Monday, September 19, 2011

Giving a Talk on Russell Patterson, Oct 2

If you're in Massachusetts it would be lovely to see you for tea, at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Sunday, Oct. 2. I will be giving the following talk:

Sex, Booze, and All That Jazz:
The Humorous Illustration of Russell Patterson

This illustrated lecture presents the work of Russell Patterson with over 50 images and a film clip. We will examine how his cartoons of the “Patterson Girl” from the 1920s and 30s, like the earlier Gibson Girl, paradoxically symbolized both the excess and the containment of female sexuality in popular culture.
Russell Patterson’s girlie drawings were symptomatic of shifts in courtship, class behaviors, commercial culture, and changing conditions in the field of illustration following World War 1. Patterson helped redefine modern beauty standards and gender performance in comics, puppet shows, advertising, magazines, interior design, fashion design, and beauty contests.
Patterson’s illustrations were a response to a new norm, where illustrators were faced with models’ unprecedented sexual and business autonomy. The tension between the sexes in his work is reflective of the displacement of illustrated print media by the camera and the very models he had helped promote. The increasing tawdriness of his depictions of women may be seen as an attempt to hang on to power by showing what the camera could not, as well as a misogynist mocking of the very sexuality his illustrations celebrate. Widely imitated and famous in his day, Patterson’s masterful black and white line drawings express the rebellious spirit of the jazz age so outrageously that they still charm—and raise eyebrows—today.
Sunday, October 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Norman Rockwell Museum 

Giving a Talk on Robert Weaver Sept 29

Robert Weaver remains one of the more controversial figures in the illustration world. If you're in St Louis, I hope you will come to my presentation:

Blind Spots:
Robert Weaver and Juxtapositions of
Art and Illustration

In the 1950s, renowned illustrator Robert Weaver introduced into magazine illustration a painterliness and immediacy that related it to contemporary art. This put him in the controversial middle between gallery and illustration worlds at exactly the moment when commercial art was being held up by art and culture critics as the epitome of evil. Outspoken Weaver berated both illustrators and modern artists for their respective blind spots, and drove himself to keep looking where others were not. Throughout his life he eschewed singularity of vision for juxtaposition, revealing unseen third meanings. Then, as Weaver developed his interest in the relationship between diachronic and synchronic time and fractured vision, his eyesight began to deteriorate, leaving him seriously visually impaired. Still, he continued making art and speaking out, overcoming his own blind spots. In this talk I will survey Weaver’s career and work, and discuss his all-important defense of illustration as an art form.

Thursday, September 29, 4:30 p.m.
Ginkgo Reading Room, Olin Library, Level 1
Washington University, St Louis


Friday, September 9, 2011

Oscar Cahén: Oct 1-30

I've had my head down working on this project for the last month.... very much looking forward to presenting Oscar Cahén's illustrations from the 1940s and 1950s at Illustration House in New York. We had over 100 original works to go through to select these 35 or so. They're amazing. I've never seen such a versatile illustrator before.
Cahén is to Canadian illustrators what a mixture of Beckhoff, Weaver, Martin Stone, Steinberg and Peak would have been to Americans. He just never got recognition in the US because he did almost all his work for Canadian publications. The Toronto Art Directors Club, however, recognized him every year in multiple awards.
I'm writing a 10,000 word essay to go in a full colour catalogue. Web site is here.