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Francis Summers

(b New York, Sept 17, 1955).

American painter. After a short period of formal training as a painter at the New York Studio School, he dropped out and immersed himself in the world of underground film and music. He re-emerged creatively as a painter of severe unrelieved abstraction. Using figurated rollers from hardware stores, Wool created a series of untitled paintings that vacillate between floral decoration and abstraction with a concentration on the meeting of an economic utility and a debased aesthetic tradition. Later, he began to use a system of screen printing the floral imagery, which he decomposed through overprinting and overpainting, as in Maggie’s Brain (1995; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.).

Wool began to create word paintings in the late 1980s, reportedly after having seen graffiti on a brand new white truck. In an early example Apocalypse Now (1988; New York, MOMA), the words ‘SELL THE HOUSE SELL THE CAR SELL THE KIDS’ are stencilled in upper-case letters on to the surface. Using a system of alliteration, with the words often broken up by a grid system, or with the vowels removed (as in ‘TRBL’ or ‘DRNK’), Wool’s word paintings often demand reading aloud to make sense. The visual as well as verbal violence of his use of language is most obvious in ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b London, June 26, 1960).

English painter and installation artist active in Glasgow and Los Angeles. He studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art between 1978 and 1982, graduating with a BA. After distancing himself from art during the 1980s, Wright became more engaged with conceptual frameworks for making art after studying for an MFA at Glasgow School of Art between 1993 and 1995. During this time he began to explore the relationship between architecture, art and design, painting directly onto walls to create ephemeral works intended to last only for the duration of the exhibition. In early wall paintings such as Untitled (exh. Glasgow, Intermedia Gal., 1993), the motifs used are quite simple, with interlocking strips of colour painted in a band around the gallery walls. Wright’s paintings of the mid-1990s included motifs that appeared to be drawn from corporate logos and tattoos, with the inclusion of stylized skulls and gothic symbols. In the installation ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Bern, ID, Oct 13, 1935).

American composer. Young was an exponent of experimental “drone” music and an originator of Minimalism (whose diverse practitioners include Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Philip Glass). Educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (1957–8), he completed his graduate studies in composition at the University of California, Berkeley. An avid and talented jazz musician, Young performed with legendary figures Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. In 1959, he attended Summer Courses at Darmstadt, the center of New Music, taking advanced composition with Karlheinz Stockhausen. There he discovered the work of John Cage and met Cage’s great interpreter David Tudor, who put Young in contact with Cage. Back in California, Young presented Cage’s work, adopting some of his radical strategies in his own music. A landmark Young composition of this period is Poem for Tables, Chairs, Benches, etc. (1960), a piece of indeterminate duration.

In 1960 Young moved to New York and galvanized a receptive circle of Cage-inspired artists and composers. Young’s most significant contribution to this milieu were his ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Philadelphia, May 16, 1962).

American painter. She studied at Tyler School of Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where she was awarded her BFA in 1984, and completed her MFA in 1996 at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT. Her paintings address the female body and notions of internalized misogyny, both in the artist and the viewer. Her Bad Baby I (1991; see A. America, lxxxi, June 1993, p. 103) shows a depersonalised and sexualised child figure, painted in hot lollipop colours. Making a link between the visual pleasures of modernist aesthetics and the scopophilic instincts of pornography, Yuskavage’s paintings present figures undergoing a form of violation (cultural as well as sexual and visual) in front of an implicated viewer. She often uses misogonystic forms well-worn through their cultural usage to show the objectification within the familiar, as in Blond, Brunette and Redhead (1995; see R. Brooks article). Using exaggerated naked figures with gigantic breasts and buttocks, they offer no resistance to visual mastery by the viewer, but actively encourage it. This over-visibility is taken to a monstrous height in ...

Article

Margaret Graves

(b. Ventura, California, 1942).

American calligrapher. Having converted to Islam in the 1960s while still a teenager, he studied Islamic calligraphy, training with A. S. Ali Nour in Tangier, Morocco, and later studying at the British Museum in London. In the 1980s he felt his work had reached a plateau and decided to re-learn the art of calligraphy in the Ottoman style. Hence in 1984 he went to Istanbul to train with the Turkish calligraphers Hasan Çelebi and Ali Alparslan at the Research Center for Islamic History, Art, and Culture (IRCICA), where he was tutored in thuluth, naskh and nasta‛līq scripts. In 1997 he became the first American to receive an icazet or diploma from IRCICA for his abilities as a calligrapher. His calligraphic works are executed within meticulously observed traditional modes, reflected also in his insistence on making his own reed and bamboo pens. His works typically reflect the traditions of the Ottoman masters of the 19th century, with illuminations in the Turkish Baroque style. A pioneer in the field of Islamic calligraphy in the USA, his works have been exhibited widely in the USA and the Middle East. He has also revived the ancient art of making astrolabes, and examples of this aspect of his work are held in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the USA. Based for many years in Arlington, Virginia, in ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Sausalito, CA, Sept 6, 1965).

American sculptor and installation artist. She studied painting and sculpture at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA, graduating in 1988. She then went on to study for her MFA in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, graduating in 1990. In 1992 she set up A–Z Administrative Services, a company which aimed to streamline domestic objects and rituals. For Prototypes for Container, Cover, Support (1993; see 1993 exh. cat., pp. 29–30), Zittel made the objects itemized in the title and gave them to a group of volunteers who then recorded their experiences of using them. Each object was designed to be as multi-functional as possible: the container, for example, could be used as a bowl, a holder and a vase. Zittel expanded on these ideas of functional living by making self-contained units for dining, study and recreation. In 1993 she began to customize the units according to the client for whom they were designed, such as the ...