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Profile for Kathlene Kelly > Reviews


Kathlene Kelly's Profile

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Kathlene Kelly "hermit girl" RSS Feed (planet earth)

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Richard Tuttle: Never Not an Artist
Richard Tuttle: Never Not an Artist
DVD ~ Richard Tuttle
Price: $24.95
10 used & new from $14.18

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars challenging - a necessity for broadening the narrow confines of "ART", March 19, 2008
there's more to art than the "ART" world would have most people know. to deny the vision and creativity of outsider art, "non"-art, other-art, crafts people, grafitti writers, mixed and multi media artists, photographers and so on is a "the world is flat" mentality.

before judging artwork as unworthy, ask yourself some questions! what is the artist's reference/frame of mind? what materials are used here & how are they being used? what's different about this work than other installations/images i've seen? why is the artist doing this work rather than something i'm more familiar with? what does it say/where does it stand next to other artwork i like & don't like?

art can't be compared and contrasted in the same ways one chooses a brand of coffee or a sweater! you can't compare pieces of artwork anymore than you can compare human beings. we all have preferences but there's no way to slot completely unique organisms into the same box just because they fall under the same cultural or linguistic heading: coffee - sweater - art - human being...

there's no need to "like" a piece of artwork in order to appreciate its significance or impact. recently i reviewed a book about/work by the semi-legendary sculptor eva hesse. some of her work looks (through snap-judgement glasses) like something i've seen at our local landfill. rather than stubbornly refusing to dig further into the artist and her life and work i chose to push out against my own limitations. essays and interviews showed a woman fascinated by the absurd and the convergence of opposites and a fascinating personal history. second to these very interesting discoveries was the revelation that some of hesse's sculpture is literally disappearing because of the materials she used. it might be easy to clap one's hands in juvenile fashion and shout, "goody!" when something one doesn't "like" is removed from view, but such behavior speaks volumes about the audience...not the artist or the art.

if you really want to learn something, start looking at more things you don't like. rather than thinking outside the box, do what grafitti writer banksy recommends...take a knife to the (expletive deleted) box. it's healthier than blanket disapproval.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stellar beginning!, March 19, 2008
finally, fiction to look forward to!! admittedly, i am a coward when it comes to writing fiction. i am an avid non-fiction consumer and prefer it 1000% to other genres when writing myself - but writing fiction scares the cr*p out of me! dwight okita's "The Prospect of my Arrival" ROCKS! it deserves more than 5 stars.

Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents
Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents
by Nicholas Ganz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $31.76
97 used & new from $2.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skip Louis Bou - This is the book you want!!!!, February 21, 2008
Street artist/fine artist Nicholas Ganz, author of Graffiti World, offers urban art enthusiasts a second round of exceptional research and art compilation, this time concentrating on the pioneering contributions of women to contemporary graffiti writing and artwork. Having always been a part of the street art front lines, female graffitisans are typically overshadowed by the men in the ranks due to sheer numbers rather than any lack of innovation or talent. Ganz, along with author Nancy Macdonald and co-conspirator Swoon have produced an exhaustive narrative that tells the intricate story of graffiti writing women. Included are the artist's personal stories and their insights into the male-dominated urban art world.

The Ganz collection, like his earlier work, promotes the efforts of praiseworthy, marginalized artists. In the case of Graffiti World that marginalization occurred as a result of the art form itself. In Graffiti Women, it's not the "second-best", urban artist that is lauded but the women who are graffiti writers that receive the exhaustive and well-deserved coverage. Although the author's intent is not to be divisive, it is unfortunate that our cultural approach to acknowledging one another centers around labeling people as either "blank" or "female blank". In Three Artists: (Three Women), Anne Middleton wrote:

To identify an artist this way, as a woman, has never been a merely parenthetical remark. The qualification has customarily been offered as a limit to, rather than a guarantee of, suitability for the artist's role - with mostly irritating results for the artists themselves. (2)

Nicholas Ganz does a unparalleled job of describing the contribution of almost two hundred women who work in the urban art genre. His book will continue as a permanent part of my small but well-loved collection and I will continue to wonder whether the world is best served by keeping the commendation of exemplary women separate from that of men.

Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality
Jean Dubuffet: Towards an Alternative Reality
by Jean Dubuffet
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from $115.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No other Dubuffet reference is necessary!!!, February 21, 2008
This challenging to find and impossible to own ($150.00 used) book about French artist Jean Dubuffet is an exemplary conduit for his talent for both art and writing. The color plates are well executed and Dubuffet's writing is included as proof of his insight and revolutionary mindset.

Dubuffet's belief in the intrinsic value of "non-art" is exemplified in this statement:

True art exists only where the word art is not uttered, not yet uttered. Especially not with those connotations of praiseworthiness, stuffiness, and venerability that we insist on attaching to it, and which are so contrary to the spirit of licentious, if not criminal, play from which art is inseparable.

Dubuffet's abilities as an artist and sculptor were, at times, overshadowed by his deep-seated (and sometimes ridiculed) belief that conventional art had less merit than artwork free from fame. Dubuffet collected art by psychiatric patients - work he called l'Art Brut or "raw art" - and extolled its virtues as: "works executed by people free from artistic culture [who] draw up everything from their own depths and not from the stereotypes of classical art or modish art."

Paying tribute to the work of artists like Scottie Wilson, Anna Zemánková or Madge Gill Dubuffet described Art Brut as unwilling to "lie down on the bed that is made for it" and began to imitate the style himself. His goal was to produce paintings and sculptures free from stilted logical and technique, instead concentrating on the organic impulses he felt were stifled by excessive training.

The Dubuffet and Glimcher collaboration is vivid and exciting. Dubuffet's desire to separate himself from the work of his contemporaries isn't the barely disguised sour grapes attitude of the unskilled. Rather Dubuffet is reaching for his own genuine or less contrived vision, one he discovered by being able to set ego aside and truly SEE what was happening in the work of the marginal creatives he encountered in psychiatric settings. He was contentious without being completely discordant (a rare talent) and wasn't bothered by deviating from the so-called norm - something that can so easily backfire for any artist. Through this exchange of traditional valuation for one more deeply liminal, Dubuffet explodes into being for me and is easily among the large group of artists (and smaller group of human beings) I can admire.

Encountering Eva Hesse
Encountering Eva Hesse
by Vanessa Corby
Edition: Hardcover
26 used & new from $29.04

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Save yourself! Run! Chose another Hesse reference!!!!, February 21, 2008
This review is from: Encountering Eva Hesse (Hardcover)
Griselda Pollock and Vanessa Corby have written a scholarly work including a compilation of instructive essays on the life and work of German born sculptor, Eva Hesse. Hesse, tragically dead from brain cancer at 34, began her life of art work with feet firmly planted in classical training and went on to pioneer new ground for artists and women alike. Encountering Eva Hesse is comprised of nice chapters, six of which are contributions by Hesse's contemporaries and admirers. These sections serve to shed light on some of the mechanisms by which art is born and the ways in which one artist affects another. They scrutinize many interesting facets of the art world, entertaining ideas about things like the difference between opinion and critique, what makes an experience "female" vs. human, and (of particular interest) how to understand works of art as revolutionary without the need to like the work itself.

Pollack and Corby do a good job putting together information about Eva Hesse. They provide the reader a history of Hesse's life and work in a somewhat bland and unremarkable manner, except where they appear to allow the glorification of her early death. In the process of this non-descript homage I feel the editors leave to chance any thoughts of Hesse's work in biographical terms - something I feel is more than a little significant. She was, after all, a German-born Jew whose work would have been vilified by the Nazis - had she been allowed to live. Additionally, her most noteworthy work came about during some fourteen months of residency in Germany, a place she had been forced to flee as a child. Despite the emergence of this collection as a relevant methods and technique discussion, I think the artist's biographical experience is accorded too little time. Anne Middleton Wagner does a wonderful job of providing commentary on Eva Hesse - along with Lee Krasner and Georgia O'Keefe - and infuses her work with the appropriate investigation into artists translating and negotiating the world as creatives who are also female.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2009 8:09 PM PDT

Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature
Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature
by Daniel Nettle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $49.50
57 used & new from $0.75

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anthropologically relevant and interesting read!!!, February 21, 2008
Nettle's book is not for the feint of heart or the reference-challenged. It is huge, tough chunks of academia interspersed with some darned interesting stuff.

Primary in the first half of Nettle's message are his "four propositions" that:
*Psychosis is so common as to be found in approximately 1 in 30 people,
*The most common types of psychosis have a basis in the brain,
*The consequences of psychosis are of a disastrous nature and
*The propensity for psychosis is dependant on personality and just like other facets of human personality are considered, to a large extent, something that is inherited.

With these suppositions in place as a foundation, Daniel Nettle aptly highlights two significant messages regarding creativity and mental illness.

First Nettle goes out of his way to invalidate the practice of glorifying psychological illness as it occurs in artists. It is all too common amongst a variety of persons to indulge the belief that authentic creative geniuses are a by nature a psychically tortured and grief-stricken crowd from the moment of conception and thus one can't swing a cat without hitting one in the various stages of melodramatic deterioration: cutting off ears, filling pockets with rocks and walking into the Thames or painting grotesquely melting clocks and calling it cool. This is an essentially nihilistic and unsafe viewpoint for those who don't face potentially debilitating psychological challenge. It is far too disturbing a charade to encourage when someone's well-being hangs in the balance.

The second aspect of Daniel Nettle's book that I found fascinating is his willingness to embrace both heredity and psycho-social environment as having, if not always an equal share then certainly an equal opportunity in the ways psychic illness manifests. He takes this declaration one giant step further (here's the fascinating part that deserved bolded font) by asserting that the reason mental illness is seen repeating itself (in lengthy and detailed examination of genealogical records) is that there is a specific innate benefit to its succession! Nettle is clear:

if the four propositions hold true - and indeed they have cooperated thus far - then the evolutionary process has not been reluctant to weed out the tendency toward mental illness and, instead, has refused to "[eject] them from the gene pool." (137)

He goes on to cite findings that suggest that not only do "the genes associated with psychosis confer a creativity benefit not just on psychotics but on [others] as well." (151)

The idea that a well-known and reputable researcher would take it upon himself to even consider the natural place of mental illness and creative ability as a part of human evolution is phenomenal. It is far and away the most radical premise I've read regarding mental illness and artistic ability.

The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery : Mixed-Media Techniques for Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals, and More
The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery : Mixed-Media Techniques for Collage, Altered Books, Artist Journals, and More
by Karen Michel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.49
125 used & new from $2.04

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, inspirational, art as play!!!, February 21, 2008
A single image naturally gives birth to a variety of amended, reworked and even wholly dissimilar creations, all dependent upon the mind of the viewer. This is the mechanism that propels creativity. Along side the ability to absorb and value artwork for it's its existence alone, the art watcher's analytical process is a reflex, an autonomic firing of synapses that creates a compare/contrast session: what is it - why is it - how did it come about - is there a message or messages here - am I comfortable with the execution of the idea - do I need to be comfortable - what would I have done differently - on what level do I interact with this piece - what will it mean tomorrow or next year - do I want to use this idea as a piece of foundation for my own work - do I want to run screaming - is it o.k. to hate this - how can I have this kind of experience, and so on. Because the human mind so naturally filters, interprets, alters and uses the information it gathers with a unique series of parameters, it seems quite natural that someone (or many someones) would recognize this fact and write it all down in a user friendly format for the rest of us to admire. Conventionally, these authors have something to do with the psychology and sociology world. Mixed-media artist, teacher and entrepreneur Karen Michel has thrown her two cents into the fray by writing the relevant, interesting and non-intimidating reference The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery.

Books like Michel's allow people to do what few artists race to admit - namely, to "cheat.". It is for this very reason that I bought her book. Like millions of other folks, I hate to be caught tracing, copying, recycling or borrowing material. When I pick up a ruler to draw a straight line I can sense the immense and crushing disapproval of real artists, alive or otherwise, as they curl a collective purist lip in my direction. Paranoia perhaps, but we all know that one person who will insist on collecting wild wode and nettles from a rainy mountainside because using azure and turquoise ink from a bottle is lowering one's standards. In particular I found the author's chapters on the versatility of transparencies helpful. Her suggestions for making negatives from acetate and processing them with photo developers is one I will incorporate into my own work.

Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art
Drawing From Life: The Journal as Art
by Jennifer New
Edition: Paperback
70 used & new from $0.67

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration journaling...., February 21, 2008
"The impulse to record our daily lives on paper is nothing if not universal." This quote is on the back cover of Drawing from Life. We aren't told who said it but the idea doesn't suffer for the lack. Teacher/author Jennifer New has compiled an exceedingly rich volume of journal pages and managed to include something that will appeal to everyone.

My particular favorite piece of Drawing from Life is the fourth chapter -"Creation." Architect Steven Holl refers to the sketches and paintings that litter his twenty years of journaling as "seed-germs" Filmmaker Mike Figgis says of his diary, "It's the only truly frank conversation I can ever have." The most relevant message for me, however, originated in a lecture by poststructuralist John Dewey who argued that, "the value of art is not as a relic, a museum piece to be admired from afar, but as an aesthetic experience."(152). I emphasize this quote because it seems the most powerful part of the idea. Art should have a "verb" identity. Rather than embodying the passivity of a noun, art demands action. There isn't a way to avoid interaction with it - no matter your like or dislike of the piece you are observing. That this observation changes the observer is a critical point and can be pushed farther, as social psychologists have done, by insisting that observation changes the observed as well. The significance and meaning of a piece is transformed by every person who sees it; it's voice is strengthened, weakened, done away with, glorified, altered irreparably in a kind of mobius strip of creation. All these changes create changes in a timeless loop of inquiry and understanding and thereby creating past, present and future lives for the artwork. Figgis and Holl's comments on journaling reveal the kinesiological mechanisms of art - the creative movement of body, mind and spirit from which it springs.

I don't know if there is an innate compulsion to record our lives. I don't think its outside the realm of possibility but I have to wonder whether it's the journal or the subsequent creation of witnesses to our lives that matters most to us. I don't think everyone chooses words as a tool for documenting their existence and I don't believe that everyone who wants to do so leaves behind a material representation of their lives. Those who do, however, probably find that having a witness to their lives provides a more tangible rest at the end of things. Jennifer New has produced a book filled with pages of beauty and experience and we, as readers and artists, are allowed to witness art as verb through different eyes.

The Guerilla Art Kit
The Guerilla Art Kit
by Keri Smith
Edition: Spiral-bound
Price: $11.57
171 used & new from $0.38

24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guerilla Girl (or Boy) primer!!, February 21, 2008
The Guerilla Art Kit is a charming addition to author/illustrator Keri Smith's curriculum vitae. Its attraction stems from its low-key style and a wealth of ideas executed well enough to appear at odds with the simplistic cover. Thumbing randomly through the book is unavoidable; it exudes an odd sort of charisma.

The concept of guerilla art is a clever one. Who doesn't find the idea of a sneak attack appealing? The notion of walking tiptoe through some moldy paradigms to pop up suddenly with a speedy installation of public art and slipping away before the masses shake the haze from their eyes feels personal and fun. As a self-defined non-artist I look for ways to articulate impressions that feel like me rather than feel like art. The descriptor "non-artist" relieves most societal and personal pressure and expectation leaving room to play with ideas that include genuine expression of my self and my experiences. When a sharp idea like guerilla art comes along it adds a measure of amusement to the process. I'm already envisioning an art rebellion complete with secret handshake and passwords and covert operations to be carried out by members of the creative underground - a sort of "Hogan's Heroes" meets Bansky plus flash mob.

Jennifer New's book gave me insight into what a journal could be but the artistic skill exhibited in those pages is a bit daunting to one who scribbles on scraps and torn pages and later can't read her own writing. The Guerilla Art Kit, while not a journal oriented, fleshed out my perspective with fun, quirky ideas and created a new line of thinking for me. Its unconventional cover and construction siphon away the intimidation factor - it's a tool the average non-artist can love unconditionally. It truly is enchanting.

1000 Journals Project
1000 Journals Project
by Someguy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.78
117 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun to look at, visually inspiring..., February 21, 2008
This review is from: 1000 Journals Project (Hardcover)
The 1000 Journals Project is not really a book. It's many books. And it is more than 1000 books. Actually, it's more than 1000 journals. There is no way to know how many journals exactly, no way to know how many people have contributed to them and no way to determine how many miles the journals themselves have traveled. Some return to their origins. Some disappear. Some make their way through lists of volunteer contributors; others are left purposely in coffee shops and synagogues or on park benches. No one writes them but everyone writes in them. And no one knows the creator of the 1000 journal project - "Someguy" - unless they choose to do some very minimal digging and ruin the magical mystery of it all.

San Francisco: June - August 2000, one thousand journals are randomly abandoned or mailed to strangers from a person calling himself Someguy. The instructions: add whatever you want to the page(s) and pass it on. Seven years later the original 1000 journals have given birth to nearly twice that many and their magnificence can be seen on a website devoted to showcasing and tracking them. Someguy's book, The 1000 Journals Project is a compilation of scans from both the website and the journals that returned to him over the past seven years. It is beautiful.

There is nothing that needs analyzing in The 1000 Journals Project. It is beautiful and mystifying and odd and poignant and ridiculous all at once and really only needs (demands?) acceptance. The journal is a sort of bait for humanity - a powerful, stinking lure of color and lines and words and emotion and crazy and love and fear and I am so very pleased to have come across it. Like Keri Smith's The Guerilla Art Kit, the journal provides me with some much needed permission to just be. It isn't Gentileschi or O'Keefe or Holzer and at times I'm more than grateful for the opportunity to have it to turn to.

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