This is an exhibition we put on for 57 Underground of specifically the figure drawings that came of of Mike Dommermuth's studio. All the artists who have studios at the Santa Fe Art Colony where he lives and works are threatened with eviction. The original public monies that helped build the complex out specified a 30 year (I think) lifespan for leases to artists selected by the buildings' membership. After that, the property reverted to the factory owner's estate. Just before Covid, the new owner of the building doubled or tripled rents and threatened evictions. A lawsuit by the artist/tenants were going throught the courts, but because of Covid, renters all over the city were suddenly given immunity from evictions. Now, nobody knows what will happen.
This piece, another triplet, uses a slightly different technique to create some sort of dynamism between the figures. The lefthand figure is the most complicated graphically, and contains color. The middle figure is less complicated, but still closely studied, with detailed hands and shadings in the torso. But the head is indistinct. The figure on the right, is barely sketched in. The head is barely visible.
Looking at it, you actually need to start from the right. The the heads and bodies become one model, who gradually obtains proper focus as the eye sweeps from right to left. One personality, only completed as the model assumes a more complicated and defined body, and a rather haughty human face at the last view.
This duplicated model assumes two personas and a hairstyle. She could easily be two seperate people. Colorwise its a neat study in blues on blue. It also hints a forward motion in two directions.
Changing perspective in another way ... this is my abstract version Andrew Kovner as I first met him about 26 years ago.
"Andrews Signs" on Sunset Boulevard as it nears the downtown is the front for his artistic endevors. He routinely works for local galleries to bring young artists' ideas into objects displayable (and thus saleable). He also works with the fashion industry.
He's also a dedicated working artist with a degree from Carnegie Mellon.
He and Maria regularly help organize and support a 70 year tradition of artists workshops at Barnsdall Park in LA.
Here's a rather muscular short pose sporting the usual scratches and stains. This model also appears suprised, dismayed or light headed, depending on the viewer's efforts to intuit her featureless face.
This is the nameles model from Ventura again. This time, the thicker brush strokes that define her body contrast with the sketchier background(s) behind her. A lttle big of Van Gogh is evident. Her world inside the painting is turning and twisting, while she remains solidly planted and at ease.
This particular pose is a muted and mutated color fest, and a study in pose dynamics. Again you can almost see her move. Something has startled her, she put the small hand (on right) against some solid object and starts to turn toward the viewer.
This is one of those paintings both rythmic and odd. Odd enough catch someone's absent minded gaze. It's also contains an implied narrative without a fixed ending.
It's a wonderful painting; really as good as I get.
This is a pensive green girl of mounumental curves. Waiting for somebody or something. Watercolor and charcoal.
This is another relatively simple painting that has everything. It hangs in my husban's office. It's an abstruct slash of rust across a stained white field of view, that resolves into a woman.
Here I am at yet another exhibition at the 57 Underground in Pomona.
It was actually started by a tight group graduating female students from Cal State Northridge in 1985 (??). It moved around the LA Basin looking for building owners with storefronts on their hands. The Tessier family in Pomona allowed them to roost in the basement of the old Newpaper printing plant they own for many years. A wonderful high ceilinged space that had accumlated dust and trash and pools of printers ink. From there, through 2 other temporary spaces in a few years, ending up in the basement of the "DA Center for the Arts" another wonderful old building owned by that family.
57 Undergound is temporarily or permanently, in haitus right now. A combination of Covid and lack of the detailed gritty kind of record keeping that keeps a non profit organization going. It mounted at shows at least every two months (often every month) from the time we joined in 2007 until early last year. The remaining members are still in emal contact. We wait patiently for an end to Covid, and some new neighborhood with shopfronts and building owners needing a revival.
Here's a casual triplet. Note the converging hands at the bottom.
Here's a large lush colorfield painting. The model trys to break clear of the background, but the two run together, and not very convincingly at that. Seen not as a figure painting, but just as an abstract the painting becomes more formidable. It has an element of cloudiness and fuzzy reds of Renoir.
Another fast pose watercolor. I am always facinated with these. Things can come out of your unconcious, so fast. This turned into a dissection of hands. The model is rough and ready: an instantly recognizable attitude. All finished in a minute or two.
Here's another rough and ready model drawing. Similar in economy to the last. Her head is a bit off-center on her shoulders to better express her opinion of the world.
Here's another 57 Underground invitation, this time "Quint-escence". 5 Artists. Get it?
One of my older pieces is at lower left. My longtime rheumatologist at UCLA, Dr. Bevra Hahn, who had just retired as department head, really liked this piece and came down with her husband at the openbing. We were desperately short of money at the time. I think my husband went over the top trying to sell it.
Dr. Hahn saw me many times each year, treated me with multiple drugs, and finally, pretty much stopped the disease in its tracks. Not before it had destroyed both my knees and the tendons in my right hand (all replaced by surgeons at UCLA).
We should have given the piece to them. Taken it right off the wall.
Here's probably another one of the "rough and ready" models. She has a flush and stern gaze, and creates a definite impression that she' angry with something. Down below one hand is monsterous, and the other odd: just three fingertips showing on her right thigh. Why would she have taken a pose like that? Did I misrepresent it. Underneath her right arm you can see her left elbow, and a part of her torso on the left, but I didn't color them, so they don't seem attached to the hand at all.
This is not a successful representation of her, at least on the surface. But her anger and attitude and both grotesque hands may speak to something below our conciousness. Like something non-human coming out from below. It's powerful in that way, and so we considered it "a keeper".
Here's another of the almost mural-sized pieces from the dancer's show. Its my favorite. It brings together all sorts of cubist ideas. Three of the figures are recognisable, but the last, on the right has morphed into something else. You can see down below she's on one knee. Then she breaks into geometric pieces.
The whole thing takes place in the clouds. I think the clouds are mine, but these figures did not start in my imagination. They were black and whilte forms from a drawing book. The drawing book was trying to illustrate cubist techniques, and so, was probably figures gleaned from Picasso or Braque. I rudely sketched them, taking my own liberties with the subject while sitting on the couch at Godwin's Natural Food behind the UCR campus in Riverside, California (probably sipping a veggie shake).
Then, thinking about dancers, and trying to blow that rude sketch up introduced more liberties. And then coloring and adding textures introduced a lot more. Nothing in painting, ever, is from a single human being. Art school is copy a model, copy a style, copy a piece. Internalize, then copy some more...
Here's a "copy" of a model. How to draw. Note the charcoal line peeking through, centering the curve of her body. My copy of my art school teather's technique. Somewhere in the long continuous line of art teachers, it was started by ...
Someone looking through DiVinci's notebooks? Or DiVinci got it from his teacher?
Anyway, my own conversation shows two visions of the same model again. Usually some human interaction emerges. In this case, the figure on the left glances with her heavy lidded eyes, and seems a slight bit disapproving of the figure on the right.
But how do you as a viewer know that? You don't. It's just this thing on the digital wall before your eyes. You just use your senses and experience dealing with everyday real human reactions. You've internalized all this, then ...
It's a momentary slash of charcoal. That's all.
Here's Parker again. This is a really amazing triplet. The forms were so perfect that coloring them seemed a waste. They are alive. One has a face that speaks for them all. Fingers everywhere. Three left arms extended: each at a different angle. Each touches, even caresses, the hip of the next.
Its another dancer drawing, really.
I'm not sure we got this image's colors reproduced correctly. It shouldn't be as sharp and contrasty as this. Trying to re correct the image in photoshop worked, but the image saved to Nicepage website making engine won't change, despite being deleted over and over.
Anyway, the two figures have a strange, but very intimate relationship with each other. They appear to be staring out into space. Their eyes don't meet, but look lower: their bodies are more intertwined than anything I've drawn yet. One's right hand is on the other's back, and the left hand is close to or touching her thigh. The one receiving the touch is turned inward, her eyes don't seek the toucher. but her own right hand is close, as if to acknowledge or return the touch.
Both seem lost in their own reveries, whether or not it's really a sensual act is left open. It's up to the viewer. After all, they started out the same person. Hope I can come back and get the color right, later.
This model seems self sufficient. She is lying on blankets with a pillow at her back. The coloring of the two is almost identical: her skin tones and the layers of cloth she lies on. All in a very complicated matrix of form and line.
Hints of blue sky peek out both beneath and above. Her bedding could easily be seen as a cloud and she reclining in the lap of some luxurious feeling. However her expression belies this. Her left hand in particular appears to reach out to grasp something offered by the viewer. Money perhaps.
Here is the model experiencing "some luxurious feeling". Reminds me of my husband's friend, who is an artist and was a model. She stated she would close her eyes and bask in all that attention. Dream and fantisize. Happy as a clam.
Back to studies for the dancers. As you can see, these drawings were not copied whole from a book, but more as the spirit.
The reason these pieces are scattered around the blog is a concious decision. All images of my art were mixed randomly, then spooned into folders on the computer: 10 at a time. Deliberately mixed, so we wouldn't be caught trying decide one was better than another, or which might go better with which. Especially, not decide which were the very "best".
Most such selection debates are not about the art is at all. They're about: what kind of person might buy, and what they'd like. Like going down a rat hole.
Speaking of the dancers series. This is the exhibtion at 57 Underground that featured that series. Karen Duckles is also an art school graduate who taught art for decades until she and her fellow teacher husband retired together. She is a lot more abstract that I am, but with the same quirky streak.
This is a nicely observed model, perched on a stool, probably. With the stool removed. I really like the hints of yellow, and the smooth transitions. Her left leg is forshorted and almost in the viewer's nose. She has a surity and feeling of place and time, despite floating improbably in the air, her legs crossed.
This is almost another colorfield painting. The model is deliniated only slightly. The changing colors and color juxtapostions did not occur at the model sat there, but are added interpretatons of reality by the artist. The painting is an artist's song, a rhythm in color, a place of its own, seperate from the reality and enviroment it was created in.
It speaks the truth. I expecially like the dark blue erupting behind her shoulders, and bleeding into her hair. It says something about her thoughts, no, my thoughts. It's transmittable, like the Covid virus, to the viewers' thoughts. Like in every art museum, great artists carve out places of their own. Places of reverie. Solitary, immutable. Unaffected by current events.
Another one of those 1 minute poses. Or maybe less. The charcoal was probably lifted off the paper once: to make her nose. Maybe not. Maybe at her elbow. Maybe where her waist merges with her butt...
I am now working on folder 12 out of 32.
I normally don't do drawings of faces, but we were about to do a cataclismic show at 57 Underground. Trump had just been elected President of the United States. I took this from a photograph, but this is not at all like the photo. He looks realistic, but check out the detail. The real Trump is fatter and jowly. Now at his nose. I saw him as he was spiritually, and is, I think.
A man badly damaged early. Carved away by an inner compulsion to rise above suckers. Logically, there can be only one person left standing in such a quest. The winner. The one who dominated all others. The richest, the most powerful, the most compelling one.
He really tried hard to subjugate the suckers. He played up to the evangelist community and they scratched each others' backs. The evangalilsts regularly used a "big hammer": exclusion from the the group (and consignment to everlasting fire), to scare their flock into monetary allegiances. Trump had another hammer: hoards of (hard working) zombies pouring over the borders to destroy an "American" way of life. "Born again" Christians of the nation were solidly behind him.
He also mastered the existing social media. He found if you maintain something is true with enough authority, long enough to be parroted around, it creates a perfect media storm: an avalanche of tellings and retellings that makes it seem true. Once enough people seem to accept the original lie, the switch has been pulled, the next lie follows: people trying to explain the original lie are a conspiracy to stifle the truth. Trump played Facebook like a Stradovarious Violin.
All this takes advantage of nearly everyone's tendency to "double down" when they make a decision that sparks rebuke. Someone in traffic that makes a simple mistake bringing a "honk" now take greater risks to justifiy it to everyone.
57 Underground's 2017 April show is where the Trump painting was first shown. The invitation front is the second of my two paintings done at the same time: a picture of our son Cameron's face peeking out of his fort made of cardboard boxes in the living room. Because of lack of explanation, and the jagged black slot that frames his face, this painting was also an effective "Bad Dream".
Now for a breather, some Easter lillies. I think this one is at my sister's house in Arcadia, California
An Art Deco inspired piece. All the decorative vertical arcs and lines that make up the model. The color scheme. The dynamism. The sculpturesque pose and anonymous head
Here's another piece of the dancers project. Not sure whether this was redrawn and colored as another piece, or remains in our attic untouched. There is also something "Art Decoish" in these figures.
Here's a voluptuous model drawing. She was just the taking off point for this fantasy. She looks like something from Matisse.
I think this is a study of dead leaves. Things so dried, mutated, and curled up, they are abstract already. I did my best to make it even more so, but you still see them lying there.
IThis is the culmination (or nadir) of my facination with oranges and golds. An orange model cut off on both sides. Not sure it this taught me anything. The model is modeled in oranges, and comes off as 3 dimensional, but the background so thoroughly disguises her, it makes her seem just a part of the color scheme.
A model almost made piebald by a wet washes of a stormy background. She has a buddhist like posture, and seems to float in the midst of the storm. Her face is darker, and her shadow transparent. Lots of things conflict yet the impression when you stand back, is a kind of stubborn peacefullness.
End folder 12 of 32. End of page 4. Trying to include 4 folders of images on each page.