Generous, Prolific, “Loco” – Stencil Artist Michael Roman Dies at 60
By Laura Waxmann (Mission Local) Posted December 29, 2016
Here is Michael's Stencil Archive.
KQED also has an article about the life of Michael Roman.
<< Photo by Linda Wilson
In art and in life, Michael Roman was a man of many layers, colorful visions and haunting complexities.
The stencil artist and silkscreen printmaker, best known for layered prints depicting cultural and political icons, died on Monday, succumbing to severe health complications. He was 60 years old.
Three months ago, Roman was out to see a movie with his partner of six years, Kate Rosenberger, when he suddenly began heaving and panting heavily.
The movie date ended with a three-week hospital stay for Roman, said Rosenberger. It was then that doctors discovered lesions on his brain, that two of his heart valves had stopped functioning, and that a “massive tumor” had taken hold of his right kidney, she said.
The folks at FoundSF/Shaping SF have been scanning neighborhood newspapers here in San Francisco and putting them online at Archive.org. Lisaruth from Shaping SF was nice enough to pass along this 1994 issue of the New Mission News, which included a great article about Scott Williams and his public/exhibited stencil art. Go here for the full article.
An excerpt: Williams's work has a "distinctiveness to it not found in any other work of its kind. It lies in a wildly imaginative juxtaposition of disparate images and traditions that you'd never expect to see in the same space."
Reproduction allows for the widespread sharing of treasures without endangering them.
By LEE LAWRENCE for the WSJ
July 5, 2016 5:18 p.m. ET
Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road
Through Sept. 4
On a sunny afternoon, the glare in the Getty Center’s Arrival Plaza is blinding—and stepping into Cave 285 feels like teleporting to heaven. Here, in one of the main features of “Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road,” winged creatures flutter on the vaulted ceiling while, on the walls, Buddhas preach, myths unfold, mortals repent, donors pay homage. Amid scrolling florals and colored flames, a large Buddha sits, his face a featureless mass of clay. This is a full-size copy, created by hand on the basis of detailed scans and myriad photographs of a grotto carved into cliffs that edge the Gobi desert in northwestern China. It is as faithful to the colors, designs and brushstrokes artists used in A.D. 538-39 as it is to the deterioration and damage that nature and man have since wrought.
The fragility of some sites has made copies an increasingly viable way to share treasures more widely without endangering them. The Getty’s exhibition uses them in tandem with more traditional displays to bring out the richness, complexity and conservation challenges of one of the world’s great art treasures. Its curatorial team includes experts from the Getty’s institutes for research and conservation, the Dunhuang Academy and the New York-based Dunhuang Foundation, and while theirs is not the first U.S. show to tackle the subject, it is the most ambitious.
Anthropologist Follows Los Angeles Trail of Century-Old Hobo Graffiti
By John Rogers
Anthropologist Susan Phillips walks along the Los Angeles River while searching for graffiti by hobos in Los Angeles, May 16, 2016. Phillips had spent a career examining the graffiti that covers urban walls, bridges and freeway overpasses. But when she came across a heretofore unrecognizable collection made not of spray paint but substances like grease pencil and apparently left there for a century, she was stunned.
Anthropologist Susan Phillips had spent a career examining the graffiti that covers urban walls, bridges and freeway overpasses.
But when she came across an unrecognizable collection made not of spray paint but substances like grease pencil and apparently left there for a century, she was stunned.
Phillips had uncovered a peculiar, almost extinct form of American hieroglyphics known as hobo graffiti, the treasure trove discovered under a nondescript, 103-year-old bridge spanning the Los Angeles River. At the time, she was researching her book, "Wallbangin': Graffiti and Gangs in LA."
The Handcrafted Paper Stencils of a Kimono Designer Who Turned to Prints
by Claire Voon on February 24, 2016 for Hyperallergic
For decades, the late Japanese artist Yoshitoshi Mori worked as an established kimono designer, using a stencil-based technique to dye his textiles. When he shifted his focus entirely to printmaking in 1960 after experimenting with the medium, he continued working with this layered design method. His resulting wealth of kappazuri — works produced with carefully hand-cut paper stencils — drew from the mingei folk art movement of the ’20s and ’30s that cherished handicraft. Looking further back into Japanese visual traditions, they also focus on subjects of pleasure widely depicted in the ukiyo-e of the Edo period, showing sensual courtesans, kabuki actors, and scenes from Japanese myth. Multilayered and composed of intricate shapes, Mori’s prints are best appreciated up close, an opportunity given by a current exhibition at Ronin Gallery that also features a handful of his sketchbook illustrations and paintings.
While stencil-based printmaking may conjure images with rigid forms, Mori’s prints are incredibly dynamic, composed of thick but fluid lines that constantly move the eye. One rendering of Taira no Tomomori, a warrior figure and popular character included in kabuki plays, juxtaposes swirling patterns on the man’s garments with dramatic hair that shoots from his head like a fountain. In another print, the voluptuous curves of a woman taking an afternoon nap seem to make her teeter on her back. Although his works do not necessarily involve movement, with many of them being portraits, his playing of negative and positive space introduces a delightful animation.
A Journey to the Oldest Cave Paintings in the World
The discovery in a remote part of Indonesia has scholars rethinking the origins of art—and of humanity
By Jo Marchant
The Smithsonian Magazine, January 2016
I struggle to keep my footing on a narrow ridge of earth snaking between flooded fields of rice. The stalks, almost ready to harvest, ripple in the breeze, giving the valley the appearance of a shimmering green sea. In the distance, steep limestone hills rise from the ground, perhaps 400 feet tall, the remains of an ancient coral reef. Rivers have eroded the landscape over millions of years, leaving behind a flat plain interrupted by these bizarre towers, called karsts, which are full of holes, channels and interconnecting caves carved by water seeping through the rock.
We’re on the island of Sulawesi, in Indonesia, an hour’s drive north of the bustling port of Makassar. We approach the nearest karst undeterred by a group of large black macaques that screech at us from trees high on the cliff and climb a bamboo ladder through ferns to a cave called Leang Timpuseng. Inside, the usual sounds of everyday life here—cows, roosters, passing motorbikes—are barely audible through the insistent chirping of insects and birds. The cave is cramped and awkward, and rocks crowd into the space, giving the feeling that it might close up at any moment. But its modest appearance can’t diminish my excitement: I know this place is host to something magical, something I’ve traveled nearly 8,000 miles to see.
Scattered on the walls are stencils, human hands outlined against a background of red paint. Though faded, they are stark and evocative, a thrilling message from the distant past. My companion, Maxime Aubert, directs me to a narrow semicircular alcove, like the apse of a cathedral, and I crane my neck to a spot near the ceiling a few feet above my head. Just visible on darkened grayish rock is a seemingly abstract pattern of red lines.
We know about the epic drama of World War II, but what about the jokes? The above video tells the story (as best as we can). The iconic piece of graffiti that was known, in America, as "Kilroy Was Here" traveled the world in a fashion remarkably similar to a modern meme.
Colonial Williamsburg presents theorem art at Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
By HOLLY PRESTIDGE Richmond Times-Dispatch | Posted: Saturday, December 5, 2015 10:30 pm
“Theorem work,” a popular method of watercolor stencil painting on fabric, wood and paper, was used to decorate everyday objects and create decorative pictures in the 19th century.
An exhibit highlighting the artwork, which was popular as a skill for women, is on display in Colonial Williamsburg.
“Folk art enthusiasts have long associated the art of stencil with 19th-century collections, and we’re excited to share this important and vibrant form of American art with the public,” Laura Pass Barry, Colonial Williamsburg’s Juli Grainger curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture and manager for curatorial outreach, said in a release. “This exhibit will not only depict a variety of theorem compositions and subjects, but it will also show the period process which artists, schoolgirls, and everyday men and women followed to create these colorful creations making them today one of the country’s most recognized and celebrated folk art traditions.”