Monday, August 31, 2009

Bold, Bright and Beautiful: Chicano Art

Oil Painting on Canvas by Charlotte Rossmann, Cityscape

A great number of years ago I saw an exhibit at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, Co.  It was Chicano art.  This was the first time I had ever seen art that was specifically "Chicano Art" but I loved it.  The colors were bold, bright and beautiful.  The images were of daily things, cars, religious images and city scenes.   One artwork was a sculpture with an actual cut up car in it.  From that moment on I've been a huge fan of Chicano art.  What I really like about it is that it's a combination of another culture and yet, it is still American.  It's how this country melts cultures into a force that has vitality and energy.  Chicano art is vivid, real and intense.  Each artist has his/her own vision and yet, by the culture and by the bold colors it becomes part of the larger group identity. 
Cheech Marin has brought Chicano art to the art world by showing many of the artists in displays and in books.  I have one book that Cheech Marin assembled and it's called "Chicano Visions, American Painters on the Verge".  I highly recommend the book.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What is Cubism?

Cubism is a style of art work that was started by the artist Cezanne. It was considered one of the first truly abstract styles in art. Cezanne's beautiful canvas oil paintings of French landscapes and complicated still life were complex compositions that he painted from life. But by today's standards they don't look very abstract. However, Cezanne changed and invented by breaking down the forms into planes and geometric slashes of color. In the day he was painting, changing the scene in a creative way wasn't what other artists were doing. It was shocking to the art community when Cezanne started showing his revolutionary work in Paris.

Cezanne's concept was expanded but the forms simplified by Picasso and Braque who are credited as the first cubists. Without Cezanne one wonders if it would have happened?
Then again, there are those who say that Picasso stole his ideas from the African masks that he saw on exhibit in Paris at the time he was inventing this new art style of Abstraction. Looking at Picasso's strictly cubistic work, one can understand that claim.

In reality, it doesn't matter.

What matters is, "How does it look?" "How interesting is it?"

Picasso's work does look good. It's very interesting.
In the world of art, the question is: Does it knock your socks off? Picasso's work has lasting success partially because it speaks so well to the modern world.

The painting shown is one of my Cubistic paintings.