Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Target No. 54

Target No. 54 (Liz and Debbie)

Recently Eddie Fisher passed away. This was one of those bizarre coincidences as I have been thinking about him lately – or rather, collaging around him. Why else place both Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor in the same target?

I have had that perky Debbie publicity photo around for a long time, not sure how to use it. She really only meant one thing to me. She was the bubbly wronged woman, on the correct end of a torrid love triangle. There was a time when Liz meant pretty much the same thing, except she was dark component of the story, the cheating bitch. Unbelievable to consider it now, but there was a time when Elizabeth Taylor’s position in the gossip pages made Lindsay Lohan’s efforts look amateur.

Liz may be ten times the woman Debbie is but for a long time they are both relayed equally, similarly, measured and defined the man they are with. Historically Liz Taylor is very important, yet for much of her life she is reduced to sexy headlines.

Elizabeth shoots up behind Debbie in this piece like a bean sprout. She is the child actress, before she was Liz. She’s in an old coat and scarf, Depression era in feel, but you cannot mar her kind of radiance, which is indicated by the rising star behind her. I think she’s indicating all kinds of things on the rise.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

september group

When I first moved back to Portland from NYC, there was an artists-night-out at Ringler’s Annex downtown. Artists met every Wednesday night. It started rather late and went on into the night and you never really knew who you might meet there. I believe it was Carl Annala and David Inkpen who told me about it, who brought me along. This became the first time I ever met Storm Tharp, Michael Brophy, Randy Gragg and quite a few others.

I was a babe in the woods as regards pecking order though. And believe you me, there was one. But I still loved the idea of this place you could have a drink and talk to an artist (and I don’t mean an opening - we have too much business to do at those). In bits and pieces I had something similar when I ran a gallery; it’s a place to have a conversation about art. The same goes for radio, but those interviews are of course no place for the profane and the crazy.

On the 13th I celebrated my birthday with a group at a bar. It vaguely took me back to those Ringler’s days. Change and adventure is in the air, coming with the territory of September, uncertain. With a few emails and a Facebook blast, "we" met at Le Happy - where we may not be able to stay as it is rather elegant - artists are often not. But as you can see from the photo, it made us all look rather French. A votre santé!

Friday, September 17, 2010

John Smith at TBA

I didn’t know when I walked into the classroom at Washington High School (also known as “The Works”), which now functions as a gallery, that I was seeing a famous film, “the most famous film,” claims PICA’s TBA Festival by British Filmmaker John Smith. I just knew I was seeing something very familiar, eerily so. In fact it’s a entity I can only access via very limited methods, the ones most people use – just my memory.

Usually I have more. In 1969 I began writing a diary. Clothes, meals, lovers, art, books, most of it is there. But in 1976, while spending a reassessing time in Greece, I decided to throw out Book 13, which meandered meaninglessly to my eyes back then. Of course I would love to have it now, as it contains two very important years. I changed my name during that time and declared my life to be lived as an artist first. That hasn’t always been easy to hold on to.

In “The Girl Chewing Gum” by John Smith, currently part of TBA, I saw and felt not only the monochrome mess of post-war England, but also my own transition and dilemma. Funny what a series of bland, almost nondescript images can do. I had to sit down and take in every bit of it. There is no star. There’s not much of a story - it sounds initially like a fictional narrative but is really just a description of what we see.

What we see – England, 1976; I was there. That was the year I threw out the diary. I returned to the UK after my romp in Greece to work for the York Archaeological Trust. At 19 I really didn’t know WTF I was doing, just trying to reject the land of Eugene and the Excelsior - but not exactly knowing what ailed the country I embraced. It truly was depressing, grey, not very well fed. Yet I loved it. I recall making out in the pubs to “I’m Not in Love.” I still love that song. Of course we also had to listen to the Bay City Rollers. This was pre-punk and there wasn't really a name for the malaise.

The film shows the everyday, a blip in a timeline. It’s supposed to remind you what that looks like and it totally succeeded with me, functioning like a missing link I haven't been able to study.