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.