Tuesday, June 26, 2007

done for now


The show is over and there's no time to dwell on the 'post exhibition blues' that usually accompanies these times. There are a couple of projects to jump into that will keep me busy from summer through fall.

By all accounts, 'When is Now' was a very successful show and I'm proud of the work I produced. I spent a lot of time visiting the gallery during the past three weeks just to look at and think about the paintings. Between that and talking about them, I've gained some good insight and general ideas about what I want to do next. What comes next is never clear, but it's nice to have a general direction to focus on...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Richard Serra at MoMA

I've been waiting for a long time to see some of Ricahrd Serra's larger works in person and I finally got the chance a couple of weeks ago. I was in New York with my fianceé to meet up with a friend of hers, along with visiting a couple of jewelry supply places for her and to see the Serra retrospective at MoMA.

We hit the sixth floor first, where the earlier works are shown. Some of the works up there hadn't been shown in years and most I hadn't seen in person. It's always kind of surreal to view artworks by iconic artists whose only contact I'd had was as reproductions in books and magazines. Incidentally, the first time I even found out about Richard Serra's work was toatlly by mistake. It was back in '90 and I was in New York for the first time with a former girlfriend. MoMA was on the agenda and I don't even know if it was a special exhibition, but I remember turning a corner, walking into a room and finding myself in the center of a piece I later came to know as Circuit, four steel plates situated in the corners of the space, bisecting the room diagonally with an open space in the center.

There were other works of his there that time, but Circuit II really made a lasting impression with it's sense of danger (collapse) and reassertion of how the space was navigated by the viewer(s), something that has been integral to Serra's work for years.

The earlier work took up the entire sixth floor and includes a good representation of the early 'prop' pieces, like Prop(1968) and One Ton Prop(House of Cards)(1969) in lead as well as works in rubber such as Belts(1966-67) and To Lift(1967).

The newer pieces in the cavernous space on the second floor, Sequend, Band, and Torqued Torus Inversion, all made in 2006 are amazing to behold. Band, is particualirly beautiful with it's 70-something feet of twisting curves with no interior space. It's like walking along a piece of ribbon standing on edge, except Band, like most of Serra's works, weighs tons. That these three huge works were even able to be put in the space together and not feel crowded seems like a miracle. It still messes with my mind to know how much tonnage is sitting there, looking much lighter than it is. Some of that also has to do with the oxidation that takes place. These works have a beautiful orange patina that can make you forget that you're standing next to and touching a material that is used in much more utilitarian ways, as in steel girders and other architectural substructures.

Photography isn't allowed inside, but if you're unfamiliar with Serra's work, the exhibition pages on MoMA's site will give a good overview (Flash 8 required). The two pieces in the sculpture garden, Intersection IV and Torqued Ellipse II were fair game and I tried to take as much advantage as I could (click images for larger views):

Intersection II

Intersection II
Intersection II
Intersection II
Intersection II

Torqued Ellipse IV

Torqued Ellipse IV
Torqued Ellipse IV
Torqued Ellipse IV

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Exhibition review

Review of my exhibition at Bridgette Mayer by Edith Newhall.
Philadelphia Inquirer Weekend section
Friday, June 15, 2007
p. W29

Loosening up

Since his last solo show at Bridgette Mayer Gallery two years ago, Tim McFarlane has abandoned the open, three-dimensional grid forms that inhabited that last body of work for a looser, all-over lyrical abstraction that looks vaguely like strands of chains or fishing nets over a gestural abstract painting. He has also jettisoned the square canvas for the rectangular one, which suits his style of painting better. The action seemed to stop short on the square.

A few of these paintings are just perfect, in particular Plume, with its exposed lower corner of a muscular, vividly colorful underpainting, drips and all, which made me think of the painter Melissa Meyer. His small paintings, Mute and Green Whispers, which have thicker, lusher surfaces than some of the large ones, hint at a depth and mystery that are too obscured in other works.

But I'd also like to see an enormous McFarlane. He seems to be stretching out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ice, Ice, Baby!!

British "bad boy artist", Damien Hirst, is at it again...

From the New York Times:
Alas, Poor Art Market: A Multimillion-Dollar Head Case
Published: June 13, 2007
It is no secret that the art market has become drunk with money lately, but $100 million for a diamond skull by the artist Damien Hirst? Even Russian oligarchs and hedge-fund billionaires might think twice.

Related story here

More photos here

There was a time when I would toss all sorts of f-bombs around when I read a story about Damien Hirst and others like him getting whatever astronomical amount of money/attention for their work. Not anymore. I'm more likely to just get a laugh out of it and just keep doing what I'm doing. He's into spectacle and shock, people literally buy into it and he laughs all the way to the bank. End of story.

I have liked some of his work, most notably "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" (1991), better known as the 'dead shark in a tank' piece. I like that piece mainly because it's conceptual idea holds some weight. There might be other works by Hirst that have some idealogical weight to them, but I've not paid much attention to his stuff because of all the mountains of hype and excess that accompanies everything he does...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

When is where?

When is Now
When is Now

The paintings were hung last Tuesday night and I saw them up for the first time on Wednesday. I hadn't seen some of them for a couple of weeks and was happy with the final installation. Originally, I wanted to be there to at least place the works, but scheduling prevented that. I trusted Bridgette to do a good job and she did great. I was mostly concerned with the paintings having a certain amount of space around them since there is a lot going on in them visually. I'd mentioned to Bridgette early on that I didn't want to have too many paintings hanging, like the last show I had there.

So, yeah, I'm happy with how things went.

When is Now opening
When is Now opening
When is Now opening

Finally, Friday rolled around and the opening went on without a hitch, with the exception of the heat that accompanied lots of bodies in the small space that is the Bridgette Mayer Gallery. I love working with Bridgette, but the gallery gets hot easily with little help in the warmer months of the year. Nonetheless, the opening reception was very well attended and there was a lot of good feedback about the work. It was also to see and talk, albeit briefly, with a bunch of my friends and acquaintences that I hadn't seen in a good while.

There's a mention of the show by Libby Rosof on artblog and over on Rob Matthews' blog

*Don't worry, Rob, my shots aren't the best, either, lol...

photo originally uploaded by Libby Rosof

In the vault room, Bridgette is showing the work of sculptor, Paul Oberst. I met Paul last year through a mutual friend of mine and Bridgette's, so it was interesting to learn that he was going to have work there at the same time. Bridgette usually has special projects, like the works of artists that are not affiliated with the gallery, shown in the smallish but interesting vault room in the rear of the gallery.

With the opening now over, I've begun the process of switching my attention to the paintings I want to do for the Art Alliance show. So far, I'm planning on working on three larger paintings for one room and works on paper for the smaller one. I'm not absolutely sure about the works on paper, but I'll have to see what I come up with. I could put three or four small paintings in there, also...we'll see how things go.

In the meantime, it's back to the studio for another round...