Wednesday, June 30

Some Sketches

I think that my ideas reveal themselves best when sketching. Sketching is immediate and done quickly. I also tend to think the best when I'm drawing. I always feel that I am bolder when drawing - and let things disappear, group things together more decisively and take liberties I otherwise shy from. Here are a few (lousy) scans from some recent sketches. All are under 8". Click to make bigger.

Ambiguity as Relationship

I learned how to paint very traditionally. I hesitate using the word classical, since even though I was taught to look at the masters and art history - and had certain ideals hammered into me, like a full 8 semesters of drawing) - my education as an undergraduate painter was more about structure and practice. I began as a student and am now becoming a painter.

So I learned how to make things right. Even though this meant disregarding grandiose art world statements. As an undergrad I even remember a few of us taking a short trip to see RISD's undergrad thesis exhibits. We were intimidated that they might be producing work that was more important than ourselves (and by the way - who was producing important work at that stage?). But when we saw their exhibit, were relieved to find work full of over-reaching themes, grand world statements and conceptual artifice but a lack of any technical skill.

 So we had comforted ourselves: we knew how to paint and draw so we would be better off. I'm not sure if that is true now, but certainly it was true for me. I needed to build structure in my practice before tearing it all apart. I used to envy artists at that age who seemed to have it together. But did they? Were they just endowed with a better creative sense of cool and not cool? Or were they just doing what they did best, and avoiding what they couldn't do: paint?

Friday, June 18

 Lots of changes for the better lately. Have been real busy but not social busy. Here's a mini-digest of sorts:

     Via C-Monster, Gary Turner's Mini-MoMa Gallery Wallpaper-like photographs. Neat!

    And, recommended by Kelsey (and PORT), is a great piece on PAM's Tina Olsen. A true bright spot for the museum. And speaking of museums: Regina Hackett has two great back to back pieces on SAM's hunt for a curator. One here. And the other.

    Two Coats of Paint defends artist's signing their art. I don't usually sign mine. It bothers me but I can't figure out why. A signature on other work never tends to bother me though...that is, unless the work is awful, in which case the artist's signature is almost like this ostentatious stamp. Maybe that's how I feel about my own. I don't want to stamp it until I'm confident it's worth declaring.

   Also, found via The Morning News: art of subtitles!

    I thought OpenWidePDX's photo essays of recent Portland exhibits is always a good way to see things you don't want to make the trip out to see. But one exhibit this month I would like to see is Bailey Winter's Ambush: The Story of the TDA.

Thursday, June 17

More Interesting than Words: Rodney Graham Light Boxes

Via, Art Observed: 303 Gallery in NY has Rodney Graham's light box photo's on display. Photographs in light boxes are akin to viewing them on a computer screen. They are both interesting and viable ways of exhibiting but really make the image appear entirely different. A light box has that illuminated glow. Graham's images would not appear as ghostly as they do if they were printed.

Thursday, June 10

Thinking Big and Thinking Failure

Via Two Coats of Paint, a rundown of Bravo's Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. I didn't catch the first episode, so cannot imagine what it's like. But I have seen plenty of Project Runway (my wife loved the show before it left Bravo - and just like Top Chef, thought it made such entertaining TV by leaving out details and making drama out of producer induced pressure).

But what would that be like, having a camera crew hover over your practice? As I mentioned before, my practice isn't all that glamorous. Even my wall of windows opening directly onto an apartment building makes me self-conscious. Art seems to be, even in collaborative processes, something that needs to be created alone. Sebastian Smee of the Boston Globe says, "Work of Art, as well as any other reality TV show, taps into our need to be fascinated without the inconvenience, the risk, of further emotional investment." It's pretty to watch without the trouble. And, "Almost all the female contestants make work in heels and fluffy tops.."