News

03
Apr

Creative Intuition in Art: Defining Chaos, Defeating Despair

The artists in this exhibition, for the most part, work on the fringes of the establishment art world with little, if any, support. Since these self-taught artists are not part of any school or movement, they have no tradition to work their way out of or into a particular process. The work produced by these creators sometimes is referred to as “outsider art,” the term of which was coined by the English scholar Roger Cardinal who championed these individuals when their work became recognized in America. The Modernists’ good – bad paradigm for assessing its imagery hardly applied; it was not a part of the western tradition of aesthetic thought.

Irreverent toward material, plastic values, and the concerns of academic art, these artists generally remain elemental in their styles of representation, comfortable in not knowing how to draw. Composition may be a foreign concept and color more a function of amusement than theory. They are interested in creating a world in which they are comfortable in or exploring the one in which they do live in.

Each artist in this show has had to find his or her uniquely individual voice. This was their primary task – together with the acquisition of the prerequisite skills required to shape that “voice” into whatever their inner vision directed.

The slightly mad and zany paintings and assemblages in this exhibit, in which almost anything happens in conjunction with some of the most outrageous combinations of colors, textures, objects, and scribblings seem almost frivolous and trivial, if not downright silly.

And yet there is something irresistible about them, something so good-natured that they are impossible to ignore. What is remarkable is how oddly appropriate even the zaniest of their colors or details are to their overall compositions, even though at first they appeared to have been included without rhyme or reason. What had originally appeared as a confused jumble of childishly executed shapes, colors and objects is actually a rather sophisticated pictorial statement operating under an odd kind of inner logic all its own, the kind of logic that permits some individuals to wear dramatically mismatched clothing – and yet carry it off with aplomb – or lends fascination to tales told by children.

And that is precisely what these pieces in the show are: childlike inventions and pictorial tales that hold their own in our adult world by the nature of their external obedience to the artists’ private inner worlds of impulse and imagination. Inner worlds of memories, loves, fears, fascinations, and dreams – all coexisting within them and springing forth naturally and spontaneously through the courtesy of their creative intuition.

It is this spontaneous outflow of highly accessible, imaginative inner material and excitement that determines the nature of “Outsider Art” – an overflow that has put a powerful stamp upon the art of the time.

George S. Bolge, CEO
Museum of Art – DeLand, Florida

03
Apr

Balcomb Greene: American Abstraction 1925 – 1989

Balcomb Greene (1904-1990) was among the earliest American abstractionists to gain wide attention.  He was a pioneer of American modernism in the period after World War II during which New York and the United States became the center of the art world.

Over 50 oil paintings and works on paper trace Greene’s work from the early 1930s to the mid-1980s.  Born in Millville, New York, Greene did not plan on becoming an artist until he met and married the sculptor, Gertrude Glass.  He was influenced heavily by Piet Mondrian’s work while in Paris in 1931 and soon embarked on painting in a geometric abstract style throughout the decade.  Very few of these works on masonite or canvas survived a studio fire in New York in 1941.

Greene was the first chairman of American Abstract Artists in 1935 and led the fight for acceptance of American abstract art, along with his fellow artists Byron Browne and Ibram Lassaw.  While teaching at Carnegie in Pittsburg in the 1940s, his work became increasingly figurative, and in 1951, he changed to almost exclusive use of the figure, although quite abstracted at first.  He is represented in over 60 major museum collections.

It’s amazing how reputations in art can fade in and out. The work of Balcomb Greene was subject to this kind of career vacillation. So much so that it raises questions about the manner in which we judge art, and the degree to which we permit fashion, dogma, theory and the pursuit of novelty to influence our critical opinion.

Greene’s work continued to grow in depth and range well into the 1980s. The exhibition has been organized to showcase his natural inclination and skills along with the imagination and discipline needed to produce art of very high quality.

I am grateful to William Meek, Director of the Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples, Florida, who has made this exhibition possible and who represents the Estate of the artist.

The following donors and businesses merit special appreciation for their support of this presentation and their commitment to this year’s exhibition schedule: Dennis Aylward, Barbara Baugh, Bruce and Carolyn Bigman, Samuel and Donna Blatt, Tom and Jean Burns, Bill and Terri Booth, Thomas and Loretta Chudy, Earl and Patti Colvard, Sal Cristofano and Laura Gosper, Manny De La Vega, Wayne Dickson and Jewel Dickson, Robert Dorian and Linda Colvard Dorian, Lee and Susan Downer, Rich and Lilas George, Susan Griffis, John and Karen Horn, Ed Jackson and Pat Heller-Jackson, Betty Drees Johnson, Ray and Betty Johnson, Craig Lindsey, Tim and Mary Jeanne Ludwig, Robin May, Greg and Beth Milliken, Dagny and Tommy Robertson, Stephen and Claudia Roth, Judith Thompson, Ian Williams and Nancy Hutson, John and Nancy Wilton, Boulevard Tire Center, E.O. Painter Printing Company, Fleishel Financial Associates, Lane Insurance, Inc., Mainstreet Community Bank, Massey Services, Inc., Publix Supermarket Charities, West Volusia Beacon, W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc., Clear Channel Outdoor, Lorna Jean Brooks Foundation, Inc., Duke Energy Foundation, Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, Hunter Charitable Foundation, Lacey Family Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, DeLand Breakfast Rotary, DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, DeLand Rotary Club, Inc., Krewe of Amalee, Krewe Nouveau, Museum Guild, State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, City of DeLand, and the County of Volusia.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our institution’s Board of Trustees, led by President, General Lee Downer, for enabling the Museum to realize its ambitious exhibition programming.

I applaud my Staff for their skill and dedication in processing the requisite obligations inherent to assure the success of this endeavor.

George S. Bolge, CEO
Museum of

 

George Bolge, CEO

 

23
Jan

The Genius of M. C. Escher

Have you seen the image of two hands drawing each other; or a disorienting room with staircases that twist and turn in impossible directions; or a female and male head unraveling into ribbon-like spirals; or strange lizard creatures interlocked into intricate patterns?  If you are familiar with any of these images, then you have encountered the work of the artist, M. C. Escher.  Although Escher’s artwork is well-known and easily recognizable he did not attain much personal notice and name recognition until the 1970s.

Maurits Cornelius Escher was born in 1898 in Leeuwarden, Friesland in the Netherlands. He was the youngest son of a prosperous Dutch civil engineer. Escher excelled at drawing from an early age but struggled academically. In fact, he never officially graduated because he failed his final exams in secondary (High) school.  Escher went on to study architecture at the urging of his father but changed course when an instructor and mentor encouraged him to develop his drawing and printmaking skills. It was after an extended visit to Italy and Spain in the early 1920s that Escher began perfecting his printmaking techniques creating images of many realistic landscapes inspired by his travels.

Escher was not trained as a mathematician, but he took a great interest in geometry and what he called ‘the logic of space’. In 1936, after another visit to Granada, Spain and the palace of the Alhambra, Escher’s fascination with geometry developed into his tessellation designs.  As his career progressed, Escher became more and more interested in space, illusion and math. He studied these subjects and created the work he is best known for, such as images of impossible worlds, repeating patterns and reality-bending shapes that require the viewer to see the images from new perspectives. As a result, Escher’s works are more often associated with mathematics and psychology than art history.

By the 1950s, Escher had received international recognition and was featured in Time and Life magazine articles.  In 1955 he was knighted by the King of the Netherlands. During the 1960s Escher’s popularity increased further as he was embraced by the Hippie generation with its love of psychedelic art. This success was capped off by the publication of The Graphic Work of M.C. Escher, which included 76 prints and a commentary by the artist.

M. C. Escher was a prolific and passionate artist dedicated to his craft. His imaginative way of thinking and unique graphics has had a continuous influence in mathematics, science, and art, as well as in popular culture. His art continues to fascinate mathematicians, scientists, artists, philosophers, and museum-goers around the world.

“Science and art sometimes can touch one another, like two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which is our human life, and that contact may be made across the borderline between the two respective domains.” M. C. Escher

by Pam Coffman, Curator of Education

 

18
Jan

The Genius of M. C. Escher: Another World

The interior of a cube-shaped building.  Opening in the five visible walls give views of three different landscapes.  Through the topmost pair, one looks down, almost vertically, onto the ground; the middle two are at eye-level and show the horizon, while through the bottom pair one looks straight up to the stars.  Each plane of the building, which invites nadir, horizon, and zenith, has a three-fold function.  For instance, the rear plane in the center serves as a wall in relation to the horizon, a floor in connection with the view through the top opening and a ceiling so far as the view up towards the starry sky is concerned.  

Another World, 1947, wood engraving, 31.5 x 26 cm

On View:  The Magical World of M. C. Escher | January 26 – March 25, 2018 | Museum of Art – DeLand Downtown | 100 N Woodland Blvd

To inquire about the comments above, please join us for our Opening Night Reception.  You will be able to visit with the private collectors from the exhibition as well as the CEO of the Museum.  More information on the Reception can be found by clicking here.

29
Dec

The Magical World of M. C. Escher

by Rick de Yampert

Maurits Cornelis Escher wanted to capture infinity and cast it onto
paper.

To that end, the Dutch graphic artist created lithographs, woodcuts
and mezzotints of interlocking reptiles, strange creatures and birds in
flight that metamorphosed in and out of each other. He depicted
twisted dragons, and ants crawling eternally on a Mobius strip. He
created “impossible constructions” that depicted buildings,
staircases and spheres that seem geometrically precise yet, upon
close inspection, are as surreal as anything by Dali, Bosch or Kafka.

“It can apparently happen that someone . . . can feel ripen in oneself
a conscious wish to use his imaginary images to approach infinity as
purely and as closely as possible,” Escher wrote in his essay
“Approaches to Infinity,” published not long before his death in 1972.

“The Magical World of M.C. Escher,” on exhibit Jan. 26 through March
25 at the Museum of Art – DeLand, includes more than 150 of the
artist’s works. The exhibition features not only the Dutchman’s self described
“more or less fantastic pictures” but also his realistic
graphic works inspired by trips into the Italian countryside when he
lived in Rome from 1923 to 1935.

Born in the Netherlands in 1898, Escher attended the Haarlem
School of Architecture and Decorative Arts from 1919 to 1922, where
he quickly abandoned his intention to pursue architecture in order to
study graphic arts under Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita.

The European art world was in upheaval – and in thrall – to such
radical movements as Cubism with its blatant use of angles and
perspective-bending, multiple viewpoints; Dada and its free-for-all
hijinks; Surrealism with its embrace of the irrational; and De Stijl
(right in Escher’s homeland) with its almost pure use of geometric
shapes.

Yet there is no record that the young Escher noticed or had any
significant exposure to these artistic explosions. Instead, the course
of Escher’s artistic path was forever altered when he visited Granada
in Spain in 1922, where he was astonished by the intricate
architecture of the 14th-century Moorish palace, Alhambra.

“Escher always wanted to be a graphic artist – he never wanted to be
a painter,” says George Bolge, chief executive officer of the Museum
of Art – DeLand. “He was always fascinated with the line and how
that can describe an object, whereas painters in a sense form the
line between volumes of color.”

Indeed, in his essay “Approaches to Infinity,” Escher writes: “No one
can draw a line that is not a boundary line. Every line splits a
singularity into a plurality. Every closed contour, no matter what its
shape, whether a perfect circle or an irregular random form, evokes
in addition the notions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ and the suggestion of
‘near’ and ‘far away,’ of ‘object’ and ‘background.’ ”

And Escher was fascinated by another sort of line, Bolge notes:
“Escher had an analytical mind, and he was concerned with the line
between the metaphysical and reality.”

That’s evident in “Magic Mirror,” a 1946 lithograph in which a gaggle
of winged dragons circle into and out of a mirror – and thus
(seemingly) into two- dimensional reality and back out into three-dimensional
reality.

“Waterfall,” a 1961 lithograph, depicts a canal that weaves through
an Alhambra-like structure – but the work tricks the viewer’s eye into
sensing that the canal’s waters flow upward and back down,
perpetually and into infinity.

While Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” and
other Cubist paintings astonished viewers with their depiction of
multiple viewpoints within one work, they have nothing on such
Escher works as “Up and Down” (lithograph, 1947) and “Relativity”
(lithograph, 1953).

Escher’s prints “bear witness to his amazement and wonder at the
laws of nature which operate in the world around us,” Bolge writes in
the exhibition’s sizable catalogue. “By keenly considering and
analyzing the observations that he made, Escher ended up in the
domain of mathematics even though he had absolutely no training or
knowledge in this exact science.

“Escher’s technical mastery is unthinkable, making his most
imaginative subjects convincing – sometimes frighteningly so. That
his imagination is, to say the least, eccentric, cannot be denied. His
work is at once surrealistic, representational and macabre. Escher is
mathematician, photographer, architect, and visionary. He is all these
things, and more: an artist.”

07
Dec

The Genius of M. C. Escher

A reflecting globe rests in the artist’s hand.  In the mirror he can have a much more complete view of his surroundings than by direct observation, for nearly the whole of the area around him – four walls, the floor and the ceiling of the room – are comprised, albeit distorted, within the little disc.  His head, or to be more precise the point between his eyes, comes in the absolute center.  Whichever way he turns he remains at the center.  The ego is the unshakeable core of his world.

Escher made three more spherical self-portraits during his life which examine the distortion of images reflected on a curved surface.

Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935, Lithograph, 12 1/2″ x 8 3/8″

 

The Magical World of M. C. Escher

January 26 – March 25, 2018

 

 

 

04
Oct

Thank You To Our Donors

We thank the following donors and businesses who merit special appreciation for their support of this presentation and their commitment to this year’s exhibition schedule: Dennis Aylward, Dr. Bruce Bigman and Carolyn Bigman, Samuel and Donna Blatt, Thomas and Loretta Chudy, Earl and Patti Colvard, Betty Drees Johnson, Sal Cristofano and Laura Gosper, Manny De La Vega, Dr. Wayne Dickson and Jewel Dickson, Robert Dorian and Linda Colvard Dorian, Lee and Susan Downer, Tom and Becky Fleishel, Dr. Susan Griffis, John and Karen Horn, Ed Jackson and Pat Heller-Jackson, Ray and Betty Johnson, Ed and Pauline Lacey, Tim and Mary Jeanne Ludwig, Robin May, Greg and Beth Milliken, Linda Pinto, Dagny and Tommy Robertson, Stephen and Claudia Roth, Patricia Schwarze, Judith Thompson, Paul and Becky Vasquez, Dr. Ian Williams and Dr. Nancy Hutson, Dr. John Wilton and Nancy Wilton, Boulevard Tire Center, Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation, DeLand Breakfast Rotary, DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, DeLand Rotary Club, Inc., E. O. Painter Printing Company, Faith Hope & Charity, Krewe of Amalee, Krewe Nouveau, Lacey Family Charitable Trust, Lane Insurance, Inc., Lorna Jean Brooks Foundation, Inc., Mainstreet Community Bank, Massey Services, Inc., Museum Guild, Publix Supermarket Charities, Wells Fargo Foundation, West Volusia Beacon, W. W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc., State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the City of DeLand and the County of Volusia.

 

04
Oct

Dan Biferie: The Art of Learning

Through its tonal shapes, the photographs of Dan Biferie represent objects and qualities which are perceived and experienced. Beyond that, they are an expression of dynamic processes. More than a representation of things which can be directly sensed and known, they are symbols which have the power to evoke a sense of the invisible and unknowable, of the forces and causes of which the objects and qualities are a manifestation. Not all photographs operate on this level, but the best do. The more strongly the forces which underlie and affect life are felt and evoked, the deeper and more sensitive knowledge and understanding of new dimensions on reality become.

The capacity to create a feeling of the invisible through the visible lies entirely within the photographer. It is he who brings the photograph to life, who gives it meaning and value according to his experiences and beliefs. If he is aware of and relates to the forces which generate life, then he has the potential to create orders within his photographs which express those forces.

The possibility is there because photography, as is true for all art forms, is a means of “learning”. Give a receptive mind, photography can be a continual interaction between the development of the photographer and the things photographed. As he explores the world within and around himself, he creates pictures which reflect and communicate the process. As manifestations of his experience, the photographs are not only expressions of what is, but also of what can be. They are catalysts and tools for discovery as well as symbols of ideas and beliefs which already have been developed. Through his pictures, Biferie not only says this is what happened, this is real, this is what I feel and think; he also asks – what does this mean, why do I experience it this way, where do I go from here? In asking such questions, he is prompted to go out and test his ideas and beliefs, to open his mind to further experiences, to probe and search for that which is beyond what he knows and understands.

Dan Biferie attempts to convey through his photographs an awakening of our conscience by arousing, even disturbing, our aesthetic sensibilities. A photograph has value as a document if it tells us something of the place or person or event that is pictured. Its importance and significance are further enhanced if it reveals something about what is pictured, and something more about the photographer. At times it is not particularly popular to speak of the values, but the best photographs always have value we can admire from which we can learn something indescribable that may shape our lives. There is always something to be learned about care and compassion from Biferie’s photographs.

George Bolge
CEO
Museum of Art – DeLand

04
Oct

Patrick Boyd: Man with a Holo Camera

If you’re under thirty, you have probably not had many chances to see holography, a vibrant visual phenomenon that combines sciences, art, and technology, to create interactive, 3D images. If you’re over forty, you have most likely forgotten all about it.

International award-winning photographer, Patrick Boyd, falls into the latter age category but holography has never been far from his mind. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it was hailed as the “medium of the future”, he produced some of the most memorable, inspiring holograms of the time, winning coveted places in global exhibitions. A graduate of the Royal College of Art Holography Unit, Patrick’s innovative approach lead him to work with iconic designer Zandra Rhodes and won him a scholarship to take up residency at the New York Museum of Holography. Further residencies in Japan and Germany followed as his reputation grew.

When public interest in holography waned with the dawning of the digital age, Patrick moved on to new pastures, but in recent years the virus that lurks in all holographers became active once more, and he started making holograms again, in various facilities in the USA and how in his new home studio in Wales. Technology has moved on and today he can record video sequences on an iPhone which can be transferred into holographic stereograms (pictures a flick book in 3D or a 3D movie which you can play back and forth simply by moving your head.)

In this exhibition, he presents a series of holograms and holographic stereograms based around cinematography. These stereograms are small movies with no cast, set or script. Like adherents to the Russian kino-eye theory, Patrick thinks of the camera as an instrument, much like the human eye, that is best used to explore real life. The moments of time he snatches are then preserved like ghostly animated memories in 3D.

This exhibition of the British artist Patrick Boyd was organized by The Butler Institute of American Art. Boyd works at the intersection of photography, holography, art, and science. Combining all with the installation and a unique graphic language. His imagery is both compelling and emotive. His works of meticulously created installations and captured sequences blur the boundaries between two- and three-dimensions. His works present a colorful world where real life, narrative, light, and shadow connect and collide.

George Bolge
CEO
Museum of Art – DeLand

04
Oct

Permanent Collection: Photographs

The concept of this exhibition is to show something of the character and intent of the Museum’s Photography Collection and to suggest some of the ways in which the study of photography influences the broader issue of modern art and modern sensibility.

The first and distinguishing function of an art museum is that of collecting and preserving works that are, in its judgment, particularly fine, or particularly instructive in reference to the evolution of art. If preserved, these works can be exhibited, reproduced, studied, interpreted, re-evaluated, enjoyed, and – perhaps most importantly – borrowed from by younger artists.

Therefore, it is with the premise that photography is an art and that photographers are artists – celebrating the vision of the men and women behind the camera – that this exhibition has been organized.

Photography was invented by the 19th-century artists for their own purposes. These men were seeking a lasting, literal record of their visual surroundings, and they found it. The new combination of illumination, lens, shutter, and flat surface coated with chemicals sensitive to light produced, within a short interval of time, images more lasting, more convincing in their reality, and more richly detailed than painters could produce manually in weeks and months of effort. This alone was enough to engender consternation within the ranks of fellow artists; and, after their first reaction of pleasure in a new king of image, art critics rallied with the haughty charge that photography was not and could not be an art. The actual world in which we live had too strong a grip on photography, they said, and pictures so dependent upon mechanical means could not be called acts of man’s creative imagination.

Despite the critics, photographers knew that they had found a new art form, a new mode of expression. As artists, they had extraordinary visual sensitivity, and they thought and expressed themselves naturally through visual images. As artists, they used the new tools as other artists before and after them have used brush and pencil – to interpret the world, to present a vision of nature and its structure as well as the things and the people in it.

The most important use of photography was in communication. Here the value of photography was seen as its quality of immediacy, of literal description and convincing presentation of reality. This equality was retained to a large extent even after pictures had been translated into forms that made them available as printing plates for the illustration of books. Almost anything that could be photographed could be printed; and books on travel, medicine, science, and art were published with a wealth and authenticity of visual information never b3fore possible. By now, photography has become as important as the word – perhaps more important as all linguistic barriers fell before this “picture talk”.

We use photographs as memories, memories of ourselves when we were younger, of places where we have lived or visited, of friends and relatives who are no longer with us. With the advent of the roll-film Kodak, manageable even by a young child, photography became a folk art – the most democratic art in history. The millions practice it, as well as the few who make of it a medium of high art and a tool of science and industry.

It can be said with certainty only that photography has remained for a century and a quarter one of the most radical, instructive, disruptive, influential, problematic, and astonishing phenomena of the modern epoch. The future of this beautiful, universally practiced, little-known art will be determined by young and unborn photographers who will decide how best to build on their rich and ambiguous tradition. A small part of that tradition is installed in this show.

George Bolge
CEO, Museum of Art – DeLand

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600 N. Woodland Blvd.
(386)-734-4371

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(386)-279-7534

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