Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Heart Zoe Strauss

2 Ladies, 11x14

Even though I have been on a budget lately, I admit that all that tends to go out the window when it comes to things like books and art. Well, and music, yarn, shoes and clothes that I like, oh and art supplies too. But I digress.

When a good art book comes along, I usually buy it whether I can afford it or not. I put my advance order in at Amazon months ago for Zoe Strauss's book, America, and finally! it came yesterday.

I have been a fan of Zoe's ever since I came across her blog a few years ago. Zoe lives and works in Philadelphia, not far from where I lived once in South Philly (I lived in an icky, but cheap second floor apartment in a rowhouse at 8th and McKean-THAT is certainly a good story for another post:)) and looking at her work is like being transported back in time for me. I love her blog too-her enthusiasm is infectious!

I spent some time looking through America last night and it is an amazing collection of photos. To me they feel familiar, like someplace I have been before; a place I might have enjoyed while I was there, but am glad to not be there anymore. Her portraits are disturbing, but are also oddly inspiring and hopeful. Zoe clearly has respect for her subjects, which is evident in her words and images. I am especially interested in the portraits as I recently read several books about Diane Arbus (whose work I am reminded of when I see Zoe's), and of course am trying to find my own way with painting the figure. Anyway, I hope you'll go check out Zoe's blog, she has had some awesome things happen lately, and definitely check out her book if you can.

I am posting the portrait of the two ladies that I recently finished. Unfortunately, these portraits seem to be incredibly difficult to photograph, they look SO much better in person, and I haven't titled any of them yet either. However I am quite pleased with the direction they are taking. and I will put the others up soon.


gmComicz said...

You have been given the
Premio Dardos Award by
gmComicz at An Artistic View. at
Check it out!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Oh, just gorgeous T, gorgeous.

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

love those ladies...

Melody said...

Just checked out Zoe's site and yes, there is a thread of Diane Arbus in her work. I see the same rawness. I just finished her bio and loved it. Such an interesting life she led. Such a fascinating woman.

Chris Rywalt said...

I don't know so much about Zoe's work, but I know Diane Arbus turns me off. The feeling I get pouring from her photos is one of superiority -- I don't think she had any sympathy with her subjects at all.

Tracy Helgeson said...

gmComincz, thanks, I love awards, but what about about a trophy?:) Am swamped for the next few days but will check it out soon.

Thanks, Gary and Natalya, just wish I could get the photo right, need to keep working on it.

Hi Melody, I liked the book too and it was interesting to read about what was going on with her, the discussion of the photos and then to look at each photo as well.

Well, Chris, I have to say I heartily disagree with you about Diane Arbus's work. After doing quite a bit of reading about her, that is one thing that no one ever said about her, ever, that she felt superior to her subject matter. But ain't that the real beauty of art? We don't all see the same things.