Lawren Harris

Lawren S Harris, “Billboard (Jazz)”, 1921, Oil on Canvas, 1072 x 1275 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

The first paintings Lawren Harris exhibited in Toronto in 1911 included urban scenes of streets and houses in The Ward, the largely immigrant area west of Toronto’s City Hall. Best known for his landscapes of Ontario’s near north, the Rocky Mountains and Arctic and later abstractions, Harris’s urban scenes played a key role in his exploration of the role of art in the transformations of Canadian society.

Harris exhibited several of his new “Shack Paintings” at the 1921 Group of Seven exhibition in the Art Gallery of Toronto. These paintings dealt with a subject he had been treating for almost ten years- houses in the poorer sections or in the unserviced and uninsurable outskirts of Toronto.

The painting “Jazz”, later retitled “Billboard” was provacative at the time, dealing with modern, urban life, considered by the then puritanical Toronto to be a decadent or immoral lifestyle. Painted with agressive brushwork and fractured text, it shows workers in the foreground and a row of frame houses receding in the background. The almost abstract billboard with its torn posters is the principle subject; this abstraction is carried across the top of the canvas by the torn clouds.

Over the course of his career, Lawren Harris’s painting evolved from Impressionist-influenced, decorative landscapes to stark images of the northern landscape to geometric abstractions. From 1934 to 1937, Harris lived in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he painted his first abstract works, a direction he would continue for the rest of his life.

In 1938 Harris moved to Sante Fe, New Mexico, and helped found the Transcendental Painting Group, an organization of artists who advocated a spiritual form of abstraction. Harris died in Vancouver in 1970, at the age of 84, as a well-known artist. He was buried on the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, where his work is now held.


Bruce Weber, “Ian Mckellen and Friend”

Bruce Weber, “Ian McKellen and Friend (Peter Johnson)”

This image taken by Bruce Weber of Ian McKellen and Peter Johnson is from Weber’s book “The Chop Suey Club”  published by Arena Editions in 1999.

This book presents Bruce Weber’s collection of photographs mostly of Peter Johnson, a young man he met while shooting at a wrestling camp. Taken over a series of years, the photographs evolve in scope and involvement as the subject ages and grows more comfortable with the camera. It is a fascinating study of not only a young man coming of age, but of a photographers relationship with one subject over a period of time. Although an art photography book, the book’s compact size gives it a feel of a private journal rather than a glossy coffee table book. Published in a small edition, copies of the book are rare.

Alireza Shojaian

Alireza Shojaian, “Hamed Sinno et un de ses Frères (Hamed Sinno and One of His Brothers)”, 2018

Alireza Shojaian is an Iranian gay artist, born in 1988 in Tehran. He studied at Islamic Azad University In the Faculty of Art and Architecture center located in Tehran, and obtained his Masters degree in Fine Arts. He now spends time living and working between his birthplace of Tehran and Beirut, Lebanon, a more tolerant country in the Middle East in terms of protection and acceptance for sexually and gender diverse people..

Shojaian’s artwork tries to highlight subjects which society tries to hide from view. His paintings often deal with the intimacy of his characters, sometimes confronting the viewer with a sense of suffering or embarrassment. Shojaian’s Pentagon and Hexagon series deals deeply with the issue of being a gay man in Iran. The two series depicts the final moments in the life of a gay friend, who was brutally murdered in his own home during the final year at the university.

For further information on the life of Alireza Shojaian and his experience within the Iranian culture as a gay artist, I suggest the following article:

Image reblogged with thanks to a great site:

Faces of Man: WP Photo Set Four

Photographers Unknown, Faces of Man: WP Photo Set Four

“The anthropologist Clifford Geertz says that humans are ‘symbolizing, conceptualizing, meaning-seeking’ animals. In our species, he says, ‘the drive to make sense out of our experience, to give it form and order, is evidently as real and as pressing as the more familiar biological needs.’ To Geertz, a human being is an organism ‘which cannot live in a world it is unable to understand.”
Robert Fulford, The Triumph of the Narrative


John Constable

John Constable, “Landscape with Double Rainbow”, 1812, Oil Sketch on Paper on Canvas, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

John Constable was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk. Largely self-taught, he was a probationer in 1799; and in 1800, he became a student at the Royal Academy schools. Constable exhibited from 1802 at the Royal Academy in London, and later at the Paris Salon. He was influenced by Dutch artists such as paitner and etcher Jacob van Ruisdael, generally considered the pre-eminent landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age. The works of Peter Paul Rubens and Claude Gellée also proved to be influencial to Constable for their color use and composition.

For a student trained in the British Royal Academy at the turn of the 18th century, landscape was lower in the hierarchy of genres than biblical and historical subjects. John Constable was drawn to local landscapes rather than classic Mediterranean ones, and rather than transforming these into grand mythologies or allegories, he painted them using scientific methods of observation drawn from new fields like meteorology. Constable’s sketches were the firt ever done in oils directly from the subject in the open air.

John Constable used oil sketches to record the subtle effects of light and changes in the weather. This approach of his would later influence artists like those of the emerging French Impressionists. Sketches Constable did in Hamstead, England, which at that time was just a rural village outside of London, show storm clouds gathering or light piercing the atmosphere. His painting “Landscape with a Double Rainbow”, seen above, is dominatied by a deep blue sky and shows an unusual atmospheric event not fully understood by early 19th century science.

When compared to the varnished paintings of the predominant academic style, John Constable’s  canvases, composed of quick, broken brush strokes, were considered by comtemporary critics and most viewers to be “unfinished”. Constable’s 1821 completed painting “The Hay Wain” was shown at the Royal Academy and did not attract much attention. However, “The Hay Wain”, when shown with his other works, at the Paris Salon of 1824 earned a gold medal. The French Impressionists at that time, such as Delacroix and Géricault, were just beginning to gain prominence and challenge the early 19th century critics.

El Greco

El Greco, “Opening of the Fifth Seal (The Vision of Saint John the Divine)”, Oil on Canvas, 1610, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The painting, unfinished at El Greco’s death and listed in a postmortem inventory, depicts a passage in Revelation (6:9–11) describing the opening of the Fifth Seal and the distribution of white robes to “those who had been slain for the work of God and for the witness they had borne.” It is cut down from a large altarpiece commissioned in 1608 for the church of the hospital of Saint John the Baptist in Toledo. The missing upper part may have shown the Sacrificial Lamb opening the Fifth Seal.

Toshiyuki Enoki

Toshiyuki Enoki, “The Wings of Sleep”, 2012, Self-Portrait

Toshiyuki Enoki, born in Japan in 1961, is a contemporary artist who works in lacquer, oil and acrylic paints, and watercolor. He has participated in the 2014 Kan-Hikari Expo in Kyoto and has installed his works at international heritage sites such as the Jochi Temple, the Nijo Castle, and the Senyu Temple. Toshiyuki Enoki participated from 2010 to 2012 in the 21st Century Exhibition of Japanese Art which covers the contemporary Japanese art scene from 1980 to the present.

Enoki’s works are a combination of reality, myths, and fantasy with an emphasis on the human consciousness. Using particularly worn brushes, Enoki cyclically paints, erases and transfers images for his works to create a unique atmosphere. The detailed brush-strokes and overall reflective surface is reminiscent of lacquer works which served as an inspiration for the artist. Enoki uses a selected warm colour palette and uses scattered gold leaf across his canvas to create an overall magical and tranquil depiction.


Parts and Pieces: Photo Set Twenty

Parts and Pieces: Photo Set Twenty (Blacks and Whites)

“If man made himself the first object of study, he would see how incapable he is of going further. How can a part know the whole? But he may perhaps aspire to know at least the parts to which he bears some proportion. But the parts of the world are all so related and linked to one another, that I believe it impossible to know one without the other and without the whole.

Man, for instance, is related to all he knows. He needs a place wherein to abide, time through which to live, motion in order to live, elements to compose him, warmth and food to nourish him, air to breathe. He sees light; he feels bodies; in short, he is in a dependant alliance with everything. To know man, then, it is necessary to know how it happens that he needs air to live, and, to know the air, we must know how it is thus related to the life of man, etc. Flame cannot exist without air; therefore to understand the one, we must understand the other.

Since everything then is cause and effect, dependant and supporting, mediate and immediate, and all is held together by a natural though imperceptible chain, which binds together things most distant and most different, I hold it equally impossible to know the parts without knowing the whole, and to know the whole without knowing the parts in detail.”
Blaise Pascal


Agnolo Di Cosimo

Agnolo Di Cosimo (Agnolo Bronzino), “Saint Sebastian”, 1533, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

Agnolo Di Cosimo, known as Agnolo Bronzino, was a prominent artist of the second-wave of Italian Mannerism in the middle of the sixteenth century. Born to a poor Florentine family in 1503, he started his art education at the age of eleven as a pupil of Raffaelino del Garbo, a Renaissance painter from Florence. In 1515 Bronzino undertook an apprenticeship in Florence with the man who would become his biggest artistic influence and, some say, adopted father: Jacopo Carucci, better known as Pontormo.

In 1525, Pontormo called upon his pupil Agnolo Di Cosimo to help with what would be Pontormo’s masterpiece, the  “Deposition from the Cross”. This altarpiece was painted in the Florentine church of Santa Felicità. Pontormo was commissioned to decorate the entire church with frescoes; in a testament to Pontormo’s trust in and affection for his pupil, Pontormo enlisted Di Cosimo to assist in the work.

After the Siege of Florence in 1530 which reinstalled the Medici family as rulers, Agnolo Di Cosimo fled to Urbino. There he was commissioned by the Duke of Urbino to paint a nude Cupid above an arch of the Imperiale vault. He was also commissioned by a prince of Urbino to paint his portrait. As Di Cosimo became known for his portraits, he became the official portraitist for the Medici family members. Di Cosimo is known mostly for these portraits, perhaps his greatest contribution to Italian Mannerism.

Agnolo Di Cosimo’s painting technicus is extremely controlled and meticulous, with immaculate attention to detail..His brushstrokes appear non-existent, which give his works, particularly his portraits, an extremely realistic, almost life-like appearance. Di Cosimo used the tehnique of chiaroscuro to bring attnetion to the light-colored figures in the painting, pushing them forward against the dark background. Chiaroscuro is an effect of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly or from a particular direction on the subject of the painting.


Beguiling the Senses. . . .

His Butt: Beguiling the Senses and Enchanting the Mind: Photo Set Twenty-Nine

“As Rilke observed, love requires a progressive shortening of the senses: I can see you for miles; I can hear you for blocks, I can smell you, maybe, for a few feet, but I can only touch on contact, taste as I devour”
William Gass

Henry Moore

Henry Moore OM CH, “Two Piece Sculpture No. 7 Pipe”, 1966, Casting Date Unknown, Bronze, 432 x 839 x315 cm., Tate Museum, London

“The Two Piece Sculpture no. 7 Pipe” is one of a series of two-piece sculptures made during the 1960s that relate to Moore’s interest in bone forms. The projecting beam that bridges the two parts has been interpreted by critics as a phallic appendage, which has led the sculpture to be seen as a highly abstract representation of sexual coupling.

This sculpture was developed from a small maquette made in plaster in 1966. By this time Moore had established a practice of testing out his designs for sculptures by making small three-dimensional models as opposed to drawing his ideas on a page. It is probable that Moore made the small model for this sculpture in his maquette studio in the grounds of his home, Hoglands, at Perry Green in Hertfordshire. This studio housed his ever growing collection of found objects, the shapes of which often served as starting points for Moore’s formal experiments in three dimensions.

In “Two Piece Sculpture No. 7 Pipe”, Moore combined his interest in the human figure with his concurrent explorations of interlocking forms. After separated the body into two distinct parts in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Moore then began thinking about ways in which separate sculptural parts could intersect or interlock to create a single unit while maintaining their individuality. These ideas came to fruition in works such as “Locking Piece”, 1963-64, in which two differently shaped elements intersect. According to Bowness, it was the relationship between the two parts of “Two Piece Sculpture No. 7 Pipe” that was of interest to Moore, and the subsequent omission of the often-used term ‘Reclining Figure’ from its title reflected these concerns.

Alan Bennett Ilagan, “Dusty St. Amand”

Alan Bennett Ilagan;  Photo Shoot of Dusty St. Amand

Alan Bennett Ilagan is a freelance writer and amateur photographer who resides in upstate New York. A graduate of Brandeis University, Ilagan has been published in Instinctxy magazineWindy City Times, Q Northeast, MetrolandcommUNITY, and ‘The Project for a New Mythology.’ He contributed to Michael Breyette’s ‘Summer Moved On’ and ‘Illustrated Men.’ He has been profiled in UnzippedGenreDiversity Rules! Magazine, and Upstate Magazine and has worked with photographers Steven Underhill and Dennis Dean.

Sadao Hasegawa

Graphic Work by Sadao Hasegawa

Born in the Tōkai region of Japan, Sadao Hasegawa was a Japanese graphic artist known for creating homoerotic fetish art. His first solo exhibition, “Sadao Hasegawa’s Alchemism: Meditation for 1973” was held in Tokyo, Japan, and featured collages, sculptures, and oil paintings. In 1978 Hasegawa’s art was published for the first time in “Barazoku”, a monthly magazine for gay men. Later he would be published inthe magazines “Sabu”, “Samson” and Adon”.

Sadao Hasegawa cited japanese homoerotic artist Go Mishima and artist Tom of Finland as major influences on his work. Hasegawa’s early works reflected European styles,;but after regular trips to Bali and Thailand, his work put greater focus on Asian iconography and mythology. On November 20, 1999, Hasegawa died from suicide by hanging in aBangkok, Thailand, hotel. Ownership of his work was eventually granted to Gallery Naruyama in Tokyo, which holds the majority of Hasegawa’s colledted works.

Hasegawa’s artworks are noted for their extensive detail, elaborate fantasy settings, and  for elements of Japanese, Thai, Tibetan Buddhist, African and Indian art. While Hasegawa focused primarily on depictios of muscular male physique, he oftren incorporated extreme sexual themes and subject matter into his works.

Sadao Hasegawa is regarded as one of the most influential creators of homoerotic art in Japan. Very little of his work was publihed in Japan and only one work “Sadao Hasegawa: Paintings and Drawings”, a collection of his magazine work, was published internationally by the British publisher Gay Men’s Press in 1990.



“Toute la Beauté du Diable”

Artist Unknown, “Toute la Beauté du Diable (All the Beauty of the Devil)”

“I once asked him why he smoked the world’s most expensive cigarette, and he told me it was because he was a man of wealth and taste, at least according to Mick Jagger.”
K.H. Koehler, The Devil Dances

Reblogged with many thanks to :

Richard Avedon, “Edward Gorey”

Richard Avedon, “Edward Gorey”, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, October 18, 1992.

This photograph by Richard Avedon was used for Joan Acocella’s article entitled “Edward Gorey’s Enigmatic World” for the December 10, 2018 issue of the New Yorker.

For those Edward Gorey fans, which I admit to having been one since the time I could read, I highly recommend reading Acocella’s wonderful article about Gorey’s life, wit, and new biographical books now published.


Faces of Man: A Collection: WP Set Four

Photographers Unknown, Faces of Man: A Collection: WP Set Four

“Women do not simply have faces, as men do; they are identified with their faces. Men have a naturalistic relation to their faces. Certainly they care whether they are good-looking or not. They suffer over acne, protruding ears, tiny eyes; they hate getting bald. But there is a much wider latitude in what is esthetically acceptable in a man’s face than what is in a woman’s. A man’s face is defined as something he basically doesn’t need to tamper with; all he has to do is keep it clean. He can avail himself of the options for ornament supplied by nature: a beard, a mustache, longer or shorter hair. But he is not supposed to disguise himself. What he is “really” like is supposed to show. A man lives through his face; it records the progressive stages of his life. And since he doesn’t tamper with his face, it is not separate from but is completed by his body – which is judged attractive by the impression it gives of virility and energy.”
Susan Sontag


Anne Louis Girodet de Roussy Trioson

Anne -Louis Girodet de Roussy Trioson, Engraving, “Aeneas’ Sacrifice”, 1827

Anne-Louis Girodet was a French painter, born in 1767, whose works eemplified the first phase of Romanticism in French art. He began to study drawing in 1773, later becoming a student of the Neoclassical architect Étienne-Louis Boullée. With Boullée’s encouragement, Girodet joined in late 1783 the studio of Jacques-Louis David, a celebrated painter of the neo-classical and realistic style.

In 1789 Girodet won the Prix de rome for his painting “Joseph Recognized by His Brothers”, which showed David’s neo-classical influence. For Napoleon’s residence Malmaison, Girodtet painted in 1801 the composition “Ossian and the French Generals’, which melded images of legendary Irish heroes with images of the spirits of the generals who died during the French Revolution of 1789.

Girodet’s literary interests greatly influence his subject choices for his artwork. In 1808 he painted “The Entombment of Atala”. Girodet used a traditional composition of Christian iconography, The Entombment, for this canvas. Yet, in the manner of his master, David, his figures are aligned in a frieze-like manner and his drawing is precise. The dead Atala is somewhat unrealistically portrayed as an ideal beauty, and Girodet reuses the chiaroscuro effect of his earlier work “The Sleep of Endymion”: the light caresses Chactas’ back and Atala’s bust and lips. The picture, foreshadowing romanticism, is steeped in sensuality, emotion and religiosity, and the scene’s exotic setting and vegetation are a far cry from David’s austere decors.

Translation of Latin  text on engraving: “How acceptable was the long column of cups. The serpent tasted the food which was interposed between the bowls and polished cups, then turned and went beneath the tomb, leaving the altars where he fed.”

Oscar Santasusagna


Oscar Santasusagna, “Un Poeta a la Deriva (A Drifting Poet),  2016, Mixed Media on Paper, 40 x 54 cm

Oscar Santasusagna is an artist living and working in Barcelona, Spain. A collaboration between Santasusagna and poet Raūl Garcia Fernández produced a work called “Girl in a Cafe” in 2014. From a illustration just drawn by Oscar Santasusagna, Fernández wrote a poem that supported the drawing.

For Raúl Fernández’s new book entitled “Margarita Mustia”, a new collaboration project started with a poem by Fernández which then was illustrated by Santasusagna and is shown above, entitled “Un Poeta a la Deriva”.

“He navegado sobre las olas de lo obscuro

sobre la espuma de océanos sutiles

bajo el influjo de la luna en mares de palabras.

la luna ha izado olas de ensueños con sus pestañas

la espuma ha lubricado las letras con su tacto

las olas de noche han convocado a las musarañas.

He hundido mis rodillas en la nieve como un intruso

en lagos de nat monstruosos

en ánforas donde vibraba trémula la leche de la cabra.

la leche suavizó la tinta que no encontró la rima

los lagos se arremolinaron apagando cacofonias

la nieve arrolló tachones con avalanchas de virutas.

He despertado a la luz del día como si fuera un niño

al calor del alba como se abren los pétalos

y se curvan las ramas al arrullo de la aurora.

la aurora me consultó lánguida sobre el brillo de las estrellas

el alba quiso refrescarse entre las mareas nocturnas

la luz del día me sorprendió

rayando sus versos sobre el papel.” – Raūl Garcia Fernández