This week: Vote for our Young Contemporaries curator!

12 Oct

We will be meeting this week (Thursday, October 13, 7pm, in the Art History Room- Simons room 309) to discuss the selection of a curator for the 2012 Young Contemporaries show. We will present their work and take a vote.

We will take a vote from those attending tomorrow; in addition, we will have a poll up for voting throughout fall break, with results to be announced next Wednesday, October 19. (If you are attending the physical vote and presentation, please don’t vote online!)

Click on the artist’s hyperlinked name to go to a website featuring their work.

The nominees:

1. Julie Heffernan

Julie Heffernan – Self Portrait as Gorgeous Tumor

Akin to Magical Realism, Julie Heffernan’s lush self-portraiture utilizes a myriad of art historical references to present a sensual interior narrative, a self-allegory whose half- hidden political agenda is the literal background of the paintings. The dark, Grimm fairy tale-like undercurrent transforms her aristocratic, operatic portraits into a contemporary vanitas or memento mori, acting as both a stylized fantasy and a Bosch-like warning.

Heffernan (b. 1956, Illinois) received her MFA from Yale School of Art (CT), and has been exhibiting widely for the past two decades. Selected exhibitions include those at The Korean Biennial (Korea), Weatherspoon Art Gallery (NC), Tampa Museum Of Art (FL), Knoxville Museum Of Art (TN), Columbia Museum Of Art (SC), Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), The New Museum (NY), The Norton Museum (FL), The American Academy Of Arts And Letters (NY), Kohler Arts Center (WI), The Palmer Museum Of Art (PA), National Academy Of Art (NY), Mcnay Art Museum (TX), Herter Art Gallery (MA), Mint Museum (NC) and Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VA) among numerous others.

2. John Thompson

John Thompson – Afghan Freedom Fighters

John Thompson works as a Painter, Illustrator, and Professor of Art at Syracuse University. He has been featured in Communication Arts magazine, Step-By-Step Graphics and Art Direction magazine.  John is a Professor of Illustration at Syracuse University. He is the Coordinator of the Illustration Program as well as Program and Thesis Advisor for the Independent Study Degree Program, M.A./Illustration. In 1998-1999, John was Professor of Painting and Chair of the Studio Arts Program in Florence, Italy. He served as Chair of the Visual Communications Department from 2003-2005. For the past two years he has taken students to India as part of his Painting and Drawing India class. He lives with his family in Syracuse, NY

The internationally known illustrator has won numerous gold and silver medals for his illustrations including the 2006 Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators for the best illustration of the year. As a children’s book illustrator he has won several American Library Association Notable Book Awards. John is included in The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000 by Walt Reed.  Selected one person exhibitions include A Travelers Glimpse of India in the Dean’s Gallery, Crouse College, Syracuse University; Recent Works at The Museum of American Illustration, New York City, NY; Afghan Freedom Fighters at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick, NJ; and The Department of State, Washington, DC; The Morocco Series, Wyckoff Gallery, Wyckoff, NJ; Morocco, Italy, Ireland and America at The Edgewood Gallery, Syracuse, NY; and An Artist’s View of the Muslim World at The Panaschi Lounge Shine Student Center, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY. John has received two Fellowships from the State of New Jersey, including the designation of Distinguished Artist.

3. Madeline von Foerster

Madeline von Foerster – The Red Thread

Madeline von Foerster was born to German-Austrian parents and raised in San Francisco. She uses historic iconography, as well as the meticulous painting techniques of the Old Masters, to tackle modern-day subjects, such as environmentalism. Her work has been exhibited in Germany and the United States.

“In my paintings, I attempt to unveil images of the subconscious underworld – my own and that of my culture. I utilize the methods and the styles of the past, in order to reinterpret current topics using the iconography of history. I would like to alloy the meticulosity of the Old Masters with the dream-delving of Surrealism and the conscience of the Social Realists. It is my hope that art-makers worldwide succeed in our mammoth task — that of changing the current omnicidal tide of culture — before everything worth saving on this planet has been razed, or eaten. I believe there is still time to make a new myth. There is still a chance for imagination to rise to power.My paintings employ an almost forgotten technique from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: the mixed technique of oil and egg tempera employed by the Flemish and German Renaissance masters. I traveled twice to Austria to learn and perfect this method. The “Mixed Technique,” as it is sometimes called, allows for incredible luminosity and detail in the finished painting, as light travels though the transparent oil layers and reflects off the tempera beneath.”

4. Jerome Witkin

Jerome Witkin – The Act of Judith

Jerome Witkin was born in 1939 in Brooklyn, NY to a Jewish father and a Roman Catholic mother and has an identical twin brother, the renowned photographer, Joel Peter Witkin. His art talent’s blossomed early, winning art prizes and scholarships that allowed him to live and travel in Europe and who would meet and get know such leading painters such as Ben Shahn, Isabel Bishop, Giorgio Morandi, Jack Levine, Philip Guston, Willem deKooning, Alice Neel and many other important painters such as R.B. Kitaj – who is reported to have cited Witkin as “the greatest figurative painter in America.” Art historian Donald Kuspit, called Witkin’s works “dreams in the grand visionary manner of the Old Masters” . . . painted with the rhapsodic abandon of pure sensation . . . unequivocal masterpieces.” The art critic Kenneth Baker once stated that “Witkin’s only peer is Lucien Freud.” I’m usually skeptical of art critic’s declarations of someone being “America’s greatest figurative painter” and don’t give much more credibility than I would Joe’s Diner claiming they have “America’s Best Hotdogs” but in the case of Jerome Witkin there is no doubt in my mind he is worthy of such high praise. Perhaps what impresses me most with his painting is that he builds upon the rich tradition of narrative figure painting into grand works that are of our times. His paintings work on a multiplicity of levels of meaning, artistry and vision that speaks to the advanced painters and other people with great knowledgeable about art as well as people who know little about art but care deeply about life and the troubles we humans often find ourselves in.

Many works often explore issues of spirituality and inner landscapes – looking directly from his life experiences. One example involves his father who died at age fifty, after living several years homeless on the streets. In an effort to understand his father better he began to look at his Jewish history and in particular, the Holocaust. This resulted in a series of monumental works about the Holocaust done over a twenty-three years. Many of these images are shown later in this article, these paintings huge size and complexity makes it important to view them enlarged to get closer to viewing the full experience. Jerome Witkin has been a Professor of Painting at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York since 1971. (as an aside, I have an interview planned next week with one of his former students, David Kassan) A terrific book as well as many articles in leading art magazines and newspapers have been written about him, I have put some links to a few of these at the end of this article.

Witkin’s works are found in the permanent collection of prominent museums around the world that include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.


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