Sunday, July 23, 2017

Exhibit: Don Yang's Drawing Class

 Don Yang, Portrait of Kevin

Don Yang has the most sculptural, clinical, dry, precise, Classical style of drawing at the Palette and Chisel.  It's perfect in this depiction of Kevin Allen, an accomplished composer of sacred music for the Roman Catholic Church.

In its depiction of a sensitive, intelligent, disciplined, creative man -- this is one of the best portraits I've ever seen in our gallery.

It's a style that demands complete control of sculptural volume.  The short comings in execution do not read as artistic expression -- they just read as clumsy mistakes.

And so most of the student pieces in this exhibit  are eyesores.

But there are a few remarkable exceptions:

Cynthia Li

 George Zaremba

George Zaremba

This portrait is especially remarkable because the face is so expressive.  That woman's anxiety jumps off the wall.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Exhibit: Yu L. Huang

 Target: The 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution

Coincidently, another one of my blogs records the dramatic experiences of a good friend's wife in that catastrophe.

Click here to read it.

The  State of Painting

Wow!  I can't imagine a better tribute to those intrepid souls who write about contemporary art -- and are usually addressing an empty chair.

By far, it's the most thoughtful -- and best looking -- painting in this show - and among the best paintings shown at the Palette this year.

Yu L. Huang can really tell a story.

Click here for her website.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Visiting Bo Zhang's Studio

I've always liked Bo's monumental portraits as he works on them at the Palette and Chisel, so I'd thought I'd visit his studio in Bridgeport to see some more.

As Bo tells it, he first visited the Palette and Chisel around 1988 to meet Richard Schmid. But he did not know enough English to speak with him, and he did not yet realize that he could paint there.

Here's the studio.  The ceiling is low, but he has cut though it in several places -- and the daylight pours in.  He's still working on that painting in the center -- the set-up for the model is to the left.

Here are two of his pieces that received recognition from the Oil Painters of America

Regretfully this model, one of my favorites, has moved on to a different career.

One might notice that mostly Bo paints young, attractive women.

This piece was painted as a two-hour demo in a gallery in San Francisco.

Obviously, he works well under pressure.

This is one of my favorite pieces -- it's a bit melancholy -- and very Russian.

Bo's models seem to be contemplating eternity -- or, maybe that's just how it feels to hold still for twenty-five minutes.

A nice arrangement. My favorite detail is the Palette and Chisel chair -- which I've probably drawn about a thousand times over the past twenty years.

This is a commissioned portrait that Bo has  begun

I like the emotion of this painting -- though it does not feel as if the girl has ever played the instrument she is holding.

Bo, who has also practiced wood carving, has a collection of tribal wood carvings from around the world.

He seems to be something like an artist/priest.  He lives for his vocation - and like those three Tang Dynasty Buddhist sculptures seated in the main hallway of the Art Institute, his work offers peace, strength, and resilience.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Summer Suite: 2017

Audry Cramblit

This pieces recalls the mass and planes of cubist sculpture.

Is Audry's sculpture going in a new direction?

Bodo Stolczenberger

Bodo uses a ladder as an easel for his life-size sketches.

This one is quite dramatic

 Cortney Rutkauskas

I think this marks the Palette and Chisel debut of this Michigan artist.

Lenis Del Sol

I'm told that Lenin did this portrait in a single, three-hour sitting.

It's one of my favorites of his.

Ralph Paquet

Mary Klug
"Actually, They aren't that Great at Making the Children Laugh"

.. but Mary is quite good at getting me to do so.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Alex and Shimon Zonis

Parent/child exhibitions are fascinating -- especially this one where the daughter, Alex, is so different from the father, Shimon.


Alex really is an incredible painter - both for the jewel-like craftsmanship, but also for the design (aren't those red and yellow cups beautiful?) -- and the weird, brittle, vulnerable feeling that these pieces give me.

They are disarming - like the screeching sound of chalk pulled across a chalkboard.

There's so much intensity - anxiety - and control.

They remind me of my favorite Wisconsin magical-realist, John Wilde.


This piece won the "best still life" award at the 11th Annual Juried Show sponsored by the International Guild of Realism.

Here is a landscape by her father, Shimon

These fantasy landscapes feel so middle-eastern  to me -- like they might illustrate a tale  from Arabian Nights or the Shahnameh.