Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gesture: New Definition

In conversations recently I have noticed the word gesture can mean a multitude of things when talking about expression in Art. Traditionally from an Art Historical stand point; I remember the pose of a figure referenced as a gesture. Are they lying down, sitting up stiff, are the legs crossed and to the side? All these could be stated as a gesture of the pose. The Greeks used a classic pose called the Contrapposto. Commonly used in sculpture the weight of the body would be mainly on one leg so the body would be off axis. This was achieved either in the standing or lying poses.
A quick sixty-second drawing is called a gesture drawing or pose. Commonly used to “warm” up the artist before engaging in drawing, it can be quite useful. The drawings themselves can be evocative of emotion in the confident stokes. The artist is more concerned with capturing the expression of the body or face in a minimalist manner. Other times in recent conversation I have heard artists use the word gesture as stating the piece was executed in a gestural manner. Meaning that the painting was done in a painterly style with the brush strokes visible, and not necessarily recreating the object/figure but expressing them with a quick motion. Concerned more with the ambience created with the paint rather than referencing something tangible.
What this all is leading up to is my confusion with the latest use of the word that I have heard in conversations lately. It could just be my ignorance in the interpretation. But I have heard people refer to a mark or a reference to an unrecognizable object as a “gesture”. Recently I overheard someone asking an artist if an illusion to an object was something in particular, and the artist said “No, it is just a gesture”. Understandably considering the “Webster” definition of a gesture, I can see where painting something to reference nothing in particular but just a feeling makes sense. I can plead ignorance, I have not heard of the term used that way until recently. In retrospect of writing this I can see how it makes sense that the artist wants to “express an idea or meaning” with a mark or reference to something intangible.

Websters definition:
gesture |ˈjes ch ər|
a movement of part of the body, esp. a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning : Alex made a gesture of apology | so much is conveyed by gesture.
• an action performed to convey one's feelings or intentions : Maggie was touched by the kind gesture.
• an action performed for show in the knowledge that it will have no effect : I hope the amendment will not be just a gesture.
verb [ intrans. ]
make a gesture : she gestured meaningfully with the pistol.
• [ trans. ] express (something) with a gesture or gestures : he gestured his dissent at this.
• [ trans. or infinitive ] direct or invite (someone) to move somewhere specified : he gestured her to a chair.

Internet and the Art World: Do we have to?

I went to the Graduate/BFA student mentoring presentation last semester and after the Graduate student presented very useful information on the options we as artist have for presenting our work electronically, someone asked why we as artists should have to do this. The student made a valid point and I pondered if an artist is missing out on something if they are not online. The artist not using the Internet certainly does not get the emails requesting that their work be sent to another country in an email scam. But they do miss out on “Viral” spreading of their work. Is the art world becoming an online gallery?
I do not think that the physical gallery will ever go away. There is too much to miss in seeing a piece of work to scale, whether that is small or large. And what would be missed if we did not see the paint strokes, texture and viscosity of a piece of work. Would it lose it human condition? I think that they become sterile and voiceless if you are not able to walk around or toward for closer examination of a piece. Yes, a larger audience within the online gallery world can see the artist. Thousands of people can see the art that would not have seen it originally. Someone in Timbuktu can post a gallery and another person in Siberia can view it and someone in Normal, Ohio may inquire to purchase it. This has made our world much smaller in that it is contained on your lap or in the palm of your hand.
The spread of viral items on the internet, where news of Michael Jackson’s death spread faster than a traditional news station could report it, should help spread the arts to corners of the world who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it. I believe that this has helped the fact that almost all genres are now viable. We are no longer a world where there is one way to represent your voice. Every genre right now has a market and is considered valid. You can find classical renaissance, abstract, impressionistic to the graffiti artist all current and available online. When I have asked artists if they are online, I have yet to hear one say that they will not be going online, just that it is in the process if not already so. So yes, I think an artist is missing out on something if they are not online and eventually we will all be. But the physical gallery will always exist until we can make holograms to put in your living so you may walk around, walk closer to and see the physical hand.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Grown Up Field Trip


Website: The How To Tool For The Upcoming Event

April of 2012 Madison area artists are inviting the public to a studio field trip. Madison Area Open Art Studio event is an educational opportunity in that the artist will be revealing how they make their art in addition to selling it. The new website is your guide on the tour. On April 6th and 7th one hundred local artists will open their studios from 11-5 both days. The website has all the information needed from an interactive map, an artist directory and dates and times of the event. The event is free and a member of buy local Dane.

The website has a directory of all the one hundred participating artists with their contact information, address of their studio space, medium they work in, an artist statement and an image of their work. New this year is some artists have attached blogs to their information. An interactive map is also on the website if you want to only tour a particular area. A search option is available to search by artist name, medium and town or city.

This is more than an average Art Fair. In addition to supporting buy local Dane, the public is able to see, hear and talk to the artist about their process. The Open Art Studio event has always been an educational opportunity. But now it has even more relevance in supporting our local economy. Judi Werner has been a participating artist for eight years and says “People that come are able to buy items to decorate their home that have a story, more than you can get from big box store item”.

Madison Area Open Art Studio’s was started 8 years ago by 40 artists to provide the public an educational experience beyond the gallery or art fair. Since then the tour has had up to 150 participating artists a year and a rotating total of approximately 400 artists. Open Art Studios is now a member of Buy Local Dane. The new website contains directory of current participating artists, images, interactive maps and event information.


If you would like more information or to schedule an interview with a participating artist, please contact Kelly Daniels (press and promotions board member) at or call 608-258-2437.

Brain Burp!

My perception was I was doing well in class, until I had a brain burp! For some reason I completely missed seeing this assignment! Bummer. Otherwise, I have put a conscious effort into more concise, less wordy writing. I still need to work on the too wordy and proofreading out loud. So far this class has taught me about the inverted pyramid, twitter, and my new joy: blogging.
The inverted pyramid style of writing is the most important lesson so far. It is writing by putting the most important information first and details after. Twitter is fun playing with “6 word novels”. But I think acronyms and hieroglyphs are common and I know squat about how to use them.
Blogging is my new found love. I will use it in my art business. A few artists I know use a blog as their website for their art as well as creating a fan base. The sites I have visited will post a blog message about where they feel they are at in their creative process and research. Some even include a visual image that they created that day. Others just list their CV, artist statement and a section for their visual creations. These blogs are ahead of where I am currently ready to go.
To be more successful in new media writing I feel I need more criticism or exercises in writing. Writing is not a strength of mine; my creative outlet is visual mediums. Although I am in the process of literary evolution, I just need more constructive steering. My creative ideas are large grandiose monsters and I have to reign myself into reality frequently. I was doing it again for this writing class. My website in my head is all created by me, but that would take too long with my skill level. So I reigned myself in again and am just going to use a template already out there for now.
As for suggestions for the class on creative fun ideas, I have none. My use of new media is to inform our departments’ students, friends and staff of art events in the area. So I search state, educational and email list serves for announcements. I do Google searches for everything else. My favorite resource for artist images is UW Madison’s art history site. I find great images for inspiration and discussions there. Other than that I am tapped.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Un-tapped Frontier (New Media assignment)

In the video “Brown Is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream” the great American Marketing machine is portrayed as needing to realize that the “Latino” demographic is becoming a huge untapped market and it needs to be included. A campaign to attract that market does not have to be in Spanish or Spanglish, it just has to be something that that demographic can relate to. As in the words of George Lopez, just put us in your advertisement don’t make a Spanish one just for us, just include us in your regular campaign.

America’s demographics have been changing since 1492. After the Portuguese and Spanish, came the British, came the Irish, Polish, Russian, and Chinese. Our culture changed a little with each new addition to the melting pot. Now the “Latino/Hispanic” (as labeled by the US Government and targeted by the Marketing machine) segment is growing at a rapid rate and influencing our current culture. The market that has been avoided by the marketing machine is projected to reach over 1 trillion by 2011 and 1 in 6 Americans will be of Latino descent. That is now.

The teen population doesn’t speak Spanish, for the Spanish television station this presents a dilemma. The demographic itself is undergoing a generational change. Even the Sltv (Spanish programming station) now offers different stations broadcast in English, Spanish and Spanglish. So to put out a campaign in three different languages is unnecessary. Just make it relate to them either by including Latino characters or something that relates to their culture.

In relation to my media campaign, I can relate it to them by including either an artist and/or the public onlookers can be of Latino descent. Even a piece of art that relates to their culture can be featured. Relating it to the Latino demographic will not be hard at all, and some research to find an artist already in past participants of over 500 should be easy. Enjoyment of art is cross-cultural. Patrons that go to view art do not care which culture it came from as long as it speaks to them. So including multicultural art is beneficial for everyone.