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Posts Tagged ‘art programs’

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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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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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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Dear Friends!

Let’s paint in Cesenatico, Italy en plein air, by the beach, in historical squares, and near beautiful canals surveyed by Leonardo da Vinci. It is situated near Ravenna – home of the world’s most splendid mosaics.

Cost of the workshop is €300 which includes 10 hours of instruction, five days of painting, handouts, and a supply list. Airfare and hotel are not included. Payment is due by the first workshop meeting. A non-refundable deposit of €20 is due before April 10 to hold your spot.

We will be staying at the Hotel Beau Soleil. Their prices are very reasonable and include room with food and wine. You can visit the hotel’s website or send them an email for more information to info@hotelbeausoleil.it

We recommend booking early. Mention that you are coming with Michael and Alla Parsons. If our group is large enough you may qualify for a discount.

You may fly into either Bologna or Forlì Airport, which is very close to Cesenatico. The Hotel can provide information on airport transportation.

Space is limited so please contact me to reserve your spot in what is going to be an incredible time in Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast.

Please, like my Facebook Page and visit my website at www.allaparsons.com

Beautiful Cesenatico city:


Cesenatico is located on the Adriatic coast in Emilia-Romagna – the gastronomic center of Italy. What could be better than great food, great art, and the beach! Contact me for more information.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mess. by Laurie Fendrich

Fendrich discusses the conflict between craft and concept in the contemporary Western art world. Until World War II the art world valued skill and technique. Increasingly in the post-War years traditional art based on skill and craft is considered “old” and “outdated”. Fendrich links this to the rise of colleges and universities as new centers of art education. Today colleges and universities are teaching “concepts” instead of skills and techniques. Fendrich points out  that while many schools keep so called “studio practices” courses in their curriculum, these are not skills-developing courses but concept courses. Here students learn what is becoming trendy or popular in galleries. This becomes a “shortcut to artistic identity”, replacing technical skills with the “concepts” that “borrow heavily from the vocabularies of sociology, computer science, and government bureaucracy.

 Interestingly, Fendrich blames this on Romanticism where “the autonomous self as the basis for all knowledge trumps everything”. Closely related to this is another problem: artists consider themselves to be morally superior to non-artists. Art is no longer created for the public, but for the artist. Fendrich suggests that artists need to consider the audience – a simple idea that sounds almost radical.

I strongly agree and believe that this approach is vital to obtaining funding art and support for art programs in school. If people, intelligent and  highly educated professionals avoid going to the museums because they  do not understand Modern Art then maybe there is something wrong with the art and not with the people. This is not to suggest that art cannot challenge the audience, only that it must connect with the audience.

Last, Fendrich suggests we need to change the way we teach art.  Indeed, we need to rethink the whole way we understand art. One aspect of this is increasing attention to developing students’ technical skills. Another is to read writers such as Balzac, Lessing and others to provide students with a context for understanding art. For example, reading Lessing’s  Laocoon helps students understand and place artists such as Paul McCarthy in a larger historical context. Once this is accomplished , students understand McCarthy as a contemporary simulator of “the disgusting” rather than as an originator.

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