In 1930, Grant Wood painted one of the most iconic paintings known in the Gothic art community. Widely viewed, it has been acknowledged as an outstanding representation of the Gothic style. It is recognizable to most of the world.
An American artist trained in Germany, Wood was visiting another young artist John Sharp in Eldon, Iowa. One day while cruising the countryside, Wood noticed a farmhouse built in the Carpenter Gothic architectural style. It belonged to Charles and Catherine Dibble. They built it themselves on a ninety-three-acre plot of land. The local roofing company was there helping Charles put on a new roof. That was the day Wood first took notice of the modest 504 square foot home.
Although the painting is of a farmer and his wife, it is not the Dibbles. The woman is Nan Wood Graham, Grant Wood’s sister. The man in the painting is either the woman’s husband or father – it has never been definitely stated. The fellow himself is a composite of many faces the painter had seen in his life growing up in the farmlands of Iowa.
The house fell into disrepair over the years. Nan Wood Graham went on to save the house from being sold in a distress sale where it’s likely it would have been torn down. In 1974 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is sanctioned as an historical site.
Gothic and Modernism
Gothic and Modernism bleed into one another in many intricate ways. Bizarre in their expression, but at its best, profoundly leaving the observer filled with awe and inspiration. The two styles tend to serve the same audience.
In contrast to the pieces given us by Woods, is the Japanese artist, Kumi Yamashita. A New York resident, Yamashita plays exquisitely with shadow. Using several types of materials including old shoes and expired credit cards she is a master of light and dark. Her work has been termed “magical”, and is exhibited in fine galleries throughout the world.
One of the most interesting and fascinating “new” Gothic artist is Guy Laramee. It’s been speculated that what makes his art so collectable is not only the 25 years of reputable skill, but also the cynicism. Much of what he is recognized for is a style that is centered around the character of books. His distinct expression certainly separates him out as one of the greats.
From my home town; Cleveland-born artist Daniel Arsham creates a stir wherever he shows.
As a performance artist, he is a master at architectural expression. He approaches different dimensions that takes the observer/his audience with him. He works with unexpected materials which have become a part of his brand.
One of my partner’s favorite artist in the Gothic genre is, Yulia Brodskaya. I can see why. The way she draws the eye into the patterns of color is the quintessential eye candy. The detail is astounding, using small strips of paper adhered to a sketched background. Brodskaya is a native of Moscow, but she bases out of London. Even her more serious subjects emits a fun energy.
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