Sunday, November 21, 2010

and then there were three...

I have narrowed my options for project four from 6 down to's who made the cut:

M.C. Escher

From an early age I have admired M.C. Escher’s illustrations, most probably because my older brother had an Escher 365 day flip calendar, and everything my brother did or had was cool. It wasn’t until I was in high school, however, that I truly realized the genius behind his mathematically precise designs.

Maurits Cornelis Escher (June 17, 1898 - March 27, 1972) was a Dutch artist most known for his woodcuts, lithographs and mezzotints, which tend to feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, and interlocking geometric patterns which change gradually into completely different forms.                                   
             Maurits Cornelis, or Mauk as he was to be nicknamed, was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. He was the youngest son of hydraulics engineer George Arnold Escher and his second wife, Sarah Gleichman. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem where he took carpentry and piano lessons until the age of thirteen.
              From 1912 until 1918, he attended secondary school; though he excelled at drawing, his grades were generally poor, and he had to repeat the second form. Later, from 1919, Escher attended the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts; he studied architecture briefly, but then made a switch to decorative arts, studying under Samuel Jesserun de Mesquita, an artist whom he would remain in contact with until de Mesquita, his wife and son were murdered by the Nazis in early 1944. In 1922, Escher, having gained experience in drawing and particularly woodcutting, left the school.
             Escher travelled to Italy regularly in the following years, and it was in Italy, too, that he first met Jetta Umiker, the woman who would become his wife in 1924. The young couple settled down in Rome after marriage and stayed there until 1935; when the political climate under Mussolini became unbearable, the family moved to Ch√Ęteau-d'Oex, Switzerland, where they stayed for two years.
             Escher, however, who had been very fond of and inspired by the landscape in Italy, was decidedly unhappy in Switzerland, so two years later, in 1937, the family moved again, this time to Ukkel, a small town near Brussels, Belgium. World War II forced them to move a last time in January 1941, this time to Baarn, the Netherlands, where Escher lived until 1970.
Most of Escher's better-known pictures date from this period; the cloudy, cold, wet weather of the Netherlands allowed him to focus entirely on his works, and only in 1962, when he had to undergo surgery, was there a time when no new images were created.
Escher moved to the Rosa-Spier house in Laren in the northern Netherlands in 1970, a retirement home for artists where he could have a studio of his own, and died there on March 27, 1972.

"M.C. Escher:Visions of Symmetry", written by Doris Schattschneider

Alexander Rodchenko

After studying Alexander Rodchenko in art history last year, I have since been fascinated not only by his works but also by the history in which he lived in and helped create. As a Russian avant-garde artist emerging out of the tumult of the Russian society in the early 20th century, his wide breadth of success across multiple medias as well his contribution to Constructivism makes him a figure to be admired.

          Born November 23, 1891, in St. Petersburg, Rodchenko died on December 3, 1956. He attended the School of Arts in Kazan, Russia, from 1910 to 1914, then studied graphic arts at the School of Applied Arts in Moscow (1915). The artist was influenced by the Futurists, Cubism and Art Nouveau, and his mentor was Vladimir Tatlin.
          Rodchenko's first job was as an assistant to Tatlin at a 1916 Futurist exhibit in Moscow, at which ten of Rodchenko's pictures were shown. In 1918 Rodchenko helped found the Museum of Artistic Culture and became its first director. By 1920 he was one of the most active members of the Institut Khudozhestvennoy Kultury - also known is Inkhuk - and he taught a Vkhutemas (High-Grade Art - Technical Workshops). Beginning in 1918 he was active for several years with the Committee of Applied Arts, a government agency. In 1921-22 he did illustrative work in theater, films, typography and advertising, and continued throughout the 1920s to provide cover designs for a remarkably wide range of publications - from the poet Mayakovsky's books (1925-29) to scientific and technical literature for Moscow publishers. He also designed the cover of Kino-Fot, a periodical of the Russian Constructivists which began in 1922 and in which Rodchenko was regularly published.
           He took up photography in 1924 and gave a short series of talks on the medium at Vkutein (Fine Arts Technical School) in the early 1920's. From 1920 to 1930 he taught at the newly organized Free Public Art Studio (formerly his alma mater, Stroganov School of Applied Arts), where he also served as dean of the faculty of metal-work. Rodchenko began photo-reporting in 1926, working for the magazines Ogonok, Radioslushatel, Prozhektor, Krasnoye Studenchestvo, Dayosh, Za rubezhom, Smena, Borba klassov and the daily Vechernaya Moskva, among others. In 1932 the photographer, whose work was - and still is - widely exhibited, began working in photomontage.
          During his first and only trip abroad Rodchenko was awarded four silver medals at the Paris Exhibition of March 1925.
          Also involved in the film world, Rodchenko shot a newsreel series directed by Dziga Vertov, originally called Kino-Pravda and later called One-sixth of the World, which was begun in 1922. Between 1927 and 1930 he was "constructor-artist" of the films The Woman Journalist, Moscow in October, Albidum, The Puppet Millionaire and What Shall I be?. He also directed the documentary The Chemicalization of the Forest. Seemingly unlimited in his versatility, Rodchenko was also involved in theater, designing the costumes and props for Glebov's Pendulum and The Bed Bug in 1929, and was one of Russia's foremost painters, collagists and poster artists.
           A Constructivist, Rodchenko was one of the earliest photo-collagists. Some of his favorite themes were sports, the circus, festive processions and the Soviet way of life. He successfully experimented with close-up photography, and "the lens of his camera discovered objects of unusual architecture, rhythm, and plasticity" in objects removed from their usual surroundings. 

"Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism" edited by Margarita Tupitsyn 

Sebastian Onufszak

Sebastian Onufszak first caught my attention through his illustrations on the “Colorize” series of Ray Ban ads. I was instantly enthralled by his juxtaposition of vivid color, realistic detail, and fantasy style. His techniques are ones that I wish to explore in my own work
       Born in Breslau, Poland in 1978, Sebastian Onufszak is a German visual artist focusing on print, interactive media and motion graphics.
       Since 2002 he has been working for an international range of high-end clients.   Additionally he is reknowned for his experimental live visuals which supported Funkstoerung, Mouse on Mars, Michael Fakesch and many more.
       His works were featured in numerous publications and exhibitions worldwide. He is founder of the well-known artist collective "Propagandabuero".
       Having worked as Creative Director at Parasol Island for more than two years, he is now available as a freelance designer and director.


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