Monday, April 27, 2009

This is not my spotted and ever folding face!

Untitled (Iccipoo) 2005 wood plaster latex cpr mask

I attended a musical performance of a selection of E.E. Cummings poems yesterday at a senior center across the river in Montgomery, NY.
I was presented with a new sensation as I waited for the performance to begin. For the first time ever, I was looking around at the older people around me not as they are now (as older and elderly folks) but as they might have hadbeen. It was strange.
I saw them as a projection of how they are now, but in some unreal facsimile-of-old-age-way, as if an example of really bad facial prosthetic makeup that makes young actors appear like their elderly selves had been applied to the faces of this Sunday afternoon crowd. Their elderly features felt fleeting at best and totally bogus.
I imagine this shift in vision is the result of my own aging. My mind's eye sees a reality that is altered in the mirror.
My own sense of self is still so weighted in that hadbeen of me that it must be producing a visual empathy with the 'geries' and seeing how they may still see themselves.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Taking some fresh air

As July came to April this weekend, studio operations moved outside. I expect I'll be working on the porch, in the yard and in the garage a lot this Summer.

I spent most of Saturday afternoon stretching canvas on portions of produce crates that I picked off the street in Chelsea a year or two ago. I also rooted around my stockpile of wood to rip down into stretchers for a bunch of new paintings. And, I helped A created a wearable camera rig for her current video project. It's amazing what you can do with 15$ of PVC pipe and an old back support belt. Hopefully, we'll get images of her wearing the contraption soon. It's like a living sculpture.
With the newly found weather-induced energy, I realized that I've got a lot of work to catch up with all the ideas that I've been brewing up for new work. I'm anxious to make the most of the available time in the next several weeks to lay the groundwork for a bevy of new pieces this Summer.
These crateworks have me in a Gilligan's Island-kind of mood which I imagine will influence my approach. I'm using up various thin strips of canvas I've had on hand on these things, weaving the strips on some pieces.
This time spent out of doors has me thinking in earnest about the next Kamp Maykr....which I hope to put together in September....or so.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mini update

Groundcover? oil on canvas and wood, 12x15"

I've been remiss in my lack of posting of late, particularly in regard to what I've been working on. So here's is the briefest of peeks into what's been cookin' 'round here lately.

fandf (jm) oil on canvas 16"x22"

Jenny's Lights, Out (ruby/amber, ruby/jade) oil on cardboard 14"x23"

Missive #1 collage on photo 4"x6"

Sunday, April 05, 2009

March viewing excursions

A's skirt, digitally modified to fit the mood of the day.

On two Saturdays in March I made a jaunt down to NYC for some art oriented expeditions. On the 7th, A and I headed down together to Pulse. We then parted ways as she met up with her pal Peggy, and I headed down to SOHO to check in on the Habitat for Artists installation at the recently opened NY outpost of Ecoartspace. After hanging you with the HFA contingent that had made its way down for the opening, I hustled up to Denise Bibro Fine Art to catch the Artbloggers panel that was organized by Olympia Lambert and which included Joanne Mattera, Hrag Vartanian, Libby Rosof and Roberta Fallon , Bill Gusky, and Brent Burket.

Saturday morning soccer action on the pier outside of Pulse.

Habitat for Artists at Ecoartspace.

The blogger panel at Denise Bibro Fine Art.

On the following Saturday, I met up with Peter Acheson to do a late morning run through some galleries.

We started off at Josh Smith's show Currents at Luhring Augustine, where we spent much time debating Smith's intentions. Both of us responded positively to the show. I like straight out stream of production - good and bad- represented in the show. I also respond to the flattening out of the hierarchy of material, presenting paintings on canvas side by side with digital prints of paintings pasted on panel at the very same scale as the works on canvas. In some ways, his work speaks about slaying the sacred in art, but I found a certain structure within the gathered works that he did not betray. Certain types of mark making seemed relegated to the paintings and a particular set of the mixed media painting/collages, but another selection of collages were completely devoid of the same treatment. I'm not sure if this was part of a deep seated aesthetic strategy, or an abiding to some invisible barrier, either way, it served to undercut the entire, balls to the wall approach he seems to want to embody.
The different bodies of work within this entire body were divergent enough that the works themselves seemed to provide a palate cleanser. As some work was more memorable than the rest, the lesser works...or whichever ones appeal to you less take on the role that empty wall space would provide - giving a buffer between the vibration of the pieces that matter. I picked up the exhibition catalog, and if image per dollar cost is any measure of worth, then it's a real value, clocking in at around 600 images for $40. The catalog, showing two images per page with no text equates to a cache of film frames rolling through a barrage of works, some of which I learned from the gal at the counter were not even finished. Knowing this really brought it home for me. I dig the flat, holistic apporoach to his process.
above and below: more Josh Smith.

Dana Schutz at Zach Feuer, through Apr 25.

The highlight of the day was discovering Jim Lee's work at Freight and Volume. This show lacking in the spectacular provided so much of a thrill to both of us. the inventiveness and quietly clear vision of this work forces air in to my lungs. I can't say enough about this show. I certainly don't have any smart words to lend it's description. F&V's website has more detailed images of the work.

A trippy Carroll Dunham at Mary Boone.

Our selection of gallery visits was rounded off with a stop into the Leon Kossoff show at Mitchell Innes and Nash. Really sumptuous, physical work from the '50's that been rarely seen as the artist has stringently guarded these pieces. My favorite piece is in a back room, but all of these works have so much presence, and given the generally muted palette, there's a lot of chromatic life eminating from all of these works.
a detail of Kossoff's oozing layers.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Russell Bay McKlayer

"Render unto Ceasar What is Caesar's: the World Died Screaming"
mixed media on cigar box
Denver artist Russell Bay McKlayer died last month at the age of 48. Russell was one of the founding members of EDGE gallery. His work has always been graphically bold, and editorially direct, loaded social and political content.
Russell's passing is yet another loss to the EDGE family in recent years.  Roger Beltrami died in early 2004. Roger and I exhibited concurrently at EDGE in 2002 just before I ended my six years as an associate member of the gallery and moved to NY.  That occasion gave me an opportunity to get to know Roger better. I didn't have the same opportunity of spending one on one time with  Russell, but I liked him very much, and I appreciated his presence in the group. As it happens, when I was back in Denver last October, I stopped into EDGE on an evening when Russell's most recent opening was being held and we were able to chat briefly. Ken Hamel of posted a few photos of Russell with his work in that exhibit called "I never said that I was brave".  
Here are two images that I snapped of Russell's show:

In my view, both Russell and Roger lent a more pointed, radical nature to the character of EDGE as an entity and the losses of both remarkable individuals in relatively short order is profound.

In 2005 I organized an exchange show between the members of EDGE and a group of artists from Beacon NY. The concept of the show revolved around work that would fit into a standard flat rate USPS priority mailing box. The work of the Denver artists was on exhibit at Spire Studios here in Beacon. The image at the top shows Russell's contribution to the show.  The work is paint and collage on a wooden cigar box which fit into the mailing box in its folded position and when opened, expanded into a vertical diptych.
My thoughts go out to Russell's family and friends.