GILDA OLIVER’S PURPOSEFUL CREATIVITY

While few women artists have cracked the art world’s glass ceiling, Gilda Oliver has prevailed within the international art world, as well as within intimate local communities with her unique brand of creativity.

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The art world recently reexamined gender bias with guest-editor Maura Reilly crunching the numbers and leading the discussion in the June edition of ARTnews magazine. The statistics reveal that women are featured in a stingy thirty percent of gallery shows, paid roughly 22 percent less than men, and passed over by biased collectors.  Reilly also revisited Linda Nochlin’s seminal essay; Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists neatly shifting the conversation towards institutional inequality.

Although Oliver is familiar with the discriminatory tactics of the art world, she has nevertheless made in-roads within what continues to be a good old boys club.  Her powerful multi-media painting is launched in cosmopolitan solo shows where critics sing her praise and sales are brisk.  Moreover, the artist’s painting, sculpture, and digitally-designed murals, are featured in both art and business publications with in-depth articles in Fine Arts and Modern Painters Magazines, as well as investment magazines like IAIR.

Verse-of-Honey - Gilda Oliver Painted Poetry_1

The artist’s practice of including words in pieces like Verse of Honey is meant to provoke unexpected responses and uncover hidden creativity.  The painting, picturing a playful cat in iridescent orange tucked inside the artist’s poem, is like an electric jolt of power that expresses her reverence for omnipresent beauty and acknowledges the gift that she carries within her.  Verse of Honey, along with the artist’s other recent paintings, is informed by the modern mysticism of Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Malevich.  Each reflects the artist’s belief in the spiritual value of art and emphasizes humanity’s relationship to art and nature.  More, Oliver facilitates others in heroically discovering and nurturing their untapped creative impulses.

Prisms of Color at Port Discovery Museum 9 by 25 feet

While Oliver is an artist of international renown, she is also a brilliant cultural animator and an award-winning teacher who recognizes a correlation between academic achievement and a developed creative skill set.  Prisms of Color in Outer Space, a 9’ by 25’ mosaic and clay tile mural, is the fourth mega-sized project that the artist digitally-designed as a community project to be pieced together by a rainbow of volunteers.  Like her individual work, the artist’s community designs are affirmative in purpose, theme, and symbolism.  They stir a communal appreciation within the group and nurture promising creative potential within the individual.

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In an era that has often seen art education as non-essential, Oliver has circumvented the traditional paradigm by expanding art education outside of the classroom and into the community with its diverse age groups and cultural identities. Native Americans familiar with the artist’s projects, physically and emotionally challenged children and adults, public classrooms, parents, grandparents, and intrigued sponsors willing to roll up their sleeves, joined forces with the artist to create Prisms of Color in Outer Space.  She sees that returning participants arrive with an advanced skill-set, and responds with designs that are slightly more challenging.

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Finally, the artist is mesmerized watching the creative process as it unfolds.  As the luminescent beads and tiles fall into place, the mosaic appears as an expression of so many souls in creative harmony.  She feels drawn into a swirling symphony of beauty.  Moreover, Prisms of Color in Outer Space reveals a shift in the artist’s role as a cultural animator.  Oliver not only digitally designed, and organized the project; but for the first time, she lent her signature painting style to the group project by painting rays of the sunshine on top of the finished mural.  While the artist admits that she lost some of her paint brushes, she loves the way that the it interacts with the rough surface.

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Music, with its exquisite nuances, also animates Oliver’s art.  The artist is donating Jazz, another whopping 9’ by 25’ mural, to the Reginald Lewis Museum in Baltimore.  In Jazz, like Prisms of Color, the artist lends her masterful painting style to the project, painting notes of music on the mosaic.  This community project marks another watershed moment for the artist.  While Oliver designed her previous community projects for young audiences, Jazz speaks to an adult audience more likely to identify with the artist’s purpose and passion.

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Oliver nimbly sidesteps some art world’s isms with group projects that expand art education out into the community and engage the creativity of diverse groups of people.  She transcends not only gender boundaries but other barriers as well.  Oliver values the creativity of every individual regardless of age, gender, race and ability in her personal work and her community work.  Finally, the impressive breadth of Oliver’s skill, her generous spirit, and her creative business sense, point to unlimited creative possibilities within local neighborhoods, as well as the international art world.

 

CAROL ROULLARD

Artist Carol Roullard amplifies and records the spellbinding patterns and iridescent colors that she’s discovered through her microscope transforming them into art that invites her viewer to inhabit brilliant and unfamiliar universes.  In the statement below, Carol elaborates on her love affair with nature, as well as her discovery.

"Rose Mountains at Sunset," courtesy of Carol Roullard, carolroullard.com
“Rose Mountains at Sunset,” courtesy of Carol Roullard, carolroullardart.com

I am a photographer who was captivated when I first saw chemical crystals through the microscope. Never in my wildest dreams did I think there was this world of intense color and luminosity. The crystals grew in such unique patterns sometimes spreading smoothly in an organized fashion across the glass and other times crashing into each other forming bridges and barriers like molten rock that dries and hardens into crystallized structures.

"Microscape," courtesy of Carol Roullard, carolroullardart.com
“Microscape,” courtesy of Carol Roullard, carolroullardart.com

I fell madly in love with the intensity and wonderment of what I would find next. I found abstracts; formations that looked like land and seascapes, even flowers and once a group of faces. I mixed chemicals together and later realized that I should be grateful I didn’t burn down the house or fill the room with noxious gases. Although I was reckless with excitement, that experiment nevertheless produced some of the most exciting results.   Carol Roullard

"Ice Phoenix," courtesy of Carol Roullard, carolroullardart.com.
“Ice Phoenix,” courtesy of Carol Roullard, carolroullardart.com

BROOKE McGOWEN’S PAINTING

Although predetermined notions of history are difficult to reconcile with the reality of cultural pluralism, Brooke McGowen has found a strategy for painting within the Hegelian dialectic.

http://brookemcgowen.org/lovers-in-gold.html
“lovers in gold,” courtesy of Brooke McGowen

Right now in history painters are called upon to reconcile these two antipodes, to invent a painting that allows the paint to expand freely and still capture the object. 

— Brooke McGowen

The artist argues that while the old masters restricted themselves to representing nature, they nevertheless discovered visual rhythm and strength in their technique.  When Abstract Expressionist painters were free of  this restriction, she sees that the medium became the subject.  McGowen argues that one of the challenges facing the contemporary painter is in synthesizing the two styles. The artist realizes the painting during a creative process that takes place while a narrative unfolds.

"lovers in gold," courtesy of Brooke McGowen
“lovers in gold,” courtesy of Brooke McGowen

By jumping into the unknown the painter will find new solutions to this age-old problem. He may even discover he can fly.  The method chosen is the artist’s endeavor to create the perfect flying machine.  This invention process is a reflection of the attempt to paint the perfect picture.

The artist reconciles the binary challenge by engaging with the physical properties of the paint and capturing familiar, identifiable narratives.  McGowen taps into a force that transcends intention by carefully navigating representation and abstraction and emphasizing the natural tendency of the paint to drip and flow in her creative process.  As a result, she uncovers solutions to age-old problems through coincidences that lead to some of the artist’s best work.

HELEN SHULKIN

Helen Shulkin’s painting speaks of rigorous academic training that translate to effortless, feeling-drenched compositions. 

"Crescendo," courtesy of Helen Shulkin, helen-shulkin.com
“Crescendo,” courtesy of Helen Shulkin, helen-shulkin.com

The artist dissects scenes with their lines of roofs, houses, and fences and puts them back together with a transfusion of resonant color.  Her lines are loose, dynamic and convey an ease of movement while her color calculations produce variegated patches that cover her surfaces with shapes that form an evocative visual rhythm.

"Cafe in Xabia," courtesy of Helen Shulkin, helen-shulkin.com
“Cafe in Xabia,” courtesy of Helen Shulkin, helen-shulkin.com

Color is my air…

Color is my jazz…

Color is absorbed in me…

Color fills me…

Color flows throw my veins…

Color dissolves in me…

Color burns me…

Color freezes me…

Color picks me up…

Color carries me over the streets…

Color throws me inside of the streets…

Color finds me behind the streets…

Color finally frees me… 

Shulkin’s imagination is full of color that brings her art to life.  The artist says, the streets desperately need new color because then they start playing true jazz.  Similarly, the artist’s color reverberations evoke the mood of the places that she represents, along with her reaction to it.

"Cafe under the hornbeams," courtesy of Helen Shulkin, helen-shulkin.com
“Cafe under the hornbeams,” courtesy of Helen Shulkin, helen-shulkin.com

In her commentary of Café under the hornbeams, the artist says:

Drinking my coffee I was waiting for … the fantastic people of Mithymna.  They appear suddenly and move in another time dimension.  They are not in a hurry, like the clocks in metropolises.  They are authentic and seem to know some secret.  I tried to comprehend this mystery, … tried to be one of them.

There are layers of intrigue in Helen Shulkin’s work.  If her skill and ability to portray the vibration of a place with its sometimes unfamiliar people is impressive, glimpses of her passionate spirit are disarming.

GILDA OLIVER’S COMMUNITY ART

My personal work and community art artwork tries to connect people to an interior spiritual beauty which often goes unrecognized and unappreciated. — Gilda Oliver

Courtesy of Gilda Oliver
Courtesy of Gilda Oliver

Gilda Oliver’s portfolio is disarmingly impressive.  The artist’s aspiration to invite the viewer to participate in her affirmative brand of creativity translates to a worldwide fascination with a remarkably generous artist.  Countless glossy advertisements in big magazines like Modern Painters Magazine promote Oliver’s tactile brand of creativity.  Publications like Fine Art Magazine have featured her transformational art with in-depth articles and savvy layouts. While Oliver’s engaging multi-media art is appreciated in international galleries in Manhattan, Moscow, and Miami, as well as glittering places in between; it also flourishes in local neighborhoods like yours and mine.   Beyond that, Oliver is an award winning teacher when art funding is not a national priority.

In a recent solo show, Oliver spun some of her traditional themes including transcendence, nature, and history, out in a gesture that reaffirms art as a spiritual value.  The artist’s new series is informed by the mysticism of Kandinsky, Malevich, and Mondrian to explode in a jolt of power. Furthermore, the artist addresses climate change, and humanity’s troubling relation with nature, in “Purple Halo Melt” where souls melt into the dark.  Furthermore, she explores larger notions of history to uncover power in past wisdom.  “Pink Halo Angel,” for example, represents a creature flying into a reimagined future. 

My hope is that this most recent oversized mosaic mural is just one flower in a garden of arts and culture that will continue to flourish and enrich our communities.

Courtesy of My Art Council, myartscouncil.net
“Rainbows of Love Over the Rainforest,” Community Mosaic, www.myartscouncil.net

Finally, Oliver’s community projects are stunning in concept, and practice.  For starters, the artist designs projects in neighborhoods without arts funding.  She then enlists sponsors and volunteers of every age and ilk to create public work close to home.  As a result, individuals are able to express their love for the world around them, and realize a communal sense of creativity in their world.   –to be continued.

Gilda Oliver was republished in the May issue of Fine Arts Magazine http://issuu.com/victorforbes/docs/2015_spring_fine_art_magazine/22

Courtesy of My Art Council, Community Mosaic, www.myartscouncil.net

PADRICK BENTLEY’S “GLITCHED ART”

The paintings are the visual representation of mind and the Noise, an aesthetic born out of the conflict between the two opposed forces.Padrick Bentley

Padrick Bentley’s savvy public silhouette reflects the artist’s style and message.  The fluorescent profile of the immaculately groomed young man mirrors the artist’s creative process, and wit. More, his glitched method offers a commentary on the delinquency of mass culture and the tension between the human mind and outside static.

This photograph is courtesy of padrickbentley.com

they are each an animated .gif, a compilation of multiple versions of a painting.  Each has the most basic level – the computer code – corrupted.  The resulting digital file is ‘glitched.’  When combined as a .gif, the paintings are deconstructed and reconstructed in an unending loop.  

Bentley’s process mirrors the reality that the consumer navigates in a culture of unmanageable sensory overload.   He demonstrates how the truth is corrupted one bit at a time.  The digital loop is incrementally damaged as it strays further from the original image producing infinitesimal layers of distortion.

originally found @ www.padrickbentley.com
This picture is courtesy of  padrickbentley.com

Bentley seeks to spread harmony where there is discord with his art.  He is a secret agent confronting a society that is drifting away from the truth.  His luminous inner reflections stand in place of and question the Noise that is everywhere around us with its soulless layers of falsehood.

Day 23 of the 2015 PROJECT: INTRODUCING BRITTINI RENEE

originally found @ quotesworld.org/martin-luther-king-jr-
originally found @ quotesworld.org/martin-luther-king-jr-

Art Copy is very pleased to welcome Brittini Renee to the 2015 Project.  This young artist employs creative writing along with visual art to broadcast the urgency of being true to oneself — of rejecting destructive stereotypes.  She rejects racism, and the depression that it incurs, in favor of vibrant expression.  In her mission statement, Brittini Renee says, I show and talk about subjects, people of today try to ignore.  They hope that ignorance will bring a solution.  Ignorance is not the solution, all it takes is one person in a world of millions.

Black

–By Brittini Renee

What if I’m loud?

Black

What if I drop out of school?

Black

What if I wear a wig?

Black

How about weave?

Black

What if I draw in my eyebrows?

Black

What if I do not know my father?

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What if I receive food stamps?

Black

What if I ignore the stereotypes and live my life for me?

A proud Black woman

Day 20 of the 2015 PROJECT: POLITICAL ART – AN INTERVIEW WITH BROOKE MCGOWEN

I’m very pleased to welcome Brooke McGowen to the 2015 Project.  Politics is a theme that figures prominently in her work.

courtesy of Brooke McGown
Brook McGowen and political art

Brenda Haroutunian:  A warm welcome to the 2015 project Brooke.  I was wondering if you would like to elaborate upon the critical social and political themes in your art?

Brooke McGowen:  At some point it was impossible to ignore reality any longer. Economic inequality, the militarization of society, the brutality of war knocked me off my cloud. At some point you feel like an idiot sitting in your studio and painting pretty pictures.

Brenda Haroutunian:  That’s funny, and so apt. It seems as if you felt an obligation as an artist, at some point, to comment on the failed wars, the tragedies in Ferguson and elsewhere, policies that favor the wealthy, and so on.  Would that be correct?

Brooke McGowen:  Absolutely. The artist has the obligation to reflect the absolute values of humanity in the face of capitalist corruption.

Brenda Haroutunian:  Could you tell me a little bit about your idea of capitalist corruption?

Brooke McGowen:  I mean the attempt to subvert the connection of art to the future and exploit it for commercial advertising. Artists are being bought off and their energy siphoned into corporate subjugation. For me, art is a message from our collective unconscious telling us what is right. This message is absolute and uncorruptible.

courtesy of Brooke McGowen
Brooke McGowen’s political art

Brenda Haroutunian:  So your art originates from a psychological space that is then realized in the real world?

Brooke McGowen:  Yes, the process is guided solely by my gut feeling.  Art is always in the service of the higher good. Art is the use of visual representation to spread consciousness concerning the issue at hand.

Brenda Haroutunian:  As if you mediate reality through your creative process?

Brooke McGowen:  Partially due to the comic and pop culture, Americans are especially  sensitive to characters.  This symbolic representation can be traced back to the American Revolution, where creative use of effigies, signs and parodies predated political action.  The character of Haley Eidus, the American Eagle, reminds us of our roots, the promise of democracy and the importance of defending it. Mona Santo, the decomposed girl with the big ear of corn is showing us what is happening to us inside by wearing it on the outside.  Other characters developed by me and Radical Art Initiative serve to illustrate problems of society that people need to be aware of.

Brenda Haroutunian:  Could you please talk a little bit about the reaction to your street performances?

Brooke McGowen:  It has been very satisfying to see people touched by the visualization — kids asking their parents to explain it, or people just enjoying the idea.

Brenda Haroutunian:  Humor plays a critical role in your work?

Brooke McGowen:  Humor is actually the key to opening a conversation. If people can laugh about something, it can open their minds to a specific topic. Interest is awakened to get more information.

Brenda Haroutunian:  This has been fascinating.  Thank you very much Brooke.

Day 14 of The 2015 Project: RECYCLING AND MATI RUSSO’S GRATITUDE

Collage … offers an alternative to an ever-shifting, ever-fluid image world and reminds people of tactility, texture, and the reality of the world we live in—a unique approach that visual art can offer that digital media does not convey

www.facebook.com/mati.russo.75
“recycled sunflower,” recycled paint cans and wood, by Mati Russo

 

In December of 2013, ARTnews Magazine examined perception, and the role of collage, in feeling and responding within an environment saturated with sensory overload.  The article presented a generation of artists who commented on how information is processed in a cut-and-paste culture.  The viewer has little choice but to scan information, rather than carefully reading content.  By using found objects foraged from life, the art object implores the viewer to feel, see, and touch.

www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=434173786736213&set=pcb.434174196736172&type=1&theater
“same old song,” by Mati Russo, wire, compound, enamel, acrylic, found objects

I look for things that would be overlooked in its significance in someone’s life used so much until it was tossed away because it no longer performed or was useful

For Russo, these tactile objects simply say a heartfelt thank you.  The artist recognizes how things and people are devalued once the shine wears off. Recycling provides her with an avenue for expressing her appreciation.  She recovers discards, and objects that have devalued over time, to make art that embodies her gratitude. —to be cont

Day 5 of The 2015 PROJECT: MATI RUSSO AND POP ART

Mati Russo, "Guns in America"
Mati Russo, “Guns in America”

Sometimes the message is …  a wish or desire … as in ‘Bam,’ in myGuns in America’ series,  imploring us to take the guns from our children’s hands

Mati Russo’s graffiti is vital to her messaging.  Her art speaks to painful events in contemporary history, including the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school. Russo’s series, Guns in America, addresses the inconceivable horror of that day.  The artist implores the viewer to keep guns away from children.

Last Summer, ARTFORUM magazine examined art and animation implying that graffiti appeals to everyone, except the art critic.  The crux of their complaint appears to be that pop art devalues culture by blurring the boundaries between high art, and alternative sensibilities, and dissent.

ARTFORUM also examined how pop art represents an irresistible fascination with bringing inanimate objects to life.  The formidable Batman rushes to the rescue, cape flying.  Bam.  Batman’s language is choice.  Russo, in presenting her art in pop art style implies that there is an urgent need to act.  Real life issues, like gun safety, are dangerous realities that beg for a speedy superhuman effort. – to be cont.