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The Warli World

This blog is not about any artist or any certain art era but it is about a traditional that has been followed as long as before 2500BC. The indigenous people on the western coast of India  live in the northern district of Maharashtra (very close to Mumbai/Bombay), who are believed to have traveled south from the central Asia in search of lands. During the British colonial era they were evicted to the deep forests of Sahyadri (Western Ghats) and this is where they have been living since and flourishing there culture. I am taking this opportunity to introduce their distinct form of art.

Warli or Varli as people call them, have a very long history with the Indian composite Hindu culture. The unique part of this culture are its extremely fundamental wall paintings, which recites an oral tradition of centuries. These Indian folk art wall paintings have been receiving international recognition for that past decade.

The wall paintings basically represent the harvest season along withs its social tradition and customs, such as marriages and the birth of a child. The patterns and characteristics depict the humble life of the Warli tribe and the use of color is a typical white against earthy mud or brick red background. Dots , zig-zag lines, circles, squares etc… are  the basic geometric figures of composition in the Warli art. Weddings being the most important themes of Warli painting, agriculture, flora and fauna, musicians are other basic themes of Warli paintings.

 

Jivya Soma Mashe, Title Unknown, Date Unknown.

 

 

 

 

Jivya Soma Mashe’s, acrylic on cow dung, 1997.

 

This piece of work is acrylic on cow dung, that means that simple white color made of homemade ingredients is used to paint on a wall or a cloth which was previously scattered with cow dung. Now let me tell you something about cow dung and how important it is especially to tribes such as Warli. Cow’s are considered holy in India, and there are several cultural, religious reasons for it but one main reason cows are such an important part of Indian agriculture communities is because the resources it provides to the ordinary farmer. Tribes which do not have access to the usual daily necessities make use of the resources that are available around them. These people use cow dung as a manure for agriculture purposes and also as a burning fuel to cook their daily meal. Small huts are a usual home for these people whose walls are splattered with cow dung in the form of paint and it is also considered a positive health factor to do so.

The artist mentioned above is a renown member of this community and he paints Warli as part of his living. To know more about him and get a better idea about other forms of Warli paintings please go to the following links –

http://warli-paintings.blogspot.com/

http://www.princeclausfund.org/en/what_we_do/awards/PrinceClausAwardJivyaSomaMashe.shtml

 

The Warli culture is unique in its own way. It depicts a special kind of relationship between man and the nature around him.

“Life of the Warlis begins with the cradle ceremony by which a child is admitted into the tribe. The next is the lagin(initiation into adulthood with marriage); and the third is the maran and the dis (rites of death and ancestor-ship). The fourth is the zoli ceremony which has two parts: ’empowering’ the child to face life in the forest and introducing the child to the community, which is the basis of Warli life”.(web)

 

Jivya Soma Mashe, Title Unknown, Date Unknown.

 

This painting depicts the surroundings of a typical Warli village. As you can see varied simple geometric figures have been used to depict the bigger picture of a tribe town. I like this one specially for its countenance of so many various aspects of the community.

I hope you got a glimpse of what this form of art is and for any further information please feel free to ask or browse.

 

References.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warli

http://warli-paintings.blogspot.com/

http://warli-paintings.blogspot.com/2006/12/dsseldorf-2003.html

http://www.princeclausfund.org/en/what_we_do/awards/PrinceClausAwardJivyaSomaMashe.shtml

 


 

The African Wiz

Wisdom “Wiz” Kudowor as he is famously known in the African continent, is one of Ghana’s most famous contemporary artist. A part of the group known as cultural portraitists, Kudowor was born on September 19 1957. It is fair to conclude that his work would deal with mostly post modern art! But his works has a great mix of both early modern and post modern era. The following painting “Intimacy in Red” is a vibrant mix of abstract and contoured into this portrait are two bodies embracing each other. The hidden contours in this paintings brings a deeper meaning of African allegory which produces a distinct layered sensuous work.

Image Courtesy of African Encounters

Acrylic on Canvas

Wisdom Kudowor’s “Intimacy in Red”, 2006.

This painting brings an initiation outburst of lust with the perfect mix of bucolic effect with the incorporated colors of red blue and yellow, which makes me like it so much. This painting could also work as an illusion to those who find it hard to see the contoured bodies in it.

Image Courtesy of African Encounters.

Acrylic on Canvas.

Wisdom Kudowor’s “Urban Phases”. Date Unknown.

This particular work is very interesting. It is a great piece of work with the partition of traditional colors you usually get to see in Wiz’s works. But this painting is special for its meaning that it beholds. African art which is well known for its congenital and culturally representative works, has primarily focused on “traditional” African art since the past. Though, in today’s art world African art has transformed beyond its traditional borders into an art movement, which this painting perfectly exemplifies. A downtown based theme with its warm colors makes me adore it. Urbanization is one message given through this painting. The faces that are reflected on the water as the skyline of the town are the people trying to keep their traditions, which are represented by the small shapes. Wiz mentions in one of his videos that “his works reflect the daily happenings of his past”. Maybe this painting is a reaction to the struggle of post colonial identity as a result of European colonialism. This painting could have a lot of interpretations, but I still like this work for its unique mix of warm colors and its reflective art. This just interests me more in looking into more thoughtful, warm, culturally rooted and constantly evolving African art.

References.

http://www.african-encounters.com/artist_overview.aspx?aid=3


http://wn.com/wisdom_kudowor



 

This Exhibit is in the theme of Young British Artists, which is also referred to as Brit artists and Britart. This name was chosen as a reference to a loose group of visual artists who first began to exhibit their work together in London, in 1988. These artists were a collective of neo – conceptual artists who happened to graduate from the BA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths, in the late 1980’s. It all started when Damien Hirst assemble a group of 16 artists to take part in an exhibition called Freeze where he was curating.

One of the visitors to the exhibition was rich art-collector and advertising-mogul Charles Saatchi, who has since bought much of the group’s work. In additionon Saatchi’s patronage, the collective have benefited from the intense media-coverage and controversy that tends to surround the Turner Prize, and also from a fleet of new contemporary galleries such as Karsten Schubert, Sadie Coles, Victoria Miro, Interim Art, Jay Jopling’s White Cube, and more recently Tate Modern.

This form of art lacks the traditional separation between media and art. The Young British Artist recalls the influences of Marcel Duchamp with its emphasis on the found object along with witty and unconventional representations of everyday life, and Joseph Beuys’ contemplation of the artist’s place in society. The genre encompasses a wide range of media including video, photography, painting, collage, sculpture and installation art, but does not feature a unified set of techniques.

Two of the  renown artist of this group were Damien Hirst and Anya Gallaccio.

 

Damien Hirst’s work –

Damien Hirst was a British artist and probably the most famous of the group that has been dubbed “Young British Artists” (or YBAs). He is best known for his Natural History series in which dead animals (such as a shark, a sheep or a cow) are preserved in formaldehyde. His famous work The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), composed of a tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde was nominated for the Turner Prize. The Turner Prize named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50.

 

“I felt as I was looking at some work in a Marine museum. Very interesting, that a living thing could be a piece of work after it’s death”

”The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” by Damien Hirst (1991)

For more information on this artifact click on the following link –http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/arts/design/01voge.html

 

The next outstanding work by Damien Hirst is “For the Love of God”, a very ironic title for this type of work. This artifact was something that the world had never imagined an artist would come up with. This piece of his work is a a platinum cast of a skull from an actual person that lived between 1720 and 1810. He was a 35 year old man from Europe. His teeth are still showing, but the rest of him is covered with 8,601 diamonds. Hirst’s diamond skull is on the market for about $100 million, which will be a good return on the artist’s investment as he spent about $20 million on putting the thing together. That’s an $80 million dollar idea! Not bad for an artist out of ideas.

 

“This one will always remind me of the Indiana Johnes movie! Funny thought came to my mind; a persons certain body part can cost so much after it is dead!

 

Damien Hirst’s – “For the Love of God” 2007

 

The next criticized work of Hirst’s is the butterfly paintings. Hirst’s first solo show was “In and Out of Love”, a breathtaking two-floor installation in which the artist appropriated a miracle of nature. Upstairs, pupae were attached to white paintings and butterflies hatched during the opening. Downstairs, whole dead butterflies were scattered upon colourful canvases. Couple of his works are shown below which were

“Must have been a tedious task to keep those delicate feathers intact and put this beautiful piece of work together!”

Butterfly Wallpaper by

Damien Hirst 2004.

Butterfly and household gloss on canvas.

 



The Explosion Exalted by Damien Hirst 2006

 

About Damien Hirst’s works –

From the above works of Damien Hirst we can tell that most of his works are more post modern and vivid. “Though Critical responses to Hirst’s influence remain disputed. His output in a short period of five years has produced some of the icons of contemporary art; the formaldehyde vitrine icon has been much imitated and parodied in film and advertising. The majority of Hirst’s works are made with assistants and other technical supports which some argue makes his authorship questionable. This was highlighted in 1997 when a spin painting appeared at sale that Hirst said was a ‘forgery’ although he had previously said that he often had nothing to do with the creation of these pieces.”(web)

 

Anya Gallaccio

Now we arrive on our next renown artist of the Young British Artists, Anya Gallaccio. Born in 1963 Gallaccio was born in Paisley in Scotland and studied at Kingston Polytechnic and Goldsmiths College. In 1988, the year she graduated from Goldsmiths, she exhibited in the Damien Hirst-curated Freeze exhibition which brought together many of the so-called Young British Artists.

Much of her work uses organic materials, with fruit, vegetables and flowers all featuring in her work. Sometimes these materials undergo a change during the course the their being exhibited – in Red on Green (1992), for example, ten thousand rose-heads placed on a bed of their stalks gradually whithered as the exhibition went on. For Intensities and Surfaces (1996) Gallaccio left a thirty-two ton block of ice with a salt core in the disused wapping pump station at and allowed it to melt.

“Gallaccio’s work is concerned with constant change and the effects of time. Using a wide range of materials such as cut flowers, fruit, chocolate, ice, burning candles and salt, there is an inevitable impermanence about her work. Her approach most commonly involves setting up an installation which then evolves through the process of decay and disintegration.”



Absolute by Anya Gallaccio 1996

Category – Installations

 

More recently she has begun to use more traditional materials for her sculpture and has cast a whole apple tree in bronze. When exhibited, the tree is festooned with real apples which rot over the period of showing and fill the gallery with the scent of the decayed fruit. Although the short life of much of her work has meant that her installations now live on in memory and through photographic records, over the last decade and a half she has created a major body of work which has given her an important and unique place in British art.

 

Gallaccio’s work reminds me of the environmentalist movement where their work decomposed after a while!”

 

One Art by Anya Gallaccio 2005

Category – Installations

 

Works can be repeated, as has been the case with her pieces using cut flowers and for which she is perhaps best known. Red on Green incorporating 10,000 red roses is such a work. Originally made for her first solo showing in a public gallery, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 1992, it was recreated ten years later for the exhibition Blast to Freeze: British Art in the 20th Century mounted by Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in 2002 – 2003, which then toured to Les Abattoirs, Toulouse.

Looks pretty and must have been smelling good too for a while, until they started to rot”.

 

Red on Green by Anya Gallaccio 1992.

 

Impact of Young British Artists on UK Art –

Young British Artists have been heavily criticized for their lack of craftsmanship and other artistic qualities, by such luminaries as the composer Simon Rattle, the playwright Tom Stoppard and numerous art critics. Yet others, including the British public have given Britart a very enthusiastic reception, as has – in general – the visual arts establishment. One reason for this, is that Young British Artists have refreshed and revitalized almost every medium of contemporary art, visibly raising museum attendance figures in the process.

 

Curators Note-

I enjoyed myself learning and blogging about this great works. I hope you all enjoyed it and learned from it.

Thank you for reading!

Sincerely,

Chaitanya Borade

 

References –

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/young-british-artists.htm

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Damien_Hirst

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Anya_Gallaccio

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/jun/01/art

http://lectures.visarts.ucsd.edu/2006-07.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anya_Gallaccio

The Abstract of Piet Mondrian

The 20th century brought many different art forms and movements. Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch painter who was a pioneer in the development of abstraction art. This form of art being one of the most important art movement of the early 20th century. Pieter Cornelis Mondrian was influenced by his father since his early age. To Mondrian, art was always related to the spiritual and philosophical search. In 1908, the artist becomes interested for the teosophic movement, which, in its beliefs, says that one can know nature more profoundly than only by empiricist evidence.Being 39 years old, Mondrian moved to Paris and changed his signature from “Mondriaan” (his original last name) to “Mondrian”, as a way to make a statement of his separation with the Netherlands. Until then, his work consisted in the painting of landscapes from his country, in the impressionist or naturalist ways. But in the French capital city, he got introduced to Braque and Picasso’s cubism and this influenced directly in his work: geometric figures, typical of the movement, started to appear in Mondrian’s canvases.

During a visit to his home in the Netherlands, the WW1 had started, so he had to stay. Along with some other Dutch artists, tuned with his spiritual concerns, they found the movement, as they called it ‘De stijl’. In a letter, Mondrian affirmed that he needs to find the truth, the essence of things, and the way to do it is necessary to abstract from form, because it is external and illusionary. The perception of relationships between the parts was at the heart of revolutionary artistic experience in the early twentieth century.Piet Mondrian asserted that “Beauty consists of relationships. Art has shown that the question is how these relationships are created. Form only exist in terms of creating relationships so that form creates relationships and relationships create form, like instruments that merge with that which can’t be described, but only created. These relationships are similar, both destructive and constructive and in dynamic balance. There is intelligence not only associated with the brain, not at all cognitive, but it feels and thinks.”

The influence of WWI on Mondrian was shot lived. He had lost all his paintings in Paris when WWI started. That is when he had founded De Stijl. It is hard to say what effect the war must have caused on Mondrian as he had already switched to abstract art before he moved to Paris. But it had definitely made an impact on him as a person where his thinking process and his image of the world had changed.  Maybe the war had an influence on him to generate more abstractive work in the future!

The abstract painting of Mondrian consists in canvases with vertical and horizontal black stripes, filled fundamentally with white, despite some details in primary colors. Time makes Mondrian to evolve regarding the black stripes, the amount of color, etc. Composition in yellow, blue and red represents a mature stage of Mondrian’s abstraction. It seems to be a flat work, but there are differences in the texture of different elements. While the black stripes are the flattest of the paintings, in the areas with color are clear the brushstrokes, all in the same direction. The white spaces are, on the contrary, painted in layers, using brush strokes that are put in different directions. And all of these produce a depth that, to the naked eye, cannot be appreciated.

Piet Mondrian’s Composition with yellow, blue and red 1942

 

 

References –

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O5-MondrianPiet.html

http://paintings.name/piet-mondrian-biography.php

http://www.slideshare.net/wms216/piet-mondrian-gh2

 

Impressionism

Impressionism is based on the idea of pleasant subject matter: a fact that makes me happy. While there are, of course, some artists and painting that I like better than others, as a whole I would say that impressionism is definitely one of my favorite styles of art.
Impressionism lacks the ideals and moral tones of previous styles of painting and I believe that is ok. I like The renaissance styles with their beautiful depictions of bible stories but impressionistic painting hold they own stunning beauty. Art can be for pleasure and not for spreading and enforcing ideals. Impressionism generally lacks all of the luxury of the baroque era but rather shows decadence and affluence in another way. Impressionism shows the young, the beautiful, and the affluent in the pleasures of their lives rather than focusing on the surrounding grandeur like the Baroque, it focuses on the lives, the actions, and the past times. I enjoy the lack of drama in the paintings that is found in many other styles like the renaissance. The lack of gore like some of the rococo pieces of art pleases my eyes, my heart, and my stomach. I like both realism and impressionism but sometimes it is nice to see the world through the rose colored glasses of impressionism rather than to see the everyday, sometimes dreary, lives of the past.

I feel the Impressionism really conquerors the previous styles during the Romantic Era because it is so different.  It shows movement and light and weather where in the other pieces of art, like the art style of Realism is very “one setting”.  That is to say, the popular depiction of farm workers in Realism is just and ordinary everyday, all the same, thing, where Impressionism is fast, and moving, and fleeting. I understand that impressionism does not “tickle everyone’s’ fancy” but it seem to do this to mine. I love everything about impressionism from the style and subject matter even to what it lacks.

A great and successful painter from this era was John Singer Sargent. One of his works was “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”.It was painted around 1885. It’s in Tate Gallery, London, England. This painting is a perfect example of impressionism. It is just two average little girls lighting lanterns in a garden. It’s not a “mess” like many people think of when they think about impressionism.

 

“Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” by John Singer Sargent 1885

 

 

References –

 

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/caravaggio/calling/

http://www.webexhibits.org/colorart/monet.html

http://www.impressionism.info/info.html


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg (modern day Austria), to Leopold Mozart and Ann Maria Pertl. Leopold Mozart was “one of Europe’s leading musicians”. Mozart performed in Vienna, Prague and many other European countries. Mozart was considered a musical prodigy. He wrote his first symphony at the age of eight and his first opera at the age of twelve.

Out of his several works I choose to pick The Magic Flute which was composed in 1791 to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder.  The opera premiered in Vienna on September 30th, 1791 at the suburban Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden.  The Magic Flute was the last opera Mozart would compose because he died shortly after on December 5th, 1791.

This work like many other works of music during this time is directly related to the rise in the middle class because public concerts were becoming more common and music during this period was less complex than the music in previous eras.   This allowed the middle and lower classes the opportunity to enjoy and develop their own individual taste for music.  Music during this time was more melody driven so instead of being something that only educated people could understand, it sounded great to everyone.  During the Classical era, composers were starting to break away from the wealthy aristocrats who greatly influenced their works.  This allowed artists to cater more to the public wants instead of the wants of the aristocrats.

I really enjoy listening to this piece of Mozart’s work for it’s in depth melodious elements. The music composed by Mozart in the 1700′s was enjoyed by many people during the time, but his music is also timeless.  In the 20th century people are still enjoying music composed by Mozart over two hundred years ago.


*Please click on the link below to listen to The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)

 

References –

http://www.culturevulture.net/Opera/MagicFlute.html

http://www.thefreeresource.com/wolfgang-amadeus-mozart-biography-works-timeline

http://history-world.org/age_of_enlightenment.htm



The Baptism of Christ

THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST

BY – FRANCESCO ALBANI

The Baptism of Christ is a painting by the Italian painter Francesco Albani.  TheBaptism of Christ was painted between 1630 and 1635 probably in Rome, Italy where the painter resided at the time.  During the Baroque period there were a lot of influences on the arts, but the one influence that seems to have the most effect on Francesco Albani’s work is the Council of Trent.  The Council of Trent had a large influence on art during the Baroque period because during this time the Catholic church was trying to define the churches doctrine once and for all.  The Catholic church wanted to separate themselves from the doctrines of the Protestant church and to condemn the teachings of Protestantism.  The Catholic church decided through the Council of Trent that art should be easily understood unlike paintings during the mannerism era where the target audience was more the educated population.  The Council of Trent also decided that the Catholic churches interpretation of the bible was the ultimate interpretation and anyone including artists who tried to challenge the church would be considered heretics.  This was a direct hit on Protestantism because Protestants interpreted the bible differently than the Catholic church did.  This split of the churches had a very large influence on the arts in general.  If you were on the side of the Catholic church and you were an artist, any paintings that were produced by you that had a religious theme needed to follow the doctrine of the Catholic church.  The Baptism of Christ by Francesco Albani is a great example of how an artist created work that followed the doctrine of the Catholic church.  The painting depicts a story in the bible about Jesus Christ being baptized.  The painting does not appear to show anything that would be inaccurate to the bible or something that the Catholic church would be opposed to.

The reason I choose this painting was for the occurrence of such a holy occasion and its depiction with several elements present in it. The blue sky in the background helps to add a very puristic sense to the painting.  The minute details of the painting amuses me where a lady in the corner is explaining to her child what is going on. Overall this painting is very relieving as it displays an eventful of purity and joy.

References –

http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent.html

http://www.huntfor.com/arthistory/c17th-mid19th/baroque.htm

http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/albani.php

Brueghel tower of Babel.

Brueghel Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel created by the Flemish Renaissance painter, Peiter Brueghel the Elder. Brueghel who lived during the Norther Renaissance was a famous painter and a printmaker of that era. He painted the Tower of Babel in 1563 with oil on oak panel.

This painting has a very deep historical meaning to it. It refers to the story after Noah’s descendent’s who had migrated from the east. According to Genesis 11, all humans spoke the same language immediately following the floods. The Babylonians began building a tower that would reach into heaven for worshiping the sun, moon, and stars. Basically they were ambitiously striving to make a name for themselves and become equal to God.
The theme line that is believed to be the existence of this tower is as follows : ” Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.”  Myths say that God got angry at their ignorance and decided to punish them with the curse of lack of communication. The tower was left unfinished as the humans were not able to communicate amongst each other.

This legend has inspired many artists and many works of arts about it can be seen in different interpretations. Brueghel did not appreciate the popular influence of art in the Italian renaissance where classical ideas affected many others work with mythological subjects and idealized scenes. Brueghel’s tower of Babel is a realistic piece of work. This painting contains realistically portrayed figures and scenes observed from nature in believable contemporary settings.

Even though there are several different interpretations of this painting, nobody can eliminate the fact of outstanding artwork of the Northern Renaissance.

Hello world!

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This is my first time Blogging. I am going to try to spend as much time as I can. This website provides the user with a lot of options to doodle with while you blog. I am looking forward to more blogging.

This picture is of a “Haveli” a house where a royal family from a town usually stays. It is made out of sandstone that is found locally in that part of India. It took 12 years for the artists and workers to finish this house.