Some fine looking new art books have arrived in the library recently. My favourite is probably a weighty tome on the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco. The artist has a prolific and varied practice making sculpture, painting, photography and video. This book features significant works since the 1980s, and Orozco’s output is so varied I find it hard to describe. Certainly the everyday object is crucial to his work; he twists the known into something playful and imaginative. Fortunately the essays and interview within provide a lot of insight. If you want to become familiar with Orozco before placing a hold on this book, take a look at the site for the very good PBS series Art 21 in which he features.
Local artists are providing some goodies as well. Nightingale features the evocative watercolours of Christchurch artist Brenda Nightingale. The familiar painters’ subject matter of children, lakeside outings and lonely dogs are transformed into something haunting. The sketchy, blurry technique beautifully captures the ephemeral nature of these moments. There is also something a little eerie in the images, which somehow remind me of Lord of the Flies.
A painter with a markedly different style is Auckland based Liz Maw. Her self-published collection of painting and poetry, My Beloved Hackneyed is definitely worth taking a look at. Maw’s oil paintings have the kind of glossy finish that makes you think of airbrushed cars or Meatloaf album covers. The presentation of this book is really top notch, and the detailed shots give the opportunity to marvel at her technique. The accompanying poetry is quite dark and seemingly uses a stream-of-consciousness technique. I found it hard to relate the poetry to the paintings (and I don’t think that is necessarily the idea anyway). You can view some of Maw’s paintings and a sample of the book on her website.