ARTZILA

Subscribe to Artzila-Gary Nay's Art of the Day by Email

“Woman writing a letter, with her maid” by Johannes Vermeer

A rash of recent art thefts around the globe, including this lovely Vermeer from the National Gallery of Ireland, have left authorities stunned. Because of my vast knowledge of art, theology, and criminal psychology, Interpol has asked for my help in this case. As one of Western Canada’s most loved (and in demand) artists, I had to decline graciously. But, after further pressure and an upgrade to first class travel with a generous per-diem (cha-ching!) I have agreed to join the investigative team in Dublin. Obviously this is a very hush-hush mission and I will not be able to keep you in the loop, but I will be back with a full report the week of July 3rd. Godspeed GNAY.

 

“Self-Portrait with Self” by GNAY

Who’s who in this probing exploration of self? After seeing Gauguin’s “S-P with The Yellow Christ”, I had an eerie feeling I was looking into a mirror. So, this is me (GNAY – the artist formerly known as “Big Daddy”) looking at Gauguin’s painting in Paris’s Musee d’Orsay. In a kind of secret ceremony, Gauguin is metaphorically handing me the torch with a nod and a wink. Obviously, he and his work are currently getting most of the attention and dollars, but the tide is starting to turn. Self, after all, is just an illusion, and when you are willing to accept this, you will realize that GNAY and Gauguin are one, or as Paul famously asked, “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Well, now you know.

 

“Self-Portrait with Self” by GNAY

Who’s who in this probing exploration of self? After seeing Gauguin’s “S-P with The Yellow Christ”, I had an eerie feeling I was looking into a mirror. So, this is me (GNAY – the artist formerly known as “Big Daddy”) looking at Gauguin’s painting in Paris’s Musee d’Orsay. In a kind of secret ceremony, Gauguin is metaphorically handing me the torch with a nod and a wink. Obviously, he and his work are currently getting most of the attention and dollars, but the tide is starting to turn. Self, after all, is just an illusion, and when you are willing to accept this, you will realize that GNAY and Gauguin are one, or as Paul famously asked, “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Well, now you know.

 

“Self-Portrait with the Yellow Christ” by Paul Gauguin

A few years ago, in a Paris Museum, I was quite shocked to see this Self Portrait in which Gauguin poses himself in front of his “Yellow Christ” painting, as I did 20 years ago, in my own Self-Portrait. I did not know this painting existed when I painted my version. Fact: Paul Gauguin left a lucrative career as a stock broker to peruse his passion for art. Another fact: GNAY left a lucrative career as a stock broker to pursue his passion for art. Are you mentally connecting the dots? The last Gauguin that came up for auction in 2015 fetched over $300,000,000. Mine, only $1500. That leaves quite a bit of wiggle room.

 

“Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ” by GNAY

I wasn’t 20 when I painted this, but it was painted at least 20 years ago. It’s an early acrylic and magic marker on board, pre-canvas and pre-iPad. I am not wearing my “Famous Artist in Paris” coat, as I am not yet famous. What I am wearing is my then favourite green sweater that can be seen in several other Self-Portraits from this period. But this S-P isn’t about what I am wearing – it’s about where I am. The question is: am I posed in front of Gauguin’s famous painting or have I posed myself in the scene at the actual crucifixion of Christ? Strong stuff. It will take me almost 20 years to answer this question, but you will find out tomorrow. Lucky to be you.

 

“Self-Portrait” by Pablo Picasso

Painted at the age of 20, this “Blue Period” Self-Portrait portends great things to come. Even though this is a sad time for the young Pablo, this painting transcends its blueness with several well-hidden clues. The coat tells us the young painter is going somewhere, and I think we could all agree with that. His gaunt face and scruffy facial hair are an attempt to hide the confidence you see in his painterly gaze. For me, of course, (remember its always all about me) It’s like looking into Snow White’s, Magic Mirror. When I was 20, I had a coat exactly like that! Mirror, mirror on the wall…

 

“Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe” by Vincent van Gogh

Self-Portraits can be very telling, especially when analyzed by me. Let’s start with this one, which comes complete with a well-known story. Vincent was living in Arles with Paul Gauguin, they were drinking, they fought, Vincent cut off part of his ear and gifted it to a local prostitute. This S-P, painted a few days later, with its blood-red background and smoking pipe has become a symbol of the “tortured artist”. I see more taunt than torture. “Get your own girl Gauguin! I’m a crazy Mo-Fo, don’t mess with me!” It worked. Gauguin left, Vincent got the girl, and thanks to this stunt will go on to become the most famous artist in the world. Well played Van Gogh.

 

“Infinite(r) Jest” by GNAY

The definitive synopsis of the great David Foster Wallace novel, “Infinite Jest”. Weighing in at just 18.5 ounces this super-sized un-weighty tome delivers DFW’s complex themes without ever reading a page! A sculptural romp into the infinite (without subtitles). Never have to say you haven’t read it, again! Because you can’t.

Available on Saatchi Art - $1845

 

“In Wetin You Go Do” by Otobong Nkanga

This installation is a great example of conceptual art currently showing at the Tate Modern in London. Two things about this museum: you won’t understand 80% of what you see, but your entrance is FREE (so suck it up). Here is an excerpt from the curator’s description of this roomful of large, talking cement spheres, connected by ropes: “As such, the work can be read as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of life. With some of the balls weighing more than 600 kg the work may also make fun of fat people…” Like I have been saying all week, this is heavy stuff and don’t feel bad if you don’t get it (but I do). Concept: Famous conceptual artists usually have funny names. Tomorrow: my conceptual art piece, “Infinite(r) Jest”

 

“A Stake Set” by Lawrence Weiner

Conceptual art is more about idea than execution and you can’t hang an idea on a wall. It requires little or no traditional artistic skill. You will not understand or appreciate it without first being “educated” and then you still won’t get it. It’s the theme of the book, without the book. It is sometimes in the form of a film, an installation, or as in this case just words. The words can come in many forms: neon, projected on a wall, fluorescent in a dark room, italicized, bold, or like here – all caps! If you crave instant gratification, conceptual art is not for you. It’s really only for curators and art “experts”, like me. Concept: There is more than one way to spell STAKE.