Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sr. Corita Kent and Her Messages of Love and Politics

The art of Sr. Corita Kent came at a time when American culture and consumerism was at an all time high. The Pop Art movement was in full swing, and much of the art world was mesmerized by the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. That a nun could sweep into their fold and enjoy their comraderie and artistic support was surely rare, but Sr. Corita was indeed a rare individual.

She became known as an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. Her work incorporated advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political; urging viewers to consider difficult subjects like poverty, racism, injustice, the Vietnam War and humanitarian crises. Her artwork, with its messages of love and peace, was particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s.

Frances Elizabeth Kent aka Sr. Mary Corita, or Corita Kent, was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1918. Her family soon moved to Los Angeles, California where Corita attended Catholic Girls High School—now called Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto. She took classes at Otis College of Art and Design and Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts) before receiving her B.A. degree at Immaculate Heart College. Afterward, she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary and took her vows, becoming Sr. Mary Corita.
Corita was interested in teaching and briefly taught at a primary school in British Columbia. Later, she became head of the art department at Immaculate Heart College. She received her M.A. degree in art history from University of Southern California, and it was while she was in graduate school that Corita started to make prints and specialized her efforts in screen-printing. The medium was popular for the time because of the Pop art movement and the work of Warhol. Corita saw its ease to create unique messages and the multiplicity of the medium a natural for communicating to the masses. Corita also wanted her art to be affordable and widely available. It seemed she had found her niche.


Corita and her work was central to an art movement famous for celebrating kitsch and consumer culture.


Her classes at Immaculate Heart were an avant-garde mecca for prominent, ground-breaking artists and inventors, such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage, Saul Bass, Buckminster Fuller and Charles & Ray Eames. By the early 1950s, she had such a unique and well-known aesthetic that clergy members from all over the country were sent to be educated at Immaculate Heart College.

Corita's prints often incorporated the brands of American consumerism alongside spiritual texts. Her design process involved appropriating an original advertising graphic; for example, she would tear, rip, or crumble the image, then re-photograph it. She often used grocery store signage, texts from scripture, newspaper clippings, song lyrics, and writings from literary greats such as Gertrude Stein, E. E. Cummings, and Albert Camus.

Corita elevated the banal to the holy. Her earliest work was mostly iconographic, drawing inspiration from the Bible and other religious sources. Her faith is evident in the colors she chooses and the sources she quotes. Over time, Kent developed a rich Pop art iconography for the depiction of Catholic subjects.

Corita’s art has at times looks haphazard– her handwriting is messy and sometimes illegible, the printed words bend and fold on themselves, the colors splash into each other. She liked the idea of printmaking as the overlap between precision and free form color and shape. Her collages took popular images, often with twisted or reversed words, to comment on the political unrest of the time period, many of which could have been found at any number of marches or demonstrations, some of which she attended herself.


Dubbed the “joyous revolutionary” by artist Ben Shahn, she lectured and appeared on television and radio talk shows across the country. Over her career, she created nearly 800 editioned images, thousands of watercolors, and did numerous public and private commissions.

Timeline:
1963
Corita is commissioned to create a banner for the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.
1966
The Los Angeles Times names Corita one of nine Women of the Year.
1967
Corita is on the cover of the Christmas issue of Newsweek Magazine.
1968
Corita took a sabbatical in 1968, then decided she did not want to return to the order, or to teaching, but she remained close with the Immaculate Heart Community the rest of her life.


Corita's repository of art is held at the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles, and at Harvard University. Her work is included in some of the most important museums in the world; Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Harvard University, the National Gallery of Art, the Centre Pompidou and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Corita moved to Boston in 1969 where she continued with her art until her death in 1986. Overall, her work remained hopeful and uplifting. Her design for a postage stamp "Love" was accepted and printed in the 1980s. Over 700 million stamps have been sold thus far. Truly this artist had a lot of messages to impart to the world. We are fortunate that her work is enjoying a resrugence of interest from art historians and critics who now see her as a revolutionary figure in the pop Art movement. Her messages about social injustice and war and peace are as timely today as when they they were first created.

Sr. Corita Kent and Her Messages of Love and Politics

The art of Sr. Corita Kent came at a time when American culture and consumerism was at an all time high. The Pop Art movement was in full swing, and much of the art world was mesmerized by the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. That a nun could sweep into their fold and enjoy their comraderie and artistic support was surely rare, but Sr. Corita was indeed a rare individual.

She became known as an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. Her work incorporated advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ‘60s, her work became increasingly political; urging viewers to consider difficult subjects like poverty, racism, injustice, the Vietnam War and humanitarian crises. Her artwork, with its messages of love and peace, was particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s.

Frances Elizabeth Kent aka Sr. Mary Corita, or Corita Kent, was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1918. Her family soon moved to Los Angeles, California where Corita attended Catholic Girls High School—now called Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto. She took classes at Otis College of Art and Design and Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts) before receiving her B.A. degree at Immaculate Heart College. Afterward, she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary and took her vows, becoming Sr. Mary Corita.
Corita was interested in teaching and briefly taught at a primary school in British Columbia. Later, she became head of the art department at Immaculate Heart College. She received her M.A. degree in art history from University of Southern California, and it was while she was in graduate school that Corita started to make prints and specialized her efforts in screen-printing. The medium was popular for the time because of the Pop art movement and the work of Warhol. Corita saw its ease to create unique messages and the multiplicity of the medium a natural for communicating to the masses. Corita also wanted her art to be affordable and widely available. It seemed she had found her niche.


Corita and her work was central to an art movement famous for celebrating kitsch and consumer culture.


Her classes at Immaculate Heart were an avant-garde mecca for prominent, ground-breaking artists and inventors, such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage, Saul Bass, Buckminster Fuller and Charles & Ray Eames. By the early 1950s, she had such a unique and well-known aesthetic that clergy members from all over the country were sent to be educated at Immaculate Heart College.

Corita's prints often incorporated the brands of American consumerism alongside spiritual texts. Her design process involved appropriating an original advertising graphic; for example, she would tear, rip, or crumble the image, then re-photograph it. She often used grocery store signage, texts from scripture, newspaper clippings, song lyrics, and writings from literary greats such as Gertrude Stein, E. E. Cummings, and Albert Camus.

Corita elevated the banal to the holy. Her earliest work was mostly iconographic, drawing inspiration from the Bible and other religious sources. Her faith is evident in the colors she chooses and the sources she quotes. Over time, Kent developed a rich Pop art iconography for the depiction of Catholic subjects.

Corita’s art has at times looks haphazard– her handwriting is messy and sometimes illegible, the printed words bend and fold on themselves, the colors splash into each other. She liked the idea of printmaking as the overlap between precision and free form color and shape. Her collages took popular images, often with twisted or reversed words, to comment on the political unrest of the time period, many of which could have been found at any number of marches or demonstrations, some of which she attended herself.


Dubbed the “joyous revolutionary” by artist Ben Shahn, she lectured and appeared on television and radio talk shows across the country. Over her career, she created nearly 800 editioned images, thousands of watercolors, and did numerous public and private commissions.

Timeline:
1963
Corita is commissioned to create a banner for the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.
1966
The Los Angeles Times names Corita one of nine Women of the Year.
1967
Corita is on the cover of the Christmas issue of Newsweek Magazine.
1968
Corita took a sabbatical in 1968, then decided she did not want to return to the order, or to teaching, but she remained close with the Immaculate Heart Community the rest of her life.


Corita's repository of art is held at the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles, and at Harvard University. Her work is included in some of the most important museums in the world; Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Harvard University, the National Gallery of Art, the Centre Pompidou and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Corita moved to Boston in 1969 where she continued with her art until her death in 1986. Overall, her work remained hopeful and uplifting. Her design for a postage stamp "Love" was accepted and printed in the 1980s. Over 700 million stamps have been sold thus far. Truly this artist had a lot of messages to impart to the world. We are fortunate that her work is enjoying a resrugence of interest from art historians and critics who now see her as a revolutionary figure in the pop Art movement. Her messages about social injustice and war and peace are as timely today as when they they were first created.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Neal Harrington's Bootlegger Quest


Ahhhh, here's an original print voice, my inked up friends. Neal Harrington's Bootlegger series harkens back to the days of miraculous and divine inspiration. There is a little Rockwell Kent, mixed with a lot of William Blake, and quite a bit of imagery inspired by the effects of drinking the homespun 'brew' XX.

Some of Harrington's compositions remind me of a Gustave Klimt or Edvard Munch with his fantastic sirens popping out of a bottle of XX, or conjuried up through the imagination of the bootlegger.

Harrington's complex linear compositions are riveting. They deftly guide the viewer through his places where the bootlegger is a solitary journeyman surrounded by his imaginary female companions and the ever present drink of choice.


The bootlegger's loneliness is arrested through his drunken dreams and fantasies. In some of the prints, he portrays the female figures as a Madonnas or maternal figure (thinking Michaelangelo's Pieta), and in others, they pop out of a bottle of brew like a Jeanie.


Harrington loads his compositions with lots of action and imminent tragedy - boats and barns on fire. The dreams and fantasies of the bootlegger are dramatic and explosively charged with line and light in a night-time dreamscape.


The journeyman is fated to wander alone through rivers and swamps, the burning hands of men who perished the journey before him are only visible through their flamed afflicted hands that rise ominously out of the water. One dares not touch them or help them lest one perishes a similar demise. The bootlegger may never reach his destination or find the comfort of a real companion, but we are curious to see his adventures and wish him well.

Biography
Harrington was born in Rapid City, South Dakota. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of South Dakota, and he has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Wichita State University. Currently, Neal lives in Russellville, Arkansas, where he is an Associate Professor of Art and Gallery Director at Arkansas Tech University.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rachel Newling's Exotic Australia


Rachel Newling is creating a name for herself outside of Australia’s Queensland, and is quickly establishing herself as a printmaker who loves Nature, and who enjoys showing us some pretty curious creatures. Her work is detailed, colorful and original in subject. How many other printmakers can you name that do portraits of kangaroos and emus as wonderfully personified as any human portrait artist? There are not many, my friends.


What we see are Newling’s fascination with her environment, and richly textured plants and animals she sees every day. For any of us unfamiliar with seeing these subjects, they are a delight and Newling’s obsessive linear work is quite mesmerizing. Her hand-colored prints exude exoticism and we are left wanting to see more. She has a great respect for the way things look and we get an eye full in every composition.


Rachel Newling was born in Gloucestershire, U.K. She attended art school in London and lived there for several years before moving to Australia. She currently lives in Noosa, on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.


Australia is known for its printmaking heritage, and there have been several prominently known Aussie women printmakers since the beginning of the 20th century. Newling has joined Australia’s current wave of notable inksters we can expect to see great things from this artist. Enjoy the work, comrades.


Public Collections:
Artbank
Australian War Memorial
Cairns Regional Gallery
The City of Sydney
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Queens Club Sydney
Trust Sydney
Plus collections in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA.





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Marino Marini: A Man and His Horse


The passion one finds in Marino Marini’s work strikes the viewer like a lightning rod. There is angst, desperation, pathos, pain and a theme we have seen before – of a man on horseback, riding alone, on a personal quest for his place in the universe. Marini gets it right with his surface, often vibrant colors, and capturing of the essential forms to describe his subject.


Nothing is unnecessarily added in his prints. His choice of print method is curious given his natural tendencies toward sculpture and texture, but he pulls it off well, and we willingly embrace his colors and forms.


His compositions describe one two or three horses, or an acrobat traveling between two running horses. His stamina to rein in the beasts’ strength is tenuous, but he manages to hold them in his grasp. The lone riders remind us ever so briefly of the work of Picasso and ancient equestrian statues of the Roman Empire, though the horses and riders are stretched out and strained to exaggerate emotion.


It is good to see an artist expand their creative horizons and explore new mediums. Marini was an accomplished painter as well as a printmaker. We can enjoy his rich colors and surfaces which have their own power separate from his 3D works.


Marini (1901 –1980) was born in Italy. He attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. His work was influenced by the sculpture of Arturo Martini. In fact, Marini succeeded him as professor at the Scuola d’Arte di Villa Reale in Monza, near Milan, but he later accepted a sculpture professorship at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan.


Marini drew upon ancient Etruscan and Northern European sculpture to develop his own mythical subjects and re-interpreting classical themes via a modern context. His riders eek something eternally out of their grasp – the land in the distance, the place one will only see beyond the next hill, around the next corner. They have a Don Quixote feel about them, but they do not feel like dreamers looking for utopia. They feel like us, looking curiously beyond our everyday parameters for something new to re-invigorate our spirit.


Marini is famous for his series of equestrian statues, which feature a man with outstretched arms on a horse. The evolution of the horse and rider as a subject in Marini's works reflects his response to the modern world.


There is a museum dedicated to Marini’s work in Florence, in the former church of San Pancrazio. Upon a recent visit to the Vatican Museums in Rome I was surprised and pleased to discover they have dedicated have an entire room to his work, which include sculptures, paintings and drawings. It is definitely worth seeing.


Awards:
Grand Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale
Feltrinelli Prize at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome
Prize of the Quadriennale of Rome

Public Collections:
Civic Gallery of Modern Art, Milan
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Museum de Fundatie
Norton Simon Museum
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Tate Collection, London