Archive for July, 2011

In Response: Lynn Powers’ Triton Museum Exhibiton

Posted by erin on July 6th, 2011

ARTSHIFT welcomes responses from the community to our articles and reviews.  Here are Stephen French’s comments, received in response to Erin Goodwin-Guerrero’s review of Lynn Powers paintings in her Winter show at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara. We apologize for a somewhat tardy publication of this thoughtful commentary on both the exhibition and works in question.

By Stephen French

Lynn Powers revisits Vermeer

In her ARTSHIFT review of Lynn Power’s Twenty Year Survey at the Triton Museum, Erin Goodwin finds Powers’ most recent work (based on familiar Vermeer paintings) narrow in focus, missing the richness of surface and symbol of earlier work and “relatively impersonal next to her signature painting style.”

True, Power’s most recent paintings move away from the familiar painterly surfaces and varied textures of the artist’s earlier work but in doing so they greatly expand on the essential and most personal qualities of her work.

These include the rich play of light, shadow and luminosity found in Power’s early work which is continued and greatly intensified in the new Vermeer pieces.  These new pieces also amplify the meditative qualities of stillness and repose that reside at the heart of her most powerful work. In addition the notioon of the “precious object” often highlighted in previous work is reinvented – now found in Vermeer’s paintings.  A partial string of pearls, a spool of thread, an earring are celebrated and given unexpected personal focus.  Ironically what is new and enriching in these paintings is what is missing – Vermeer’s figures.  We are presented with a dramatic conundrum.  Where is the milk maid, the lady of the house, where are they, where have they gone, why are they missing?  No longer present (except in memory) they conjure a magical disappearance, an absence, an enigma that brings a new dream like, surreal character to Power’s 21 Century remembrances.

Powers alters size, scale and proportions, to achieve meditative qualities without reference to the human form.

Its important to note that these “Vermeer paintings” are not attempts to simply replicate the originals.  Powers has changed the size, the scale, the proportions of the paintings and the details of paintings to her own ends.  Like composers from Mozart to Stravinsky, artists and poets have borrowed predecessors’ themes and structures to enhance, inform and enlarge their own work.  The best of cases as here,  honor the forerunner and enrich the borrower’s art.  And, as an artist friend said to me, when you work with Vermeer you really can show what a kick-ass painter you are!

INTERVIEW 5 – the first of a series

Posted by kfunk on July 1st, 2011

Interview 5 series
by Pantea Karimi

Interview 5 is a series of interviews with individual artists who have left a meaningful impact in their communities.
Interviewee: Corinne Okada Takara

Corrine Okada Takara is a mixed-media artist and arts educator, who composes sculptures of both elegant and mundane materials that tell stories about the collision and intersection of cultures. Okada was selected as one of three Silicon Valley educators to represent the Bay Area at the Microsoft 2011 Innovative Education Forum. She will be presenting the You Are Here Street Banner Project.

Interview 5: Tell me about your current project, You Are Here Street Banner. What is the main goal you would like to achieve by doing this project?

Corinne Okada Takara (COT): The You Are Here Street Banner project is a workshop series exploring community and identity through photography and digital textile design. This project idea began in the summer of 2010. We started the workshops in the winter and are now in the phase of photographing the neighborhoods. On June 20th students presented their collaborative banner designs to the Alum Rock Village Business Association for approval. The following day they presented to the Office of Cultural Affairs at City Hall. The final install date (at the time of this writing) is yet to be determined. I am hopeful for a July or August date.

The project engages the entire fifth grade student body of Cureton Elementary of Alum Rock, San Jose in thinking about what makes their community visually unique. To compare and contrast different community visual vocabularies, the third graders at Hawaii Preparatory Academy also participated in the initial textile pattern workshops. First students at both schools drew radial textile patterns using markers, pencils and tracing papers. These images were posted on VoiceThread, an online freeware communication site, where the students from both schools commented on the textile patterns they created. They either typed in or voice recorded their comments to the other students. These initial marker compositions, became digitally printed fabrics; the 12 yards of fabrics were installed at the Montalvo Arts Center’s Art Splash in April:  A portion of the fabric was cut into squares for the students to keep and to learn how to make an eco-friendly Japanese furoshiki wrapping carry-cloth. The radial pattern project done in marker was a way to introduce students to visual vocabularies and to the math involved in creating radial patterns – both main components of the second project: You Are Here Street Banner.  I wanted students to have the experience of creating a radial pattern design by hand before they experimented with digital tools.


Furoshiki - wrapping carry-cloth

Furoshiki – wrapping carry-cloth