All images © Kanako Abe, shared with permission

From a single sheet of white paper, Kanako Abe (previously) carves exquisite silhouettes of children and young adults who are awash in seas of fish or occupied by quiet campouts. She utilizes the traditional Japanese art form called Kirie—which translates to cut picture—a technique that Abe begins with a sketch before slicing the delicate material with a variety of knives. “I don’t have a chance to change the design once I start cutting, so I find it challenging,” the Seattle-based artist says. “I have to think of the right patterns, controlling negative space, and make sure all the lines are connected so the art won’t fall apart once it’s finished.” A single piece can take anywhere from six to 60 hours to complete.

Abe shifted to full-time in 2020 and now balances her practice between commissions and ongoing personal projects, a few … Read the rest

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Acrylic medium is a versatile product for use with acrylic paint and in mixed-media projects. A liquid that’s milky when wet and translucent when dry, it can be added to acrylic to increase fluidity; the more you add, the thinner and more transparent the color will become. This makes it particularly handy for glazes and blending. It can also be used to create a clear ground on canvas or paper in place of gesso, and it works as an adhesive for use in collage and image transfers. Most acrylic mediums come in two finishes: glossy and matte. Since acrylics tend to have a glossy finish to begin with, choosing a matte medium to mix in with your paints can make a significant difference in your work’s final appearance. Whether Read the rest

Artwork by RISD Summer Programs faculty Polly Becker for a course called Illustration: The Assembled Image

Experience Rhode Island School of Design this summer from anywhere in the world. Choose from online classes with live Zoom sessions or asynchronous learning with no required meeting times. Whether you’re an artist or designer looking to advance your practice, a college student hoping to earn credit, or a high school student interested in pursuing art and design, RISD CE is offering 160+ online courses for adults and teens this summer.

RISD Summer Programs students can earn college credit from live studio classes and liberal arts courses that are pre-recorded and delivered asynchronously. Students work with renowned RISD faculty and receive personalized instruction to advance their creative practice. All courses are three (3) credits and run for six weeks from June 21 to July 30, 2021.

RISD Advanced Program for High School Students provides … Read the rest

Robert Colescott’s 1975 painting, George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware River: Page from an American History Textbook, a riff on Emanuel Leutze’s widely-known 1852 painting of the first President of the United States crossing the Delaware river by boat, will be sold at auction next month. The painting will be offered with a guarantee during Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale on May 12, where it is expected to achieve a price of $9 million–$12 million— far above the artist’s auction record of $912,500, which was set in November 2018.

In Colescott’s painting, he has replaced the white figures in Leutze’s scene, which has been in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection for more than a century, with Black figures representing racist tropes that have been used throughout American history. Colescott, who in 1977 became the first Black artist to represent the U.S. at the Venice Biennale, is recognized … Read the rest

The Annual Student Exhibition is an academic capstone event offering PAFA’s emerging artists the opportunity to curate, install, and sell their own work in America’s first art museum. All images © PAFA

100% of students receive merit scholarships; Fall ’21 applications are open

Finding an art college that best fits your desires and wallet can be challenging. Studio arts training should provide the foundational skills, intellectual context, discipline, and creativity needed for a lifelong pursuit of making art. An art-school experience that supports student development through curriculum, highly-mentored education, training in the business of being an artist, and access to a world-class museum sounds like an unattainable dream. Adding financial support and flexibility to the list makes it seem impossible. Making the impossible possible for student-artists is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) mission.

PAFA educates artists worldwide to be innovative makers and critical thinkers, to cultivate a … Read the rest

Although Bill Traylor is now coming to be considered a major figure in 20th century U.S. art history, little is known about his life. The facts are these: Traylor was born in 1853 into slavery, and he died in 1949. A Black man in Montgomery, Alabama, he spent the majority of his life enduring Jim Crow oppression. He came to art-making late in his career, working with charcoal, paint, crayon, paper, and other materials when he was already in his 80s. Historians are aware of various details throughout, but there are still a number of gaps, leaving questions about who Traylor really was.

The reason many have remained fascinated in Traylor, though, is not the lacunas in his biography, but the explosive creativity that can be seen in his art. His output was so singular, it seems that it was always just waiting below the surface, ready for Traylor to … Read the rest

“Heisenberg Object V – Cortez” (2021), leather, foam, and resin, 30 x 18 x 15 centimeters. All images © Fabian Oefner, shared with permission

In Heisenberg Objects, Fabian Oefner (previously) translates quantum mechanic’s uncertainty principle into a sculptural series of segmented objects. The Connecticut-based artist uses resin to solidify the everyday items, which include sneakers, a Leica M6, a tape recorder, a Seiko clock, and flight recorder, before slicing them into countless individual pieces. He then aggregates those fragmented parts into dissected sculptures that resemble the original object through a distorted view of the inner and outer mechanisms.

Drawing its name from German physicist Werner Heisenberg, the series is rooted in the basics of the uncertainty principle, which states that no two particles can be measured accurately at exactly the same time. “You can either determine one parameter and ignore the other or vice versa, but you can never … Read the rest

Illustration Denise Nestor.

The 2020–21 issue of Art in America’s Annual Guide, released in December 2020, includes interviews with museum directors about how they responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. In October, A.i.A. spoke with Olivier Meslay, director of the Clark Art Institute, which was privately founded in 1955 and is best known for its collection of European and American fine and decorative arts dating from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. One of the first American museums to reopen after the worldwide Covid-19 closures, the Massachusetts venue has the advantage of a rural location and sprawling campus, both of which are conducive to social distancing on the institution’s grounds. Below, Meslay details the indoor safety measures that have worked for the Institute, and discusses counteracting the effects of art depravation.

We wanted to welcome our visitors back as soon as possible. After all, our mission is to provide art … Read the rest

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong. All images courtesy of MASS MoCA, shared with permission

Rocky debris, vintage photographs, and a wooden ship colliding with its own hull are suspended above a 100-yard gallery at MASS MoCA for “In the Light of a Shadow.” The work of Los Angeles-born artist Glenn Kaino (previously), the monumental installation generates a sprawling environment filled with thousands of floating elements that speak to the vast impact of protest and collective movements.

Lined with an aisle of light and constantly moving shadows, the hovering artworks fuse memories of past injustices and a brighter, hopeful path forward in an immersive experience. Specifically, Kaino uses “In the Light of a Shadow” as a response to the horrific events of Bloody Sunday in both Selma, Alabama, and Derry, Northern Ireland. He models the wrecked ship after the Shadow V, a modest … Read the rest

Phillips’s live-streamed evening sale of 20th century and contemporary art in London tonight brought in a hammer total of £20.1 million, or £24.8 million with premium ($34.2 million), exceeding the auction’s £16.7 million–£23.5 million. Of the 33 lots on offer (a couple works, including the sale’s cover lot by Tamara de Lempicka, were withdrawn), 30 works sold, and 5 were guaranteed at a collected low estimate of £4 million ($5.5 million).

This year’s result is up by 17 percent from the total achieved during last year’s equivalent sale in February 2020, which brought in £21.4 million ($29.5 million) across 40 lots. That was a significantly lower total than the one achieved at March 2019’s sale, however, which, generating £37 million ($51 million) across 29 lots sold.

With the vaccine rollout underway in the U.S. and U.K., there is an air of optimism about businesses opening back up. In a post-sale … Read the rest