Miscellaneous

Etude

What do you see?

Etude

Etude

Is this just a bunch of scribbles, an object for learning, or an inspirational image?

Two interpretations:

  • This piece depicts life, the mistakes and lessons learned on the way, and how you will get back on track in a shorter amount of time as you develop important skills and decide not to dwell on any negativity.
  • This image correlates to Arthur’s interest in geometric forms, with the spots of color serving as focus points, and once connected-form a triangle…one of the recurring elements found in Arthur’s work.

Etude-French origin and defined as:

A short musical composition, typically for one instrument, designed as an exercise to improve the technique or demonstrate the skill of the player.

Coincidence, I think not…Once again, Arthur became a master of combining art with meaning.

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Miscellaneous

Arles

The Road to Arles is a piece that Arthur created when becoming inspired by “the particular qualities of light and shadows along a tree-lined road leading from Arles to Tarascon” (Johnson, 1980). This collage looks fairly simple to make; however, it is quite the opposite. It actually required 19 separate runs due to the complexity of the color scheme and took over 6 months for Arthur and the master printer, Jeff Wasserman to complete. We just learned that Arthur considers this piece a homage to Van Gogh as he knew the roads that lead to Arles.

Often times, the skill of the master printer is overlooked. The artist creates the original image and it is up to the printer to duplicate the same colors that were provided and also follow additional instructions given by the artist. These versions are referred to as bon a tirers. The Arthur Secunda Museum houses 2 of these, as a way to demonstrate the importance of their role in reproducing an artist’s vision, making it available for us to enjoy.

Road to Arles

Reference

Johnson, U. E. (1980). American prints and printmakers. Garden City, NY:
Doubleday & Company, Inc.

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Miscellaneous

Artist Wassily Kandisky

Have you heard of the artist by the name of Wassily Kandinsky? His 148th birthday is today. The connection to the museum is that he shared some of the same interests as Arthur Secunda. He enjoyed creating abstract pieces, using color to express emotion, and was also influenced by things such as Impressionism and Pointillism. They both also have Russian roots which they reflected in their artwork.

Furthermore, he made the decision to abandon other jobs to follow his love of art. Kandinsky also spent time in France where he created the majority of his works. Like Arthur, Kandinsky loved to apply theories to art, such as those with a science background. For instance, the publication of a book titled Concerning the Spiritual in Art focused on color theory and how it can create a “rich, sensory experience within the soul of the viewer” (Wyatt, 2014).

Wyatt, D. (2014, December 16). Wassily Kandinsky’s 148th Birthday: Why is the
painter being celebrated in a Google Doodle? The Independent.

 

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Miscellaneous

Pierian Press and Knowledge

Arthur’s work is displayed at Pierian Press, which derives its name from the waters in Greek mythology…where it is said that “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” This refers to the production and awareness of artwork that is not only beautiful, but also contains an intellectual element. Magical effects of memory is an example of Arthur applying this to his work. Specifically, the series titled Matters of the Mind provides important values and messages.

The images below demonstrate emotions, not just for Arthur but for the country as a whole. Contemplation was created in 1994 while Arthur was taking a class on how to draw the human body. Solomon, my Love is a piece that was developed after 9/11 to represent the darkness that was upon us as well as the patriotic spirit that connected us (which is why he added the extra striping and the stars). The third image, was designed to show that we were starting to get out of the dark place and rebuild our lives. We had hope that we would get through the tough time.

Contemplation

Contemplation

Solomon, my Love

Solomon, my Love

Hope

Hope

 

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Art Forms, Miscellaneous

Our Final Post on Paper

Within the manuscripts was another neat addition to our collection, an interview and behind the scenes documentary explaining why Arthur chose to create paper in the traditional method and how it contributed to his work.

Why would a contemporary artist be interested in doing this? Well, Arthur viewed it as an art form itself and specifically came to France because that location marked the beginning of the tradition. The paper mills in the United States were simply influenced by French paper making.

Further into the interview, the difference between working in rather than on paper is discussed. Specifically, while working on paper it loses its identity with the image becoming the dominating presence. On the other hand, the pate form of paper can resemble both a two and three dimensional format, painterly and sculptural. In addition, Arthur considers his torn paper collages to possess a unique quality, again relating to sculpture.

Arthur decided to defy the usual procedure and actually mixed the colors of his choosing and poured them directly onto the mold. This experiment left him guessing how everything would turn out, would the colors blend together and would they bleed? Curiosity and worry greeted Arthur at the end of the day, his anticipation would grow through the night and into the morning when he could see the final result.

from ih3.redbubble.net

from ih3.redbubble.net

 

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Miscellaneous

More on Paper Making

Sorry for the delay, it has been really busy here at the museum this last month…which is a good thing, so we’re not complaining.

Fortunately not all of the manuscripts regarding Arthur’s experience at the paper mill were in French. Here is a section that describes in detail what’s involved in the process:

“The ancient press is turned by hand, yet is able to squeeze the excess moisture from the stack of paper with several tons of pressure. Four men are needed for this operation of the presage. Pulling the wet paper and felt underneath the press, they pile heavy wooden boards on the top of the stack and water oozes from it like a waterfall.

The press is turned a few times with the help of all the workers. Then one of them places a huge log with a rope tied around it parallel to the ceiling and pulls it around in a circle winding the rope around a floor to ceiling turnstile. After the paper is pressed, the sheets are hung up in the drying room.  The room is on the third floor of the main building and surrounded by windows on four sides, for maximum light.

When they are completely dried, they are put through a hydraulic press to flatten them out- the only stage where a modern method is utilized.

One may question why should these costly and time consuming archaic methods of papermaking be preserved, particularly when there has been so much mechanizations of the paper industry. But the answer is apparent, in modern mass production of paper, it is impossible to re-create the quality and beauty of these hand-made papers. The resurgence of interest in paper making in the U.S. indicate how important it is to preserve the techniques and secret methods of traditional paper making, as they are rapidly becoming extinct.”

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About Arthur

The World of Paper Making

 

 

Arthur Secunda is a multi-talented artist that made his own paper and incorporated it into various images. He learned about the paper making process while working at the Richard de bas Paper Mill in Ambert, France. This is known as a historical monument and included on the list of places to visit. Guests can learn the history behind paper making and see first hand paper made using 15th century methods. 200 sheets are made each day; plain white paper is made in the Winter and colored paper is made in the Summer which is created through the addition of flowers.

Here at the museum, we have some manuscripts written by one of Arthur’s friends and fellow correspondent artist, Linda Jacobson. Unfortunately, it is written in French. Hopefully, we can get a full translation in the near future so we can learn more about Arthur’s experience at France’s historic paper mill.

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