Monday, May 31, 2010

Target Photomontages at Augen Desoto

When I first began these targets in 2008, I concentrated on the back-story and biography of the woman pictured. Sometimes I referred to the desperado roles of the actress, such as in Susan Hayward. Sometimes it was more about the personal real-life saga, such as in Natalie Wood. I liked if the two were married: Liza is the child of Hollywood’s biggest tragedy – and she also played Sally Bowles, a woman seen more as an artiste than artist, someone who fights for art, sex and love on her own terms.

Target No. 45 (Jean), 2010

Through the course of making over fifty pieces, they became about other things. Things didn’t change or mutate so much as they simply spread. One area I’ve mined for decades is art history, but I’ve never fully committed to restaging it. After Ken Butler gave me all these art history textbooks which languished in his childhood home basement, I felt free to cut away at the canon.

Target No. 51 (Jean), 2010

What I’ve found is that my interest in the Hollywood goddess, the fashion model and the goddess in art history all endlessly collided. The Babe was always the warrior, soldier, muse, sage, goddess and god. The works just point out the obvious.

Targets opens this week at Augen Desoto. I hope you get a chance to see it if you are in Portland, Oregon.

Post Script:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Judy Cooke on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

This month brings Judy Cooke to the Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Many artists these days say they are exploring the space between sculpture and painting, but Cooke has been doing that for years. This particular show, called In Touch, examines the ideas of the Russian Constructivists. That's music to my ears - I am looking forward to having her on Art Focus this Tuesday, the first of June.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wid Chambers works the room

The first time I saw the work of Wid Chambers, it was at Gavin Shettler's gallery at the Everett Station Lofts. That was eight years ago. That night he called me on the phone and we talked a long time. He was then a guest on Artstar Radio at KPSU ... that was the beginning of many collaborative efforts.

He always had a thing for the organic and every shape he made had a certain grace. It was his trademark then and it still is, even though he's covered a lot of territory as regards materials and mediums. I knew he has painted but he was looking for something beyond the practice of painting.
All of these photographs I took today at Chambers, where he has taken over the entire space. As I recall, it started off as just one wall with a maquette on the other side, but now he's working the entire room (as his promotional materials promised).

When I first met him, he made digital paintings (one of his images I curated into the Tri-Met public art project here on N. Interstate). They had the same sweeping, swooping curves these big sculptural pieces have here. It's interesting to see how he has maintained, mined and translated his ideas.

In June he'll be my guest on KBOO. I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leiv Fagereng on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Tomorrow on Art Focus my guest will be Leiv Fagereng, who currently has a show at Froelick. This show is called Bittersweetsweet. It’s a collection of portraits from the artist’s own inner circle. In the past Leiv has painted places, animals, especially birds. They're all fantastic.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Andrea Schwartz-Feit on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Andrea Schwartz-Feit has a show at Butters this month called “Seeing Without Knowing.” She uses encaustic to make images which are geometric and organic at the same time. They also jump back forth between abstraction and representation. Sometimes she has a dash of Klimt, especially when we see a shimmer (which I imagine to be gold leaf). I’ve never seen a jpg which really captured the luminosity of her paintings. She will be my guest on Art Focus this Tuesday.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Plein Air Smackdown on KBOO

From May 14th through the 17th Portland will host Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse. This conference says it will challenge our traditional ideas of what art is and does. It will present artists, projects and events which will mediate the contemporary frameworks of art as service, as social space, as activism, as interactions, and as relationships.

One of the events is Plein Air Smackdown (see poster above), the brainstorm of Mark R. Smith who teaches at PCC. Painting students from PCC, PSU and OCAC will have a painting competition of sorts. Susan Harlan, Michelle Ross and Vicki Lynn Wilson will be my guests on Art Focus to talk about that event and the conference as a whole. I get to referee the Smackdown with Jeff Jahn and am really looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gus Van Sant at PDX

Lately I've been contributing recommendations to the weekly newsletter of Visual Art Source (you can sign up for the newsletter here). Here's my bit for Gus Van Sant at PDX.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the artist was present

Some have tackled the dress of Marina Abramović because they couldn’t wrap their heads around the work. I am more than a little familiar with lets-discuss-how-she-looks-not-what-she-makes. It is still hard for me to see this in very contemporary minds. However in this case, costume is a part of a performer’s toolbelt.

Much in her performances is relatable: I’ve been slapped, I know how that feels. Definitely wanted to slap back, though I never did - so yeah, the repeated blow after senseless blow action in the video was strangely and savagely satisfying.

She reminds us that however casual we are about our bodies and nudity, we still think about the specifics. We still think about how great or how bad a pair of tits are (and did she have hers transformed?). It was all over this exhibition and it was all over the Facebook conversations. Yes indeed I did read “She has a great pair of tits.”

As to the stare-down, my own way to treat a stare was to give it back. Many have not liked that. They don’t like getting caught or maybe just being reminded of manners. It is the return stare which brings the discomfort, the recognition and this sense of loss of power.

What I also enjoyed about the artist being so present was that she made everyone stop. Museum going can be like cattle herding. Some of the art world only paused in disdain, but I saw many others stop in old fashioned, patient curiosity. We like to think that art is “an experience” but for many it is a drive-by event. Not with this. And I say all this not being a great fan of most performance art, though like any 70s renegade, I participated in it (with Cavellini and Monty Cantsin). Performance can be a drone and a nifty title for those at a loss of doing any one particular thing well. But she condensed it all in this MOMA show.