Tagged: ucla

frank stockton

Stockton’s energetic paintings build upon different mythologies, combining elements of Western religion with literary symbolism and historical events into a singular narrative language. These allegories are meditations upon the genesis of myth and memory. When the primary subject, a male figure comically nude except for a superhero’s cape, strides off with a naked woman slung over his shoulder, it is left unresolved whether the act is one of abduction or salvation. Unlike the singleminded crusaders of popular fiction, Stockton’s stumbling Everyman is continually caught between morality and depravity.

Each mark has been debated, questioned, and quickly painted over if found inadequate.  The scarred and layered surfaces that result are an act of revealing, not hiding. Their sophistication is balanced with vulgarity, strength tied to fragility, morality tempered with corruption. De Kooning-esque surfaces slowly reveal tired, huddled masses and amorous antagonists.

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james welling

A recent acquisition of the Hammer Museum, the work of UCLA Photography Professor James Welling is simply enthralling to look at. Tinted filters distort our perception of exposure for this series, focusing on the 1949 Glass House of architect Phillip Johnson. Recently, I prefer his abstract works, but the colors on these are captivating.

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Riflettando sul Ritratto

Discussion of Joanna Woods-Marsden’s “Ritratto al Naturale”:

Questions of Realism and Idealism in Early Renaissance Portraits

“Find the painter who could be trusted to produce an acceptable image,” says Italian writer Matteo Bandello, however, the trick, according to Woods-Marsden, was to appease the commissioner. As portraiture became a norm within the spheres of the elite, artists were still pressured by their patrons to render these likenesses under an idealized guise. In rejecting mimesis, these representations were somewhat dishonestly embellished. Garish facial features were muted, distinguishing characteristics were accentuated, and depictions in profile harked back to ancient imperial images.

[Left] Andrea Mantegna, Portrait of Cardinal Lodovico Trevisano
c.1459-1469, Tempera on wood, 44 x 33 cm
Gemдldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany
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[Right] Antonio Pisano (Pisanello), Portrait of Leonello d’Este
1441, Tempera on wood, 28 x 19 cm
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, Italy

Andrea Mantegna, in example, with his “relentless realism” was dismissed as a proper portraitist. His sitters did not earnestly receive his brutally accurate illustrations. Contrariwise, the contemporary Antonio Pisanello captured his upper class clients “in heroic and panegyric terms.” Although Italian noblemen praised Flemish naturalism for its verisimilitude, they most assuredly preferred the pretentious and glorified flair of the Italians.

Function must also be considered in the complete understanding of these works. Many portraits served as a means of propagandizing the reigns of these rulers. Adorning walls of palaces, castles and those of their allies, they also had a tendency to serve as surrogates in the absence of the sitter. Portraits worked to placate political ambitions and social magniloquence.