Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Art Goes To The Movies"

Click here to register, find out dates and pricing for Robert Denerstein and my art and film class, "Art Goes To The Movies". This class is open to artists and non-artists, members of the Art Students League, and non-members. CLICK

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Art Goes To The Movies"

For the first time, my husband, film critic Robert Denerstein, and I will be teaching a class together combining both of our areas of expertise. The Art Students League of Denver has offered a venue for our class, Art Goes To The Movies, on Thursday evenings in February and March, 2011.

Art Goes to the Movies will be presented in four-week blocks that revolve around films concerned with art and artists. The first segment will be devoted to the enticements of the artistic process. Thanks to documentaries, we now have the ability to examine the working methods of important artists, a study that can provide inspiration for those who make art and deepen the appreciation of non-artists who regard art as an essential part of their lives.

1. February 3, 2011. The Mystery of Picasso (1958). For this crucially important documentary, French director Henri Clouzot persuaded Picasso to paint on camera, providing us with a unique opportunity to watch Picasso's mind in the midst of creation.

Topics for discussion: What is the role of "showmanship" in an artist's career? When is a work finished? Can there be art without risk? Where does craft end and art begin? How do we define an artistic genius?

2. February 10, 2011. Vincent. Director Paul Cox's 1987 documentary blends the artist's letters to his brother Theo with views of Van Gogh's work and the landscapes and faces that inspired it. Cox's approach allows Van Gogh's psyche to emerge more vividly than it has in many of the works that have attempted to dramatize the artist's tumultuous life.

Topics for discussion: The role of the spiritual in art? The artist as outcast, and the quest for transcendence in and through art. Can madness play a role in the creation of great art?

3. February 17, 2011. David Hockney: A Bigger Picture. This stirring 2009 documentary chronicles Hockney's transition from the sun-splashed climes of California to the more muted world of his native Yorkshire in Great Britain. Director Bruno Wollheim captures Hockney making work that may prove to be the capstone of an amazingly prolific career.

Topics for discussion: The artist's role in transforming landscape. Where does observation cease and vision begin? Why does so much art have the capacity to awaken us to life?

4. February 24, 2011. Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy, Working With Time. This 2001 documentary by director Thomas Riedelsheimer not only captures the transient beauty of Andy Goldsworthy's scupture, but becomes a work of art in itself. Goldsworthy uses natural materials and most often works in natural settings where pieces are subject to the vagaries of weather.

Topics for discussion: If art was made in a forest and no one was there to see it, would it still be art? Can there be a truly lasting nature to any art object? Should the artist be quiet and faceless, never an intruder on nature? Does the fact that Goldsworthy photographed (and then sold photos of) his ephemeral works make us wonder about the purity of his intentions?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! 2011

"Fan Dance" mixed media collage

"Elgee Stalks The Moo Shu" mixed media collage

Oliver Sacks wrote yesterday in the New York Times that one's New Year's resolutions (and here I ineptly paraphrase) should focus on the brain as much as the commonly made self promises to lose weight, eat healthily and work out on a regular basis.

I decided that some art and mind resolutions would be a great idea - after all, why not expand my 2011 goals so at this time next year, I can evaluate my compliance on a range of scales other than that nasty, inaccurate one in the bathroom? Intellectual, Philosophical, Artistic?

1. Since my last post was about my upcoming workshop in Tuscany, I'll start with a realistic goal of getting through all 12 of my Italian tapes before next September. Not that one really needs to speak Italian in Italy - getting completely lost in back alleys can lead to intriguing experiences there - but then, perhaps even greater opportunities exist for those more diligent students of Italian. I'm reminded of a recent trip when a car driven by an "only Italian" speaker left our lodgings, speeding towards Florence with my suitcase, which should have been heading with me to Piza.

2. It's been several years since I began my current series of collages. (Click here to see some examples.) More spontaneous and experiential than my paintings, and occasionally more narrative, I've been procrastinating about translating some of the collages into paint. This has been under the guise of telling myself that I've been reaching for a form these translations could take that would be as spontaneous a process as the one I use for the collages, rather than just using the images and blowing them up to canvas size.
Come on, Sandra, JUST DO IT.

3. We've just watched a film by Bruno Wollheim, "David Hockney, A Bigger Picture", in preparation for a class my husband and I will be teaching during February and March at the Art Students League of Denver titled "Art Goes To The Movies".
Hockney decided to return to England, and for the first time, to eliminate his photo references and paint "En Plein Air". Watching his experimentation with oils and freedom with color , I couldn't wait to get back into the studio. I'll wait until spring for my total "en plein air" experience, but the muddy locales of Yorkshire were less inspiration for me than watching the hand of the artist work.
Today, though at home, I dove into my paints.

4. One more. Being more disciplined with my time would certainly help me with # 1 thru #3. Although my best guess is that this resolution is unrealistic, given my bad record of adhering to a schedule.
I need at least one resolution likely to remain unfulfilled during the coming year. Then I'll have a good start on my resolutions for 2012.