It has to be one of the most extraordinary Christmas trees ever imagined. Twelve feet high, glowing in brilliant oranges, this “tree” was created by artist Ben Quilty out of the lifejackets of Syrian refugee children who had safely reached the island of Lesbos on boats. For the current Christmas season, this sculpture has been…Read More
When I finished reading Paul Anel’s article on the chapel art of Sean Scully, in the current issue of Image (#91), I was moved to close my eyes in prayer. It wasn’t verbal prayer. It was a sitting within a sense of the sacred. Both Scully’s art and Anel’s graced account of it had drawn me…Read More
Historically, modern art has prized originality and authenticity. But alongside this tradition runs another set of practices: replication and tactics of illusion. The Romans made copies of Greek sculptures; Northern Europeans in the seventeenth century practiced an illusionistic approach to still life painting called quodlibet, or “what you will”; American pop art reproduced images…Read More
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” Elizabeth Bishop said, with irony. Still, it’s true that we mislay so many things over a lifetime that we become quite adept at bearing our deprivations. By the end, it’s a wonder that we have so much left to convey; the reading of wills should be bankrupt…Read More
This essay is a web exclusive accompanying Image journal’s current issue, #90. Homely, decorative, domestic—that’s how most of us think of quilting: something a sweet grandmother does while humming an old tune and waiting for a pie to cool on the rack. It’s a comfy-seeming practice we associate with homemaking and mothering—vocations mostly overlooked…Read More
“A world created out of silence gives itself over to prayer.” I’m listening to local painter Debra Korluka discuss her work: the icons she’s painted since she was a child studying in the Ukrainian Orthodox church. I’m interested in the symbolism of an icon’s composition and in the paints—their colors, chemistry, poisons, and history. All…Read More
This post originally appeared as web-exclusive content in Image issue 78. Steve Prince, a New Orleans native, works primarily in printmaking and drawing. His richly textured images are steeped in religious and visual culture; critic D. Eric Bookhardt characterizes their metaphorical power as “an ability to elucidate inexplicable worlds within worlds.” Prince’s recent work includes…Read More
The few years I lived in Houston’s Menil neighborhood, right behind the University of St. Thomas, I felt like I’d been invited to live in a sacred garden, a nearly prelapsarian environment. It is a beautiful space, near the art museum known as the Menil Collection and its park, and bordered by several streets of…Read More
Image: Natalie, a lot of your recent artwork is temporary—that is, it’s drawn directly onto gallery walls and when the show is over, only photos are left. Can you speak to this?
Natalie Settles: Yes, these are works with lifespans. In fact, the installations are typically up for the same amount of time over which the lifecycle of a small annual plant would play out.
I’d noticed a lab whose work seemed to be driven by some of the broader questions that motivated my own studio practice—life in the margins, forms shaped by place, the ideal and the compromised, things that are compelling and powerful and also fleeting. This was Steve’s lab.
One evening while we were walking the hilly streets of Pittsburgh, a friend urged me to get in touch with Steve to see what would happen. The next day I emailed him and told him I was an artist and was interested in his work. A couple days later, we met for a two-hour chat over coffee; now, four years later, the rest is history.Read More