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Friday, December 5, 2014

One Family: Three Incredible Artists of the 21st Century


Top Left ©Molly Schiff, Top Right ©Lesley Schiff, Bottom Center ©Darryll Schiff, All Rights Reserved


It isn’t uncommon for a family to share a talent, or even an athletic ability, maybe your uncle is musically inclined and so are you, or your mother wrote beautiful poetry in college and your sister developed a romantic way with words by the time she was a freshman in high school.  Sure, certain talents do run in the family, but the caliber in which the Schiff family possesses raw artistic talent is overwhelming.  Molly Schiff, Darryll’s mother, Lesley his sister and Darryll himself each share the mindset of an artist and have flourished into three of the most progressive artists of the 21st century due to their instinct, training and dedication to their practice.  In fact, all three members of this family are present in the leading museums and art institutions. 




        @Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

       Knowledge and experience is often what guides an artist in creating their most significant works of art.  This is true of talented painter, Molly Schiff.  Molly creates visual narratives as she draws from experiences in the tangible world.  Happening upon Molly’s portfolio of work one will respond to a variety of drastically different paintings, from content to style, even her pallet changes from warm to cooler tones depending on where she draws her inspiration from.  This is not at all surprisingly considering Molly has traveled to over 90 countries around the world and it is reflected in her art.  In fact, Molly has 18 textile based art pieces that each draw inspiration from Chimu and Ancient Paracas textile and ceremonial garments.  The viewer may not have experience with these cultural traditions, but they can feel the reverence through the sensation in Molly’s carefully crafted portrayals of these important colorful cloths. 
@Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved


        The work Molly creates is always an artist’s carefully reflected reaction to the world that surrounds her.  Some of Molly’s larger works are based on sketches she made over time during performances by The Chicago Hubbard Street Dancers. These studies helped her capture the dancer’s action through instinctive mark making, the final project evokes this spontaneous reaction while framed within a well-thought out composition and perfected use of color that suggests movement and vitality.   Other works by Molly are independent of a series, yet the exploration of various motifs exists throughout her body of work. 
        Molly is a master of all her subjects, whether they’re landscapes, interiors, still lives or figures at rest or in motion.  There is a way she handles her created environment perfectly which expresses a feeling for her viewers to pick up on.  There is a serene quality to many of her works, as they use cool colors and space that reflects a quiet, still mood.  The pieces that are loud are made so intentionally through active imagery and bold, high color contrasts. 
@Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

          Molly’s Selected one person and group exhibitions include Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi India, Art Institute of Chicago, Arts Club of Chicago, Cultural Center Chicago, Florence Italy Bienalle 2003, Freeport Art Museum, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois State Arts Museum, Spertus Museum, Stanislaus State College, USA State Department Arts in the Embassies; University of South Carolina, Union League Club Chicago, University Club Chicago, LUMA (Loyola Museum of Fine Arts).


@Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

        Connect the dots, don’t be afraid to draw the connections between artists Darryll Schiff, Lesley Schiff and their mother Molly Schiff.   These are each educated highly talented and successful artists of the 21st Century.  While Molly is a traditional painter, Darryll and Lesley, also have their roots in traditional art education that lead them to adapt these properties through new technology.  In fact, Lesley and Darryll are pioneers of their new mediums.  These are fine artists using contemporary tools to make their art pieces.  Using the properties of painting, color contrast, shape and shading – the mark of a trained painter, is ever-present in their digital mediums. 


©Lesley Schiff All Rights Reserved

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

        For Lesley, the compositions she creates often read as a painting.  Consider “Ghost Man”, the mark making and gesture achieved looks as if it is done through an additive process by brush and pigment.  The work appears to be a paint wash.  Similarly with her “Shadow of Light” it appears as though she uses a gestural process, having a modern day Franz Klein affect.  The process reflects the style of a modernist painting.  Lesley was one of the first to use digital copies making everything from collages to manipulating the internal mechanism of the machine to achieve her desired affect. 
"Ghost Man" ©Lesley Schiff All Rights Reserved

        Some of Lesley’s achievements include her presence in noteworthy collections such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Buckingham Palace in London, Whitney Museum of Art in New York, New York Public Library, Chase Manhattan Bank Collection in New York, Goldman Sachs in New York, Massachusetts College of Art, Prestige Art Limited in New York, Canon USA, J.P. Morgan in New York, David & Alfred Smart Museum in Chicago, Sony Music-Columbia Records, and Epic Records among others. 
"Shadow of Light" ©Lesley Schiff All Rights Reserved

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

        Darryll approaches the camera in a similar manner, using it as a tool to paint with, bend and use abstractly rather than as a form of documentation.  More can be said about Darryll, his artistic process and great success as a fine art photographer, if you are unfamiliar with Darryll as an artist I encourage you to read the previous two blog posts that take an in-depth look at his interests and motives as an artist.  ‪‪‪Darryll’s photography is part of the collections in renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, George Eastman House, Norton Simon Museum Pasadena and Museum of Contemporary Photography and many private collections from coast-to-coast. 
        This doesn’t cover all of the artists in the Schiff family, there are more still, including both of Darryll’s children.  More to come on the unparalleled talent that runs in one prolific family! 

 - Lauren Ike

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Momentum




There is a driving force, a passion that moves artists to create.  This can be said of all artists but there are two that come to mind when I contemplate this; McArthur Binion and of course, Darryll Schiff.  McArthur was an art educator of mine in addition to being an internationally renowned painter.  McArthur's is well established in his 60s, his work appears in noteworthy institutions such as the Contemporary Arts Museum Huston, Studio Museum NYC, Detroit Institute of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago.

©McArthur Binion Detail on Birth of Colored: Four 2013
 
©McArthur Binion, Birth of Colored: Four 2013 at Kavi Gupta Gallery


McArthur's process stands out above other artists as his unique portrait requires painstaking work using photo-copied documents that include his birth certificate and address book from the 1970s.  This distinctly unique type of self portrait is achieved using shredded documents as collage materials that are  arranged in crosshatched tiles and placed in a grid on wooden panel.  The style this creates is expressively textured.  To compose this work McArthur goes beyond process art, and transitions into  labor.  The marks on these pieces incorporate crayon on panel and laser print collage.  When working with crayon, he presses the material down until it is completely used up. He applies this technique with each of his materials which  include crayon, oil stick, and ink on wood. 


©McArthur Binion, Studio 2014

  If you were to meet McArthur, you would see first hand the clear momentum he has as an artist. It was his work ethic and drive that made an impression on me as a student. Not only was his work physical to the point where it resembles manual labor, but Binion himself would explicitly encourage students to put art before all other aspects of life.  On numerous accounts he has told me, “Artists cannot have a job, a personal life and their art. They can only have two of the three, so if you need to support yourself at another job you cannot have a social life.”  He would further illustrate this with comments on his own life, “Art comes before your relationships, if you want to be a successful artists let your relationships suffer before your work.”  Binion also instructs artists to put art-making before art theory, written statements and self promotion tactics.  He firmly believes an outstanding body of work speaks for itself, and if you aren't good with words others will write them for you.  


©McArthur Binion DNA Study at Kavi Gupta Gallery 2014


  McArthur's personal history strongly influences the work he creates.  Binion's childhood goes beyond a rural upbringing. As a young boy he picked cotton in Mississippi before moving to Detroit.  McArthur describes himself now as a “Rural Modernist.”  His life journey is reflected in his art work, it has a lot to do with Mississippi and the move his family took to work in the automobile industry.   In one series of work he depicts things that grow in the ground that can be eaten, this includes “Digging Peanuts.”  His influences range from his personal experience to modernist painters he first came to know in his early 20s.  Influences include Mondrian and Wifredo Lam among others.  The way Binion creates art is less like painting and almost has more to do with performance, similar to the way people regard Jackson Pollock as a painter.  He is also inspired by West African Textiles, which comes out in his quilt-like modernist grids.  

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

  Darryll Schiff has an entirely different process with his photographic body of work, but the drive to always develop new projects is evident in his everyday life.  Fine art photography is a passionate obsession, always on the back of Darryll's mind even outside of his studio. He keeps on hand with him a number of smaller cameras to photograph apt. moments in life as sketches for larger projects while he develops ideas to communicate about life, society and the world around him. Darryll is a great thinker who finds inspiration consistently throughout various aspects in life.  
©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved


Darryll's  photos are not typically staged, the subjects are often everyday people carrying about their lives.  What Darryll has an eye for is the right locations, lighting and behavior in those surrounding him.  He photographs several bodies of work at once and is careful to edit each series in a way that further expresses his ideas. Darryll has an instinct to focus equally on both his subject and the technical execution of his photographs. He has a system when photographing and editing that achieves his desired effects.  The work comes first from an emotional place and then extends into a concept that is carried out masterfully in composition and style. 



©McArthur Binion, Birth of Colored: One 2013 at Kavi Gupta Gallery
©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved
  It is the work ethic and originality that elevates both Darryll and McArthur as artists.  The devotion of these artists goes beyond scheduled hours of studio work, it is the force within them as creators that is both gravitating and gratifying when pushing them in all other aspects of life.  Their art is a labor that defines them, who they are, what they see, all they know.  It is inspiring, it gives them power that each observer can feel.  The power of art. 

 - Lauren Ike




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Introducing Lauren to the DSFA Team




            Hello, I’m Lauren, Darryll’s new assistant at Darryll Schiff Fine Art.  I have been working with Darryll as part of the DSFA team since August of this year.  I am a fine art and fiber artist in addition to being a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a bachelors in fine art and a minor in art history, soon to be going for my masters. 

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

            I was drawn to the position as Darryll’s assistant from the moment I came across his listing on Columbia’s job board.  I clicked on the link to this very website and came across Darryll’s portfolio of work.  Quickly I became captivated by his art.  His style was unlike any fine artist I’d seen before.  The colors and quality of his ephemeral photography left me with a deeper interest and desire to know more about the driving force behind his work.  It wasn’t until later that I read his bio and found out his artistic intent to capture the impermanent yet constant flow of contemporary times. 
©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

There is a soft sadness and yet beauty that comes with being an individual of the human race (especially during this millennium of social media and technology).  In Darryll’s work I see this.  We are all part something bigger and united, yet we don’t always communicate this, which is very much a part of the human condition.  We are a passionate and vivid species and yet we are also an autopilot species, one and the same. Darryll captures individuals in complex moments of thought, enjoyment and reflection as well as completely absent minded, walking briskly through the rat-race portion of their busy days.
©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved
 
We are each uniquely alone, even when gathered together.  It’s not a tragic truth, in fact we are all united by it and can relate.  Through Darryll’s poetic photography, viewers can contemplate life’s little mysteries, as the visual experience almost heightens all other sense until the viewer is convinced they can hear, see and smell the scenery and become lost in it.  The sheer size of Darryll’s large works makes this extensively possible.  
©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

At DSFA Studio, I often find myself contemplating a single word to convey the images that are so overwhelmingly vibrant.  Motion, though important to the aesthetic vocabulary of Darryll’s work is not where I landed.  Rather, I came up with “Essence”, the very title of one of Darryll's prominent series of work.  I deemed essence appropriate because it is the intrinsic nature or indispensible quality of all Darryll’s subjects that I respond to in his art.  He has a true talent and a distinctly beautiful vision when capturing the essence of his subjects, whether it’s human, place, nature or thing.  
©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved


As a fine artist I find working with Darryll inspiring.  Being his assistant is refreshing.  Working beside Darryll as he creates new bodies of work keeps me motivated to continue with my own art practice where I seemingly “paint” with material. 
©Lauren Ike All Rights Reserved

My process is very different than Darryll’s but holds it’s own calm, meditative effects in the repetitive series of highly physical steps when slashing, tearing, knotting and stabbing in order to create. There is a physical cycle of death and rebirth brought on by my hands, the work is activated by violent acts that have a calming effect as repetition breeds peaceful frustrations.  





©Lauren Ike All Rights Reserved

Above are samples of my work and a link to my site laurenike.com if you care to see more, or you may also like my artist page on facebook where I update my latest works in progress facebook.com/artistlaurenike

I have over 230 fabric pieces that are roughly 5"x5", I did a variable piece that covered a 14'x8' wall with this series of work. The installation is shown below at Chicago's A+D gallery.  Come see this body of work installed at Beverly Arts Center's 38th Annual Arts Competition showing November 7, 2014 - January 4, 2015.

©Lauren Ike All Rights Reserved

©Lauren Ike All Rights Reserved


Darryll’s work is clearly very different from my own but ultimately it relates in the feelings both bodies of work provoke.  I’m of course referring to the energy that is
felt in each vivacious piece.  Each component gives its own impression, frozen only to a point as change hangs in the air. There is always action, reflection and growh that comes with life.  

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

 I hope you enjoyed my introductory post.  I have high hopes for my future contributions at DSFA. Until next time! - Lauren