Sunday, November 17, 2019

Judy Tuwaletstiwa at Lux Art Institute

by Patricia Frischer

Judy Tuwaletstiwa is a story teller and a story collector. She works with objects both found and shared but she also creates original things. Her point of view can be densely detailed or shiningly simply. Sometimes she starts at the beginning with the end in mind and other times the work seems to reveal itself only when it reaches its destination.  The work on display is varied in medium, but it all solidly comes from her.  She has a complex brain but it seems to be surprisingly uncomplicated.

I only know the actual work from the current Lux Art Institute exhibition where she is artist in residence until Dec 15 and the show will be on display until Jan 11, 2020. A native Californian, she now resides in New Mexico.

This set of works are based on objects Tuwaleststiwa has documented with stories for each one. We were allowed to choose our favorite and take away a copy image of the work. We were also invited to leave her one of our own stories, The series is called Where Does Art Come From?

The artist at her reception making a connection with her audience.

One of my choices was these scrapes of chalk gathered from a grandfather's frugal use as a tailor.

The diary of a fictitious character Patty Thompson which was aged with burnt edges.

I  thought of Agnes Martin when I saw the first of this series of memorials to commemorate a found dead crow. It begins with a very deliberate structure determined by the artist, but as the series continues, you can almost see that the crow is dictating how the remains should be placed. I ended up feeling the artist had not only channeled The Crow but also the spirit of one of my other favorite artists Eva Hess. This gave me a strong feeling of connection and context.

We measure our day from sunrise to sunset.
What if a day was a million years?
Might we hear the heartbeat of a rock?
Might we feel grains of sand forming?

Detail of above which sadly does not show the true black nature of these chips of fused glass but shows you what the surface looks like close up. 

Detail and side ways view of structure that makes certain fragments rise off the surface of the work. 

Tuwaleststiwa has a way of simplifying something complex and relating one work to the next. We see the hand print below (glass on canvas), then the full rendered hand in glass, then the photo with hands in one scene, and then not multiple photos but the one photo divided into different focus points.  Different points of view, all hers, but all as if they are coming from different people. 

Ruah, Hand 2: Breath Spirit Wind

This all red work was inspired by her Hopi husband story of murals in a sacred place. They were painted over generation after generation. Next to the work is a slide presentation of all the layers that were added,one on top of the other, before getting to this final destination. The video images part 1 and 2 are only a very few of the more than 100 images that were captured over time.

Continuing Painting 2

I encourage you to go and see the work for yourself, have a conversation with Judy Tuwaleststiwa and/or contribute a story like I did. 

Please watch the video of Tuwaleststiwa speaking of her art on her website

Here is Judy Tuwaleststiwa  speaking during a residency at Corning Glass with Michael Rogers about her Jewish background which also describes part of her process of creation. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Bouguereau & America at SDMA

SDMA own Bouguereau

Bouguereau & America

The French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau created 822 paintings in his lifetime (1825 to 1905). On show at the San Diego Museum of art is about 40 of these works by a favorite artist of the current SDMA director Maruja Baldwin Executive Director Roxana Velásquez.

It is hard to put yourself into the cultural decades when Bouguereau enjoyed his most ardent support both in France and the USA. In his own words, he was painting pictures of lovely nudes and cupid because that is what the buying public wanted. These are the works that we often see on the chocolate boxes of Victorian England and the Gilded Age in the Americas.  As times changed, he did not alter his style and suffered accordingly. But his skill as a photo-realist would have been appreciated again if he had lived in the 60th and it is not hard to see him as a surrealist either. His fantasy life was brought to life in his works which were allegorical and mythological and classical. 

The loveliness of his technique does wear thin as one sees painting after painting in this show. The nude women depicted are not really sexy, but out of context they could be soft porn which might have been an attraction in the stately drawing rooms of the rich. They seem to exploit their subjects now and you wonder if pedophiles might have been attracted to all the hairless, naked young subjects. 

A perfect rendition of a dress suitable for Princess Diane, a lovely hand or foot, a show stopping Madonna and child, make this a worthy show for today's audience. And the SDMA is not ignorant of the sales potential for these images and related french goodies for sale at the end of the exhibition space. The VIP reception was, as always, a feast for the senses. The "Strike a Pose" room was a fun way for this show to have an interactive component...although stripping was not in any way encouraged!

The exhibition is co-organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art/ Exhibition is showing at SDMA from Nov 9, 2019 to March 15, 2020. 



Yummy caviar cones

French goodies at VIP opening

Strike a Pose