Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grand Budapest Hotel

Saw Grand Budapest Hotel last night.  So. Good.  Each frame is like a painting.  You can feel the perfection  he demanded in composition, color and scale.  People in the audience laugh continually throughout the movie and there is rarely a joke that comes from dialogue, it is all in the timing and visual poignancy.  Very excellent.

Friday, March 28, 2014

In the Studio: Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti with Sculptures.  1951.  Photograph by Gordon Parks

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Pick: John McAllister

Bewitch Twilit, 2011, Oil on canvas, 58" x 49"

Damned Sparkling Pomp  ,Installation view

Darksome Almost Dawn, 2011, Oil on canvas , 58" x 49"

I've been enjoying these works by John McAllister.  These images are all courtesy of his gallery, James Fuentes, which a friend recently put me on to.  And now I can't believe I didn't know about it or McAllister's work sooner.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ceramic Cakes, Pies and Necklaces

I've had this recent desire to make things that are three-dimensional.  Not instead of painting but alongside.  I remember feeling that way a bit at the beginning of graduate school.  Seems like a way to put less pressure on the work and find new avenues to explore.  I had been building cardboard pieces of food in my studio including a pop tart, sushi, a sandwich, a taco and having a great old time.  

This week I'm a bit stuck at home (Nugget had her second leg surgery).  So I am determined to continue making work and being productive to avoid the situation last time.  I had some oven bake clay from another project and decided I would see what I came up with.

So I made a piece of vanilla cake, a piece of key lime (my friend's birthday is this week and cake seems to be an ever-present shape in my work) and a bird pendant necklace.  I spray-painted the raw baked clay gold (on left) and then used glossy house paints to finish them.


I think I'm finally going to sign myself up for a ceramics class at UCAL.  I haven't taught there in close to a year so it feels okay to return and spend some time there.  They have a great ceramics teacher and a lot of extra open studio hours. I picture creating a whole refrigerator worth of ceramic food and it just sounds like the best time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Women and Biography Installation Images

Edith Neff

My painting: Fall Afternoons at Rosedale, 2011, Oil on Panel

left: Martha Armstrong, right: Mickayel Thurin

Alex at the show, from left: Catherine Mulligan, Mitzi Melnicoff, Alice Kent-Stoddard

Installation shot of my painting
Here are some photos of the show Women and Biography which I have a painting in at the Woodmere Museum.  There is a nice online catalog you can read captions and get a better sense of the show here

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whitney Highlights 2014

So remember how I said the Armory was apparently a place to 'be seen'?  Well if that's true then the Whitney Biennial on opening day is the place to make a scene and be seen.  

We went over after the Armory because the timing was right.  On the first two floors I was filled with an overwhelming sense of my own mortality.  Dark I know.  But let me explain.  Everyone was outfitted and acting more outlandish than the next person.  No one was taking in any of the work, partly because it was unnecessarily esoteric but also because that didn't seem to be many people's goal.  The self-consciousness was audible as people swaggered into each other around a corner, their coolness too big to contain in the tiny space afforded by the insanely crowded spaces.

  At one point I heard a man say, "Contemporary artists' intent is to be different, first and foremost."  Usually I could make an argument against that but in this context it felt spot on.  Things were trying so hard to be of the moment, painfully aware of themselves.  It was like the feeling I get looking at a candid old photograph.  You can study the vitality of the people in the photo and simultaneously be aware that all that life and energy is gone from the world. That's how it felt, that all this art would pass and all these people would die, including myself and I was feeling the need to get the hell out of there.

But then...I made it to the fourth floor.  

Amy Sillman and Pam Lins

left: Amy Sillman, right: Joel Otterson

left: back of Sillman/Lins collaboration, right: Dona Nelson

Sterling Ruby

left: Sterling Ruby, Sheila Hicks, right: Molly Zuckerman-Hartung

Shio Kusaka

Shio Kusaka

Hallelujah.  Suddenly life was being lived again, not looking at itself being lived.  Things were fun and visual and wonderful.  And the people all made sense with their crazy outfits in this context.  The overarching attitude was playful and curious which couched the difficult questions about form and color and scale the artists were asking of their work in a comprehensible way.  The resulting 'freshness felt authentic to the making of the work.  I know some people will adamantly disagree with me, but hell this is my blog right?  This is how I like my art.  It felt like it was made in the moment, not thinking about the moment.  So my advice (with the exception of the Rebecca Morris paintings on 2) is race upstairs quick as you can.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Armory Highlights 2014

Inadvertent 'selfie' at the Armory Show 2014
This year, for the first time, I went to the Armory Show.  It wasn't due to any particular reason that I haven't ever been.  I've had curiosity in years past but it was always tempered with a bit of anxiety from the stories I'd heard from other people.  I generally avoid situations where people go to 'be seen'.  

But this year a wonderful curator friend invited me to go with her and figuring I could be a tag along, guided by her knowledge, I thought why not.

Below are some of the things I was excited to see.  I apologize in advance for the picture quality and incomplete info on the works/galleries.  You can see the pictures get worse as I go, as it became pretty mayhemic (should be a word) by the time we left.  I hate to get in the way of people looking with their eyes for a photograph so I became quite passive and quick by the end.

Leslie Wayne (this piece is all oil paint on a thin support of wood), Jack Shainman Gallery

Susan Hefuna, Pi Artworks

Hayal Pozanti, Jessica Silverman Gallery

James Krone, Kavi Gupta Gallery

Wall of Peter Doig 

Peter Doig

Morandi (never saw this one before, love love love)

Joan Brown Ink Drawing

Alex Katz  

Kenzo Okada

Milton Avery

John Walker (such a great wall and display)

John Walker

Donald Baechler  
I said to my friend at one point, it feels easier in some capacity to look at the work in an evaluative way in this context.  You have ugly gray carpet, walls with cracks to the next stall and artwork and art viewers all trying desperately to be more of the moment than the next.  This strange juxtaposition makes the authentic voices sing louder somehow.  

There was vastly more work that I felt was bad and forgettable but there were quite a few gems.  For convenience sake it was an interesting way to see some new galleries and works in person that I wouldn't otherwise have access to.  So for its purpose I would say it was worth the visit, and a show I would go to again.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Studio needs (or wants...whatever)

Carol Ross, The Clay Bungalow

A few days ago I had some visitors to my studio who were not close friends or family and were interested in possibly buying a painting.  As I shoddily put things in order, swept and tried to clean paint off the only comfortable chairs, I thought, 'oh I should make some tea for them.'  Which is possible thanks to a studiomate's water heater thing.  But then as the water is steaming, I realize I only have one cup which I drink out of and is totally stained and ugly.  So there was no tea.  Which reminds me that my studio is mainly functional but not quite yet comfortable.  I definitely need to buy a microwave (is that a weird thing to get on craigslist? can't decide)

Jessyca Burke, Luola
Lee West, LeeWestArt

But I thought it would be nice to get some interesting mugs, some that belong in a studio and also support other artists.  So I perused etsy (and 2 hours later) found some really great new shops and ceramic pieces and also some on the border of terrible and awesome.

Stephanie Kantor, stephaniekan

Justin Rothshank, Rothshank

Then in true 'give a mouse a cookie..' fashion I thought, god I should have a good apron to match these stylin' cups....

Erica Browne, MiMo Project

Cyber Witch, Friends4evr

Izzarie K., Izzashop

Maybe next paycheck.