Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Manhatta by Charles Sheeler & Paul Strand

Manhatta is one of several films that Sheeler and Strand made, though only this one survives. Still images from this film show up in both artists work. This collaboration is one of Modernism's high points and predates, what in many ways has a similar feel, in Russia's avant-garde film maker Dziga Vertov's The Man With The Movie Camera (which by the way, is one of my all time favorite films. You can read a previous posting on Vertov's work here.). Sheeler and Strand's work pre-dates Vertov's film by 8 or 9 years. Enjoy this wonderful piece of Modernism with an updated Brian Eno soundscape.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Charles Sheeler's Photography

This semester is slipping by all too quickly and I have failed to keep up with my writing here.  My hope had been to do a series on the work of Sheeler as a source of inspiration for my recent elevator series.  Its now 2/3 of the way through September and I have yet to draw those connections.

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) is known more for his painting as a key member of the precisionist school than for his photography.  That being said, for a short time, Sheeler was the leading photographer in the United States and perhaps even beyond.  In 1913 Sheeler exhibited 6 new paintings in the Armory show and about the same time, Sheeler picked up the camera to make ends meet shooting architecture around the Northeast.  In 1915 Sheeler's photography moved forward into abstraction with the photograph Side of White Barn (seen below).  Sheeler now sought to merge photography's realism or indexicality with Modernity's drive toward abstraction.  His goal was to show that the basic elements in Modern art, particularly cubism, existed within nature.  

Sheeler also employs another key to Modern art, that of flatness.  Through photography, Sheeler is able to explore real depth and the flatness of the actual image through light, shadow, line, form and the overall composition.  What emerges in his work is a bold geometry and structure of the American industrial ediface.  The first image is of the Ford Plant and the second graces the cover of the book I read this summer...certainly the finest coverage of Sheeler's photographic work.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anarchy, Rivalry and the beginnings of the Roman Empire

A heads up for the UND regional followers...

The Cyprus Research Fund

Department of Political Science and Public Administration

The Department of History present

"Anarchy, Rivalry and the beginnings of the

Roman Empire "

Prof. Michael P. Fronda

Department of History, McGill University

Professor Fronda’s paper will examine the growth of Roman power in the ancient world by focusing on how the city of Rome came to dominate the Italian Peninsula. Through an innovative use of contemporary international relations theory, Prof. Fronda argues that Rome capitalized on the tendency for ancient state relations to be anarchic, on the one hand, but in some way limited by enduring rivalries between particular states, on the other. Rome’s ability to exploit these fundamental characteristics of ancient, and perhaps all, states led ultimately to the city’s domination of Italy and provided important lessons for the city’s conquest of the Mediterranean world.

September 17, 2009

Chester Fritz Library

East Asia Room

4 pm

Reception to follow

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Benefit and Auction for Quinn Justman

Nearly a year ago, my niece Adrienne's husband Quinn was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.  And over this past year he has undergone a variety of treatments to prolong his life.  Despite the generosity of doctors volunteering their time, the couple has accumulated a significant amount of medical expenses and debt.

Our family has conspired to put on a benefit and auction on October 17th to help defray a bit of their expenses.  Both Adrienne and Quinn were art majors at Univ. Wisconsin - Stout and will hopefully be putting a few of their works up for auction as well as some of their friends and local artists.  

My sister Nancy has started a website and blog to keep those interested up to date with the benefit news, as well as, images and descriptions of auction items.  If you are interested in donating a work of art to the auction or purchasing  something from the auction please let us know.  

You can also follow Quinn's treatments and such on his Caringbridge site.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Elevator Series

This past weekend I made my way down to South Dakota to see friends and on to the homeland of Iowa to visit my family at Marble Beach for a weekend of camping.  Along the way down and back I made numerous stops to continue working on the elevator series.  The two posted here are from a fortuitous detour through Ocheyeden Iowa.

These similar shots, while of the same subject and angle work differently.  The top image is much is more tightly cropped and flattens the subject more than the second which takes in more shadow and variety of planes and tonal fields.