Tag Archives: painting

Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed in Early 19th Century Books at the University of Iowa

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Autumn by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Autumn
Autumn by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

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Winter by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Winter
Winter by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

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Spring by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Spring
Spring by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

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Summer by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

Summer
Summer by Robert Mudie / Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa

A few days ago Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a 1837 book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.

When I realized the book Theisen shared was only one of a series about the seasons, I got in touch and she agreed to photograph the other three so we could share them with you here. Above are photos of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter which were donated to the University of Iowa by Charlotte Smith. How much fun are these? Keep an eye on the University of Iowa’s special collections Tumblr as they unearth more artificats from the archives.

Update: Because this post is getting so much attention, here are some more amazing fore-edge paintings found on YouTube.

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Speed Painting Timelapse by Lora Zombie

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Lora Zombie is a self-taught artist from Russia who mixes street art and grunge influences in her watercolor paintings. This recent timelapse video shows the creation of a new work called Coffee and Milk. Music by Youth Lagoon.

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Manifest Station: A Transparent Utility Box Painted by Mona Caron

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This fun piece was painted by illustrator and muralist Mona Caron on Duboce Avenue at Church Street in San Francisco. Titled Manifest Station, the small mural was painted on a standard utility box and has to be viewed from a specific spot so that the horizon lines of the artwork match those of the actual intersection. As an added bonus, a mural in the background which was repainted in part on the utility box is actually an older piece by the same artist. Caron is currently working on a surprisingly great series of weeds and just painted a giant wildflower in Union City. (via CJWHO)

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Portraits Painted with Coffee on Century-Old Ledger Paper by Michael Aaron Williams

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Artist Michael Aaron Williams has been working on a beautiful series of portraits painted with coffee on found sheets of used ledger paper that dates back to the 1920s and 30s. This is just a small collection of his current work, you can see more in this gallery and over on Facebook. (via Colossal Submissions)

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Ultimate Facepainting: Historical Paintings Recreated on Human Skin by Chadwick & Spector

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Cleopatras Feast, after Jordeans, Detail Eyes Open Detail

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Cleopatras Feast Detail

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Cleopatras Feast Detail

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Cleopatras Feast after Jordeans Assembled

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Water after Archimboldo

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Leda and the Swan, after Correggio

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Madeline de France Queen of Scotland, after Corneille de Leon

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Salome after Solaria

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Judith with head of Holofernes, after Cranach

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Wishbone, after Gysis / Lanna Woman (Wat Umong)

Artists Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector of Chadwick & Spector create detailed reproductions of historic artworks by painting them on the human body. While both artists collaborate on each artwork, Chadwick is generally the canvas while Spector does the painting. The resulting body of documentary photographs form their ongoing body of work titled Museum Anatomy. Via their artist statement:

Museum Anatomy is a collection of documentary photographs of works from museums around the world that have been recreated onto the human body. The artwork goes through a significant process until reaching the final outcome, a photograph of Chadwick, sometimes unrecognizable as a human form, with an elaborate, detailed painting covering a portion of his body. The recreated paintings of these historic portraits recapture the subjects in their own moment in history. The resulting photographs reveal a unification of art combining antiquity, history and technology in a contemporary context.

What initially starts as a bizarre attempt to visually untangle the artwork from Chadwick’s body becomes a strangely rewarding exercise as you look from piece to piece. It’s an uncanny feeling when you think an area of the artwork is a human body part but you eventually realize the opposite is true.

If you want to see some of the pieces up close you can stop by The Big Show at the Lawndale Arts Center in Houston, Texas starting July 12th, or see their first solo show in the U.S. since 1999 at the Georgetown Art Center opening October 4th. All imagery above courtesy the artists. (via juxtapoz)

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Master of Pen and Ink: The Monumental Drawings of Ikeda Manabu

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History of Rise and Fall. 6.5′ x 6.5′, pen & acrylic ink

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History of Rise and Fall, detail

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Ark. 3′ x 4′, pen & acrylic ink

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Ark, detail

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Regeneration

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Foretoken. 6′ x 11′, pen & acrylic ink

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Foretoken, detail

The task of Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu is seemingly impossible: a blank paper canvas larger than a person spread before him, a small acrylic pen in his hand, and hundreds of days to fill with faintly imperceptible progress from a mind brimming with explosive creativity. Manabu works in areas measuring roughly 4″ square, spending eight hours a day, often for years, on a single drawing that can eventually dominate an entire wall. Traditional Japanese architecture clashes with giant mangled tree roots, while swarms of birds and fish dart through the water or atmosphere in a complete visual cacophony that somehow results in a single cohesive image. The most unbelievable aspect being that Manabu has no idea what the final artwork will look like, but instead explores each work organically from day to day as he progresses inch by inch.

Manabu’s most recent work, Meltdown, which explores the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake was recently on view at the West Vancouver Museum, and next month will embark on a 10 by 13 foot panel in Madison, Wisconsin which the artist estimates will take upward of three years to complete.

You can learn more over at Hi-Fructose, which sat down with the artist for an exclusive interview earlier this month.

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Putting Down Roots: New Paintings of Urban Growth and Turmoil by Amy Casey

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Megalopolis

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Megapolis, detail

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Ribbon Walls

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High-rise

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Connectors Connecting

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Cascade

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Cascade, detail

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Lean To

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Hanging Forest

Artist Amy Casey (previously) just unveiled a new collection of work at Zg Gallery here in Chicago. Titled Putting Down Roots the paintings continue an ongoing fictional saga of characters living in Casey’s artwork who often face great adversity from killer plants, collapsing structures, and other desperate means to keep their cities afloat or intact. From the looks of it things have improved dramatically for these little painted inhabitants who appear to have weathered the storm and are now thriving within Casey’s bizarre, suspended worlds. From the artist:

After any pendulum swing of chaos grinds to a slow halt, there will come a time when you will have to decide if you are going to wallow in the rubble or take what remains and create a new empire. Building upon recent work, I have been in search of a solid ground. A bit less kinetic than past work, I have been trying to take what was left of the world in my paintings and create a stability of sorts, thinking about community ties and the security (or illusion of security) needed to nurture growth. Cities are fascinating creatures that I am just beginning to scratch the surface of.

In the video above from Cleveland Arts Prize she talks at length about her process and the continuing narrative that weaves through years of her art. Interestingly, every building or house in each of her paintings is based on actual source materials. Casey will take photographs of some 500 individual houses, office buildings, and water towers which she then uses as reference for every small small structure you see in her artwork.

Putting Down Roots will be up through July 6th, with a smaller selection of work on view through August. All images copyright Amy Casey, courtesy Zg Gallery.

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