Saturday, December 08, 2007

Calligraphy/Graffiti

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The word Calligraphy brings a predictable assortment of images to mind. There's always the oriental and Sumi styles and then your basic Old English script. Wedding invitations or signage might come to mind. Probably what many think defines calligraphy is the preciseness, the rigidity of the rules, the formalism of the genre. Calligraphy is a vast category, actually, that needs to be redefined in light of the fact that there is so much freedom of style now that has crept into it. And now in this postmodern era where anything goes, you find a lot of abstracted calligraphy and abstracts with cursive calligraphy. And where does graffiti fit in ? Now that it's officially come into the galleries via canvas and board rather than only appearing on walls, is it still graffiti ? What is the boundary between the two. A visual artist writes on a surface - what determines whether it's calligraphy of graffiti ? What new words can we use to specifically categorize what that artist is doing ? Certainly food for thought; I really wish someone would tackle this and redefine art genres a little better so that when speak about art we can be more specific and conjure better, more precise images of what we're discussing. Having said all that, we have here an artist who is very calligraphic in her painterly pursuits.
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Catherine Courtenaye.
As I look at these paintings I see the formal training and style - but we're to view these in an abstract way. They at once seem historic and old, yet new. The notations and bits of words and numbers are part of the architecture of the paintings but their meaning is a mystery.
You'll be delighted and intrigued to visit her Website. Lots of rich colors, lots of variations on reoccurring themes; these bolder versions are in Paintings Three.

both images are from her web site.
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1 comment:

Michael Jacobson said...

We could call it Calligrafitti. I think that is what Gysin called one of his works. Either that or I am delirious with possibilities.