Thursday, 11 March 2010

Back online early April....

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Robert Kinmont

At the beginning of the 1970s, around the time he turned 30 and just as people were picking up on his droll, low-key work, Robert Kinmont decided to stop making art and retire to upstate California. Here, he lived a rural life surrounded by the wilderness he loved, raised his kids...oh, and built his own school, called Coyote. Legend has it that he taught his students at Coyote about human creativity by cooking breakfast for them over a camp stove set up on the floor of their art school classroom. Then in 1978 he closed the school and moved to Santa Rosa to be a carpenter, a trade he pursued for the next 20 years. About 5 years ago he went back into his studio and started making art again.

He makes whimsical sculptures from natural materials which reflect his love of the American wilderness – logs, twigs, wooden boards – but its his irreverent, personal photographs from the 60s which have the real charm. The series 8 Natural Handstands shows the artist in different outdoor settings doing handstands; the one at the top of the page in particular is a standout image, with Kinmont  balanced on a rocky outcrop with a sweeping landscape behind him. Then there’s My Favourite Dirt Roads, which shows exactly that: the artist’s favourite tracks, captured on square format black and white. Seen out of context as individual images they might seem nothing much, but when you know the title of the series and appreciate Kinmont deadpan ways, they make perfect sense. Just About The Right Size is another series, this time of self portraits showing the  bearded artist, not long before he went on his extended sabbatical, holding various everyday objects…which are, naturally, the size they really should be.

Just About The Right Size #1

Just About The Right Size #2

Walk Straight Ahead and Measure To The Side

All images © Robert Kinmont/Alexander & Bonin Gallery

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Nicholas Di Genova

Continuing with more fantastical fauna, this is the work of young Canadian artist Nicholas Di Genova. Entitled Chimera, this series gives full reign to Di Genova’s evolutionary imagination, as he creates apparently scientific illustrations of strange hybrids and mutated species. The Chimera was a monstrous fire-breathing creature of Greek mythology, composed of the body and head of a lion, with a goat’s head emerging from its back and a snake for a tail. Nasty! Di Genova imagines similarly fantastical composite creatures, though they seem slightly less ferocious: a bear bred with a bird, a giraffe with a daffodil flower for its head or a tree frog–cockerel hybrid, for instance. The creatures all fit within Di Genova’s own imagined ecosystems, each one part of a group assigned to a particular region – jungle, fresh water, desert, etc. Painstakingly hand-drawn in black pen, with their apparent biological ancestors indicated in small grids and subsets in each picture, the level of detail and complexity in these highly original drawings almost defies belief. Click the thumbnails to see for yourself.

Temperate Forest, 2009

Fresh Water Region, 2009

Savannah Region, 2009

Polar Region, 2009

Jungle Region, 2009

All images © Nicholas Di Genova/Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, NY