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on the hunt for good art

Artist Crush: Jonna Pedersen

April 4th, 2011 · No Comments

Sometimes the best things in life find their way to you- such is the case with today’s crush, Danish artist Jonna Pedersen. Pedersen is based in Copenhagen and paints both pop-art-y still-lifes and cityscapes of Copenhagen, Berlin and New York. I think she is one of the most talented artists I’ve come across; her work is aesthetic, modern yet timeless and full of poignant observation. As my husband observed, her work is part Edward Hopper and part Andy Warhol.






The Modern (Industrial) Landscape

June 27th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Perhaps it’s because I’m a city dweller, perhaps it’s because I live near “the wastelands” (i.e. the undeveloped land along the Gowanus Canal), but I love industrial landscapes. They’re a modern, less explored subject; one that many of us can relate to personally. It’s the familiar, the mundane, the ugly and the annoying. It’s the blinking neon sign across the street, the partial view of the elevated train track, the trucks and vans dotting your neighborhood. But by way of the artist, these city views are startling and at times, beautiful.

The Best Kind of Confused

May 18th, 2010 · No Comments

I liked these drawings by Jaclyn Mednicov the minute I saw them. Their simplicity and grace speak for themselves, and the unruly interplay of order and chaos gives them depth. But truthfully I feel a little deceived and confused that I like these drawings.

Why is this? I’m the kind of person who turns squeamish at the thought of a world without human life. I really dislike the subject and avoid it as much as possible. Yet Mednicov’s series is based on this very subject. As Jaclyn states, “I observe as nature crawls its way to the surface of the sidewalks, train tracks, and brick walls that comprise New York City. Inspired by the imagery of my daily life, I create deserted landscapes…(that) serve as a witness to abandoned human activity.”

So here I am, totally digging these drawings, completely oblivious to the works’ subject matter which actually scares the crap out of me! This unsettling experience is at the essence of what good art can and should make us feel. We look at a piece of art and something feels familiar and something feels off. It throws us off-kilter and forces us to reckon that things are not quite how we thought they were. Great art makes us rethink our assumptions about everything, including those assumptions that lie beneath our consciousness.

Truck Series by Shane Neufeld

January 11th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Shane Neufeld is a Brooklyn-based artist and architect whose beautiful, painterly Truck Series was inspired by the industrial surroundings of his Gowanus studio. What started out as an exercise, capturing the comings and goings of trucks at the nearby big box parking lot, turned into a large-scale series spanning four years and forty-something paintings.

It might seem an odd choice of subject, especially for someone as strongly rooted in the traditional approach of oil painting, as Neufeld is. In trucks, Neufeld found a more freeing subject that has allowed him to explore the aspects of painting that excite him while being able to leave behind a good deal of the rest. Trucks are easily recognizable while also abstract. As Shane says, “their simplistic form… through a variety of changing perspectives, had the potential to generate a series of complex and varied compositions.”

As an unorthodox subject, trucks are relatively free of cultural associations, and thus allow Shane to convey his message through fundamental ideas of form, light and color. Shane states that trucks “…defy categorization and are not historically charged subjects – i.e. they do not evoke the same traditional cultural responses as that of a landscape or a figurative work. Relatively free of cultural clichés, the distinct quality of the space becomes a theatre for light and shadow, composition and geometry.”

Every artist struggles with the intended and unintended implications of the subjects they choose. Shane successfully tackles this issue by choosing a subject that is entirely ordinary yet modern and fresh in the context of painting.

Several paintings are currently available through the artist.