Thursday, March 26, 2009

anatomy of a painting [7]

Some more time has passed since I trotted out this piece for the ‘anatomy series’ of posts. No reason other than it has been on the back burner as other works demanded more attention. Apologies again for the lack of a quality image here but it should give you an idea as placeholder. As you can see from previous posts that the lifespan of this work is starting to become substantial. This is simply circumstantial but also reflects my general interest in slowness as an approach to picture building. The silences between stages are what set up the reverberations I need to advance the work into a more realized state.

Since the last time I spoke of this piece, I have employed the nuclear option. I eradicated the bottom quarter several times with huge swaths of muddy paint in part to fill in surfaces gaps and also to actually submerge the former grid into a sludgy demise like river water saturating turned soil. (some sanding/scraping also to make the current state change)

Next in order is a reworking of the part of the painting that was actually working. First I wanted to expand the sky upward as the darker passage which bracketed it previously was troublesome in that it suffocated the work as a whole. Painting that out presented unforeseen problems. Uneven surfaces seams and some paint loss due to taping lead me to an endless game of reconstruction that is only now complete in a version not pictured here. Despite this, it was the right call as now there is room to work. This leads to what was the center point of the painting, the smoke/chemical cloud that largely acted as the catalyst and entry point for the painting. I was very satisfied with this part of the painting and have clung to it as the anchor point since its completion. However, now that other changes have taken place, this part now has to be removed and reworked.

This is where painting gets hard. The challenge is having the courage to let go of ‘success’ for the betterment of the whole. Generally when an artist paints themselves into a corner as the expression goes, it is because they are holding to a passage at all costs for fear (or realization) that it cannot be improved or replicated elsewhere throughout the painting. The trouble is, painting is a relationship that requires give and take. It is not static. Letting go is central to the process of realization. At this moment, I have sanded down that centerpiece and blown out the former horizon line. I am now ready for the final leg of the work. I hope to have one more posting of this process before the piece is complete.

Monday, March 23, 2009

new works

Thought I would post some new works recently documented. These are the tail end out my output from 2008. The top image is the latest in my WhiteNoise series. The second image is a reworking of and numbering of the first painting in that group. I was never satisfied with the upper portion for a variety of reasons so I reworked it to make it more in line with how the works have progressed.

Pictured above:
WhiteNoise no. 6, 2008
Oil on linen
24 x 18 in.

WhiteNoise no.2, 2008
Oil on linen
24 x 18 in.

Below are some new paper works each measuring 30 x 22 in. These are both oil as well.

The Premier of Brooklyn DIY at MoMA Directors Cut

The James Kalm Report(Loren Munk) has the video on the premier of Brooklyn DIY at MoMA. Marcin Ramocki's documentary explores the history of the artist community of Williamsburg from the early 80's up to today. Looks like a must see for the locals and beyond.

Blurb from Ramocki:
Brooklyn DIY is a long overdue examination of the creative renaissance in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Home to underground warehouse parties, anarchistic street creativity, and artist-run galleries and performance spaces, Williamsburg gave birth to one of the most vibrant and rebellious artistic communities to arise in the 1980s, permanently changing the city's cultural landscape. Featuring interviews with a host of artists and neighborhood characters, Ramocki's film captures life in a utopian universe made by artists, for artists—along with its inevitable decline in the face of real estate development, gentrification, and the post–September 11 market collapse.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Certain Fate

I'm happy to announce and participate in an upcoming group exhibition curated by Timothy Buckwalter. Hopefully we'll get some cross bloggery going closer to the exhibition dates.

I think he's done an excellent and ambitious job in selecting artists from across the land.
That's a lot of artists to deal with! Links below to most of the participating artists.

From Timothy - an explanation:

I made my first mix tape in 1979 while staying up late trying to record Pink Floyd’s runaway hit song “Another Brick In The Wall, Part One.” The 45RPM had been sold out at the local record store for weeks. Lying on the floor with my RadioShack portable cassette player – its microphone jammed against the clock radio’s speaker – waiting for Pink Floyd to come on, I realized that I could go beyond recording that one contemporary song of rebellion. I was soon jotting onto tape anything that evening that seemed connected to that song: Blondie’s Heart of Glass, Billy Joel’s My Life, M’s Popmuzik, The Knack’s My Sharona, Herb Alpert’s Rise and Don’t Bring Me Down from ELO.

Combining photography, painting, sculpture and text-based works in My Certain Fate, I've crafted an exhibition that mimics the dynamic behind the mix tape – a genre I falsely believed that evening I had invented, but which is in fact a popular element within youth culture. Since the mid-70s the creation of a mix tape has been seen as an expression of the individual compiler's taste in music. And, of course, as a gift, it has often been put forward as a tentative move toward creating some kind of emotional relationship with the tape's recipient.

Featuring more than 65 works from 28 U.S. and international artists, My Certain Fate explores and connects the feelings emoting from each piece to create an overarching narrative. Bubbling to the surface of a photo is a mysterious tale of yearning and denial. A drawing begins to crack under the weight of its own smugness. A crisp Minimalist painting offers a space to breathe, a break in the mix. Lurking beneath a sculpture is a less than obvious tale of redemption. The title for the exhibition is excerpted from one of my favorite songs, That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate on Mission of Burma’s 1982 album “Vs. “ –- a track that exudes a boatload of melancholia mixed with the possibility for love through self-sacrifice.

Included in My Certain Fate are works from John Altoon, Angela Baker, Val Britton, Martin Bromirski, Manuel Dominguez Jr., Bill Dunlap, Sacha Eckes, Sylvia Fragoso, Tammy Harper, Kevin Parks Hauser, Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Michelle Lewis-King, Joe Macca, Michael Macfeat, Rob Matthews, Mike Monteiro, Marlon Mullen, Christopher Saunders, Jen Siska, Dean Smith, Brian Stechschulte, Katy Stone, Rebecca Whipple, Billy White, Jim Winters, Douglas Witmer, Michael Zahn, and Nina Zurier.

A catalog -- with an essay by DJ and blogger Heidi De Vries, poetry by Suzanne Stein, and a conversation between myself and painter Michael Zahn – will accompany the show. Included will be a mix CD.

Location: Pharmaka - Los Angeles, CA

More soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

mapping U.S. migration flows

I'm guessing migration trends in the U.S. are heating up with the reshuffling of the economic order here at home. With foreclosures, immigration, major industry shifts and declines where are people thinking they can make a go of it?

Check out these these fascinating maps from Pew Social Trends which employ a clever and simple use of animation and stylized graphics.

Pew Social Trends:

"Who Moves? Who Stays Put? Where's Home?" [] is a set of geographical data visualizations that display patterns of domestic migration, that is movement of people among the nation's regions and states. They show gains and losses only from people who move from one state to another. The maps use estimates from the American Community Survey for 2005-2007, and from the American census from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 census.

via: information aesthetics

Sunday, March 15, 2009

best t-shirt of '09

Brent at Heart as Arena scored one of these Andres Serrano shirts this past week at the Free Store. Jealousy abounds. Perhaps the artist can get some over to the Senate as they 'confront' the AIG bandits.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

a city of doors, mostly closed

Massive gates opened into the city, and the winding streets themselves often ended abruptly at smaller doors that defined neighborhood and community boundaries... Whole neighborhoods might be walled off, accessible only by a single door in a narrow street. - Nina Burleigh

Over at BLDGBLOG, a great meditation on the nature of access, labyrinthine and boundary in 18th century Cairo as explored in Nina Burleigh's recent book Mirage. Sounds like an excellent read.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Relique Detroit

An excellent and chilling photo essay at TIME reveals one great American city's dissent into a living apparition. Photography by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.

hat tip: Bill Gusky

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sharon Butler on the artworld and facebook

Sharon Butler of Two Coats of Paint has written an excellent piece over at the Brooklyn Rail about the upsurge in use of Facebook by the 'Art World'. It wasn't so long ago that I was quite skeptical of joining and made the usual groans to my peers about invasive behavior. However, having been a modestly committed blogger the last couple of years, I quickly realized what a fantastic way it is to communicate and navigate my web of relationships. What strikes me as well is that this particular community - the art community - seems to be a natural fit. When I view peers in other fields, it really is a repository of baby photos and inane updates about the toaster oven and what not. Not that this doesn't have its own merits from time to time...

If you are an artist without any kind of presence outside of your studio, you really should consider coming into the light.

A few prescient clips from Sharon's article:

What’s so good about Facebook? Most art bloggers will tell you it’s a good way to connect with the people who read their blogs. They were at the forefront of innovative social networking in the artosphere, and began setting up their Facebook profile pages back in early 2007, shortly after Facebook lifted the requirement that members be affiliated with an educational institution. Links posted on blogs announced Facebook membership, and a few readers began joining, but initial interest was halting and tentative. Skeptical friends either ignored email invitations to join, or joined but discreetly eschewed their newly created profile pages. The digitally unconnected didn’t feel any need for a “social networking” site at that point, and thought Facebook was for lonely computer geeks, singles looking for love, and college kids.

Facebook, as arguably the most handy and versatile social networking tool, has succeeded in erasing geographical boundaries and enabling a more flat, non-hierarchical community in which top critics and curators are at least accessible if not truly friends. For journalists and writers, Facebook is also an invaluable research tool. As Art Fag City’s Paddy Johnson noted, it’s the phonebook for the art world. And not being on Facebook is tantamount to being phoneless. I recently met an artist who barely had Internet access, let alone a Facebook profile. I came away wondering if I’d be forced to write her a letter or call her on an old-fashioned handset. Diehard analoggers, disillusioned with what may seem like superficial connections, may drop out or never join at all, but they’ll wind up farther and farther out of the loop. For the techno-forward, maybe Facebook is a transitional phenomenon that will soon yield to the faster-paced, pared-down Twitter, which in turn may give way to something still more instantaneous and unmediated.

Wherever it stands in the evolutionary scale of art-world communication, Facebook has signaled a sea change in the way artists relate to one another. The barrier between solitary creativity in the studio and social exchange at gallery openings has gone the way of the Berlin Wall. It has allowed artists to invite their self-selected village into their workspaces without sacrificing their privacy or interrupting their creative processes. This is uncharted aesthetic territory, and where it will lead is as unknowable as anything else these days, but at least we know we’ll be among friends.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

the art blogger council abides

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Blogix panel discussion shown in the photo above. The Blogpix panel, which took place on Saturday, March 7, followed the Thursday opening of the Blogpix show at Denise Bibro's Platform Project Space in New York. Both events were organized by Olympia Lambert, who also Twittered the event .

The panel covered the general topics one might expect from an audience. Why Blog? Who reads your blog? What qualifications do YOU have? etc.

The panel was gracious and very frank about why they write and for whom they write. Ultimately, you write a blog for yourself and your peers. If it strikes a nerve with an audience, it catches on and takes a life of its own. Not so unlike an artwork does when it leaves the studio. Hopefully, the blog facilitates community and insight for an ever shrinking media field of arts coverage.

The larger question for me is how art blogging is to be defined over time and if will it become overly self referential as the political blogosphere has become with its maturity.

Joanne Matera (the moderator) has more details over at her blogspot.

image: Martin Bromirski (

pictured: Hrag Vartanian (; Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof (; Bill Gusky (; and Brent Burket (

tunnel vision

You know the saying, "build it and they will come" ? It appears to be truer than ever when it comes to the border fence industry. Tunneling is the new the black. For a couple of years now Subtopia has done a remarkable job in examining the worldwide outbreak of border fence building. Here is the latest after dozens of tunnels have been discovered in just one Arizona border town.

As you may or may not know Nogales, Arizona has quickly become the border tunnel capital of North America, as in illegal cross-border tunnel, at least as far as the U.S. government can tell. The latest numbers according to a NORTHCOM Task Force briefing that was apparently secretly leaked over the web just weeks ago, indicate between 1990 and November 2008, 93 cross-border tunnels were discovered, 35 of which were in California, 57 in Arizona, and 1 in Washington State.

Looks like the multi-billion dollar border fence aint working so well after all – what a surprise. In fact it seems to be causing as much disaster as it claims to be trying to prevent, evidenced in nearly every environmental impact review you will read of the fence (not to mention the DHS waived of over thirty environmental protection laws to build it). FAS recently pointed out that the proliferation of tunnels dug underneath the border had been casually categorized as an unintended consequence in a Congressional Research Service report (pdf) drafted last year.

Looks as though the tunnelers are out smarting the rather expensive wall builders. As if the lessons of Berlin never entered the minds of our multi-million dollar govt. planners? Street smarts always trumps the bureaucratic mind.

Continue reading at

hat tip: phronesisaical

Monday, March 09, 2009

the Vanilla Ice apology

via: Timothy Buckwalter

Friday, March 06, 2009

the classroom and the laptop

I thought students and educators might find this of interest.

At the beginning of his Criminal Law class last semester, Eugene Volokh decided to ban laptops as an experiment. So how did it go? As the post-class survey summarized below shows, pretty well. Unsurprisingly, the ban was a net negative for note taking, but it turned out to be a pretty strong net positive on every other scale.

via: Mother Jones/Kevin Drum