Chance Encounters, Edition 1
New Year, New Venture
Welcome to the first edition of I Require Art’s Chance Encounters. Our goal is to bring a wide variety of art, primarily from the 20th and 21st centuries, to your attention and to provide some context for that art, whether it is familiar or less well known. We hope that you will participate by suggesting themes and artworks for future editions and share your insights and experiences with art in the comments below. For this first edition, we’ve created a sample of the kinds of art and commentary that you will find in future posts.
We will include works from current or upcoming museum and gallery exhibitions in many editions. Drawn from locations around the world, these provide us with vicarious travels and remind us to seek out the real world art-viewing experiences available to us at home and as we travel.
As a university student, Cara Romero (Native American-Chemehuevi, b. 1977) turned to photography as a means of expressing contemporary indigenous life with a goal of counteracting the idea of Native American cultures as lost in a romanticized past. In Water Memory, Romero shows two figures sinking in turquoise water; they do not struggle or even appear conscious of their surroundings. The effect is of figures floating in their memories, and perhaps in the memories of their ancestors as well. Water Memory is included in “Speaking With Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography” exhibition, opening at the Denver Art Museum 19 February 2023. Through her participation in exhibitions like “Speaking With Light,” Romero is able to present viewers with her vision of contemporary indigenous Americans.
Major 20th century artists will be an important component of Chance Encounters. Some of these will be very well known to our readers, but others may be less familiar.
Lee Bontecou’s (American, 1931-2022) distinctive wall reliefs were created by welding a supportive frame and using wire to attach stretched canvas to the framework. The shapes in Bontecou’s reliefs seem to radiate from or direct us to a dark, circular hole calling to mind anatomical, geological, or astronomical orifices. Hanging on a wall like a painting and occupying space like a sculpture, Bontecou’s wall reliefs are part of the 20th move away from the traditional boundaries between these artistic categories. Lee Bontecou passed away in November 2022 at age 91 after a long career as a trailblazing artist and teacher.
Artists flourish all over the world and technology enables us to experience their creations no matter where we are. Look forward to encountering artists from artistic communities beyond the United States and Western Europe in future editions.
Feni Chulumanco (South African, b. 1994) is a young artist from South Africa whose figural works draw on his experiences in his home and with his family. In many of his works, the figure is enclosed in a prism-like shape in which the colors and patterns surrounding the figure are altered from the rest of the composition. For Chulumanco, these prisms represent the ways in which an individual self-isolates, becoming absorbed in their own thoughts or actions. In Parent Instructions, the artist has blurred the line between painted and real world textures by attaching a piece of carpet fringe which continues the painted rug on which the figure sits.
One of the most familiar features of Modern art is the rise of abstract and non-representational art. Chance Encounters will look at these art forms, the contexts in which they developed, and the influences they continue to have on the art of today.
Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940) created works in a diversity of styles and techniques which prevent his being tied to a specific artistic movement. A long-time teacher at the Bauhaus, the influential school of art and design established in Germany in 1919, Klee experimented with line, shape, and color to create his distinctive works. Klee believed that the material world is only one of many which we might perceive. This philosophy underlies all of his art, while the small size and whimsical qualities of his works reflect his interest in the art of children. Children’s art, to Klee, expressed a desirable freedom and vibrancy and Red Balloon, a little over a foot square, demonstrates these qualities.
Though the focus of Chance Encounters is 20th and 21st century art, we will also explore the immediate antecedents of more recent art in late 19th century art.
Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) took the techniques and subjects of Impressionism and incorporated his own ideas about creating color and texture echoes in his canvases. He is cited as an inspiration and influence by artists from the early 20th century to today. The artist is known for repeating the same subjects again and again, but The House with the Cracked Walls is unusual in Cézanne’s career because it is the only painting of this subject. Though this subject is unique, Cézanne’s practice of echoing can be seen here. The wall’s cracks are echoed by the slender trees and the edge of the foreground boulder. Small patches of blue are found in the tufts of grass on the hill and the golden tones of the house appear in the tree foliage and the hill.
From the start of the Modern period, artists have been inspired by the development of new materials. Today artists are making art using any and every medium and technique. We’ll be finding and sharing these innovative makers and their creations with you.
Chun Kwang Young (South Korean, b. 1944) combines new and old materials in an intricate and compelling way. The artist takes small polystyrene triangles and wraps them in mulberry paper that has been colored and printed using traditional methods. Chun builds complex surfaces from these paper-covered surfaces; some look like lunar landscapes while others appear to be collections of vibrant natural or crystalline growths. The diversity of results Chun achieves with his unique materials demonstrates how far the inspiration of a new medium can carry an artist.
Most editions of Chance Encounters will include a video art experience. Many such videos are available and we will seek them out to share with you. You will see artists at work, hear scholars or artists speaking about an artist’s work, visit exhibitions at galleries and museums, and watch performance artists, musicians, or dancers.
The new and the old, the expected and the surprising, I Require Art’s Chance Encounters is devoted to exploring modern and contemporary art.
Please join us in our explorations.
Thanks for being part of the I Require Art community!