There are moments on the Living website when one suspects that Martha Stewart may have once held fine art aspirations. In an article explaining how to compose a mushroom print, she writes, “The embryonic shape, diaphanous structure, and creamy spores of an amanita make it a good solo subject; this one recalls a Surrealist photogram.” Sure, she’s no avant-gardener, and she is a strident formalist, but a case can be made for a select handful of fine artworks from Stewart’s oeuvre.
- The invention of pliage is attributed to painter Simon HantaÃ¯. Martha creates pliage works under a humbler name: tie dye. This method consists of folding the canvas, painting it, then stretching it to reveal graphic shapes that evoke space, scale shifts, and atmosphere. Stewart's T-shirts and wrapping paper pliage (intentionally?) recalls the work of her predecessor.
- Martha's mushroom prints do kinda recall Surrealist photograms.
- Her marbling may lack the complexity of, say, that of Philip Taaffe or Roland Flexner, but its vibrant hue and luscious ink handling demonstrates more-than-proficient skill.
- Anyone who makes overlapping squares will eventually end up with something that resembles an Albers, but her palette borrows directly from his.
- Martha never self-identifies as a conceptual artist. However, this decoupaged chest seems to aspire to a gestalt similar to Kosuth’s “One and Three Chairs.”
- AFC’s Will Brand sent me this “cornhole game,” in conjunction with a Koons image of a dick fucking a
vaginaasshole. [Editor’s note: amended via reader feedback.] Thanks, Will!
- For further reading, check out a slideshow of portraits a la Cindy Sherman.