Artist essays

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My Mother, My Self

Lessons and inspiration from an artist mom By Patricia Moss-Vreeland In all my years of training as an artist, both at the University of the Arts and Tyler School of Art, I can recall many gifted and inspiring teachers, but none gave me quite so solid a sense of...

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Reflecting on Vermeer

For years I’ve looked at different works by countless artists. I’ve looked at different objects from all different periods of time—ancient, Renaissance, modern, post-war, contemporary, along with the efforts of teachers, friends, and…

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Sanctioned Spaces

Robert Motherwell, my father, purchased our home the year I was born. My earliest recollection of entering his studio is when I was a toddler. We lived in a…

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Not-So-Still Life with Children

Without my four sons, I would be a different artist. They were born one right after the other—the oldest was four when the fourth was born—simplifying as many complications as were created. I dearly wanted a family, and knew…

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On the Shoulders of Giants

I feel somewhat this way about being a painter after having first been an art historian. Sometimes it is a deterrent to contemplate the achievements of others, but sometimes their work serves as inspiration. Though I’ve had…

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Josef Albers: Beyond Light and Shade

Most of Josef Albers’s paintings are very unusual and far more complex than they initially appear; they are not about Op art, color theory, or Minimalism. They are about paying attention. Just as his famous book on color theory…

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“How did you decide to become an artist?”

My father asked me this question during the last months of his life. As a young man he had made the decision to not pursue a life as a concert pianist, choosing a career that was both more stable and also protected the privacy of his passion…

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