Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Editions: Miya Ando

Miya Ando - Gingumo [silver cloud] blue blue, 2014
Acrylic and silver leaf on Arches Cover
41-⅜ in. x 29-½ in. Edition of 5

Magnolia Editions is pleased to announce the publication of a series of innovative silver leaf prints on paper by Miya Ando, currently on view at Lora Schlesinger Gallery in Santa Monica.

The Brooklyn-based Ando's meditational, minimalist approach typically uses dyes, heat, sandpaper, acid, and patinas to create subtle abstractions of light and color upon the surfaces of anodised steel or aluminum. The artist's techniques are a direct outgrowth of her heritage: raised in a temple in Okayama, Japan, she is descended from a family of sword makers turned Buddhist priests. Her recent practice finds her working at Magnolia Editions with master printer Tallulah Terryll, who invited Ando to the studio for a co-published edition that finds the artist expanding her practice to full-color works on paper.

Miya Ando - Gingumo (Orange Yellow), 2014
Acrylic and silver leaf on Arches Cover
41-⅜ in. x 29-½ in. Edition of 5

Ando presented possible imagery to Terryll at Magnolia Editions in 2013 and after discussing a number of potential editioning methods, the two decided upon the silver leaf print technique. To create each print, squares of the delicate material are individually hand-applied (with almost superhuman patience and delicacy) to a sheet of Arches cover rag paper in a grid formation; they are then gently, horizontally brushed by hand — first with a soft Chinese ink brush, then with a stiffer brush to remove the excess silver — and finally, overprinted with a precisely calculated gradient of archival acrylic color. Upon completion, a varnish is applied to each print to prevent the silver from tarnishing.

These prints are unmistakably Ando's while at the same time demonstrating a different side to the artist's visual vocabulary. Terryll recalls that while she initially presented the artist with full-bleed proofs in her typical square format, Ando instead requested a layout on the page more in keeping with the traditions of printmaking, where the image is framed and offset by the blank page. And although the silver leaf is itself a form of metal, these works do not read as overtly metallic; their brushed surfaces have a soft, subtle shimmer.

Detail from Gingumo [silver cloud] blue blue, image courtesy of Miya Ando

Three of Ando's 2013 Magnolia publications — Gingumo (Silver Cloud) Blue, Gingumo (Silver Cloud) Orange Yellow, and Gingumo (Silver Cloud) Blue Blue – are currently on view as part of her “Hamon (Cloud-like Pattern)” exhibition at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery in Santa Monica. The show runs through February 15, 2014; for more details and images of the work, please visit the gallery's website. Ando's Gingumo editions are now available for purchase either through Magnolia Editions or the gallery.

The artist is also featured in "Raising the Temperature," an upcoming show at Queens Museum in New York which examines human impact on the environment, opening this Saturday, February 2nd. A solo exhibition at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Hong Kong opens February 12th.

Artist Miya Ando at work

More work by Miya Ando at Magnolia Editions

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In memory of Richard McLean

Self-portrait by Richard McLean, 1982

We are sad to report the passing of renowned realist painter and San Francisco State Professor Emeritus of Art Richard McLean on January 3rd, 2014 at age 73.

McLean taught at SFSU for more than thirty years, having been hired to teach painting and drawing in 1965 and retiring in 1996. He was closely associated with the first generation of photorealist painters and became best known for his meticulous paintings of horses, a series he began in 1967.

Installation view of McLean's 2012 retrospective exhibition at St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA; this and all photos below by Guy Diehl

Born in 1934 in Hoquiam, Washington, McLean grew up in Idaho. Though a talented jazz trumpet player as a young man, he ultimately chose to study visual art: in 1958 he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied with Richard Diebenkorn, and then served in the military in Okinawa before finishing his Master of Fine Arts at Mills College in 1962. He first began exhibiting his work in 1957 with a solo exhibition at the Lucien Labaudt Gallery in San Francisco and two group exhibitions at the Oakland Museum.

Painting by Richard McLean

Painting by Richard McLean

Realist painter Guy Diehl numbered among the thousands of young artists who received training from McLean. “Of all the instructors I had in college, he was the most personable,” remembers Diehl. “He had a way of talking to me about my work that was very insightful — it was as if he could put how you were feeling into words. I said, ‘how do you know what I’m feeling?’ He said it was just from being a painter.” Of studying with McLean and Robert Bechtle, Diehl says, “it was a truly remarkable thing to have two first-generation photorealists talking to you about your work. They were pioneers, though they didn’t know it at the time — coming out of Abstract Expressionism and reinstating the visual object. They were both mentors and explorers.” Diehl also recalls McLean’s ever-present wit: “he was very funny; he’d always introduce some element of humor. I remember really smiling every time I heard him talk.”

Detail from painting by Richard McLean

Gallerist Jeremy Stone recalls meeting McLean in the fall of 1982, when he came into her then-fledgling gallery to see a show of Yves Klein drawings and the two immediately struck up an impassioned conversation. “I developed a great friendship with Richard and his wife Darlene,” Stone says; “He was one of the really great storytellers and big personalities – so educated and focused, and so articulate about art.” McLean loved teaching and discussing work; even when he grew discouraged with the art world, he never wavered from his dedication to his own work. “He approached everything with such integrity,” Stone says. When her gallery was mounting a show of self-portraits, she asked McLean to contribute: “I said, ‘I know you’re represented by OK Harris and I know you only paint horses, but could you possibly do a self-portrait for this show?’ He demurred at first. But eventually he called and said, ‘I’ve got it!’” The resulting painting shows a man with a furrowed brow – clearly quite serious about the craft he loved — who will be remembered not only as a technically flawless painter but for his personal levity, generosity, and warmth.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chuck Close tapestries at US Embassy in London

Tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama by Chuck Close at the US Embassy in London. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Magnolia Editions has published several editions by Chuck Close depicting President Barack Obama; two of these, Close's 2012 tapestries Obama 2012 (I) and Obama 2012 (II), were recently installed at the US Embassy in London.

Washington, D.C.'s CBS affiliate reports:

The portraits are nearly 8 feet tall and more than 6 feet wide, with the final piece looking like photos but feeling like textiles.

Close used one photo of Obama smiling and another in which he appears in a more serious, “presidential” demeanor. The artist is also an advocate for arts education in schools.

“I photographed him last week for an hour and a half,” Close told the Village Voice at the time. “And boy, did I take the opportunity to lobby him.”

Last year, a watercolor print made from the same portraits was available for purchase to benefit the Obama Victory Fund, with a few of the pieces signed by Close and Obama. The Mint Museum in North Carolina was unveiled in fall 2012 to celebrate the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Close also designed commemorative posters of the president that were sold during the 2013 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.

The tapestry was one of 10 such portraits available for $100,000 apiece as part of a fundraiser also supporting the Obama Victory Fund.

For more information on Close's portraits of the president, please see these previous posts.

More art by Chuck Close from Magnolia Editions