Rydet's Sociological Record has been compared to August Sander's work throughout German society in the 1920s, and to other socially minded documentary photographers..."(Author: Agnieszka Le Nart, update: January 2016, GS. culture.pl )

Sociological Record - Zofia Rydet

Constructivism Art Robert Klippel

Robert Klippel  (19 June 1920 – 19 June 2001) was an Australian constructivist sculptor and teacher. He is often described in contemporary art literature as Australia's greatest sculptor. Throughout his career he produced some 1,300 pieces of sculpture and approximately 5,000 drawings.
Klippel's work commonly utilized an extraordinary diversity of junk materials: wood, stone, plastic toy kits, wooden pattern parts, typewriter machinery, industrial piping and machine parts, as well as bronze, silver, oils, photography, collage and paper. He is also notable for the great diversity of scale of his work, from intricate whimsical structures in metal to the large wooden assemblages of the 1980s. His mature work was usually untitled, being distinguished by simple number sequences.

 While in London, he met other expatriate Australians including the surrealist painter James Gleeson. The two collaborated on several works, including Madame Sophie Sesostoris (1947–48), a Pre-Raphaelite satire, combining Klippel's sculpture with Gleeson's painting. For a time, Klippel embraced the surrealist ethic, exhibiting at a major surrealist show and meeting André Breton.
During his time in London, he began a series of drawings and filled his notebooks with analytical diagrams of organic and mechanical objects, everything from screws and cogs to insects and shells, and making detailed drawings of the anthropomorphic forms used by artists such as Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso. Whereas Moore had related the human figure to the forms of nature, Klippel set out to relate the forms of nature to the shapes and forms of machinery in an industrial society. He made the statement that he wished "to seek the inter-relationship between the cogwheel and the bud."

 By the time Klippel returned to Sydney in 1950, he was committed to construction as a method and was producing totally abstract sculptures. His work was received with little enthusiasm in Australia at first, with his first sculptural work was not selling in his country until 1956. Forced to work full-time, his production dropped to a mere 18 pieces between 1950 and 1957.
By the 1950s Klippel had grown apart from the surrealists and in New York he was invigorated by the rise of abstract expressionism and the New York School. He moved away increasingly from traditional sculpture and produced his first junk assemblages in 1960. He began incorporating machine parts, pieces of wood and industrial piping into his works.In 1964, art critic Robert Hughes called Klippel "one of the few Australian sculptors worthy of international attention". The statement cemented his international reputation, but he struggled to win acceptance in his own country.[4] During the 1970s and '80s, when the traditional distinctions between sculpture and architecture, design, photography, performance and painting were frequently presented as obsolete, Klippel remained committed to the idea of sculpture as abstract, as occupying sculptural space, and as sustaining in ways beyond literary or narrative function.
Klippel's last decades were extremely prolific. In the 1980s he completed a major series of small bronzes, as well as a large number of monumental wooden assemblages, made from the pattern-parts of early twentieth century maritime machinery. Working with wood, metals, plastics, junk, machinery parts, oils, watercolours and paper, and utilising the techniques of casting, assemblage, painting and collage, he had completed over 1,200 sculptures by the end of the 1990s.Wikipedia