Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Giotto The Madonna Enthroned

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Giotto di Bondone, Virgin and Child Enthroned, 
(Ognissanti Altar,) c 1310. 
Tempera and gold on wood, 10'8"x6'8"
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Late Gothic or Early Renaissance

Form:  Giotto's painting of the Virgin child shows some marked formal differences. Giotto is a kind of special effects master. His paintings are more three dimensional. He also uses more contrasts of light and shadow. This is called chiaroscuro. He also uses overlapping of the figures to create a sense of space. Compare to Duccio or Cimabue's paintings in which the figures that accompany Mary seem to be standing on bleachers as if for a class photo. Giotto also uses more life like gestures. The figures interact and tend to regard one another. Notice the tilted heads in adoration of the Virgin. The figure of Mary is more life like and even dresses more in the Italian style. Notice her hair is slightly uncovered and her clothing reveals the anatomy beneath almost like the wet drapery style of the ancient Greeks. The throne is also more convincingly rendered it looks looks like an actual architectural structure. 

Iconography:  In an overt description of the iconography Giotto's rendition of this then seems identical to Cimabue's but on closer inspection, the naturalism and illusionism of the work is symbolic of some of the fundamental changes that were occurring during the late Gothic to Renaissance periods.

The naturalism relates to the study and pursuit of humanism.  The ideas of Christian and Catholic though go through a radical change with the canonization of St. Francis.  The idea that one should and could emulate the life and behavior of Christ meant that art needed to relate more to the individual and strike a chord of compassion.  The heightened realism of such images were designed to create a sense of sympathy or empathy with the religious characters they portrayed. 

Context:  Giotto was the student of Cimabue and considered a genius by Michelangelo and other later Renaissance painters.  Make sure you read about his life in "Liaisons."

According to the Brittanica,
A tempera medium is dry pigment tempered with an emulsion and thinned with water. It is a very ancient medium, having been in constant use in most world cultures, until in Europe it was gradually superseded, during the Renaissance, by oil paints. Tempera was the original mural medium in the ancient dynasties of Egypt, Babylonia, Mycenean Greece, and China and was used to decorate the early Christian catacombs. It was employed on a variety of supports, from the stone stelae (or commemorative pillars), mummy cases, and papyrus rolls of ancient Egypt to the wood panels of Byzantine icons and altarpieces and the vellum leaves of medieval illuminated manuscripts.

True tempera is made by mixture with the yolk of fresh eggs, although manuscript illuminators often used egg white and some easel painters added the whole egg. Other emulsions have been used, such as casein glue with linseed oil, egg yolk with gum and linseed oil, and egg white with linseed or poppy oil. Individual painters have experimented with other recipes, but few of these have proved successful; all but William Blake's later tempera paintings on copper sheets, for instance, have darkened and decayed, and it is thought that he mixed his pigment with carpenter's glue.

Distemper is a crude form of tempera made by mixing dry pigment into a paste with water, which is thinned with heated glue in working or by adding pigment to whiting, a mixture of fine-ground chalk and size. It is used for stage scenery and full-size preparatory cartoons for murals and tapestries. When dry, its colours have the pale, mat, powdery quality of pastels, with a similar tendency to smudge. Indeed, damaged cartoons have been retouched with pastel chalks.

Egg tempera is the most durable form of the medium, being generally unaffected by humidity and temperature. It dries quickly to form a tough film that acts as a protective skin to the support. In handling, in its diversity of transparent and opaque effects, and in the satin sheen of its finish, it resembles the modern acrylic resin emulsion paints.

Traditional tempera painting is a lengthy process. Its supports are smooth surfaces, such as planed wood, fine set plaster, stone, paper, vellum, canvas, and modern composition boards of compressed wood or paper. Linen is generally glued to the surface of panel supports, additional strips masking the seams between braced wood planks. Gesso, a mixture of plaster of paris (or gypsum) with size, is the traditional ground. The first layer is of gesso grosso, a mixture of coarse, unslaked plaster and size. This provides a rough, absorbent surface for ten or more thin coats of gesso sotile, a smooth mixture of size and fine plaster previously slaked in water to retard drying. This laborious preparation results, however, in an opaque, brilliant white, light-reflecting surface, similar in texture to hard, flat icing sugar.

The design for a large tempera painting traditionally was executed in distemper on a thick paper cartoon. The outlines were pricked with a perforating wheel so that when the cartoon was laid on the surface of the support, the linear pattern was transferred by dabbing, or "pouncing," the perforations with a muslin bag of powdered charcoal. The dotted contours traced through were then fixed in paint. Medieval tempera painters of panels and manuscripts made lavish use of gold leaf on backgrounds and for symbolic features, such as haloes and beams of heavenly light. Areas of the pounced design intended for gilding were first built up into low relief with gesso duro, the harder, less absorbent gesso compound used also for elaborate frame moldings. Background fields were often textured by impressing the gesso duro, before it set, with small, carved, intaglio wood blocks to create raised, pimpled, and quilted repeat patterns that glittered when gilded. Leaves of finely beaten gold were pressed onto a tacky mordant (adhesive compound) or over wet bole (reddish-brown earth pigment) that gave greater warmth and depth when the gilded areas were burnished.

Colours were applied with sable brushes in successive broad sweeps or washes of semitransparent tempera. These dried quickly, preventing the subtle tonal gradations possible with watercolour washes or oil paint; effects of shaded modelling had therefore to be obtained by a crosshatching technique of fine brush strokes. According to the Italian painter Cennino Cennini, the early Renaissance tempera painters laid the colour washes across a fully modelled monochrome underpainting in terre vert (olive-green pigment), a method developed later into the mixed mediums technique of tempera underpainting followed by transparent oil glazes.

The luminous gesso base of a tempera painting, combined with the accumulative effect of overlaid colour washes, produces a unique depth and intensity of colour. Tempera paints dry lighter in value, but their original tonality can be restored by subsequent waxing or varnishing. Other characteristic qualities of a tempera painting, resulting from its fast drying property and disciplined technique, are its steely lines and crisp edges, its meticulous detail and rich linear textures, and its overall emphasis upon a decorative flat pattern of bold colour masses.

The great Byzantine tradition of tempera painting was developed in Italy in the 13th and 14th centuries by Duccio di Buoninsegna and Giotto. Their flattened picture space, generously enriched by fields and textures of gold leaf, was extended by the Renaissance depth perspectives in the paintings of Giovanni Bellini, Piero della Francesca, Carlo Crivelli, Sandro Botticelli, and Vittore Carpaccio. By that time, oil painting was already challenging the primacy of tempera, Botticelli and some of his contemporaries apparently adding oil to the tempera emulsion or overglazing it in oil colour.

Following the supremacy of the oil medium during succeeding periods of Western painting, the 20th century saw a revival of tempera techniques by such U.S. artists as Ben Shahn, Andrew Wyeth, and George McNeil and by the British painter Edward Wadsworth. It would probably have been the medium also of the later hard-edge abstract painters had the new acrylic resin paints not proved more easily and quickly.

Gesso according to the Brittanica,
(Italian: "gypsum," or "chalk"), fluid, white coating composed of plaster of paris, chalk, gypsum, or other whiting mixed with glue, applied to smooth surfaces such as wood panels, plaster, stone, or canvas to provide the ground for tempera and oil painting or for gilding and painting carved furniture and picture frames. In Medieval and Renaissance tempera painting, the surface was covered first with a layer of gesso grosso (rough gesso) made with coarse, unslaked plaster, then with a series of layers of gesso sottile (finishing gesso) made with fine plaster slaked in water, which produced an opaque, white, reflective surface.

In the 14th century, Giotto, the notable Italian painter, used a finishing gesso of parchment glue and slaked plaster of paris. In medieval tempera painting, background areas intended for gilding were built up into low relief with gesso duro (hard gesso), a less absorbent composition also used for frame moldings, with patterns often pressed into the gesso with small carved woodblocks. Modern gesso is made of chalk mixed with glue obtained from the skins of rabbits or calves.

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Celebrate Pride month at the Center's annual Pride Picnic, presented by idobi Networks.
Sunday, June 26 | 6–10 p.m.

Hollywood Forever
Fairbanks Lawn
6000 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Benefiting the Center's programs and services, this summer PRIDE night features outdoor picnic space, tunes by DJ Nico Craig, drag performances by Amber Crane and Lauren Banall, and vogue performances from Chauncey Dominique!
Bring your own blanket, chairs, food, and drink, or purchase specialty cocktails from Tito's Handmade Vodka and food from L.A.'s best food trucks including Vegan AF, Go Beyond the Bowl, and Go Fusion & Grill.
Exclusive VIP ticket options!
VIP picnic spots include reserved seating at the best location on the lawn (for up to 6 people), a full picnic setup with blanket and picnic table, Tito's bottle service, and complementary Perrier®.  Original and flavored carbonated mineral waters.
For an elevated experience purchase tickets for “The Proudest Seat in the House” VIP lounge, provided by our official sponsor Joybird. Includes an open bar with craft cocktails from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and complimentary meal. Relax in the comfortable outdoor lounge right near the DJ, dance floor, and performance area. The VIP Lounge is 21+ only.
All VIP tickets include early access at 5:30 p.m. and parking passes.
This event is all ages. Children aged 5 and under are free, no ticket required.
Proof of vaccination is required for all guests aged 5 years and older.
Get Tickets!
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Hello again and welcome to the artist mailing list email, and some jobs with us at Homotopia. Enjoy!

Open Call For Junior Facilitator

We are looking for a Junior Facilitator to support this years Young Homotopia x GYRO Summer Social.

This Summer Social is a partnership project Homotopia runs with GYRO, holding workshops, rehearsals, and performances for a creative collective of young LGBTQIA people who are interested in self-expression through performance.

The Junior Facilitator will help practitioner and associate artist Ashleigh Owen throughout the project. This is a great entry level role for someone wanting to work in the creative sector.

Pay: £500

Deadline: 5th June 2022

More info

Magnetic Residencies

Magnetic is a joint Franco-UK initiative that brings together eight venues to create a new programme of artists' residencies of 2 to 3 months: four in France for the UK based artists, and four in the United Kingdom for French based artists.

Pay: £2,100

Deadline: 30th May 2022

More info


The VAULT FIVE is a 9 month mentoring programme for early & mid-career live performance makers that aims to give you a step up in your career and help you realise your ambitions by culminating in a show at the next VAULT Festival.

Deadline: 14th June 2022

More info

Polyester x Monki Queer Creative Fund

In 2021, Polyester collaborated with Monki and created a Queer Creative Fund to offer one LGBTQA+ creative a £1500 grant and one month of creative mentorship sessions with the Polyester and Monki team. The winner will create an artistic project of their choosing for the July digital cover of The Polyester Dollhouse. This year, the fund returns to champion more creatives from the queer community.

Deadline: 7th June 2022


More info

BFI Film Academy June Labs

BFI Film Academy Labs are monthly practical sessions for 16-25 year olds, led by industry professionals, with a focus on explaining the specifics of working in film and television, and developing your skills to become the best screen creative you can be!

The June Lab masterclass will cover the origins of how genre became a key element in the industry, and why it remains so. Short films and their makers who have gone on to spectacular success by understanding and harnessing the potential of genre in their short film work will be referenced.

More info. Lucky you.

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

"Mariette Pathy Allen | House Ball, Harlem, 1984"--opening Thursday


Mariette Pathy Allen | House Ball, Harlem, 1984
May 12 – July 16, 2022

Opening extravaganza:
Thursday, May 12, 2022  
6 - 8 PM


ClampArt is pleased to announce “House Ball, Harlem, 1984”—Mariette Pathy Allen’s second solo show with the gallery.

Mariette Pathy Allen began photographing the transgender community in the late 1970s. Through her artistic practice, she has been a pioneering force in gender consciousness, contributing to numerous cultural and academic publications about gender variance and lecturing across the globe.

In 1984, Allen was invited to attend and photograph a house ball in Harlem. The competitions began after midnight and ran to 8 AM. The space was very dark, and there were many, many categories including the Face Competition, Femme Queen Realness, Runway, etc. Contestants competed for trophies, prizes, and bragging rights. While Allen shot images of the action in front of the audience, she also invested much of her time and interest in the preparations backstage, shooting more intimate portraits.

Drag balls have been hosted in Harlem going back to the post-Civil War era. Writer Thad Morgan notes: “Attendees varied in race, gender, and sex—with some women taking part by wearing men’s clothes—but the main attractions were female impersonators who showed off their gowns and bodies to a panel of judges in typical pageant fashion.” The balls continued for decades and grew in popularity. Concerning the balls in the 1920s during the Harlem Renaissance, Morgan continues: “The era not only allowed African American artists—from painters and authors to dancers and musicians—to experiment with and reinvent their crafts, it also saw popular Black artists experience and explore gender, sex and sexuality like never before.”

By the late 1960s, the balls were still thriving. And while the pageants had long been interracial, it was common knowledge that the mostly white judges often favored light, European features. At the 1967 Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant in Philadelphia a white contestant was crowned winner, when Crystal LaBeija, representing Manhattan, cried foul, claiming discrimination against the Black and Lantinx queens. So, in protest, in the early 1970s, Crystal LeBeija and drag queen Lottie LeBeija established the House of LaBeija, the first ever ballroom “house,” with Crystal as the house mother.

From the beginning, house balls welcomed Black and Latinx queer, gay, and trans people. Functioning more as families than teams, the houses “were led by house ‘mothers’ or house ‘fathers’ to guide and groom their house ‘children’ for the world.” House culture thrives today across the country in many cities, especially in the Northeast.

Balls provide both a physical and mental space for the celebration and exploration of gender, race, and a wide range of societal themes. Categories offer moments to bask in the cultural types and personas that influence how individuals see themselves and the wider world. The ball functions as an incubator of self-identification and realization. Many of Mariette Pathy Allen’s images have focused on the public experiences and moments in the lives of transgender individuals. The 1984 house ball in Harlem offered Allen an opportunity to watch a community relish varying projections and expressions of selfhood.

Mariette Pathy Allen’s first book, Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them, was groundbreaking in its investigation of a misunderstood community. Her second book, The Gender Frontier, is a collection of photographs, interviews, and essays covering political activism, youth, and the range of people that identify as transgender in the United States. It won the 2004 Lambda Literary Award in the Transgender/Genderqueer category. Other books include TransCuba and Transcendents: Spirit Mediums in Burma and Thailand.

In 2020, Queer|Art, a New York nonprofit dedicated to promoting the work of LGBTQ+ artists, launched a new $10,000 grant for Black trans women artists. The award, called the Illuminations Grant, was developed in collaboration with photographer Mariette Pathy Allen, writer and consultant Aaryn Lang, and multidisciplinary artist Serena Jara. Allen single-handedly endowed the award.

Mariette Pathy Allen’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and abroad. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of MoMA, New York City; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York City; New York Public Library, New York City; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Reiss-Engelhorn Museum, Frankfurt, Germany; George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York; Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium; Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, Indiana; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; McEvoy Family Collection, San Francisco, California; Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania; and Museum of Photography, Lishui, China.

Her work will be archived at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s Studies at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

1. © Mariette Pathy Allen; "Blue Dress," 1984/printed later; Archival pigment print (Edition of 12); 15.25 x 23 inches, image.
2. © Mariette Pathy Allen; "Realness (The Face Competition)," 1984/printed later; Archival pigment print (Edition of 12); 15.25 x 23 inches, image.
3. © Mariette Pathy Allen; "Orange Handbag," 1984/printed later; Archival pigment print (Edition of 12); 15.25 x 23 inches, image.
4. © Mariette Pathy Allen; "Gathering Backstage," 1984/printed later; Selenium-toned gelatin silver print (Edition of 15); 16 x 20 inches, sheet.

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