Friday, May 30, 2008

The Big Show 3

I've been so busy in the studio I haven't even plugged this group show I'm in out in the Hamptons.

The "Big Show 3" is at Silas Marder Gallery featuring 50 artists or so all working at a scale of 8 x 10 inches. I think I speak for everyone that this size is quite difficult! So if you are heading there be sure stop by the gallery. It's one of those big summer kick off type of things with lots to look at.
Here are a few links of participating artists (i could find) and in some cases bloggers.

Karen Dow
Alexander Cheves
Eric Graham
Michael Lee
Carla Knopp
Mark Burckhardt
Mary Heilmann
Tad Wiley
...many more
The Big Show 3
50 artists were asked to make three 8” x 10” paintings especially for this show,
forming a collection of artwork that spans age, region, gender,
experience, education, style, and content.

MAY 17 - JUNE 22
Silas Marder Gallery
120 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton
Wed. - Fri. - 12-5pm Sat. - 10am- 6 pm Sun. - 10am -4 pm

Top: my low quality image from the show

Saturday, May 24, 2008

ufo sighting

Nice laser beam....

image via

Friday, May 23, 2008

David Maisel interview [2006]

The commenter on the previous post (and the Headlands event) made me want to dig up this excellent interview from 2 years ago on Archinect. Geoff Managh of BLDBLG is the interviewer and I really consider this one of the best artist interviews I have ever read. If you don't know the artist this is a great place to start, if you are familiar this will enhance what you already know and like.
from the interview:

David Maisel (b. 1961) studied architecture, landscape architecture, and photography at both Princeton University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design - before leaving the latter to pursue his photographic career full-time. He now lives in the Bay Area, and exhibits internationally.

In his own words, David has a “fascination with the undoing of the landscape.”� He has become most widely known for his aerial work, which includes extended studies of North American mines, clear-cut forests, urban sprawl, evaporation ponds and other peripheral industries of the Great Salt Lake .

David has also produced a widely known photographic series of
Owens Lake, California, with images taken from nosebleed-inducing heights as great as 13,000-feet. As cinephiles will no doubt know, Owens Lake was drained in the early 20th century to water the lawns of suburban Los Angeles (a notorious act of hydrological theft that found its way into American mythology through Roman Polanski's Chinatown). Owens Lake is now a Dantean wasteland, one of the most toxic sites in North America.
some highlights -
It struck me while looking at your work, however, that even the word landscape is a bit inaccurate - the idea that you are a landscape photographer - because the sites you choose are more like events. Anthro-terrestrial events, so to speak. One could even argue that you are an event photographer, because you document abraded lake beds, forests being clear-cut, copper mines, and so on. What do you think of that? That a landscape itself could be an event, a process?

The word landscape is an interesting one - it implies a viewer who is making a judgment call. A landscape is bounded by our own set of interests and values. I mean, the land exists without us; the landscape involves our own discernment. So I suppose that you're actually very accurate. It's that sense of turmoil, or finding some... Really, it's the sublime, right? It's the dislocation of the viewer that interests me. It gets back to the same issue as Ansel Adams. I mean, I think that his work at a particular moment in time probably had a different meaning than it does now - but I want to make work that has meaning now. And I think you really have to be decisive about what that is - as an artist. You have an obligation, in a way, to choose subject matter that has meaning.

You say meaning, but your own writing tends to have a more poetic than political overtone. Not that your writing is apolitical but it doesn't seem to prescribe anything, or make judgments. Does your work have a specifically political - even ecological - message, or do you see it as purely aesthetic?

I think there is definitely an ecological message there. But the issues are actually quite complex. The more I learn the less I know. The more I see the less I know. I think these are issues in which finger-pointing is really an easy reaction. Yet what I do feel is that we are kind of at the edge of this abyss [laughter] - and I know I'm now falling back into poetic language - but that for me is the message that I want to tease out of these places. That's the continuity I think I bring from one area of subject matter to the next.

So we can drain as many lakes as we want, and we can pour cyanide solution over hundreds of thousands of acres of copper mine tailings - but we'll pay the price. I mean it's interesting, with The Lake Project, once the work was done and the book was out in the world, and there was a certain amount of attention paid to that work of mine, it was then that I met the head of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District who really appreciated what I was doing. And he is the scientist and, sort of, activist, who organized a local group of citizens in the area of Owens Lake and became the David who slew Goliath in court. They sued the city of Los Angeles - and won. They're the ones who helped the court mandate this whole shallow flooding of the lake to keep down toxic dust storms.

So I have incredible respect for his work, and for his understanding of the complexity of Owens Lake. But he has an understanding; I don't, and I'm willing to say that I don't. I mean I could - I don't think it's an insurmountable lack of knowledge, or comprehension - but there are people who are better trained than I am, and who can make those calls. And I think, in a way, that the pictures aren't even necessarily suited to help make those decisions. They're using, for example, aerial photography now to survey the surface of Owens Lake in order to assess whether or not this shallow flooding is actually helping - and that's a different kind of aerial photography than I'm engaged in, completely! [laughs]

Full interview here.

image: David Maisel

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Will Oldam and David Maisel at Headlands - 2night!

Ok - this makes me very jealous of anyone who can attend this event. If you do go, please send me a note on how it goes. Two very intense artists.

5/22/08 Apocalyptic Sublime:
Will Oldham & David Maisel

David Maisel, Library of Dust
David Maisel, Library of Dust

Date: 5/22/2008 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Headlands Center for the Arts

Ticket Info: FREE

For a real fish out of water experience, join us as one of America’s most influential songwriters calls to all music lovers. 2008 AIR Will Oldham composes songs that are by turns lilting and jarring. His lyrics and melodies capture the conflicted, painful and joyful nature of daily life. 2008 AIR David Maisel finds the aesthetic beauty in environmental and social devastation, photographing “Black Maps” that show the stunning colors and the patterns of polluted landscapes. His recent body of work, “Library of Dust,” visually depicts what remains of people who were abandoned to a forgotten place by their families and society.

Listen to Will's music here.

Please note that capacity for this event is limited to 120 PEOPLE. We will have a waitlist and an overflow room with a live simulcast. Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

a love letter to Japanese painting

I'm gradually getting back into the pace of NY after some time away - thanks to large doses of caffeine which are a poor substitute for the beach but you work with what you've got. I came across this great essay on Japanese art at 3Quarksdaily by Elatia Harris. This is a compelling personal account of a lifelong journey that begins with one woman's childhood reverie and the great tradition of Japanese art.


Thanks to Elise Grilli, I was beginning to understand there were two long traditions in Japanese painting that occasionally inter-penetrated but were also separate. Very roughly, there was a tradition that overwhelmingly reflected the civilization-changing influence of China and Buddhism, and one that was Japan's unique contribution to world art, with each flaring into greater vitality at different times over almost 1500 years. Another distinction to look out for was that between art of a private, contemplative nature -- a scroll that is unfolded slowly in the hands, a poem card -- and art best understood as a large element in an entire surround, like the screens above. In the West, the same distinction might attach to the difference between drawing and painting, the former usually done by artists for themselves, the latter having a necessarily public intention. In the West, too, the same artist might excel -- that is, live equally -- in both drawing and painting, but in Japan, with staggering though very few exceptions, art that was contemplative would not issue from the mind or hands of a great decorator-painter.

Image: Trees in Fog, Hasegawa Tohaku, 16th century - Japan's "most-loved" painting.

Thursday, May 15, 2008