Exposition Art Blog: 2019

Michael Gross - Israeli Painter, Sculptor and Conceptual Artist

Michael Gross ( 1920 – 2004) was an Israeli painter, sculptor and conceptual artist.Michael Gross was born in Tiberias in the British-administered Palestine in 1920. He grew up in the farming village of Migdal. In 1939-1940, he left to study at the Teachers’ Training College in Jerusalem. In 1939, while he was away, his father was murdered by Arabs, and the family farm and home were destroyed. This event impacted on his work as an artist.From 1943 to 1945, he studied architecture at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. From 1951 to 1954, he studied art at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He returned to Israel in 1954 and settled in the artists’ village of Ein Hod.
"After making drawings and paintings of plants, landscapes, and buildings over many years, I decided to try abstraction. This change opened up a new world for me to explore how I could express my feelings—at times, joy, at other moments, sorrow, as well as pain and fear—more directly. This gave me far greater power and the freedom to experiment continually.The painters who have influenced me most are Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Richard Diebenkorn, whom I consider the pre-eminent artists of abstract expressionism. I have tried to emulate them in my own small way.My choice of paints has varied. Earlier in my career, I used oil predominantly and, more recently, acrylic. For the last several years, I have moved towards much brighter colors in more open space, and to significantly larger canvases. Most of the works in this exhibition use at least two canvases together to create the final work.Over time, my color palette has evolved. Before the paintings in the American University Museum exhibition, I spent a number of years focusing on making paintings that were predominantly monochromatic (black, yellow, red, etc.) with subtle inclusion of other colors onto the surface, as well as from underneath.I use yellow in many shades as well as orange, green, and blue, with brown as an accent, making connections between the larger yellow sections. There are many extended narrow lines in black as well as other colors that weave the work together. I work rapidly, pacing the studio to look at the painting up close, and then from a distance. I often rotate the canvas so I can see where there is imbalance, flinging paint to create lines and movement. This new focus has produced very large paintings that are filled with color, carefully constructed so that every mark attains its rightful place in equilibrium."Michael Gross ( michaelgrossart.com )

Nancy Holt - Sun Tunnels

Nancy Holt (April 5, 1938 – February 8, 2014) was an American artist most known for her public sculpture, installation art and land art. Throughout her career, Holt also produced works in other media, including film and photography, and wrote books and articles about art. Holt is associated with earthworks or land art. Land art emerged in the 1960s, coinciding with a growing ecology movement in the United States, which asked people to become more aware of the negative impact they can have on the natural environment. Land art changed the way people thought of art; it took art out of the gallery or museum and into the natural landscape, the product of which were huge works engaging elements of the environment. Unlike much of the commercialized art during this time period, land art could not be bought or sold on the art market. Thus, it shifted the perspective of how people all over the world viewed art.Land art was typically created in remote, uninhabited regions of the country, particularly the Southwest. Some attribute this popular location for land art to artists’ need to escape the turmoil in the United States during the 1960s and 70s by turning to the open, uncorrupted land of the West. Holt believed this artistic movement came about in the United States due to the vastness of the American landscape. As a result of earthworks not being easily accessible to the public, documentation in photographs, videos, drawings became imperative to their being seen.Wikipedia

 Sun Tunnels

 "Holt's most recognized artwork, Sun Tunnels (1973–1976), is a large-scale installation in Utah's Great Basin Desert, a four-hour drive from the UMFA. It consists of four large concrete cylinders, arranged on the desert floor in a cross pattern, that align with the sunrise and sunset on the summer and winter solstices. In addition to this perfect solar framing, each of the cylinders is pierced with smaller holes representing the stars of four constellations: Draco, Perseus, Columba, and Capricorn. Holt's design allows for an ever-changing play of light and shadow upon the surfaces of her work. The four concrete tubes act as viewfinders framing precise images which, in Holt's words, "bring the vast space of the desert back to human scale." (umfa.utah.edu)

James Lee Byars - Installations and Conceptual Art

James Lee Byars (born April 10, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan – died May 23, 1997 in Cairo, Egypt)was an American conceptual artist and performance artist specializing in installations and sculptures, as well as a self-considered mystic. He was best known for his use of personal esoteric motifs, and his creative persona that has been described as 'half dandified trickster and half minimalist seer'.
Byars' works are often noted as constantly incorporating specific personal themes and motifs, leaning towards the esoteric while simultaneously being ritualistic and materialistic: Robert Clark, writing for The Guardian on the occasion of a Milton Keynes exhibition of his work, described it as 'impenetrably yet intriguingly hermetic'.Most in particular was gold as a material, which served as an elemental identifier. As well as this, works of his demonstrate a fascination with the symbolism of numbers: Clark quotes in the same exhibition, referring to a specific piece of his, writing that he 'imbued the number 100 with symbolic significance, having made a symmetrical arrangement of 100 white marbles and draping 100 nude volunteers in a collective red garment'.A common theme in his works is perfection (especially upon the word 'Perfect'), which he extended into a personal journey that led to his ambiguously celebratory exploration of shapes, numbers and precious materials. A MoMA text explaining his oeuvre, in the context of his piece The Table of Perfect, noted that while it "looks pristine, it—like any other object—can only ever exist as a sign of perfection and can never embody the total concept."Wikipedia

“Product of Chohreh Feyzdjou” -Post-apocalyptic Installation

Chohreh Feyzdjou (September 5, 1955 – February 17, 1996) was an Iranian artist
"Chohreh Feyzdjou grew up in Iran in a Jewish family of intellectuals,and moved to Paris in 1975. It was here that she completed her artistic training at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and also learned about the Kabbalah and Sufism. Her untimely death in 1996 put an abrupt end to a unique body of work, which had only just begun to be exhibited in major museums across Europe. Feyzdjou made her name at the start of the 1990s with a vast corpus of objects culled from her atelier and from her past, among them drawings and paintings, all of which she covered with a more or less diffuse layer of black pigment. Each one was carefully catalogued, stored in boxes, in glass jars, in crates and trunks, or wrapped in plastic, put in tubes, stocked on shelves or tables, and in drawers or on scaffolding which were themselves covered in black pigment. Nothing remains identifiable apart from the fact that each element bears the archive reference, “Product of Chohreh Feyzdjou”. While this installation may bring to mind a post-apocalyptic catastrophe, its presentation also evokes the stalls full of goods that can be found in grocery stores and bazars across the Middle East."(awarewomenartists.com)