exploring art and writing

Posts Tagged ‘ernesto caivano’

After the Woods: Ernesto Caivano.

In Archetypes, Art, Drawing, narrative on January 5, 2015 at 9:19 pm
Philapore Tug (Due Tension), 2009 4.25 x 5 Inches. Ink, marker and graphite on paper © Ernesto Caivano

Philapore Tug (Due Tension), 2009
4.25 x 5 Inches. Ink, marker and graphite on paper © Ernesto Caivano

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s fondness of a good yarn. Stories are passed down for generations, sometimes over the course of centuries. We read them in magazines and see them performed on television, in the theatre and on the big screen. We read novels and biographies, picture books and comics. We sing them and celebrate them.

So what place does the fictional narrative have in Fine Art? While most people’s thoughts will immediately flicker to the rapturous brushstrokes of the Pre-Raphaelites or the classical painters, contemporary artist Ernesto Caivano has striking and enigmatic methods of putting his own epic narrative on paper.

Philapore Tug (Due Tension), 2009 4.25 x 5 Inches. Ink, marker and graphite on paper © Ernesto Caivano

Philapore Tug (Due Tension), 2009
4.25 x 5 Inches. Ink, marker and graphite on paper © Ernesto Caivano

It seems that all Caivano needs is some paper and ink. Give him these materials and the outcome will be a delicate, complex and alluring image, both in technique and concept. Take, for instance, Breathing Through the Code, in which we see one of the protagonists in the artist’s ongoing story After the Woods. Her name is Polygon, and one can assume here that she is communicating with her lover-from-afar – the knight Versus – via what Caivano has titled Philapores (they are the birds that you see in the images).

According to Caivano, Polygon and Versus are lovers who were separated a millennia ago. His drawings depict their attempted reunification in the near future on a cosmic, geometrically ambiguous world. Versus’ powers reside in the growth and evolution of plants, Polygon’s in the capacity and possibilities of technology (she herself is epitomised as a spaceship). Their only communication relies on the Philapores. It is these narratives that Caivano illustrates within the scope of Versus’ and Polygon’s wider universe.

Suspension of Elements (A Kind of Reassembly), 2009 18.25 x 45.25 Inches. Ink and graphite on paper © Ernesto Caivano

Suspension of Elements (A Kind of Reassembly), 2009
18.25 x 45.25 Inches. Ink and graphite on paper © Ernesto Caivano

Innumerable possible interpretations lie within each image, as is the case for the narrative as a whole. Brian Sholis writes in Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing (2005) that “the story can be seen as a metaphor for our attempts to reconcile technological development with non-human life and the natural environment”. Visual allusions to molecular physics and fractal geometry reside alongside more literary medieval references, forming an almost archetypal narrative that brims with nostalgia and trepidation.

And yet despite this apparent complexity Caivano is far less ambiguous than his artwork. As to the fate of his protagonists, of the Philapores and of the beautifully sinister cosmos in After the Woods, he is deliberate about not stipulating direct connotations and meanings. Even he doesn’t know how the narrative will end. I suppose that’s the success behind any good story. We can only look on and wait to see whether or not longing will be transformed into reunification. But whilst After the Woods may resemble fairy tales in some respects, fairy tales by nature are not as delectable as one may first assume. After all, there’s nothing more boring than reading a story and seeing the words ‘happily ever after’ written at the end.

You can find more images of Ernesto Caivano’s artwork at the Richard Heller Gallery website.

This post was originally written for Guy.com’s Daily Slice.

Advertisements

Not Thinking About Art.

In Fine Arts on May 25, 2011 at 9:08 am

I hastily drafted this post in a local coffee shop, where for all intents and purposes I had gone to read. It didn’t occur to me until I had typed it up later that, whilst I made it explicit in the article that it wasn’t going to be a Fine Art-related post, it ended up being entirely about art.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 'Akashi Gidayu Writing His Death Poem Before Committing Seppuku in 1582' (around 1890)

This is the first time I have written anything on a napkin. Anything coherent, that is; I can’t count the hours me and my classmates wasted doodling obscenities on school canteen napkins. I don’t intend for this post to match those expletives in quantity (or quality), however. No, this is more intended as a harmless meander through my thoughts right now.

Depsite leaving the flat unarmed, my mind immediately set itself the task of writing something, anything, as long as it wasn’t about art. Fine Art that is; I’m still open to thoughts and ideas about the wider arts.

The previous statement no doubt sounds more pessimistic than my disposition genuinely is toward Fine Art at the moment; I’d say that my attitude towards [relationship with] the subject has actually reached a relatively ambivalent level. It’s certainly giving me more joy than it has at any other point since graduating last July. As a matter of fact, I’m beginning to recall some of the reasons why I chose to study Fine Art in the first place, and for once I’m not completely clueless regarding the possible causes of this: it is because, despite my recent silence on this blog, I have been writing about art – and art only – elsewhere. And in order to do that I’ve had to really start looking again.

It’s so easy to forget to look at something, or to forget how it should be looked at. It’s even easier not to bother contemplating or writing about what you’ve observed. Luckily for me the two activities are naturally symbiotic; if I take the time to do one I will inevitably feel compelled to do the other, because I can only discover what I may or may not know know about something if I put it in writing.

So I was really, really lucky when I landed a voluntary job writing for a small art and design column. There is something exciting about having a weekly deadline and knowing that by this time next week I will have discovered another artist or artwork that excites me. It has, for the first time in well over a year, encouraged me to spread my prized art books and texts in front of me, looking and reading for hours until I find that one piece or story that makes me want to devour more. Moments like that are often fleeting but they are precious reminders.

All this time spent observing has also begun to make curiosity re-spark certain queries in my mind. I had forgotten, for instance, how few contemporary women artists are represented in the books that I own. The drastic imbalance is intriguing and is a subject that I don’t wish to shy away from.

Another curiosity is of a more personal nature, one I haven’t properly considered since I left drawing and painting behind: my increasing aversion to oil painting and my affection for monochromatic draftsmanship.

Ernesto Caivano 'Philapore Tug (Due Tension)' 2009

In life drawing classes I was only ever interested in the lines that constructed the form, not in the gradients that rendered it life-like. There is something about a clean, delicate but confidant black line on a piece of quality cream paper that satisfies me more than any other aesthetic. It was the Japanese artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi‘s drawing of Akashi Gidayu (see beginning of post) that first reignited my feelings on the subject, inspired further by my research into contemporary draftsmen such as Ernesto Caivano.

This re-acquaintance is tied in with yet another that has technically already been made explicit: draftsmanship. It has been over three years since I completed a painting or drawing that wasn’t a hasty caricature or frivolous parody, despite my dedication to both mediums for the majority of my first twenty years on this planet. I almost feel ashamed that I abandoned them, as if I have callously forsaken a faithful sibling.

I suppose I left drawing and painting behind because I know that one day I will revert back to them; there will come a time when I will experience something and instinctively reach for the pencil or paintbrush. It’s not quite the right time yet, but it will happen. And, as I am beginning to now, I will savor the joy of completely re-acquainting myself with an old friend.

Old school - my last completed portrait (2005-6)