Tag Archives: art

A Closer Look: Eugène Atget

I’ve just begun to rediscover Eugène Atget, one of the great photographers of the early 20th century.

Versailles - Cour du Parc

His straightforward compositions belie the heavy subject matter he brings to each image.  Each exposure is a meditation on impermanence & solitude.

St. Cloud

These are photographs that remind me of the world at dusk, when colors become indistinct, shadows run into each other, and foliage turns into a black profile against the sky.

Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Geneviève

His pictures seem shrouded in a gray mist, which (in a way) reveals as much as it conceals.




images: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A Closer Look: Vincent Fecteau

With their incongruous forms, unnerving color schemes and various other unsettling elements, Vincent Fecteau’s meticulously made sculptures belie the many formal decisions made by the artist in completing each work.

He has said of his working process, “I like to work on a group of pieces all at the same time, spending long periods just staring at things and trying to activate or access a feeling that somehow relates to what I’m trying to make. …When I’m open to things but not fixed on an objective is when I’m most likely to discover a connection that helps a piece feel more resolved.”


Source: Matthew Marks Gallery


A Closer Look: Historic Inspiration from the Met

One of my favorite places to look for inspiration is the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  They have much of their collection online, including everything from modern photographs to historic drawings.  I like to browse the historic drawings to inspire my own projects.  Take a look:

Design for Painted Ceiling Decoration

Design for a Room in the Etruscan or Pompeian style (Elevation)

Architectural Drawing for a Chapel

Framed Design for an Architectural Interior: Coffered Ceiling with Central Hexagonal Cartouche and Walls with Floral Ornament and Drapery.

Design for a Ceiling in Pompeian Style


Get some inspiration of your own at the Met Website.

– Robert



A Closer Look: Elizabeth Matheson

Elizabeth Matheson is one of North Carolina’s most important photographers.  Her work is subtle and quiet, taking as its subject the old homes and landscapes of the South.

In her interior shots, Matheson masterfully captures images that seem frozen in time.

Born in Hillsborough, North Carolina in 1943,  she studied with John Menapace at the Penland School over 30 years ago, and has had solo shows at numerous venues including the North Carolina Museum of art and the Gregg Musuem at NCState.

We featured Matheson in our previous post about the art collection at the NCState Chancellor’s House. Four of Matheson’s photographs grace that home’s stair hall and dining room (below).

To take a closer look, check out her upcoming show at the Horace Williams House in Chapel Hill on May 6th.  More information can be found at the Chapel Hill Preservation Society.


image 1: design lines

image 2, 3, 4, 5: flickr

A Closer Look: Katharina Grosse

This week, I wanted to share the work of Katharina Grosse, a prolific German painter and installation artist.

She is known for the vibrant palette and exuberant gestures of her large-scale canvases and raucous installations which merge painting, sculpture, and architecture.

Wielding a spray gun instead of a brush, Grosse often paints directly on the walls, floors, or facades of her exhibition sites, altering the logic and scale of architecture itself.

In an effort to liberate her works from the Euclidian space of wall and floor, Grosse also incorporates into her multidimensional paintings a variety of unexpected objects, including beds, clothes, balloons, shaped canvases, and soil.

I saw her installation at the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society in 2007 titled Atoms inside Balloons. It was a tribute of sorts to the world’s first nuclear reaction, and featured huge balloons that deflated or popped throughout the exhibition.




images: katharina grosse

some text: Mass MOCA

A Closer Look: Matt Woodward

I love architectural drawings, especially historic ones of the hyper-realistic variety.  So you can imagine my delight when I came across the work of Matt Woodward, a contemporary artist whose drawings are inspired by historic examples of architectural ornament.


Much of Woodward’s work is a reflection on Louis Sullivan, the famous Chicago Architect who coined the phrase “form follows function” and was responsible for such buildings as the Chicago Stock Exchange and Carson Pirie Scott Department Store.  He became famous for using elaborate ornamentation on the surface of his buildings.

Matt Woodward’s large drawings capture the massive scale of Sullivan’s architectural ornament, filling the walls of even the largest galleries.   At first glance, I thought the drawings were made with charcoal rubbings – but it these pieces were in fact meticulously drawn by hand using discarded construction materials.

Chicago artist_Matthew Woodward_Ritz drawing detail

(above: detail of a drawing by Matthew Woodward, below: detail of Louis Sullivan’s ornament)

It is fascinating how these drawings seem to conduct the space around them with their architectural scale.   The Ritz Carlton Residences in Chicago apparently liked this effect, and recently commissioned a series of drawings by the artist (below):

Chicago artist_Matthew Woodward_Farwell Building

Woodward’s solo exhibition “Louis Sullivan’s Idea” opens this weekend at Chicago’s Cultural Center.


images: Matt Woodward and Ritz Carlton Blog

A Closer Look: The RDU Tech Shop

On Wednesday, I took my first class in MIG Welding at the RDU Tech Shop in Durham.  MIG welding is a type of welding that uses an electric current and shielding gas to create strong bonds in mild steel.  It’s an easy, versatile method that can be used in making furniture, sculpture, or almost anything else you can imagine.  I’m excited to use my new skills in the shop.

How to Weld - MIG Welding

But the Tech Shop offers a lot more than just metal working; if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to sew, make a birdhouse, or cut 3″ thick steel with a plasma CNC machine, this is your place.   The Tech Shop has a wood-working shop, metal shop, computer-controlled milling machines, laser cutters, sewing machines, lathes, and more.   They also offer a wide selection of classes to get you up-to-speed on most of the equipment — and everyone is welcome, no matter your skill level.

If you have a do-it-yourself project you’ve been meaning to do, chances are the Tech Shop can help.  Happy welding!




image 1 & 2: instructables.com

A Closer Look: Full Frame Film Festival

Did you know Durham hosts one of the world’s best film festivals every year?  The Full Frame Film Festival began in 1998 as a small event hosted by Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies.  Nowadays, it takes over downtown Durham for 4 days and plays host to over 100 films.  It runs April 12th – 15th.  You can purchase your tickets online or at the event.

Here are my top picks for this year:

1. Samsura, April 12th at 10pm

“Through an intricate synthesis of images, and without a single word of dialogue, this intoxicating film takes us on a cross-continental journey through our modern world. Samsara is a Tibetan word that means “the ever-turning wheel of life.” Contributing to the cyclical rhythm at work, music builds and drifts away throughout this vast array of images, impeccably captured on 70mm film.”


2. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, April 13th at 7:20pm

“With intimate access to the artist, Alison Klayman presents a portrait of Chinese photographer, sculptor, architect, and activist Ai Weiwei. Captured over the course of three years, this portrait is as much about the current state of China as it is Ai Weiwei’s art and character. Exhibited all over the world, his pieces present a unique collision of grand imagination and pointed politics…”


3. The D Train, April 14 at 1:50pm

“A man enters the subway, paying with a token. To the accompaniment of a jaunty Shostakovich waltz, archival images tell a life story—at once singular and universal. The latest inspired composite from Jay Rosenblatt (Phantom Limb,The Darkness of Day) features a dynamic collection of found images, mostly black and white but with the occasional splash of vibrant color. Texture, movement, and connections spark as life passes before our eyes.”


4. Detropia, April 13th at 4:40pm

“[This film is] an affecting and modern symphony of Detroit, a casualty and the epitome of fin de siècle industrial and urban abandonment. The city’s rapid decline (half of its inhabitants have moved since 1970 and half of its manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000) triggered a fight-or-flight response on a massive scale, resulting in unprecedented political and civic challenges and corresponding radical countermeasures.”


5. How to Survive a Plague, April 14th at 7:20pm

“In the early 1980s when the number of AIDS cases in America began to soar, many organizations with the resources to help turned a blind eye to the epidemic. Enter ACT UP, a group of activists who felt they’d been backed into a corner by society’s complacent attitudes. Many of ACT UP’s members were HIV-positive and saw this unifying political action as their only hope of survival.”


I hope to see you there!



images and quoted text: http://www.fullframefest.org

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