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BLASINGAME ART RESEARCH PROJECT

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BLASINGAME art RESEARCH PROJECT

 

Marguerite Louis Blasingame

Marguerite Louis Blasingame

Frank Marvin Blasingame

Frank Marvin Blasingame

The Blasingame Art Research Project is an independent research project initiated by myself in early 2017. The project is a comprehensive dive into the art and history of Marguerite Blasingame (1906-1947) and Frank Blasingame  (1903-1967). The ultimate intent is to publish a final body of work that includes biographies, attributions, and retrospectives.

Who were the Blasingame’s?

Prior to this project, there was virtually no compiled history on Marguerite or her first husband, Frank Blasingame. Marguerite and Frank have an intriguing history, and most importantly, have created some fantastic art. They socialized in the most elite circles, and their works of art were lauded with positive critique by top critics of their time.

Talent, Mystery, and Intrigue

Although there is still much research to be done to get to the truth, my research has flushed out many stories and rumors.  Underlying all of this is also a story of immense passion for creative expression. Sadly, Marguerite’s life was cut far too short when she died in Mexico. Divorced prior to Marguerite’s death, Frank lived to work another 20 years.

Lovers, Co-workers, Definitive Attributions

It was also during my research that I began to realize I could not prove definitive attribution of my painting to Marguerite due to the lack of available evidence to indicate who painted it. Marguerite and Frank Blasingame worked very closely together and were a team during their early careers.

I can say without a doubt that both Marguerite and Frank collaborated on sculptures and carvings, and both had separate and distinct painting styles. I will eventually show a definitive separation between the two.

Tell me your story

I have been very fortunate to receive help from many top professionals with knowledge of the era and the Blasingame’s art. The more I research, the more people are coming out of the cracks and offering assistance and providing much-needed stories, documentation, and information.

If you have any information on these two artists, possess one of their works, or even have a bit of gossip, I would love to hear from you. If you have any specific questions on these two, I’d be happy to answer to the best of my knowledge.

You may contact me here, from the link at the bottom of my blog or email at blasingameart (at) gmail (dot) com

This post was originally published at www.brianloudenslager.com

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Richard Mann – A Little Known Artist From Harlem

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Richard Mann (1979)

This Richard Mann not that Richard Mann

I recently discovered an artist who signed his work “R Mann”. Richard Mann 1940(?) to 1990(?) a “Playwright, Poet and Visual artist” according to a biography written about him on AskArt.com. I don’t want to confuse this “R Mann” with “Richard, Rich and/or R Mann” hailing from Southern California. I have questioned his birth and death dates as I’m yet to find an obituary, however, this is what is stated on AskArt.com.

Be unique

This is a good lesson for any artist; ensure your name is unique. To be fair, these two “Richard Mann” were born around the same time and likely never knew the other existed until the invention of the internet, of which our Richard Mann likely never experienced at all. But if I were a Richard Mann today, I would use and sign my name with my middle initial and/or in a highly unique manner to help prevent confusion.

Influenced by surrealism, abstract expressionism and calligraphy

Richard Mann at some point became a Reverend, worked out of, and lived, in Harlem, New York. An unusual choice given it seems he lived there through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He is said to have been born and raised in Australia and again, according to AskArt.com, “At the height of America’s counter-culture revolution, Mann moved to New York City where he lived and worked in Harlem.” It’s said he was influenced by surrealism, abstract expressionism and calligraphy and was inspired by the social and economic environment of Harlem.

Very little published information on mann

I’ve found zero published articles about his art, and I’m usually quite good at quickly finding something. Granted I haven’t put a lot of time into researching him, at all. I bet, however, this Richard Mann would have a fascinating story to tell.

There are a few mentions of him involved with plays, “The Warwick Play of Everyman”, Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) · Sun, Jun 25, 1972 · Page 15C, and curating an exhibit for Anna Walinska at the Museum of Religious Art of the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New Jersey. See: The Journal News (White Plains, New York) · Sun, Oct 28, 1979 · Page 97

Black Panther Supporter

Mann is also quoted in the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) · Wed, Apr 29, 1970 · Page 2 as a supporter of the Black Panthers. Intriguing, right?

The marchers came from an orderly outdoor rally on Newitt Quadrangle that had an almost picnic atmosphere. Public-address speakers were mounted on a large pop-art sculpture resembling an over-sized lipstick as they exhorted students to protest the Black Panther murder trial. Richard Mann, “People have seen that it is happening here- the Panthers cannot be convicted. We’re going to be out there and organized.”

Interesting, powerful, limited, art

I recommend buying his work as a possible investment. His work is a powerful expression of emotion, talented in its unique execution, and there’s likely a very limited amount of works available. I have provided a detailed example below, as well as additional Pinterest links.

FYI, I have no affiliation with this artist or anyone selling his work. I’ll let the graphics speak to the depth of his talent.

Example painting in detail

Here’s a few images and close ups from a Richard Mann painting entitled “Faces of Christ” from 1987. Not a subject matter I’d usually buy, and, given the title says “faces”, I’m assuming there was a series of these. I’ve only seen this one, and I think it is quite a powerful and symbolic work of art.

The right eye is perhaps the tunnel of light people speak of witnessing during a near death experience. Where-as the left eye is dark, sad, and crying with an obvious, yet abstract, depiction of Christs’ crucifixion, perhaps crying for non-believers.

Mann’s strokes are loaded with texture and deep, rich, mixtures of color. This piece is extremely vibrant and powerful, regardless of your beliefs. Looking at it carefully you begin to see much more than initially meets the eye. From what I have seen available, most of his pieces were quite large, this is on the small size at about 28 x 30 inches.
Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987

Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987 Close Up

Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987

Richard Mann Faces Of Christ 1987

Addtitionally here’s a few i borrowed from the internet

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Richard Mann Collage

 

Richard Mann Collage

 

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Joe Doyles’s Star Chart Inspired by Polynesian ‘Stick Charts’

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Had a conversation with Joe Doyle today, always a pleasure talking with and hearing about what inspired some of his work. I’ve been fortune enough to acquire a few of his Abstract Illusionism pieces with plans to continue.

During the conversation we spoke about some of his earliest work, one being “Star Chart” featured in galleries and a number of publications in the late 70’s. Though never specifically written about in any publication I can find, the real inspiration for the piece came from Polynesian navigation charts sometimes referred to as “stick charts”.

Joe Doyle’s “Star Chart” 1975

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

Star Chart (1975) acrylic on canvas 72”x 72”

According to Tegan Mortimer

“These are deceptively simple grids made from small sticks and coconut fronds, which represent the major ocean swells in the South Pacific, with small shells showing the location of islands. The charts showed how the swells interacted with the island shores, the undersea slopes, and currents coming from different directions. While the stick maps were easy to construct, it took many years of study to be able to accurately interpret the real ocean dynamics which they represented.”

Here’s an example stick chart.

Polynesian navigation device showing directions of winds, waves and islands.jpg
By S. Percy Smithhttp://www.nzetc.org, Public Domain, Link

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Aham – The Abstract Expression of Modern Guitar

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corrado-aham-new-albumSome of my thoughts on Corrado Rustici’s new record,  Aham. I’ve had the record for a month now and it has taken me more time than most to absorb due to the originality and complexity. If you don’t read long posts, just skip to the last paragraph and maybe you’ll come back up for the rest.

Musically, people don’t come any more talented than Corrado. I’m no musician, I like every genre of music and I never critique publicly, but for the first time this one made me want to. I will say though, I don’t think I will fully appreciate what has been done here until I can sit down with Corrado and he explains how he accomplished what he did.

Thank you letter from Corrado Rustici

Letter from Corrado.

Aham is an extraordinary forward thinking, artistic musical venture into the experimental realm of modern guitar. It creates a vision of true art, imagine your favorite abstract piece.. For those that don’t know, the entire record was created with guitars, nothing else except a couple tracks with vocals, which of course are human voices. Corrado did not use synthesizers, samplers or electronic instruments anywhere on the album! As someone who is often listening to the timbre of specific instruments this album challenges the aural senses beyond my comprehension. Why beyond? Because I have no idea the specifics of how they were created, yes I hear snare, a hi-hat, cymbals, kick, keys, strings, keyboards etc. etc. etc., but the reality and challenge to your senses is that they are not there, those are guitars, ALL GUITARS!

The opening track, As Dark Bleeds Light, is conservative and safe, a bit of an outlier in my opinion relative to the rest of the record, great timbre and a smooth track and it gives us just a hint of what’s to come as it progresses.

Upon entering track 2, Ananda’s First Steps, you begin to get drawn into Corrado’s story, the strings sway beautifully, wait, shoot, I forgot, those aren’t strings… and you hear some classic “Corrado Rustici” guitar riffs, the track fades beautifully.

The Duke and The Hare, track 3, Corrado begins to almost literally speak to you with the lead guitar, rounding out the track are what you would think are keys, and a mellow 80’s drum kit, but of course we know there’s none of that. I love how the guitar talks and the timbre of the guitar is just at the point of distorting.

Now track 4, The Guilty Thread, we enter Corrado’s foreign land, we get to hear Corrado’s softly aged voice and the fine details from his throat and chest, it’s nice. The guitar leads come and go with lightning like strikes at times, and we again get to hear classic Rustici whisking solo’s. The track is rounded out with more percussion which of course are guitar magic. The track ends like an intense dramatic movie with a long sustained guitar fade, wonderful.

Corrado Rustici

Corrado Rustici

Track 5, Roots of Progression, appropriately named, enters with a brief reminiscence of Corrado’s Nova years. We are whisked away on a jazzy journey of percussion and guitar madness with interludes of sleek solo’s and breaks into a 70’s classic rock riff mixed with 70’s progressiveness, there’s even a couple snare riffs that remind me of 90’s speed metal and we end with an ultimate crescendo of sheer awesomeness.

Track 6, Alcove of Stars, also an outlier, with guest lead vocalist Andrew Strong, we enter what I would call a very commercial tune that will no doubt end up on the sync market and carrying a movie or TV drama. It’s a beautiful and catchy tune that reminds me of a better than 80’s ballad with an insane amount of talent. Andrew’s voice is excellent especially when he pushes it.

Moving into Track 7, The Last Light Spoken, we begin entering the last and final dimension of Aham, good speakers required, I like my Focal Solo 6’s, my old Dyna Audio BM5A’s at home didn’t do it justice as there are subtle details and tricks in the track that they didn’t express well if at all. If you don’t have good monitors get some decent headphones like the Focal Spirit Pro’s. I have no idea how Corrado created the kick drum with a guitar in this track, but its freaking cool, it’s like a classic kick mic being pushed just passed the overload point, but there was no kickdrum, remember?…

And finally we enter the Aham Suite, too soon in my opinion, because when tracks 8 and 9 are complete I was left wanting more, much more! Track 8 and Part 1, The Enquiry, sounds exactly like its title, I feel like I’m in some type of purgatory awaiting judgement, it’s scary with a timbre of insanity in its subtle intensity, it ends just before you feel like you’ll break. It’s musical art at its finest. Then the weight of our enquiry is lifted and we immediately enter Part 2 Aham. Corrado, you’re not singing? Perhaps not, but wow oh wow that guitar vocal is amazing, totally engrossing and absolute wizardry. Whether you believe in some type of after life or not, this track will take you there for 5 minutes and 47 seconds. Corrado’s soloing is perfect, he’s not bragging, but rather carrying you through a wonderland dimension of finality. Sadly you begin to feel the end is near as you hit the crescendo and the guitar passionately weeps as it gently sets you back down to reality. Damn that track is amazing. I’ve held back from over listening to it as I want to savoir its beauty.
That’s Aham for me.

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Dating Nails – Does this nail tell me how old this painting is?

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In the past couple years I’ve been delving deeper into collecting art. As with anything new you learn more and more as you go and hopefully not make too many expensive mistakes. Start low and slow, right? With my previous collecting venture, vintage bicycles, I tried to finance the hobby by flipping a few things here and there, I actually did quite well and probably came pretty close to even, not including a couple unforeseen issues, like 40 year metal breaking, making a bike nearly worthless. Anyway…

1800-canvas-back

Bottom back corner of one of the paintings.

I recently picked up a couple, I was hoping, old oil paintings. The seller did not list the artist, the photos were sub-par, but I could very faintly make out a signature in one of the photos. This is where my Photoshop skills come in handy, image manipulation can really bring out a signature. After a few late night hours of research I thought I had the artist figured out, so I took a risk and bought them.

My hope was, they were by an artist born in the mid 1700’s. After researching how to date paintings etc. I became fairly confident they were at least 1800’s, but could they be as far back as 1700’s? This I wasn’t sure about.

First, it looks like they may have been restretched on the later wood, or some of the nails had been replaced. Some nails, brads really, seem newer than others. But, the oldest nails, in the corners mostly, seem pretty old. I carefully removed one nail where there were three on a back corner. Once I pulled it out I got a little excited, it certainly doesn’t look modern…

Excerpt from Nail Chronology by Lee H Nelson

Excerpt from Nail Chronology by Lee H Nelson

Image from University of VermontImage from University of Vermont

A quick search on Google revealed a plethora of sites on nail history. And from what I can tell, they look like what are called Early Machine Cut Nails with Handmade Heads, also called Lath Nails circ. 1790 to 1810. If they are in fact that old, this could date my paintings back to 1700’s early 1800’s and could in fact be the artist I’m hoping. Time will tell, as I will flip these paintings.

Nail or Brad pulled from canvas.

Nail or Brad pulled from canvas.

Nail or Brad pulled from canvas.

Nail or Brad pulled from canvas.

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Abstract Illusionism – Joe Doyle (1941)

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Abstract Illusionism - Corium X by Joe Doyle 1986

Corium X by Joe Doyle 1986 27.75″ x33.25″

I recently picked up this piece entitled Corium  X by Joe Doyle created in 1986 . In the 1970’s Doyle helped established Abstract Illusionism, one of the earliest styles in postmodernism. Doyle was born in 1941 in New York City. He received his B.A.  and M.A. at San Francisco State University in 1969 and 1971 respectively.

 

 

This is one of those pieces that will be enjoyable to examine many times from many angles ..

corium-closeup-1 copy

The following is paraphrased from Doyle’s retrospective book “Tea Cups, Firing Squads and Very Large Bombs: The Art of Joe Doyle 1967-2009”

corium-closeup-3

In the mid 1970’s Doyle made a huge leap in his work and began experimenting with optical spatial illusions in a style that became known as abstract illusionism. The genre is characterized by gestures of paint that give the illusion of shadows and floating expressions above the picture plane. Doyle also worked with traditional three-dimensional imagery and perceptual experiments with cycloptic vision. Abstract illusionism allowed him to create vibrant complex work that played with traditional gestural painting while adding a new twist: the semblance of depth. Corium is one of those examples

corium-closeup-2

In Corium, a hand-painted serigraph frame this period, curvilinear stripes float above a gestural field. The ground appears to be punctured by two holes, revealing a space behind the plane marked with pencil scribbles, a persuasive illusion in another medium.

A modern music artist you might enjoy listening to while absorbing one of the pieces from Joe Doyle is NZCA/Lines.

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