Aronson: Fine Art on Wall Street

Ben Aronson’s Wall Street Series (2010) steps back from the politics of Wall Street to offer us a real painter’s view of New York’s famous financial district.

But, why Wall Street? It’s one of the great shibboleths of contemporary politics, economics, and ideology. The famous—or is that, infamous—street that metonymically stands for finance, money, and perhaps, greed. ‘For a painter,’ says Aronson, it’s an ‘incredibly exciting scenario, visually, for paintings in which to present such an emotionally charged inquiry.’ He waxes lyrical of the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE) ‘kaleidoscopic lights and screens,’ which made for ‘an amazingly cinematic visual feast.

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D.S. Graham
The Art World through its 10 Costliest Paintings

We’re celebrating the sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for a world-record $450,312,500 (including fees, etc.) at Christie’s (NYC) on 15 November, 2017, with this two-part series examining the contemporary art world through its ten most expensive paintings. In this first part, AAMag explores the concept of ‘provenance’ through the gaps in that of da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi—or is that Bernardino Luini’s or Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio’s? We’ve used de Kooning’s Interchange as an introduction or primer to some of the major players in the contemporary market—you’ve got to know your Geffens from your Griffiths and not just your Boltraffios from your Leonardos! We’ll also examine the major ‘market maker’ that is Qatar’s Al Thani family through their purchase of Cézanne’s The Card Players in 2011; while Gauguin’s Nafea faa ipoipo? allows us to touch upon the early history of Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips (de Pury); and we’ll finally turn to the surprising relations that link Abstract Expressionism with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Republican Party through the ideologies of freedom/autonomy and money

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D.S. Graham
Lee Jungwoong: A Brush with Treachery

Lee Jungwoong’s artworks are formidably executed and eminently collectable. His Brush (Plate 5) (2014) is a magnificent example of trompe l’oeil in its deception of the viewer’s eye—we’re entitled to ask: Is this really a painting and not a photograph? Furthermore, Jungwoong’s paintings of paint brushes are, really, appealingly intellectual.

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D.S. Graham
Hank Willis Thomas’ Politics of Sport

Hank Willis Thomas’ artworks have a reputation for critically commenting on the pressing issues of political, black, and social identity that continue to vex and provoke society today. The Beautiful Game at Ben Brown Fine Arts (5th October to 24 November 2017) examines the relationship between these and their wider social forces in relation to sport in a truly global setting.

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Barney Trimble
Q&A: Layne Johnson

Layne Johnson, has returned to his fine art roots in a series of staggeringly breathtaking cloudscapes. ‘[I]f you haven’t experienced the Texas Hill Country,’ he says, ‘I hope you can someday.’ If you, like us, are stuck under the grey autumnal skies, then head over to Johnson’s impressive Instagram. You’ll find contemporary American Impressionism at its very best. Intimate morning suns gleaming through the woods. Glorious pink and orange sunsets over distant mountain ranges. There are few artists today who can capture a landscape as does Layne Johnson.

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Bianca Schor
Fagerlund's Intimate Painted Moments

Although Fagerlund revives the traditional canon of art history, he never loses touch of the contemporary: when his female main character is drinking tea on the couch, Untitled (F-53) (2016), he again uses close-up and rough cuts, in reference to smartphone photography, to capture a calm moment. In this way Fagerlund emphasises the old masters tradition with modern contemporary aspects, he provides the viewer with mysterious stories of the mundane and all its secrets. The brilliance of the work is that the viewers also find themselves inhabiting those mesmerising moments in personal memories or subsequent dreams.

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Lucia Täubler
The Human Geography of Carl Krull

Krull has certainly traversed a complex terrain in recent years. Specifically, that wonderful and intriguing country that is the United States. His speech is in an amateur geographer or explorer’s register. He speaks of the ‘unchartered territory of the empty paper.’ He describes his drawings as ‘human seismographs.’ Of course, you’ll probably remember from your own geography classes that seismographs are those instruments that record the energy released by earthquakes in seismic waves. Krull’s are composed of the lines alluded to earlier, those black lines—more wobbly than parallel—that traversed the white canvas.

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Top 5 at The Other Art Fair London

Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair returns to London in October 5-7, 2017. There’s a plethora of abstract and figurative artists on show—although, the selection is somewhat weighted in favour of the former. From Elaine Kazimierczuk’s fragmented landscapes to Zeljka Paic’s architectural fantasies, Art Aesthetics chooses its Top 5 Artists to collect at The Other Art Fair 2017. 

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Q&A: Erin Hanson

Erin Hanson was eight years old when she began painting. Aged ten, she accepted her first commissions. Aged twelve, she was employed at a local mural studio. Since then, Hanson has won numerous awards and opened her own gallery, The Erin Hanson Gallery.

Art Aesthetics sat down with Hanson to discuss life, business, and, most importantly, art.

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Interesting Artworks: Interwoven by Daniel Bilmes

Daniel Bilmes’ paintings contain many of the hallmarks of timelessness. His work shares both aesthetic similarities and the emotional intimacy of great painters of the past. The painting Interwoven depicts a young woman, eyes closed and neck exposed. Drawn with obvious technical skill, the tight details of her face for a focal point that contrast the more abstract areas of the ground characterised by broader brushstrokes. 

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Q&A: Dina Brodsky

Whilst most of us are currently lounging somewhere sunny, Dina Brodsky is working hard. This New York-based contemporary artist specialises in realist miniature paintings and cycles through Europe in the summertime to draw inspiration for her work. Scanning her environment as she travels, Dina sketches away the little gems she comes across, and later turn them into miniature, ultra-detailed oil paintings, on 2’’ diameter copper or Plexiglas discs.

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Boccioni, Bicycles, the Prints of Thomas Yang

It’s an opportune moment to explore the bicycle in art history. Chris Froome’s fourth Tour de France puts him within touching distance (some 23 days and 2,200 miles) of the all-time greats of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain. Since the Champs-Élysées, Prudential’s ‘Ride London’ was as popular as ever among amateurs and spectators alike—albeit, the local cabbies were less than impressed. So, this small article traces some of the connections between the bicycle and art. In particular, with reference to the print-works of Thomas Yang.

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D.S. Graham
From Hazy Planes and Burning Bodies: The Art of Patrick Palmer

I catch the artist in a liminal state: Patrick Palmer the Portraitist is moving house. Patrick himself has carved a career out of catching others in a state of emotional undress; I suspect he endeavours to give form to physical and psychological vulnerability in such a way that the beholder will find himself compulsively attracted to the curvaceous qualities of its shape and the enigmas of its tone. He also paints pretty women naked.

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Interesting Artworks: The Social Network by Bernardo Siciliano

Overlap was recently published on the ‘art aesthetics’ Instagram. It’s clear that many of us recognised ourselves in the painting. We’ve all been there, surely? ‘[F]olded with problems,’ opined one of our commenters. It’s a fair interpretation, and one with which many of us can probably identify. It’s as if there’s something especially vulnerable about us in the early morning.

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D.S. Graham
Interesting Artworks: Déjà Vu by Lisa Yuskavage

Colour is the most noticeable element of the paintings, and is used to delineate ‘emotional spaces’. Heading through the exhibition, the viewer becomes aware of the plethora of ways it is utilized. In Ludlow Street (2017), a couple is portrayed in a green and red that slowly merges across their two bodies creating a unified whole. Whereas Déjà Vu uses colour to isolate. The nude female figure is depicted in saturated colours, distinguished in her brilliance. The neutral tones of the men around her isolate her further, and at the only point of physical contact, her fingertips, they leach her of colour. This makes the emotional distance and unequal power dynamic within the grouping immediately evident.

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Ellen Charlesworth
Interesting Artworks: Self by Helen Masacz

Helen Masacz is a well-established artist working in Britain. She has studied at the prestigious London Atelier School, exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and won The Arts Club Award in 2011. ‘Self’ is a particularly thought-provoking painting. Ostensibly, it’s about the Anthropocene. It critiques the impact of the ‘human’ on our planet. It’s also, however, about the ‘human’ as such. Masacz’s ‘Self’ is carefully composed and offers the viewer an intelligent picture of contemporary issues regarding the ‘self’, ‘subject’, and ‘human’ of our contemporary moment.

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D.S. Graham
Salman Khoshroo: from Human to Post-Human in Painting and Sculpture

Salman Khoshroo’s diverse oeuvre encompasses many styles of painting, and, more recently, sculpture. ‘Head Jig’ (2017) and Entwire Series (2017-) use brightly coloured electrical wires wrapped around a wire frame to form the shape of a ‘human’ or ‘post-human’ head. In fact, Khoshroo’s evolution from painting the human to sculpting the post-human reflects the philosophical thought of the visionary futurist, FM-2030, as well as that of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. ‘Head Jig’ and Entwire Series’ ‘HEADMA01’ and ‘HEADFB01’ thus offer a clever commentary on aesthetic and philosophical concerns of the last forty years. 

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The Figurative Communication of Denis Sarazhin

Denis Sarazhin’s Pantomime Series (2016-) forecloses ‘language’ in returning to the painterly and figural. He focusses our attention on the body by cleverly frustrating the viewer’s instinctive glance toward the subject’s face. In this way, the artist challenges us to reconsider the communicative potential of the body. Compellingly painted; they reward contemplation. Sarazhin’s ‘return to the body’ without reference to the ‘face’ is an important contribution to the post-language debates that reverberate inside and outside the gallery

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Interesting Artworks: Lake O'Hara by Clyde Aspevig

The painting “Lake O’ Hara” 30” x 40” (oil on linen) is a monumental work by American landscape painter Clyde Aspevig. Located in the alpine area of Yoho National Park, in the province of British Columbia, this high mountain lake has inspired artists for hundreds of years, including John Singer Sargent who painted the lake in 1916. At first glance, this piece may appear to be have painted by a 19th century artist, yet there are elements to Aspevig’s painting that gives it a modern flavour, firmly rooted in current scientific thought and contemporary culture.

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Bryan Mark Taylor