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Posts Tagged ‘contemporary’

Photo: Erin L. Thompson/ Hyperallergic.
Paubhā painting of Vishnu surrounded by other major Hindu deities, based on various historical paintings from the Malla era.

Around the world, artists are finding unique ways to blend ancient and contemporary, taking the most meaningful aspects of tradition and interpreting it for new generations.

Erin L. Thompson has a story about Nepal artists at Hyperallergic.

“The Vietnamese monks said they wanted a river. So Lok Chitrakar, one of Nepal’s most prominent painters, wrote ‘need river’ amid the folds of a landscape on a preparatory sketch for the gateways of a Buddhist monastery in Vietnam.

“These drawings stretched across the wall of a room in Chitrakar’s studio when I visited Nepal late last year. I was there to see the reinstallation of a 10th-century sculpture of a deity into the shrine it had been stolen from in 1984 … but I couldn’t help being drawn into Nepal’s vibrant contemporary art scene. …

“The Chitrakars have long followed their name’s Sanskrit meaning: ‘image maker.’ But Chitrakar’s father tried to persuade him to follow a different career path, believing that it had become impossible to make a living creating paubhā, the devotional paintings used in Newar Buddhism. …

“But Chitrakar, born in 1961, persevered. His paubhās, painted following the exacting dictates of traditional form and subject matter in hand-ground mineral pigments bound with buffalo-hide glue, are now in collections and Buddhist sites across the globe. Chitrakar also receives commissions, like the one from the Vietnamese monastery. …

“Chitrakar correctly anticipated that the lull during his youth was temporary. Now, the streets around the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the Kathmandu Valley are lined with artists’ shops selling deities in paint, limestone, wood, and copper. Ordinary tourists take some home, but the most magnificent examples are commissioned by Tibetan Buddhists eager to establish new sanctuaries outside their homeland.         

“The Valley’s sought-after artists used the pandemic to catch up on these orders, often placed years ahead of time. Chitrakar also finished an enormous painting of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha, who is worshipped in both of Nepal’s major religions, Newar Buddhism and Hinduism. The artist had to climb a ladder to unveil the painting to me. Its intricate details took him 20 years to complete. Ganesha, worshipped as a remover of obstacles, is usually shown as a peaceful deity sampling a bowl of sweets. Chitrakar’s magnum opus depicts his wrathful side. Holding a skull cup and flourishing a variety of weapons, Ganesha dances, symbolizing the strength necessary to protect his devotees.

“Chitrakar was easy to find, but it took me much longer to track down another artist I wanted to meet. … I especially admired a mural with saddhus — Hindu ascetic sages — meditating on heaps of coals, intertwined with bouncy figures wielding spray-paint cans, wittily squirting out the traditional scroll-shaped depictions of clouds.

“I finally spoke to Sadhu X, who created the mural in collaboration with the illustrator Nica Harrison. Today, Sadhu X’s works blend traditional iconography and modern influences into his own distinct style. But when he was growing up, the only street art in Nepal was made by visiting foreign artists. In 2010, as he was completing his undergraduate degree, a teacher suggested he use the stencils he was creating on walls outside those of his art school. He followed the advice, soon met others interested in creating street art, and helped found the art space and community Kaalo.101.

“Helena Aryal, who also joined the video call, is another of Kaalo.101’s founders. She expressed her frustration at the perception, both inside and outside Nepal, that street art is a Western phenomenon. Aryal insisted that although the medium might be foreign, the form is deeply rooted in Nepal’s history. The hand-painted paper illustrations of snakes (nagas), pasted on many homes and buildings in the Valley during the annual rainy season festival, confirm that paste-ups are nothing new in Nepal. And the concept of creating art by modifying the public landscape also fits in well with the interactive, multisensory nature of devotion in Nepal, where worshippers in open street-corner shrines leave fingerprint marks in vermillion powder on deities’ foreheads and offer them marigolds, perfumes, food, and even music, by ringing bells. Some shrines are covered in names written in marker — not casual graffiti, but reminders to the gods about who has prayed for what.

Sadhu X told me that he’s never seen a rigid distinction between the style of traditional paubhās and the work of street artists he admires from other parts of the world. …

“Sometimes he thinks that his work is helping traditional Nepali art to evolve, but more often he’s just mixing together his influences and inspirations because he wants to tell stories using a visual language that he hopes his audience will understand. …

“I also had long discussions about this question with Birat Raj Bajracharya, a scholar of Newar Buddhism and part owner of a gallery selling the works of artists intent on both preserving and transforming paubhā painting. …

“Like Sadhu X, Bajracharya does not see a fundamental distinction between traditional Newar style and classical European models. For example, he pointed out to me that the texts describe paintings as portraying deities with emotionally expressive faces. But such expressions are difficult to render in the linear style of traditional paubhās. Bajracharya thus believes that the more complex shadings of emotion captured by artists who use European Renaissance techniques and the full range of colors of modern pigments may better approximate the ancient texts than the older paubhās. …

“Bajracharya advises the artists associated with his gallery about details like the color, attributes, and hand positions of deities in their paintings, making sure they follow the standards passed down in Buddhist and Hindu texts. He wants art to transform without ‘letting go of its core sense.’ “

More at Hyperallergic, here. No firewall.

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What is important to you? Who is important to you?

Today I’m thinking about all the ways we hold what we care about as close as we possibly can. Maybe we love to wear an article of clothing that reminds us of the dear friend who gave it to us. Or a ring that belonged to a great-grandmother. Or a child’s photo in a locket.

As you know, this blog appears because my daughter, Suzanne, suggested five years ago that I write a blog tied to her contemporary birthstone jewelry company and (I’m still amazed by this) basically said, “Go forth, and write about anything that interests you.” Wow.

Today what interests me is letting you know that Suzanne’s company, Luna & Stella, is now offering antique lockets that are rapidly finding a mix-and-match niche. The handmade hinges, just to mention one highlight, are nearly invisible, impossible to find today.

Dear Friends, carry what’s important with you wherever you go. In your heart. Or maybe in a locket. Get those creative juices flowing … maybe a photo of Lady Liberty would be good.

From the founder: “Luna & Stella blends its own contemporary heirlooms with antique and estate pieces.  Influenced by the moon and star icons used in Victorian jewelry, Luna & Stella creates fine jewelry that is symbolic of loved ones, using birthstones and other symbols to represent the relationships between parents, grandparents, children, partners, siblings, and friends. 

“A passionate collector of antique jewelry, Suzanne curates a selection of antique lockets and Victorian and Estate stacking rings chosen to layer with Luna & Stella’s collection of modern talismans, charms, symbols and birthstones. 

“I love finding lockets with the original photos inside.  It is a glimpse into another time and place.  I wonder about the people in the photos – were they her parents?  Her husband? Her children? Her sister or someone else important to her? Whoever they were, they were important to the wearer and I think it is so special that those memories have been preserved in some way, over a 100 years later.  When the new owner puts in her own photos, the locket gets new life and new meaning to each caretaker.

“The url to our website is http://www.lunaandstella.com/ and to the collection of lockets is: http://www.lunaandstella.com/collections/vintage-locket-collectionNot all of the pieces you have are online, yet but they will be by Nov 15.  Clients can customize the lockets with a new or antique chain, and charms from our or their own personal collections.”

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Art: Maggie Stern
“Fish for Supper”

Concord Art has mounted a juried show of member works. I have been twice this week. It’s accessible and stimulating.

When you first enter, you hear a strange clattering and turn to see a beat-up old medicine cabinet with vintage pill bottles inside that are rattling around like ghosts. Very amusing.

My former boss, Meredith Fife Day, had two lovely country scenes in acrylic from her travels in Ireland, and she was the one who reminded me to see the show.

I took a photo of Maggie Stern’s playful “Fish for Supper,” above. Stern says, “What I love most about art is that you get to make up the rules.” I Googled her and found that she has connections with the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass., and has excelled in a variety of artistic realms, including illustrating children’s books and making kits for crafty folks to reproduce her original stitchery.

I was also drawn to Lorraine Sullivan’s use of vintage linens. There must be something in the air about vintage. I’ve been doing a little prospecting (along with Erik’s mother) to add to Suzanne’s new vintage locket collection at Luna & Stella, and have learned that the idea of mixing vintage with contemporary birthstone jewelry is quite popular.

In fact, all sorts of vintage items are being cherished now, to the point that it was not only wonderful but a bit painful to see how Sullivan used her seamstress grandmother’s handiwork in the piece below. Creative destruction. Happy-sad.

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If you are a consumer these days, after Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. I do love Giving Tuesday as there are so many worthy causes to choose from, and you don’t have to go farther than your computer to donate. This year I am torn between a food bank I admire and my favorite refugee nonprofit, although I do love the Granola Project. Maybe I will do something for all three.

But tomorrow is Saturday, and I am headed down to Providence to help Erik with the kids while Suzanne has a Luna & Stella birthstone-jewelry trunk show at Talulah Cooper Boutique on Traverse St, just off Wickenden (12 pm to 5 pm).

While we are on the subject of Luna & Stella (the parent of this blog) you should know that now through Cyber Monday (November 30, 2015) only, you can get 40% off all earrings, plus $20 off orders over $100 anywhere on the website — with code SHOPSMALL.

This season, Suzanne is into mixing her jewelry with some vintage lockets she has found. The ones in the picture are all from the Greater Providence area, long known for jewelry making.

Photo below: Rhode Island Foundation
A Luna & Stella trunk show pictured in a profile at “Our Backyard,” which features Rhode Island people and businesses, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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talulah-cooper-boutique-providenceNew followers can be forgiven for not knowing that this is a blog for Luna & Stella, the contemporary birthstone jewelry company. The company owner is my daughter, Suzanne, and she lets me blog about anything that interests me. So I do go off on tangents.

But today what interests me is the Luna & Stella trunk show, scheduled to take place Saturday, May 2, 12 to 5, in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Talulah Cooper Boutique on Traverse Street (left).

I really love the new Luna & Stella charms, including the Blixt lightning bolt (which has a special association with Suzanne’s electrifying son), the delicate cross, and the anchor that is based on the Rhode Island state flag. And because I am pretty familiar with the great work of the folks at the Rhode Island Foundation, I’m also tickled that Suzanne is sending them $5 of every anchor charm purchased.

She writes, “Our Hope Anchor Charm Necklace is inspired by the anchor on the Rhode Island state flag. $5 of every Anchor charm ordered goes to The Rhode Island Foundation’s Fund for Rhode Island, serving the state’s most critical needs since 1916.”

Oh. Did I mention that Mother’s Day is really soon, May 10? I myself have been dropping broad hints about needing my new granddaughter’s birthstone.

hope anchor birthstone charm necklace

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Have you started getting (or sending) seasonal greeting cards? I have received and answered two already: one from a cousin who wants to be sure folks have her new address, another from a friend in England who has to get a lot done before spending Christmas with her daughter in Hong Kong.

It’s the season of relationships.*

The Christmas cards I love best are photographic or newsy or beautiful or offbeat. Here’s something that would be offbeat. Imagine getting a holiday version of the leather postcards I read about a while back!

“Leather postcards were first made in 1903. They were a novelty that appealed to tourists. When stitched together, they could be used as a pillow cover or wall hanging. The holes along the edge could also be used to attach fringe.  The cards were made of deer hide and the pictures burned in. The U.S. post office banned leather postcards in 1907 because they jammed postage-canceling machines. Leather cards continued to be made as souvenirs until about 1910. Value of the cards today depends on their condition and design. Common postcards, including those with comical pictures, have sold at auction for less than $1 per card. Those with pictures of important people, like the U.S. president, sell for more. One very special leather card cut into the shape of Theodore Roosevelt sold for $325.” More at Kovels, here. Still more here, at Andrew Sullivan’s eclectic blog.

 

Because I have some new followers, I will point out here that Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog is for my daughter’s company, a contemporary birthstone-jewelry business that is about relationships all year long, Luna & Stella. There are some lovely stars and angels there, in case you were wondering.

Photo: Chris Bodenner
Leather postcards from the Albany Rare Book Fair

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John’s son has a friend at the beach, a three-year-old musician whose dad is the contemporary composer Kenneth Kirschner.

5against4 has a word on Kirschner’s work, here: “Ken Kirschner’s second longest release to date is a hypnotic exploration of what we might call ‘mobile stasis’. The complex texture, comprising vibes, electronic tones & strings intermingle in ever-changing permutations. Certainly one of Kirschner’s most ambitious texture works &, for those open to its unique type of language, an immersive, rewarding listening experience.” They link to a free download.

Last.fm has more, here: “Composer Kenneth Kirschner was born in 1970 and lives in New York City. He is known for his open source approach to music, his experiments with software-based indeterminate composition, and his interest in adapting the insights and aesthetics of 20th century composers such as Morton Feldman and John Cage to the context of contemporary digital music.

“His work has been released on CDs from record labels such as 12k, Sub Rosa, Sirr, and/OAR and Leerraum, as well as online through a wide variety of netlabels and other sources. A large selection of Kirschner’s music is freely available for download from his website.” See http://www.kennethkirschner.com.

You can also find remixes of Kirschner’s work at Soundcloud.com, but it doesn’t look like he puts his compositions there himself.

Photo: Last.fm. Uploaded by uf_on.

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