Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Photography Show of 2011

Many thanks to Richard Speer at Willamette Week, who gave the Independent and Brad Carlile the Best Photo Show of 2011.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Body Gesture on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Carolee Schneeman - Nude on Tracks D

This coming Tuesday Elizabeth Leach will be my guest on Art Focus. Her gallery is currently showing Body Gesture. I can’t wait for this conversation.

To read
the PR for this show is deeply satisfying. There, they said it well, so it doesn’t have to come from this middle-aged woman artist. Still I cannot help but observe how so many practices, mediums and delicious extremities in contemporary art zoom along while the innovators fell into relative obscurity (market share talks).

I saw a lot of cool things rising in the 1970s. At my very tender age, I was more a cheerleader than gang leader. Even so, I made my own version of Woman with a Gun. For years I looked back on the silly piece and thought it trite and insignificant, but no more.

There are no doubt a ton of reasons while the feminist artists didn’t maintain center stage. First, you’ve got to keep your elbows out and that generation didn’t have the cradle-to-grave training to compete (I can attest because while I am younger, I didn’t get it either). But more importantly, the fellows could pick up on the breakthroughs, adding their own twist and saga and it was so much more comfortable and familiar to watch the hero (instead of the heroine), it all just went down easier. Besides, it was the 80s (or the 90s or the new century or etc. etc. etc.) and we didn’t have to address that boring gender identity or disparity issue, did we? More and more the art world embraces and dissects power, stardom and greed and at least on the surface (and at auction, let's not forget), the guys do it better.

I think we’re catching up though.

I don’t know where to start with this exhibition; it’s all so good and there’s so much to read, not just look at. In general I'm not fond of work I must read, not experience, but I make a great exception with Body Gesture. The letters from Andrea Bower, Necessary Reminders from the Past of a Future Choice, truly make you wince. I read every single one.

The exhibition features:

Lynda Benglis

Andrea Bowers
Sophie Calle
Nicole Eisenman
Jenny Holzer
Rachel Lachowicz
Ellen Lesperance
Alice Neel
Elaine Reichek
Martha Rosler
Carolee Schneemann
Amy Sillman
Lorna Simpson
Alexis Smith
Nancy Spero
Mickalene Thomas
Hannah Wilke

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Tree

For reasons too mundane, sad or confusing to mention, I probably will not trim a tree this year. So when I came across this short and sweet reminder at Hyperallergic about the Met's tree (see above), I had to pause. For many years it was the only tree I had. I used to think of it as mine and had no idea at least 5 million other New Yorkers felt the same way. The holidays were a big retail trudge and the upper Museum Mile was the respite. And just as this piece suggests, I avoided Rockefeller Center and walked the extra 30 blocks to the Met.

I am taking a week away from KBOO but when I come back, it will be gangbusters with Body Gesture at Elizabeth Leach. In the meantime, I am collaging small cards, as many as possible. This was how the Anonymous Women broke out actually - they started out as gifts. And then I had to stop giving when I saw the new shift.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Molly Vidor on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

There are some nice shows up this month, (anytime Eric Stotik shows, it’s a good month) but the paintings of Molly Vidor at PDX are especially delicious. She titled the show perfectly too: Honeydrippers. These are still lifes juicy and shiny, dark and deep, small yet vast and of course satisfyingly loaded with paint. When I did videos on Youtube, we had a conversation over the big pieces in a show called Destroyer. While everyone throws around the term “Rock Star” these days – gee, we all get to be one – Molly Vidor really is. She looked like one at her opening too, really great. She will be my guest on Art Focus this coming Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

She's the Sky

A woman in the sky, or some part of, can be a Surrealist device. I guess Man Ray’s fabulous lips across the universe is the first image to come to my mind, but I think there must be other examples. In the case of the Anonymous Women however I am not thinking of just sexy dreams and desires, but of how glamorous women function in popular culture, what they hawk and promote, where they are supposed to be. And where they’re not.

Some skies, like the one directly above, are almost too beautiful to use. Almost anyone I put in there would look good, too good and the golden plains gave such an all American feeling. I had to find the beautiful face which would confront the viewer a little differently.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Portland Art Collective on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Robin Olsen and Lorraine Jones of the Portland Art Collective will be my guests on Art Focus this coming Tuesday. There’s more than one art world. Portland especially has an art community that goes way before the formal gallery system. I was kind of surprised at how many creatives were in this single, loosely defined community alone, but I shouldn’t be.

The Collective is an eclectic group of 30 women artists who have been meeting at Multnomah Arts Center for eight years, sharing work and opportunities. They work in a variety of mediums including jewelry, fiber, glass, collage, painting, and printmaking.

For the past five years, they have held their annual "Open Doors" show the first weekend in Dec. at Multnomah Arts Center. Instead of purchasing panels to display their art, the group gathered and repurposed 60 old doors, and use those as the focal point of the show.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

foreGround on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Jeff Jahn has curated foreGround at the Littman Gallery. Artists include Ben Young, Jim Neidhardt, Zach Davis, Arcy Douglass, Jacqueline Ehlis and Matthew Picton. Jahn and Douglass will be my guests on Art Focus this coming Tuesday, the 22nd.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Natalie Wood Targets

Natalie Wood's death is back in the news. It never seemed quite right to me, although I surely don't have enough facts to have an informed opinion. I made work around it instead.

I remember when I first considered the collage above. I was a little uncertain at first about obscuring the target. But if you make as many collages as I have around the target (so far, 58), you're going to find many differents ways to utilize it, including hiding it.

From what I understand, she couldn't swim.
Jeff Jahn had some great things to say about the Wood Targets in particular in this piece in PORT.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The House of Moe

1979 by Randy Moe at the Independent brings my past out of the woodwork. Friends I haven’t seen in many years stop by. They tell the tales of some of the people in this show. For instance, Brian, above in the red, owns a record store in Vancouver, WA. Phil, in the shades, is unfortunately no longer with us.

Ed Casey, looking like a movie star above, is a filmmaker today in NYC. He was sweet enough to come to my opening of reCovered at frosch&portmann this past summer. His latest film, Voyeur, is at festivals right now.And of course Mike King, above, is a very well known graphic artist for the music world. When I knew him in 1979 he made posters – and he still does. I especially love this portrait, the black on black and the treatment of the clothes. What strikes me about the all the styling is how un-styled it was. It's thriftstore as opposed to Westwood, but even in the thrift, it's not like it screams a certain vintage. We all pulled stuff together and people gave us things too, dressed us. That is actually a major way Randy functioned at the time - we called him The House of Moe. He had some of the best gear.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Laurie Danial on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

My next guest on Art Focus is Laurie Danial, who has a show at Froelick right now. The show is comprised of paintings and prints and is called Control Release Control. I think you can trace the origin of the name by just looking at the work. The paintings reveal a multitude of directions, thoughts, marks, meandering, some hard and some not and very much just letting go. You can feel the play but you also sense the anxiety. The paintings provide ongoing experience, new things to come across. They are generous and not necessarily "quiet" and for this, I'm grateful. She told me the other day that no one is painting like her right now, as if it might not be in trend. But I think there are artists showing in NYC these days who do travel similar ground, or similar processes. It’s a beautiful show.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Disjecta Auction

Tonight is the Disjecta auction. I have donated a diptych - Hot Spot and Van Gogh. They came from the Richter Scale. Sure, you can hang them separately and I painted them separately, but they look cool hung together, horizonally or vertically. These are some great artists contributing this year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Middle Ages

The two most recent Anonymous Women couldn't be more different. No. 31 was 70s-like spage age. But No. 32 is from The Middle Ages. The paper was old, thin and sepia toned. I've always liked those cathedrals. I held on to the image, not sure how to use it for years. Well, the paper of the woman is almost just as old. That is sometimes how things happen. The physical materials dictate content to a degree. It is happening more and more, which I enjoy - obviously it's a given with paint. Here, it made the marriage. Plus the fright of course.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Martha Lee on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Last year Martha Lee took over as owner of the Laura Russo Gallery after Laura died from cancer (D. K. Row reported on it here). She already was the director for many years. It took me awhile, but she'll finally be my guest on Art Focus.

I've been on hiatus from the show for almost six weeks. The residency at Crow's Shadow was part of it and also I've been able to get other guest hosts in there. We are volunteers - I greatly appreciate all help I can get with keeping Art Focus on KBOO alive.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

1979 Reception

Thanks to everyone who came out for Randy Moe at the Independent.

It was the best attended opening so far. And talk about a wild crowd. The show closes December 3rd.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1979 by Randy Moe at the Independent

A couple of years ago I worked extensively on the documentary film Alien Boy, first in production and then, as a photo archivist. I tracked down photos mainly dating from Jim Jim’s punk period, which is when I knew him. This also meant collecting posters, vinyl, any kind of memoirs - a real treasure trove. During this job I discovered that the artist Randy Moe had a great collection of Polaroids, including the one which was the basis of the portrait above.

Randy and I have collaborated on several exhibitions in the past decade, all of them portraiture. It speaks to his excellence that we’ve always sold a lot, something I don’t think is any kind of given when it comes to portraits. In Randy’s case, no, you don’t have to know the subject to want the piece. That’s really unusual. When I opened the Independent, I asked him if he was working on anything. He said no, he was rather at a loss as to what to draw. I then said: “What about those polaroids? Why don’t you draw them?”

Randy decided to make 12 pieces, all based on a single roll of Polaroids shot in 1979 - hence the name of the exhibition. The photos themselves are the editors of the project. Some choices are random while some of the subjects are quite famous, at least when it comes to that era in Portland music history. Virtually all of them were in bands, some in several. Four are no longer with us. Of course everyone is very beautiful.

Please join me at a reception for the artist this First Thursday, November 3rd, 6 – 9PM. BTW, Randy Moe is also taking commissions, at least for a short while. Above is Suzanne Wlaschin Wiest, AKA Beest, who used to be in The Ziplocs.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nicola Tyson

How could I miss Nicola Tyson? Better late than never. I’m not in NY, but I’d love to see this show – and more to the point, I'd like to witness this reading she gave. Her various letters to great male artists are so satisfying for me to read. I think she’s courageous too because no doubt so many want to say “Get over it” and “That’s the way it’s always been.” Some of my quote unquote best friends tell me that. Her Picasso letter rides some of the same turf as my previous post Naked Women.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book No. 65

Making those prints prompted a remembrance of the road to that particular kind of reductive image making and what it meant to me. Above you see the cover of Book No. 65, my diary covering Dec 22, 1991 through March 2, 1992. I had been sick but was edging my way back. I wrote about part of that time via collage here, but there was a paint story too, a hidden pact. In the diary I made note of the Mondrian cover of simple black and white. I tell the diary that I still wish to make abstract paintings. I don’t know how I will get there, I just know that I still want to. The text was like a whisper.

Jesus, 1992. Unless you make work everyday, think of art everyday, live, talk, walk, it’s difficult to forge ahead. All on the back burner for years, unsaid but never forgotten. It took another ten years to arrive at the starting place for the forms I wanted to see, the assault I wished to make. When I read the journey, the paintings are more than paintings, as the collages are more than collages. It’s a life and death struggle because while everyone said I would get well, no one said “Keep your art dreams.”

I’m trying to come to some kind of terms on how I can share the diaries. Recently I heard a lot about how we only have so much time on earth. Personally, I don’t believe in death, but nonetheless I wouldn’t mind sharing before someone else comes along and does whatever to it. It’s possible I will just start another site, which starts right in 1969, first book. Nothing genius about those days, age 12 all the way, but to start elsewhere seems not quite right.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hodgkin at Gagosian

This is indeed a show to lust after, a reason to go to New York. I understand that the works take many years to make, occurring in layers of spontaneity vs. precision and time. When I first came across him he seemed like such a hidden marvel. I had never read about him. Sometimes that is the best way to reach something. No critics, no context, you find all about that later. This happened to me quite often my first few years in NYC, since I had no subscriptions to the art rags and this was long before the Internet. So I was naïve about many things, which meant NYC was one big discovery. Same with London when I saw the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed show at the Hayward. First time ever with a Hannah Höch or John Heartfield. That kind of introduction made certain artists feel personally mine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fantasy vs. Reality

Coming back from Crow’s Shadow and Pendleton was one big crash into “reality.”

In another life, at least 2 boyfriends said I lived in a fantasy. I often wondered how they knew - and did they know how deep I was in? Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – fantasy beats reality, almost every single time. Putting reality into quotations like that reminds me of Malevich who said he was leaving “Dearly Beloved Reality” behind when he made the Black Square. But I digress…

All those 2 weeks went into creating proofs-to-print. Now that I am gone the master printer Frank Janzen will make the actual edition. I’ll post jpgs when that happens. I’m already looking forward to going back there, just to sign the things.

What has given me real pleasure since I‘ve been back is the preparation of the next show at the Independent, Randy Moe’s 1979. There’s much to say and I’m going to piece-meal it out here in this blog.

Above you see a portrait of Leonard MacKay (at least I think that was his last name – please correct me if I’m mistaken). Leonard was in a band with me -you can see a video of us here in 1980 – dressed all in white with the big puffy shirt. He was a blend of Mod and New Romantic, before that term or style had come to be. He was gorgeous and a great guitarist. You could never pin him down though. Now sadly I am an expert on the source of his behavior – addiction. He was quite clever about it though, as gorgeous men in their 20s can be. He went into hospitals, found scrubs and various uniforms, looked the part and stole the goods, whatever he needed. What was fantasy, what was reality, you couldn’t tell with him.

This was over 30 years ago. He’s no longer with us. This show, 1979, is full of interesting stories and characters.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Above is the final 4th proof. I could have created a whole suite of monochromes, but settled for one. The idea was to hedge pink, violet, orange and red together, so that they can blur into one. I did something similar with 60s/80s. I wanted something very hot, optimistic, female and even fashionable.

I started here at Crow's Shadow thinking the work would be more specific, but it became broader as I saw the possibilities. Really, I wish I could come here every year! There's more to be said.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Third Proof

I could say My Favorite So Far, but I'm not sure. Every piece here has been a real adventure, has said something different. And I still have one more to go. The above proof is related to pieces in The Richter Scale - especially Hot Spot and Clear Lake. What is really wild about this print is that from a distance, it turns pink. But there is no pink - your eye mixes the colors like crazy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two Editions So Far

I walk along golden hills bristling with wheat, comparing endless expanses of yellow and blue. I take drives. I have a ton of freedom and not many responsibilities.

What are my responsibilities? What must I do today? Create a color story at Crow's Shadow. Attempt a red like the sky here the other night. Gee, life is tough.

It's great to see how different the second edition is from the first (both above). They are both based on yellow, chartreuse, red and green but read differently. The second one, on your right, has a rosey, almost purple vibe. But there was no blue laid into its makeup. And it flickers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Above you see the progress towards the proofs. Neither is probably complete. The one on the left may take on a golden plate yet. And the one on the right is just a red/orange/yellow run and yes, it is a different palette than the one on the left.

As I imagined, we are doing things I could not do in paint.

Here you see the roller, full of the green/chartreuse run. And below you see how we plot out the blend by overlaying the inks.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working Towards the Proof at Crow's Shadow

It’s taking quite awhile to get to that first proof. In oil painting you can add and take away so easily, but the print process takes careful planning. Above you see Frank Janzen with (Crow’s Shadow Interim director) Melissa Bob, are working on the plate. Then you see below the stretch of the palette. A fat yellow and a rich chartreuse will be at the center of this image, holding it all together.

Above and below you see how we methodically laid out where the bands of color would start and overlap each other, similar to how the colors in my paintings mesh and blur.

Then Frank rolled it all out. The plate of color is marvelous. It looks like a Rothko had he been more rhythmic or form-seeking. Or a Dan Flavin if you squint your eyes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day Two at Crow's Shadow

I recall James Lavadour telling me that when he learned printmaking his entire concept of how to make a painting changed. I wasn’t sure what would change for me, going into it, save to say that change is the only constant. I rely on it. And just two days into this venture, there’s a distant rumble.

Here at Crow’s Shadow we work with the master printer Frank Janzen. The artists arrive with ideas and visions and he finds the way. I was amazed at how many potential avenues there were to a single idea, all to be knocked down in our aim for the best result. We gain some things and lose some other things. Edges that were once perfect will not be. Conversely, some lines never achieved in my painting will in this print process.

It’s been suggested that my collages and paintings would someday meet. I don’t think so, not truly, but this glue-sticking stencils down to mylar was as close as I have ever gone. The shapes were indeed cut and pasted. I can’t say I understand the entire process, but the white and black forms caught my imagination. I am always creating forms with color; this was a different way of thinking. I started seeing things. My mother, who is an artist, told me many years ago that if you talk about it, you might not do it. So I won’t write too much about it. It’s nice to see it though.

Monday, October 10, 2011


When I finished the last piece of Drape, I ended with a searing golden band, so woven in dark edges some said it was like blonde hair. This struck me as an important development, a painting finally hedging in autobiographical territory. For years I knew I wanted to do it, I just wasn’t sure how.

This printmaking residency at Crow’s Shadow, funded in part by the Ford Family Foundation, is my way in, a break from the past in method while still entertaining the juice which preceded it. Juice: yellow, chartreuse, gold, gilded in black, alizarin crimson and viridian.

I couldn’t believe the drive as I approached the reservation – I’ve been to Pendleton before – how could I have forgotten the gold hills? Eventually I was surrounded, wrapped in yellow. It’s just meant to be. I walk outside and it's the first thing I see.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Artist Talk Tonight

Tonight the Independent will host an artist talk by Midori Hirose (work above) and Damien Gilley at 6PM sharp. Of course we're be open for First Thursday and then til the end of October.
May as well state here that I am on a six week break from Art Focus. Wendy Webb and Paige Prendergast (from Breeze Block) will be guest-hosting and I'm grateful for their help. KBOO is mainly run and hosted/produced/etc. by volunteers. In the meantime, I get to do this fab residency at Crow Shadow on the Umatilla reservation, making prints - something I've never done. I'm hoping to write about the experience here.