Sunday, September 22, 2013

.t 17 coming to Matteawan Gallery

I'm excited and honored to be invited to participate in a print project organized jointly by Karlyn Benson of Matteawan Gallery and Jeff White of totemic 17.

The t17 woodblocks.
Jeff came up to beacon last Sunday to present the parameters of the project to a group of the participating artists.
With totemic 17 Jeff has devised a strategy of creating discreet print portfolios that follow a very specific format which carries forth as the constant from project to project.  The portfolio consists of 17 prints which conform to the prescribed sizes and shapes that together constitute the body of the conceptual totem.
An example from the tug 17 portfolio.

The first t17 portfolio centered on a theme of the tugboat as subject and was created as a community based effort.  This current project, with the working title, UV portfolio (for Unique Variant), looks to the interface of abstraction and natural forms as a thematic conceit.  Another aspect of this project is experimenting with the process of reductive wood block printing.
One of Jeff's own prints from the tug 17 portfolio.

Over the course of several weekends, the participating artists will be using the printmaking studio at the Garrison Art Center to create our reductive woodblock prints.
When we first moved to Beacon ten years ago, I entertained fleeting thoughts of using pursuing some printmaking at the Garrison facility.  I'm grateful that this project is finally giving legs to those thoughts.

Within the parameters Jeff has laid out for the form of the project, there is much room for experimentation in the pursuit of this effort.  In fact I believe most of the artists participating have little experience in working in this form of printmaking, so it will be interesting to see what everyone comes up with.  The fruits of this labor will occupy Matteawan Gallery for the months of November and December.

Beside myself, the participating artists are:
Lorrie Fredette 
Jen Bradford
Matthew S. Kinney
Susan English
Karlos Carcamo
Joseph Ayers
Kim Loewe
Leslie Kerby
Ryan Magyar
Thomas Huber
Kathy Moss

Friday, September 20, 2013

Geneve Journal: Low hanging fruits

Last December's trip to Geneva has developed a crispy golden crust o of nostalgia. Going over my photographic and video material has me wistful, especially the views out the window of my apartment - most especially when dusted by calling snow - which recall for me the open days of being in a certain element, even when that element was uncomfortable, playing around with scraps of paper h and scraps of ideas, In previous posts, I've shared some of the physical fruits of my labor in the form of the postcards - the altered ready-mades and CH Missives . which I sent to my Kickstarter supporters. It's past time for me to post images of the drawings and watercolors I also made during my stay. Those imaged here are the works resolved while in Geneva, there are more that were started, not resolved not pictured.

All of these pieces are largely some combination of watercolor, pastel and sometimes collage and they are all in the size neighborhood of 9"x12" or 11"x14.  Also, with one or two exceptions, titles have not been assigned, so I'm not adding captions with info for each piece - since I'm lazy.  I have however placed the images in this post in two different sizes to denote their place in either the of the two size groups.


Elements of Paul Klee and the forms resting in and around the harbor of Geneve were the influences floating around in my head and those are the components that more strongly bled into these pieces.

At the moment, I'm slowly reviewing the photos, videos, writings and sketches from  the trip for components which will make up the meat of the publication and video im creating for Kickstarter supporters

I'm also working on pieces born of the trip which are deeper explorations of aspects of the trip and the entire project.

Self Portrait As a Recently Departed Nun

As a form of daily exercise, I thought to create gestural responses to a series of photographs by Mari Mahr called A Few Days in Geneva.  I found Mahr's book of the same title in the MOMA Library and connected with them via the strong pull of my experience of looking out the window from my '92 trip.  But given everything on my itinerary, this endeavor was was dropped pretty quickly.   The images below are paper constructions attached to the window of the apartment in which I was staying.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Dead Hare Radio Hour show #42 - Ariane Koek of Collide@CERN

The most recent episode of the Dead Hare Radio Hour has last year's announcement confirming the existence of the Higgs particle to thank for it's own existence.  My poking around online rendered the discovery of an artist residency program hosted by CERN. I added the recording an interview about the Collide@CERN residency program to my list of objectives while I in Geneva last December. 

On December 5, 2012, I sat down to speak with Ariane Koek, the one woman machine driving Collide@CERN, which pairs artists and scientists in creative collisions at CERN, the home of the Large Hadron Collider just outside Geneva, Switzerland. 

This episode, #42 for those counting, features our conversation.  Below are links related to what we spoke about.

Ariane's blog Beauty Quark
Julius Von Bismarck
Gilles Jobin
Bill Fontana
The Universe of Sounds talks by Bill Fontana and Subodh Patil on July 4, 2013
Bill Fontana on Bad at Sports
LHC Sound - the two sound works, Higgs Jet Simple and Calorimeter EndCaps from the LHC sound library.
Chris Drury 
Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence Weschler
Chris' Geneve Journal Kickstarter campaign which took him to Geneva in the first place.

in the end

 There are two.....what would you say?  paradigms? which have led me through life.

Two Over-Guessed-At Sums, 2013, oil on wood.
The first, introduced to me early-early in my education, is the notion of using "every part of the buffalo" as we were taught the Plains Indians did.   That concept has long define my interaction with the material world.  It was actively in mind as I worked on the various things leading up to what ended up in the Drive-Thru exhibit (which was just de-installed today)

I'm reminded now of the time I was introduced to pig's knuckles (think), the serving up of which was preceded by the proclamation in spanish that "In Peru, we use every part of the pig."  The aroma coming off those things was overwhelming and seductive.  I can't smell them anymore, but thinking of that sense memory has my mouth watering.  I took a healthy portionof the seemingly succulent squat weiner-esque morsels .  The eating, or I should say, the chewing was a whole other experience.  Cacophonous was the grinding racket in my head as my teeth went beyond the point of what had been established in my childhood as chewable.  In chicken eating parlance, the gristle on the leg is the no-go zone.  No, it isn't bone, but it's not something you want to spend any time on.  Gristle gives just enough tactile resistance to convey the message "l'm not chewable, therefore I'm not edible, so move along to easier pickin' tissue".  These porkthings I faced were nothing but gristle - beautifully browned and aromatic gristle.  And polite, gracious, guest I am, I fought through the wall of my own limitations to the end of that handful I had eagerly horded with anticipation. .......

and, we're back....
The other of my guiding philosophies is a sentiment I lifted from the film What About Bob,  'If I can make fun of something negative, I must not be suffering from it'.  I say sentiment, because the actual quote is different, as seen from the passage below, which I found on IMDB:

Bob Wiley: You ever hear of Tourette's syndrome? Involuntarily shouting profanity?
Dr. Leo Marvin: It's exceptionally rare.
Bob Wiley: Shit-eating son-of-a-bitch! Bastard, douche-bag, twat, numb-nuts, dickhead, BITCH!
Dr. Leo Marvin: Why exactly are you doing this?
Bob Wiley: If I fake it, then I don't have it.

There you have the two, broad-brushed, guiding principles of my existence.  A third prevailing value to which I adhere is that anything, any topic can be funny.  Any subject, no matter how tragic or disturbing can be laughed at, or at least derided dispassionately....  Eventually.

I just finished reading I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, the biography comprised of first-hand accounts of those who knew the man.  In reading this book, the above principles of mine kept coming to mind; the first, because of learning how Zevon pulled song titles lyrics from his lived experience, and the second (and third), because of his career long pursuit of invoking and provoking of death in his work.

 I'd never known that much about him, but the Excitable Boy LP cast a mysterious and alluring shadow from my dad's shelf of records onto my youth.   From the first time I spun that disc for myself, Zevon himself filled some dormant but unflagging presence in my mind.

One thought that kept occurring to me as i read was that compared to the relationship exploits and foibles of our man Zevon which could be very raw and rather bleak at times, how could any past girlfriends have as many gripes out issues with me as a companion as they have had.

As bleak as it read, and as fucked up as this dude was to those around him, there is inspiration to be had in how he carried himself as a creator and in the body of work he left behind created a body of such a direct and brilliant character.

When it was first released, I watched the VH1 documentary of Zevon's last days as he recorded his last album The Wind.  I was affected by the portrayal of this man who had in his sights his own impending exit and he was working as feverishly as possible to do as much of this stuff that was most important to him - writing and recording music.   This appealed and continues to appeal to me, and I admire the way he approached this end, even as he did it with the largess of his prodigious human failings in tow.   I have the documentary on VHS somewhere...and I just re-watched it, in parts, on youtube.

Reading the account of this later period of his life had me weeping.  It also informed the elegiac tone of the film, making clear that facing his approaching death brought forth the more material (drugs, booze) that he'd been able to put down decades before.