Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 19 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.
As more of the world migrates to the online universe, we find wider choices to steer you to. Here are some of the best that we have culled from hours and hours of looking.
"Precise Mathematical Paintings" is how Daniel Mullen's work is being described. The Scottish artist uses layers of thin, rectangular sheets in his acrylic paintings on linen. They do indeed look like sheets of glass. The PR states that these are "an attempt to move towards a perception of ekstasis, or the vibrant energy of the universe, imaginary and unmapped". Vocabulary aside, these are fascinating works. You can see more of these optical illusions at his own site.
The Guardian newspaper shares a mock exercise showing what it would be like to be inside of a nuclear bunker making profound choices about nuclear warfare. The ultimate horror of making wrong choices under strenuous time constraints has been shown to U.S. Officials so they can understand the huge consequences involved in split-second decisions. Called Nuclea Biscuit, this simulated experience is a chilling reminder of the planet-destroying capabilities of nuclear arsenals. It reinforces the importance of electing and appointing informed, intelligent national officials. "15 minutes to save the world" seems an apt title.
Ana Benaroya treats us to voluptuous paintings of the female torso blazed in saturated color. Born in New York City and now working in Jersey CIty, New Jersey, Benaroya recently received her Master's Degree in painting from Yale University. Distortion and exaggeration fill these erotic images, with occasional jabs at the male body as well. You can see some of her work from last year at her own site.
A rare 17th century painting of two women, one black the other white, has been put on display in the U.K. in hopes of finding a buyer within the country: if one is not found by March 9, 2022, it will be offered to collectors outside the U.K. as well. The anonymous work shows the two women with similar dresses, jewelry, hair and makeup. Both women also wear similar beauty patches. The U.K. Arts Minister describes the painting as a rare example of equal status from the mid-seventeenth century. The description of the subjects claims that this is "in fact a sternly moralising picture that condemns the use of cosmetics and specifically elaborate beauty patches, which were in vogue at the time".
Anke Eilergerhard finds whipped cream to be the perfect form for her sculpture. Indeed these works do look like giant softserve ice cream. Based in Berlin, the artist has used the idea of layer cakes frequently in her work. The viewer's first reaction is one of pleasure and joy - who can resist the lure of a luxuriant dessert? She presents forms that are both elegantly simple and beautifully complex.
The sad passing of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim at the age of 91 has prompted this streaming of PBS programs and snippets of his work. Considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, Sondheim had a unique way of using words and music in many award-winning musicals, from "Sunday in the Park with George" to "Into the Woods" and "Sweeney Todd". This compilation revisits some of his finest musical moments.
Here is a chance to familiarize yourself with rebus, known as "Electromagnetic Interactions". Rebus is an interactive system based on the 100-year-old Theremin technique. It creates an interface between an electromagnetic field and the movements of the body and hands. This project was a semifinalist at the Guthman Musical Instruments Award at GeorgiaTech University. The idea is to create interactions between sensors and sound. Another project in this field is called Trill - it will further entice you into the way we use our hands to negotiate the world around us. Additional examples are available at a site called Tidal Cycles. Here is an example of theramin, called the instrument you don't play
Lucien Freud is known as an enigmatic and complex person. Apparently some 25 years ago a Swiss collector bought one of his paintings at auction. The buyer subsequently got a phone call from the artist, who wanted to buy it back. When he was refused (the buyer liked the full-length male nude), the furious artist threatened to deny having painted it. Later the Freud estate denied its authenticity. Now three independent experts have declared it to be not only Freud's work but probably a self-portrait. Details of the painting's history, involving artists like Francis Bacon, lend an additional flavor to the canvas itself.
We have written before about the brilliant architecture of Zaha Hadid, who died an untimely death from a heart attack 5 years ago while still in her 60's. Several of her elegant designs are rising in the Arab world, as shown here. Ironically, she once stated, "I don’t think Arabs respect [me] enough, because I’m an Arab. Arabs like foreigners…. If I was an American, they would love me. An American man." Her fluid designs are said to evoke Arab calligraphy and have been described in these words: "the slow liquidity of her lavalike buildings".
Ibbini Studio combines digital and analog processes to create intricate paper sculptures. They use parametric design software, followed by laser cuts of paper. These are then hand-glued to make the final pieces. Looking at their incredibly complex forms is a delight for the eye.
Gladstone Gallery is showing the commanding sculptural forms of Wangechi Mutu. Part animal, part fantasy, they rise from the floor and confront your sense of what is alive and what is not. Mutu is known for her mysterious treatment of masked figures with tendril-like extensions. Born in Kenya, Nairobi, she got her MFA in sculpture from Yale University. At Artnet you can see more of her other-worldly work.
Stephen Sondheim, that giant of composition and lyrics, recently passed away at age 91. Fortunately there is an online review that treats us to some of his more memorable theater moments.
c. Corinne Whitaker 2022