A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, and Male Images. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Born in 1966 in the small community of Otaki, Ross Jones is a painter from New Zealand whose works are intermixed with elements of surrealism. All of his carefully designed paintings contain hints that lead the viewers to various narratives. Jones combines objects, vintage toys, and personal photographs with his childhood memories to depict worlds of whimsy, remembrance and personal freedom.
Ross Jones spent his early years in Otaki, a town of five-thousand people that remained basically unchanged through the years. He graduated from the School of Design Innovation at the Victoria University of Wellington, previously Wellington’s School of Design. Ross spent the next fifteen years creating commissioned work for private individuals and companies, including New York’s Penguin Books, Bank of America, The Wall Street Journal and Time Incorporated. He currently paints personal work full time from his studio overlooking the Hauraki Gulf north of Aukland.
Over the years, Jones has been inspired by the work of both fine artists and commercial illustrators. Among these artists are Winslow Homer, Howard Pyle, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, the Wyeth family, and Maxfield Parish. Jones was particularly attracted to the composition and unique blending of color in Parish’s work. He was also drawn to the clean lines featured in Art Deco furniture and the seemingly effortless design compositions of vintage French posters.
An important factor in his choice of painting subjects is Ross Jones’s fascination with everyday objects, those most often taken for granted, as well as those extraordinary occurrences that happens in one’s life. He includes just enough detail in his work to initiate a story; the goal being that the viewer complete the narrative through their own experiences. Working with a carefully researched color palette, Jones uses every opportunity to play with the light in his paintings. He shapes the mood of each painting by his attentive use of multiple light sources, linear and aerial perspectives, and stretched shadows. Jones often distorts both shapes and architecture to increase the drama and compositional dimensions.
Ross Jones’s work is held in private collections in England, Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand. His work has been regularly featured and sold at many New Zealand gallery exhibitions including the Boyd-Dunlop Gallery in Napier; the Parnell Gallery in Parnell, Aukland; the Central Art Gallery in Queenstown; the RedSea Gallery in Brisbane City; and the Flagstaff Gallery in Devonport, Aukland.
Notes: Ross Jones’s website, which includes exhibitions, contact information, and both original work and limited edition prints for purchase, is located at: https://jonesthepainter.com
Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1952, Greg Drasler is an American painter known for his metaphorical images that explore the formation of identity and memory. His representational work incorporates elements of abstraction, surrealism, and the postmodernist elements of graphic design.
Drasler’s paintings of elaborately constructed interior spaces, symbolic and commonplace objects, and patterned panoramas hold enigmatic puzzles and psychological mysteries that intrigue the viewer’s sense of perception. A major component of his work is the exploration of liminal spaces and thresholds between public and private, real and imaginary, and object and environment. Liminality, in anthropology, is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage. Participants in effect stand at the threshold of their previous self-identification and their new existence established by the rite.
Greg Drasler uses the strategies of bricolage, the creation of a work from a diverse range of objects, to place the viewer in a state of liminality. His images of suitcases, men with hats, automobile interiors, film sets, and the American highway contain symbols, metaphors, visual puzzles and puns. Humor, nostalgia and a sense of the uncanny are contained in these examinations of the Self and its relationship to local culture and both personal space and location.
In the 1960s, Drasler became interested in art as a career through his exposure to the contemporary art of his time. A major influence on his life’s work came from James Rosenquist’s awe-inspiring 1964-65 “F-111”, a painting of fifty-nine interlocking panels that enclosed the viewer. Drasler was also influenced by sculptor Horace Clifford Westermann, a master of traditional carpentry and marquetry techniques, as well as the representational artists of the Chicago Imagists such as Jim Nutt, whose work was inspired by pop culture, and Robert Brown for whom collected art and objects functioned as important source materials.
In 1976, Drasler entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study art. He committed to the medium of painting in 1978 and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1980. After receiving his degree, Drasler enrolled in the university’s Year in Japan Program, a period which focused his work on the relationship between identity and place presented through the use of domestic functional imagery. After completing his Master of Fine Arts in 1983, Drasler relocated to New York City and began to exhibit his work professionally. The first exhibition of his paintings was in the first “On View” held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in 1983.
Greg Drasler’s earliest work focused on builder and handyman imagery that served as an allegory for self-construction. His first series, executed between 1987 and 1990, was the “Baggage Paintings”, which depicted plush luggage in random but carefully composed states, either stacked as in “Samson and Delilah” or grouped as in “Baggage Claim”. The meticulously detailed groups of baggage, whose lighting and color were playfully painted, presented allegories of identity, luxury, and privacy. Drasler’s 1990 painting from the series, “His”, depicts two upright traveling trunks in a room. One contains a set of six drawers while the other is opened to reveal an empty space for hanging clothes. The bright golden light that emanates from the interior of the trunk, almost magically, is in stark contrast to the dull interior of the room.
With the support of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 1991 and a subsequent National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1993, Drasler began “Cave Paintings” which depicted intricately constructed, ornate interior living spaces that served as metaphors for one’s creation of the Self, as well as, the relationship to one’s personal, domestic space. These tableaus with their architecture, wallpaper and fabric were distinguished by human absence and trope-l’oeil obfuscation. The illusionistic perspective and the meld of motifs were designed to create a voyeuristic view of unsettling presence and closely guarded secrets, a similar sensation akin to painter Giorgio de Chirico’s famous piazza paintings. “Cave Paintings’ were first presented at New York’s Queens Museum of Art in 1994, followed by exhibitions in Seattle, Boston and New York.
Greg Drasler’s “Tattoo Parlor” series explored wallpaper patterns and the psychological imprint they have on a room’s occupants. One group from the series was “Jesus Wallpaper”, that consisted of papered walls of loosely rendered iconic images of Jesus and assorted hanging objects; the “Jumping Jesus” installation, for instance, contained hanging auto jumper-cables. Starting in the early 2000s, Drasler’s investigations of liminal spaces included automobile interiors, Hollywood illusionism, and the great American road trip. After seeing cutaway automobile props used in film sets, which exist as both interior and exterior spaces, he employed that image in several paintings including the 2006 “Green Screen” and the 2010 “Internal Combustion”.
With a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, Drasler drove across country, during which he gathered ideas for what became his “Road Trip”series, expansive vistas of the Midwest that often depicted the vernacular architecture of the American roadhouse. These paintings included large areas of criss-cross patterning, often looking like quilts in the sky, that suggested the vast reach of the landscape and its division into property. A major work of this series was the 2016 six-panel “Stratocaster Suite” which presented a stop-motion sequence in the style of Eadweard Muybridge when displayed across the wall.
Greg Drasler’s essay “Painting into a Corner: Representation as Shelter” was published in editor Joseph Scalia’s 2002 “The Vitality of Objects: Exploring the Work of Christopher Bollas”, published by Continuum Press, London, and Wesleyan Press. He collaborated with poet Timothy Liu for the 2009 “Plolytheogamy” published in 2009 by Philadelphia’s Saturnalia Press; it was comprised of interleaved images of Drasler’s paintings and Liu’s poetry. Drasler has taught and lectured at schools, including Princeton University, Pratt Institute for the past twelve years, Williams College, Hofstra University, and Montclair State University. Starting in 2007, he has been represented by New York’s Betty Cuningham Gallery on the Lower East Side.
Notes: A biographical narrative by Greg Drasler on his life, as well aa contact information and video projects, can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://www.drasler.com
Born in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania in June of 1910, John Brock Lear Jr was an American artist best known for his figurative and landscape works. He attended the Chestnut Hill Academy, an all-male college preparatory school in Greater Philadelphia, where he showed an early talent in art. Inspired by two uncles who were painters, Lear studied at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts, under Thornton Oakley, a protege of illustrator Howard Pyle.
John Lear Jr’s work as an artist was centered on freelance illustration and creating paintings and drawings for exhibition. In 1931, he traveled to England for the first time and became drawn to the country’s landscapes. Lear continued his visits to England over the course of his life and, through memories and photos, created many striking landscapes in oils. He always referred to these works as ‘records’, the natural world captured with an artist’s eye.
Lear also produced what he described as ‘creations’, dreamlike landscapes, surrealistic or symbolic in content, composed of realistic and yet disparate images. Composition and color were the major emphasis in these works which he considered closer to rendering rather than painterly in quality. Lear’s creations were not dystopian but often whimsical and brightly colored. Central to most of these dreamlike landscapes are male figures rendered in a style that shows influences by mid-century artists such as George Tooker and Paul Cadmus.
During World War II, John Lear Jr served in the Army’s calvary division at Fort Reilly in Kansas. Recognized for his artistic talent, he was employed to illustrate Army training manuals, booklets and charts. During his service period, Lear also painted several portraits of generals and officers. Though he did not experience the horrors of war overseas, the destruction of life caused by that war influenced aspects of Lear’s surrealist work. After his military discharge, Lear returned to Chestnut Hill where he remained for the duration of his life. As an educator, he taught illustration at Pennsylvania’s Rosemont College and was an instructor at both Philadelphia’s Hussian School of Art and the University of the Arts.
A longtime associate of the many art organizations in the Philadelphia area, Lear never married and passed away at the age of ninety-eight in September of 2008 in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Doylestown Cemetery in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
John B. Lear Jr exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work appeared in many shows at Philadelphia’sHahn Gallery, known for its national and international contemporary work, and the Woodmere Art Museum, which houses a collection of Lear’s work. Other permanent collections of Lear’s work can be found in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center, and the Reading Public Museum, among others. In addition to public collections, Lear’s work is in many private collections in the United States and abroad.
Top Insert Image: John Brock Lear Jr, “Male Figure Study with Roman Helmet”, 1983, Graphite on Wove Paper, 31.8 x 22,2 cm, Private Collection
Second Insert Image: John Brock Lear Jr, “Landscape with Figures”, circa 1960, Watercolor, 64.8 x 45.7 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: John Brock Lear Jr, “Construction”, Date Unknown, Graphite on Wove Paper, Private Collection
Born in Oakland, California in May of 1943, Steven F. Arnold was an American multidisciplinary artist. A protege of Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali, he was a photographer, filmmaker, painter, illustrator, set and costume designer, and assemblage artist. Encouraged in his fantasies by his parents, Arnold at a young age devoted himself to the art of transformation, dressed himself and others in costume and built puppets and theater sets to perform shows for the neighborhood children.
Arnold entered Oakland’s Technical High School in the autumn of 1956. There he met Pandora who would become his muse, collaborator and lifelong friend. This inseparable pair of artists and performers were eventually mentored by their high school art teacher, Violet Chew, who encouraged her students to use their art as a means to explore and solve the problems they faced. By introducing the young Arnold to art history, antique shopping and Eastern spiritual traditions, Chew made a lasting impact on his philosophy and art. She also introduced Arnold to her friend, the painter Ira Yeager, a true Bohemian renowned for his landscapes and scenes of Native Americans, and lifelong partner of lawyer and ceramic artist George Hellyer.
After graduation in the spring of 1961, Steven Arnold attended the San Francisco Art Institute on a full scholarship. After earning perfect grades for two years, he took a break in the summer of 1963 to study in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts. Feeling confined by its traditional curriculum, Arnold along with several American classmates rented villas on Formentera, an island off the coast of Spain. For several months, the group lived communally, took LSD, explored the island, and experimented with costumes and paints. Arnold returned to San Francisco in the fall of 1964 and resumed his studies at the Art Institute where he wrote, designed and directed three short films in the following two years.
Arnold’s final student film before receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was “Messages, Messages”. Influenced by Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel and German Expressionism, this journey of the psyche through the unconscious starred jazz poet Ruth Weiss and premiered to critical acclaim at New York’s Regis Hotel. After receiving invitations to several international film festivals, Arnold and his collaborator Michael Weiss screened the film and a rare collection of early surrealist films at the Palace Theater in San Francisco’s North Beach. This evening film show led to “Arnold’s Nocturnal Dreamshows”, weekly midnight movie showcases that became nationally popular in the 1970s. Through performances at these midnight showings, the psychedelic San Francisco drag troupe, “The Cockettes”, was launched into underground fame. Arnold became one of the original group of rock poster artists and created some of the first posters for the famed Matrix nightclub on Fillmore Street.
In 1970 while finishing his Master in Fine Arts, Steven Arnold began filming his “Luminous Procuress”. This 1971 film of bizarre, mystical and sexual vignettes won Arnold the 1972 New Director’s Award at the International Film Festival in San Francisco. With this success, Arnold’s work was shown at an extended exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art; he also received a second invitation to the Cannes’Director’s Fortnight. Impressed with the film, Salvador Dali arranged a private screening for special guests from New York’s elite. In 1974 as a favorite of Dali, Arnold began to study with him in Spain and eventually became a member of Dali’s Court of Miracles, which included such notables as David Bowie, Marianne Faithful, Mick Jagger, French singer Amanda Lear, and American supermodel Peggy Ann Freeman.
From 1982 to 1989, Arnold worked through his Los Angeles photographic studio and west coast salon, Zanzibar. Through this new form of expression, he designed and shot tableau-vivants for four books. Tableau-vivants are carefully posed scenes of one or more actors or models, usually costumed, who are theatrically placed amid props or scenery. Many thousands of these photographs and negatives were never published in his lifetime and are housed in Los Angeles’s Steve Arnold Museum and Archive. Arnold cultured many close friendships with other kindred spirits among whom were actress Ellen Burstyn, know for her portrayals of complicated women in dramas, and fashion designer and critic Simon Doonan, now the husband of ceramic potter and interior designer Jonathan Adler.
Steven Arnold gleaned inspiration for his work from his dreams, fine art masterpieces, world religions, sexuality, Jungian archetypes and social attitudes and excesses. He would work through both night and day to sketch his dreams and visions into a growing collection of sketchbooks. These sketches formed the basis of his photographic work and the large body of paintings and assemblage sculptures produced from 1990. Steven Arnold, an artist who never pursued fame, status, or wealth, was an integral figure in the American counterculture for thirty years. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 at the height of his popularity, Arnold died from complications due to the virus in August of 1994 in West Hollywood, California, at the age of fifty-one.
Steven Arnold’s works are in the collections of New York’s Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum of California, the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archive and Museum in Los Angeles, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Germany’s Frankfurter Kunstverein. His work continues to be exhibited worldwide and was the subject of director Vishnu Dass’s 2019 documentary “Steven Arnold: Heavenly Bodies”.
Born in Malmö in July of 1916 to railway official Karl Emil Gadö and Hedvig Maria Persson, Karl Bertil Gadö was a Swedish painter and graphic artist. In addition to his self-study, he received formal training between 1933 and 1935 at the Skåne Painting School (Skånska Målarskolan) in Malmö. Gadö’s work and that of his contemporaries was inspired by political ideologies of the 1930s and ideas posed by the prominent Surrealist movement; the combination of these two forces created a new form of art, magic realism.
Gadö first exhibited his work in 1939 at a collective exhibition in Malmö. In 1943, he had his first solo exhibition in Malmö and later exhibited in 1947 at a group exhibition in Malmö’s City Hall. Works by Gadöwere included in the 1948 “God Konst i Alla Hem (Good Art in the Home)” exhibition held at the HSB-Huset in Fleminggatan, Stockholm. Along with landscape painter Lars Engström, he regularly participated in Skåne’s art exhibitions.
From 1948 to 1952, Karl Bertil Gadö was a member of the Imaginisterna, an avant-garde surrealist artist group founded in 1948 by painter and designer Max Walter Svanberg. This group of artists, who were looking for an alternative approach to surrealism, left the detailed style of Salvador Dali in favor of the artistic works of artists like Max Ernst and Paul Klee. Members of the Imaginisterna included such Swedish artists as painter Max Walter Svanberg, painter and lithographer Carl-Otto Hultén, painter Anders Österlin, and book illustrator and cartoonist Gösta Kriland.
Gadö was also a member of the Skånsk Avantgardekonst, or the Skånes Avant-Garde Art: he participated in their 1949 exhibition at the Malmö Museum and the 1951 exhibitions held inHälsingborg and Stockholm. Gadö presented his work in the 1951 Biennial held at the Museum of Modern Art in San Paulo, Brazil. He was also represented in the same year at an exhibition of Skåne artists held in theLiljevalch Art Hall in Stockholm.
In the 1960s, Karl Bertil Gadö presented intense experiences of nature in his work. Various animal species were presented as symbols of life’s struggle in scenes foreboding disasters and devastation; he also emphasized in his work the ideals ofindependence and man’s willingness to find his own way in life. Around 1980, a culmination of Gadö’s work was a series of images whose content revolved around cosmic motifs. Most of these paintings were executed with clear contour lines; between these lines, the spaces were covered in a limited scale of brown and gray tones.
Gadö worked for decades with public works in relief, free sculpture, mosaics and stained glass. These works contained content similar to his paintings with the earlier ones containing strong abstract compositions. Karl Bertil Gadö died in 2014, at the age of eighty-eight. His work is held in both private and public collections. Major collections include the Malmö Museum and the Moderna Museet of the National Museum in Stockholm.
Victor Brauner, “Le Surréaliste”, January 1947, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 45 cm, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Victor Brauner was a Romania painter and sculptor. He aided in the growth of Surrealist art by developing its vocabulary and drawing inspiration from new sources, including mythology, alchemy, Hinduism, Judaism, and both Aztec and Native Americanbelief systems. Brauner developed a private and very personal iconography and his pictorial presentations of the etheric body had a direct impact on other Surrealist painters.
Brauner was born in June of 1903 in the city of Piatra Neamț nestled in the Eastern Carpathian mountains, His family lived in Vienna for eleven years until they returned to Romania in 1914. Brauner’s father was involved in spiritualism and, in 1916, sent his son to an evangelical school in the city of Brăila, where Victor developed a strong interest in zoology. In 1921, Brauner briefly attended Bucharest’s National School of Fine Arts. He also studied at the private school of Romania director Horia Igiroşanu.
After his studies, Victor Brauner visited the Moldavian city ofFălticeni and the coastal Bulgarian resort town of Balchik, where he painted landscapes in the manner of Cézanne. In September of 1924, he had his first solo exhibition of expressionist paintings at the Mozart Galleries in Bucharest. Brauner also participated in a November 1924 exhibition sponsored by the avant-garde art and literary magazine, Contimporanul.
In 1925 Brauner travelled to Paris for the first time, where he stayed in the same building as Swiss sculptor and printmaker Alberto Giacometti and the French Surrealist painter Yves Tanguy, who introduced him to many of the Surrealists in Paris. Brauner also befriended Romanian sculptor and painter Constantin Brancusi, who taught him the methods of art photography. His circle of friends at that time included poet Benjamin Fondane and artists such as Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Robert and Sonia Duchamp.
As Fascism began to take hold in 1930, Victor Brauner settled in Paris more permanently and married Margit Kosch, whom he would divorce nine years later. In 1931 he painted one his most famous images, “Self-Portrait with Plucked Eye”, a work that was eerily prophetic, as on August 28th in 1938 Brauner lost his left eye when he was hit by a glass during a violent argument between Spanish Surrealist painters Oscar Domínguez and Esteban Francés.
Brauner had his first solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Pierre in 1934; the enthusiastic catalogue introduction was written by author and poet André Breton. However, the show was not well received and Brauner, disheartened and low on funds, returnedto Bucharest in the following year. During this period in Bucharest, he stopped painting and instead produced illustrations and caricatures, including his 1935 “Anatomy of Desire”. Financially more secure, Brauner moved back to Paris in 1938.
The German army’s advance into France in the middle of 1940 forced Victor Brauner, a Romanian Jew and former Communist, to flee to southern France. He continually moved throughout France, living for a short time with writer Robert Ruis, before finally settling in Saint Feliu d’Amont, a commune in the very southern tip of France. While living there, Brauner unsuccessfully tried to obtain a visa to travel to the United States, however, he managed to get official permission in 1941 to settle in Marseilles, a haven for many Surrealists. In Marseilles, the surrealists continued their work and created a number of collective projects, that included a deck of Tarot cards to which Brauner contributed two images.
Near the end of the war, Victor Brauner moved to Switzerland to escape the increasing Nazi persecution of foreign Romanian nationals. There he discovered pioneer psychotherapist Marguerite Sèchehaye’s writings on schizophrenia, treatises which influenced his later paintings. In 1945, Brauner returned to Paris and placed his work at the Galerie Maeght for the 1947 International Exhibition of Surrealism. Not long after his return to Paris, Brauner was expelled in 1947 from the Surrealist group by André Breton for refusing to support the ouster of prominent member Roberto Matta. Brauner began to experiment in other genres and completely left Surrealism in 1948.
Brauner returned to more personal and primitive themes in his work, in a more stylized and abstracted form, done in the mediums of paper, encaustic painting, and thin oils on board. He established a studio in 1959 at 72 Rue Lepic in the Montmartre district of Paris. After a trip to Italy in 1961, Brauner settled in Varengeville, a commune on the sea in Normandy. In the same year, his work was presented in a solo exhibition at New York City’s Bodley Gallery, a prominent art gallery that became the venue of choice for the Pop Art movement. In 1966, Brauner was selected to represent France and given an entire hall at the Venice Biennale for his work.
After a period of prolonged illness, Victor Brauner died in Paris on March 12th of 1966. He is buried at the Montmartre Cemetery; the epitaph on his tomb reads: “Painting is Life, the Real Life, My Life”.
Note: In ” The Surréaliste”, Victor Brauner borrows motifs from the tarot to create a portrait of himself as a young man. The tarot was a subject of widespread interest to Brauner and other Surrealists. One tarot card, the Juggler (the first card in the Marseille tarot deck), provided Brauner with a key prototype for his self-portrait. The Surrealist’s large hat, medieval costume, and the position of his arms all derive from this figure who, like Brauner’s subject, stands behind a table displaying a knife, a goblet, and coins. In the Waite tarot deck, the first card is the Magician. A sign of infinity (the symbol of life) that appears above the Magician’s head is also depicted on the hat of Brauner’s Surrealist.
Second Insert Image: Victor Brauner, “Le Codex du Poète, Mythologie du Poète, Première Naissance”, 1947, Oil on Canvas, 91.7 x 72.9 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Victor brauner, “Prelude to a Civilization”, 1956, encaustic and Ink on Masonite, 129.5 x 202.6 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fourth Insert Image: Victor Brauner, “La Couronnée”, May 1945, Oil and Wax with Black Ink on Board, 27 x 22 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Victor Brauner, Title Unknown, circa 1945, Encaustic on Board, Private Collection
Born in Maiquetia, Venezuela in November of 1920, Luchita Hurtado was a painter whose work, with its strong feminist and environmental themes, crossed many different cultures and art movements. Although her career spanned over eight decades, she only received wide recognition for her art towards the end of her life.
In her early years, Luchita Hurtado lived in New York City with her mother, older sister and aunts. She studied Fine Art at the Art Student League and volunteered at “La Prensa”, the largest and oldest daily Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, where she met her first husband, Chilean journalist Daniel de Solar. In 1938 at the age of eighteen, Hurtado married Daniel de Solar and had two children together. The family relocated to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic after an invitation with a request to start a newspaper arrived from Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic.
Returning to the United States, Hurtado and her family settled back in New York City where they associated with many artists and journalists, among whom were Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, artist and landscape designer Isamu Noguchi, surrealist artist and collector Wolfgang Paalen, and Japanese-American dancer Ailes Gilmour, who was Noguchi’s half-sister. In 1942, Hurtado divorced de Solar and subsequently married Wolfgang Paalen. Beginningin 1944, Luchita Hurtado produced window displays and painted murals for Bloomingdale’s, a luxury department store in New York City. She also did freelance work as an illustrator for the mass media company Condé Nast and worked as a muralist for the Lord and Taylor department store in the city.
In 1946, Luchita Hurtado and husband Wolfgang Paalen traveled to Mexico to research pre-Columbian art. A research article by Paaalen, with photographs taken by Hurtado, was published in the 1952 edition of the French literary and artistic journal “Cahiers d’Art”. After her divorce from Wolfgang Paalen, Hurtado moved to Los Angeles in 1951 with fellow painter Lee Mullican, whom she married in the late 1950s. Lee Mullican would remain with her until his death in 1998.
In 1970, Hurtado founded the feminist group, Los Angeles Council of Women Artists. She participated in their first exhibition at the Long Beach Museum of Art, “Invisible/Visible”, which was organized by multi-media artist Judy Chicago and sculptress Dextra Frankel. In 1974, Hurtado had a solo exhibition at the Woman’s Building, a non-profit arts and education center which focused the women’s movement and feminist art.
Except for her two exhibitions and work produced for Bloomingdale’s and Conde Nast, Luchita Hurtado’s artwork was largely unknown until 2015. Ryan Good, who was cataloguing the estate of Hurtado’s deceased husband Lee Mullican, found paintings signed “LH” among others in the collection. He showed these paintings to Paul Soto, founder of Los Angeles’s Park View Gallery, who gave Hurtado her second ever solo exhibition, “Luchita Hurtado: Selected Works, 1942-1952”, a two-month show which opened in November of 2016. Hurtado was ninety-six years old at the opening of the show.
With the recognition generated by the solo exhibition, Luchita Hurtado’s career erupted. Her work was included in the Hammer Museum’s 2018“Made in L. A.” exhibition and received a good review from the L.A. Times and favorable critical reception. Hurtado’s paintings caught the attention of Hans Ulrich Obrich, a Swiss art curator and the artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, two prestigious galleries located in central London. He gave Hurtado her first international solo exhibition entitled “Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn”.
Luchita Hurtado’s work contain elements from the avant-garde and modernist movements of the twentieth-century, including magical realism, abstraction, and surrealism. She used womb imagery in her works long before it appeared in the feminist art movement of the late 1970s. One of Hurtado’sbest known series of works is the “I Am” images of the 1960s, self-portraits painted by her looking down at her own body. Taking up the issue of climate change, Hurtado painted more specific environmental themes, some of which contained block-lettered texts such as “Mother Earth” and “We Are Just a Species”.
Hurtado’s artwork depicting nude women contain loosely surrealistic forms that draw inspiration from pre-Columbian art, cave paintings, and abstraction in sculpture and paintings. Through her work, she focused attention on the edges of the body and the language used to bridge the gap between ourselves and others. Hurtado expressed this connection through images that coupled the intimate gestures of the body with the vastness of the sky and earth.
In February of 2020, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held a retrospective of Luchita Hurtado’s work. She remained active in the arts until her death, at the age of ninety-nine, in August of 2020. Hurtado was named as one of ‘Time” magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019. Her work is in many private collections and public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Born in 1910, Jacques Azéma was a French artist who made Marrakech his home in 1930. At the age of twenty, he had traveled throughout North Africa, until he finally settled in Morocco, his home for the next fifty years.
Azéma’s work grew from his fascination with Morocco’s geometric patterns prevalent in its architecture, mosques, and tiled walls and floors. Influenced by the works of the Surrealists, his soft, richly colored works include scenes of artisans at work, Marrakech street scenes, entertainers in the Jemma el Fna square, and local traditions among the people.
Azéma’s small-format paintings reveal a dreamlike representation of Morocco, which closely represents the pictorial language of such surrealists as Giorgio de Chirico and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Azéma’s paintings greatly influenced a large number of aspiring Moroccan artists during the 1930s, including Marrakech artist Mohamed Ben Allel, whom Azéma encouraged to paint without heed of traditions.
Jacques Azéma was a professor of drawing and painting in Marrakech. As part of the group organized by Mahjoub Ben Seddik, one of the founders of the Moroccan Labor Union, Azéma taught painting workshops at Casblanca’s École des Beaux-Arts from 1962 to 1974. He also taught animated painting workshps at Marrkech’s Lycée Mangin High School, where he made an impact on its art students.
Jacques Azéma passed away in 1979 in Marrakech. A retrospective of his lifetime achievements and unique body of work was shown in 2008-2009 at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech. Many of his works are in private collections.
Born Hedwig Lindenberg in Bucharest, Romania, in 1910, Hedda Sterne received a rich primary education that included the study of multiple languages, German philosophy, and art history. With the encouragement of Modernist painter and professor Max Hermann Maxy, Sterne began her formal art education in 1918. Her first teacher was the Realist sculptor Frederic Stock, a professor at the Bucharest National University of the Arts.
As early as 1924, Hedda Sterne gravitated to the Constructivist, Dada, and Surrealist artist communities of Bucharest and Paris. She took classes in ceramics atVienna’s Museum of Fine Arts and, in 1929, enrolled at the University of Bucharest, where she studied under literary and art critic Tudor Vianu, and philosophers Nae Ionescu, and Mircea Florian. In addition to her early work with Frederic Stock, Sterne worked in the studio of Surrealist painter Marcel Janco, who was a co-founder of the Dada movement, and became a close friend with Surrealist painters Victor Brauner and his brother Théodore Brauner, realist painter Jules Perahim, classical painter Medi Wexler, and surrealist poet Gheorghe Dinu.
In the late 1930s, Sterne began her work in the mediums of painting and collage. Drawn to the Surrealist practice of automatism, a process which allows the subconscious mind control over the formation of a work, Sternedeveloped her own unique style of collage. Sterne’s collage work was first recognized in 1939 at the Fiftieth annual Salon des Indépendants in Paris, where her work was singled out by painter Jean Arp, who recommended her work to art patron and collector Peggy Guggenheim. After the outbreak of World War II and the Bucharest pogrom, Sterne was able to acquire the necessary visas for travel, which enabled her to embark from Lisbon and sail to New York in October of 1941.
Settling in Manhattan, Hedda Sterne established an apartment and studio on East 50th Street and soon developed a close friendship with Peggy Guggenheim, a close neighbor on Beekman Place. Sterne re-united with many Surrealistic artists she had known in Paris, including Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and André Breton. She also began a close friendship with author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whom she encouraged to illustrate his own book “The Little Prince”. Involved with the circle of New York School of artists, Sterne’s work was included in surrealism’s seminal exhibition in the United States, “The First Papers of Surrealism”,held in October of 1942 at Manhattan’s Whitelaw Reid Mansion.
By 1943 Sterne’s work was regularly show in exhibitions at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, including the 1943 “Exhibition by 31 Women”. In November of 1943, Sterne had her first solo show in the United States at the Manhattan’s Wakefield Gallery, organized by art dealer and collector Betty Parsons. This began a nearly forty-year collaboration between Sterne and Parsons, who represented her after the opening of her own gallery, the Betty Parsons Gallery, in 1947.
Throughout her career, Hedda Sterne’s diverse series of artwork were a reflection of the changing world around her. In the 1940s, she began to draw inspiration from the motion, architecture and scale of her new New York surroundings. Following a visit to Vermont with her husband and fellow artist Saul Steinberg, Sterne began studying farm machinery, as well as the construction sites and harbors of New York and post-war Paris. By the 1950s, these Machine paintings and drawings had evolved into a series about motion itself. Often utilizing commercial spray paint to invoke a feeling of speed, Sterne’s large gestural canvases of the mid-1950s were inspired by city bridges and her travels on highways around the United States.
Hedda Sterne began, in the 1960s, to explore new themes in her work, expanding beyond the inspiration of her immediate surrounding to include her interests in science and philosophy. The qualities of light and space were often a central focus of investigation in Stern’s work. While on a Fulbright Fellowship in Venice in 1963, she experimented with mosaic and refined a series entitled “Vertical-Horizontals”, paintings that invoked an expansive, horizontal landscape, whose reach, however, was confined within a vertical format. Later in the decade, as drawing took on a more central role in her practice, Sterne developed dense and intricate organic abstractions in series entitled “Lettuces and Baldanders”.
In addition to exploring both physical and conceptual subjects in her work, Sterne also produced both geometric and organic abstractions. Among her largest series of works on canvas are her 1980s “Patterns of Thought” paintings, in which she, now in her seventies, explored the universality of signs and symbols through prismatic geometric structures. While doing this series, Sterne also developed various drawings and loose studies of nature, with elaborate organic structures and ghostly apparitions emerging from the page.
Hedda Sterne was a prolific artist who maintaineda daily practice of making art throughout a career that spanned nine decades. Her work intersected with some of the most important movements and figures of twentieth-century art. Even though affected by macular degeneration, she continued to create new work in her eighties and nineties; unable to paint by 1998, she still drew. Her vision and movement affected by two strokes between 2004 and 2008, Sterne passed away in April of 2011 at the age of one hundred.
In 1977 Hedda Sterne was honored with her first retrospective exhibition of her work at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey. Her second retrospective entitled “Hedda Sterne: Forty Years” was held at New York’s Queens Museum in 1985. Her third retrospective was held in 2006, entitled “Uninterrupted Flux: Hedda Sterne; A Retrospective:, at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois.
Top Insert Image: Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Hedda Sterne”, 1961, Silver Gelaton Print. Second Image: Edith Glogau, “Hedda Sterne, October 1932 Issue of Die Bühne Magazine, Vienna; Third Image: Lilian Bristol, “Hedda Sterne in Her Studio with Her Portrait of Joan Mitchell”, 1955; Bottom Image: Nina Leen, Hedda Sterne and New York School of Painters, January 1951 Life Magazine Photo
Rateb Seddik, “Sans Titre”, 1940. Oil on Wood, 120 x 220 cm, Musee Rateb Seddik Le Caire, Egypt
Founded in December of 1938, the Art et Liberté group in Egypt provided a young generation of intellectuals, artists and activists with a platform for promoting political and cultural reform, with the members playing an active role in the network of the Surrealist movement. At the start of the second World War, the Art et Liberté became part of the international movement defying fascism, nationalism, colonialism, including the British colonial domination of Egypt.
In line with Surrealism’s rejection of the alignment of art with political propaganda, the Art et Liberté rebelled against the merging of art and national sentiment. With their December 1938 manifesto entitled “Vive L’Art Dégéneré (Long Live Degenerate Art)”, the group declared their opposition to the reactionary attacks on art in Hitler’s Germany, epitomized by Munich’s 1937 Entartete Kunst exhibition which ridiculed modern art,and attacks elsewhere, notably in Vienna and Rome.
Rateb Seddik completed his formal artistic education at Chelsea College of Art in London, where he was a student of the English surrealist painter Robert Medley, and later continued his studies in Cairo. Seddik became a member of the Art et Liberté and participated in the group’s fourth exhibition, entitled “For Independent Art”, that was held on May 12, 1944, at the Lyceé Francais School in Cairo. Despite obstacles that occurred, the show was able to exhibit 150 works of art, including painting, sculpture and photography.
Rateb Seddik’s 1940 “Sans Titre (Untitled)” combines his passions for opera and ancient Egyptian art. The oil-on-wood painting depicts a group of diversely featured human beings who are all equally united by a white cloth symbolizing death or suffering. While the scene resembles a Turkish bathhouse, it also references Stravinsky’s opera of the tragedy of Oedipus Rex. This surrealist masterpiece is a prime example of an artwork that is at once locally rooted and universally informed.
Born in 1954 in Delmenhorst, Hartmut Neumann is a German surrealist painter, sculptor and photographer. He studied painting and graphics at the University of Arts in Bremen under painter and sculptor Rolf Thiele from 1976 to 1980. In 1983 Neumann received a Scholarship Cité des Arts in Paris. Since 1992 he has been a professor at the University of Fine Arts Braunschweig.
Hartmut Neumann’s works, with their bright colors and dark backgrounds, construct a world of their own. They take the viewer into micro- and macrocosms, which initially seem untouched and harmonious, but on closer inspection reveal sinister abysses. In his pictorial language, elements of the real, the unconscious, mythology, and chance collide to create an unsettling symbiosis.
Neumann’s view of nature is at turns abstract, sculptural, utopian, or staged. The inexhaustible abundance of his formal repertoire is based on the idea of the “wunderkammer”, where artificial and natural are closely entwined. His enigmatic pictorial sealed places are characterised by opulence and richness of detail. What makes Hartmut Neumann unique in his contemporary landscapes is the way his work reveals the artificiality of nature, as contrived by the artist.
Hartmut Neumann is a member of the Deutscher Künstlerbund, the German Association of Artists, and was a member of the board from 2000 to 2002. He lives in Cologne and Brunswick.
Lara Zankoul, “The Unseen” Series, 2013, Color Photograph #13
Lara Zankoul, is an interdisciplinary artist and self-taught photographer based in Beirut, Lebanon. Her work captures everyday human behavior and issues that occur within society through photographic media. The aim is to invite the viewers to come up with their own interpretation and understanding of the photographs and the stories behind them.
Lara Zankoul’s images often explore the mysteries of the human psyche, combining unusual elements with ordinary life. Her 2013 ” The Unseen” series features contemporary scenarios literally immersed in pools of water that occupy their living space, creating playful narratives. Zankoul does not use any kind of digital manipulation; all these artworks are done strictly through the sole use of camera.
Kay Sage, “Festa”, 1947, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 36 cm, Private Collection
Kay Sage was an American surrealist and poet. A member of the Golden Age and Post-War periods of Surrealism, Sage is mostly recognized for her artistic works, which typically contain themes of an architectural nature. She received her formal training in art at the Corcoran Art School in Washington DC in 1919 to 1920. She later studied art in Rome for several years, learning conventional techniques and styles.
Kay Sage’s exposure to surrealism at the International Surrealist Exhibit at Galerie Beaux-Arts in 1938 inspired Sage to begin painting in earnest. She exhibited six of her new oils in the Salon des Surindépendants show at the Porte de Versailles in the fall of 1938. These semiabstract paintings, including “Afterwards” and “The World is Blue”, borrowed motifs and styles from de Chirico and the Surrealists, but showed hints of Sage’s own future work as well.
Enrique Riveros, “The Blood of a Poet”, 1932, Director Jean Cocteau, Cinematographer Georges Périnal
Jean Cocteau’s “The Blood of a Poet” is an avant-garde film which starred Enrique Riveros, a Chilean actor who had a successful career in European films. It is the first part of the Orphic Trilogy, which is continued in the 1949 “Orphee”, and followed by the 1960 “Testament of Orpheus”.
The film was financed by French nobleman Charles de Noailles who gave Cocteau one million francs to make the film. Shortly after the completion of the film, rumors began circulating that it was an anti-Christian message. Due to the riotous public reaction to Noailles’s previous film “L’Age d’Or”, Cocteau’s release date for his film was delayed for more than a year. “The Blood of a Poet” was finally released on January 20, 1932.
In this scene from the second section of the film, the artist played by Riveros is transported through the mirror to a hotel, where he peers through several keyholes, witnessing such people as an opium smoker and a hermaphrodite. The artist finally cries out that he has seen enough and returns back through the mirror.
“Many years ago, as I was glancing through a catalogue of jokes for parties and weddings, I saw an item, ‘An object difficult to pick up’. I haven’t the slightest idea what that ‘object’ is or what it looks like, but I like knowing that it exists and I like thinking about it.
A work of art should also be ‘an object difficult to pick up’. It must protect itself from vulgar pawing, which tarnishes and disfigures it. It should be made of such a shape that people don’t know which way to hold it, which embarrasses and irritates the critics, incites them to be rude, but keeps it fresh. The less it’s understood, the slower it opens its petals, the later it will fade. A work of art must make contact, be it even through a misunderstanding, but at the same time it must hide its riches, to reveal them little by little over a long period of time. A work that doesn’t keep its secrets and surrenders itself too soon exposes itself to the risk of withering away, leaving only a dead stalk.”
Jean Cocteau, Cocteau on the Film, 1972, Dover Publications
Alfonso Angel Ossorio, “The Red Egg”, 1942, Watercolor and India Ink on Paper Pasted on Cardboard, 61.8 x 35 cm, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris
Born in August of 1916 in Manila, Alfonso Ossorio was an abstract expressionist artist of Hispanic, Filipino, and Chinese heritage. At the age of fourteen, he moved to the United States and attended Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island, graduating in 1934. Ossorio studied fine art at Harvard University from 1934 to 1938, and continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. He became a United States citizen in 1933.
Discovered by art dealer and collector Betty Parsons, Alfonso Ossorio had his first show, featuring his Surrealist-influenced works at New York’s Wakefield Gallery in 1940. Following World War II service in the US Army as a medical illustrator, tasked with drawing surgical procedures on injured soldiers, he took some respite in the Berkshires, a region in western Massachusetts known for its outdoor activities. It was there at the 1948 Tanglewood Music Festival that Ossorio met Edward Dragon, a ballet dancer, who would be Ossorio’s life-long partner.
Through his connection with Betty Parsons, Ossorio became acquainted with the work of Jackson Pollock. Becoming both an admirer and a collector of Pollock’s expressionist work, he and Pollock soon developed a close friendship and reciprocal influence on each others work. Later in 1951, through critic and art historian Michel Tapié, Ossorio established a contact between Pollock and the young Parisian gallery owner Paul Facchetti who realized Pollock’s first solo exhibition in Europe in 1952.
In Paris in 1951, Ossorio and Edward Dragon frequently met with artist Jean Dubuffet and his wife Lili. While they were visiting, Jean Dubuffet wrote the text for his monograph on Ossorio entitled, “Peintures Initiatiques d’Alfonso Ossorio” and introduced Ossorio to art critic and collector Michel Tapié. Tapié organized a one-man show at the Studio Paul Facchetti of Ossorio’s small, luminous “Victorias Drawings”, which Ossorio made while visiting the Philippines. Produced using Ossorio’s experimental drawing technique of wax-resistant crayon on Tiffany & Co. stationary, the works in this series are counted as some of Ossorio’s most innovative.
Dubuffet’s interest in art brut opened up new vistas for Ossorio, who found release from society’s preconceptions in the previous unstudied creativity of insane asylum inmates and children. In the 1950s, Ossorio began to create works resembling Dubuffet’s assemblages. He affixed shells, bones, driftwood, nails, dolls’ eyes, cabinet knobs, dice, costume jewelry, mirror shards, and children’s toys to the panel surface. Ossorio called these assemblages congregations, with the term’s obvious religious connotation.
On the advice of Pollock, Ossorio and Edward Dragon purchased an expansive 60-acre estate, The Creeks, in East Hampton, Long Island, New York, in 1951, where they lived for more than forty years. Alfonso Ossorio died in New York City in 1990. Half his ashes were scattered at The Creeks estate and the other half came to rest nine years later at Green River Cemetery, alongside the remains of many other famous artists, writers and critics.
Alfonso Ossorio’s works can be found at The Creeks, the Harvard Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, among others.
Top Insert Image: Alfonso Ossorio, “Young Moses”, 1941, Ink on Paper, 45.1 x 46.7 cm, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City
Second Insert Image: Alfonso Angel Ossorio, “The Red Egg”, Detail, 1942, Watercolor and India Ink on Paper Pasted on Cardboard, 61.8 x 35 cm, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris
Bottom Insert Image: Alfonso Ossorio, “Resurrection”, 1940, Black Ink on Paper, 43.2 x 56.5 cm, Private Collection
Polish photographer Dariusz Klimczak composes dreamlike landscapes that hypnotize with their surprise and weirdness. The photographer’s digital photo manipulations open the door to his imaginative world, where a desolate desert is brought to life by quirky and playful characters. Everyday items clash in odd compositions with animals and humans, conflicting with gravity and the other physical laws without which our common sense would collapse.
Dariusz Klimczak has been a professional photographer for 30 years, a few of which he spent creating photo manipulations. The artist prefers monochromatic images which present the scenes with a more authentic and mystical quality.