Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Man With A Movie Camera"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Work - Pigeon Camera

Based on the above historical photo of carrier pigeons mounted with cameas (especially the one on the right side) from 1904, I made a replica of a miniature camera and mount for a pigeon aerial photographer:

Nathan Abels, "Pigeon Mounted Camera", Plastic, Hardware, Leather, Ink, Acrylic, and Mixed Mediums, 2008
Nathan Abels, "Pigeon Aerial Photographer", Digital Photograph, 2008
And check out this cool video:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Widespread Idioms in Europe and Beyond: Bury the Hatchet

A Cross-linguistic and Cross-cultural Research Project found here.

Variations include, “to bury (down) the battle-axe”, “to bury the war-hatchet”, “to bury the tomahawk”

Sunday, January 27, 2008

John Brosio

John Brosio, "Virgin Reaper", 46x40"
John Brosio, "The Rapture", 72x94
John Brosio, "Eastern, CO", 54x60"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jenny Brillhart

Saxony Exterior - Purple Fence, 34 x 34", Oil on Panel
Saxony Exterior - Blue Wall, 12 x 15", Oil on Panel

Saxony Exterior - Double Doors, 15 x 22", Oil on Panel

I like her balance of geometric abstraction and realism. Her statement about the work is well written and concise;

  • "My paintings are about light, structure and place. I am drawn to subjects that offer a formal approach to painting and composition making. The clarity and controlled specificity of the paint’s value, color, and placement is critical. I aspire to make pictures that are considered, and honest to subject and craft."
Not enough can be said about that last sentence - especially the part about being "honest to subject and craft" - two virtuous and admireable attributes for a painting.

These paintings remind me of the work of photographer Philipp Hennig:
Photo by Philipp Hennig


I was browsing the podcasts on zune this morning and came across the podcasts from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - they have great interviews, commentaries and even enhanced photo/audio podcasts. If you're wondering what a podcast is - you can break down the name as a portable-on-demand-broadcast. Basically its and mp3 or mp4 audio and/or video file that can be downloaded (usually freely and legally) and listened to at any time. Think of it as a recording of a radio show. I know the SFMOMA October 2007 podcast has Olafur Eliasson content and I'm really looking forward to hearing it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wolves in Rocky Mountain National Park (?)

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park

Well we made it through the most depressing day of the year only to have the stock market plunge and regain today. I don't intend to bring you down further, so I'll give you some good news - many of you may have already heard about it, but this morning on the news as I walked out the door they confirmed wolves or a wolf/dog hybrid in Rocky Mountain National Park. It may actually be a lone wolf. According to The Reporter Herald's Pamela Dickman's interview with Dr. Dave Augeri of Denver Zoo, "On first glance, the researcher and expert said the [paw] print was too large to be that of a coyote and had the telltale signs of a large canine: toes, pad and claws. After discussing his observations and sharing photos with another expert, Dr. Richard Reading, Augeri said both men confirmed the print belongs to a wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid."

Personally I'm really excited about the potential of wolves being in Rocky Mountain National Park and can't wait to get back there to look for them/it. I heard a park ranger lecture in Yellowstone National Park this summer about the re-introduction of wolves there and what a positive impact it has made on the entire ecosystem. I believe, as do others, that having a big predator in Rocky Mountain National Park would really help keep elk populations in check and be a great new development in the evolution of the park. Why experiment with elk birth control drugs and hunting programs when a natural predator like the wolf would do the job and help create a more balanced ecosystem? The re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone has proven to be good for both the evinronment of the park and good for the local economies of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana - attributed to some $70 million dollars per year according to economist John Duffield . If you would like more information or would like to support/contribute to wolf reintroduction check out and a good place for related news is the blog wild again. You can find my own photos from Rocky Mountain National park here.

You may be asking yourself - how does this relate to art? I'm not sure really, but I can show you a great piece by Cai Guo-Qiang, called "Head On" from 2006 that utilizes wolves that are fabricated from painted sheepskins and stuffed with hay, metal wires, plastic forms and marbles for the eyes. The artists' statement for the piece reads, "With few wolves scattered in the front gallery, all ninety-nine wolves run, gallop, and jump toward the far end of the exhibition hall, where a wall stands. The bravery of the wolves is met head on by the unyielding wall. As the leading wolves go down, many more follow with force and determination. As those in the front fall and pile up, those behind take up their positions. " "Head On" - apply directly...oh nevermind...Check out the images:

Cai Guo-Qiang, "Head On"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blue Monday

Mark Rothko, "Untitled" (Blue Divided by Blue), 1966, 33.62" x 25.71"

I was watching the news this morning only to discover that this is "Blue Monday" - the most depressing day of the year according to some calculations. In fact, at - they've broken down the formula of what makes today so depressing, writing;

"Blue Monday’ is the worst day of the year according to a mathematical equation. The equation was first devised by Dr. Cliff Arnall, former lecturer at Cardiff University and founder of No Pills, a consultancy specialising in confidence, motivation and happiness. Blue Monday marks the start of the final full week in January when people experience a series of combined depressive effects. The mathematical equation is:

The model was broken down using 6 immediately identifiable factors; weather (W), debt (d), time since Christmas (T), time since failing our new year’s resolutions (Q), low motivational levels (M) and the feeling of a need to take action (Na).The equation calculates that Monday, January 21, 2008 is officially the worst day of the year, when the Christmas glow has faded away, New Year’s resolutions have been broken, cold Winter weather has set in and credit card bills will be landing on doormats across the land - whilst the January pay-check is still one week away..."

Well despite the odds being stacked against us today, I'm going to highlight a few great pieces of art that make blue something to be happy about, beginning with a blue pigment that at one time was (literally) worth more than gold in renissance painting; Lapis Luzuli:

According to Marion Boddy-Evans at, Lapis Lazuli was used to make ultramarine paint, and "during the early Renaissance (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries), when pure, intense color was regarded as a reflection of God’s glory. The three purest colors were ultramarine, gold, and vermilion. Ultramarine was described by Cennino Cennini, the 15th century Italian artist who wrote on the techniques of the great masters, as “illustrious, beautiful, and most perfect, beyond all other colors”. Artists reserved it for the most revered of subjects, such as the robes of the Madonna and Christ. " Raphael often used this prized pigment in his Madonna paintings, like "Madonna dell Granduca", from 1505:

Raphael, "Madonna dell Granduca" c. 1505 (110 kB); Oil on wood, 84 x 55 cm (33 x 21 1/2 in)

Another artist who had a accomplished and inspiring use of the color blue is Joseph Cornell, especially in his box constructions:

Joseph Cornell, "Medici Princess", (CA. 1952)Painted wood, photomechanical reproductions, painted & colored glass, painted paper, string, cork, metal rings, plastic balls, and a feather, in glass-faced, painted wood box17 5/8 x 12 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (44.5 x 31.1 x 12.1 cm.)
Joseph Cornell, "Untitled" (Penny Arcade Portrait of Lauren Bacall)1945-46Construction20 1/2 x 16 x 3 1/2 in.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

War Planes: Daniel Miller and Vija Celmins

I think any artist would be honored to be compared to Vija Celmins (I know I would)...well, I was browsing Etsy today looking at some local artists and came upon Daniel Miller's Etsy page and subsequently his personal art site. I loved his drawings of war planes:

I personally enjoy the older planes more than the more modern planes. Maybe because of my long-time interst in World War II history, or maybe because they have a different aura. They reminded me of this (now) classic American painting recently purchased by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art :

Vija Celmins, American, born Latvia (Riga, Latvia, 1939 - ), "1Suspended Plane", 1966, Oil on Canvas, 23 3/4 in. x 34 3/4 in.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More Big Beautiful Things

Sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow night will be the opening of an exceptional show at the Arvada Center, with a couple of pieces from a Denver artist I've met recently as part of a critique group - Justin Beard. His work will be featured among several installation, sculptural and conceptual based artists. You can check out more images from the artists in a flickr set here.

"More Big Beautiful Things"
Arvada Center , Lower Gallery
6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
Arvada, CO 80003

January 17 - March 30, 2008

"Organized by Gallery Director/Curator Jerry Allen Gilmore, this exhibition examines some of the most promising and progressive artists working in contemporary sculpture. You will encounter, in tranquil poses, geometric structures of abastract language, monumental, magical and massive in power, straightforward convolutions reshaped and revitalized from lost and found materials, including stone, steel, rubber, wood and paper. Captivating and enticing, this exhibition is limited on to your imagination. "

January 17 - March 30, 2008

Opening Reception January 17, 2008 (Tomorrow!)

Conversation with the artists:Monday, January 28, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fine Lines: Bryan Schellinger and Devon Moore

Bryan Schellinger, "PDX-#1.07" , 2007 , Oil on Panel , 48 x 48 in.
Bryan Schellinger, "PDX-#4.07" , 2007 , Oil on Panel , 48 x 48 in.

Devon Moore, “Hoverplate”, 2007, phosphate coated steel, 45 x 45 inches

Devon Moore, “Hoverplate (side view)”, 2007, phosphate coated steel, 45 x 45 inches

New Links

I have re-organized my links or blogroll on the right side of the page - it now includes more categories: Nathan Abels Links, Denver Links, Blogs, Friends and Colleagues, and More Art (misc art related sites that weren't blogs or friends). If you have any art-related sites or recommendations to send my way feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Photos

I am now the proud owner of a new computer and I should be back on a semi-regular routine of blog posts and will begin re-focusing on art and art-related things. First I wanted to share a couple of photos that I took last Tuesday on the way back from Wyoming. The sun was setting over the rockies and it casts beautiful reflections and long shadows all over the front range:

Looking back on what was my first year of blogging, there were several short-lived features and semi-regular posts that I may be revisiting this year. I had several guest bloggers, a "media Monday" feature - based on actual art mediums rather than artists or works, and a "found Friday" feature where I posted pieces from my ever-growing collections of found photos and papers. I'm looking forward to another year of sharing and I'm thankful for whatever readership may come my way. Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wyoming; Powder River Basin Coal Mining

These two maps are portions of an antique mining map in my collection:

Yesterday we flew from Denver to Gilette, Wyoming to take aerial photos and on the way we passed numerous coal mines. In fact, after returning I read on wikipedia that the Powder River Basin "is the single largest source of coal mined in the United States, and contains one of the largest deposits of coal in the world." I took a couple of photos but had some camera difficulty so this is all that turned out of that particular area:

Since moving out west I've loved the appearance of geological survey mapping - with the large swatches of multi-color shapes representing different mineral deposits. You should also check out this beautiful map by the Wyoming State Geological Survey:

Computer Died

(not my actual laptop - but might as well be)

As some of you may have noticed, I've been pretty behind on posting lately. The laptop has officially given up the will to live. I have all the important documents, pictures, etc. backed up but I'm not in the market for a new computer. I'll try to make a few posts today if I have time, but until I get the new computer, I will continue to make posts more occasionally than regularly.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First Friday

Since my computer is going to be in the shop, I'm working ahead and doing the blogging for the week. Every month, when First Friday rolls around I would suggest checking out and for excellent coverage and recommendations as to what art events are going on and where to find them.

There are two great openings this First Friday that I wanted to highlight including one at Sliding Door Gallery on Santa Fe called, "In the Light of Thought: A Winter Celebration."
January 4, 2008 through January 27, 2008.
Opening reception: Friday, January 4, 2008 6-10pm

Primarily sculptural, “In the Light of Thought” consists of works utilizing light as a medium-candle, electrical or conceptual. Participating artists include Sliding Door members as well as the following invitees: Tracey Barnes, Steve Eagleburger, Agnetti Sheldrake, Terry Talty, Steuart Bremner and David Menard. Also featured are Brian Comber, Evan Lockhart Borman and Tony Zellaha.

Mindy Bray, "Via dell' Amore", 50x60", Graphite and watercolor on paper, 2007

Also - at Ironton will be Mindy Bray's installation called "Paper, Scissors, Rock" Works on Paper and Space Specific Installation
Opening Reception: Friday January 4th, 6–9 pm

"Paper, Scissors, Rock" will feature paintings and drawings on paper in watercolor and latex that are both reflective and critical looks at the ways in which the urban and the natural landscapes interact.
The exhibition will also include a new large-scale installation, Levee, which will respond to the waterways that flow through Denver, as well as our innate attraction to and manipulation of the city’s underlying natural landscape. The installation will draw its imagery from Denver’s Confluence Park, where the Platte River, Cherry Creek, and the LoDo district of Denver join in a bizarre and beautiful gesture of control, containment, and pleasure.

I have been a recent admirer of Mindy's work (since finding out about her) and I'm honored to be sharing space with her in the "Twinkle, Twinkle" show up right now at Plus Gallery here in Denver. You could say we're fellow snow-pile painters or enthusiasts:

Nathan Abels, "Snowpile", Acrylic on Panel, 36x80", 2005

Mindy Bray, "Iceburg", 40x50", Watercolor and Latex on paper on panel, 2007

Indiana Winter Landscapes

Photos by Lorna Cochrane and/or Ben Abels Copyright 2007.

These photos weren't actually taken by me - but I like to think that I acted as art director. My hands were glued to the wheel while driving down Interstate 69 towards Indianapolis under very gusty winds. I'm glad I insisted on the other passengers using my camera to snap some photos of the landscape around us. Although the overcast winters of Indiana become tiresome after awhile, there is a strange beauty to the landscape. It almost looks like a black and white movie or as if I had altered the appearance of these photos, but I assure you that these came directly off the camera and straight onto the blog. Those of you in Indiana or from there will know and perhaps miss these surroundings. The Indiana landscape has a sense of mystery this time of year - I've forgotton how much I love it. There are a few more photos on my flickr site - but these are the best ones. I think it is time for you to change your computer background again and these photos would be perfect.


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