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September 17, 2002

Search Engines


Since our blog seems to be developing into a tribute site to Euan Uglow,I went web-surfing and found some Uglow nudes, one of which is pictured below.

Uglow's "Zagi" of 1981-2

Still, it leaves me with an uneasy feeling. How could somebody I like as much as Uglow never have popped up on my radar? I've spent a good part of the last twenty years when I should have been busy earning a living looking into the visual arts. Despite that, I have a nagging feeling that most (much? a largish chunk?) of the art world may well be lurking out of my sight, like the underwater part of the iceberg.

Have you ever looked on a newsstand and spotted the magazines devoted to "Western" art (you know, cowboys, Indians, horses, landscapes)? There are a ton of these Western artists out there who seem to make a living at this stuff. They even have their own museums(!) It was quite a shock to me about ten years ago when I discovered that the art-world is divided into formats, like radio stations: oldies, alternative, Country & Western, etc. Why? Because it dawned on me that this sort of distinction made it even more unlikely that I would ever see the ULTIMATE PAINTING that would explain the world and my life to me!

I'm not really ranting about class distinctions in art, as silly and pervasive as those are. It goes beyond that. There are great draftsmen of the nude who for one reason or another won't get big museum shows in my lifetime--does that mean I don't get to see their drawings, except by lucky accident? (I mean, check out Henry Ossawa Tanner's life drawings some time. Smokin'! )It was one thing when I went to our Lousy Ivy University and they spent four years talking around the really important stuff, but that was when I was just a young punk. I'm getting too old to be feeling like I'm gonna wind up a day late and a dollar short on good art.

I want better art-world visibility, and I want it NOW. My suggestion is that we need a much better art world search engine. I want to be able to type in "Euan Uglow and his ilk" and find other artists who share his salient characteristics.

This brilliant idea came to me while I was searching on "Google" for Uglow JPEGs. I looked at one art reproduction site and found an alphabetical list of artists whose art you could buy as a poster, and happened to notice that Uglow directly followed Uccello. That got me to pondering the similarity in feel of the two artists, which are considerable.

Uccello's Chalice

And this got me to thinking about the role of obsessive discipline in the visual arts--Michelangelo with his endless anatomical studies, Uccello with his perspective, Uglow with his structured drawing techniques. That's the kind of thing a good art search engine...or art history class...or art publisher...should be suggesting to you. But mostly they aren't.



posted by Friedrich at September 17, 2002


Search engine yes, I say get to it. It is easier to say than do though there are so many bodies called artists, and to filter through them ergh!
Euan Uglow is a wonderful find, I remember flipping through a mag., quickly I stopped turned a few pages back and saw 'slices of pumpkin' and that was the point of controlled passion i later read of.

Posted by: J Lorenz on October 25, 2003 8:52 PM

For more of Uglow's "ilk" check out:
Patrick George, Myles Murphy, Patrick Symons, Norman Norris, William Coldstream, Claude Rogers, John Long, Trevor Felcey, Hepzibah Rendl-Short, Andrew Pankhurst, Tom Norris, Elizabeth Barrett, Mike Shaw and Jonathon Mitchell.

Posted by: Dominic ince on February 6, 2004 10:16 AM

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