Thursday, October 19, 2017

Chicago Botanic 2017

Last weekend I was in Chicago and had a chance to visit the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
There were three special exhibitions: "Brazil in Chicago,"  "Fall Flowers,"  and the
"Illinois Orchid Show and Sale."  You enter the Gardens across this bridge, which is hung
with chrysanthemum blankets of "Firefall Garden Chrysanthemums."

There were also boxes of "Firefall Mums" along the bridge.

And then you come to the Esplanade and the first show, "Brazil in Chicago."
For those of us in South Florida, it looks like our street, but in Chicago, all of these
Brazilian plants are highly exotic and unusual.  The Gardens emphasize plants which
will grow in the Chicago climate, but they also like to show off the fauna of other parts
of the world as well.  Brazil is the most bio-diverse country in the world with more varieties
of plants and animals than any other country.

A series of beds were filled with plants from Brazil.  On the left is Zamia Palm, which feels
like cardboard, then Blue Mexican Sage, Hawaiian Punch Elephant Ears, grayish Bismarck
Palms, and another variety of blue sage.

Bromeliads are one of the most common plants in Brazil and come in many sizes, shapes,
and colors.  This was a colorful chartreuse and wine color.

In the left foreground is a decorative grass, then Bolivian Honeysuckle, behind are Praetoria
Orange Cannas, and then dark Red Leaf Hibiscus.

Hawaiian Punch Elephant Ears / Colocasia are very large leafed plants.

"Miagos" is a bright decorative grass.

"Blue Tango Bromeliad" has pale green leaves and blue and white stalks of flowers.
It is also called the Urn Plant.

Bismark Palms, Hawaiian Punch Elephant Ears, and Mexican Blue Sage.

The tall plants are Bismarck Palm, Praetoria Cannas, and Red Leaf Hibiscus.

Many beds of Brazilian plants.

Then we turn to the left, climb a few stairs, and we are in the Heritage Garden.  This
consists of three waterlily ponds, an open terrace in the center, and a series of sections
around the outside in a circle which feature plants of different parts of the world and of
different plant families.

These are all Bromeliads.  The tower is an armature of steel with sacks of potting soil.  They
punch holes in these and insert the bromeliads of various colors.  The pots in front have
"Yellow Fruit Bromeliads."

Yellow Cannas.  They are planted in pots in the ponds; they will be taken inside
during the winter, although the plants are quite hardy.  My mother always had
splendid red cannas in the front yard in Chicago.

This is "South America."  The blue is "Senorita Rosita Spider Plant" and the copper is
"Autumn Pallette Red Amaranth."  The large leaf is 'Castor Bean."

"Yellow Ornamental Peppers."  These are strictly for looking; they are not edible.
But they are grown in many colors.  These plants were quite large, about three feet high.

"Orange ornamental Peppers."  These are about a foot high.

"Orange Sneezeweed / Helenium" and "Blue Sage."

"Balloon Flowers."  They are a little larger than tennis balls and very soft.
The bush is covered in hundreds of them.  They are in "Africa."

"Red Castor Beans" are also from Africa.

Red Castor Bean.

"Europe" has these "Mohave Orange Strawflowers."

"Deep Raspberry Strawflowers."  These can be dried, and they will stay
colorful all winter in a bouquet.

The section on "Japan" features chrysanthemums. These are "Dolliette Yellow Spider
Cushion Mums."

Magnificent "Lavender Spider Mums" about 7 inches across.

"Yellow Brush Style Spoon Mums."  Look at the edge of each petal, which looks
like a little spoon.

This is the "Japan Bed" with chrysanthemums and in the center "Vanilla Strawberry
Panicle Hydrangeas."

"Vanilla Strawberry Panicle Hydrangeas" and "Lavender Spider Mums."

"Vanilla Strawberry Panicle Hydrangea"

In the center were beds with "Oopsy Daisy Pot Marigolds."

"Orange King" Pot Marigolds were mixed with the yellow "Oopsy Daisy" marigolds. 

The three waterlily ponds were filled with many colors of flowers.  The water is tinted
black to make the flowers stand out, and the flowers are all taken inside for the winter.

Two pale blue waterlilies.  They each bloom for only a day.

This was a beautiful new variety for me, with colors ranging from magenta to pink to peach 
to cream and then to yellow in the center.  In the morning when I arrived, it was still a bud,
but by the time I finished lunch, it was in full bloom.

This also was totally new - a Double White Water Lily.

"Pink Cannas."  Each of the ponds features a different color of cannas.

A visitor in the Gardens.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Art Wynwood Part 4

Duane Hanson.  "Gallery Guard."  American.  Fiberglass.
Duane Hanson's super-realistic gallery guard stood watch and puzzled many visitors.

Ms Laurence Jendell.  "Wrapped Candy."  France.  Bronze.
The "Candy" has become Jendell's signature piece, in marble or bronze or plastic
and in many colors.

Manolo Valdes.  "Regina con Sombrero."  Spain.  Wood
"tThe Queen with a Hat" is based originally on  Matisse's
"Woman with Ostrich Feather Hat," a portrait of his wife.

Carlos Cruz-Diez.  "Op Art."  Venezuela.
Cruz-Diez and Jesus Soto made Op Art almost the national art of Venezuela.  Every
young artist must do some variation.  Soto has died, but Cruz-Diez is still producing works
and is very prolific after 60 years.

Carlos Cruz-Diez.  "Physio-Chromie."  Venezuela.
This is Cruz-Diez' signature piece.  It consist of many thin strips of wood glued to the surface and
 each side of each slat is painted a different color.  So as you walk by the sculpture, it changes
 colors and form.

Soe Young Deoh.  "The Hypocrit."  Indonesia.  Welded Bicycle Chains.
Soe Young has created many works using welded bicycle chains, which he reclaims from
junk yards, or welded chains of various sizes, which he also finds in the trash.  His skill
is impressive.  See detail below.

Soe Young Deoh.  "The Hypocrite."  Welded Bicycle Chains.  Indonesia.  Detail.

Head of "Hypocrite."  Soe Young Deoh.  Welded Bicycle Chains.

Ilhwa Kim.    "Seed Portrait."  South Korea.  Folded Paper.
Kim here uses an ancient Chinese craft, Hanji, to fold mulberry paper into small
packets, then dye them and glue them to a surface in a pattern.

Detail of Ilhwa Kim.  "Seed Universe."  Folded Mulberry Paper.  South Korea.

Shepard Fairey.  "Obey / Peace."  American.
Shepard is one of the leading street artists in America.  He has several
splendid huge wall murals in Wynwood, as part of the festival.  But he earns
a living with his gallery paintings, like this.  This is one of his most famous
works.  If we are told "Do Not Cross" or "Obey Flight Attendants," it
would be even better if we would "OBEY" these signs and keep peace.

Banksy.  "Soldiers Painting Peace Symbol.:  England.
Banksy is the most famous of all Graffiti artists, British but still
anonymous.  He first appeared during the "Aerosol Bomb" explosion
of graffiti art in Bristol, England in the 1980s.  His identity is still unknown,
and he works between London and New York now.  He still paints on
walls and abandoned buildings in England and the U.S. and his works 
are eagerly photographed and disseminated by fans.  Many are on the internet.
This work was first painted on a wall, and there are several different versions.

Keith Haring.  "Pop Shop III."  American. Graffiti Art.  Litho.
Keith began his career by spray painting images like this on subway cars and walls in
New York.  You have to move fast before the police or guards come running, so you
paint simple forms with strong outlines, so people can see it from a distance.
He called subway cars "Moving museums."  Later, he did works like this for galleries.

Keith Haring.  "Pop Shop IV."  Litho.  American.

William Barbosa.  "Blue Arch."  Aluminum.  Colombia.
Barbosa was born in Colombia, but lives and works in Caracas,
Venezuela, at the present.

William Barbosa.  "Red Arch."  Aluminim.  Colombia/Venezuela.

Retna.  "Secrets to Tell."   American. 12 f.t x 6 ft.
Born Marquis Lewis in Los Angeles, Retna is recognized today primarily as a
graffiti artist.  Several of the finest murals in Wynwood, including one seven-stories high,
are by Retna.  His works, whether murals or on canvas, are a special calligraphy
which combines hieroglyphics, Arabic, Hebrew, and his own unique symbols.
This piece is about twelve feet long.

Retna.  From the "Provocateur" Series.  American.

A Gallery devoted to Graffiti Artists.
On the left wall is Ryan McGinniss, straight ahead are four paintings by Robert Indiana,
and on the right wall are two works by Keith Haring, including "Barking Dog."

Robert Indiana.  "Four Signs."  Pop Art.  American.
Indiana uses the form of a traffic sign or perhaps a manhole cover in the street. and then
adds words.  The paintings are both visually striking patterns of colors, but the words
add a further dimension tot ehm.

Joe Black.  "Peace.  10,500 Soldiers."  American.  Tiny Plastic Soldiers
The beautiful orchid form is actually composed of 10,500 toy plastic soldiers.

Joe Black.  "Peace."  Close-up of toy soldiers.

Michael Halsband.  "Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat."  Photo.
Warhol, the Pop artist, and Basquiat, the Graffiti artist, sometimes worked
together on artworks.  They certainly admired each other, and neither
 one was a boxer.  So this posed photo is humorous in intent.

Nelson de la Nuez.  "Chanel No. 5."  Cuban-American.
Nelson was born in Cuba but brought to California as a child.  He was
fascinated with American television, advertising, games, products.
He has made all of these subjects of his paintings. One of his favorite
products is Chanel No. 5.  The dots suggest he knows Damien Hirst
and his famous dot paintings - a product in art.

Miguel Covarrubias.  "Lovers on the Moon."  Mexico.
Covarrubias' was a Mexican painter, caricaturist, illustrator, ehtnologist, and
art historian.

Victor Manuel Garcia.  "Sweethearts"  Cuba  1948.
Victor Manuel Garcia Valdes was a Cuban painter and an early member of the
"Vanguardia" movement of artists who, beginning in the 1920s, combined
European concepts of Modern art with native Primitivism to create a
distinctly Cuban aesthetic. 

Rene Portocarrero.  "Lady with Hat."  Cuba.
Portocarrero was one of Cuba's greatest artists.  He was painter, sculptor,
 ceramicist, stage designer, and book illustrator.  For many years, he worked
 in the village of Santiago de las Vegas alongside Wifredo Lam and
Amelia Pelaez, two of the other greatest artists in Cuban history.

Rene Portocarrera. "Bouquet of Flowers."  Cuba.
In terms of technique, Portocarrero was largely self-taught.

Reymond Romero.  "Acromatia."  Venezuela.  Textiles and mixed media.
Romero is part of the strong Venezuelan tradition of Op Art.

Pancho Luna.  "Blue Books."  Argentina.  Acrylic.
When I first saw a photo of this before the show, I could not understand what it was.
When I saw it in the show, I was amazed.  It consists of a series of blocks of clear
acrylic, which then have only the spine of a book glued to the back.  When seen head-on,
they seem to be actual books.  The entire gallery was filled with objects in which blue
was the dominant color.

Juvenal Ravelo.  "Rejuvenation of Light 1."   Venezuela  Op Art.
Ravelo is one of the younger generation of Venzuelan Op Artists.

Juvenal Ravelo.  "Rejuvenation of Light 2."  Venezuela.

Manuel Felguerez.  "Andromeda."  Mexican.
Felguerez is the greatest of living Mexican artists, working both as painter and sculptor.
He is now 92 years old.  He has recently been constructing abstract wooden forms.

Manuel Felguerez.  "Untitled."  Mexican.  Abstract Expressionism.
Felguerez paints on a large scale.  This work is nine feet long and embellished with gold
foil.  He has been influenced by the New York painters, but often refers back to
Mexican history or folklore.

Manuel Felguerez.  "Untitled."  Mexican.  Abstract Expressionism.

Pablo Atchugarry.  "Untitled."  Uruguay/  White Marble.
The hard marble always look like soft fabric draping.

Pablo Athugarry.  (Uruguay)  "Two Sculptures."  and Fernando de Szyslo  (Peru)
"Ritual Ceremonies."

Fernando de Szyslo.  "Ritual Ceremony."  Peru.
De Szyslo is the greatest name in Peruvian art, and his paintings always deal with ancient
Pre-Columbian myths or religion or folk tales.  This diptych is very large, 12 feet long.

Katrin Fridriks.  "Silver Awareness."  Iceland.
Her works explore speed, gravity, growth, and the interaction of man and nature.
It was interesting to see how artists even in Iceland have been influenced by
American Abstract Expressionism.

Mel Bochner.  "Head Honcho."  American.  Embossed Handmade Paper.

Donald Sultan.  "Black Poppies."  Corten Steel.  American.
Sultan has long painted very simplified flower forms on a very large scale; more
recently he has created 3D steel sculptures of these flowers.

Donald Sultan.  "Yellow Poppies."  American.  Corten Steel.