Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did You Know :: Jamie Brunson

Jamie Brunson :

  • Studied at the California College of the Arts (BFA, 1978), and at Mills College (MFA, 1983).
  • Produced pattern-based paintings from 1995-2004 that were inspired by ornamental motifs she had seen in her travels to ancient historic and religious sites around the world, and by her kundalini meditation practice.
  • Teaches painting at the San Francisco Art Institute and at San Francisco State University.
  • Works also as a writer and critic, and has published essays in Artweek, Art Issues, and Artspace.
  • Works also as a curator, having organized exhibitions of West Coast pattern-based painting that opened at the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, CA, in 2001.
  • Fascinated by global religious traditions. In fact, the title of her work in our collection, Krishna Lila, refers to the devotional music of Hindu India. The Sanskrit word for Krishna, krsna, means “black,” “dark,” or “dark blue”—the color of the piece.
  • Encourages contemplation and spiritual reflection. She is interested in both the spiritual implications of patterns as well as the role they play in cultural transmission.
Of special note:
Nevada Museum of Art Volunteer Meg Watson made the Brunson acquisition possible, in memory of her mother.

Did You Know :: Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell:
• Born February 12, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois.
• Considered a “second generation” Abstract Expressionist, along with Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler.
• Studied at Smith College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia University, and in the studio of Hans Hofmann (as did Lee Krasner). However, despite her interest in Hofmann’s teaching, she was put off by his brusque manner, which included such practices as erasing and re-drawing students’ drawings while they worked.
• Influenced by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse. In fact, much of her career was spent living in France, and for a time in a house and studio adjacent to where Monet himself painted in Giverny.
• Married briefly to Barney Rosset, an American publisher, before beginning a long and tumultuous relationship with Jean-Paul Riopelle, an Abstract Expressionist painter and sculptor from Quebec.
• Split her time between New York City, the heart of the American-born Abstract Expressionist movement, and France.
• Included landscapes and bridges as common abstracted elements in her paintings, reflecting her interest in the beautiful French landscapes she loved, and the Brooklyn Bridge, below which her American studio and home was located.
• Worked in extremely large scale—and multi-panel paintings became very common in her work, all of which relied on stylistic elements that included the use of long, curvilinear strokes and broad stains of color, often on unprimed canvas.
• Died in 1992, leaving in her estate support for future artists through the Joan Mitchell Foundation, which awarded Reno artist Michael Sarich an “emerging artist” award in 2008.

Did You Know :: Lee Krasner

Lee Krasner was:
• Born October 27, 1908, to a Russian Jewish immigrant family.
• Studied at the Cooper Union, the Art Students League of New York, and the National Academy of Design.
• Employed by the Public Works of Art Project in 1934, the first New Deal art program, and relied upon the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project until the program ended in 1943.
• Studied in the studio of renowned “first generation” Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann from 1937-1940. This experience profoundly altered her art: from a figurative, representational style to a geometrically-inspired, Cubist-influenced, expression. In one of his critiques of her work, Hofmann reportedly exclaimed “this painting is so good it could have been painted by a man.” She never forgot the experience.
• Met her more famous husband, Jackson Pollock, in 1941, though they had an informal encounter years earlier, in 1936, at a Federal Art Project party.
• Deeply appreciated the work of Mondrian and Matisse.
• Worked in collage, and also cut her paintings and studies into pieces to create them. Partly because of this working style, scholars believe that only 599 of her paintings exist today.
• In 1956, returned to a style that included figurative elements, though now more abstract than in her early career, in which human, animal, and especially plant forms are prominent.
• Vision and Revision are two constant themes in her work, connecting to cycles of life in nature.
• Died in 1984, shortly before the first full retrospective exhibition of her work opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In MoMA’s history, she is still one of just four women to have a solo retrospective exhibition ever.