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(Art) History Repeats Itself April 18, 2007

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.
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Today I had the opportunity to view work by Frank Hartley Anderson, an architect and block printmaker who lived in Birmingham in the first few decades of the 20th century–and it was surprising to see connections between his prints and mine. The prints I saw showed Birmingham scenes (particularly steel mills), and they had the bold lines and attention to texture and detail that I favor. He also had a mastery of depicting light and using natural wood grain to his advantage that I am far from achieving–but it was so exciting and inspirational. I feel like I’m carrying on some kind of tradition.

I find it incredibly inspiring to see work by other artists and *recognize* something in it–some familiar strain that resonates in my own art. I’ve felt that when I look at William Christenberry’s photographs, Walker Evans’s signage photographs, plenty of the pieces in the B’ham Museum of Art’s Alabama folk art exhibit, and those prints today. Even though their pieces may be photographs or paintings or sculpture, I feel like we’re swimming in the same artistic stream. And it makes me want to make more art!

Right now one of the Anderson prints, depicting women ironing, is hanging in the Museum of Art’s American galleries. It’s black and white and very impressive. Plus it’s right next to another impressive piece–a huge pastel of a B’ham steel mill in its heyday. (The museum actually has a lot of Alabama-themed art and Alabama artists throughout the galleries right now to mark the Year of Alabama Arts. Good stuff.) Be sure to stop by and check them out.

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