Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I love art. I always have. My mom loves to tell the story of taking me to the Louvre in Paris when I was four, and I outlasted her. I was just fascinated by how reality can shift like that from where I was to a canvas. How history was right in front of me, a moment in time captured forever.
I love almost everything. Degas, Monet, Seurat; Klimt, Gerstl, Schiele; Hopper; Vermeer. Anything Beidermeier. Anything beautiful, really.

In college, I found myself drawn to certain artists. My friend Charlie, a photographer, helped me develop my own artistic eye. We would walk through Whitman's campus, and he would point things out like the evening light gilding a brick wall, or the drops of water on bare sticks, like little diamonds sparkling in the morning light. Charlie brought that magic from the Louvre to the world around me.

But my favorite artist at Whitman was Vanessa Calvert. She did what I loved about art in a unique way. I remember walking through the senior art show, and having my breath literally taken away as I walked into her side room. The walls were covered with her amazing work, and in the center was a sculpture. It was just a table and chairs, with some objects on the table, but she had broken it apart, and put it back together so that it mirrored her paintings.

Although some might call her work dark, I think it's beautiful. It shows the world in a new and interesting light, and I've always thought it was entrancing.

Here are her words (taken from broderickgallery.com):

"My work explores the relationship between time, memory, and perception. Unable to distinctly separate the three, I am drawn to a depiction of the world where all exist simultaneously. I am fascinated with the imperfections and flaws of memory. As time distorts and distills our perceptions of reality, our memories take on a life of their own. I create a glimpse of that world which teeters between real and unreal through an untraditional approach to still-life and landscape that combines encaustic and photo-collage. Stripped down to their essence, my subjects are concentrated studies of the solitary nature of our surroundings. Reflecting the worn nature of the subjects, the background is scraped and fused in order to suspend the object, like a memory, with some pieces missing and some repeated or replaced. The layers of saturated color defused through pigmented wax not only provide grounding for the subject but also a blurred vision of the rest of their story. The subjects become simultaneously personal and generic through an anonymity of time and place that allows the viewer to associate his or her own memories with each piece. These pieces serve as a response to the inundation of visual stimuli in our lives. By isolating an object, I condense our oversaturated society down to a moment in time."
Vanessa Calvert, 2006

One of these days, I'll get to put one of them on my own wall, and say I have an original Calvert!

(images from Broderickgallery.com)

1 comment:

Be the change..... said...

Oh lovely! I love her artwork! Funny how our personalities develop at such a young age. When I was a toddler my parents would take a nightly walk around their neighborhood of big old houses. They said even before I could talk I was staring up at all the old mansions. They would laugh as my eyes followed them as they pushed my baby carriage by: some things never change!