The Dark, Krystle features a montage of Linda Evans and Joan Collins from the 1980s evening soap opera Dynasty. The film rekindles issues of identity, consumption, and excess in 1980s pop culture. Michael Robinson reconfigures the rivals’ melodrama in repetition—theatrical breakdowns, nasty glares, excessive drinking—allowing viewers to feel the clichés recharged with new emotional power.
Imagine that the camera is possessed with a psychosis similar to human schizophrenia. Suppose that this disease subtly changes every single frame of film while leaving the narrative superficially intact. Then imagine that these symptoms came on because of the trauma of recording bizarre or horrific events, such as those of the 1941 horror film Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Scenes from the Victor Fleming movie are restaged frame-by-frame with new performers occupying the body spaces of the original cast.
Surrealismo, Ojos de México (Surrealism, Eyes of Mexico) features photographs by celebrated artists who demonstrate the enduring influence of surrealism on photography in Mexico. While Europe was torn apart by World War I, Mexico had its own upheaval: the 20th century’s first monumental revolution, stretching from 1910 to 1920. Seven percent of Mexico’s population lost their lives, 2,000 communities vanished, and economic growth came to an abrupt halt. However, just as World War I led to fresh approaches to art in Europe, the Mexican Revolution spawned an artistic renaissance.
At this time, many photographers embraced modernism as they sought to capture the realities of the country in innovative ways. They were particularly drawn to European surrealism with its dream-like compositions and explorations of the subconscious. Mexico itself was a country with many contrasts; its juxtapositions were unexpected, ironic, humorous, frustrating, and hopeful—ancient and modern, poor and rich, indigenous and foreign. In this setting, surrealism was a natural fit for what many photographers were observing in the world around them.
In conjunction with the Flint Youth Film Festival, the FIA will exhibit a number of works by young, local filmmakers throughout the month of July. The Flint Youth Media Project introduces the art of filmmaking to people, ages 13–30 and college students regardless of age. In addition to a series of free filmmaking workshops, the program provides opportunities for participants to share their work with peers, the public, and professional filmmakers, and screenwriters.
Displays of violent weather conditions, electrical storms, tornados, floods, fires, and other eruptions are contrasted and equated with equally awe-inspiring images of technology that harnesses or mimics nature. Pitting the specter of nature against technology in time-lapsed images, this stirring video paints a portrait of the encounter between the constructed and the natural, between human control of power and that which eludes man’s control.
Since the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, artists have used photographs as both a tool and an inspiration for their work; but the Photorealists were the first to translate information from one medium to another unapologetically. In a period where abstraction was dominating the art world, these artists presented viewers with the most commonplace subject matter that mimicked the most popular type of image—the photograph.
Some artists elaborated on the hyperreal elements of a photograph by enhancing every detail, while others faithfully re-created the blurring that occurs in photographs with a shallow depth of field. Still others experimented with cropping to create paintings that were reminiscent of snapshots. This exhibition brings together key works from public and private collections in a broad survey of this movement. It features paintings dating from the late 20th century to the present, illuminating the very definition of Photorealism from its beginning up to
today. A catalogue accompanies this exhibition.
This exhibition was organized by the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York.
The exhibition, From Lens to Eye to Hand: Photorealism 1969 to Today, is made possible, in part, by the generous leadership support of Louis K. and Susan P. Meisel, Barbara Slifka, Linda Hackett and Melinda Hackett/ CAL Foundation, Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder, Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Muriel F. Siebert Foundation, and Arlene Kaufman and Sanford Baklor. Public Funding provided by Suffolk County.
From Lens to Eye to Hand: Photorealism 1969 to Today
by Terrie Sultan
(paperback; 128 pages; $39.95)
Now 40% off through August 12.
This generously illustrated book examines Photorealism in contemporary art from its roots in the late 1960s to today. Photorealism reintroduced straightforward representation into an art world dominated by Pop Art, Minimalism, Land Art, and Performance Art. Often misunderstood as being overtly traditional, artists at the vanguard of this important movement were trailblazers. Use of the camera as the foundation of painterly expression is common today, but in the 1970s Photorealists were embarking on a groundbreaking way of seeing and depicting the world. Drawing on major public and private collections, the book features works by the masters of Photorealism. Along with numerous illustrations, the book also includes an introductory essay by noted artist and writer Richard Kalina, and an in-depth essay by Terrie Sutlan, focusing on photorealistic watercolors and works on paper.
Be sure not to miss this exhibition of works by master printmaker Peter Milton. While Milton began his career as a painter, he turned to etching and engraving in the 1960s. Testing positive for color deficiency in 1962 also influenced his decision to work exclusively in black and white. According to the artist, “I relish drawing and the craft of engraving, and […] everything […]—dramatis personae, details, architecture—is drawn by hand. During the first, planning phase of the image, I construct an initial collage, and I do find a photocopier useful at that point for enlarging and reducing elements. But in the next phase I modify and change these elements quite intentionally in a drawing which serves as the basis for the finished print.”
In Search of Lost Time is the title of a 2006 print by Milton, which comes from an English translation of French author Marcel Proust’s monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu, published between 1913 and 1927. As the title of the exhibition, it fittingly alludes to the enigmatic and fantastical narratives for which Milton is known in his elaborately detailed, large-scale etchings. Combining the real and surreal, Milton places photographic rendering of figures amidst soft-focused, ethereal atmospheres that seem like a dream.
Evoking stress, tension, anxiety, and amazement, the video performance Release pushes glass—and the viewer’s nerves—to extremes. Artist Leana Quade reveals the amazing proprieties of glass while mimicking feelings one may have when approaching a simple, yet terrifying task. Using a sheet of tempered glass, a ratchet strap, and nerves of steel to slowly bend a sheet of glass until it explodes, the process as well as the result was more intense and terrifying than she anticipated. Excitement turns to anxiety within the simple process of clicking a ratchet strap. The viewer shares the dread and nervousness of the artist, watching as she struggles every click of the way.
Thinking Hurts Too Much is a slowly scrolling video that incorporates found and manipulated internet footage, creating a panoramic collage of gyrating, pulsing, and writhing characters to expose America’s—and the world’s—desire for the sensational. Cameron Gray pieces together thousands of pop culture images to offer a provocative and poignant depiction of excess and the constant urge to seek new and more extreme visual stimulation.
The video is an immersive experience that is constantly changing, as your eye moves from one area to the next, dancing across a screen that never stops moving. In doing so, Gray makes us aware of the passage of time as we witness the reactions of other viewers standing next to us—reminding us of the separation that results from unshared memory.
This exhibition showcases a new form of bead art, the ndwango (which translates to “cloth”), developed by a community of women living and working together in rural South Africa. The Ubuhle artists use black fabric, reminiscent of the headscarves and skirts they wore growing up, as a canvas for intricate beaded works of art. Ubuhle [pronounced Ub-Buk-lay] means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages, and eloquently describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that is present in the ndwangos.
Ubhule Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence was developed by the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC in cooperation with Curators Bev Gibson, Ubuhle Beads, and James Green, and is organized for tour by International Arts and Artists.
This exhibition of Japanese prints, mostly from the 19th century, takes viewers into the quiet rhythms and familiar habits of the everyday. Japanese art and life were focused on telling stories about ordinary people. The prints feature numerous themes from both urban and country life, including pilgrimages to sacred sites, going to the theatre, and undertaking difficult journeys. Ranging from brothels to sacred mountains, Japan’s art of this time documents a look into their life and culture. Guest curator Dr. Sarah Lippert presents a lecture on the exhibition on March 14 at 6:00p in the FIA Theater. The event is free and open to the public.
Kawita Vatanajyankur’s art offers a powerful examination of the psychological, social, and cultural ways of viewing and valuing the continuing challenges of women’s everyday labor. In her videos, the artist undertakes physical experiments that playfully, often painfully, test her body’s limits—a challenge that is both unavoidably compelling and perplexing to watch.
The repetitive and arduous tasks that Vatanajyankur performs parody a pervasive slippage between human and machine, and spotlight the forgotten body within a technologically accelerating world. Beyond this literal translation, these gestures also make visible the invisible mechanisms that govern women’s everyday labor in her birthplace of Thailand. It is a place where, for many, daily chores aren’t always assisted by machines but are time-consuming, physically exhausting, and often the task of women.
It is telling that she describes her performances as “meditation postures,” when such grueling tests of resilience are the opposite of what might be considered Zen. But, for Vatanajyankur, extreme physical endurance offers a way to free herself from her mind: a mechanism to lose her sense of being. This deliberate objectification, she says, turns her body into sculpture. The
2 and Squeezers explores the limitations of our bodies, the continuing challenges of mundane labor, and the ongoing tasks for feminism in a globalized and digitally networked world.
MORPH is a playful and visually spellbinding performance by choreographer and animator Nina McNeely. Through the use of projection mapping and synchronized movements, she is transformed into a colorful array of creatures and characters. Inspired by the concept of shape-shifting in both folklore and contemporary culture, MORPH journeys through surrealist pop, a mythical animal kingdom, and into a divine realm of apparitions and deities. This piece narrows the line between dreams and reality while inviting the viewer to be transported back into a childlike state of innocence where color is omnipresent, time is nonlinear and illusion is endless.
Animation Nina McNeely Choreography Nina McNeely Music Robbie Williamson and Anna Sitko Costume Sara Sachs and Briana Gonzales
Promise, described as a moving painting, explores notions of temporality, evolution, and modernity. Artist Jason Mitcham made 2,600 alterations to a single canvas to produce this stop-motion video. Creating in this way becomes less about the final painting and more about the evolution of the narrative. According to Mitcham, the purpose of each brushstroke “is to bridge the one before it and the one that will follow it. More than likely it will be overlayed later on, by other marks needed to tell another part of the story. The painting must be allowed to destroy itself in order to become itself. This correlates to the concepts within the work, and the video excavates the painting, allowing its history and narrative to be revealed.”
View the making of Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise.
Scale (or size) is one of the most effective ways to visually communicate an idea. While an oversized painting may envelop our field of vision, a small one requires us to look more closely. Because we often consider the size of an object relative to our own bodies, things that are very large may have a different impact than those that are very small. Size
Collection gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves how scale shapes the way we experience artwork.
The work’s relationship to the viewer is not the only thing taken into consideration when determining the size of a work of art. Artists must also grapple with the practical issues of scale. Large works require large studio and storage spaces, can be difficult to transport, and are usually more expensive to make. Small works require patience, a steady hand, and visual acuity in order to depict the illusion of space and perspective. Finding the right equipment and tools to render minute details poses potential issues for artists working in small scale. As viewers, we often take for granted the challenges and decisions the artist must make before applying paintbrush to canvas.
This exhibition—featuring 24 artworks that date from the late 18th century to the 21st century—allows you to see works in the FIA’s collection in a new way, realizing that for an artist, whether it’s a material manifestation or ideological expression, size always matters.
Well-known local artist William (Bill) Stolpin knew he wanted to explore the possibilities of printmaking in junior high school. One year, he made a linoleum block Christmas card that had seven different blocks and 15 colors, a highly technical project for a novice printmaker. He became well-versed in all printmaking techniques, but focused his career on screen printing, relief, intaglio, and lithographic artworks. His subjects were as varied as his techniques. He explored everything from nature and abstraction to fantasy and outer space. Twenty-nine works from the artist’s prolific career are on display in The
Don’t miss the final days of this exhibition featuring over 40 vessels made by local, national, and international contemporary ceramicists. Each object is part of a large collection recently gifted to the FIA by ceramics collector Sidney Swidler. He has collected ceramics since 1984 and his gift of more than 100 works is an important addition to the museum’s permanent collection.
Alex Hubbard’s videos involve carefully choreographed and dynamically composed experimentation with objects, paint, and deconstruction. The
Ship seamlessly blends layers of activity in a reality-defying vision. It is a moving collage of sorts, showing various disjointed objects interacting in front of a white backdrop. Avoiding a single point of focus, Hubbard constructs his videos in layers where movement is multi-directional, time is non-linear, and narrative is convoluted.
In conjunction with the Flint Youth Film Festival, the FIA will exhibit several works by young, local filmmakers throughout July. The Flint Youth Media Project introduces the art of filmmaking to people ages 13–25 and to college students regardless of age. In addition to a series of free filmmaking workshops, the program provides opportunities for participants to share their work with peers, the public, and professional filmmakers and screenwriters.
When artists create self-portraits, they reveal more than just their likenesses. Self-portraits are often windows into artistic psyches, giving viewers a glimpse at how artists see themselves or wish to be seen. In a self-portrait, an artist materializes the abstract and internal on paper, deliberately choosing how to present themself. Self-portraits merge the artist’s objective physical likeness with a subjective and self-composed portrayal of their identity. Self-Expression is a selection of 20th-century self-portraits on paper drawn from the FIA’s permanent collection, including woodcuts, lithographs, and etchings. The styles of self-presentation vary widely, featuring realistic to surreal portrayals, in serious to playful, and straightforward to complex approaches. Carefully constructed, and as individual as the artists who created them, these self-portraits explore intersections of self and artistic identity.