New Sculptures for our 35th Anniversary Special Exhibition

May 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

We’re just about  ready for our 35th Anniversary Special Exhibition, opening next Friday! This week local artist Thom Kapheim delivered the new bronze sculptures from his Baseball series. Reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti, the pieces examine how the rules and movement of a game can drive form. “I have created a visual dialogue based on tension and imminent action frozen in bronze,” explains Kapheim. 

The series is inspired by the artist’s time at his grandson’s baseball games. Yet stripped from their surroundings, the figures transcend any specific sport. In fact, they exist in a universe where play may not be quite play at all, but the basis for their societal structure. They ponder and pitch, dash and slide as their primary communication, government and survival.

The artist casts the sculptures in bronze from foam and wood maquettes, allowing him to thoughtfully mold each figure’s stance and texture. The result is all at once controlled, elegant and haphazardly primordial. We look forward to sharing them in person at our opening reception!

Foreground: Thom Kapheim, The Read, 2014, 30 x 16 x 13,” bronze. Background: Thom Kapheim, Practice Pitching, 2014, 16 x 22 x 25,” bronze at Josef Glimer Gallery.

Foreground: Thom Kapheim, The Read, 2014, 30 x 16 x 13,” Bronze. Background: Thom Kapheim, Practice Pitching, 2014, 16 x 22 x 25,” Bronze.

Foreground: Detail of Thom Kapheim's Monolith, 2014, 15 x 14 x 21,” bronze at Josef Glimer Gallery.

Foreground: Detail of Thom Kapheim’s Monolith, 2014, 15 x 14 x 21,” Bronze.

A Cosmic Ballet: Thoughts on Thom Kapheim’s Baseball Series

May 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

As part of our 35th Anniversary Special Exhibition opening on June 6, Josef Glimer Gallery will premiere new bronze sculptures by Thom Kapheimwho has exhibited with us for nearly 30 years. Through his Baseball series, Kapheim sets out to “examine how the kinetics of a game can drive form.” Kapheim’s mixed-media Baseball maquettes were recently on display at David Adler Music and Arts Centerand author, lecturer and former Gusfield-Glimer Gallery partner Jefferey Gusfield provided this vivid account:

Thom Kapheim’s baseball sculptures are otherworldly, like a cosmic ballet. I don’t mean the kind of otherworldly portrayed in his drawings, pastels, and paintings, which have always had themes of fantasy; these works are otherworldly in a sense of a completely different dimension. Oddly, the genesis of these 14 works couldn’t have been worldlier; according to Kapheim, the rather intense inspiration for this cycle of his art was simply his fourteen year-old grandson, Marek, finding his arm as a pitcher. Suddenly baseball was life and theater, and Kapheim is no stranger to either. Having known Thom for over 40 years, I was astounded and delighted at these adventures in movement. And as in Thom’s work in every form, they are wonderful pieces of theater as well.

Maquette by Thom Kapheim

Kapheim’s Baseball exhibition was debuted at the David Adler Music and Arts Center in Libertyville on a night not fit for man or beast. But I’d seen a photograph of this large sculpture on the Internet, and it had affected me so much that I was willing to slide and trudge in blowing snow. And I’m so glad I did, because in a warm exhibition space in the middle of a blizzard, these works were completely isolated from any environmental reminder of spring. They were forced to stand on their own, both philosophically, and figuratively. And they did. « Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Soon: New Paintings by Levan Stepanyan

May 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Levan Stepanyan, one of our most prolific painters, inserts subtle intrigue into everyday moments. Each of his angular figures seems caught in private introspection, providing especially striking contrast in group contexts. Stepanyan has just sent us these new pieces from Israel, and they’ll be on display by the beginning of next week!

Chess Players, 2014, 37 x 26," oil on canvas by Georgian-Israeli artist Levan Stepanyan.Golfers, 2014, 37.5 x 33.5," oil on canvas by Georgian-Israeli artist Levan Stepanyan

[Image 1: Chess Players, 2014, 37 x 26,” oil on canvas. Image 2: Golfers, 2014, 37.5 x 33.5,” oil on canvas.]

Behind the Picture: Madame X by Paul César Helleu

May 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Paul César Helleu, Madame X, c. 1900, 29 x 22," original crayon, pencil and pastel drawing on heavy Japon paper.

Paul César Helleu, Madame X, c. 1900, 29 x 22,” original crayon, pencil and pastel drawing on heavy Japon paper.

Originally part of the estate of Helleu’s youngest daughter Paulette Howard-Johnston, this piece was acquired by Josef Glimer Gallery from Lumey Cazalet Ltd. in London.

Paul César Helleu was born in 1859 in Vannes, Brittany, France and began attending the Ecole des Beux-Arts in 1876. He began his artistic career in ceramics, embellishing decorative plates with portraits of beautiful women. Helleu soon moved to portrait commissions in oil and drypoint, depicting countless notable figures including Queen Alexandra, the Duchess of Marlborough and Marcel Proust.

This portrait, a crayon, pencil and pastel drawing on heavy Japon paper, suggests Helleu’s printmaking tendencies through its graphic linework, lively cross-hatching and simple yet expressive capturing of gesture.

Helleu and other artists including James Tissot, Louis Legrand, Manuel Robbe and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec are considered key contributors to the Belle Époque aesthetic. The Belle Époque period (French for “Beautiful Era”) marked the years of peace and prosperity in France and Belgium between roughly 1871 and the shock of World War I in 1914. The era marked a golden age of printmaking and graphic arts highlighting fashionable French society with triumph, flair and humor.

Collector and art historian Victor Arwas writes in the introduction to his compilation Belle Epoque: Posters and Graphics:
“The term Belle Epoque encapsulates a style more than an era. There is a style in the clothes: elegance, self-confidence, beauty; each feathered hat is a creation, not a confection. There is a style in the subjects: elegant women at home, promenading, at the ball, making up, dressing, shopping with their lovers, alone, on stage, or waiting for a client. There is style in the treatment: flamboyant or wistful, dealing with high or low life, domestic or public occupations. There is style in the imagery, even when cruel in the observation. This accumulation of style in every aspect of execution itself forms an immediately recognizable style which transcends the appeal of nostalgia.”

Madame X” was previously used as the title for John Singer Sargent’s famous full-body portrait of Parisian socialite Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, who posed for several important 19th-century artists. Gautrau, admired for her style, beauty and allegedly scandalous love life, embodied the idea of the parisienne, or modern, sophisticated French woman.

While Sargent and Helleu were close friends, it is unknown whether Helleu’s portrait depicts Gaurtreau, as “Madame X” may just be used here as a term of anonymity. It is just as likely to be a portrait of the artist’s favorite model of all, his wife Alice.

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