Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Walentines Day

Happy Walentine's day, as we say in this household.  Actually, I'm the only one in this household that says it that way.

Over the weekend, Angelika and I participated at Catherine Welshman's annual Love, Lust, Erotica show at Spire Studios here in bountiful Beacon, NY.  I neglected to take any photos at all - except this one of Theresa Gooby's cootchie cupcakes, or more correctly, cuntcakes.

Everyone is an individual.  Everyone is different

Angelika presented two sculptures of deconstructed puti and faeries and such.  Again, I don't have any photos, save for this studio shot from a couple of years ago.  The blurry item in the foreground is a detail of one of these sculptures.

I served up one of a recent series of paintings I'm considering my Suprematist Paintings.  Unintentionally referencing Malevich by way of Blinky Palermo and those black rectangles used  to block out the nips and some eyes of patients in plastic surgeon newspaper ads.  The break room for the preparators at MoMA is always replete with daily newspapers.  Whenever I'm working there, I get my fill of newspaper consumption - something I never otherwise bother with.

Examples of plastic surgery ads that appear in NY dailies.
These plastic surgery ads are a throwback to another era.  The black bar has been replaced by pixelation - both rough and refined-  which essentially erases the nipples (I recall this strategy being used in scenes of  The girls next door, rendering the real life centerfolds into even closer nipple-less approximations of the barbie dolls with which they are usually compared.
Holly, Kendra & Bridget from "The Girls Next Door", photo via: tv.ign.com

As with the taboo of cursing, this graphic censorship tends to do more to focus attention on what's beneath the black bar than anything else in an image.  Since I still have a stock of material (read porn magazines) dating from the Genesis Paintings in 2007, I thought I'd play with reversing this sorry state of affairs, blocking out everything but the nipples.
Suprematist Painting, 2012, acrylic on printed paper, 10"x8"

Suprematist Painting, 2012, acrylic on printed paper, 10"x8"
These are basic, dumb works, based on a simple system; obliterate everything in an image with acrylic paint, except a rectangular border around any nipples.  The number of nipples and their placement in any given page layout results in a chance operation in constructing the composition.  The first two I did immediately called to mind Blinky Palermo's Compostion with 8 Red Rectangles" which we installed in the artist's retrospective at the Hessel Museum last Summer.
Joshua Abelow's image of Composition with 8 Red Rectangles on view at the Hirschorn, via: art blog art blog.

 It was through Palermo's reference to Malevich that I saw the connection to Suprematism (at least a connection that I'm claiming here).  These are my Suprematist paintings. Nothing holds more Suprematist power than boobs in general and nipples in particular these days.

Kasimir Malevich, Black Square and Red Square, 1915, oil on canvas. via: wikipaintings

Lastly, I was inspired enough by the theme of Catherine's Valentine's show to create two new paintings over the weekend.  Mr & Mrs S, reworkings of two previous paintings that are now portraits of a coupled couple of stars, made Superstars by the addition of gender assignment.
Mr S, 2012 oil on canvas 24"x 30"

Mrs S, 2012 oil on canvas 24"x 30"

Finally, finally, I spent most of the day of Valentine's Day installing Gillian Wearing's artwork, "Secrets and Lies" at the Hessel Museum for the Matters of Fact exhibit which is opening on March 18th.  The work consists of a constructed "confessional" chamber in which the viewer watches a video depicting various folks confessing their deepest secrets and lies.  The imagery is creepy enough with the anonymous contributors donning uncannily real, and disturbing masks sharing some equally creepy, some sordid, and some heartbreaking secrets - most of which revolve around sex and "love".  Happy Walentine's Day, indeed.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Artma benefit Auction returns to Denver, Feb 11, 2012

slough (Grande 1) 2006

If you happen to be in Denver this coming weekend.  And if you happen to dig art auctions, love children and hate cancer, you should attend the latest installment of the Artma Art Auction.  The biennial fundraiser to benefit pediatric cancer research.

This year's event is taking place on Saturday, Feb 11 from 6-10pm at the Denver Studio Complex.  More information is at artmaonline.org

I've participated by donating a work for each of the .....six installments of the event dating back to 2000.  This year I've donated a work from 2006; slough (Grande 1), it's oil on canvas, measuring 30"x24".  It's one of two larger works on canvas that grew out of the group of small paintings on wood I was making in 2005 and 2006. 
I considered this group of paintings as my "Morandi" works.  It's a ridiculous thing to say and perhaps an insult to the man who spent a lifetime exploring the vast universe embodied within a very narrowly focused subject matter in his remarkable paintings. I merely spent a year working on this group before my attentions were led in other by the possibilities presented by the very subject matter I was examining.   The invocation of the man's name is intended as a tribute.  For me, the tie to Morandi in these works was that they were a return a form of direct representation - something I had avoided for several years.  Even though they may look abstract and random, they are devoted renditions of real forms; forms that were intimate for me, linked as they were to my livelihood of several years.  For the decorative painting I would do for clients in their homes, I would mix a variety of colors in yogurt containers.  After I was done with them, I would let the remnants of the paint dry inside the yogurt cups which allowed me to easily peel the paint out of the container and then reuse the container for a new color.  For some reason, I started pinning these colored disks of dried latex to my studio wall.  I had quite an array of them. After sometime of not paying attention, I discovered that these disks became misshapen and distorted as gravity worked them over while they were pinned to the wall.  These weird forms became the subjects of the slough paintings, then later, the subject and core material in the blesse sculptures that were to follow.