EXHIBITIONS-Russian Stuckism: Registered in Moscow and Moscow Region

Russia Stuckism

The exhibition in Moscow

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“Communion has been one of my artistic goals for as long as I can remember.”

-Ron Throop

It’s been a very busy year.

I am thrilled to announce Michele Bledsoe and I were invited  as special guest artists for a July exhibition in Moscow, Russia. Also featured is New York painter Ron Throop, who has been very busy himself with an ongoing DIY cultural exchange with the Russian Stuckists who organized the show. He documents their exploits on his blog, Round Trip Stuckism.

I wrote about Ron Throop’s vision when they first launched the project. I really admired the initiative and enthusiasm shown. Grassroots painters separated by half a world and some really intense history were using art to come together, to learn from one another, and to provide support, despite vast physical distances, language barriers, and cultural differences. It’s really inspiring. Ron’s achievements were recently recognized when he was awarded a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts Decentralization Award Program.

The art they are making is fantastic.

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Andrew Makarov

“The Pretty Lady Takes the Andrew Makarov’s Phone Number in the Yard of the Ministry of Labour and Sotsrazvitiya”

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Stuckism, the most visible manifestation of the Remodernist art movement, has spread to 236 groups in 52 countries. It truly is an art of the people. We have a mighty task to accomplish: to redeem art from the crisis of relevance that elitist malpractice has inflicted on the culture.

I was very grateful when Andrew Makarov sent me a Facebook message inviting us to share our paintings. Michele and I sent works to Russia for the show, and included a copy of our children’s book The Secret Kingdom as a gift. I’m looking forward to more exchanges with these creatives. We all speak the universal language of art.

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Michele Bledsoe “Forever” acrylic on canvas 5″ x 4″ 

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Richard Bledsoe “Diver” acrylic on canvas 5″ x 4″

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From the Handbill:

“Russian Stuckism, registered in Moscow and Moscow region — an exhibition at a Moscow gallery “Skolkovo”, July 2nd – 30th. The exhibition is based on works of Moscow painters, who has joined the Stuckism International about a year ago: Alexey Stepanov, Andrey Makarov and Lena Ulanova. Their artistic way highlights the meanings of collectivism, equality between process and the result, and registering the events around them without judging the events. Alongside with the Moscow representatives of the Stuckism, you will see their colleagues from St. Petersburg (Ilya Zelenetsky and Sergey Uryvayev) and American artists Ron Throop, Richard and Michele Bledsoe. When exhibited together, the works of these artists suggest one of the answers to the question on the place of picturing in the modern art.”

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ART QUOTES: What is an Artist?

Bearden Dream of Exile

Romare Bearden “Dream of Exile”

If you’re any kind of artist, you make a miraculous journey, and you come back and make some statements in shapes and colors of where you were.

-Romare Bearden

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William S. Burroughs with his shotgun art

Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.

-William S. Burroughs

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Guston Sun

Philip Guston

We are image-makers and image-ridden… We work until we vanish.

-Philip Guston

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George Bellows “Cliff Dwellers”

The artist is the person who makes life more interesting or beautiful, more understandable or mysterious, or probably, in the best sense, more wonderful.

-George Bellows

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Saul Steinberg

The artist is an educator of artists of the future…

-Saul Steinberg

EXHIBITIONS-The Stuckist Art Show, Liverpool England

Nemesis

Richard Bledsoe “Nemesis” acrylic on canvas 16″ x 20″

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I am pleased to announce I was invited to contribute work to “The Stuckist Art Show and Summer Sale,” on display from July 8, 2016 – August 20, 2016, in Liverpool, England. I’m sending my newest completed painting, Nemesis, an image so mysterious even I don’t understand it yet.

Thirty artists are showing their work at View Two Gallery, an independent art gallery in Liverpool’s famed Cavern Quarter, a cultural hot spot famous for its role in launching the career of the Beatles.

The sale portion of the event features works of under $146.00 (once i figured up the pounds to dollars conversion). I’m contributing a piece to that which grew out of my fascination with theater and Samuel Beckett in particular: a character from the classic play “Waiting for Godot.”

LuckyRichard Bledsoe “Lucky” acrylic on canvas 12″ x 9″

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The show is taking part during the prestigious Liverpool Biannual so there will be lots of art lovers about. I am very excited to be part of the international phenomenon of Stuckism, the first Remodernist art movement, and truly the cutting edge of the artistic grassroots gone global.

Liverpool

ARTISTS: Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning in Arizona

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Playing with Perception:

Surrealist Artists Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning in Sedona, Arizona

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“Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation.”
– Max Ernst

In the late 1930s and early 1940s there was a mass exodus of artists out of Europe, fleeing expanding Nazi power. Many came to America and settled in New York City, and went no further. They kept aloof from the local art scene and showed little interest in learning anything about their host country.

Surrealism was the dominant movement at the time, and most of the leading figures were present; they spent their time playing cruel parlor games, complaining about their exile and marking time until the war was over and they could return to true civilization on the Continent.

One notable exception was the German Dada artist Max Ernst. After the Allied victory he didn’t go home-he headed west to Arizona.

Ernst had lived a stormy bohemian life. After serving in the German military during the First World War, Ernst had helped found the Cologne Dada group. He worked with many experimental techniques, and became one of the earliest visual artists associated with the Surrealists, which had been a mainly literary movement.

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A French Nickname for “Hobby Horse”: Dada Artist Max Ernst

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In Paris Ernst met the French poet Paul Eluard, and his Russian wife Gala. This relationship grew into a longstanding passionate ménage a trios. The wealthy Eluard helped Ernst get out of Germany by letting him use his passport. Ernst lived with them in their Paris home, covering the walls with murals. The three traveled as far away as Saigon together.

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Threesome: Max, Gala and Paul 

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After this trip Ernst moved out on his own, and within a few years the Eluards marriage ended. Gala went on to become Salvador Dali’s wife and muse, and Ernst and Eluard stayed friends for the rest of theirs lives.

As World War II began, Ernst’s position was becoming less stable. As a German with ties to the radical Surrealists, Ernst was arrested by the French as a hostile alien. The well-connected Eluard managed to get him released, but after France fell, Ernst was in jeopardy again, pursued by the Gestapo.

Ernst had been one of the artists singled out by Hitler’s Degenerate Arts exhibit, and he was in danger of being arrested. He fled first to the south of France, where he was taken in by the American heiress and collector Peggy Guggenheim. A romance bloomed between them, and Guggenheim took Ernst with her back to America. As the United States entered the war, they got married-“I did not like the idea of living in sin with an enemy alien,” Peggy joked.

This marriage also did not last, and in 1946 Ernst was married again for the final time, to the brilliant American Surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning. They fell in love when Ernst came to her studio to see her painting “The Birthday,” then stayed for a game of chess.

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Dorothea Tanning “The Birthday”

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While traveling across country to California, the couple drove through Arizona, and Ernst was amazed to find himself in a rugged landscape that could have come out of visionary world he painted.

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Max Ernst “The Entire City”

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The couple ended up moving to remote Sedona, Arizona, where they remained for the next seven years. Ernst said Paris and Sedona were “the only two places in the world that I would want to live.” Sedona was incredibly isolated at the time, very different from the upscale resort community it has become. Ernst built a cabin for a home, and they continued to paint.

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A Cabin in the Mountains

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Still Playing Chess

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Influenced by the Hopi Indian culture he encountered, his work came to show new geometric forms. He used cast concrete and found objects to make sculpture that showed Native American elements. Ernst also used his time in Sedona to write his manifesto, “Beyond Painting.”

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Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning evoke the spirit of the land

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During these years Ernst traveled extensively, which led to complications regarding his US citizenship. In 1953 Ernst and Tanning moved to France, where they lived together until his death in 1976.

Dorothea Tanning died in New York on January 31, 2012. She was 101 years old.

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“Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.”

-Dorothea Tanning

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Dorothea Tanning in her Sedona studio

 

 

PAINTINGS: The Grove

The Grove

Richard Bledsoe “The Grove” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 16″

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“In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost.”

-Dante

My painting “The Grove” shares Dante’s sentiment, if not his exact imagery. I can relate as a man and and artist at least half way through my own life’s journey.

Here the figure is still on the path; far from being dark, the woods are illuminated.

The beckoning glow is the essence of mystery, the temptation of curiosity, and implied menace, all at once.

“Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.”

The Remodernism Manifesto