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Posts Tagged ‘алла парсонс’

When I was in grad school I had to study my own art and artistic process and write a thesis about it. It was then that I discovered the niche where my art belongs in the Art World – a style called Magic Realism.

The term “Magic Realism” was first used by Franz Roh in his book, Nach-expressionismus (Post-Expressionism) written in 1925.  He later used the same term in 1968 in his new book German Art in the 20th Century.  He also called this new development in art “The New Objectivity” (F. Roh, German Art in the 20th Century. Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1968, 112.) By using the term Magic Realism Roh is referring to Post-Expressionistic artwork in which some mystery or secret seems to be hidden within the subject matter.  As opposed to Expressionism, “Magic Realism emphasizes the object and the everyday life in new and unfamiliar ways.  Juxtapositions of sharply rendered and detailed elements, both in the foreground and back ground, are used to develop an air of mystery or ambiguity.  They remind us that there are still many mysteries in life.”  http://www.tendreams.org/magic-art.htm

Roh used the following dichotomies to highlight the differences between Expressionism and Magic Realism:

Expressionism: Magic Realism:
Ecstatic subjects
Rhythmical
Extravagant
Dynamic
Loud
Close-up view
Monumental
Thick color texture
Rough
Emphasis on the visibility of the
painting process
Centrifugal
Expressive deformation
Sober objects
Representational
Puristically severe
Static
Quiet
Close and far view
Miniature
Thin paint surface
Smooth
Effacement of the
painting process
Centripetal
External purification of the object
(Roch. 113)

I found more similarities with my artwork among the attributes of Magic Realism than Expressionism.  I believe that my style developed more towards representational, quiet, static images in painting, turning daily life into eerie form, with a thin paint surface, although I experimented with the opposite qualities as well, never finding much satisfaction in them. Some of my works are more surrealistic (Caged and If I Could Have Opened My Heart), while others (In the Room With Memories or In the Room With the Magic Ball) can be referred to as Magic Realism.

In Art History, Magic Realism acted as a portal to Surrealism, and many artists shifted back and forth from one to another, especially Magritte (Roch, 138).  When I discovered the website ww.tendreams.org  I found a few artists there who I knew before and considered them as influences, but did not realize that they belonged to the Magic Realism group, among them Andrew Wyeth, George Tooker and Charles Scheeler. These artists sometimes crossed the boundaries between Surrealism, Symbolism and Magic Realism. My work also shifts back and forth across the boundaries of Surrealism and Magic Realism, while a large number of other works as you can see on my website www.allaparsons.com are just studies from life: Figure, Still Life and Landscape. I feel the need to work on these Life Studies and I am constantly working to improve my skills in observational drawing and painting. However I consider Magic Realism my major work which takes a longer time to go through the process in my mind, before ripening and appearing, first on sketchbook pages and then on canvas.

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I just stumbled upon an interesting article about William Cummings. He expressed ideas similar to mine: Bill Cumming. 1960s.

“There is only art. Every single human being is born containing an artist, and this being invents art for itself at around the age of three when, without any teaching or coaching or indoctrination, it invents shape.”

He believed firmly that training in “so-called commercial art” is superior to university art schools because students develop skills that allow them to survive in the world, to understand how the art world operates, and to handle the financial end of working as an artist. “Fine art is a war,” he said. “I hate fine art with all its fuss and crap. Fine art students are brought up in a spirit of contempt for people. Of course I paint for the market. So did Rembrandt. So did Titian. It’s high time we quit compartmentalizing art, and leave graduating students thinking they need a grant to make a living.”

William Cumming My Dog

William Cumming My Dog

He taught his students, “You have a right to make money out of art. To make money out of art, you have to create art which someone wants to buy. It’s okay if your drawing is crude. That’s how nature meant it to be. The question is how do you turn crude into a marketable commodity.”

This is something that I would say to my students too. I wanted to share this with you. See the entire article at: http://www.historylink.org

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Image

 

The image in the center is a watercolor painting made from a photo of my mother I took during our trip from Florida when we visited the University of Virginia in 2004. After that the idea was born to use this portrait for a bigger painting and add small scenes on the edges. This idea was influenced by the structure of Russian icons where the main image of a Saint is in the center and the smaller images “klejma” are located on the sides, illustrating the Saint’s life.  So, in “My Mother’s Life” her portrait is surrounded by the most important scenes of her life. I conducted a series of interviews with my mother clarifying which events in her life she considered the most important. Some of the events SHE considered the most important I used in the painting. For example, one is “the birth of her first child, the son” (let me note that it was not me). Some of the events I had to add by myself. Some of the small images are based on real life photos and some on “invented photos”  – the pictures I saw in my imagination, but based on real facts of my mother’s life.

First in the series of small images (top, left) is the detail of a real photograph. My mother is sitting on a chair, she is maybe 2 or 3 years old and her face looks angry. My mother told me she felt angry and unhappy when they took her photo, because she had to pose in an old coat. She inherited that coat from her older brother, as he did from somebody else. She felt that the coat was very old and ugly and she felt terrible that she had her photo taken in such an ugly coat. She later told me about her  thought process: <<Why did we always say in school “Thank you to the Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood!” while in fact I am not that happy – I have such an old coat?>>. That moment I depicted in this first image and that’s why there is a text there in Russian, translated as “Thank you to the Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood!”

Image

Центральный портрет был написан с фото которое было сделано в Америке, на территории университета Вирджинии, когда мама приезжала к нам мы жили во Флориде, в 2004 году.  Я решила использовать это фото для портрета, но потом родилась идея – дополнить портрет сценами из ее жизни, заимствуя идею Русских Икон. В “житийных” иконах в центре всегда стоит большой образ святого, а вокруг – маленькие картинки – “клейма” с изображениями жития святых. Так и в “Жизни Мой Мамы” ее жизнь – наиболее значтельные сцены – по краям в маленьких картинках. С мамой были проведены небольшие интервью, проливающие свет на те части ее жизни, которые она считала наиболее важными. И кое-что было принято во внимание. Так, например, одно из наиболее важных событий в ее жизни было “рождение первого ребенка, сына” (примечание, я не была ни первым ребенком, ни сыном). Но некоторые важные события в жизни были определены мною, по моему собственному усмотрению. Некоторые “картинки из жизни” были прямые заимствования из существующих фотографий, а некоторые – были “изобретенными фотографиями” и я изобразила некоторые моменты просто из воображения.

Первая картинка – это прямое заимствование старой фотографии. Мама маленькая, ей года 2 или 3, она сидит на стуле и лицо ее очень сердитое. По ее словам, она помнит, что была очень недовольна фактом, что ее фотографируют, а она сидит в старом пальто. Пальто ей досталось от старших братьев, а им – еще от кого-то. Она действительно очень страдала от осознания уродливости этого старого пальто, и в те моменты ее маленькую детскую голову пришла мысль – <а почему в школе мы всегда говорим “Спасибо Товарищу Сталину за наше счастливое детство!” ? Когда на самом деле я себя совсем не чувствую счастливой и у меня таое старое пальто?>. Это я и изобразила. В нижней части – текст  “Спасибо Товарищу Сталину за наше счастливое детство!”

Продолжение

Part 2

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I was going to publish more stories about my paintings and then a friend asked “Why the crow?” So I will start from this one.

In the Room With Memories

In the Room With Memories

The crow in the painting “In a Room With Memories”  is a memory from my childhood.  My mother had a pet crow.  The crow just came into the open window one day and stayed to live with us. We gave her name Viktoria (“Vichka”). She loved my mother and hated me, probably out of jealousy,  and sometimes tried to bite me.  I was only 4 years old, I was scared, but fascinated with the crow and was trying to gain her trust.  In doing so, I learned to speak like a crow, but that just seemed to annoy her.  In this painting I am finally becoming friends with the crow and making peace with my memories.

The image of the crow is appearing again in the “Self-Portrait in the Red Turban”. I thought about how the feeling of me being rejected by the crow in my childhood is similar to the feeling of being rejected by the art world. I felt rejected when I heard from someone at about the age 14: “There had never been great women artists.”  At first I tried to argue but I had no facts to prove the opposite.  During the 1970s in the Soviet Union no one knew about Artemisia Gentileschi,  Georgia O’Keefe, or Lee Miller.  It was obvious that all “great artists” of both present and the past were men, especially those who chose to join the Communist Party.  I heard negative remarks about “women’s art” which was often considered unimportant and limited to flowers and such.  At the same time in the United States Linda Nochlin’s 1971 article, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” was published.  It is ironic that the same words that empowered women artists in the United States made me give up my dream of becoming an artist in the USSR.

Self-Portrait in a Red Turban

Self-Portrait in a Red Turban

The image of the crows in this work represents great artists whom I envied and wanted to join but was rejected.  Just like being rejected by the crow in my childhood with whom I wanted to be friends.  There is a statement in this work that I do belong to the art world.  I state this by representing myself in Van Eyck’s famous red turban and by painting crow feathers on my coat.  This connects me to the art world as well as to the crows’ world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

crow

 

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OK! While I really should be in my studio, painting, I will spend a little more time in a virtual world, boasting about myself. Actually, about having a great friend, a poet, Tom Kirby-Smith who wrote a great poem about my art for my book:

MAGIC CASEMENTS
“ . . . magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn”
–Keats

Alla Parsons’ paintings speak to me
As in the song, “Do you see what I see?”Window
Her gaze transfigures all that she beholds—
Clouds, faces, trees—the sunlight that enfolds
Those creeping wavelets, distant church’s spire—
Bare-breasted angels on bright wings aspire–
A croissant on a plate, a pot of tea,
Two smiling women—suffused with mystery—
As Jane Ann wrote me, “haunting, mystical”–
All Alla! But not one bit egotistical.
“Come to the window; sweet is the night air,”
Said Matthew Arnold to his lover there
Above the Dover cliffs. Let Alla call us
(What happier invitation could befall us!)
To share the windows of her soul, and see
Within those magic frames the mystery
Transforming common things until they seem
“The glory and the freshness of a dream”
As yet another poet wrote. Open this book,
There’s nothing else to say. Just, simply, “Look!”

Tom Kirby-Smith

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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001_self_in_red_turban

My work “Self-Portrait in a Red Turban” was published in:

The Lexikon of Fantastic Artists (2nd german extended edition) ISBN: 9-783848263073

The official presentation of the book is Saturday, February 23, 2013 11:00 a.m. at the PhantastenMuseum Wien
Palais Palffy 1010 Vienna Josefsplatz 6

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After a long period of travel abroad we moved to Virginia just in time to meet the New 2012 Year…

March  – “Between Reality and Imagination”” – solo show at the Gourmet Frog

June – “7 Visions”” – group show with 6 other local artists who invited me to participate in a group critique on a monthly basis

July – “Figuratively Speaking” solo show of figurative works at the Artery Gallery in Greensboro, NC

August – work was accepted into the prestigious “Virginia Artists” juried show in Hampton, VA

September – Tunisia Art Festival – an artist residency with artists from 18 different countries in Monastir, Tunisia

November – awarded an Honorable mention at Danville Art League juried show

December – work was accepted and sold at the prestigious “Winter Show” in Green Hill Center, Greensboro, NC

Work accepted for publication in Vienna, Austria – Catalog of Fantastic Realism

Two solo shows scheduled: one for 2013 in South Boston, VA and another for 2014 at the Museum of Fine Art and History in Danville, VA

I guess it was a good year!

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