Art is my favorite topic of conversation. Wine is my second favorite topic, and lucky for me, I often find them together. An artist studies art history for inspiration and influence. The following books feature four artists and one movement that inspire and influence my work.
Artemesia Gentileschi by Mary D. Garrard. An acclaimed female artist was a rarity in the 1600s, and she was famous for a few reasons. She is the most important female artist of the Italian Baroque period. She was the only female follower of Caravaggio. She depicted women as heroines instead of as wilting flowers. And she used her art to express her horror of being raped by her mentor, as can be seen in her most famous painting, Judith Slaying Holofernes. Garrard’s book is the most comprehensive study on Gentileschi’s life. The author spends time on the the rape and trial, and includes court documents in the appendices for review. She also portrays the artist’s life and work beyond that incident in detail, showing her bravery and influence on the art scene.
workworkworkworkwork by Charles LeDray. This book demonstrates just how meticulous Charles LeDray is. I’ve seen his work in a gallery and I simply had to have this book. I enjoy all of his work, but the pieces that had the most impact are his sculptures made from human bone. Yes! Human bone! LeDray uses a variety of materials for his work, but the use of human bone is unexpected. These sculptures are exquisitely beautiful and exquisitely shocking. The book includes magnificent photographs of his work.
Georgia O’Keefe by Janet Souter. I love Georgia O’Keefe. I have several books about her, but I recommend this one because of the full-page photos of her work. The book follows her entire life, not just the flowers and skulls she is known for. She is one of my favorites because she chose to go against the grain and paint what she wanted when the content of most artists was dictated by men.
The History of American Graffiti by Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon. I am a great supporter of defiance. I find defiance inspiring, especially in art. And nothing screams defiance lounder than graffiti. This a 405 page tome on graffiti art. The authors cover the cultural significance of graffiti as it relates to location, age, race, and gang affiliation. It includes a foreward from TAKI 183, the founding father of graffiti. The photos are in color, and appear on nearly every page. My favorite aspect of this book are the interviews with graffiti artists and their perspective on the movement.
Ansel Adams 400 Photographs edited by Andreas G. Stillman. Environmentalism and Ansel Adams are synoymous. He photographed the American landscape to support the Sierra Club. And he was friends with Georgia O’Keefe. What I love about this book is the photographs. It spans his entire career starting in 1916. Although it’s not a comprehensive text about Adams’ life, introductions for each chapter are provided giving the reader some background on the following photographs.