Department of Art and Art History News

James Walker contributes to new publication Lettermaker

Tue. April 18, 2017

image of a cover spelling out letterpress in pink and blue letters
 

The essay "Choose Your Chaos" about the introduction of chaos into the design process from Design lecturer James Walker was recently included in the latest zine from Kelcey Towell. Lettermaker is a zine the celebrates the making of letterforms. To learn more about Towell's zine and Walker's essay, please visit Drawn Down Books' website.

New book from Monica Penick featured in Metropolis magazine

Fri. April 14, 2017

image of a book cover of back porch with patio furniture and the word Tastemak
Image: Yale University Press

Tastemaker, a new book by Design lecturer Monica Penick, examines House Beautiful Editor Elizabeth Gordon's profound influence on mid-century American taste. 

Tastemaker was featured in a Metropolis magazine guide to "25 Architecture and Design Books to Read This Spring" from contributors Merilyn Chang and Hinali Shah. Chang and Shah write, "The late Elizabeth Gordon, House Beautiful’s one time editor in chief, wrote extensively on the subject of design, its slow deterioration, and its revitalization. Tastemaker is an important look into the shaping of mid century design, and Gordon’s profound influence on modern American architecture. This profusely illustrated portrait features nearly 200 photos of projects shot by, among others, Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman."

Bogdan P.K. Perzyński featured in latest exhibition of Texas A&M Commerce VisCom Gallery

Wed. April 12, 2017


Bogdan P. K. Perzyński 5°26′3.439″N,12°21′18.780″E; 45°26′1.295″N,12°21′19.357″E
2015
Performance and 4K video (silent, 14:14 m:s)


Transmedia professor Bogdan P. K. Perzyński is featured in the latest group show at the VisCom Gallery, The Architecture of Limitless Delusionan exhibition curated by Liliana Bloch and Thomas Flynn II in downtown Dallas. The show highlights the use of forced perspective, metaphysics and that special sort of alchemy required to create works of art that are somehow bigger than the objects that sustain them.

From the press release materials, “Architecture tends to promote itself, creating self-referential components that together can create imposing structures. In the same way, the artists featured in the exhibition elevate themselves and the art objects using simple shapes, the basics of geometry and architecture. They are creating objects that become bigger than what they are. We chose these objects that display the dexterity of the artist to use geometric forms that build upon the meeting of conscious choices with conceptual implications.

As the objects build upon themselves and each other to create a self-contained environment of possibilities, the artists featured in the show are the architects of limitless delusion in an empty city waiting to be populated. The latter references the psychology of the self, and perhaps a little bit of mysticism.”

Other artists in The Architecture of Limitless Delusion include Du Chau, Kristen Cochran, Anne Glazer, Ryan Goolsby, Lynne Harlow, Vince Jones, Alicia Henry, Kathy Lovas, Shawn Mayer, Leigh Merrill, Mi-Hee Nahm, Bogdan P. K. Perzyński, Bret Slater, Simon Vega and Sally Warren.

The exhibition will be on view from April 6 – May 5, 2017.

Learning from Youth: Michael Smith at the Richard Telles Fine Art gallery

Tue. April 11, 2017

group of students and professor gathered around to take self portrait
Michael Smith, Sears Class Portrait, Fall 2004, Photograph, From the series Sears Class Portraits, 1999 – ongoing, 12 x 8 inches

Transmedia professor Michael Smith presents work in the new exhibition Learning from Youth at Richard Telles Fine Art gallery. 

Learning from Youth will be on view from April 15 – May 13, 2017. 

Wallpapering Facebook: UT Alumna Commissioned to Paint Mural at Facebook, Austin

Wed. April 5, 2017

hallway of painted and brightly patterned houseplants and doorways
Photo credit: Anna Mazurek

Annie May Johnston graduated with her M.F.A. in Studio Art in 2016, and since then has made her home in San Francisco. However, Johnston was recently pulled back to Austin for a mural commissioned by Facebook for their Austin headquarters.

Johnston answered questions from Studio Art professor and artist Leslie Mutchler by email.

Leslie Mutchler (LM): In your recent mural commission at Facebook (Austin), you've created a visually intense space—to say the least. The repetitive, hand-painted wallpaper of leaves, stripes and modernized fleur-de-lis is loose, expressionistic and vibrant; and over which you've added abstracted and flattened faux-doorways to interior spaces that bring to mind Memphis Design (Milan, circa 1980s). When you throw in the split complementary and warm/cool color schemes, it becomes an overwhelming, yet compelling mix. How did you arrive at this result? Was it planned? Was it intuitive? Can you walk us through your process?

Annie May Johnston (AMJ): Yes, I did have a plan, but I would say that I only stuck to the basic idea of a patterned hallway with doorways and houseplants. I decided that one side of the hall would be cool "wallpaper" with warm doorways and interior spaces and the other would be the opposite hue. My color choices mutated and changed from the start as the bright pink wall had an extreme reflective quality, so much so that it cast every color I chose for the green wall in a pink light, changing my colors completely. Originally, I planned to do the base of the wall with a stencil, but then I discovered a paint spray gun and the pattern developed out of moves that I had used before in smaller pieces. I also knew that I wanted to use milk paint, which is a type of material that is extremely matte and organic feeling, and I wanted to contrast it with bright acrylic and latex paints. I filled and layered the hallway until it felt satiated and could hold its own weight and was interesting enough on its own. The doorways were the next step, and I really felt they came out of nowhere as they were different from anything that I had made before. These pathways or portals needed to be modern and simple, but also absurd and a bit confusing. Ultimately, the result came from a combination of what the space needed rather than what I wanted and my own personal time spent wrestling and negotiating with the materials and surface.

one side of hallway painted with doorways to new faux doorways and fleur di lis'
Photo credit: Anna Mazurek

LM: A patterned hallway and houseplants? What led you to this course of inquiry? Is there a reason you work with interior or domesticated spaces? And why are the houseplants important to the overall composition?

AMJ: Houseplants relate to our human desire to control nature. As captives in our home they completely rely on us for water, sun exposure and nutrients. Within wallpaper there is also that sense of wanting to control our natural environment. I link the patterns in floral wallpaper to expertly crafted gardens in their rows and circles and to our desire to be involved in our natural environment, but from a safe and warm location. The plants in this piece are important because they provide an anchor to the interior and to the "real world", a space that becomes separate from the more alien environment that exists through the portals or doorways. In previous work, my focus was on mapping and the psycho-geography of cities. My focal point was turned towards objects in the cities and later the objects in my own personal space. All of these areas felt too distant or too specific, so now my images are abstracted from my own personal memory. I'm currently trying to find a balance between anonymity and nostalgia.

LM: While here at UT Austin, you made prints and paintings—some installation—but ultimately the work always had an element of repetition. I'd say you are a printmaker at heart—although you work in a great variety of media and ways. How do you think your interest in print, specifically contemporary print, relates to how you make and what you make?

AMJ: I think to describe my relationship to contemporary print means I must talk about my introduction to printmaking. For some time I worked for an atelier in Paris that specialized in lithography, and I had the great honor of working with a wide variety of artists whose prints we pulled and published. At the workshop, Michael Woolworth Publications, we didn't just do editions. I saw prints pulled using pressed and pulped flowers and dried flies. Prints were painted over, folded, added on to, and some incorporated printed materials like books or magazines. Early on I saw print being used in dualities, (e.g., the monotype vs. the edition or the precious print vs. the zine) and in using the medium you encounter a kind of push and pull between intention and form. My most recent work sprung from an exploration of plants, pattern and space, so a natural arena to consider was wallpaper, an art form with its roots in the world of print.

other side of hallway with green background and pink inner faux doorways
Photo credit: Anna Mazurek

LM: It's great to hear a printmaker talk about print in a less restrictive way. I think your background in print, especially your experiences at the publication shop in Paris has allowed you to work with the idea of the multiple and process in an innovative way. What's next for you?

AMJ: I really enjoyed having free-reign of a 90 ft. surface, especially the uniqueness of a hallway, so I imagine I will look for opportunities to work with other large surfaces in different spaces. My experience changed the way I'm currently working through compositions and colors, and I feel very fortunate that the environment challenged me. I have a show coming up in San Francisco in a space that has really old decorative accents and I am planning on doing a hand-painted area, so I'm looking forward to using the tools I gained during the Facebook project to continue working with the wall directly.