Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gute Brandao: Magical and Musical Revelations

When selecting pieces for Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition, Rhythmic Sensation-Visual Sensation, I came across the images submitted by Gute Brandao and I stopped in my tracks. I could not leave these images...these incredible drawings...ink and watercolor on paper. Soft, pale colors on a pale background...ink-drawn lines and curves and stars...unusual figures that seem to bounce, dance, hang, and march. Figures that dance, lines that act like moving walkways, things that revolve and spin...  Suddenly I'm reminded of a vast array of automaton...toys that move! Wind-up toys that walk or dance or march or spin! Dozens of wind-up toys that are perfectly and beautifully orchestrated to create a stunning masterpiece of musical and theatrical bliss.

The Electric Churchland   [Enlarge    
Acola a gente do sonho pariu o espaco   [Enlarge  
The New Revelations of Being   [Enlarge]
For the work shown here, Gute Brandao was named an Artist of Distinction and will be a Gallery Artist beginning in February 2011. He will then have the opportunity to show more of his wonderful work. Gute Brandao is an amazing artist -- self-taught and without categorization. If anything, Brandao likes to describe his art as musical. He translates the sounds he hears into lines, forms, and colors. A kind of frustrated musician, he constantly listens to music, and it seems that it moves through him onto his canvas or paper. Brandao's art may also be described as complex. There are many things going on, and you can't grasp it all by one quick look. Brandao admits to being obsessed with pattern and repetition. Even the artist himself discovers something new when he goes back to look at his own work. There is always a new revelation waiting to be found. 

There is also a childlike innocence to Brandao's art. Interestingly, Brandao had difficulties with art as a child. His schoolmates in Brazil made fun of him in art class because he would always mess up his colors. Brandao is color blind...an interesting affliction for an artist. His mother helped him by writing the names of the colors on little labels of paper and taping them to his pencils. Now, Brandao doesn't worry about his color blindness. He uses colors randomly and in whatever way works for him. "Now I think I am reaching back to those early days for a pure and honest attitude when confronting the complexities of life." A friend said of Brandao's work: "[He is] seeking a return to the wholesome sincerity and spontaneity found in children's art. . . . seeking a . . . haven from the bewildering and often hypocritical cultural conventions of the modern world." When Brandao speaks of his art, he talks about mental objects that come to him in visions or his imagination. These objects need to be organized through pattern and repetition, form and color. This is how his paintings and drawings are created. It's amusement for him. It's magic for his viewers. The magic of beautiful wind-up toys moving together in harmony.  

Works by Gute Brandao
The Electric Churchland was drawn by Gute Brandao while he was in Brazil, visiting a little colonial mining town called Ouro Preto (Black Gold). The town is known for its beautiful baroque architecture and is protected by the UNESCO Organization as a World Heritage Site. The churches in the town are fabulous, known both for their architecture and for the statues made of soapstone and wood by Master Aleijadinho, a sculptor who had leprosy and so tied his chisel to his rotten fingers in order to work on hard surfaces. The town is a magical place, especially at night. The town's many churches have a custom of tolling all the bells at once to announce death, birth, marriage, and other important moments. Brandao loved the feeling and sensations of walking in this town. The Electric Churchland celebrates Ouro Preto with many symbols...cosmic rain, mandalas, spaceships, and more.

Acola a gente do sonho pariu o espaco is difficult to translate into English, but it means something like: the people of the dream gave birth to the space. It belongs to a series called The Psychonauts of Inner Space. 

The New Revelations of Being was inspired by teepees as well as by a text by Antonin Artaud, a French writer of the early twentieth century. Brandao put together the idea of displacement and the lives of the native Americans with the text Artaud wrote about the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico. For each layer of teepees in Brandao's drawing, there is a figure worshiping nature, the sun, and the spirits.


Gute Brandao is a self-taught artist and weaver who was born in the city of Belo-Horizonte, the capital of and largest city in the state of Minas Gerais in the southeastern region of Brazil. His creativity was manifest at a young age with his early works in wood, metal, and fiber, and he received awards for his fiber work in Brazil at a young age. Brandao came to the United States in 1988, settled in Washington, D.C., and started doing drawing and painting. Since then he has shown his work regularly in the broad Washington, D.C. area in both solo and group shows. He also regularly shows his work in New York City, Chicago, Paris, and Brazil. Brandao's art, like that of a child, bursts forth with refreshing brilliance and energy. Also like the work of a child, Brandao's work lacks the sour taste often found in protest or political art. Brandao takes viewers by the hand, so to speak, and pulls them through a world of uplifting, raw art, keeping them from falling into the chaotic darkness found in the depths below. 

The Electric Churchland, ink and watercolor on paper, 17" by 14", not framed, $600
Acola a gente do sonho pariu o espaco, ink and watercolor on paper, 14" by 17", not framed, $400
The New Revelations of Being, ink and watercolor on paper, 17" by 14", not framed, $400

Still Point Art Gallery
December 21, 2010 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Swirling Sensuality of the Work of Tom Barnes

Strong contrasting colors without shadow or nuance; a design that seems made of undulating layers and folds of a thick oozing liquid; a slight bit of symmetry that provides just the right amount of order and organization; and the subtle appearance of a buried object...a bird, a banana, a butterfly. It did not take me long to fall in love with the work of Tom Barnes. His work is the stuff of wild imagination...captivating and very sensual. You can feel the curves and swirls on his canvas as you move your eyes over and around each turn and bend. Nothing jagged. Nothing sharp. This work is pliable and penetrable, slowly and gracefully bending and twisting, inviting the viewer into the rhythm of its movement...into the center of its existence.

Untitled (Butterfly on a Banana)
Untitled (Mauve Bird)
Untitled (Monkey Watching Snake Eat Bug)
[Larger Image]                                                   [Larger Image]                                                   [Larger Image]

For the work shown here, Tom Barnes has been named an Artist of Distinction in Still Point Art Gallery's current exhibition: Rhythmic Sensation-Visual Sensation. Indeed the rhythmic movement that one feels by looking at Barnes' work is extraordinary. I asked Barnes to say a few words about this small grouping of paintings. He started by saying that he believes that inspiration comes from working in the studio with the perceptions from experience.   
These perceptions manifest in my paintings, and hopefully, penetrate into the nature of things. What is concealed by the phenomena of the world has always been of great interest to me. Storytelling and feelings are not something that I want in my work. I want my work to connect what we know with what we cannot know and I feel it is at this connection that the greatest experience happens. When working in the studio and the idea is unfolding, I am more in touch with the unknown. Although I have a basic idea what my paintings will look like, chance plays a large part in making the connection. When I feel the work is finished I hope that on some level the connection is communicated. 
Barnes worked in sculpture for years, but his current ideas now seem to be best expressed two-dimensionally with paint. There is something about the immediacy of oil painting that he finds very effective in carrying these ideas. This current series of paintings started out as small paintings that were made very quickly using a fluid paint. The pouring of paint created the patterns, lines, shapes and textures. These small paintings were then developed into larger pieces using traditional straight-painting techniques with oils. 

Artist Statement

In creating the techniques needed to express my ideas, I have focused on the physical immediacy of paint. The originality of the structure of my paintings is the result and the revelation of what is essential. What is essential is unknown, but can be sensed. What is sensed, I believe is heightened by the arbitrariness of the image. The image coming from chance and intuition has an appearance of reality, but seems fleeting and works immediately and strongly on the sensory system. As perceived it is an image that appears like a hallucination experienced on the threshold of consciousness. Recognizable forms are conjoined with abstract forms in such a way that one is not sure of the visual experience being navigated. Although at first glance what is perceived is an ordered arrangement of visual phenomena, there is something irrational in the imagery. Objects of awareness of a known reality seem to be emerging from the movement of paint or the paint is pouring out of and away from the known. All forms seem to be exchanging or sharing the same visual information. Within these paintings, butterflies do not light on flowers, but on bananas; pelicans sit not on pilings, but among snow-covered tires, which are merging with the flow of the paint. In these paintings there is no narrative, irony or intentional symbolism. It is the recreation of an event, an event that affects states of consciousness regarding objects of consciousness. How the perceived event and the objects of consciousness affect the senses, ultimately loops back to the physical immediacy of paint, and by engaging with that, what is essential is experienced.

Biographical Statement

Tom Barnes received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida and currently teaches at The University of Alabama. He also taught for two years at Valparaiso University and in a summer program at The University of San Carlos in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where he received Recognition for Educational Advancement and Cooperation. In addition to teaching Figurative Modeling and Three-dimensional Design, he devotes his time to the practice of painting, although he is also an accomplished sculptor. He lives and works in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Marfa, Texas.

His paintings and sculptures have been in over 165 group and solo exhibitions. His work is in the permanent institutional collections of the Alexandria Museum of Art, Southwest Texas State University, The University of Alabama, Stillman College, Indianapolis Museum of Art, University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the Pentagon. Corporations that have collected his work include the Energen Corporation, Economic Development Corporation of Alabama, The Burdines Corporation of Florida and the Business Center of Alabama. Other public collections include the Porter County Arts Commission, Valparaiso, Indiana, the Chattahoochee Valley Art Association, La Grange, Georgia and the Arts Council of Tampa, Florida. He is also in numerous other public and private collections.

See more of Tom Barnes' art on his website.

Untitled (Mauve Bird), oil on canvas, 16 by 16, NFS
Untitled (Monkey Watching Snake Eat Bug), oil on canvas, 20 by 20, NFS
Untitled (Butterfly on a Banana), oil on canvas, 12 by 12, NFS

Still Point Art Gallery
December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's In Print -- Still Point Arts Quarterly!

As artists or art enthusiasts, we love to look at art. It's that simple. We go to art shows, visit galleries and museums, and buy great art books whenever we get the opportunity. In recent years, our viewing opportunities have increased; we can not only see art in person and in print, but we can also view art on artists' own websites or on any of the hundreds of online galleries that have come into existence. We can now see much more art by local or regional artists or emerging artists due to the existence of online or virtual art galleries like Still Point Art Gallery.

Despite the amount of time I spend in front of my computer, there is still a place in my life for PRINT. I subscribe to several wonderful art magazines and I love to browse through and sometimes buy art books. I return to some of my favorite magazines over and over for enjoyment and inspiration. Art helps me form ideas; it engages my mind in important ways; it challenges my intellect; it enlightens me and inspires me. Sometimes, rather than sit at my desk, I want to sit in my comfy chair with a hot cup of tea and a book or magazine. The richness of an art print in a high-quality magazine or book is better than what you see on a screen, and there is a time and a place for that in my life. 

So, Still Point Art Gallery is moving forward with the printing of an art magazine -- Still Point Arts Quarterly. The publication will focus on artistic expression and creativity. Each issue will include extensive art portfolios as well as original and thoughtful short articles or essays about art and artistry. The Quarterly will engage, enlighten, inspire...four times a year...in January, April, July, and October.

The inaugural issue of the Quarterly will be the April 2011 issue -- timed to help celebrate the two-year anniversary of Still Point Art Gallery.

Subscriptions are now being accepted
Subscribe now and be part of Still Point Arts Quarterly from the very beginning!

Still Point Art Gallery
December 15, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Call for Artists: "Still Life: Ordinary and Extraordinary"

Still Point Art Gallery announces that submissions are now being accepted for its next online exhibition -- Still Life: Ordinary and Extraordinary.

A still life. A vase filled with flowers, an apple or pear, some books, feathers, a teapot, candles. Maybe a stuffed bird. Inanimate objects. A bottle of perfume, a cell phone, a water bottle, children's toys. Maybe even cheap sunglasses or fake diamonds. The inanimate objects of our lives...the ordinary and the extraordinary objects of our lives...to honor, to preserve...to hold still...to remember, to venerate.

The deadline for submissions is January 24, 2011. More details about submissions, along with the entry form, may be found here.

Still Point Art Gallery
December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Still Point Art Gallery Opens "Rhythmic Sensation-Visual Sensation"

I am very pleased to announce the opening of Still Point Art Gallery's online exhibition: Rhythmic Sensation-Visual Sensation.

 Rhythm is all around us - in music, in poetry, in patterns of speech, in architecture, in nature. Rhythm is within us - our hearts beat, our lungs take air in and let air out, our running feet hit the ground in a set pattern. This exhibition explores the ways that rhythm is part of visual art...the rhythm that is created by pattern, repetition, and movement...and formed by line, color, shape, and texture. Artists were invited to submit compositions that use these elements to create rhythm, giving the viewer the opportunity to experience rhythmic sensation and visual sensation.


This show will make you want to move! If you are like me, you will start to hear music or sounds while viewing this show. Music that flows, music that bebops, music that pings and pongs, music that sways, shimmers, and rocks. Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy, John Cage...Elvis Presley, The Grateful Dead, The Flaming Lips. It's all here...pattern, repetition, movement, rhythm...a real visual sensation!


A - Waves by Darren Baylor, acrylic, 24" by 18", framed, $1500
B - Wavy Sound by Giannis Tsaganos, paper rolls on wood painted with acrylic colors, 18.5" x 15.7" x 2.8", $900
C - Pixel-Neutral, 001 by Mikel Patrik, acrylic on canvas, 48" by 36", $2633

Still Point Art Gallery
December 8, 2010