Saturday, January 21, 2006

More Book Madness


My lovely wife ordered Spectrum 12 for me, and it just came today.

(She got me the Science Fiction Book Club edition; the link above is the regular hardcover version from Amazon)

The Spectrum series is an annual compendium of "the Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art" edited by Cathy & Arnie Fenner. The images are gorgeous, well and carefully reproduced, covering fantasy, science fiction, editorial and illustration art, as well as unpublished works and three-dimensional art. This edition's jury included the artists Jon Foster, Anita Kunz, Karen Palinko (sculptor) and William Stout (a favorite of mine) as well as Irene Gallo, the art director of Tor Books and David Stevenson, the art director at Del Rey Books.

The pages are graced by the work of Brom, John Jude Palencar, Michael Whelan, Michael William Kaluta, and many many others.

Especially interesting are a number of paintings by Dave DeVries, (like “Old Scratch and The Fish”, which won the Silver award for Institutional art) where he beautifully and very faithfully creates paintings with depth and chiaroscuro based on the drawings of various seven year olds (which are included for comparison).

Movie fans will be happy with the many pieces of concept art from "Robots: The Movie" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

I have to say that I'm not a big fan of this year's Grand Master Award winner, H.R. Giger, although I can understand his place in SF and fantasy history. His images are far too dark, dwelling upon evil and corruption for my tastes. I also need to warn some of my readers who may be offended by some of the other disturbing images dealing with monsters/evil and sexuality. They really aren't many, but they are a part of the illustration market where some of the bigger consumer/publishers are companies like Playboy enterprises. If you are squeamish about such then you may want to avoid Spectrum.

I am pleasantly surprised at the even hand given to political images, especially considering the level of vindictiveness in current politics. A couple of the images fit that vindictive level, but they are pretty evenly split between the left and the right of the political spectrum. Kudos to the Fenners, there really is a part of the press that is impartial!

Spectrum 12 will get a lot of handling from me, like all of the previous volumes in the series. Anyone with an interest in art that strays away from the strictly real world will enjoy it as well.

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