This is our entry in Lens-Artists Challenge #58 – Something Old, Something New…...
In June, we visited the America’s Presidents exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Here we found the extraordinary portrait of William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd U.S. President (1993 – 2001), created by the artist Chuck Close in 2006. From a distance, this portrait looks like any other traditional portrait, but up close it is quite different.
William J. Clinton by Chuck Close
According to the plaque beside the portrait,
“Chuck Close begins all of his paintings by taking a photograph of his subject, in this case an image made during a photo session in August 2005 for a New York magazine cover. He then creates grids on both the canvas and the photograph to replicate the information contained in the photograph with a series of abstract modules.”
In describing Chuck Close’s unique painting technique, Jessica Backus says in The Art Genome Project,
“Over the years, Close’s grid got looser, the squares larger and filled with more intuitive shapes. Close has compared them to Byzantine mosaics, ‘where an image is built out of discrete incremental marks – chunks of stone or glass – that fit together. I want people to see what made the image. I like dropping crumbs along the trail like Hansel and Gretel.'”
We believe that this portrait fits the theme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” perfectly:
- Something old: Portraits have been painted since ancient times.
- Something new: The technique used in this painting has evolved to its current form during this century.
- Something borrowed: The portrait is on loan to the Gallery by Ian and Annette Cumming.
- Something blue: Close’s most frequently-used colors are red, yellow and blue. The color blue is especially apparent in the portrait in Clinton’s eyes and hair.
This photo was taken on June 14, 2019. Specs are:
Olympus TG-5, ISO 500, f/2.3, 1/30 sec, 5.5mm.
This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lighting.
Recently we visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. After viewing traditional art in the West Wing, we used the moving walkway through the Concourse to the East Wing, where modern and contemporary art is displayed. The Concourse is enveloped by the 200-foot long light sculpture Multiverse by the American artist Leo Villareal (b. 1967). According to a National Gallery of Art webpage,
“[T]he work features approximately 41,000 computer-programmed LED nodes that run through channels along the entire 200-foot-long space… Once the appropriate hardware was installed in the existing architecture, the artist programmed sequences through his custom-designed software to create abstract configurations of light. His programming both instructs the lights and allows for an element of chance. While it is possible that a pattern will repeat during a viewer’s experience, it is highly unlikely. Still, the eye will seek patterns in the motion, a perceptual effect of the hypnotic trailing lights.”
While this sculpture was only intended to be on display for one year, until November 2009, it is still in place and mesmerizing visitors every day.
Multiverse by Leo Villareal
This photo was taken on July 3, 2019. Specs are:
Olympus TG-5, ISO 800, f/4.9, 1/30 sec, 18 mm.
This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Overhead.
In April of this year, we were fortunate to visit the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, which has been located in Buda Castle on Gellert Hill since 1975. The photo below was taken looking up inside the center dome of the Gallery. Titled Apocalypse, the hanging sculpture was created in 1990 – 1991 from galvanized mesh, plastic, and steel by Rudolf Rezső Berczeller (1912 – 1992). It is part of the Contemporary Collection and measures 3 × 5 × 12 meters. This installation includes six figures, but, according to artportal,
“At the end of his life, [Berczeller] wanted to create a group of 32 angel figures suspended in the church gallery of Budapest, in the church space of Budapest, or suspended under the dome of the Hungarian National Gallery.”
It isn’t every day that we can look up to see six angels overhead.
Apocalypse by Rudolf Rezső Berczeller
This photo was taken on April 22, 2019. Specs are:
Canon 200D, ISO 200, f/9.0, 1/30 sec, 10 mm.
This is our entry in Second Wind Leisure Perspectives’ Sunday Stills: #Triangular Manifestation.
In a visit last year to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., we were fortunate enough to view and interact with the FoldHaus Art Collective’s Shrumen Lumen. Lit with embedded LEDs, the cluster of mushrooms (“shrooms”) towered over visitors. When a visitor stepped on a pad at the foot of a mushroom, that mushroom would open and spread upward while changing colors. The photo below was taken from directly beneath one mushroom after stepping on the interactive pad. The blue triangles are part of the mushroom stem, while the red is the interior of the cap.
The Shrumen Lumen were created by FoldHaus for Burning Man 2016.
This photo was taken on October 1, 2018. Specs are:
Canon 200D, ISO 1250, f/3.5, 1/40 sec, 18 mm.
This is our entry in Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #56: Seascapes and/or Lakeshore.
As we traveled near Galle along the coast of the Indian Ocean in the south of Sri Lanka, we came across these stilt fishermen. The practice of erecting stilts for fishing was born of necessity during World War II, but came to the world’s attention only after Steve McCurry’s iconic photographs in 1995. The growing interest of other photographers soon educated the fishermen in the lucrative occupation of posing for money. The actual fishing occurs at dawn and dusk when schools of fish are present. Tourists like us drive by at all times of the day. To get maximum profit from their stilts, the fishermen can either (a) pose for tourists on their own stilts, (b) rent their stilts to other locals to pose as fishermen for tourists, or (c) charge tourists to sit on their stilts. We didn’t see any fish being caught. We got our pictures and we paid a fee. Having seen photos of the devastation caused by the 2004 tsunami, which still affects their livelihood, we do not fault the stilt fishermen.
This photo was taken on February 18, 2018. Specs are:
Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/250 sec, 100 mm.
This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Sculpture.
Anyone who has visited the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has seen and admired Alexander Calder’s huge mobile (85-foot wingspan, 920 pounds) hanging in the Central Court. However, one of our favorite rooms in Tower 2 contains several smaller sculptures by Calder: of these, arguably the cutest is the standing mobile Rat (even more so than Cow). Rat was created in 1948 of sheet metal, lead, wire, and paint, and its dimensions are 8 5/8 x 15 x 8 in. (21.9 x 38.1 x 20.3 cm.). It was last sold on November 16, 2016 by Christie’s of New York for $943,500.
Alexander Calder’s Rat
This photo was taken on July 3, 2019. Specs are:
Olympus TG-5, ISO 200, f/2.6, 1/50 sec, 6.42 mm.
This is our entry in nancy merrill photography’s A Photo a Week Challenge: Twisted.
We visited the Palais de Tokyo in Paris this past April. After three hours of wandering through the fantastic exhibits, we were heading back to the entrance when we came across a group of curiously colorful and lumpy objects lying on a stairway and the lobby floor. The objects were encased in fabrics that were simultaneously sophisticated (shimmering, elegant, textured) and grotesque (tightly-stretched, color-clashing, awkwardly-constructed). As we stopped to look, we observed the objects writhe and twist occasionally, in an uncoordinated way. Expecting to learn that some random movement process was being controlled by complex machinery, we were somewhat (but not very) surprised to see an errant foot appear from one bundle and a head from another, as the bundle occupants struggled to remain hidden while they twisted blindly in place.
Twisted at Palais de Tokyo
This photo was taken on April 10, 2019. Specs are:
Canon 200D, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, 18 mm.