Friday, July 8, 2011

simple is good.

Joe Cunnigham

Agnes Martin

Recently I have been looking at the quilts of Joe Cunningham aka "Joe the Quilter" and I will openly say that generally I am not that moved by quilts. Perhaps because they always seem so perfect when they are an " art" work. The skill level is SO high that the innate quality of the quilt and it being hand made is missing. Especially since most modern quilters use a machine for the actual "quilting."

Joe Cunnigham

But one series of Joe's is drawing me in. He makes other works that are colorful and playful and graphic but I am drawn to the simplest ones.

Joe Cunnigham

Containing only lines and a limited color palette. They have such simplicity that I can get lost in them and choose to stay for awhile.

Joe Cunnigham

They very much remind me of Agnes Martin's paintings. All of which are actually not that far off from the size of a small quilt. Agnes Martin made painting after painting of horizontal lines and subtle color hoping to imbue her work with spirituality and the celebration of nature. I never understood or cared for her work until I had the privilege to see it daily.


Agnes Martin

When I worked for Pace Gallery, who has long time represented her, I handled and walked by many Agnes Martin works and to see her work in person is to be transcended. Though her work may seem somewhat rigid in its form she actually embraced the imperfections that come with a hand never erasing or fixing moments where the line became flawed.

Agnes Martin

Joe's quilts remind me of her powerful work and leaves me a little inspired to find simplicity.

Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.
Agnes Martin


Read a previous post on Agnes here.

4 comments:

yasmin sabur said...

Interesting comment on machine quilted "art quilts." Makes me wonder why these quilts made in America are art, and those machine quilted in China are not. An issue of privilege, perhaps?

Joe Cunningham said...

Thanks Joetta. I really appreciate your words and your work.

Who said the ones machine quilted in China are not?

Sonya Philip said...

I was lucky to see Joe Cunnigham's quilts when he was the Artist in Residence at the de Young in San Francisco. They are beautiful.

Joetta M. said...

So nice to see all the comments.

Joe it was my pleasure I loved looking at your work in this way.

As far as the quilts in China... I would say it depends on what is being talked about. I would say as always this becomes the issue of what is art? And To me it is an issue of intent. Artists that are using technology to their advantage are still artists and are still expressing considered unique ideas and to me this is regardless of how their work is or is not produced.
If an item is being mass produced and is being made only as a commodity to be used and sold and there is not intellectual intent behind it then to me this is not art but product.

In addition if someone is being paid for their skill as a craftperson that is different then if they are creating something original. Just my 2 cents.

For instance when I have been hired to make a product for a video shoot or company. Though I am an artist I do not consider this work art as it is being made simply with the goal to be sold as a commodity and it has no "idea" behind it other then "pretty" design.