Sarah Amos: The Art of Space

So, I’d like to apologise right out for my inability as of late to keep up with my posts. I’m going to promise all of you loyal followers and passing stumblers that I’ll be on top of it from now on, despite my recent setbacks. But I also promised you two posts today to make up for my failure to deliver on Sunday, so I’m going to have to get started in order to keep enough inspired muses going to write two posts in one day!

Sarah Amos

You may or may not be able to appreciate the work of Sarah Amos, but it’s worth a try for everyone. Hopefully, if you’ve been reading all of my art posts lately, you’ve developed or honed a keen eye to understanding art and perceiving the nuances between something powerful and something vague. From the Philip Institute of Technology in 1987, to the Tamarind Institute in 2002, Sarah Amos has attended several programmes to develop her talent of printmaking. Now, I don’t talk about printmaking much because it’s not something that I practice, but it’s certainly an art that I can appreciate.

Sarah Amos

Sarah Amos makes prints, usually very large ones, that reflect movement and complex overlapping through printing “ghosts,” which are the remnants of past prints. You can view more of her work that what I show here through her website (http://www.sarahamosstudio.com/index.html). But let’s start talking about art, shall we? I’m going to turn to the print I’ve displayed to the right. Like the header image, it contains muted tones and black lines, along with printing ghosts. But what makes Sarah Amos’ work come to life is its kinetic appeal.

Quite frankly, it lifts you up and drags you from one corner to the next. The black loops, reminiscent of heart monitors, use detail and repetition to cloy you to the top of the page, then drop you sharply and sweep you along so that you begin to take in all of the information of the page, moving across the bottom line and up into the more subtle ghosts in the upper quadrants, with such ease and fluidity, it’s almost like visual swimming.

Sarah Amos

Here’s another. The juxtaposition of the harsh horizontal scratching to the organised, monotonous, geometric vertical drop gives this piece a feel that is distinctly like a vector. It’s mathematical, yet complicated. However, it’s not done with a compass or a computer; we can see, as on the far lower left, how there is an organic nature to even the rigidly organised. This subtle difference from true structure allows our eyes to feel more relaxed when viewing the image, and more interested in the dropping lines. We don’t just bunch them into “vertical stripes.” Suddenly, they’re sweeping lines that careen off of the upper mess, rather than a thin barcode that is simply seen as one unit.

Sarah Amos

For the last piece I look at, I’m going to choose one that’s very similar to the first etching I showed you, but didn’t get a chance to discuss. This complex, overlapping system of lines also provokes optical movement in a slightly different way than the others we’ve looked at. It seems to spiral out of the centre of the page, an illusion occurring both because of the dark, prison-stripe lines being neither parallel nor perpendicular to the sides of the page, and also to the immense amount of subtle lines in the background. These lighter lines, which we don’t immediately perceive because of their proximity in value to the base colour, twist from a slight incline in the upper left, to a sharp incline in the lower left. This, along with the organic, transforming quality of the prison-stripe lines, gives us the sense of movement that Sarah Amos so masterfully creates with such simple art.

-A.

Photos Courtesy Of:

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Thomas Aquinas Daly

I don’t know if the Internet knows this yet, but I adore art.  Today, I’d to introduce you to one of my favourite artists, one that not that many people know: Thomas Aquinas Daly.
Thomas Aquinas DalyHe does watercolour and oil painting and plays with neutral tones to create an expressionistic atmosphere that brings about images of fog and cold water.  Born 2 years before the second world war, he was educated as a graphic artist at the University of Buffalo and has produced two books. I have (in my personal opinion) the best of the two, called Painting Nature’s Quiet Places.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

While I can’t find my personal favourites of his on the internet, I hope that these pictures give you an idea of what he paints, how he paints, and how you can alter your painting or artistic reviewing in order to accommodate some of his best elements.

He paints nature, elements of nature, and the atmosphere of the countryside in a way that makes us all feel those cold wet socks without having to go fox hunting without the light of the sun. And that, in my opinion, is true mastery; somehow, he also manages to make it beautiful. That damp fishing boat seems romantic, glorious, in a quiet, subtle way, and if anyone can make a dead fish look appealing, then he deserves my full attention and respect.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

Oh, and, then there’s the dead animals pinned to grey walls. That’s a little less glorious. But, hey, this is a blog with a central element of taxidermy, so I tilt my hat to you, C, and give everyone a little bit they can know about dead fish.

I want to turn back to his colour combinations and compositions, though. You may notice that I’ve selected a few images in which he truly offsets the centres of focus, and a few where they are almost in the centre of the page.

He balances muted tones with small pieces of rich colour. If you look to the wall-pinned-fish-painting to the right, you can see what I’m describing; the slate blue-grey of the wall has echoes of the brilliant cobalt and vermilion in the fish. This is how Daly gives us the foggy feeling of his paintings, by echoing the focus in the fog of the background.

Even though it’s subtler in the image below, we have the same theme; the soft olive and forest greens of the trees can be found in the shadow of the fisherman’s hat and in his trousers. The river is not a silly blue, but, instead, a murky, realistic green. The house, therefore, is what truly leaps out at us, but because it is balanced with the stripe of open sky and its reflection, it isn’t an obnoxious focal point.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

For those of you who want to pursue art but find it too mysterious and selective of a field, I’m here to tell you that it’s just as much architecture as it is talent. A huge hunk of talent comes from being able to learn the rules and play them to your advantage. Once you understand composition on a near-esoteric level and have a good grasp of art history, suddenly, modern art makes sense. Perhaps I’ll write a post like that: why modern art actually makes sense.

Thomas Aquinas Daly

I urge you to consider pursuing art and art history hand-in-hand rather than try to tackle one individually. You can never understand what you’re drawing until you see how others have struggled through it before you (it’s like reading novels before getting on the New York Times’ Best Selling list), and you can never look at art without having felt it.

It’s like what my own glorious art professor once told me: You can always tell who has ridden a horse and who hasn’t by the way that they draw it. Those who have ridden horses draw the rhythm of their bones behind the muscles of a gentle beast. Those who have not draw shadows of lifeless vehicles.

-A.

Photos Courtesy of:

Information from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas_Daly

http://www.thomasaquinasdaly.com/index.html