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The Empty Bed: Tracey Emin and the Persistent Self

By Morgan Meis Essay

THIS ALL HAPPENED IN 1998. A youngish woman, an artist, was at home in her council flat in the Waterloo neighborhood of central London. Council flats, you should know, are basically a British version of public housing. The woman’s name was Tracey Emin. She was having a lousy week. A relationship had gone sour. More…

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System and Chaos: The Art of Linnéa Spransy

By Brian Volck Essay

I am interested in limits, specifically, in their ability to generate surprise, even freedom. —Linnéa Spransy The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings. —Wendell Berry   THE CANVASAS IN LINNÉA SPRANSY’S studio explode with images rich and strange: ribbons and lobes reproducing like bacteria in…

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Still Points: The Quiet Spaces of Wolfgang Laib

By Brenton Good Essay

Let us start from one admitted fact: if prayer, meditation, and contemplation were once taken for granted as central realities in human life everywhere, they are so no longer. They are regarded, even by believers, as somehow marginal and secondary: what counts is getting things done. ————-—Thomas Merton, from Contemplation in a World of Action…

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Oliver Barratt: Poetry of the Void

By Richard Davey Essay

THE PHERICHE CLINIC clings to a windswept, rocky plateau two day’s hike below Everest Base Camp. Dwarfed by the majestic Himalayan peaks that surround it, this collection of low stone buildings is the highest medical clinic in the world, offering climbers and those who live there the care and expert treatment that are essential in…

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Gravity and Grace: The Art of Richard Serra

By James Romaine Essay

RICHARD SERRA’S Torqued Ellipse I and Torqued Ellipse II (1996-97), now permanently installed at Dia:Beacon, remind me of Simone Weil’s axiom that “All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by the laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception” [see Plate 1]. These lines, from the opening of her book…

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The House that Agnes Martin Built

By Joanna Weber Essay

A Grant of the Divine— That Certain as it Comes— Withdraws—and leaves the dazzled Soul In her unfurnished Rooms. ——————————Emily Dickinson PAINTER AGNES MARTIN, who died in Taos, New Mexico, in 2004, had the ability to make seemingly restrictive, minimalist forms pulse with life. Her paintings are nearly all made up of straight lines and…

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Pixelated Glories: The Graphic Excursions of Kathy T. Hettinga

By Karen L. Mulder Essay

DESIGN IS ubiquitous. Design in its graphic manifestations is, well, frankly overwhelming. Streams of printed ephemera constantly assault us, from cherished journals, to the slumping pile of unread newspapers shoved behind an easy chair in the corner, to the blur of billboards, fliers, bulletins, and posters cluttering our horizon. The democracy of digital invention compounds…

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Things Come Alive: The Art of Olga Lah

By William Dyrness Essay

OLGA LAH DID NOT start out wanting to wrap buildings in electrician’s tape, fill huge spaces with billows of crumpled paper, or line galleries with great swathes of plastic bottle caps. She did not set out to be an artist at all—let alone one catching the attention of the art world in Los Angeles and even…

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Carnal Beauties: The Art of Allison Luce

By Linda Stratford Essay

CERAMICIST ALLISON LUCE makes biomorphic portraits that seem almost excessively beautiful. Each piece revels in its physicality, its undeniable materiality, in its earthy substance—clay—and organic forms. Her four-part Serpent Tree series serves as an apt introduction to her work. In Primoris Ortus, for example, assemblages of swelling, vegetative curves stand alongside works suggestive of eroded rock…

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