The Recovery of Reason After the Fall of Eden – 2013 – oil on canvas
Today Anthony Riggs gave an artist talk as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Lectures at the Triton Museum of Art in conjunction with his exhibition, The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Things (such a gorgeous title)! These aesthetically arresting paintings weave historical art imagery and patterns (from both Eastern and Western cultures) with religious and pop allegories and environmental and scientific symbolism. His paintings are studded with post-modern elements such as pixelation, color banding and employ a collaged style in which space, scale, light and color are all intentionally ambiguous. His figures, carefully rendered in three dimensional style, inhabit two dimensional spaces and are even bisected by flat swaths of pattern. Shadows are purposely inconsistent and color is thoroughly appealing but rarely reliable. All to underscore the artifice inherent in the the very act of painting.
The artist shared a quote from George Orwell that was on his mind as he created this body of work, “All art is propaganda.” In a time before the printing press, the radio, the television, and the internet, there was the power of the painting which was used through patronage of the Church and State and those in power to promote ideology and status. Painting is not truth – art and artifice go hand in hand and that is what Riggs is emphasizing in his seductive, apocalyptic paintings in which opposing ideologies and power dynamics intertwine in conflict without answers but leaving room for more questions. It is a good time to be questioning and seeking one’s own truth in this age of the internet where fake news and propaganda flows fast and furious and purposely muddies the waters between fact and fiction.
In Much Wisdom is Much Grief – 2017 – oil on canvas
All is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit – 2017 – oil on canvas
He that Increases His Knowledge Increases his Sorrow – 2017 – oil on canvas
The Future will be Better Tomorrow – 2012 – oil on canvas
The Star Planters – 2014 – oil and metal leaf on canvas
The Gemini (detail from diptych) – 2016 – oil on canvas
Anthony Riggs is based in Benicia, California. You can visit his exhibition, The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Things, which runs until August 5 at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, California or visit his website, anthonyriggs.com.
I’m delighted to share that Petunia Tea I has been juried into Los Gatos Art Association‘s Greater Bay Area Open by George Rivera! It opens at New Museum Los Gatos tonight from 6-8 pm and will run until August 19.
I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the Petunia Teacup paintings together on a yellow wall before they were split up! I’ll be bringing Petunia Tea II into Gallery 24 with a number of other Birds and Teacup paintings next week.
Starting work on a new painting today, Anemone Tea is the latest in my Birds and Teacups series. I’ve paired a Steller’s Jay with an antique blue flow Chen-Si handle-less teacup and saucer and deep purple-blue anenomes, signifying forsaken love.
Sketching my subjet with thinned oils onto primed board.
Sketching in the background drawn drom design elements in the teacup and saucer.
Blocking in background tones.
Flushing out my bird.
Arranging my flowers and filling out my cup and sauser, staying loose.
Working lights and darks.
Still working it…
Detail in the sinking sun.
Seeing Stars is in response to the unprecedented mass die off of sea stars up and down the Pacific coast. This wasting disease, marked by lesions and rapid decomposition of the stars (where limbs will even tear themselves away from the body) is thought to be caused by the Densovirus. Although this virus has been found to be present in sea stars since the 40s, it has never been known to cause such devastation. It is believed that the the impact of warmer ocean temperatures, pollution and closer observation and reporting may be factors in these higher tolls. Scientists are watching to see what the impact of the elimination of this apex predator will be to tidal pools and whether new generations of stars will have developed some immunity to this disease.
Much more work to come… in the mean time check out this link from University of California Santa Cruz on identifying and reporting the disease :
One of our family’s New Year’s traditions is to spend the day seaside hiking at Año Nuevo or Point Lobos. So, while we were skiing in the Sierras this year it seems appropriate that my first painting of the year should be a seascape. Cypress Crescent is a view from Cypress Grove at Point Lobos. I love the blue horse shoe of roots clinging to the rock.