Archive for April, 2012

Remedios Varo Wondrous In Wonderland

30 April 2012

The Flutist, painting by Remedios Varo 1955

Yesterday, I got around to seeing the In Wonderland show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It’s closing this week Sunday Friday May 6th, and if you haven’t seen it already, at least once, you should stop reading and make plans to go. Museum is open 12noon to 8pm daily except Wednesday. Last day for show is this Sunday Friday.

There’s a lot of compelling work, including Frida Kahlo pieces that are definitely great! Also work by Kay Sage, Lenora Carrington, even Lee Krasner… but the artist whose work made the biggest impression on me is Remedios Varo (1908-1963.) She was born in Spain and worked mostly in Mexico.  (more…)

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Comics Vocabulary: Super Panel

30 April 2012

Multi-panel, Polyptych or Super-Panel - image from Michel Fiffe's Zegas comic

So… I’ve written about these comics-panels-with-multiple-images-across-one-background before, and have been collecting examples from the 1900s through recent years. They’re called polyptychs or multi-panel pan sequences or multi-pans… but I just learned a new term for them: Super Panels. Ay… it’s so refreshingly low-brow! There’s a good collection of them, with discussion, etc., at Michel Fiffe’s website(more…)

My Swipes From Max Beckmann

28 April 2012

Departure (after Beckmann) by Joe Linton, watercolor and India Ink on paper, 2001

Many years ago, I think when I was in college, my mother took me to a big retrospective of artwork by Max Beckmann. Beckmann is a German painter who lived from 1884-1950. The show was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It included a lot of self-portraits that really showed his own evolution as an artist. I went home and started doing a bunch of self-portraits.

I really enjoy Beckmann’s artwork. It’s often dark and brooding, big and heroic too. There’s a story going on behind his tableaus… and the story is usually big, powerful, legendary, mythic. Also, on a more low-brow note, he uses a lot of black outlines… so do I… and so do comic books. Incredibly, he captures light and skin tone really well, and still includes sometimes bulky black outlines. Lastly, perhaps completely over-stretching this thin analogy, Beckmann’s most famous works are multi-panel triptychs.

So, over the years I’ve based a few of my pieces on Max Beckmann paintings. Though I think that pretty much all artwork is inspired by other work, this basing one’s work on another’s can be seen as lazy, or as honorable, or something between. In highbrow art, borrowing can be called an homage or a reference; in comic book art terminology this is called a swipe. Not all swipes are bad; many are great. I learn copying from masters. Alan Moore very much swipes stuff and reinvents it brilliantly in the process. But it’s, of course, generally dishonorable (sometimes illegal) to swipe without acknowledging the source.  (more…)

Troubled Man: Enjoying An Aging Wallander

21 April 2012

Henning Mankell's The Troubled Man, Vintage Crime, paperback published April 2012

Just finished Henning Mankell’s The Troubled Man – the latest installment in the Kurt Wallander mysteries series that I wrote about earlier. I really enjoyed it.

There’s this funny dynamic in some detective stories where I sometimes get impatient during the story when the focus strays from the mystery itself – and into other ‘extraneous’ things like character development, other narratives, etc. The Troubled Man is one of the few detective novels that I can remember not wanting to go back to the mystery, because I was enjoying the characters. There’s a lot of great interactions between Wallander and his daughter Linda… who love each other but don’t always get along.

Here’s one conversation between father and daughter; it made me laugh and wince:

Linda laughed. She’s on edge, Wallander thought. They [Linda and her mother Mona who is KW’s ex-wife]  probably argue a lot more than she wants me to know.

“According to Mona it was the other way around,” she said. “It was you who slammed the door and never apologized.”

“I thought we’d already agreed that Mona sometimes says things that aren’t true,” Wallander said.

“You do exactly the same. Neither of my parents is a thoroughly honest person.”  (more…)