Precisionism! An Art History Swap! HandDrawn/HandPainted - Due Sept 22

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Feb 20, 2008
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Swap Due Date: Sept 22nd, 2023
Sign Up date: By Sept 15th, 2023
Withdrawal deadline: None, but please communicate!
Number of Cards: 3 for 3
Number of Participants: unlimited

Precisionism! Due Sept 22nd!

You will be creating 3 cards influenced by the 20th century art movement Precisionism.

This was a movement in the 1920s and 30s out of the United States. For our purposes, here is what you'll want to think about for your cards:

  • Urban or mechanical scenes: Think bridges, skyscrapers, and other things created by us humans. Additionally, you can think of new devices, such as wind turbines, solar panels, or computers.
  • Lines and simple shapes. As the MOMA article states: "consistently reduced their compositions to simple shapes and underlying geometrical structures, with clear outlines, minimal detail, and smooth handling of surfaces."

This last point may be tricky, but the idea here is that you don't have to be moving into photorealism; straightforward shapes, squares, circles, triangles, are good, get at the essence of the structure or item.

I'm thinking most closely about the first point, I think subject matter is the main thing here. Please ask if you have questions. This is a different kind of swap than I usually run, so let me know if anything is unclear. With a nod to Sarat, who runs such great swaps tied to artists and movements, use this movement to inspire your cards.

Artist examples: Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, Ralston Crawford, early Georgia O'Keefe, Stuart Davis (sometimes)

My examples:
1_20230719_183546_copy_651x930.jpg 1_20230719_183529_copy_651x888.jpg 1_20230722_162458_copy_612x826.jpg

Here are a couple nice links about Precisionism: Wikipedia entry and MOMA.

Swap Requirements ~
1. Should be influenced by Precisionism
2. All cards should be standard 3.5” x 2.5”
3. This swap is 3 for 3. An extra card for the host is greatly appreciated, but completely optional.

Other stuff:

Lurkers welcome! I plan on posting information about Precisionism through the course of the swap. Come learn about Precisionism, your host's ideas about the movement, and make comments!

Mailing Information ~
* Include username, your state/country and the swap name on the back of all cards - and put username and swap name on all envelopes sent.
* US Participants – A mailing label and stamp.
* International Participants - Please send a clearly-addressed envelope or mailing label and I will cover postage.
*Late cards past a day or so will be returned barring extenuating circumstances.

*When you receive your returns, please leave I-Trader for your swap host and rep points for the artists of the cards you receive. Also, in your rep points, naming which card you received is nice, since people like to know where their artworks end up.

1. leydab-fin
2. vidas-fin
3. jo.on.the.go- fin
4. Ancient Planter - fin
5. Thisismycleverusername - received
6. Mybrokenart - received
7. Tillygo - fin
8. Nanner- fin
9. Softawoo- fin
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This is fascinating to me; I've never heard of the Precisionism movement, but reading the links you provided, and what you said, pm, I'm totally interested! Doing this might totally be what I need to help me learn to simplify my watercolors. I won't say sign me up yet, however; I'd like to get a couple done first.
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Yes, it is a fascinating movement. We have 3 pieces at the Columbus Museum of Art by Charles Demuth that got me thinking about this as a potential swap. (More on him in a future post!)

So lurk on, but hope both of you join!

I'll add, I find Sheeler at times really intricate; not photorealism levels, but lots more detail. You'll find Precisionism pieces with interesting perspective work, which I tried to get at with the wind turbine card.
This movement reminds me of my drafting classes a million years ago. I will dust my T-square, triangle set and protractor.
I am in!
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Oh, Charles Demuth! I've really come to love his work.

We are lucky to have 3 very strong pieces by him at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Incense of the New Church - just look at how he does smoke! This is so cool! I love how stylized it is.

Modern Conveniences - also very cool. And you'll notice my Telephone Lines is completely referencing this piece! I really was focusing mostly on the telephone lines when I drew it. However, as I was preparing to run this swap realized I had inadvertently grabbed some of this format.

Anyway, check out Demuth. I think his work is very approachable too. Yes, lots of great, straight lines but reproducing in his style can be done.
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Ralston Crawford is another artist often associated, or at least in the same vein as the precisionists.

Interestingly, he doesn't fit into this category for his whole career. Indeed, the wikipedia link refers to him as an abstract painter. Often these terms can be a bit fast and loose. He is another artist that I think is quite interesting.

Whitestone Bridge has some great perspective. This article includes some additional paintings that I wasn't familiar with.

Boat and Grain Elevators no. 2 - look how nifty! just the monochromatic with the simple lines and shapes. The only real detail is in the ship, although even there it is very simplified.
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Yes! That is perfect Jo. If you look at the Boat and Grain elevators card by Ralston Crawford, you'll see that it doesn't have much more detail than that.

I've added you to the swap!

Georgia O is going to get a nod from me in a post or two. Some of her early work, I think particularly when she was married to Steiglitz, very much falls into that Precisionism vein.

Instead of the wonderful O'Keefe, I was going to post today about Irene Rice Pereira. Is she technically in precisionism? Well, maybe not, but her early works definitely fit into that vein. I'd say there are ways she's similar to Stuart Davis (later post as well!)

The Pendulum - sure this is an abstraction - but a machine abstraction influenced by industry. It isn't surprising that she founded a cooperative design school! This is in the precisionism wheelhouse. The fun thing about Precisionism is that you aren't looking necessarily for precise, as in photorealism, it is more about those smooth lines.

One more! Here is Machine Composition #2! That's some yummy Precisionism eye candy right there! Well, I'm claiming it as such!

Later she'll get much more into abstraction, but like O'Keefe, some of her early work is in this style.
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