Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More thoughts on pattern

I am always drawn to pattern in textiles, paper, and the natural world. Pattern is usually present in my work. Sometimes it is subtle, as in much of my floral work, and other times it is quite obvious, as in my Remnants series. I'm trying to find my voice in encaustic and patterning is on my mind constantly these days. Thus all the thinking and writing about pattern.

There is a long art history that negates frivolous content for art creation. For many years, beauty, or any connected adjective, is not a word most artists wanted connected with their work if they wanted to be taken seriously. I know that in the last ten years beauty as a concern is moving into the mainstream of art again. Then there is that arbitrary line between art and craft that is often viciously debated. Kim Salerno's art production dares to enter this debate.

Kim is an American artist who has a masters in architecture and studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. She teaches at the University of Rhode Island.

"Kim’s work mixes interests in decoration and design with fine arts. Large paper wall hangings combine decorative patterned shapes with domestic imagery, while panel paintings draw from garden imagery and traditional patterning. Three-dimensional works build on similar themes of patterning and decoration, blurring distinctions between art and design. The work draws from a variety of sources including miniature painting, decorative arts and crafts, and contemporary architecture."

The Bride of the Wind (2004)
mixed materials, 28 x 30

Check out Kim's website here.

Doug Norris, Art New England notes that:
…(Salerno) is bold and inventive with color, making sculptures and paintings that often subvert scenes of domesticity and romantic stereotypes. Some work as twisted fairy tales… And there are signs of the housewife unleashed to confront her archetypes in many of the skillfully composed narrative designs…” This is a good description of her collage work on her website.

One of my favourites of Kim' s work is Installation #2 . I love the overall presence of delicate white forms hovering. I see visual references to sea animals and other plant and life forms.


Whelk Egg Case #2 (2009 )
paper, pins, thread, 52 in. x 14 x 14

Youcan read an artist statement and see more of Kim's work on the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens website here.


4 comments:

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I visited Kim's website and liked her paintings...thank you for the link!

Kathy said...

Great blog! Lots of substance and things to think about. You mention the role of "beauty" in art and that reminded me of a lecture I attended by Arthur Danto (Prof. Emeritus from Columbia Univ. and art critic for the NY Times and Art Forum). He stated that beauty is important in life, but not in art. For example, the Dada movement. Danto stated that art is an "aesthetic of meaning" and that art isn't impoverished if it isn't beautiful. Duchamp, for instance, viewed beauty in paintings as "retinal flutter." The bottom line for Danto is that art needs conceptual weight and that beauty isn't part of that equation.

Margaret Ryall said...

Kathy,
I've read extensively and know what the critics have to say about beauty and art. The tide is turning again about this topic. Off the top of my head I don't have any references but will put together a post regarding it.
I personally think it is possible to have conceptual weight and beauty at the same time. For example I find your work quite exquisite, fragile and very beautiful because of these two characteristics.At the same time I feel your work has conceptual weight. I feel there is a continuum of conceptual weight depending on who is judging content. It is connected to ones background experiences / understanding of the world etc. It is not determined by only a small section of the population.
I guess my ambivalence lies in the fact that I know the history of beauty in art.
As for Danto, I think he misses the point. To me art is life because what is created is part of the artist, but neither art nor life has to be beautiful! Then there are all the things one person finds beautiful that another doesn't. That leads us to a definition of beauty. Oh, my poor head.....

Kathy said...

Margaret,
You make sense. I completely agree! Thank you for such a substantive response.