For contemporary series works, watch Ellen Gallagher’s Art 21 video
Ellen Gallagher was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1965, and lives and works in New York and Rotterdam, Holland. She attended Oberlin College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Repetition and revision are central to Gallagher’s treatment of advertisements that she appropriates from popular magazines like Ebony, Our World, and Sepia and uses in works like eXelento (2004) and DeLuxe(2004–05). Initially, Gallagher was drawn to the wig advertisements because of their grid-like structure. Later, she realized that it was the accompanying language that attracted her, and she began to bring these “narratives” into her paintings—making them function through the characters of the advertisements, as a kind of chart of lost worlds.
Wednesday March 6 group class meets at 9 am not 8 am this week:
Project Open Door Studio facing Water Street.
- Please bring two new drawings to share with the group (one from last week and one from this week) and be prepared to talk about your work and your plan for the term. You may show 3-5 slides of your current work or thesis to put your work in context.
- I will give a metalpoint demonstration and pass out supplies for those who would like to make a metalpoint drawing. Metalpoint is an ancient and experiential and living drawing; it changes color over time. metalpoint-drawing Drawing in Silver and Gold, Leonardo to Jasper Johns
Editors Stacey Sell and Hugo Chapman 2015 Princeton University PressRead Essay:Drawings under Scrutiny: The Materials and Techniques of MetalpointKimberly Schenk.
Collation of ideas from the group to change the syllabus accommodating the groups wishes for the term.
First Reading Assignment:
A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context. (The difference in force between a bold line and nothing at all would hardly tip a domino.) And while a pencil is sophisticated enough to track every gradation of the human hand, it is also simple enough for a toddler to use.
Such radical simplicity is surprisingly complicated to produce. Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks. Even as other factories have chased higher profit margins overseas, General Pencil has stayed put, cranking out thousands upon thousands of writing instruments in the middle of Jersey City.
Over the past few years, the photographer Christopher Payne visited the factory dozens of times, documenting every phase of the manufacturing process. His photographs capture the many different worlds hidden inside the complex’s plain brick exterior. The basement, where workers process charcoal, is a universe of absolute gray: gray shirts, gray hands, gray machines swallowing gray ingredients. A surprising amount of the work is done manually; it can take employees multiple days off to get their hands fully clean. Pencil cores emerge from the machines like fresh pasta, smooth and wet, ready to be cut into different lengths and dried before going into their wooden shells.
Other parts of the factory are eruptions of color. Red pencils wait, in orderly grids, to be dipped into bright blue paint. A worker named Maria matches the color of her shirt and nail polish to the shade of the pastel cores being manufactured each week. One of the company’s signature products, white pastels, have to be made in a dedicated machine, separated from every other color. At the tipping machine, a whirlpool of pink erasers twists, supervised patiently by a woman wearing a bindi.
Payne conveys the incidental beauty of functional machines: strange architectures of chains, conveyor belts, glue pots, metal discs and gears thick with generations of grease. He captures the strangeness of seeing a tool as simple as a pencil disassembled into its even simpler component parts. He shows us the aesthetic magic of scale. Heaps of pencil cores wait piled against a concrete wall, like an arsenal of gray spaghetti. Hundreds of pencils sit stacked in honeycomb towers. Wood shavings fly as fresh pencils are dragged across the sharpening machine, a wheel of fast-spinning sandpaper.
In an era of infinite screens, the humble pencil feels revolutionarily direct: It does exactly what it does, when it does it, right in front of you. Pencils eschew digital jujitsu. They are pure analog, absolute presence. They help to rescue us from oblivion. Think of how many of our finest motions disappear, untracked — how many eye blinks and toe twitches and secret glances vanish into nothing. And yet when you hold a pencil, your quietest little hand-dances are mapped exactly, from the loops and slashes to the final dot at the very end of a sentence.
Photographs like these do something similar. They preserve the secret origins of objects we tend to take for granted. They show us the pride and connection of the humans who make those objects, as well as a mode of manufacturing that is itself disappearing in favor of automation. Like a pencil, these photos trace motions that may someday be gone.
Color in Drawing Resources
Colour: The Professional’s Guide Karen Triedman 2015 full range of ideas around color use including new media.
Materials of Artists and Their Use in Painting. Max Doerner. 1935. With a very good section on painters’ color-methods. This manual along with Ralph Mayer’s Materials and Techniques and Bernard Chaet’s An Artist’s Notebook 1979 and The Art of Drawing are cornerstones to good working methods.
Chromophobia. David Batchelor 2000contemporary philosophical and contextual ideas of color.
Color a Natural History of Palette. Victoria Finley Fascinating traveling look at color through history and culture. 2002
Interaction of Color. Josef Albers 1963 the basic primer for painters and designers to more powerfully use color.
Color: A Workshop Approach. David Hornung 2004 work-a-day manual for artists and designers to apply color principles.
The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts. Gobelin Tapestry’s Chemist Theory. M. E. Chevreul 1860 reflections on color for industry and artists.
Modern chromatics; students’ text-book of color,: With applications to art and industry Ogden N Rood and Faber Birren 1879 very in-depth survey of science and methods of use for color in the late 19th century which gave a foundation for modernist color.
Blue: The History of a Color Michael Pastoureau 2004 Red: The History of a Color 2016 and more volumes on specific colors.
Wash and Gouache: A Study of the Development of Watercolor Marjorie B Cohn, Rachel Rosenfield. a survey of British watercolor techniques and applications. The RISD Museum has 600 British watercolors that exhibit a full spectrum of color usage from tonality, to luminosity, to color interaction. Looking at these and the range of color Japanese woodcuts would fortify your color thinking.
A Dictionary of Color Combinations by Sanzo Wada (1883-1967) an artist, teacher, costume and kimono designer in avant-garde Japanese art and cinema.
____________________________________________________________________________________________The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal
Long Drawing Assignment