SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 27 of 54

Looking & Learning Imagining Pull-out Resource Imagination is needed to take inspiration from an idea to a finished piece of work. I magination is powerful. It drives the process of creation in all of its forms and is the backbone of all art making. Whether it's inspired by another artist's work, a piece of music, an event in one's life, or an interesting object, imagination is needed to take that inspiration from an idea to a finished piece of work. Artists Mike McMenemy and Cao Fei are known for their playful, fantastical approaches. Both artists take fanciful elements and merge them with reality to create edgy and enchanting artworks that excite the viewer's imagination. Cao Fei, Back to the Garden, from the PostGarden series, 2011. Color print, 357/16 x 47¼" (90 x 120 cm). ©2013 Cao Fei. Photo courtesy Lombard-Freid Gallery. About the Artists/Artworks Mike McMenemy, Illustration for Siegfried Mike McMenemy is a graphic artist born in Massachusetts, who attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He is influenced by illustrator William Eisner, and artists Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Katsushika Hokusai, who were masters of printmaking. For a comic or children's book illustrator, it's usually a story that fuels imagination. McMenemy's work is a combination of illustration and comic-book sensibility. The curving contour lines seen in his illustration for the book Siegfried are reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec and Hokusai, while the specific description of a location in Worcester, Massachusetts, reflects the influence of Eisner. This story of a Stegosaurus who escapes from the science museum is the perfect merging of comic (a dinosaur) and reality (the city of Worcester, Massachusetts). Cao Fei, Back to the Garden When Deng Xiaoping opened China to the West in 1978, Chinese artists eagerly experimented with Western mod- ernism. Works of the 1970s and 1980s cautiously questioned the values of the Communist Cultural Revolution. Radical modernist experimentation by contemporary Chinese artists is still easier to view in the West because few galleries in China are willing to mount edgy exhibitions. Cao Fei manages to balance modern examinations of consumerism and popular culture with a traditional Chinese reverence for nature and innocence. She made her debut in 1999 with videos that combined social commentary about the desire for material things from Western culture, with images influenced by children's videos. Back to the Garden and the PostGarden series is her exploration of this combination of childlike innocence with adult disillusion. This series of photos follows the adventures of the CBeebies, descendants of the Teletubbies, who wander through both lush and desolate urban landscapes. The ironic placement of imaginary beings with elements of the modern world have earned Cao Fei's work the (subjective) designations of conceptualism, neopop, and neo-surrealism. 23

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