Art for a Sunday
January 15, 2006 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Two completely dissimilar yet nifty artists: The twisted ink drawings of Jon Kuta (big enough to make desktops; Flash interface), and the fabulously lifelike driftwood and bronze sculptures of Heather Jansch (she really likes horses. Warning: you'll have to side-scroll).
posted by Gator (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Aaaaaaand, of course, as soon as I hit "post," Kuta's site goes down. Dammit.
posted by Gator at 9:37 AM on January 15, 2006

Hmmm... Ms. Jansch seems to have "borrowed" her concept from the enormously talented Deborah Butterfield whose work can currently be seen (if you happen to be in New York) in the median parks of Park Avenue in the mid-40s.
posted by The Bellman at 10:07 AM on January 15, 2006

there is no new art..... Ms Butterfield "borrowed" her concept from someone else....whether she realized it or not
posted by cedar key at 2:09 PM on January 15, 2006

Ms. Jansch seems to have "borrowed" her concept from the enormously talented Deborah Butterfield

It's "borrowing" in the same way that every single Pieta done in marble is "borrowing" from all the others, or every single landscape done in oils is "borrowing" from all the others, or every single large-format black and white landscape photography is "borrowing" from Ansel Adams. In other words, it's not "borrowing" at all unless you think that only the first iteration of subject and medium is valid and all others are inferior copies, or you think that being inspired by other artists somehow reduces the validity of a given work, which I find rather silly and nearsighted. Almost everything has been done before, doing something first doesn't mean you've done it best.

Or what cedar key said.

I far prefer the Jansch work, she has a great eye for the sense of movement and grace that horses have, her pieces have far more life to my eye and I find her work much more aesthetically pleasing. I'd love to have a piece of her work in my home.
posted by biscotti at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2006

Oh, and thank you for the post Gator, I love this.
posted by biscotti at 2:26 PM on January 15, 2006

Hmm. I believe I saw one of the Jansch works (or somebody ripping **her** off) in York in 98 or 99.

I mean they're very nice and all, but kitschy. ("Night Mare"? c'mon, now). The kind of thing city councils love, but not anything that really challenges you. The Butterfields are more interesting, and if her works came first, despite brave cries of All Art is Derivative, I would think of Jansch as just an imitator.
posted by emjaybee at 2:55 PM on January 15, 2006

I like Kuta's stuff a lot. I'm impressed by the technique, but not emotionally vested in Jansch's work. But then, I don't have a thing with horses.
posted by dejah420 at 3:45 PM on January 15, 2006

Some mild Googling seems to indicate that both artists started working with driftwood back in the mid-80s -- Butterfield a West coast American, Jasch a Brit. I wouldn't be too quick to accuse either of imitating the other. Besides, their styles are quite different.

Personally, I think Jasch's are more interesting. Butterfield's abstract sculptures look very fragile and stick-figure-y, whereas I think Jasch's really show how muscular and powerful horses are, as well as beautiful.

Still, diff'rent strokes and all.
posted by Gator at 3:52 PM on January 15, 2006

Gator, Butterfield started making her work in the early 70s. I also happen to agree with emjaybee that the Butterfield work is far more interesting and evocative. Check the work out here. Butterfield takes a concept that could easily be kitsch and makes it work. Jansch, in my opinion (and yes, it's no more than that), just misses.

And as for cries of "everything has been done before," sure it has, but in this case it's a pretty obscure technique to just decide to do. Both women find driftwood, assemble it into shapes inspired by horses and then -- and this is the kicker -- sand cast it in bronze and work the bronze until it looks like driftwood again. These works look almost exactly like driftwood; I have shown friends the Butterfield work and had them insist it is driftwood until they actually go up and bang on it to make sure it's metal. Butterfield also makes work out of found signage, gas cans and other scrap, but Jansch's work and even her technique really seem to come from Butterfield.
posted by The Bellman at 6:53 PM on January 15, 2006

This article and some others I came across say that while she's been making horsey art since the 70s, she started using driftwood in the 80s. Also, that kicker isn't actually present: Most of Jasch's sculptures are not bronze -- they're wood, treated with preservatives for outdoor exhibition, according to her FAQ page (scroll down to the "Can they go outside and how long do they last?" part). Most of the bronzes that she does make don't resemble driftwood, but are more standard "bronze horse sculptures."

I'm not making any "everything's been done" claim, but I'm saying that I just don't find it that hard to believe that two different women, who are both crazy about horses, on two different continents, at a time long before people were ganking ideas off the Internet, would each start making horse art with a medium that's readily available to them, in their own unique styles.
posted by Gator at 7:25 PM on January 15, 2006

Bwahaha, I went to college with Kuta.
posted by Uccellina at 8:16 PM on January 15, 2006

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