Self Portrait complete! Using the Old Masters mark from the recreation project (artist Kenyon Cox) I finally finished this picture of myself. Im fairly happy with this, I think by the end I really understood the mark by the end of this project and the fineness and direction of the hatching. I am mostly happy with the hair, I think it turned out really nice with the very light and careful marks. I am not completely content with the face, probably because it is mine and I don't think I will ever be totally comfortable with having to recreate it just because I am so familiar with it. Overall I think this project went very smoothly!
So far in this picture I have completed most of the sweater. This sweater is very difficult due to the many lines of the fabric and the color blocking. However I am getting more and more used to the tiny hatch marks necessary to obtain such light and intricate shadows. I am excited to do the hair because the lines will be very fun and loose to draw.
(Jackson Pollock "The She-Wolf," 1943)
The documents “Art Proliferation” and “Modern Art was a CIA Weapon” both address the use of art between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the 1950’s these two countries became the two leading power houses of the world after coming off of the second world war. Tensions rose between the two as the Soviet Unions advance into communism upset many within the United States. For most of this period the nations were on the brink of what could have been a disastrous nuclear war. It was recently confirmed that it was not only a military struggle but a struggle socially and politically, in this case through the movements of art.
The first article, “Modern Art was a CIA Weapon” shared how and to what extent the United States Central Intelligence Agency became involved in the Abstract Impressionist movement. According to the article, the government attempted to fund shows and advertisements of the american art to spread its popularity and message. Tom Braden, a former CIA member, explained that the intent was to ally writers and artists and musicians to to show the freedom they possessed within America. Under the United States government Abstract Expressionism traveled through Europe showing their free and passionate nature to the world. The other article Wrote of the Soviets Unions strict control and use of art to show how amazing their communist society was and paint pictures of glorified Dictators. This is what American wanted to neutralize with their lack of rules in art.
In this way the articles were very different. “Modern Art” focuses more on creation and effect within America of the CIA involvement of the movement, while the “Art Proliferation” was more about its effect on the Soviet Union. While the whole concept of the CIA being involved in the spread of Abstract Expressionism is quite strange to me, I was most surprised to hear how heavily it contrasted to what was being created in the Soviet Union at the same time. Two places in the same era can be so completely different. I really love to hear how things became what they are, and it is interesting to think of the different ways that this art form would have come to popularity if not for the United States CIA interfering.
This is a work by artist Kumi Yamashita, a Japanese artist. Yamashita is most known for her "Shadow Art." She is not the only artist who uses or relies on shadows to create her visuals, however she is one of the only artists to ever combine tangible materials with immaterial. The piece above is a part of her Light and Shadow series. She uses a single source of light and either carved objects or in this case metal objects or letters to create a form within the shadows. I love the unique and creative aspects of this work and I would love to know even more about how it is made.
I have finally completed my Old Masters recreation piece based on the original by artist Kenyon Cox! The light and subtle hatching was easier to master once I had established the Ebony pencil as my main tool and the charcoal pencil as details and deeper shadows. I am very happy with the way that the second half (the upper half) of this picture turned out due to my growing comfort with the technique and materials. Very happy to be finished!