Thursday, November 30, 2006

Painting and the Lens

(The artist is) a provincial who finds himself somewhere between a physical reality and a metaphysical one…It’s this in-between…this frontier country between the tangible world and the intangible one — which is really the realm of the artist. - Fellini
You can take photographs of something but you never possess it because it’s too fast…there’s something very intense about the experience of sitting down and having to look at it in the way that you do in order to make a drawing of it, or to make a painting of it. - Bechtle

Alec Soth has a good post on painting and photography (my two favorite siblings) and links up to Christian Patterson's musings on Robert Bechtle (opening Dec.1). Bechtle is the best of the photo-realists because he maintians the painting part - meaning, he does not get overly possessed by the optics. He's incredibly disciplined as a craftsman but I think it is his ability in choosing the singular image that really provides resonance and his unerring eye for that California light. The stillness of the works are what makes them edgy.

Soth links also sites a great quote by Luc Tuymans as well as a question posed by Robert Herbert on how long the relationship between photography and painting can last - how much more do they have to say to each other?

It's an excellent question to pose, and seems impossible to answer - but looking at the plethora of artists using photography as a sketch book device and as a medium of fragile ownership, I'm not sure it will ever cease. The two are so linked in how we see our selves and move through and produce space. The relationship connects memory and action. For many painters the solitude afforded by a photographic source is key for their practice. As Barthes suggests, painting can feign reality without having seen it where as in photography there is a super imposition of reality and the past. It is this evidential force which bears not on the object but on time. I think this aspect of time (and light) attracts a painter to the photograph - that somehow the authentication of an object/place exceeds the representation of it - therefore allowing a space for the painter to examine this strange residual time signature by actually getting inside of it - through pigment.

image: KQED via Alec Soth

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Color My Depression

The Guardian has news of what looks like a profound exhibition of Depression Era
color photographs: Bound for Glory: America in Colour 1939-1943 at Photographers' Gallery, Great Newport St, London WC2. The slide show is beautiful and resonates more than the accustomed anguish - which is of course a political intention on the part of the photographers. Still refreshing to see.

We all are familiar with the starkness of the magnificent Walker Evans works from the same era - so this work is startling and immediatley fills a historic hole. We now have a forward for William Eggleston and William Christenberry (among others).

Gallery link here. FSA link.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Risk and Isolation

God I've been waitin to use that picture for a long time! ...well as of a few minutes ago. Amazing what comes up on an image search. 1988 was a hot year though to which this picture testifies.

So speaking of "risk it" , if you haven't already read it Deborah Fisher's recent post on Risk is worth taking a serious look. She speaks to a very real shadow for any art practice - and everday practice for that matter -Risk. It is often rooted in fear and that is something plenty of us grapple with as artists. A must read if you are battling those voices again.

Not to be out done, John over at Digging Pitt blog grapples with another common ailment - isolation, albeit from the gallery/artist community perspective. He voices real concerns as the artworld expands its 'borders' and therefore opening new questions and desires about interconnectivity and access or the lack there of.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Houston Rising

The Houston Chronicle has an informative article on the burgeoning art scene of Houston. More specifically on how artists are taking charge of their own fates by purchasing the wharehouses that have fostered the contemporary community along Commerce Street. It seems that when ground was broken for condos they got the message - in a hurry.

If you aren't familiar with Houston's scene this is a good primer as it is becoming a destination for artists to work, get recognized and most importantly -stay. Mentions go out to the Project Row Houses, the Art Guys and the ArtCrawl. Several area artists were in the last Whitney and there seems to be an increasing exhbition/financial relationship with the Los Angeles 'scene'. This looks to be another non-Chelsea choice, and that's a good thing for working artists.

image: Clement Aldridge III of the Commerce Street Arts Foundation

Monday, November 20, 2006

Art Collector - Freed

The Boston Globe has a bittersweet story about mega-collector Ken Freed. It seems that Mr. Freed has tired of the collecting game/frenzy after being one of the most active contemporary collectors in the country. He has been a big supporter and lender of many exhibitions as well. This is a pretty big loss and perhaps a cautionary tale as the artworld becomes more aligned with the business world. Read the story.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mark E Smith reading the football results

does it get any better?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I'm 10 days late but felt compelled to give a nod to grand old easy.