Cats, dogs, teabowls and other things that influence artists

Influence and inspiration, are fickle topics to understand even to the best of us, but perhaps none more so than the artistic community. The stories behind art and the artists who created them, what inspires artists and who they inspire in turn, are some of the greatest hidden stories of our time. So in our most recent picks we invite you to look closer at art, at muses, at what inspires, what what influences, and yes, at cats, dogs and Teabowls.

Syndetics book coverCats in art / Desmond Morris.
“The cat, that most graceful, stubborn, and agile of animals,has been a favorite subject of artists the world over from prehistory to the modern day.In his latest book, Desmond Morris tells the compelling story of cats in art. He explores feline art in its many forms, tracing its history from ancient rock paintings to the depiction of cats in cartoons. The result is a beautifully illustrated book that will delight anyone with a Kitty, Max, or Tigger in their life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA dog a day / Sally Muir.
“It all began with a Facebook post in 2013: ‘My name is Sally Muir and this is a new gallery where I will add a dog drawing/painting every day, adding up to a massive 365 day dogfest.’ As the page grew in popularity, so did Sally’s dog portraits, leading to commissions, exhibitions at prominent galleries, and events. Drawing on artworks from the site, A Dog A Day is a lovingly curated collection and celebration of dogs, perfect for all dog lovers.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe teabowl : East & West / Bonnie Kemske.
“Revered for its associations of its past and its connotations of sophistication and simplicity, the teabowl enjoys an elevated status. Here Bonnie Kemske looks at the form as a whole, considering the history and ideas behind the original tea ceremony, how it moved into contemporary ceramics, and the way it is used today. This book is wide in scope, thorough in detail, and essential reading for anyone involved in making or using these tactile objects.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInside the Freud Museums : history, memory and site-responsive art / Joanne Morra. “Sigmund Freud spent the final year of his life in London, surrounded by all his possessions, in exile from the Nazis. The long-term home and workspace he left behind in Vienna became a seemingly empty space. Now museums, both of these spaces resonate powerfully. Taking us on a journey through the ‘site-responsive’ artworks, Joanne Morra offers a fresh experience of the history and practice of psychoanalysis, of museums and contemporary art.” (AdaptedSyndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe long dream of waking : new perspectives on Len Lye / edited by Paul Brobbel, Wystan Curnow and Roger Horrocks. “Recognized internationally as one of the twentieth century’s great modernist innovators, New Zealand artist Len Lye is most famous for his avant-garde experimental films and for his astonishing and playful kinetic sculptures.  In this collection of essays, writers from New Zealand and overseas consider Lye’s assured place in modern art from a variety of fascinating and thought-provoking angles. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Lent : a painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter / Sister Wendy Beckett. This delightful book describes and interprets a series of paintings for each day of Lent. Artists often address subjects that our culture seeks to avoid, and Sister Wendy’s brilliant and perceptive reflections will help you to read these paintings with a more discerning eye and encounter deeper levels of spiritual meaning than may at first appear. (Amazon Summary)

Syndetics book coverGordon Walters : new vision / commissioning editor, Zara Stanhope ; curators, Lucy Hammonds, Laurence Simmons and Julia Waite ; managing editor, Clare McIntosh.
“One of New Zealand’s most influential artists, in a practice spanning 50 years, he explored the seemingly infinite potential of a limited set of geometric forms to create art of increasing refinement. Here we see the first complete picture of the artist’s extensive body of work, offering readers new perspectives on the evolution of Walters’ rigorous abstraction.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverModern art in detail : 75 masterpieces / Susie Hodge.
“Great works of art cannot be fully understood in a single encounter. Modern Art in Detail: 75 Masterpieces spotlights the finer points that even connoisseurs may miss. From the late 19th century to the modern day, it treats each piece on its own merits, but it also views each as part of a tradition, which sees artists pass a baton down through the ages. Moreover, it charts the shift from the supremacy of artistic technique to the dominance of the idea or concept behind the object created.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

New art books for August

A new biography of Titian, Lucian Freud portraits & British artists’ studios + surf & vintage graphics and NY street art:

Syndetics book coverTitian : his life / Sheila Hale.
“The first biography of Venice’s greatest artist since 1877 – a towering work which captures the genius of Titian. Devoted father and loyal friend, Titian was notorious for disregarding authority and was an international celebrity by his late fifties… Sheila Hale not only examines his life, both personal and professional, but how his art affected his contemporaries and how it influences artists today” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverLucian Freud : portraits / [introduction and essay by] Sarah Howgate ; with [an essay and interviews by] Michael Auping ; and [a memoir by] John Richardson.
“‘Everything is autobiographical and everything is a portrait, even if it’s only a chair.’ Portraits were central to the work of Lucian Freud. Working only from life, the artist claimed ‘I could never put anything into a picture that wasn’t actually there in front of me.’ Lucian Freud Portraits surveys his portraits and figure paintings from across his long career. Drawing together the finest portraits from public and private collections around the world, the book explores Freud’s stylistic development and technical virtuosity. A series of previously unpublished interviews conducted by Michael Auping between May 2009 and January 2011 reveal the artist’s thoughts on the complex relationship between artist and sitter, the particular challenges of painting nudes and self-portraits, and his views on other painters he admired” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverSanctuary : Britain’s artists and their studios / editor/interviews, Hossein Amirsadeghi ; executive editor, Maryam Homayoun Eisler ; contributors, Iwona Blazwick, Richard Cork, Tom Morton ; photography, Robin Friend.
“”Sanctuary: British Artists and their Studios” gives a rare and privileged insight to the studios and inspirations of nearly 120 of Britains greatest living artists working today, both in Britain and abroad. Sanctuary’s stellar cast of artists encompasses many different ways of thinking about and making art. This lavish, large-format book brims with specially commissioned photographs portraits, images at work, places of inspiration and incisive interviews: the artists open their minds as much as their studio doors. The book is full of insights, revelations and thoughts on the modern art world and contemporary art practice, giving a vivid sense of what it means to be an artist at work today.” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverSurf graphics / introduction by Jim Phillips ; compiled by Yahya El-Droubie ; text by Ian C. Parliament.
“From vintage surf art to the latest designs, this collection is filled with brilliant color, energy, and vibe. It features the top 30 artists working on the surf graphic scene, each with a detailed biography, as well as the same eye-popping production values of Kustom Graphics and Kustom Graphics II. Of course, there are plenty of California artists making their marks on the surf art scene, including Shawn Dickinson (Palmdale), Damian Fulton (Los Angeles), Tom “Big Toe” Laura (Irvine), Jim Phillips (Santa Cruz), Rick Rietveld (Newport Beach), and Keith Weesner (Thousand Oaks). Brad Parker lives in Hawaii, while Thor splits his time between California and Hawaii. Pat Grant and Marty Schneider are among Australian artists on the scene, while European artists include PG Artworks (Sweden), Mik Baro (Spain), and Thorsten Hasenkamm (Germany).” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverModern vintage Illustration / Martin Dawber ; [foreword by Stephen Bayley].
“Past is prologue in this stunning survey of vintage-inspired illustrations that employ classic styles of artistic expression for up-to-date effects. Organized by historical or cultural period, the book features hundreds of modern retro images, including pieces that incorporate the geometric beauty of Art Deco, the bold architectural lines of Soviet constructivist posters, and the graphic design of Blue Note’s record sleeves. There are new perspectives on photorealism, comic art, and punk, as well. Hundreds of artists have contributed to this witty, exciting, and international collection.” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)

Syndetics book coverWe own the night : the art of the Underbelly Project : New York Mar 2009-Aug 2010 / curators, Workhorse, PAC ; editors, Emeht Agency, Jiae Kim, John Lee.
“Having discovered a never-completed subway station in Brooklyn, two street artists-Workhorse and PAC-brought in artists from around the world to reclaim the space with original artwork. From the spring of 2009 to the summer of the following year, the Underbelly, as it came to be called, became a subterranean gallery, accessible only to those few who knew where to find it … This book itself then becomes a testament to art for its own sake, an artifact of a project that posed the provocative question: “If no one will see it, will it still be important?” Color photos. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)