Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HOMAGE TO THE SQUARE



In my last post, my outfit reflected the stark snowy landscape and its contrast of black and white. Yesterday, I decided to brighten things up a little for a different kind of contrast--bold color against a backdrop of white.


The colors in this outfit were inspired by Josef Albers' color studies. Albers (1888-1976) was a lifelong artist and teacher, whose students included Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Eva Hesse. Though he was skilled in many artistic disciplines, including graphic design, printmaking, poetry, and photography, he is most known for painting, particularly his compilation of color studies entitled Homage to the Square.



In the Homage series, Albers explored the complex relationships between colors, and eventually published Interaction of Color in 1963. The basis of his color logic was that colors are influenced by context, i.e. the same red will appear different when placed next to a different blue.


Albers' color theories are now the bases of many upper-level art classes. I remember slaving over my own Homage series during undergraduate painting class, and I am eternally indebted to Albers for my own deep love of color and its relationships.


For this outfit, I wanted to reflect the intense hues of the Albers works and the juxtapositions of dissonant colors. I thought the motif of the scarf reflected the theme as well, and the boots were necessary to keep my feet warm!


I'm wearing a sweater and skirt from J. Crew, vintage leather purse and vintage scarf, Topshop tights, and Sorel "Joan of Arctic" boots.


P.S. You can now follow Artfully Awear on Tumblr for more updates and outtakes!

[Albers images from pixeljoint.com, fine-art.com, fine-art.com, paintingphotofy.com, thesillyboodilly.blogspot.com, nga.gov.au, and luxeandlucid.typepad.com, respectively.]

Monday, December 27, 2010

WHITE OUT



One of the best things about snow is that it makes a busy landscape (or backyard, in this case) look stark and uniform. Figures are like swift brushstrokes on a white ground--exactly like the abstract paintings of Franz Kline.
Kline was an Abstract Expressionist active in the New York school during the 1940s and '50s. Alongside artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem deKooning, and Mark Rothko, Kline was a proponent of the action painting movement.


His mature works are bold graphic compositions in black and white, which have been compared to Japanese calligraphy (an influence Kline denied).


Although his works appear to be visceral and quickly realized, he usually created numerous compositional studies leading up to a large canvas.


To him, the positive and negative space were equally important, and some of his works are actually white paint on a black ground.



Kline was famously impetuous (like many of the AbEx artists), and his life, in many ways, mirrored the ferocity of his large canvases.


I took advantage of the all-white background and struck some Kline-esque poses in the snow, which my Aunt captured from the (relative) warmth of the back doorway.


I wore a Tibi coat, Uniqlo jeans, NY & Co. sweater, vintage fur hat, and Sorel "Joan of Arctic" snow boots. Thank goodness for the boots, as the snow nearly reached the top of them!


[Kline images from beatmuseum.org, artic.edu, oceansbridge.com, and beatmuseum.org, respectively.]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

HAPPY WARHOLIDAYS



Every year since I was little, I've looked forward to picking out my Christmas dress and this year was no exception. When I initially found this dress at Goodwill, I didn't buy it. After a change of heart, I went back a few days later and discovered that it was 50% off. It was a Christmas miracle, and I couldn't be happier with this Mrs. Claus-esque satin party dress.


Since my dress is decidedly retro, I wanted to share these Christmas illustrations by Andy Warhol from the 1950s and '60s.



Before he became an art world superstar, Warhol was an illustrator, and created greeting cards and displays for department stores.

I love the simplicity of these drawings, especially in light of how his artistic oeuvre eventually centered on mass production, and images like Campbell's soup cans and Brillo pads.


My favorite is the red ankle boot filled with holly.
I paired the dress with toile tights reminiscent of Warhol's ink drawings. I'm wearing a thrifted vintage satin dress, Look from London tights, Jill Stuart shoes, and my Grandmother's strand of pearls.


Thanks to Whitney Marie for the lovely photos (and the Starbucks gift card).



I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Warholidays!

[Warhol images from thetablet.co.uk, art.com, flickr.com, and 1.bp.blogspot.com, respectively.]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

JAPONAISE



I recently unearthed this vintage silk evening coat that belonged to my grandmother. It was purchased by my grandfather in Hong Kong sometime during the '60s, and is completely hand-sewn with her name embroidered in the interior. I had been saving it for a special occasion, which turned out to be a normal day when I was in need of a wardrobe pick-me-up.

The coat reminds me of a painting I've always admired at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Japonaise, by Jules Joseph Lefebvre. Lefebvre (1836-1911) is not very widely known, but he is noted for his role as teacher to many younger artists, including William Hart and Felix Vallotton.


Lefebvre himself produced an array of stunning portraits of beautiful women, including Japonaise, or Language of the Fan.


Probably the most interesting things about Lefebvre's portraits are their stylistic differences.


Each one is so completely different, it would be easy to believe that they were all painted by different artists.


Nonetheless, the portraits are beautiful works that individually capture what I can imagine to be the personalities of their subjects.


I decided to keep this look pared down, so the evening coat could shine.


I wore the vintage coat with thrifted Levi's, a Madewell pocket tee, pashmina from an NYC street vendor, vintage two-tone eel skin purse, and suede LA.M.B. wedges.


I imagine I'll wear this coat again for a dressier occasion, but one of the most exciting things about inheriting beautiful clothes is making them your own by working them into your everyday wardrobe.

In other news, Plenty for Pennies awarded me with the Stylish Blogger Award! In lieu of sharing 7 things about myself, I'll share 7 artworks that I love:
1. Egon Schiele, The Artist's Wife
2. Henri Matisse, Open Window at Collioure
3. Joan Mitchell, Yves
4. Mickalene Thomas, A Little Taste Outside of Love
6. Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone
7. Mark Rothko, Untitled
Check out:
1. Zarna's Runway because she is too cool, and I love her shoes.
2. District of Chic because she pulls off vintage prep and still looks edgy.
3. Fashion Forestry because she is a vintage diva!
4. Blonde Bedhead because she has the best hair (and cute clothes, too).
5. Fancy Treehouse because she is California cool and her dog has more style than most people I know.
6. Chichichic because she's mastered the combination of vintage and modern.
7. My Edit because she is a thrifting queen.


[Lefebvre images from arthousereproductions.com, oilpaintingfactory.com, commons.wikimedia.org, and allartclassic.com, respectively.]

Saturday, December 18, 2010

THE COLOR OF KLEE


Color has always been my single most important visual stimulus. For me, pattern, texture, size, and shape are all secondary to hue.


I've always felt an affinity toward artist Paul Klee for his expertise in the subject of color. Though it took him years of study to develop his color theories, it only takes one look at his work to note his skill.


This vintage poncho immediately evoked the work of Klee, both because of the color and geometric pattern.

Klee (1879-1940) was a Swiss-German expressionist painter. Although he was aligned at times with German Expressionism, Surrealism, and Cubism, he eluded categorization into any one movement.

Klee was very influenced by the work of fellow Blaue Reiter artist Wassily Kandinsky (discussed here), and the idea of comparing painting to a musical composition.


Throughout his life, Klee's main goal through his art was to pursue the understanding of color. Although he struggled with it early on, he went on to become an expert and even published books on the topic.

"Colour and I are one." --Paul Klee


After a mini-blizzard last week, I was excited to debut the cozy snow boots sent to me by Cougar. The multiple layers of knit, faux fur, and suede, make them like wearing thick socks and boots at the same time. They're guaranteed warm to -22 degrees F, but they're not too clunky to wear when it's 38 degrees (which is plenty cold enough for me).

I'm wearing a metallic vintage Guatemalan poncho, Patagonia thermal tee, Citizens of Humanity jeans, and Cougar Ravishing snow boots.


[Klee images from personal.ceu.hu, davidsandum.com, breakoutofthebox.com, and julialapin.typepad.com, respectively.]