Tag Archives: painting

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Content Aware

Lately, I’ve been playing with Adobe Photoshop CS6 new “content aware” tool. You highlight an object in a photo, press delete and a dialog window pops up. A new option called content aware analyzes what’s around your selection and tries to figure out what would be behind the object you’re deleting. it creates some unusual outlines that I thought would be interesting as a painting. They also make me think about memory and events that, although they happened, are no longer part of my memory.

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Minako Abe

From Tokyo Art Beat

“Softly spread in silky thin layers, Abe’s color reverberates against the white walls of Base Gallery with a calming dreamy sensibility. Layered segments begin to feel like the stratified sediment of psychedelic soil, as the paintings manipulate a varied palette into a smoothly harmonious voice. And as if to emphasize this gentle quality the colors all move lazily with the slight sense of a ripple or wave beckoning us in further.

More so it was in the slight deviations from flattened surfaces that the most enjoyable moments in Abe’s work appeared. Several curious details broke the images sharpened lines and spoke out with a voice less calculated. In one work, a small row of grey blocks indicated depth as it led to what appeared to be a tunnel, while in another image a patchwork of violet grays suddenly offered detail amid a row of residential silhouettes. But the uncertainty about what these moments might mean in relation to the narrative and the painting as a whole proved a particularly satisfying. These sudden instances of thickened paint and articulated detail in a building or field seemed more magical in a way, as though their existence was a note of willingness to fumble amid a field of careful deliberations.

Yet as with most digitally manipulated imagery however, the evidence of Adobe was readily apparent and left the impression that although these works seemed so alluring at the moment, they might perhaps lose some of their presence overtime. Still, bathing in the warm safe colors of these landscape meditations it was easy to believe that these better places existed somewhere, and Abe had found them and returned with these glimpses to share.”

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Dean Byington

I saw this artist’s work at the Frist Center for the Arts in Nashville, TN and at first was unimpressed with what I took to be pastel color field paintings. Looking at them closer I was amazed at the level of detail and complexity, not to mention story telling, with each of these paintings. No reproductions do them justice, as the details are just too numerous to capture.

Art in America
December, 2003
by Jerome Tarshis

Berkeley-based artist Dean Byington makes only five to 10 works per year. Ranging from 4 to 8 feet in height, his oil-on-canvas paintings are filled with detailed renderings of grass, trees and flowers, which invite the viewer to read them as landscapes. Their flattened space has an all over quality akin to modernist painting, and their small, repeating elements suggest the additive character of a Chinese scroll. They belong to a tradition of picture making that undertakes to possess the world by sheer enumeration of parts and multiplication of detail.

Together with his labor-intensive drawing style, Byington’s use of a narrow, almost monochromatic range of color evokes the austerity (and also the authority) of printer’s ink. His compositions, rendered freehand and with stencils, are derived from 19th-and 20th-century illustrations. The rabbit in King and Queen, for example, could have been plucked from John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland; in the same painting, the rats gathered around the corpse of a larger animal belong in some children’s book rather less high-spirited than the Alice stories. Byington’s work depends on our knowledge of cultural shocks and material spoliation, past and present. Nevertheless, these are not visits to a timeless Victorian nursery; while Byington’s paintings depict trees in leaf and flowers in bloom, they also have more than their share of stumps and bare patches of earth.

Through countless visually seductive paths suggesting nostalgia for the stylistic tropes of Victorian and early 20th-century engravings and innocuous evocations of menace, these paintings provide us with a few unobtrusive reminders that awful things have happened. Old fairy-tale books are still there for us, but Chekhov’s cherry orchard has long since been cut down.