Friday, August 30, 2019

Smoking Dandy, watercolor and crayon on Rives BFK, 11x14 inches, by Kenney Mencher

Gobekli Tepe, Turkey


The context surrounding the study of art from the Neolithic Near East, sometimes referred to as the Fertile Crescent, is almost as important as the artifacts themselves.

The way in which we study the Neolithic and Fertile Crescent has gone some monumental changes since the 1960s. The three major sites Gobekli Tepe, Jericho and Catal Huyuk (there are multiple spellings for these sites so don’t be surprised to see strange looking spellings of these.)  Jericho and Catal Huyuk are the ones that introduced us to the Neolithic ancient near East when mankind first became sedentary and started to develop agriculture. The picture we got in the 1960s was that there was a so-called, “Neolithic Revolution,” in which humankind settled down into communities because humans discovered agriculture. Much of the extrapolation of the artifacts of art from cultures was based on this supposition, however, there are different theories describe why mankind became sedentary, settled into communities, and began to farm.

For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:

https://www.udemy.com/user/kenneymencher/
  

The “Neolithic Revolution” theory is being questioned now in the light of some discoveries made since 1990 at Catal Huyuk, Turkey and another site nearby called Gobekli Tepe, Turkey.  


Gobekli Tepe is important because the excavations done in 2008 show that the culture dates from around 10,000 BC is around 2,000 years earlier than historians and scientists have been able to show the beginnings of agriculture by humankind. Most scientists and historians agree that, at least in the Neolithic Fertile Crescent, agriculture didn’t begin until 8000 BCE and this is evidenced by scientific research of the different kinds of grains found in that region. Gobekli Tepe is a site in which a series of large stone megaliths were constructed around 10,000 BCE and a community which was fairly sedentary but not a farming settlement sprang up around this series of carved monumental stones. A civilization of 3,000 to 6,000 people lived there for at least 1,000 years if not to 2,000.


Gobekli Tepe is important because it shows evidence of a community of thousands of people living around a ceremonial center in a village even though mankind had not yet invented farming and also demonstrates a use of resources such as labor and skilled artisans to construct a large permanent monument(s) adorned with carvings by skilled artisans. This evidence has made scholars adjust or reexamine traditionally accepted theories that suggested Neolithic mankind settled into villages because of environmental factors such as the availability of food and climate.  The theory that seems most popular now to explain the shift from nomadic peoples to part time villagers has to do with the study of how the brain works called neuroscience.


Contemporary neuroscientific studies and theory suggest that human beings’ brains evolved to allow us to socialize and cooperate as a survival mechanism.  In effect, we are “hardwired” to network with each other to socialize and problem solve.  Furthermore, the brain is capable of tracking intricate relationships a little more over 100 other people and this is why were able to live in large communities before we developed agriculture.  It also appears that human beings found the creation of art important enough to devote considerable resources and labor to making it.


In the case of Gobekli Tepe the artifacts that support this are the remains of architecture such as dwellings and a ring of “T” shaped stones each one carved with images of people, insects, and animals.  There is no botanical imagery at the site but there are some geometric designs.  Some of the iconography seems to be very consistent with art created in the Paleolithic era.    



Another important find, probably found at the same site is a life size carving of a probably male figure. However, the provenance (circumstances of how and where the figure was found) indicates that it was found near the main site in Urfa.  This figure often referred to as the “Urfa Man” because Gobekli Tepe is located near the town of Urfa Turkey. 


It’s tempting to interpret or try to explain what these objects represent or mean however, the best place to begin with analyzing these artifacts is in a close physical inspection of the objects without too much interpretation or imagination. 

For example, the “Urfa Man,” is a carved single piece of stone.  It is carved in the subtractive process. In subtractive carving the sculpture would take a block of stone or work from a piece of stone that was roughly cut to the size and shape of the completed project and then using other stone tools the sculpture would be chipped and ground away through a process of grinding and friction with other stones to complete the form.  There is an element of relief carving in this sculpture in the be like forms that are around the neck. These bands in a V shape are in a higher or raised relief from the torso.

Although the shape is anthropomorphic (man shaped) the overall proportions of the figure’s anatomy is slightly unrealistic.  It looks roughly the size and shape of a human being and is probably a male figure because it does not have breasts.  The artifact is broken below the knee and missing legs. It doesn’t seem to have any traces of pigments (colors or paint.)  This does not mean it wasn’t painted at one time.  

Many of the features are generalized or stylized in some way.  The torso is based on rectangular or boxlike form, the arms and fingers are tube-like or based on cylinders and the head is oval or egg like in form.

The shoulders are too narrow and have an abrupt ninety-degree angle which gives the figures’ and shoulders a shape that is based on a square or “t” shape.  The elbows are generalized curves and don’t have elbows but the arms terminate in hands that are engaged over the figure’s stomach.  Each hand has five fingers and the hands may be holding a bird or another animal.

There are two “v” shaped bands across the neck that are raised from the surface of the torso.  The bands correspond to wear a necklace or collar are.

The eyes have pieces of obsidian in the sockets.  The size and placement of the features of the head are consistent with people however the sizes and shapes are slightly unrealistic and a bit disproportionate.  For example, the ears or a “c” shaped tube-like form. The nose is a wedge or a triangle.  The head appears to lack hair and the size of the head is also larger than is natural. 

We are lacking a firm knowledge of where this was found and how it was found, but, since most scholars seem to agree that it comes from Gobekli Tepe, we can make the assumption that it is from their and therefore it may allow us to do some interpretation of what this thing means. Another way of describing this is to describe the iconography of the figure. 

For example, it is reasonable to assume that this sculpture is a life-size representation of a human being and probably a male. At the site, there are various carvings and incisions on some of the megaliths that look very similar to this sculpture. The hands of the sculpture look very similar to what look like the hands on the front of one of these large megaliths. It’s also possible to conclude that the figure is holding an animal like one of the carvings from Gobekli Tepe and is possible that this figure represents the same kind of figured that some of the megaliths represent.


Some of the evidence about Gobekli Tepe suggests that the site is a type of Temple that contains large megalithic sculptures that represent human beings and are adorned with animal like forms. You can apply this same logic to this figure and it’s possible, although it’s still very speculative to believe so, this figure may represent one of the same figures that the megaliths represent.

If we compare figures like this to several other cultures that we know a little bit more about, for example can compare figures that look like this from the place in the Fertile Crescent from several thousand years later, found in a similar context, and we’ve been able to conclude fairly confidently that those figures are sculptures that represent worshipers. Perhaps this sculpture represents a worshiper or a hero or a God or a priest or an important person. There isn’t enough evidence to confidently conclude that this sculpture represents any of those things specifically.  One possible idea about using this sculpture as a point of departure to interpret other artworks found at the site is that this sculpture might be a smaller version of the megalithic sculptures that exist at the site. 





The megaliths are tall possibly anthropomorphically shaped figures that have relief carvings on the services that could represent, tattoos, clothing, body paint, or a type of compound imagery that is similar to the Native Americans of the northwest coasts of the American continent. It’s hard to determine what these are relief sculptures that decorate the surfaces of the megaliths represent.  Taken as individual images one can see a variety of creatures, designs, and possibly even anatomical features represented such as hands and loincloths.

Dr. Ian Hodder has suggested that these megaliths are T-shaped figures that represent male human forms. He goes on to further state that many of the features such as the loincloth and hands carved in an engaged bass relief, on the front of these megaliths further support that these are anthropomorphic sculptures.



Hodder has also suggested that these figures are also mailed because they are adorned with many animals that are male and exhibit erect penises.

Given what we know about the life-size figure and its shape and form please are reasonable interpretations. It’s also possible that the megaliths originally had hands on them that were removed. One of the things that is important is that these megaliths were preserved because the people who lived at the site around 9000 or 8000 BCE carefully buried the figures in the ground and that is why they are so well preserved. Perhaps they had heads that were removed at that time?


As in the case of Paleolithic culture and some of the cave paintings that we looked at from places like Chauvet and Lascaux, we see a number of dangerous wild animals such as wild pigs, felines, and wild cattle. There are also some images of scorpions and carrion birds such as vultures. Many of these are the wild game that Neolithic hunter gatherers would hunt. Some of the figures are composite creatures that are made of animals and have some human features. This is also common in some of the sculptures from the Paleolithic period and in a painting that we studied of a bird headed man possibly hunting a disemboweled bison.

The standard interpretation of including animals like this in actual contexts often is explained that these figures are an attempt through some sort of sympathetic magic or religion to control the animals and/or affect the natural world. Another possible explanation for the depiction of these kinds of animals and creatures aside from a religious or magical one is possibly to document or record some sort of history in visual form.

As in the case of several of the Paleolithic caves we have studied, the creation of images and sculptures like this is not something that could be casually accomplished. The conventions and forms that depict the animals and creatures would’ve taken some sort of training or sophistication that would have been multigenerational. Artist would have been trained in a kind of style and would have learned different ways of depicting animals. These are not clearly childish or childlike drawings that are crude these are sophisticated and would’ve taken time to learn how to make. The same is also true about the construction of the megaliths and the ability and training it would’ve taken to be able to carve such sophisticated and complex images and shapes. Carving is something that takes a lot of practice and so does drawing and these incised relief carvings are the result of several generations of training.

For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:

https://www.udemy.com/user/kenneymencher/

Thursday, August 29, 2019

What you should know about the “Bison from La Madeleine”

What you should know about the “Bison from La Madeleine”



What you should know about the “Bison from La Madeleine”
It has a variety of names, Bison with turned head, fragmentary spearthrower, from La Madeleine, Dordogne, France ca. 12,000 BCE.  Is now in Museum in France close to where it was found around the middle of the 19th century.

This bison which is only about 4 inches long. It was found in La Madeleine, it started probably as just a small chunk of bone that they decided to preserve as much of the bone as possible and not carve away too much of it.  The shape of the bone may have suggested to the artist the outline of a bison.  The artist would have been aware that any delicate extensions like legs could be easily broken off.   It's an interesting idea that the materials and the shape of the materials suggested the form to the artist.  One of the important vocabulary terms in art history classes to describe making something like this is called “subtractive sculpture.” This means that anything carved away or subtracted from something creates its form. It’s a buzzword but I bet it’ll help you get in a on the test. 

If you look closely at the sculpture you'll see not only has the larger forms been carved a way to make the outline of the bison, but there are also etched were incised lines to add detail to the hair and the texture of the face. So there's a combination of high and low relief sometimes referred to as Haute and bas-relief.  The etched lines would be considered low or bas-relief since they don't push out very far from the surface of the sculpture. The overall outline or big shapes are sometimes referred to as high relief or haute relief.






It appears to be part of an antler that was carved a way to make the shape of the bison turning back and licking its hindquarters. There are several other depictions of bisons doing this and most likely the reason why the bison is being depicted this way is because it uses less antler to create it. Some textbooks suggest that the form of the antler that it was carved from suggested to the artist the shape and form.

It appears to be a broken off section from a larger antler, other tools may from antlers with similar designs on them have been found and they appear to be a kind of tool that is used to throw spears and increase the force through leveraging a longer arc or sweep of the arm. There’s a nice description of this at the beginning of the film “The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” So the most logical suggestion of how this thing was used is that it was an ancient tool that was used to increase the force of throwing a spear.

Art historians, archaeologists, anthropologists often try to do a deeper reading of what objects like this symbolize. Based on what we know about prehistoric man in the region of France that were talking about it appears that a bison would have been a very useful animal to hunt. It also be a hard animal to hunt. Some books suggest that bison bones were prepared by burning them down to make grease which would’ve been an important dietary supplement. Most likely, because of this evidence and because a bison is something that was important to them are the main reason for creating something in the shape of the bison.  However, based on what we think we know about religion and how humans think about supernatural kinds of things it may be possible that the iconography or what the bison symbolizes goes deeper than what we understand. Here’s a couple of suggestions about what the iconography or symbolic meaning of bisons are for ancient peoples.
 It may have just been a work of art for the sake of beauty or a religious fetish.  


fe·tish also fe·tich \'fe-tish also 'fē-\ n [F & Pg; F fétiche, fr. Pg feitiço, fr. feitiço artificial, false, fr. L facticius factitious] (1613) 
1 a : an object (as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner ; broadly: a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence b : an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : prepossession c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression 
2 : a rite or cult of fetish worshipers 
3 : fixation 


It also could be a fetishistic item in a way for instance think of kids to put posters the celebrities in their locker on their wall and it's almost like they have little altar to that celebrity and by owning in effigy or a picture of that celebrity icon they have some sort of connection to that icon.  Have you ever taken a lock of hair from someone? Perhaps a mother preserves a lock of hair from her baby. The hair is symbol but it is also like holding a little piece of that person.  If you have a representation of something like for instance a bison it could be a representation of something that was important to them and by holding onto it.  They might've been able to feel that they have some kind of control over real bison so those are some of the reasons why small sculptures from the Paleolithic era might've been made. I think that I am it's interesting to take a look at the motivations from the cultures that we know a lot more about who share similar technology and apply what we know about those cultures to the prehistoric eras.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Smoking Dandy, watercolor and crayon on Rives BFK, 11x14 inches, by Kenney Mencher

ARTIST CALLS from California ArtBeat

ARTIST CALLS

California's artists are always in demand. The California Arts Council keeps a database dedicated to opportunities for artists, from local to global. You can sort this list by: deadlinedate postedregion of eligible artists or discipline. You can also view additional opportunities on ourpublic art list.
Note: Our database assigns an arbitrary deadline of January 1 of next year to Artist Calls submitted with no deadline. Don't delay in applying.
Disclaimer: Public submissions are reviewed and posted to the California Arts Council website on a weekly basis. If your listing has not been published within 5 business days of submitting your information, contact Wendy Moran at wendy.moran@arts.ca.gov to check the status of your post. The California Arts Council screens submissions for any spam or solicitous material, but does not endorse and cannot guarantee the accuracy or authenticity of any user-submitted content. 
 
ORGANIZATION
TITLE
DEADLINE
City of Tustin
Tustin, CA
08-29-2019
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
Dowell, MD
08-29-2019
Amador County Arts Council
Jackson, CA
08-30-2019
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
Los Angeles, CA
08-30-2019
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
Los Angeles, CA
08-30-2019
Anna Davidson Consulting 
West Sacramento, CA
08-30-2019
SquidInk Gallery
Antioch, CA
08-30-2019
CICA Museum
South Korea
08-30-2019
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
Omaha, NE
08-31-2019
Central Washington University
Ellensburg, WA
08-31-2019
LA UP Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
08-31-2019
Loupe, LLC
Atlanta, GA
08-31-2019
Las Laguna Gallery
Laguna Beach, CA
08-31-2019
The FL3TCH3R Exhibit
Johnson City, TN
08-31-2019
Limner Gallery
Hudson, NY
08-31-2019
Alpha Fired Arts
Sacramento, CA
08-31-2019
The Matador Review
Riverside, CA
08-31-2019
Chalk Hill Artist Residency
Healdsburg, CA
08-31-2019
Viewpoint Photographic Art Center
Sacramento, CA
08-31-2019
Gallery 1075 - West Sacramento Community Center
West Sacramento, CA
08-31-2019
City of La Quinta
La Quinta, CA
08-31-2019
Art Room Gallery
Online
08-31-2019
RedArtBox
Hawaii, HI
08-31-2019
PIKCHUR Magazine
Baltimore, MD
08-31-2019
L.A. Photo Curator
Los Angeles, CA
09-01-2019
Laurie HIcklin
Sacramento, CA
09-01-2019
Gallery1202
Gilroy, CA
09-01-2019
Nica Aquino
Los Angeles, CA
09-01-2019
Fusion Art
Palm Springs, CA
09-01-2019
Two Rivers Cider Co
Sacramento, CA
09-01-2019
Green Olive Arts
Tetouan, Morocco
09-01-2019
Foundwork
Brooklyn, NY
09-01-2019
Lower East Side Printshop
New York City, NY
09-01-2019
Avenue 50 Studio
Highland Park, CA
09-01-2019
Asian Creatives Network
San Francisco, CA
09-01-2019
Eye of Octopus
Los Angeles, CA
09-01-2019
OC Premier Swim Academy
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
09-02-2019
Lamblab
South Korea
09-02-2019
Mercy Housing & Mather Veteran's Village
Rancho Cordova, CA
09-02-2019
Innovate Grant
Wilmington, NC
09-03-2019
Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery
Palm Springs, CA
09-05-2019
Huntington Beach Art Center
Huntington Beach, CA
09-05-2019
City of San Rafael's Parking Division & an anonymous Committee appointed by the Downtown San Rafael Arts District (DSRAD)
San Rafael, CA
09-06-2019
Encino Chamber of Commerce
Encino, CA
09-06-2019
IE VOICE
San Bernardino, CA
09-06-2019
Artrooms Fair Ltd
London - United Kingdom
09-06-2019
S.C.R.A.P. Gallery
Cathedral City, CA
09-06-2019
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Los Angeles, CA
09-06-2019

Sacramento, CA
09-06-2019
Mona Niko Gallery
Mission Viejo, CA
09-07-2019
Arts Connection- The Arts Council of San Bernardino County
San Bernardino, CA
09-07-2019
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
San Jose, CA
09-08-2019
Contemporary Art Gallery Online
Annapolis, MD
09-08-2019
June Steingart Gallery
Oakland, CA
09-08-2019
BIG INK
Newmarket, NH
09-09-2019
Arc Gallery & Studios
San Francisco, CA
09-09-2019
LH Horton Jr Gallery
Stockton, CA
09-09-2019
San Diego International Airport Arts Program
San Diego, CA
09-09-2019
Black Box Gallery
Portland, OR
09-10-2019
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
San Jose, CA
09-12-2019
YoloArts
Woodland, CA
09-12-2019
Art on 30th/Ashton Gallery
San Diego, CA
09-13-2019
CICA Museum [nid:220410]
South Korea
09-13-2019
UNCW Palaver Journal
Wilmington, NC
09-14-2019
UNCW Palaver Journal
Wilmington, NC
09-14-2019
treat gallery 
New York City, NY
09-15-2019
Two Rivers Cider Co 
Sacramento, CA
09-15-2019
Urloved Project
San Diego, CA
09-15-2019
bG Gallery
Santa Monica, CA
09-15-2019
International Sculpture Center
Hamilton, NJ
09-16-2019
City of Santa Clarita 
Santa Clarita, CA
09-19-2019
SquidInk Gallery
Antioch, CA
09-20-2019
Dyson & Womack
Los Angeles, CA
09-20-2019
ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation
Chicago, IL
09-20-2019
City of Santa Clarita 
Santa Clarita, CA
09-21-2019
Escondido Arts Partnership
Escondido, CA
09-21-2019
Folie/Culture
Quebec city, Canada
09-22-2019
Main Street Arts
Clifton Springs, NY
09-23-2019
Artspace
Raleigh, NC
09-23-2019
Marin Museum of Contemporary Art
Novato, CA
09-26-2019
Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery
Palm Springs, CA
09-26-2019
City of San Diego
San Diego, CA
09-26-2019
Santa Paula Art Museum
Santa Paula, CA
09-27-2019
Amador County Arts Council
Jackson, CA
09-27-2019
Greater Denton Arts Council
Denton, TX
09-29-2019
Reflections Elegante Fine Art Gallery
San Jose, CA
09-30-2019
Sebastopol Center for the Arts
Sebastopol, CA
09-30-2019
Create! Magazine 
Philadelphia, PA
09-30-2019
Carnation Contemporary 
Portland, OR
09-30-2019
GearBox Gallery
Oakland, CA
10-01-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
10-01-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseille, CA
10-01-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
10-01-2019
Santa Fe Art Institute
Santa Fe, NM
10-01-2019
Artspace
Raleigh, NC
10-01-2019
ShockBoxx Gallery
Hermosa Beach, CA
10-02-2019
Artisphere Festival
Greenville, SC
10-04-2019
Mendocino Art Center
Mendocino, CA
10-04-2019
Main Street Arts
Clifton Springs, NY
10-07-2019
LoosenArt
Rome
10-07-2019
Embracing Our Differences
Sarasota, CA
10-08-2019
Antenna
New Orleans, LA
10-10-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
10-10-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
10-10-2019
Las Laguna Gallery
Laguna Beach, CA
10-10-2019
HMC
Dallas, TX
10-15-2019
Science Museum of Virginia 
Richmond, VA
10-18-2019
Bradbury Art Museum
Jonesboro, AR
10-20-2019
Dianne Funk Productions
Indian Wells, CA
10-21-2019
City of West Hollywood's Arts Division
West Hollywood, CA
10-24-2019
LoosenArt
Rome, Italy
10-24-2019
SACRAMENTO FINE ARTS CENTER
Carmichael, CA
10-26-2019
Foundry Art Centre
Saint Charles, MO
10-28-2019
Sunspot Literary Journal
Hillsborough, NC
10-31-2019
Vancouver Visual Art Foundation 
Vancouver
11-01-2019
CURRENTS New Media
Santa Fe, NM
11-05-2019
LoosenArt
Rome, Italy
11-07-2019
Clatsop Community College
Astoria, OR
11-07-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
11-14-2019
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
11-14-2019
Sedona Arts Center
Sedona, AZ
11-15-2019
Sacramento Fine Arts Center
Carmichael, CA
11-16-2019
Ormond Memorial Art Museum
Ormond Beach, FL
11-27-2019
Yountville Arts
Yountville, CA
11-29-2019
Orange County Public Libraries
Fountain Valley, CA
11-30-2019
LoosenArt
Rome, Italy
12-07-2019
BlueCat Screenplay Competition
Los Angeles, CA
12-15-2019
Local Artists Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
12-21-2019
Escondido Arts Partnership
Escondido, CA
12-21-2019
Edovo
Cypress, CA
12-31-2019
Red Umbrellas Fine Artists
San Francisco, CA
12-31-2019
Art Works Downtown
San Rafael, CA
12-31-2019
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Saratoga Springs, NY
12-31-2019
Glendale Arts and Culture Commission 
Glendale, CA
12-31-2019
Sara Lisch Gallery
Berkeley, CA
12-31-2019
Artdejour.com
San Francisco, CA
12-31-2019
Green Olive Arts
Tetouan, Morocco
01-01-2020
Superfine! 
Los Angeles, CA
01-06-2020
Superfine! Art Fair
San Francisco, CA
01-06-2020
LoosenArt
Rome
01-07-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
02-14-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
02-14-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
02-14-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
07-03-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
12-13-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
12-13-2020
Blue Line Arts
Roseville, CA
12-13-2020
Glendale Arts and Culture Commission
Glendale, CA
12-31-2020
Circle of Bees Inc.
Davis, CA
12-01-2021
The Painting Center
New York, NY
01-01-2023
The Art Of Monteque
Los Angeles, CA
09-24-2024
Repurposed
Vancouver, BC
03-31-2028