Thursday, August 19, 2010

Art Books 1 : Facing Eden

The images above are from an art book that's been in my collection since 1997. The title of the book is Facing Eden: 100 Years of Landscape Art in the Bay Area and it's been in my collection since I bought it used at the main bookstore in downtown Santa Cruz (at the time) when I was studying abroad at UCSC . I've poured over this book so many times, always returning to the pages that include these select works as well as several of Diebenkorn's paintings that absolutely take my breath away every single time.

This picture of Diebenkorn's Seawall doesn't do it justice so see it here. This photograph, however, does represent the changing, supple, reactionary-to-the-elements nature of images in an art book. They become your own the more you live with them and return to the pages again and again. The oil of the fingertips turning the page, the residue of dank apartments and the wear of every place you've lived in the last X amount of years, the evidence of paint and of being an active inspiration... all of this adds to the energy of the book, which has now become a voice that is either perfectly present in a "one on one" mental crit or quietly beckoning and ready to offer A HECK OF A LOT at the drop of a hat on the bookshelf, without judgment. My collection of art books are quiet friends, they demand a lot of me, they will tell me without question that I've gone in the wrong direction or if something is not working, but they will never, ever judge.


Jamie Ribisi-Braley said...

That's one of my favorite art books. I love every painting in it and the amazing range of colors.

I remember first seeing Diebenkorn's work and wondering how he came up with his compositions and palette-- then I visited Santa Cruz and it all made sense (still genius, but it made sense how he saw that).

I was just at the Williams Art Museum in Massachusetts and they had a Bischoff next to an early Diebenkorn figure and it was such a perfect pairing. The Bischoff was amazing.

In San Fran there's a corner in the MOMA where they have Diebenkorn, Bischoff, and Manuel Neri. Quite stunning.

I had a chance in college to take a master class with Neri and I let the sculpture majors sign up first (it's only fair) and all the spots were taken after that. I should have just gone for it! :)

Sarah John Afana said...

A touching review and inspiring description of your library. I am forever drawn to the Diebenkorn's when given the chance to visit one, I find them mesmerizing.

Unknown said...

Oh man, yes, the sculptors could have waited in line! haha What an opportunity but you were kind to let them go first. I'm happy to share my love of this book with a familiar reader. Isn't it just grand? And yes, seeing that coast in full light and grandeur makes all of Diebenkorn's paintings make sense. It makes me want to not only return to the west coast but to lounge for hours and hours surrounded by the art at the SFMOMA. Sigh...

Sarah, thanks for stopping by! I'd love to know what some of your favs are as well. You know, doing this post made me realize how much I've allowed myself to be hypnotized by technology. If I want to look at an artist's work, I just google them. ha! It's just not the same as finding a comfy spot to look over a good book and take in the artwork on the page in a quiet, peaceful moment.

Kendra Zvonik said...

I am also a big fan of Diebenkorn and treasure my art books! Nothing I enjoy more, besides seeing the actual works, than to get lost in the art section of a good bookstore. I would love to check this book out and I think this is a great idea for an ongoing post in your blog! Thanks for sharing this book, J!