Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Artist Francis Bacon's Lifetime Accumulated Mess Transported Intact to Irish Museum

Francis Bacon's Studio
By Margarita Cappock
Merrell Publishers Limited, 2005, 240 pages, hardbound, $59.95
Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was born in Ireland to British parents and today is recognized as one of the most significant post-war painters, his disturbing oil portraits acquired by major museum collections worldwide. Bacon is remembered primarily for his symbolic, macabre portrait of Pope Innocent X. London/New York publisher Merrell has produced a definitive, retrospective coffee-table volume on Bacon using the device of his unique (read unimaginably messy) studio as the springboard into his career and lifework.
Six years after his death in 1992 the contents of his rather cramped London studio were donated to the Dublin City Council in Ireland with the understanding that it would be recreated there with all its contents intact for public viewing. Easier said than done, because the studio, Bacon's home and workplace since 1961, contained 7,500 items - a treasure trove of precious artifacts to an art historian. There are two absorbing stories here: the challenge of cataloging, transporting and reassembling the contents of the studio (front door, paint-encrusted walls and all) across the Irish Sea to Dublin, and then the significance of each uncovered item as it related historically to Bacon's oeuvre.
"Maintaining the studio exactly as it stood was crucial to the experience," Dr. Cappock writes. So a team of photographers, archeologists, conservators and curators went to work, launching an indoor archeological dig to create a detailed diagram of exactly where each item lay/stood/hung so that the recreated space would be precisely accurate. Today the reconstructed studio is open to the public at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, Ireland.
Needless to say, the piles and piles of clippings, photos, sketches, catalogs, books and even slashed canvases speak volumes to the historic arc of Bacon's work and Dr. Cappock finds in this detritus the inspiration for each phase of his artistic development. Some of the many graphic images Bacon collected over his lifetime reveal the macabre basis for much of his output: massacres, meat carcasses and the assassination of President Kennedy. Other photos show the subjects of his commissioned portraits including Mick Jagger. By the last page the reader has received a detailed, insider's view of the creative evolution of Francis Bacon.
For anyone building a library on 20th century art this impressive, heavy book, Francis Bacon's Studio, is a must.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Best Photography Books

Most people regard books as a good companion. Whether you're an adult or student, you can find interesting books to satisfy your needs. These informative books are able to fill your mind with ideas and at times completely transform your way of life. Whether it is adventure, action, romance, art or photography, you can find books with any topics.

Many people are passionate about photography. A few of the titles for the well-known photography books are How to Shoot Great Photographs; An Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide; The Digital Photography Handbook, just to name a few.

In most cases simple digital photography books can offer you a myriad of information that will help you to master this art, such as lighting effects and also how you can improve your images using both genuine and artificial lighting. You can find a wide variety of these books on the market to select from, but you have to determine whether or not you should rent from a library or purchase them.

These days, you can easily download these books from reputable websites. But before doing this, you should check the reviews and forums to see what other photographers have to say about these books. Forums will help you to solve problems, find discussions about specific equipments and also learn about where and when events are taking place.

The best photography books will be the ones which addresses everything about digital photography. A good photography book must take you step-by-step and show how you can capture the best shots at different angles. These days, the digital photography industry is becoming extremely popular. As a result, you can find even more photography books written and published in recent times.

These types of books also provide the users with essential details that will help to make the best decision when shopping. By reading those books, it is possible to determine easily the type of camera that would suit your style and also what components you should know about while purchasing a camera. It's also possible to find several specialized subjects such as digital night photography; digital infra-red photography; digital portrait photography; digital black and white photography, and so on.

In case you are just getting started in photography the Complete Digital Photography book will be a good one to read. Thus if you are interested in buying or upgrading your camera, you can find some helpful tips in this book. You can also get books that will give you information about the technological aspects of working in the digital photography field. In the end, you should learn the best to carry out actual shooting and also how and when to use flash, plus more

Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review of Color Is Everything by Dan Barges

Color is Everything: Master the Use of Color in Oils, Acrylics or Watercolors [Soft cover]

by Dan Bartges

96 pages, $14.99

ISBN-13: 978-1892538369


Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

Marc Shagall, a Russian-Jewish artist, has been hailed as one of the successful artists of the twentieth century. His expertise allowed him to forge an impressive career utilizing many artistic mediums, including stained class, tapestries, and fine prints. Shagall indicated, "Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything...."

Artist Dan Bartges dovetails on the latter portion of that quote to give the world this guide to utilizing color. It is read like the warmth of a conversation with an old friend but with the technical excellence of a well-written textbook. Ideally, readers will grasp color harmony when employing strategies mastered by all great artists.

At just under 100 pages, Bartges paints a masterful description of color and its appreciation. As a master teacher, his goal is to take a student on a journey of several projects to understand color and its application. Remaining the consummate professional, he always makes theory more interesting by providing real world examples of famous (and not so famous) paintings to illustrate his point.

Although never utilizing a condescending tone, Bartges' tutelage leaves no stone unturned. He details the type of materials needed: a color wheel, the specific hues of paint, and brush selection. A thorough analysis is provided of the six existing color schemes and how their mastery leads to better artwork. Additionally, Bartges examines famous artwork to provide explanation of why a particular artist utilizes, let's say, a complementary color scheme.

As one would expect, the rich vibrancy of colors leap off every high glossy page of this tutorial. Sometimes it is difficult to follow precisely what Bartges is trying to elucidate by examining some paintings, but even a casual read will have the reader nodding in agreement that a particular color harmony is apparent. If understanding the nuances of various paintings is your primary need this tool would serve as a good color guide corollary.

Those aspiring to teach art or to understand better color harmony will enjoy this book. If you are willing to make a small investment in addition to the book (the cheapest color wheels are about $4.50), Bartges will lead you on a fascinating journey where you will ultimately discover that color is everything. Fascinating projects are interlaced in the book to give the reader the hands-on feel of excellent instruction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ebooks on Art Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions and Color Theory

With the passage of time, electronic books are gaining immense popularity among people of all age groups. The reason behind is their easy availability on ebook stores, which also offer discounts to regular customers. Be it science, sports, history, law, communication or media, electronic books are available on almost all topics. Today, ebooks on art collections, catalogs, exhibitions are highly demanded as these provide an insight into the work done by different artists and their impact on society. These books also contain information about finished works that have not been collected by art collectors.

Exhibition 36 is one of the popular ebooks on art collections, catalogs, exhibitions that is written by Susan Tuttle. This book showcases the altered and repurposed art of 36 mixed-media artists. Through this book, readers will get to know the thoughts of various artists and the articles written by them. Some other electronic books on art collections, catalogs, exhibitions are Civilizing Rituals; Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing; Heritage, Museums and Galleries and New Museum Theory and Practise.

Documents of the 1913 Armory Show: The Electrifying Moment of Modern Art's American Debut contains original publications from the Armory Show (1913). Published by Hol Art Books, this book states how Armory Show changes the perception of American people about art. It also contains "A Layman's Views of an Art Exhibition", a popular essay by Theodore Roosevelt. Readers will also find the entire content of "For and Against: Views on the Infamous 1913 Armory Show" in this book.

Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium is an admired book, which contains various essays by museum professionals as well as academics. This book presents contemporary concerns for art and addresses issues related to museum community. Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium is written in an interesting manner and can be easily downloaded on Mac, Android, Windows, iPad, iphone and various other operating systems.

Colors are always an important part of the art and therefore color theory ebooks are also in huge demand. These book are very useful for beginners as these have important information about proper use of colors and their importance. Paint Along with Jerry Yarnell Learning Composition is a famous electronic book, which contains simple instructions for creating impressive compositions. Through this book, Jerry describes three different composition types, appropriate utilization of negative space and principles of flawless design. Some other books written on color theory are The Complete Color Harmony; Colour and Humanism: Colour Expression over History and Colro Design Workbook.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Barcelona Enshrined - Antoni Gaudi - The Complete Architectural Works by Rainer Zerbst

Rainer Zerbst's book, Antoni Gaudí - The Complete Architectural Works, is just what it says, the complete works. Treated chronologically and in turn, each of the architect's major projects is reviewed, described and analysed. Copious illustrations allow the reader to appreciate the often fascinating -and usually fantastic - detail that Gaudí used. The text, elaborate, itself florid in its description, conveys not only the colour and the shape of Gaudí's work, but also its intent and derivation.

Though it concentrates on the buildings, their features, their detail and their innovations, Rainer Zerbst's book does deal quite adequately with Gaudí's background and inspiration, though it does not attempt to be a biography. It may come as a surprise to many readers that it was England and English art that provided the young architect with his model. The theories of Ruskin advised a return to direct contact with nature. The Pre-Raphaelites resurrected both the Gothic and colour, and also employed minute detail throughout a work rather than invite total concentration on a single, artificially-lit central subject. And then William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement provided the social and industrial model that aspired to put art at the centre of everyday life. Finally, and not least, it was the English tradition of the ornamental garden that inspired Gaudí's treatment of broader settings.

All of these influenced the young Gaudí. And at the time he was seen as a something of a radical. Later, when, if anything, the architect's style became more fluid and less self-conscious, he had already shaved off his beard and cut his hair in order to aspire to membership of the local establishment. In England, the once revolutionary Pre-Raphs had largely done the same.

In presenting Gaudí's woks chronologically, Rainer Zerbst is able to chart the development of the artist's style, both personal and professional. The reader can follow the development of a style, see how ideas came to maturity and then were re-used and re-applied. The reader can also clearly understand how Gaudí's work anticipates both Dalí and Miró, both in its content and its use of colour. Placing minor works together in a final chapter, however, has the feel of afterthought and does detract from the overall experience.

For anyone who has visited Barcelona and has seen some of these buildings close up, this book is a must. It really does fill in the detail that a casual observation would surely miss. And for anyone who has not yet visited the Catalan capital, Rainer Zerbst's book, Antoni Gaudí, could conceivably provide the stimulus to make that visit at the first available opportunity. Gaudí's work is something that is thoroughly worth real-life experience. Only in the rather scant treatment of Sagrada Familia is the book rather wanting, but then an adequate description of such a project would be a book in itself. Sagrada Familia, like the man who conceived it, is unique.

Philip Spires

Author of Mission and A Fool's Knot, African novels set in Kenya


Migwani is a small town in Kitui District, eastern Kenya. My books examine how social and economic change impact on the lives of ordinary people. They portray characters whose identity is bound up with their home area, but whose futures are determined by the globalized world in which they live.