Saturday, April 30, 2016

Oskar Schlemmer and the Triadic Ballet

 I fell down the most satisfying internet rabbit hole I think I have ever experienced.  It was a pure spiral, I was looking up a painter when I happened upon the image below, left.  I clicked and clicked and ended up watching a remake of Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet with my mouth wide open.

Schlemmer was a Bauhaus teacher in the 20s who did painting and theatre and much experimental work.  He debuted his Triadic Ballet in 1922(pictured above) with its emphasis on form, structure and movement through space.  The figure below, right just got me immediately.  The aesthetics of this thing!  All contemporary MFAs in performance art and all children's TV show producers should be required to watch (I'm looking at you Fresh Beat Band, you god awful thing, my nephew will never get that hour of his life back...)

Below is a 1968 reconstruction by Margarete Hasting, Franz Schömbs, and Georg Verden which allows an understanding of the color.  And here is an article with some further info.


 Schlemmer's biography doesn't end well.  As a progressive German artist his work was deemed degenerate by the Nazis and he was pushed out.  Apparently his work stopped in this troubled time and he died in 1943 after 10 years of little work and illness.  What a mind ahead of its time, playful and precise.  To not find curiosity and beauty but fear in the bizarre and challenging is a terrible thing I hope this country can remember.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

NY Photos

Me: left, Jane Freilicher: right

I spent a good weekend in NYC April 9-11th.  Conveniently, I was in two shows and one opened Saturday, the other Monday, so I could make one trip and enjoy some time up there.  Not so conveniently the first show, April Flowers, was at Queens College which by way of public transportation in the rain was quite the feat.  

I laughed when I got home and noticed I took these three photos on different public trans through the day.  Philly subway to subway to Boltbus to NY subway to subway to bus...and repeat back.  Good husband right there.

But, it was worth it!  To be in a show with my painting heroes -- Biala, Victor Pesce and Jane Freilicher was pretty absurd.  I felt a little like an impostor but simultaneously happy as hell.  Its a beautiful show curated by Xico Greenwald.  It was a rare opening in that I got the chance to really look at and think about the work.  Very subtle and strong, a favorite show to be a part of.

left: Paul Resika, right: Xico Greenwald

 left: Edith Schloss, right: Janice Biala

 left: Thaddeus Radell, right: Saskia Sutherland

 left: Victor Pesce, right: me

The second show which opened Monday April 11th is Drishti: A Concentrated Gaze, curated by Patricia Spergel and Elizabeth Heskin.  It is at 1285 Avenue of the Americas in the lobby of the UBS Building.  Its a huge space and a 33 person show, so a very different experience of a group show and my own work.  I was able to see the show before the opening which was a good thing because there were probably 500+ people mulling about which was totally overwhelming -- I felt like I was at a wedding for paintings.  But it was fun.  I thought it was so thoughtfully organized and curated for the space, drawing connections between a diverse group of painting and sculpture but all with a love of material and form.  Here are a few photos I took or am borrowing from kind people who uploaded them to my facebook.

 The first painting I saw was this gorgeous Judith Simonian.

 furthest left: Hiroyuki Hamada, near left: Patricia Spergel, right: Sharon Horvath

 furthest left: Kathryn Lynch!! (love her work), mine, right: detail from Tracy Miller!! (also loovee)

Here is the list of artists in the Drishti show:

Andrew Baron
Jebah Baum
Paul Behnke
Emily Berger
Mary Bucci McCoy
Sasha Cohen
Guy Corriero
Beth Dary
Graham Durward
Ashley Garrett
Nicola Ginzel
Elizabeth Gourlay
Hiroyuki Hamada
Julian Hatton
William Holton
Sharon Horvath
Erick Johnson
Zachary Keeting
Osamu Kobayashi
Jaena Kwon.
Aubrey Levinthal
Timothy Linn
Sarah Lutz
Kathryn Lynch
Amy Mahnick
Jackie Meier
Tracy Miller
Keiko Narahashi
Petra Nimtz
Fran O’Neill
Mary Schwab
Judith Simonian
Sandi Slone
Patricia Spergel
Sarah J. Tortora
Katharine Umsted

This show is up through July 1, M-F 8am-6pm.  AND...its like 2 blocks from MOMA where I spent Monday morning at the Degas: A Strange New Beauty show pretty much drooling over the monotypes.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bosch Interactive and New Yorker Podcasts

This is the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time.  It is an extremely high resolution, fully immersive experience into Bosch's famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights.  There are so many things I never saw in the reproductions before, like this group of miniature people having a berry seance.  The way you move around the canvas feels like you are walking in the painting and there are accompanying sounds that are really, really good.  At this part, underneath a classical kind of melody you can hear hints of babbling water and chewing!  Check it out!! 

Game of Thrones has nothing on his imagination.  

I found this site thanks to the New Yorker Radio podcast which I am really enjoying.  

One of my favorites is from New Yorker Fiction in which David Sedaris reads a beautiful short story by Miranda July.  So many good things colliding at once.  Listen here -- #43

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Pick: Ilse D'Hollander

I went to the Armory about a month ago at this point and have had these two images on my phone since then.  I found them to be so wonderful - quiet and insular - quite the opposite of the majority of the experience, garish and pathetic in its aesthetic and desire to make viewers take note.  I finally looked into them further, remembering they were shown by Sean Kelly.  

These paintings on paper along with many others were shown in January at that gallery as the first solo exhibition of Ilse D'Hollander's work in the United States.  Such a tragic life, she made these in Belgium, in the year or two preceding her suicide at the age of 29 in 1997.  Being the same age, and having felt so connected to these paintings knowing nothing of their making, I can't help but look for her thinking and experience within the images and I feel I come up with more with each pass.  

And as the press release notes, she wrote: "A painting comes into being when ideas and the act of painting coincide. When referring to ideas, it implies that as a painter, I am not facing my canvas as a neutral being but as an acting being who is investing into the act of painting. My being is present in my action on the canvas."  I think she succeeded marvelously at leaving her thinking and actions in the work.  Beautiful, poetic notations to leave behind.

Here are a few more courtesy of the Sean Kelly website: