Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Perfect Artstorm or When nature calls

Here are some images from phase 2 of the HFA exhibit at Van Brunt. This phase has a name now which is "Matters of Scale." Pictured above is Evangelist flanked on both sides by paintings by Richard Bruce. Below is Todd Sargood's painting.

The gallery space will be in a constant state of flux throughout the run of the project. Above you can see the workspace outfitted in the rear portion of the gallery, which was altered yet again on Sunday to accomodate a presentation given by folks from Solar1 on their efforts on propagating solar energy throughout NYC. Below is another tile I created for the project and is for sale. As with the first tile I created, this one is constituted from material that was on my from last Summer. In this case, I took wedges of a plastic kiddey swimming pool and cut them into "scales" inorder to "skin" the tile. The embossed fish forms give an additional level the scale motif. I'm rather taken by this piece. I think the elements come together in a strong way.
I've held on to these wedges of swimming pool since pulling them out of our neighbor's curbside trash, and have only now, some two or three years later, come upon a suitable and righteous purpose for them. It's a satisfying feeling.
An additional moment of recycling elements is present in the shape of the individual scales and the arrangement in which they're placed, which was inspired directly from the quilted pattern on the toilet paper we currently have in stock here in the house.
All of these ingredients and factors coming together to give one.....at least this artist.....a warm arty feeling. It's like a perfect artstorm, or something. Below, the key that opened the door.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Phase 2 of HFA @ Van Brunt Gallery

I just returned from installing Evangelist (above) at Van Brunt Gallery as part of phase two of the HFA project that is occupying the gallery for the next six weeks. Phase one of the exhibit opened last Saturday. Beginning today, Simon Draper has relegated 2/3 of the gallery space as interim studio/social space. The gallery is now constricted to an approx. 12 ft x 12 ft exhibition space that is dominated by three other large works beside mine; a piece by Todd Sargood and two by Richard Bruce.
Below is an image of a pastel preparatory drawing for Evangelist.

Monday, January 19, 2009


The Habitat For Artists exhibit/project/fundraiser opened this weekend at Van Brunt Gallery. The gallery will serve as the conduit for the activities at the heart of the project. There will be some screenings, talks, and the space will be partially transformed in to a work space for the duration of the show.
So I'll be spending a portion of the upcoming weekends at the gallery tinkering and cavorting and I'm looking forward to it.
Above is an image of my "insulated tile" which is part of the initial stage of the exhibition. Participating artists created work on 14" tiles which conform to a modular format which can be used as the skin of a shed habitat - or make for a lovely little objey for the den. The colorful striations on the piece are one-by-two's that formed a grid from last Summer's hab at Spire Studios. I used some surplus paint from a few jobs to punch up the wood, then sliced them up and randomly re-gluing the pieces. The packing peanuts are held in place by plastic sheeting stretched over the piece. It's a sketch, really. It's silly, it's colorful, it's stupid. I love it.
As I've discussed before, I'm into the aspect of maximizing resources that is a central component of the project. Not just material, but spacial, and intellectual resources. It's a highly resonant topic, now given the "hard times" we're currently experiencing. I feel moments like this can be rather exciting as they shake up the status quo, imposing another level of resourcefulness from more people.
There's not a lot of bad in that, as I can see. Difficulty, sure, but not bad really. Ok, maybe some bad, but bad goes away. Hell, things are difficult even in times are supposedly good. Change is good too, and difficulty fosters change. So in a way, let's embrace doing things the hard way. That's almost a mantra for me. Throw in a constraint or an obstacle here and there and see what comes up. As Donovan says, you've got to pick up every stitch. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it feels apropos, and it just started running through my head.
I made a trip yesterday down to Brooklyn to attend a salon hosted by Sharon Butler and Austin Thomas at Thomas' place Pocket Utopia. The vibe and the activity at PU parallel that which I hope HFA will engender while at Van Brunt. I spoke briefly with C-Monster on the blessedness of the marginal space (and by extension -in my view- the beauty of the unexceptional), which will undoubtedly see a rise in these uncertain times.A shot of Pocket Utopia as Sharon (seated at table) kicks of the discussion.
Shortly thereafter, the space filled to capacity.

I must have mentioned here, somewhere before, an idea with which I have been fixated with since I don't remember; the thought of using every part of the buffalo (what a weird lookin' word). Somewhere along the way in school, I learned that the Indians Native Americans didn't let any portion of the buffalo go to waste, and it is now a hardwired fascination that I have. In fact, I've absorbed this notion so fully that it's part of my chemistry. It feels less a thought than an instinct, and without a doubt, a compulsion. I've known Peruvians to have the same approach to the pig. I've still got the cacophonous crunching of pigs feet in my head to prove it.
So I appreciate the approach the Pocket Utopia is taking in its sliver of a storefront down in Bushwick. It feels fully occupied.
In this same vein, I was really excited to learn recently (via bad at sports) of spcmkr.com. Nick Lucking and Tim Ivison established this Wiki site to assist "culture producers" to "institutionalize their resources" by sharing what they have in surplus with others in the form of establishing small residencies for other artists. This an exciting concept and it advances the cause of the gift economy while it serves up a sense of shared self sufficiency. I'm trying to see what scenario I can cook up that would fit within then tenets of the concept. The habitats fit right in with the spirit. And although not a living situation, the habs can offer a traveler a residency of a couple of hours to process some thoughts. A commenter on C-Monster's post about the kork project suggested creating a writing residency at DBB's office in addition to the other projects that are going on there. Regardless of whether that would actually work out in this situation, it's a great idea, and the right type of thinking.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Habitat for Artists moves inside

Starting this Saturday and continuing for six weeks thereafter, Van Brunt Gallery in Beacon will be transformed into the equivalent of a thirty six square foot shed - except that it's not that small, and there's even indoor plumbing. Habitat for Artists is moving shop to Van Brunt for an exhibit/project that will take the spirit and concepts behind the project, and transfer them to the gallery. It's the gallery as nest, meeting place creative haven, community hub.....or that's the idea. We'll see how it rolls. Much of the gallery's new space will be transformed into a work space, open to all takers. It's like an uber-mini public residency, a couple of hours at a time.
I plan to be there for some length of time on most Saturday's and Sundays, churning out some magic.
A variety of events are planned throughout the run including talks, screenings and a couple of workshop performances courtesy of Flying Swine.