Sunday, May 31, 2009

Southern Evangelical Baptisms

Take Me to the Water from Dust-to-Digital on Vimeo.

MANY OF YOU WILL REMEMBER FROM AN EARLIER POST (April 27), the incredible immersion baptism photos shared by author/collector Jim Linderman in his book, Take Me To the Water. Well, now Jim and others at Dust-to-Digital have produced this video about the book and music CD. It’s really well done— and now you can preview some of the authentic and rare music that is available when you purchase the book. Of course, the bonus with this video are the vintage and rare historic river baptisms, just as it was filmed 50 to 75 years ago. It’s just rare and incredible footage.

You can buy the book/CD on Amazon just by clicking here. This is truly a collector’s edition. I have the book and accompanying CD— and I treasure it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Steinbergian Transfomation

Click any image for larger view.

MY DEAR FRIEND LIZ SENT ME A LINK TO A BLOG OUT OF BARCELONA, SPAIN. She often sends me tidbits of intriguing things - just to share. This time, it was just a link—no message, nothing but the link. I mean, if it comes from Liz, I was intrigued. I went to it and was delighted in what I found.

These simple bird constructions, from found leaves, were my favorite from many interesting posts. I don’t know. Maybe they fall into the “cute” category of which I am not a fan. But my instinct says these are something far deeper than that. To me, these birds (created from leaves) are great transformative metaphors built with deceptively simple touches by the human hand.... much like the masterwork of Saul Steinberg (1914 - 1999). In these examples, by artist Javier Jaén Benavides, the only added feature was the cut out human eyes from magazines.

Absolutely Steinbergian!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Repairing the World, One Lego at a Time

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

Click on any image for larger view.

OK. I REALLY FREAKING LOVE THIS. LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!! Apparently, there is a 26-year old dude in Berlin, Germany who goes around and repairs old WWII bullet hole, chips and cracks with colorful Lego blocks! Jan Vormann, born in 1983, quietly goes about his daily task of repairing lost areas of walls, bridges and buildings throughout the city. Others assist him from time-to-time, in fact, he teaches others how to do it. He calls it “Dispatchwork.”

As a urban artform, Vormann has also been invited to Italy (the mosaic/tile capital of the world) to demonstrate his art. I think we should bring the artform to the U.S. Obviously, after the cracked wall is fitted with the right amount of Lego’s, the assembled piece must be glued into place. Vormann has been stopped before for making “repairs” to the exterior of a museum by security guards, but he continues to make a world a better place—one Lego at a time.

Lego, as a brand, was introduced to the world in 1934. It expanded to producing plastic toys in 1940. In 1949, Lego began producing the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”.

If you make a Lego repair somewhere in your neighborhood, take a photo of it and email it to me. Here’s to Jan Vormann!

Some images above from, and more can be found here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

David Moore: A Renowned Australian Photographer

(Above) Diving suits, Menorca, Spain [100 Photographs, pl. 033] 1954 Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Sisters of Charity, Washington DC [100 Photographs, pl. 038] 1956 Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Lloyd Rees at 90, Northwood, Sydney [100 Photographs, pl. 096] 1985 Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Fairground horses, UK [100 Photographs, pl. 027] 1953 (ca) Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Painting the Himalaya, Sydney [100 Photographs, pl. 018] 1950 Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Orcades departure, Pyrmont [100 Photographs, pl. 009] 1948 (ca) Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Pyrmont Bridge, Sydney [100 Photographs, pl. 005] 1947 Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

(Above) Funnel of Orion [100 Photographs, pl. 004] 1947 Gelatin silver print David Moore Estate © Courtesy of the David Moore Estate

FROM TIME TO TIME I LIKE TO REMIND MY READERS OF A GREAT WEB SITE on photography called Luminous Lint. It is a very complete and thorough Web site that traces the beginnings of photography to present day photographer/artists. Developed by my friend Alan Griffiths, Alan has devoted himself to this effort. If you have a question about photography, the processes, the styles, the art or the science—you can most likely find it on this site. It’s an on-going labor of love—for you folks who love photography.

Luminous Lint hosts special on-line exhibitions every month. Last month (April 2, 2009) was the exhibition “David Moore: 100 Photographs”— the legacy photographs of the late David Moore (1927-2003), who was a renowned Australian photojournalist. At his death, David left a legacy of over 200,000 negatives, of which 100 were selected for posthumous publication in editions of 90.
Moore felt that this set of images was pivotal to the archival record – historically, artistically and biographically. He asked his daughter, Lisa Moore, to coordinate the posthumous production of limited edition prints from each negative. She felt that this was also her father’s way of ensuring that his legacy of photographs was not only still available to the public but was represented by a collection over which he had exercised control.

In the 1950s his photographs were widely published in newspapers and magazines including The Observer, Time-Life, Look, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. In 1958 he joined Black Star, a photo agency based in New York. Numerous books have been published of his work and many of his photographs have become iconic images of Australia.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spanish Colonial Misterio

HERE’S A NICE PAIR OF SPANISH FIGURES from 1st dibs, a leading “on-line” antique and collectibles site on the internet.

A very fine, anonymous mid-19th century Spanish colonial misterio, with fully articulated appendages with inset glass eyes and custom made bases.

Dimensions: The Virgin measures 24 inches high.

: $6,500

Condition: excellent

Measurements: height: 60.96 cm (2 ft.)

Materials/Techniques: carved and polychrome painted wood.

Colonial Arts
1028 Kearny Street

San Francisco, CA 94133


Phone: 415-505-0680

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lori Field: Angels With Attitudes

(Above) Go Fly a Kite
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
48 x 24 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) Go Fly a Kite (detail)
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
48 x 24 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) Annunciation
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
20 x 20 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) Annunciation (detail)
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
20 x 20 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) 24 Hour Party People
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
12 x 9 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) Otherworld
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
12 x 6 x 2 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) Otherworld (detail)
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
12 x 6 x 2 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) Some Like It Hot
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
12 x 8 inches
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(Above) Svengali
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
24 x 24 inches
Click image for larger view.

(Above) The World has Teeth
Colored Pencil and Encaustic
10 x 8 inches
Click image for larger view.

THE WORK OF LORI FIELD IS A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS BLEND OF, as she calls it subliminal, mysterious worlds - planets of her own creation, demimondes peopled with anthropomorphic ‘angels with attitude’, accompanied by mutants, exhibitionists, seducers, chimeras... and other intimate strangers.” I was lucky to finally catch up with Lori and get this interview with her about her work. Lori and her family reside in the New York City area.

John Foster) Hello Lori. I have been a fan of your work for some time, since seeing some pieces at the Outsider Art Fair in New York quite a few years ago. You are self-taught as a fine artist, am I right?

Lori Field) I had two semesters of art school in the BFA program at SUNY Purchase more years ago then I care to mention. You might have to search the catacombs over at the school to find records or evidence that I’d been there. Ever since I left, I’ve kind of cobbled together a career, first as a commercial artist, and then as a fine artist by teaching myself what I needed to know in order to thrive and get my work seen. It was a process of discovery. I guess you could say I've earned life credits.

John Foster)
You use some very old techniques to create your work, namely silverpoint and encaustic. I know that encaustic is a very process-oriented way of working. Tell me more about this.

Lori Field)
I actually love using mediums and techniques that are archaic and out of use and giving a modern twist or sensibility to the work through pop cultural reference and personal narrative. Encaustic painting is, I suppose, 'process-oriented', but I don’t really think of it that way. I work in a sort of ritualistic way. I first prepare drawings, then prepare the painted encaustic backgrounds, and then spontaneously and stream of consciously place the various drawings on the different backgrounds and choose which will go where in an intuitive way.

John Foster)
Your work has a very surreal quality to it, with figures morphing into animals and plants. Also, all of your figures have over-sized heads and exist in an world of obsessive patterning. How did you get to this point in your work currently.

Lori Field)
Not all of my creatures have oversize heads, but most do. The oversized head is a way of emphasizing the strangeness of the figures (as if having animal heads for hats and radical tattooing didn’t do the trick) I also like to tilt the head on the neck sometimes in a way that looks almost painful, broken, to emphasize the creatures otherworldly-ness and vulnerability. If they were the same as us, mere humans, they couldn’t live with their necks so twisted and distorted. They couldn’t live with their heads so large and heavy on their necks. They are supernatural and odd.

John Foster)
You have an amazing command of the human figure in your work. Was this a natural thing for you?

Lori Field)
I work from references for everything. I love figure drawing but I haven’t had time to draw from life for quite a while, maybe soon again. I don’t know that figure drawing specifically comes naturally, more like drawing in general. I’m very comfortable drawing, it is my main love in art, an addictive, obsessive passion. It’s a good thing I’m that comfortable with it because when drawing in silverpoint, you can't erase and everything must be drawn directly eye to hand, so being relaxed enough to go into a drawing trance is essential.

John Foster)
Finally Lori, what’s new in your life— anything you want to share about your life, art or other cosmic things?

Lori Field)
I’m being newly represented in New York City by Claire Oliver Gallery in Chelsea ( and I’m very excited by the opportunity. I’ll be starting some new large paintings any day now in preparation for my first solo show with the gallery in September 2010. I’ll be working large, something I’ve challenged myself to do gradually and this will be a wonderful immersion for me. Working large allows me to enter the little worlds I’m creating in a whole new way, to be able to go completely over the top and include all sorts of detail and fantasy and symbology that can only be hinted at in the more intimate sized work. I’m very thrilled to start these. I’ll also be traveling with my family this summer to Berlin, Barcelona and Paris so I’m really looking forward to that as well. I love to travel, so I’m getting a bit of the wanderlust out of the system before I have to buckle down and work, work, work towards the new show for the remaining year and change.

John Foster)
You’re awesome Lori. Thanks for allowing me to share your work with my readers. Oh— I almost forgot: where can people buy your work?

Lori Field)
Although I have several galleries in the US and Europe that carry my work, all initial inquiries should be directed through my New York dealer, Claire Oliver Gallery. To see up to date images of all my available paintings please visit my website by clicking here. There is a link there to Claire Oliver Gallery as well.

All images above © Lori Field, courtesy of Claire Olive Gallery.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Illustrated letters

(Above) Gladys Nilsson to Mimi Gross and Red Grooms [postmarked 25 April 1969].

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 27 x 19 cm Mimi Gross papers, 1960 - 1981.

Painter Gladys Nilsson used United Airlines stationary to send a thank you note from the “friendly skies” to fellow artists Mimi Gross and Red Grooms. Nilsson connected her collage of smiling faces with a message cloud, expressing her thanks.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) William Cushing Loring to his parents, 14 July 1901.

Letter; handwriten, ill.; 21 x 14 cm
William Cushing Loring papers, 1899 - 1961.

In this letter to his parents, painter William Cushing Loring describes his neighborhood in Paris and the 72-hour Bastille Day celebration that was taking place there in July 1901.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Allen Tupper True to Jane True [1927].

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 21.6 x 14 cm Allen Tupper True and True family papers, 1841 - 1987.

In a letter to his daughter, painter and illustrator Allen Tupper True embellished his hotel stationery to express his awe of New York city’s skyscrapers. He included himself as a speck on the street.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Moses Soyer to David Soyer [1940].

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 29.7 x 21.5 cm Moses Soyer papers, 1920 - 1974 and undated.

Moses Soyer sent what he called a “puzzle picture” to his son, who was away at summer camp. In a watercolor vignette, he pictures the family dog and cat and baseball great Dizzy Dean. The baseball glove was shown flying from his home in New York to his son’s bunk at Camp Quannacut.

(Above) Eero Saarinen to Aline Bernstein [1953].

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 27.9 x 21.4 cm Aline and Eero Saarinen papers, 1857 - 1972.

Finnish-born architect Eero Saarinen often illustrated letters to his second wife, an art editor and later critic at “The New York Times,” the Michigan Music School, sketched here in plan and elevation, was finished in 1964.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Paul Manship to Leon Kroll, ca. 1935.

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 27.8 x 21.5 cm Leon Kroll papers, 1916 - 1976.

In this note from sculptor Paul Manship to painter Leon Kroll, the sculptor recommends a model, Miss Miriam McCreedy, and sketches her voluptuous figure.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Frida Kahlo to Emmy Lou Packard, 24 Oct. 1940.

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 19.7 x 14.5 cm Emmy Lou Packard papers, ca. 1900 - 1990.

Frida Kahlo, writing from New York, thanked her friend for taking care of Kahlo’s former husband, Diego Rivera. Kahlo signed her letter with red lipstick kisses - one for Emmy Lou, one for Diego, and one for Emmy Lou’s son, Donald. Kahlo and Rivera later remarried.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Howard Finster to Barbara Shissler, 1981.

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 25.4 x 20.2 cm Howard Finster papers, 1932 - 1987.

Visionary artist and Baptist preacher Reverend Howard Finster wrote to curator Barbara Shissler about a trip to Washington, D.C., for the opening of an exhibition Shissler had organized at what is now the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Click on image for larger view.

(Above) Paul Bransom to Grace Bond, ca. 1905.

Letter; handwritten, ill.; 28 x 21.5 cm Paul Bransom Papers, 1862 - 1983.

Paul Bransom portrayed himself fixated on a photograph of his sweetheart. A year later, Bransom married Grace and sold five covers to “The Saturday Evening Post,” launching his career as a freelance illustrator.

Click on image for larger view.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU ACTUALLY WROTE AN OLD-FASHIONED LETTER? If you are young (under 30) it is quite possible that you have never written a letter, save a “thank you” note or postcard. In fact, I dare say that handwriting skills are worse today than ever before. College students rarely have to hand write much of anything anymore. It’s all texted and twittered, emailed and skyped.

How did this happen? The popularization and dissemination of email technology in the late 1980s was the final nail in the coffin of this art form. Sure, letters are still written, but it is quickly vanishing.
These letters, from popular artists/architects and illustrators (above), reside in The Smithsonian Institution.

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