Sacred & Profane

Three books sit atop the pile that is my desk. New inspiration for the weary (me). They are:

Wayne Thiebaud, a Painting Perspective
by Steven A. Nash and Adam Gopnik
Copyright ©2000 Museums of San Francisco
Thames and Hudson Publisher

Thiebaud is the max. This is a guy who can break an image down to simple parts and render it in a way that is "throw the windows open" fresh using his paint as really part of the structure of his painting...not just the medium. He is not shy with white space--and uses it to build these brilliant compositions. His use of color is masterful--using outlines in contrasting colors to really aid in the description of the object, but at the same time delivering graphic simplicity. If you don't know Thiebaud, run to your library and check out this book. If you are lucky enough to live in a major metro area, get your sweet self to a museum and see the work with your eyes. Be prepared to be stunned.

Byzantium, Faith and Power (1261-1557)
Edited by Helen C. Evans
Copyright ©2004 The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

As you are aware, I am loving the Byzantine thing these day. This is the lodestone of Byzantium. I saw this show at the Met a while back and bocked at the price and size of this tome--and didn't commit to buying it. Now its on my desk. No book or catalog in the world could fully articulate the spectacular show about this subject. The objects were amazing, and a vast wide range of them too. The curation of the work gave, just by association, a peek into the world of art, architecture and decorative objects that was the impetus of my love of this stuff. However, show aside, this book rocks! Lots of well written copy. Lots of tales of the saints (love!) All written in a manner that it is not inconcievable that you could sit down and read this book cover to cover.

The Hermetic Museum
Alchemy and Mysticism

by Alexander Roob
Copyright ©2005 Taschen

whoooh! Taschen always does a great job putting these reference books together. I could randomly buy a Taschen book and be really happy with anything. Chock a block images,good copy, big fat pub. Plenty to look at. This book is filled with strange and wonderful stuff from the Masons (love), Blake (love) Kaballah (you get the idea) with illustrations and quotes from the texts they are illustrating. Roob touches on everything from how Genesis is described through topics of Macrocosm and Microcosm...through good stuff like the Philosophic Tree, Oedipus chimericus, the Torment of Metals. I might have to stop right now and dive in!

The picture above is the beginning of a skull in chinatown idea for my San Francisco images. Your thoughts?