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Article

Togolese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 12 February 1977, in Lomé.

Painter (mixed media).

Félix Agbokou studied under Sokey Edoth between 1996 and 1999. He abandoned realism in favour of depicting a fantasy world, and his paintings are spontaneous to the extent that they have no predefined theme. Painted at night and by candlelight, each series of paintings is directly inspired by its immediate surroundings: Lomé, Kouma, Abouri or Ghana. Agbokou uses materials that come readily to hand - leaves of indigenous plants or the bark of local trees - and mixes them with acrylic paint, outlining his forms and individual colours with a black line obtained from a mixture of coconut milk and old nails. His work has featured at group exhibitions, including the ...

Article

Margo Machida

(b New York, Aug 16, 1949).

American printmaker and installation artist. Born and raised in New York City, Arai, a third-generation Japanese American printmaker, mixed-media artist, public artist and cultural activist, studied art at the Philadelphia College of Art and The Printmaking Workshop in New York. Since the 1970s, her diverse projects have ranged from individual works to large-scale public commissions (see Public art in the 21st century). She has designed permanent public works, including an interior mural commemorating the African burial ground in lower Manhattan and an outdoor mural for Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Other works include Wall of Respect for Women (1974), a mural on New York’s Lower East Side, which was a collaboration between Arai and women from the local community. Her art has been exhibited in such venues as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, P.S.1 Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, all New York and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Joan Mitchell Foundation....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 26 March 1946, in Le Havre.

Sculptor, painter (mixed media). Low reliefs.

Bosser lives and works in Paris. He realises abstract works on paper, as well as low reliefs revealing the roughness of the material used.

He has taken part in group exhibitions, including: ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 6 August 1955, in Saarbrücken, Germany, to French parents.

Painter (mixed media).

Laurent Chabolle studied arts and crafts in Paris. He lives and works in the Yonne region and has shown examples of his work at group exhibitions, including at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1951, in Bronxville (New York).

Painter, collage artist.

Roy Dowell studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland (1969-71), and at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in ...

Article

Edward Hanfling

(b Hastings, March 21, 1930; d New Plymouth, Dec 8, 2011).

New Zealand sculptor, painter, printmaker, and installation artist. His art primarily involves assemblage, often with an eye to colour relationships; it also incorporates diverse sources including American modernism, African, and Asian art. Driver had little formal training and worked as a dental technician before he began sculpting with wood, clay, and dental plaster during the 1950s. Between 1960 and 1964 he produced assemblages and collages reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg, though Driver was not aware of the American’s work then (e.g. Large Brass). In the United States from March to August 1965, he developed an interest in Post-painterly Abstraction as well as in Jasper Johns’s works. References to New York are manifest in his mixed-media wall relief La Guardia 2 (1966; Auckland, A.G.). The Painted Reliefs (1970–74) with their horizontal panels and strips of varying width and depth, mostly painted but sometimes aluminium, indicate the impact of American abstraction, notably that of Kenneth Noland. ...

Article

Sandra Sider

(b East Chicago, IN, 1933).

American installation and performance artist. Feminist artist Mary Beth Edelson created numerous private rituals, as well as installations and performances around the world relating to the “Great Goddess.” Edelson became famous in the early 1970s among members of the Women’s Movement for her collaged poster parodying Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (c. 1495; Milan, S Maria delle Grazie) titled Some Living American Women Artists/Last Supper (1971), in which she replaced the central figure of Christ with Georgia O’Keeffe, and images of the disciples with women artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, and Yoko Ono. The original poster is now owned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edelson, also a painter and book artist, has had artist’s books featured in several Book as Art exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Recurring themes throughout her career have been female identity, how women are portrayed in art and the media, and women’s recognition as artists. Edelson’s opposition to the patriarchal establishment began while she was a senior at DePauw University, where she received her BA in ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 14 December 1958, in Antwerp.

Draughtsman, watercolourist, installation artist, performance artist, director, scenographer, film writer.

Jan Fabre attended the art academy and the arts and crafts institute in Antwerp. He is a visual artist, but also a choreographer, dancer and playwright (his first play was written in ...

Article

Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 24 October 1962, in Riga, Latvian SSR (now Latvia).

Painter, graphic artist, multimedia artist. Allegorical subjects, abstraction and portraiture. Sculptural objects, conceptual installations.

Of the generation that came of age during Latvia’s transition from Soviet occupation to political independence, Kristaps Ģelzis distinguished himself as the most cerebral of that nation’s artists while, paradoxically, anchoring his work in intrinsic properties of base materials, the timelessness of simple forms, and labour-intensive craft. The son and younger brother of renowned architects, Ģelzis resolved to pursue another creative vocation, first studying violin while attending Riga’s 50th Secondary School, then taking preparatory classes for the Latvian Art Academy in lieu of attending the art high school. As a student in the academy’s department of graphic art ...

Article

Chinese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the United States and China.

Born 1955, in Shanghai.

Performance artist, installation artist. Mixed media.

Wenda studied at the Shanghai School of Arts and Crafts, from which he graduated in 1976, and subsequently studied for his M.F.A. at the China Academy of Art under the renowned painter Lu Yanshao. After graduating in 1981, he went on to teach at the same academy for six years; then his controversial art, which combined nonsense calligraphy and multimedia installations, came under suspicion by the authorities. Wenda chose self-exile and moved to the United States in 1987, where despite the difficulties of assimilation, language learning, and cultural differences, he managed to gain a reputation abroad as an artist of the China Avant-Garde, a new wave of post-1989 diaspora artists from China. His first solo show was at York University in Toronto in 1985. He was an associate professor at the University of Minnesota in ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Long Beach, CA, Jan 1, 1941).

American sculptor and installation artist. He studied architecture and mathematics at California State University and art at the Los Angeles College of Art and Design in 1963 before going on to receive a BFA in 1964 and an MFA in 1967 from the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County. He is often regarded as a key contributor to the development of Post-minimalism and Process art during late 1960s, and he is sometimes credited with more or less inventing the so-called ‘scatter piece’ as a form in contemporary art.

Le Va became widely celebrated for a series of scatter pieces or ‘distributions’, to use his preferred term, that he began in 1966 while still a graduate student at the Otis Art Institute. In these pieces, he deposited a heterogeneous array of materials into loosely configured piles on the gallery floor. Many of these early works featured cut pieces of canvas or felt that he mixed in with other materials such as scraps of wood, puzzle pieces, lengths of string and ball bearings. These pieces refused both the monumentality and the singularity of modernist sculpture, and although these works were carefully planned, they nevertheless introduced an element of chance into the completed object because they could never be realized in exactly the same way twice. Through this element of chance, and through their use of both multiplicity and horizontality, these pieces seemed to extend the implications of Jackson Pollock’s paintings into sculptural practice. In this sense, these works marked a shift in emphasis from the discrete sculptural product to the process and conditions of display. In 1969–70 pieces such as ...

Article

Dutch, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1963, in Ravenstein.

Sculptor, installation artist.

In the 1980s Joep van Lieshout realised assemblages with paving stones and crates and in 1989 he promoted the plastic qualities of these manufactured materials in minimalist sculptures. Soon afterwards, however, he reintroduced the everyday, reproducing in his installations familiar places such as bathrooms, kitchens, toilets and bedrooms. He gives life to functional objects, starting from basic shapes, brightly coloured, covered in polyester fibreglass conglomerate. Simple and austere, these architectural pieces and mass-produced objects are reminiscent of the Bauhaus and could rediscover their original function outside a museum. All these objects also suggest a society tending to live along the lines of self-sufficiency. He lives and works in Rotterdam. In ...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Gloucestershire, England.

Born 1952, in Sudan, Africa.

Painter, collage artist. Still-lifes, portraits, scenes from nature.

Hyperrealism.

Lucy MacKenzie studied at Falmouth Art School in Cornwall (1969-1970), Bristol Polytechnic (1970-1973) and the Royal College of Art in London (...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1961.

Painter, draughtsman (mixed media). Figures.

Symbolism.

Didier Mahieu's drawings are carefully worked, his technique controlled. He uses glued, slashed or crumpled paper and the scumbling technique. He won the Monaco Grand Prix de Peinture painting award and has held solo exhibitions including one at the Galerie des Ambassades, Paris (...

Article

Nall  

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active since 1971 in France.

Born 1948, in Troy (Alabama).

Painter, engraver, assemblage artist. Mythological subjects, portraits, still-lifes.

Nall lives and works in Nice. He realises figurative canvases integrating diverse materials such as glass, seashells, fabric, leather and off-cuts from frames, developing original forms and a rich symbolism....

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

(b Santurce, Puerto Rico, Jun 10, 1955).

American sculptor and installation artist. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Osorio came to New York in 1975 and earned a BSc in sociology from Lehman College, Bronx, in 1978. He then earned an MA in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1985. Osorio spent much of his early years in New York as a social worker in Puerto Rican neighborhoods in the South Bronx, an experience that would inform both his aesthetic style and his artistic involvement with Latin American communities.

Osorio worked primarily in Assemblage sculpture, which led to more elaborate and ornate multimedia installations. From the mid-1980s, his practice was characterized by an overabundance of kitschy objects and a keen eye for the intricacies of Nuyorican (New York–Puerto Rican) material culture and family life. In 1985, a turning point in his stylistic development, he created La Bicicleta (The Bicycle) (New York, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts), which references the vehicular decoration of street peddlers in Puerto Rico in the 1950s and 1960s. This hanging bicycle covered with flowers, ribbons, plastic trees, Kewpie dolls, and many other cheap adornments was rendered useless as a mode of transportation and made entirely sculptural. Osorio’s later installations maintained this attention to vernacular decoration, but were more narrative in their investigation of urban Latino communities. For the ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b New York, NY, Dec 25, 1944).

American sculptor, draftsman and installation artist. Saret received a BArch from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, in 1966 and subsequently studied at Hunter College in New York under Robert Morris from 1966 to 1968. In the late 1960s his work was classified as part of the “anti-form” movement, which rejected the rigidity of Minimalism in favor of creating non-figurative works that were structured in part by the inherent physical properties of the industrial materials favored by this group.

Saret’s early sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s were primarily crafted from industrial metal wire of varying thickness, though he also sometimes used rubber, wire mesh or other non-art materials. They were often suspended from the ceiling or installed directly on the ground and exuded a weightless, ephemeral quality akin to clouds or gestural drawings rendered three-dimensionally. It was around this time, in 1967, that Saret began his ongoing Gang drawings series. These gestural drawings were initially created as preliminary studies for the sculptures and were produced by the artist spontaneously grabbing a handful, or “gang,” of colored pencils, thereby integrating an element of chance to the process....

Article

Russian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in France from 1990.

Born 2 March 1955, in Rostov.

Painter (mixed media).

Symbolism.

Valentin Savtcheko left Grekov School in Rostov in 1971 and six years later graduated from the Repin Institute in Petrograd (St Petersburg). He paints large-format compositions dominated by strong colours. He mixes abstraction and figuration into graphic works that have a symbolic content and, he says, 'attempt to orchestrate the sphere of spiritual communication between the human being and the universe'. His best-known works are: ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1949, in Los Angeles.

Mixed media collage artist. Murals.

Alexis Smith originally trained to be a French teacher until she began taking art classes and realised what she could do with art. She lives and works in Los Angeles and has taught at the University of Hawaii, the J. Paul Getty Center, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Carnegie Mellon University. Alexis Smith uses magazine covers, newspapers, billboards, book jackets and a range of kitsch and found objects to create collages using 'easy' images with which people are familiar, to make the viewer think about society's ills, like consumerism and the objectification of women, with irony and wit. Quotations from a range of authors (including Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac, Raymond, Chandler, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos) and scientists ('imagination is more important than knowledge', Einstein) are often incorporated in her work. Images of women appear frequently as in ...

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....