Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chris Whitley 1960-2005

Last week, I learned of the death of the musician Chris Whitley. It was one of those moments shocked me out of my tasks. Whitley died on Nov 20 of Lung Cancer at the age of 45. He was a favorite of mine. Many people have that one band or musician that they champion and generally swear by vocally, and continuously to the annoyance of anyone in earshot.
"Dude, this guy is like, SO AMAZING," Whitley is pretty much such a one for me, although I don't think I geeked out to such a level that folks would avoid me (at least not for that reason.)
In his work, I found a quality of expression that resonated with certain intents that I had with own artwork. The turn of his lyrics and his gritty low down manner of playing the National Guitar, banjo, or acoustic created produced the sense of this one guy working through his vision in an earnest, vulnerable, and occassionally kitschy way.
His first album was his most polished, and well known, and I liked it, but it soon seemed a bit refined and flat in relation to his later albums. His second album, at first, seemed a drastic departure from the first album, with a lot of reverb and louder rock sensibility. But just under the surface you could easily hear the strain of his signature that would run through all of the albums regardless of their variations. This second album turned off many fans of the first, and this has served to be another point of appreciation, for me, as he would continue to make work that seemed most true to him, willing to experiment and play regardless of the sound that originally gained him attention.
I saw him perform live 3 or 4 times. Each time, he smoked incessantly on stage, and he was always so lean he looked nearly skeletal. But a really ripped skeleton. He had a very personable presence on stage, occasionally he would screw up, laugh at himself, and say that he needed to start that one over again. In the couple of time I saw him in Boulder, CO, his sets would focus on new work, and unreleased work. There would be constant shouts for songs from the first album, and he would oblige with a tweak version of the request. Once he performed "Phone call from Leavenworth" with such a feverish tempo which seemed at once a fuck you, and an exhilirating rush to perform.
It's just another one of those damn shames.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Recent work

These are a couple of images taken during our auction and open studio held on Dec 12.

I am currently working on a variety of small paintings that refer to the sculpture I have been doing over the past several months, as well as the multitude of objects and castoff pieces that I have collected in the studio.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Spire Art Auction

The auction we hosted at Spire was great fun. Alot of folks turned out, there were a few bidding wars that came down to the wire, and I think a nice sum was raised for Grace Smith House. I posted just a few images on I'll have more to say as the dust settles.

The image above is my auction purchase: Trans by Ron Johnson of Virginia.

Friday, December 09, 2005

bau 12

Opening tomorrow (Dec 10) is bau 12: transition. This is a group show of all the current bau members which stands at 12 until the end of the month. This piece, Vantage, is my contribution to the show. It's a horizontal piece, but I'm not averse to hanging it vertically, which is how it is installed in the show. Looking at it now in the two configurations, I feel the horizontal is indeed stronger, and allows for many of the more subtle aspects to be revealed in an even way. I have not yet seen the show, but I'm interested in seeing this vertical installation looks.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Art Auction/ Open Studio at Spire, Dec 10.

Our upcoming Open Studio at Spire Studios will also be an art auction that will benefit Grace Smith House in Poughkeepsie. Grace Smith House assists victims of domestic violence.
There is a broad offering of small pieces for the auction. I've seen some of the work and it looks good. I plan on doing some bidding myself. Bidding on all pieces starts at $50 so there will be a great opportunity to snag some great work from some excellent artists from around the Hudson Valley.
More info on the studio event and auction can be found at the Spire Studios site.

One of these two images will be my donation to the auction. They are 12" square, oil on panel. They also signal a bit of a shift I am looking to make in my paintings. There are a couple of different avenues I will be playing with, and this is one of those potential directions.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Returning home

I'm nearing the end of my two week stint here in Denver...though it feels like it's been a month at this point. I've been doing a few jobs on the decorative side of things.
As usual, my schedule has been very full with work. I have, this week, been staying with Chad and Summer and Zaiven. It's been good catching up with them, and planning with Chad the details of the next Monkey Angel production. Last weekend, several of us gathered at the Plastic Chapel, and screened the last Monkey Angel film, "the Disposal". Afterwards, we all headed to the Skylark where Gino Velardi sought to bring us all down to his level of profuse partying by refusing to let us pay for any drinks....repeatedly, round after round.
I'm certainly ready to get back home in a couple of days, and gear up for the final events of 2005.
We'll be having a benefit art auction at Spire Studios to coincide with our December open studio. Also in December, we'll be having a group show at bau of member's works. In Mid December bau will also be hosting a holiday tree decorating party organized by Angelika, and Jennifer Mackewiecz. Artists, and anyone else, are being asked to create ornaments for the christmas tree that will be donated to Vassar Hospital for display in the children's section.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

On Halloween, and Heading out.

Curry Mendes as Pumpkin Head

We held our Halloween party at Spire on Saturday night. I intended to go as the invisible man, so I could say, as Beacon artist, Curry Mendes offered "Expect not to see me there." I'm heading back to Denver this coming Sunday, and I was looking forward to getting a little more studio time in under the cover of dance party USA happening on the other side of the wall. After almost three weeks of carving pumpkins, I had my fill of Halloween.
(I forgot to mention that I was asked to carve a pumpkin, and do an interview for a Westchester TV News program. It was a little nerve racking. Fortunately the carving was not done live, but as part of a time elapsed montage.)

I did not get anything done on during the party which was fine...I had fun. It started slow and late, so folks were congregated in my space talking, then for the rest of the night, it folks were in there taking a break from the music and dancing.

Chad Smith sent me a tape of various images that I was projecting down the hall, onto shredded plastic tarps. The tape did not contain the random images. It contained the full film of Hannah House, which was a pleasant surprise for me. The projection looked very cool down the hall, and on the other side of the plastic was the dance floor, so it provided the majority of ambient lighting and very striking visuals. Many people asked me what it was. We'll have to schedule a screening of the film at the space shortly.

So it was fun, and now I have to prepare to be gone for two weeks doing some work in Denver. It'll be good to get out of town for a while.
I feel that I really just need a nap though.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

In the bau funnel

We have a small back room at bau that starts out narrow, and grows more so the further you move to the back of the building. We call this the funnel, and each month, every member of bau hangs one piece in the funnel.

This month, fellow bau artist Peter Iannarelli has been working with balloons, magnets and gravity in his current work. This piece he placed at bau is more static than his other experiments right now, but I find it rather charming.

And this is my piece for the month. Called Affection, it was one of the early incarnations of the work I created for the bau 6: amalgam show in June. It was not in the exhibit.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

On blogs

Of the art blogs that I have bookmarked, the one I am really being turned onto more and more is Edward Winkleman's blog. I have to say reading this blog has been one of the more gratifying and edifying internet experiences I have had.
Winkleman frames discussion, and topics in a full and meaningful way, and one that, as an artist, gives me a spike of energy that has been rare lately.
The real value of the blog is completed by the roll of comments made by Winkleman's readers and he himself. The exchange that takes place there is direct without becoming cynical or nasty.

If you're into such stuff, I highly recomend it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Spelunking the Gourd

For a week and a half, I've been carving pumkins for "The Great Pumpkin Blaze" being held in Croton-on-Hudson at the Van Cortlandt Manor. The event consists of an arrangement of 3,000 jack o' lanterns installed around the Manor grounds. Along with approximately 15 other carvers, four of whom are fellow Beacon area artists, and many volunteer scoopers, we have been mowing through the pumpkins for a week and a half. In the first two days, we jammed through almost a thousand simple jack o' lanterns. Unfortunately, after the deluge of rain a week ago, most of the work from the early days quickly became moldy and rotten.
The rain returned at the end of the week, and we carved in torrential conditions for almost 3 full days. Not easy, or very comfortable. The Blaze was open to the public this past weekend, and the coming weekend. We will still have a fair amount of work in the next week replacing pumpkins in preparations for next weekend. I hope to have a few photos of the installation at night. I caught a glimpse of it Friday before complete darkness, it looked cool. The kids coming through the site were very excited.
Matt Kinney experimenting with a new look

With all the rain we received this week, there has been alot of flooding. This summer has been very dry, and we have almost made up for it in one week. I shot some images of the falls here in Beacon today. There were many leafpeekers in town this weekend, but with the foliage color behind schedule, it seems the falls became a second draw for spectators. As of last week, there was very little water between the rocks in the falls, and the spillway wall was clearly visible as water barley spilled over. This week, however, all that is visible is the violent rushing of a huge amount of water. It's impressive, almost mesmerizing, to stand on the bridge or on the railroad tracks and getting lost in the site.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

bau:9 blind offline

This bau exhibit is a two person show with Gary Jacketti. For a variety of reasons that would ease the development of the show, we decided to communicate solely via email. As we discussed this format, it became clear that the communication in email would be a central concept in the show. Over three months, we layed out specs on what we would be doing for the show, and not discussing it in person. An aspect to this process was meant to look at the use of email as contemporary form of communication, that has a pontentially problematic quality as it often blends the casualness of spoken communications with the necessity of clearly putting intentions into written form. We basically knew how many works, and what mediums, and general themes of the artwork for the show, but neither of us knew what the other was doing. In order to extend the loss of control that either of us had over the exhibit as a package, we invited artist Matt Kinney to curate, and install the show. Matt had no idea what he was to be working with until he arrived at the space on the day of installation.

The result is a truly collaborative show that is very dependant on the three parts. Matt's installation, added a fresh spirit an interpretation to the works. He suspended two of my sculptures from the cieling, which is the last thing I would have expected. This move absolutely enhanced the experience of viewing these pieces.

The original concept in the development of the show has a lot of potential for exploration, and we only just scratched the surface on that potential. And though the show looks good, it really is just the interesting residue of a series of interactions. It is these types of engagements that intrigue me immensely, and this experience has help put a focus, for me,on aspects to similar projects that I have done in the past and a few that are currently in the works.

More images of the entire installation can be viewed at the bau website

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Turning a corner

These past couple of weeks have signaled the end of the Summer for me. The majority of my most recent projects have been coming to a close, and I'm looking forward to barracading myself in the studio somewhat more, in a more tranquil manner than the events of Summer have allowed me to do.

A view of my installation at "Augies Good to Go" for the Windows on Main St. project.

August brought on the inaugural installment of "Windows on Main St." A project organized by Karlos Carcamo and myself that facilitated artists creating site specific installations in storefronts along Beacon's Main St. Todd Spire was also instrumental in facilitating the final push in working with artists, and business owners. We had some 25 artists work with 26 windows. The possibility of this event is great. It has the component of engaging with the community and bringing together artists, which will help us get some grant money, hopefullly, next year. The aspect that I'm really interested in, though, is the potential of finding niches where art can be practiced and created in Beacon. Many of us have spoken about using Beacon as a lab for what we do, and there is simply not a lot of refined spaces in which to do that.
As Beacon has gotten press over the past few years as an artist's haven, the rents, and property values have risen, and choked off alot of possibility for art spaces happening. In a way this is fine, but there is not much else that is occupying these spaces.....Without going into the variety of things that are lacking Beacon, I'll just say that several of us are interested in finding areas to carve out space for us to explore our work.
So, anyway, the Windows project is one small step in this direction. There is a Windows blog with some images of the pieces. I have yet to finish uploading all of the info, and photos.

An arrangement of dried paint film from various containers, plaster remnants from buckets and the like during our open studio on Sept. 10.

September brought another Open Studio for us, and in the same night, an opening for me at bau (I'll get into the bau show in the next post. In addition to these two events happening on the Second Saturday in Sept, Angelika had an opening at the photography center in Woodstock, which I unfortunately could go to. It so happens recently, that we have had several events like this on the same evening. She has another opening on the 24th of Sept back in Woodstock, in another gallery so I should be able to hit both shows at once.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Disposal premieres, August 15

There will be a premiere screening of The Disposal, a short film by Chad Smith of MonkeyAngel Studios, at the Bluebird theater in Denver, next Monday, August 15 at 7 pm. Also on the bill that night is a premiere of another short film by Guinivere Stevenson, Bowl of Lives, and musical performance by Stars are Scars.

I'm anxious to finally see the Disposal. I have been considering this as a cautionary tale of misogeny, but I think Chad has another take on it. It's been almost two years since we did the bulk of the filming. I helped create a couple of the monstors, and I did a lot of the puppeteering as well. In fact, pictured above is one of the creations I'm most proud of. I find there is a touching sincerity in her desire for acceptance and a certain vulnerability within her grotesqueness. Unfortunately, I won't be back in Denver for this event, but if anyone is around, and available, I suggest heading out for fun night.

August 15th, at the Bluebird Theatre, 7pm, All Ages
$8 advance tixs/$10 at the door
Tickets are available at Independent Records, Twist & Shout, or any NIPP venue
(Gothic, Bluebird or Ogden theatres) as well as at

Monday, August 01, 2005

Whitney Day Trip

The Whitney Museum has consistantly been offering most interesting exhibitions in the NY museum circuit for sometime. This past Friday, we visited the Whitney to view the Robert Smithson Retrospective. I found this a fascinating exhibit as I really did not like it, but it was, an interesting biographic endeavor.
The thing that really stuck out for me was the discolored paint remnant from the previous (and far more engaging exhibition) Tim Hawkinson retro that for some reason had not been properly painted and patched.

Also on view currently is "Remote Viewing" an exhibit of contemporary abstract painting by 8 or 9 artists. The content of this show was much more interesting work than what Smithson had to offer. Interesting in the homogeneity of the artists in their use of sci fi, and comic book, and tech allusions in creating their mostly gestural abstract realms in their work. That's all I'll say about it right now, because, I simply don't have the ability to go any further tonight.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

back again....

I have three shows' worth of work being brought back into the studio this week, and It's not yet ready to handle all of it. I've been busy with work related tasks, and have not spent much time repairing the studio from the work done to get the bau 6, and via beacon work completed.

I did run out to Iowa two weeks ago for family matters. While there, I stopped in at the Bemis Art Center in Omaha NE. Saw a couple of exhibits there, and spoke with the assistant curator, Jeremy Stern, who's also from Denver. One of the exhibits was an exploration of "Large-format Photography." The thing I was immediately struck by was that several of the pieces actually consisted of small scale images collaged or assembled to create a much larger piece. I did not make any notes on the show, but there was a beautiful Judy Pfaff piece that consisted of 3 images of aprox. 9 x 12 inches or so, and primarily saturated in green. Another piece by an artist I dont recall created a 4 to 6 ft collage of 4x6 prints of images of people sleeping. It seemed that all of these photos had come from a variety of sources as the settings, and individuals were all different. The images were close ups of people in bed, or a car, on a train, or plane, sleeping. I became absorbed in moving from one person to another, and creating this narrative from all of these informal snapshots. After a while, the entire piece became somewhat creepy, and morbid. I started seeing these folks as dead, and the piece as an entity became something like a bulletien board festooned with faces of victims of some random trajedy. Picking up on this sensation of remnants of death was another piece that was a fuzzy digital image of the wreckage of an airliner in a hangar being investigated. The image was printed on a jigsaw puzzle which, for me, played on the large-small scale relationship going on in many of the other pieces. In fact as I remember, there was only one piece, that on the face of it would constitute an actual large scale photograph, all the others had some amalgamation of digital images or actual collage of smaller prints working together on a larger scale.
Afterwards, I found a really great used bookstore around the corner, and had to make a few purchases.

Anyway, I am in the process of getting things back to normal, getting the studio reassembled, and get moving on new work.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Images of bau 6:amalgam

exhibition diagram

Making One's way




Death of Dance

...But with their hands


Prelude (cocked)

prelude (cocked) as viewed from out side.

A Searing Saturday Night

The weather broke today. Finally. It's been fairly miserable over the past several days.

Second Saturday in Beacon rolled around, and it was the stickiest, most uncomfortable day of all. The weather definitely had an impact on the openings that night. There was a body of folks who braved the heat, but it was considerably down from what would be expected.

It took an hour and a half before anyone really came into my opening at bau. I was wondering if I'd be there by myself, fortified with plenty of beer, all night. As the heat slowly ebbed, folks started filing in. Considering the heat, I think the turnout was respectable.

Over at Spire, the story was much the same. Dana Edelman was playing with a couple of other musicians, and the performance was good. Unfortunately, there just was not a great number of folks to listen. There was a keg of Heineken waiting to greet visitors that went largely unconsumed.

For the open studio, I presented some sketches that were done for my amalgam show, and a shelf of plaster casts, some made over the past year and some made for amalgam that were not used.

Angelika presented digital various digital prints from misc. images taken while she was in Syracuse.

The Day After.

The day after the open studio. Completely clean, thanks to Angelika's efforts. It had been suggested, but not really registered, that I photograph the studio before the the aftermath of preparations for bau 6. It was something to see. Layers of sawdust, plaster dust, styro pellets, tools etc. everywhere.

Now that everything was so tidily put away, I can spend the next couple of weeks looking for the things I will be needing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Back on Track

My life is about to get a good dose of normalcy, and sensible structure. Angelika is returning today from her month at Light work, and none too soon.

Monday, June 06, 2005

On the Wall

This is the final stage of Navelglazing. And it is on the wall. The Via Beacon exhibit looks good. There are just a couple images of the show on More will be posted later.

I was driving back home from Syracuse last week, and decided what was needed to resolve the piece for me. I just did not know how it would be applied. I added the black stripe in the bottom half. This added a bold structural element that I all but avoid in my work. I felt that the stripe fit in contextually, and it really added an edge to the piece. The other last minute variation I made was to cut off the lighter portion in the upper right corner from the edge.

Monday evening, right after I had finished the stripe, my Studio neighbor, Kathy, who is also in Via Beacon poked her head in to see my painting. After making an exclamatory sound of some sort, she said "come in to my studio." Two days before, she had resolved one of her pieces for the show with a series of black bands.

It was crazy. A device that I would never consider using also shows up in her piece. The proportions of my stripe are similar to Kathy's stripes. The director of the Rockland County Art Center asked if Kathy and I were a couple and produced work that conciously referenced each other. Definitely not....but perhaps we've been spending too much time together...I won't even mention our now closed joint checking account.

Before long, I will post an image of Kathy's striped piece....

But should be in bed currently preparing for a full day of work for my bau show....4 days....nothing is yet resolved.

back to bau

The Garnerville show opened this weekend, and it went well. I will shortly post images of my work in the show, and images of the overall installation.

I will also be posting images and info on the bau 6 work as time allows. This week will be dominated in moving, and installing work at bau.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Via Beacon opens Saturday

The work is in the space. The final cut on artwork will be made Thursday, and then lighting... In its rough state currently, the show looks good. I'm anxious to see what Coulter, the curator will do with the work and the space.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

And then, some more.

This is a very poor image of a recent state of this piece. I had reached a point within the last few days where I was really happy with the painting, with just a few modifications to make on the bottom half. The top half, though, I was pleased with. It did not look too different from this image.

Today I was looking at the piece, and realizing that I was satisfied with it, I decided to take it further. There were so many subtle layers emerging and disappearing, and there were some great areas of conte, and pastel drawing. I really liked it, but thought that it looked exactly like a painting I would make. I was satisfied....It is being made to hang in a show that opens in a week and a half. It will be carted down to the location within five days. It was basically marked with the big black DONE stamp.
So I made a mixture of a bright red, and laced it through out the top half, and into the bottom half. What is it if your are really satisfied with a piece? Sometimes it feels that (and this could be a case) there are times when I try to convince myself that something is done. When that happens, usually, I put the piece away, and move on to other work. Later, I dig it out, and see how it feels. I find that generally I will have, by then, reached a point where I can something that will truly inform and complete the piece. That process is unpredictable in terms of time. In this case, I have a time consideration, although, I am prepared to show other work if this one does not work out. So, whatever. I reached a point where I liked the painting, but was it existing as the piece it could really be?
I'll find out in the next couple of days whether it works or not....or if I just added several more days of effort on to this task. Either way, I am anxious to get back in there in the morning, and actually see what I did this afternoon.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

In the Studio

Time in the studio this week has been really enjoyable. The tone of the time spent working in recent days is something I have not experienced for a long while. The deadline of upcoming shows is helpful, but there is a sense that the show itself is a bit of a nuisance because it presently stands as an interruption in the flow of work that exists right now. There is a certain state of completion, or at least stasis to be reached in time to install the work, but I am looking forward reaching the point after installation, when I can simply continue along on with the work I've been doing over the past weeks. I'm excited by this because I feel I have tapped into a stream of ideas, that is beginning to carry me along, and the extent of this current stretches beyond the near term reality of an upcoming exhibit. This is new a new sensation for me, and it's thrilling.
Today was a good day, as I was able to stay in the studio for a good seven or eight hours. I have been squeezing in a couple hours here and there recently, and they have been productive moments, but it was a real pleasure to be in there and not have anything drawing me out, or calling my attention as has been the case recently.

Angelika was back this weekend for the reception at Millbrook. Virtually noone was there, which we had expected, but it was fun. The GM of the Winery and his wife were great to talk with, and the evening was pleasant, as was the drive home afterward. There were few cars on the Taconic, and I had the sense of a really enjoyable summer evening cruise. Angelika returned to Syracuse this morning to finish her 2+ weeks of residency at Light Work.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sell Sell Sell

It's been hectic this week. Trying to squeeze time in the studio while following through on logistical issues, and meetings, and simply being tied to the computer, has been tough. But I find that when things are as busy as they are, and I am pressed for time, I use my time in the studio much more effectively. There is something appealing about this pace I have been moving at, as long as these periods are short. We were asked to sell ads for the festival program that will occur in conjunction with Via Beacon. The advertising drive was successful, and I did the layout of the ads, creating a smaller Beacon section within the guide. I think it turned out well, but it was a lot of time in front of the computer....but that is nothing new these days.

We will be loading work for the Via Beacon show late next week, the opening, in two weeks, and my solo show is in three.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Push and Pull

This is the state of the painting as it was a couple of days ago. It's different now. More cut up, spacially. I added some layers over the past several days, and then began removing layers today. I had to stop, and work on something else. I made progress on parts of a couple of pieces for bau 6.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Early Stages

Two early stages of the piece I am doing for a group show of Beacon artists in Garnerville NY, in June. This piece is a 9x6 ft diptych

Sunday, April 10, 2005

death of dance, wall drawing 2004.

I've been slowly progressing with the work for my bau 6 show in June, discovering certain things that are not working, and exploring other options. I'm enjoying the machinations of trying things out, rejecting some, hanging on to others. The image above, was a quick note made on the wall of my studio, and has served as the touchstone for the development of my concept for the show, even though there may be no visual reference to this drawing in the installation.

I also helped Angelika hang her pieces for her current show at bau. I really enjoy the results of what she has done. The process was fun to be a part of as well. Her pieces are life size photograms of several of the folks around Spire Studios. In addition to assisting her, I was working on an impromptu series of work with another studio mate, Matt Kinney, on an installation of work at Juicy. I will be organizing some odd visual excercises with various artists that will be installed at juicy over the course of the coming months. This should be fun, I'm looking forward to what may happen with that.

Monday, March 28, 2005

amalgam at b a u, opening in June

I will be having an exhibit of sculpture, and assemblage pieces at b a u in June. Below are some images of things that I'm working on. This is very much an exploratory show, as I am delving into areas that I don't normally explore with drawing and painting. This exhibit is also allowing me to further develop concepts that have been floating around for sometime, but I had not really sought a practical manner of execution for them.


study for jc's pimhand


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Spire Recap

I ended up not really taking photos of the open studio last Saturday. It was a long night, and I had my fill of photogging over at bau.

It was another major party, exhausting, but fun.

The exhibit ended up looking good. If I get a chance to take some images, I'll upload them sometime this week.