The Easel

20th February 2018

Joseph Cornell: how the reclusive artist spread his wings

When reticent Joseph Cornell came across a painting by Juan Gris – the master of analytical cubism – it really struck a chord. Cornell subsequently created over 20 of his art boxes, his “poetic theatres”, in homage to that one Gris work. Why do most include the image of a cockatoo? Many objects in his assemblages are odd. Perhaps, as one critic mused, it’s “the emblem of a presence too elusive or vast to be enclosed in a box”

13th February 2018

Vija Celmins’ L.A. show: Chalkboards, ocean waves and other improbable wonders

Post-war American artists reacted differently to surrealism. It inspired Pollock to tap into the unconscious to express universal truths.  Celmins, in contrast, has pursued an art of “extreme” attention to detail. Her images of the night sky, ocean waves, the desert, seemingly are without perspective. As a result they evoke “vastness [and] a deeply personal, interior process”.  An older but more helpful review is here.