First off, I have to say that until 16 months ago, when Donald Trump said he was running for the Presidency, I never was a political person — never really paid attention to what was going on. This all changed as soon as Trump opened his mouth. I became obsessed with the campaign and thought, like many people, he didn’t have a chance of winning. But he did. Now that he’s actually in office, I’m even more glued to the news, and talk way too much about it. I even got a Sirius radio for my studio so I could listen to CNN and MSNBC all day while I paint. Until this happened, I listened to a Blues station everyday. So when I was asked to do a piece for the series, Drawing in a Time of Fear & Lies, I panicked. Political art has never been what I do.
My art has always come from where I am emotionally in my life. Sometimes what I’m painting about is very clear, like when our 15-year-old dog died. But mostly my work is a combination of abstraction and figuration, and the meaning develops as I’m painting. Sometimes that meaning is apparent as I’m working but often it doesn’t become clear until much later — a year, five years, or 20 years. Sometimes nothing about a painting becomes clear except I know it comes from deep inside, and is honest and real.
An example is this new piece I just completed called “Watching and Waiting.” The painting began with emptying my mind and following scratch marks that I made on a surface. I was very happy with the painting when it was finished but it had no specific meaning for me. However, the longer I looked at it, the more I could see and feel the effect of all that’s going on in the country on the piece. I could see, in the black shape, the anxiety and fear of not knowing what’s going to happen from day to day. I also could see how complex this painting is, with its many different parts all interacting together. I worked hard to create this sense of order in the painting. As a finished piece, it feels integrated and resolved, completely unlike Trump, who is creating chaos everywhere. It might seem like a contradiction to have fear and order existing in the same painting, but those kinds of tensions have always been present in most of my work. This painting holds a particular kind of tension. But I know that next week order and fear might be replaced with anger and turbulent mark-making. These shifts are what make my paintings mine.
A new study posits that rising smog levels in 19th-century London and Paris likely played a role in blurring the lines of realism.
In Seongmin Ahn’s paintings, it is not our past we are looking at but our possible future.
Born in Shiraz, Sokhanvari fled Iran as a child a year before the Revolution and has devoted her artistic practice to the country she left behind.
“We clearly f-ed this one up,” said a Metropolitan Transit Authority rep, adding that the error in the artist’s last name is being fixed.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
At least we won’t have to look at it on Earth.
From residencies, fellowships, and workshops to grants, open calls, and commissions, our monthly list of opportunities for artists, writers, and art workers.
The statue could be a likeness of Trajan Decius, emperor of the Roman Empire from 249 to 251 CE.
The action could disrupt public access to the museum as workers campaign for higher wages and better labor conditions.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
Over 500 scholars signed an open letter to reinstate the exhibition, which was postponed in consideration of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
This week, artist studios in the streets of Manhattan, a Texas high school, a Brooklyn apartment, and more.