Saturday's visit to the University of Oregon's newly refurbished museum found me fascinated by two artists -- Kiki Smith and Rick Barstow. I cannot remember what the docent said about Kiki Smith's The Blue Lake because the image was so compelling. I was drawn immediately into the ferocious gaze of the main figure, the distortions, the compelling sense the brown hair was the earth and the woman herself, her body was the lake. Was the painting a mediatation inward, blue the color chosen to remind us of death, of drowning?
The second artist, Rick Barstow, had intrigued me on my first visit because the painting was so dramatic, a deer (?) head affixed to a male torso, intense colors, no arms, helpless but why? Echoes of the Green Man myth perhaps? The docent added that not only was Barstow a Native American artist, but that he was a Vietnam vet. Transformations. Uniquely male view.
Immediately I jumped to the net to explore more of both of these artists. Kiki Smith is already well established, showing at MOMA in New York, but Rick Barstow also has a New York presence in SoHo. I haven't had time to write about what I learned, but I appreciate being able to see more than one work by these two artists, for their interests, ideas and creativity are inspirational, challenging, and compelling.
Kiki Smith at MOMA: http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/2003/kikismith/
Exhibits: http://www.artseensoho.com/Art/PACE/smith97/smith1.html and http://www.varoregistry.com/smith/
Rick Barstow art and statement on being a Native American artist http://members.aye.net/~kacf/Bartow.html NPR Interview http://www.npr.org/programs/talkingplants/features/2003/bartow/
A Time of Visions: http://www.britesites.com/native_artist_interviews/
Barstow at the Froelick Gallery, Portland OR http://www.froelickgallery.com/Artist-Detail.cfm?ArtistsID=227
Interview at: http://www.jca-online.com/ksmith.html