The Men and the Quote

Twenty-One Men

“All errour is prejudicial: it is by deceiving himself that man is plunged in misery. He neglected Nature; he understood not her laws; he formed gods of the most preposterous kinds: these became the sole objects of his hope, the creatures of his fear, and he trembled under these visionary deities; under the supposed influence of imaginary beings created by himself; under the terrour inspired by blocks of stone; by logs of wood; by flying fish; or else under the frowns of men, mortal as himself, whom his distempered fancy had elevated above that Nature of which alone he is capable of forming any idea.”
Baron d’Holbach

My thanks to a great blog: https://doctordee.tumblr.com

Green Light

The Color Green

The color green is evoked by light which has a dominant wavelength of 495 to 570 nanometers, appearing in the visual spectrum between the colors blue and yellow. It is created in painting by the combinations of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan. The shades of the color green range from yellow-greens, such as lime and avocado, to those with a blue tinge, such as emerald and turquoise. 

The English word ‘green’ comes from the Old English and Middle English word ‘grene, which like the German word ‘grün’, has the same root as the words ‘grass’ and ‘grow’, The first recorded use of the word as a term for a color in Old English is dated to about 700 AD. Although many languages, such as Germanic, Romance, Slavic and Greek, have old terms for “green’ which derived from words for vegetation, there is no identifiable single Proto-Indo-European source word for the word “green”. Linguistics studies indicate that all these terms were developed independently over time. 

In ancient Egypt, the color green was the symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Egyptian artists used the mineral malachite, finely ground, for painting on walls and on papyrus; this mineral was mined in the west Sinai and the eastern desert. Green had very positive associations for the Egyptians. A growing papyrus sprout represented the hieroglyph for the word green, linking the color to vegetation, vigor and growth. Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, was usually portrayed as having a green face, as seen in the tomb of Nefertari who reigned from 1295 to 1253 BC. Malachite amulets were worn for protection from evil and given to the dead to promote vigor in the deceased. 

The green pigment verdigris is made by placing a copper, brass or bronze plate, slightly warmed, into a vat of fermenting wine for several weeks. The green powder that forms on the metal is scraped off and dried. This pigment was used by the Romans in murals, and in Celtic manuscripts. It produced a blue-green color; but it was unstable and toxic. Verdigris was used in Persian and European paintings util the late 19th century, when it was replaced by the pigment chrome green. Vincent van Gogh used viridian, a more stable green patented in 1859, in a mixture of Prussian blue to create the green tinted sky in his 1888 painting “Cafe Terrace at Night”.

The use of the color green in painting plays an important role in the creation of naturalistic flesh tones, as seen in Duccio di Buoninsegna’s altarpiece “Maestà” at the Museo deli’Opera Metropolitana del Duomo in Siena, Italy. Its use in underpainting and glazing is seen in Jan van Eyck’s oil paintings and Paolo Uccello’s murals. Helen Frankenthaler used the color green almost exclusively in her 1992 “Overture”, one of her freest works, swirling green paint into vortices and and then dissolving it into rich patterns.  

Another example of the use of green was the installation work “Green Light Corridor” by Indiana-born artist Bruce Nauman which enforced the contrast between the perceptual and physical experience of space. He constructed two high walls spaced twelve inches apart, lit by green fluorescent bulbs hanging above the created corridor. Spectators walked through the tight space, the eyes adjusting to the green light. Upon exiting, their eyes adjusted again, causing them to see an optical illusion of the color pink, the opposite end of the color spectrum. 

Featured image” Helen Frankenthaler, “Overture”, 1992, Acrylic on Canvas, 70 x 94 Inches, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York

The Tunnel

Photographer Unknown, (The Tunnel)

“But that’s life. One long tunnel. There are lights along the way. Sometimes they feel spread farther apart than others, but they’re there. And when you find one, it’s okay to stand under it for a while to catch your breath before marching back into the dark.”
Shaun David Hutchinson, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Erin Hanson

Beginning her study of oil painting as a child, Erin Hanson marked her appreciation for impressionism with her first viewing of Vincent van Gogh’s “Irises”. She began, at the age of twelve, her study of acrylic paint techniques  working at a mural studio. A high school scholarship enabled Hanson to study figure drawing at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California. After graduating, she attended UC Berkeley where she obtained a degree in Bioengineering. 

Erin Hanson’s treks through the lands and national parks of Nevada, Utah and Colorado inspired many of her landscape paintings. Immersing herself in her artwork, she has painted consistently since her graduation from college. Hanson uses a minimalist technique of impasto painting, layering wet paint strokes upon previous wet strokes, with color palettes of four to five colors for control. Her work focuses primarily on landscapes shown with a boldness of light and color. Hanson currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

James Tissot

Featured Image: James Tissot, “The Circle of the Rue Royale”, 1868, Detail, Oil on Canvas, 174.5 x 280 cm, Musée d’Orsay, RMN-Grand Palais, France 

Born in Nantes in October of 1836, Jacques Joseph Tissot received his education at a Jesuit school, later enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the age of twenty. Here he studied under Hippolyte Flandrin and Louis Lamothe, both successful painters from the city of Lyons. While studying in Paris, Tissot met the young American pinter James Whistler and was befriended by the Impressionist painter Edgar Degas. it was also at this time that he anglicised his Christian name to James.

James Tissot exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1859, showing five paintings depicting medieval scenes and scenes from Goethe’s play “Faust”. The following year, the French government purchased Tissot’s exhibited painting “The Meeting of Faust and Marguerite”. In the early 1860s Tissot traveled to Italy and then to London, where his painting “Walk in the Snow” was shown at the 1862 London International Exhibition. 

Around 1863, James Tissot changed the focus of his work from medieval scenes to portraiture depicting modern life. He oriented his style to the taste of the British Victorian era, in subject matter and style, often employing the mystery of the Orient by including Japanese objects and costumes. The son of a fashion seller and a milliner, Tissot gave particular attention to the clothing and costumes in his paintings. In 1864, he exhibited his oil paintings of contemporary scenes at the Royal Academy in London for the first time.

James Tissot’s painting “The Circle of the Rue Royale”, a detail of which is shown as the featured image of this posting, gave him an opportunity to show his interest in costume and his degree of accuracy to detail. The painting shows the taste of the British aristocracy of the 1860s, depicting the social status of the figures in the prestigious surroundings of the Hotel de Coislin, established in 1758. 

The Circle of the Rue Royale was a male club founded in 1852 which commissioned James Tissot to paint this portrait of its members in the style of a British conversation piece rather than Tissot’s French tradition. Each one of the twelve members paid 1000 Francs for the painting to be made, and the final owner was to be determined by a special draw. Baron Hottinger, the central figure in the detail image, was eventually named the winner. This painting contributed the Tissot’s emergence as one of the most talented portraitists of his generation. 

The Tempest

Benjamin Smith, “Act One, Scene One of the Tempest by William Shakespeare”, Untinted Engraving based on the Original Painting by George Romney, September 29, 1797, Published by J & J Boydell at the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall Mall, London

This engraving depicts the destruction of King Alonso’s ship caused by the tempest conjured by Prospero, seen on the right, who sent spirits to create the storm. Prospero caused the tempest in an act of revenge against his brother Antonio, one of the ship’s passengers, who had ursurped Propero’s position as Duke of Milan. Prospero’s daughter Miranda clings to him, begging for the lives of those on the ship. Prospero assured his daughter that he used his magic to prevent anyone from dying.

Benjamin Smith was a British engraver, publisher and print seller who was born in 1754 in London. He studied the art of stippling engraving under Francesco Bartolozzi,  one of the most famous engravers of the 1700s. During his career from 1786 to 1833, Smith engraved many plates from designs by William Hogarth, William Beechley, and George Romney. He also created portraits of the aristocracy such as the Marquis Cornwallis and King George III.

Employed for many years by J & J Boydell Publishing, Benjamin Smith was commissioned to engrave many plates for the Shakespeare Gallery and for the poetical works of John Milton in the years between 1794  and 1797. These are considered his best works and included the image above based on the painting by George Romney. Smith continued his engraving work until five years before his death in 1833, producing many works now in the collections of the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery.

Sixteen Men and Aldous Huxley

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.

In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were “solemn and rare,” there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous.

For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment – from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema.

In “Brave New World” non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly “not of this world.” Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx’s phrase “the opium of the people” and so a threat to freedom.

Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.” 

― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958

Carlos Cancio

Born in 1961 in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carlos Cancio graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Boston. He moved to Strait of Gibraltar on the coast of Spain, setting up his first studio and began to show his work professionally beginning in 1981. Cancio lived in San Francisco from 1991 until 2003, at which time he returned to Puerto Rico where he currently resides and paints. 

The Ponce Art Museum in Puerto Rico acquired Carlos Cancio’s first large scale work in 1986- a nine-foot square painting entitled “Ballets Comteporains”. He had his first one-man show at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1987 and, in the following year, had a solo exhibition at the San Juan Museum of Art and History. Cancio also has shown at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in 2001, the 2005 Art International Congesshaus in Zurich, Switzerland, Art Shanghai in China, and the 2012 “Afrolatinos Exhibition” at the Museo de Arte de Caguas in Puerto Rico. 

Carlos Cancio’s art is in the painting genre of Magical Realism, where magical elements are a natural part of an otherwise mundane, realistic environment. His oil and acrylic media paintings contain figures, elements of dream sequences, and visual narratives which break the rules of our perceptions. 

The featured image is “Los Bañistas”, 1989-1990, Acrylic on Paper on Canvas, 231 x 175 cm, Private Collection 

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Four

“But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art –it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure– photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris.

Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, from the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography –and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns– is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.”
Susan Sontag, On Photography

All images reblogged with many thanks to Synopsibility located at: http://jimbo1126.tumblr.com

Ethan Murrow

 

Ethan Murrow received his B.A. in Studio Arts with a focus on painting and printmaking from Carleton College in Minnesota. His Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing, painting and sculpture was awarded by the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Murrow is currently living in Boston where he is a professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

Ethan Murrow creates large-scale graphite drawings that are translated form film and photographic narratives. His rendered drawings focus on innovative and explorative characters attempting with confidence and passion to succeed in their endeavors, despite the unlikely outcomes. Murrow incorporates the art of perspective with great skill; his use of vantage points render the scenes real but intentionally absurd. 

Murrow’s drawings are dependent on still captured photographic images. They resemble the look and feel of early cinema and black and white photography due to their grainy surface appearance and use of gray scale tones. The process of drawing is extensive, The sense of depth is developed by complex layering and mark-making, filling large areas of space on the drawing surface, sometimes measuring up to fourteen feet wide.

Ethan Murrow’s series “Zero Sum” consists of a body of work centered around the same single figure shown in different positions as the figure hurtles upward or falls downward through the air. The heavily bandaged figure appears poised in the air, contorted but floating peacefully. A combination of both awkwardness and beauty is achieved in this series.

Drawing inspiration from contemporary literature and historical articles of Victorian-era exploration and voyages, Murrow plays with these romanticized stories that hid the grim realities and human mistakes, by depicting a new set of explorers who are foolhardy and quite apt to fail. His “Narwhal Hoax” series shows pseudo-scientists faking their expeditions; his “Doomed Explorer” series show explorers on oddball quests who never show any doubt of success. 

Ethan Murrow’s work is represented by Obsolete Gallery, in Venice Beach, California; Winston Winston Wächter Fine Art, in New York City and Seattle; and La Galerie Particulière, in Paris. His work in in collections worldwide, including the Guggenheim Foundation. 

 

One Thousand and One Nights

“One Thousand and One Nights” , a collection of Mid-Eastern folk tales, was compiled during the Islamic Golden Age, a period of culture, economic and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam.This period is traditionally dated from the reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashid in 786 to 809 and extended, by some scholars’ estimate, as late as the end of the 15th to 16th centuries. The tales have their roots in Arabic, Persian, Indian, Greek, Jewish and Turkish folklore and literature. Collected by various authors and scholars, the stories have been presented in many editions; some contained a few hundred tales and others included a thousand in poem or prose form. 

There are two main Arabic manuscript traditions of the “One Thousand and One Nights”. The Syrian tradition includes the oldest manuscripts, with shorter and fewer tales. Believed the purest expression of the style of the medieval “Arabian Nights”, it has been republished most recently in 1984 and is known as the Leiden Edition. The Egyptian tradition emerged after the Syrian tradition and contains more tales of more varied content, collected over the centuries, including up to the 19th century. This tradition includes 1001 tales and is known as the “Calcutta II” or the “Macnaghten” edition, published between 1839 to 1842. 

The first European version, translated into French by Antoine Galland from the Syrian tradition and other sources, was a twelve-volume work entitled “Les Mille et Une Nuits, Contes Arabes Traduits en Francais”. This work included stories not found in the original Arabic manuscripts but which later became traditionally associated with “Nights”, such as the well-known “Aladdin’s Lamp” and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. Since this first European version published from 1704 to 1717, many other editions have appeared through the years. In 2008, a translation of the Calcutta II edition was made by Malcolm and Ursula Lyons and published in three volumes by Penguin Classics. Although not a complete translation, it contains the standard text of the “1001 Nights”, includes the Ali Baba and Aladdin tales, and all the poetry.

The genre of the “One Thousand and One Nights” tales varies widely. They include tragedies, comedies, poems, historical tales, tales of love, and tales of erotica. Mixed with real people and geographic locations are sorcerers, jinns, apes, magicians, and places of legend. Probably the best known translation to English is Sir Richard Francis Burton’s “The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night”, a ten-volume version published in 1885. Printed during the Victorian era in England, it contained all the erotic nuances of the original material, complete with sexual imagery and gay allusions added as appendices. Sir Richard Burton avoided the strict obscenity laws of the Victorian era by printing an edition for subscribers only instead of a formal publishing.

The exotic atmosphere of “One Thousand and One Nights” lent itself easily to film, influencing Fritz Lang’s “Der müde Tod”, a parable fantasy of love and death with the figure of Death transporting the heroine to Persia, Venice of the 15th century, and China. In 1924, Raoul Walsh’s “The Thief of Bagdad” starred Douglas Fairbanks on a magical journey to win the hand of the Caliph of Bagdad’s daughter. The collection of tales also influenced the 1926 feature-length animated film “The Adventures fo Prince Achmed” by Lotte Reiniger The oldest surviving animation feature film, it contained exotic lands, magical adventures, flying horses, and a handsome prince meeting Aladdin. 

The gif images of Nyle DiMarco are from Ariana Grand’s “7 Rings”, the ASL Version, located at this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTkIsqdBCtk. This production was directed by Jake Wilson with cinematography by Matthew Tompkins. The ASL Version’s translation is by Nyle DiMarco, co-produced by Nyle DiMarco and Sami Housman.

Nick Robles

Nick Robles is a self-taught freelance graphic artist from southern Louisiana. His main medium is digital art; however, he has also created artwork in the fields of sculpture and oil painting. Robles acknowledges many and varied influences on his artwork, from illustrators J. C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell to comic artist Mike Mignola and Pre-Raphaelite artist J. W. Waterhouse.

In 2014 Nick Robles started working with BOOM! Studios producing illustrations and cover art for their publications, including the 2014 “Clockwork Angels”, the covers of “Kong of Skull Island”, and work on the 2015 “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”. He worked with ECW Press, a Toronto-based independent book publisher, in 2015 on Kevin Anderson’s graphic novel “Clockwork Lives”. Robles also did artwork for both Black Crown Publishing and Dark Horse Comics. He is currently working with both Necromancer Press and Vault Comics.

Nick Robles is the co-creator along with author Tini Howard of Black Crown Publishing’s new graphic series “Euthanauts”, a sci-fi graphic adventure into the frontier of death. Robles created memorable characters with crisp details using a palette of warm and cool colors to indicate the living and the dead. His art on this series presents an atmosphere that is both modern and dark, with experiments in panel layouts and the design of the page. There are currently five issues in the series availabe from Black Crown Publishing.

The images above are Nick Robles’s work for the Marvel X-Men series, illustrating the character of Kurt Wagner, known as the Nightcrawler, a superhuman agile mutant with the ability to teleport.

 

 

Simão César Dordio Gomes

Simão César Dordio Gomes , “Dois Banhistas a Beira do Douro (Two Bathers on the Banks of the Douro)”, 1928, Oil on Canvas, Location Unknown

Born in 1890 at Arraiolos, Spain, Simão César Dordio Gomes enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon, attending until 1910. He studied under the Portuguese painter Luciano Freire and the Naturalist painter Veloso Salgado, also from Portugal. Gomes’s early works show the influence of the Portuguese Realist painter Columbeno with his use of somber tones of color.

After a year in Paris during which he attended the Julian Academy and was exposed to Portuguese Modernist art, Dordio Gomes decided to return to his hometown of Arraiolos. He stayed there for ten years, painting in the traditional regionalist style that he was previously taught. A second stay in Paris from 1921 to 1926, now an international scene, shifted the style of Gomes’s work towards a more modernist approach. Putting aside the traditional naturalism, he embraced the colors and forms of the works of Cézanne and even made experiments in Cubism.

Dordio Gomes returned once again to Portugal, taking up the regionalist theme for his work. However, this time, his work carried the influence of Cézanne’s exuberant colors and boldness of form. He produce many landscapes of the Alentejo region during the following six years. In 1934 Dordio Gomes became a teacher of painting at the Superior School of Fine Arts in Oporto, Portugal, teaching a new generation of modern artists.

During his stay in Oporto, located in the northern regions of Portugal, Dordio Gomes’s paintings took on the softer palette of the landscape. His preferred theme for his work became the landscapes and the people of the Douro River Valley area. It was during this period that Dordio Gomes took up the art of fresco painting, a desire he had since seeing the frescos of Italy in his early life travels. He continued teaching at the School of Fine Arts in Oporto until his retirement in 1960.

Parva Scaena

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Thirty Two

“Chingachgook grasped the hand that, in the warmth of feeling, the scout had stretched across the fresh earth, and in that attitude of friendship these intrepid woodsmen bowed their heads together, while scalding tears fell to their feet, watering the grave of Uncas like drops of falling rain.”
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans

Wat Samphran

Wat Samphran, a Buddhist temple in Amphoe Sam Phran, is located about forty kilometers west of Bangkok in Thailand. The seventeen story temple is known for its gigantic dragon which curls around the entire height of the building. The dragon contains a staircase, which, due to its poor condition, is no longer in use.

The founder of the temple, after a seven-day fasting meditation, realized the design of the structure. The 80 meters tall building honors the number of years that the Buddha manifested on the earth. A large figure of the Buddha resides on the third floor and a shrine to the Goddess of Mercy is located on the grounds of the temple.

Red Light

 

The Color Red

The narrow wavelength band of pure spectral light at 625 to 740 nanometers, stimulating the color photoreceptors of the eye’s retina, produces the color perception of red. At  the end of the visible spectrum of light, red ranges from the brilliant yellow-tinged scarlet to the bluish-red crimson, with variations in shade from pale pink to the dark burgundy. Made from the natural clay earth pigment of ochre, a mixture of ferric oxide and varied amounts of clay and sand, red  pigment was one of the first colors used in prehistoric art. 

Red, the color of blood touched by oxygen, has been associated in history with the ideas of sacrifice, courage and danger. In modern Europe and the United States, the sight of color red is associated with the ideas of heat, passion, activity, sexuality, anger, love and joy. While in many Asian countries, the color red is symbolic of the ideas of good fortune and happiness. Red placed prominently in the ceremonies of the Mayan and ancient Egyptian cultures, and later on in the Roman processions and military victory celebrations. It served as a color to show prominence and power, decorating the gates and walls of Chinese palaces and the costumes for the Renaissance nobility and wealthy. 

After the Western Roman Empire fell in the 5th century, red was adopted as a color of majesty and authority. It became an important part of Catholic Church rituals, symbolizing the blood of Christ and its martyrs, and used as the robe color of its Cardinals. Used to draw the attention of viewers, it was often used in Renaissance painting as the color of the costume of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a central figure of a scene. Layers of pigment mixed with a semi-transparent glaze allowed more light to pass through, creating the effect of a more brilliant color. 

The earlier red, vermilion, was made from the powder mineral cinnabar and used widely in manuscript illumination of the Middle Ages and Renaissance paintings. Early in the 1500s, a new red appeared from Mexico, made from the tiny parasitic insect, the cochineal, which was more brilliant and worked well with textiles. With the arrival of cochineal red, painters had a rich crimson color, called carmine, that was used almost exclusively by all the great painters of the 15th and 16th centuries, including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Tintoretto.

With the systematic study of color theory and the study of complementary colors in the 1800s, red was used to create specific emotions in the viewers of artworks. Vincent van Gogh avidly followed these studies. In his description of “The Night Cafe” to his brother Theo in 1888, Van Gogh wrote “I sought to express the red and green the terrible human passions. . . Everywhere it is a battle and antithesis of the most different reds and greens”. The Russian symbolist painter Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin used red in his 1912 painting “Bathing of a Red Horse” to shock viewers, provoking a furious discussion among Russian art critics. Mark Rothko used red in simple block forms on large canvases. In 1962 he painted a series of large murals of the Passion of Christ whose predominant colors were dark pink and crimson, chosen to inspire human emotions. 

Johan Wahlstrom

Featured Image: “Worn Out”, 2016, Urethane, Color Pigment on Canvas, 40 x 30 Inches

Images from left to right: “Room Mates”, 2016, Acrylic, Urethane, Color Pigments on Canvas, 30 x 30 Inches; “Life is Now”, 2016, Urethane, color Pigments on Canvas, 94 x 59 Inches

Born in Stockholm, Johan Wahlstrom is a fifth-generation Swedish artist who began his creative life as a keyboardist and singer, performing with his own band as well as with musicians Ian Hunter and Graham Parker. Leaving the music stage after twenty years, he moved to a small village in France and began to pursue a life of visual art, painting part of the time under the tutelage of Swedish artist Lennart Nyström.

Inspired by the Art Brut movement and particulary Jean Dubuffet and Paul Klee, Johan Wahlstrom creates works combining abstraction and figurative forms. In his more figurative and narrative paintings, Wahlstrom presents his social and political commentaries; a strong critique of authoritarianism and fascism is a recurring theme that appears in many of his dark images of the contemporary world.

Johan Wahlstrom came to New York in 2015 and is currently living and working in Jersey City, New Jersey, with a studio located at the Mana Contemporary Arts Facility. He also has a second studio in Marbella, Spain. Wahlstrom started his theme of distorted faces in 2008 with his exhibition in Barcelona entitled “It’s Boring to Die”, which contained the above images. He continued this series until 2014, with exhibitions in New York, Bonn, and Zurich. This series had a limited pallette of colored pigments, mixing his distorted faces with layers of abstraction, gradually becoming more complex in the presentation.

 

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Three

Suxteen Men Standing

“I did not care for the things that most people care about– making money, having a comfortable home, high military or civil rank, and all the other activities, political appointments, secret societies, party organizations, which go on in our city . . . I set myself to do you– each one of you, individually and in private– what I hold to be the greatest possible service. I tried to persuade each one of you to concern himself less with what he has than with what he is, so as to render himself as excellent and as rational as possible.”
Socrates