Exposition Art Blog: June 2021

George Woodman - Photography


 "George Woodman (1932 – 2017) was a photographer and painter whose career spanned more than sixty years and included forays into diverse visual media. Woodman was deeply influenced by classical and modernist traditions. He was committed to explorations of color and abstraction in a variety of forms - landscape, geometric, and patterned - before pivoting toward the figure, sculpture, and architecture.
Woodman was born in Concord, New Hampshire. He graduated from Harvard in 1954 with honors in philosophy and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1956. He married the artist Betty Abrahams in 1953 and after two years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, they moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1956 where he taught painting and philosophy of art at the University of Colorado for thirty years, becoming Professor Emeritus in 1995. He was an influential professor and artist in the Colorado scene in the 1960s and 70s, associated for many years with the Criss-Cross Art Communication movement and a founding member of the seminal Spark Gallery.
‍Woodman began his career as an abstract painter, best known for his formally inventive tessellations and complex understanding of color. In the 1980s, Woodman’s paintings turned toward classical figuration, and he began making black and white photographs of nudes in classical architectural and sculptural settings. At this time his work with patterns developed into compositions in painted ceramic tile, with major public commissions in Detroit, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; and Buffalo, New York. After retiring from teaching in 1995, he lived half of each year in Antella and half in New York."(woodmanfoundation.org)


Claudio Costa - Italian Avant Garde Art


 Claudio Costa (1942 – 1995, in Genova) was a Contemporary Artists from the 1970s avant-garde. Costa's artistic production is divided in several different periods. He explored Arte povera, Conceptual Art, paleontologist and anthropological art, alchemic art. As an artist associated with the Arte Povera movement, Costa's first exhibition took place at the La Bertesca Gallery in Genova directed by Francesco Masnata. He produced a series of "tele acide" (acid canvases) (1970–1971), where he deployed a new pictorial language made of symbolical and magic elements by mixing them with materials and glue-earth-bone-blood-acids. Costa explained the acid canvases in his writings: "I used three acids and a sulfate; nitric acid, which corroded the support almost immediately, iron chloride which gave a brownish colour, and copper sulphate, which reminded me of the wonderful color of vine leaves when they are sprayed and which I needed to obtain a light blue base". In 1971, Costa investigated the confines between science and art as a paleontologist and anthropologist. He returned to the remote prehistoric past in search of the roots of mankind, especially in pieces like "Museo dell'Uomo" (Museum of Man), where he attempted a summary and condensation of his anthropological studies. "Alchemic Art" was also his main focus when he exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1986In 1988, he started working in Psychiatric Hospital in Genoa as an art-therapist. Costa had a large workshop inside the hospital. In this period he founded the "Institute for Unconscious Matter and Forms", where he exhibited works of patients as well as professional artists. Wikipedia

Emilio Vedova - Abstract Artworks


 Revolutionary Italian artist whose abstract expressionism fused politics with wild, sensuous painting

"The Italian painter Emilio Vedova, who has died aged 87, was a veteran of one of the 20th century's most bitter artistic conflicts - the "battle of styles" in the 1950s between the neo-realists and the pioneers of expressive abstraction. Like many fierce quarrels, this dispute was conducted between former friends, in this case the leftwing intellectuals who had taken part in the Italian resistance during the second world war. Some of them believed that socialist painters should follow the example of Picasso's Guernica and create overtly political, figurative images, preferably on a grand scale; others, including Vedova, argued that revolutionary art had, by its very nature, to be abstract.This conviction led him, in the 1950s, to fill his pictures with wild patterns of smeared, poured and dripped paint. He became a radical in both politics and technique, truly a Jackson Pollock of the barricades.The third of seven children, Vedova was born into a Venetian artisan family: his father was a house painter and decorator. By the age of 11, Emilio was forced to earn his living, initially in a factory and then in the studios of a photographer and restorer. Although he briefly took evening art classes at the Scuola dei Carmini in Venice, he was mainly self-taught, cutting his teeth with sketches of local buildings and Renaissance paintings.In 1937 Vedova made two pictures, The Raising of Lazarus and Crucifixion from Behind, whose bold light effects and unusual viewpoints were undoubtedly inspired by the 16th-century artist Tintoretto. But his most extraordinary work that year, a representation of his own naked body reflected in a mirror on the floor, also showed more contemporary influences, especially from Maurice de Vlaminck and Georges Rouault. Densely painted on coarse, unprimed canvas, it is one of the rawest, most visceral self-portraits of the 20th century.During the second world war, Vedova lived mostly away from Venice. He was involved in 1943 with Corrente, a Milanese group whose manifesto proclaimed "the revolutionary function of painting ... With our painting we are going to hoist flags." Soon afterwards he joined the resistance in Rome, recording his experiences in the partisan drawings that were later exhibited across Italy.At the end of the war Vedova returned to Venice, where his work became progressively more abstract, combining sombre tones with flat, angular planes partly influenced by cubism and futurism. These black geometries eloquently express the anxiety and anguish of the period. The World on its Tiptoes (1946) and The Struggle (1949) were followed in 1950 by Concentration Camp, a pattern of spiky shapes with a pool of red at its core.Such imagery clearly followed the principles of the manifesto Beyond Guernica, co-signed by Vedova in 1946, which urged artists to engage with reality without being naturalistic. For a short while the division between figurative and abstract painters was concealed by the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti, which Vedova helped to found in 1947. However, by 1952 he had joined the more avant-garde Gruppo degli Otto, led by the critic Lionello Venturi. The uneasy alliance had collapsed.By this time Vedova had also developed contacts abroad, especially in New York, where he exhibited for the first time in 1951. His style was now close to the free abstraction of French art informel and American action painting, but, unlike many of his foreign contemporaries, Vedova saw the spirit of revolution in even the most sensuous, luscious brushstrokes. And if the spectators did not share his vision, they could at least read the titles - Protest Cycle, Universal Manifesto, Korea.References to contemporary events became even more urgent when Vedova was made an official artist-in-residence in Berlin just two years after the construction of the wall in 1961. Working in a studio formerly occupied by the Nazi sculptor Arno Breker, he created the Absurd Berlin Diary 64, a colossal assemblage of jagged wooden pieces, aggressively painted in clashing colours, which conveyed the trauma of the divided city. Hung from the ceiling or arranged untidily across the gallery floor, often linked by hinges like parodies of medieval polyptychs, the panels also illustrated the artist's desire to liberate art from its conventional setting in a frame on a wall. This preoccupation, which inspired the equally audacious Arte Povera movement, had first appeared in 1959, when Vedova placed large abstract canvases across the corners and ceiling of a room in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. Its most extraordinary expression was achieved through the use of light in a number of exhibitions and theatrical stagings, beginning in 1961 with a production of Luigi Nono's socialist opera, Intolleranza 60.Most remarkable of all was the installation Space/Plurimo/Light, which Vedova created for the 1967 Montreal Expo. Here he used fragments of Murano glass to project moving sheets of colour, accompanied by experimental music, across a vast space, overwhelming the visitor with light and sound.In Vedova's sculpture the boundaries between the image and its surroundings were often broken down by the presence of dramatic voids. In the Laceration Cycles (1977-78), graffiti-covered sheets were pierced with holes and slits, while in Studies for a Space, a decade later, a tight knot of twisted tubes and wires erupted from otherwise hollow cylinders.At the same time Vedova began a series of circular panels spattered with paint - modern tondi, suspended, slanted or propped against each other, but never hung neatly on the wall. These culminated in He Who Burns a Book Burns a Man (1993), in which hinged wooden discs, covered with ashes and fragments of words, suggested the pages of a charred, ripped book. Made soon after the shelling of the library at Sarajevo during the Bosnian wars, they evoked the intolerance and destruction that had characterised much of the artist's lifetime.Vedova's strong political motivation could not protect him forever from the embrace of the establishment, and in 1996 he was awarded the grandiloquent title of Cavaliere di Gran Croce della Repubblica Italiana; he even designed a tapestry for the library of the Italian senate in Rome. But he remained to the end a leftwing icon, the bearded, bespectacled hero of radical Italian art. His wife Annabianca predeceased him by a month.· Emilio Vedova, artist, born August 9 1919; died October 25 2006." ( theguardian.com  )