Tuesday, December 15, 2009

round 2

I've been hit with the second computer failure this year, resulting in the loss of a lot of unsaved files, including 10 months worth of photographs, some of which I was hoping to have printed in the upcoming months. The hard drive is shot and I'll have to replace the computer itself, as well. The hard drive was under warranty, at least.

I hope I don't have a repeat of this scenario since I should have the lesson of backing up everything, all of the time, stamped into my brain. I got lazy about backing up my data and am paying for it. Don't be lazy about backing up your files.

So, in the meantime, I'm just doing small tasks on my wife's computer like checking email and updating here and there, but its going to be some time before I'm back with my own. On the upside, I'm going to bed a little earlier...
"I think maybe it’s time to stop, or more reasonably, curtail somewhat, state investment in the past — in a bunch of dead guys (and they are mostly guys, and mostly dead, when we look at opera halls) — and invest in our future. Take that money, that $14 million from the city, for example, let some of those palaces, ring cycles and temples close — forgo some of those $32M operas — and fund music and art in our schools. Support ongoing creativity in the arts, and not the ongoing glorification and rehashing of the work of those dead guys. Not that works of the past aren’t inspirational, important and relevant to future creativity — plenty of dead people’s work is endlessly inspiring — but funding for arts in schools has been cut to zero in many places. Maybe the balance and perspective has to be redressed and restored just a little."

That's one of my favorite parts of a recent blog post from David Byrne on arts funding.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


A satire that pokes fun of the nuanced world of the New York contemporary art scene through a pair of competitive brothers, eclectic and self-important music composer Adrian and commercially successful painter Josh. When Chelsea art gallerina and Joshs love interest Madeline attends Adrians concert featuring the sounds of paper-crumpling, glass-breaking and bucket-kicking she commissions him for a gallery performance and a love affair ensues.Further complicating the situation is that Joshs highly commercial art work the financial backbone of the gallery is sold to corporate clients discreetly out of the gallerys back room.

The New York contemporary art scene needs a parody? Really? you could have fooled me...This is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I might go see it anyway...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

music in my eyes and ears

When I turned on my computer this morning and started browsing through some posts on Tumblr, I found one where someone had posted this video of a Led Zeppelin concert from 1972. 'Immigrant Song' is one of my favorite Zeppelin songs and this was just what I needed to hear. Sometimes, a quiet Sunday morning isn't necessarily what one needs.

Speaking of finding music...one of the things I love about the 'net is the sheer amount of stuff I can find, especially music. I have a profile over on MySpace that I don't use much, but every so often, there's a 'friend request' from random bands, musicians, and other people trying to get their sounds heard. Almost two weeks ago, I checked in and there were a couple of requests, one of which was from '7b Mixes'.

I usually delete most music requests, but I decided to give a listen to the tracks he had on his profile and was hooked! I'm a big fan of good deep house and listen to a lot of it in the studio. The 7b Mixes are excellent. Here's three of them below. Most are over an hour long, so if you're into house or are just curious, you might like to download them or visit the 7b Mixes podcast page.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New photography

The Watch


Skyline Gray

Some new images taken this past week around Philly.

Long Portraits

Long Portrait #1 from Simon James French on Vimeo.

I just found this video this morning and remembered how much I like the long portrait format. I especially like this one from Simon James French because of the lighting, textures and music. I first encountered the long portrait format this summer while browsing online and have been hooked ever since. There are a few long portraits here by photographer Clayton Cubitt, who is responsible for the popularity of the long portrait format. I'd like to experiment with this idea to see what can happen. I'll probably post others that I find interesting as I find them.

"Long Portrait: The long portrait is a video made popular on Vimeo by photographer Clayton Cubitt . A long portrait is exactly like it sounds, a portrait that is long. It’s like a photo of someone, but stretched out in video form to show the person’s small expressions, mannerisms and gestures.”

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Condensed Fields

Works from the 'Condensed Fields' series on the studio wall. These are some of the works on paper I did this summer. Each piece is acrylic on paper and 30 x 22 inches.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

hand-made storage

Before my open studio event earlier this month, I went through a bunch of my works on paper, sorted some out and displayed a lot of them that I haven't exhibited previously. That part was great. The not-so-great part was having to wrangle with the poor storage options I had for these works. There are good archival storage box options out there, but most of them are more expensive than I'm ready to deal with for studio storage.

I was in one of the art supply stores I frequent a couple of months ago looking for archival boxes good for long-term storage. They didn't have any in stock at the time, but the clerk I spoke with suggested using acid-free foam board and archival linen tape to make my own boxes. I thought about it and finally got around to making one this week. My first box (see photos above) measures 24" x 32" x 3" to accommodate the 22" x 30" sized works, like 'Blue Pool' in the second shot. I spent about $32-$34 in materials (acid-free foam board, archival linen tape and white velcro for fasteners) and spent almost three and-a-half hours to assemble it. I expect to improve on that time as I do more of these. The cost of good archival storage boxes in a similar size hovers around the $90-$100+ range. Of course, mine aren't made to last 100 years, but they will still go a long way towards protecting my drawings and other works on paper while in the studio for a long time.

I still need to make about one or two more in the same size as well as a couple of smaller boxes for immediate use. The one above is filled already with works I did this past spring and summer. Making these boxes is a little time-consuming but worth it for me. Now that I have the first one done, I have a better idea of what to expect and hopefully, the next few will be easier to construct.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Tate Channel

Video artist, Bill Viola, talking about his piece, Ocean Without A Shore that was installed at the 2007 Venice Biennale. I found this on the Tate's video channel (thanks to Vincent Romaniello for posting the link to the site).

Video description from the website:

Bill Viola's latest video installation, Ocean Without a Shore, is presented in the atmospheric setting of the church of San Gallo, Venice. Monitors positioned on three stone altars in the church show a succession of individuals slowly approaching out of darkness and moving into the light, as if encountered at the intersection between death and life. Viola talks about his artistic intentions and the technical challenges of the piece.

There are quite a few other videos on the Tate Channel featuring interviews and artist talks from a range of artists.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'Concurrent' at West Virginia University

Poster announcing my lecture at West Virginia University. Last Thursday and Friday (Oct. 15-16), I had the honor of being the visiting artist for the latest installation of Concurrent, the traveling exhibition featuring works by Natalie Alper, myself, Diane Simpson, and Larry Webb.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and gave a lecture that evening, right before the opening reception. The crowd was composed mainly of very attentive art students and faculty. My talk went on for just over an hour, which surprised me because I remember thinking months ago that I'd have a hard time filling up that time. Once I started talking, the time flew by.There was time for a short question and answer session at the end, after which everyone went upstairs for the opening reception and out to dinner afterwards.

Friday morning, I met with three out of four graduate art students who had signed up for crits. The fourth was sick and couldn't meet with me. I was a bit surprised that more students hadn't taken advantage of me being there and available to talk with them about their work, but it left me with more time for the ones with whom I did meet.

I left WVU later that afternoon for a plane out of Pittsburgh that was scheduled for a 5:40pm departure. That turned into a 6:50pm delay, which turned into a cancelled flight, leading to a mad dash for the 'special services' desk for US Airways. There were no more direct flights back to Philly, but they put me on one that went to Washington, D.C. with a connection to Philadelphia. A flight that should have only taken just over an hour took 6 hours, instead. At least I was able to get home. I felt bad for those who had more complicated situations to deal with.

Overall, the two days were great, and were made much easier thanks to Chris Barr, Bob Bridges, Michael Sherwin, and everyone else in the College of Creative Arts involved with the exhibition.

Undercurrent next to exhibition signage.

Sculpture by Diane Simpson.
Stratum I next to drawings by Natalie Alper

Paintings by Natalie Alper (left) and Larry Webb (right)

Cape by Diane Simpson.

More paintings by Natalie Alper and Larry Webb.

Plume, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 60" x 72" (left) and All that could be, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 60" x 84" (right)

Drawings from my Random Expansion series, water media on paper, 20" x 20" each.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Open Studio-2009

Works on paper from 2002-2009 (left to right).
View of paintings and works on paper set up for this past weekend's open studio event.

Wall of paintings, 2008-2009, set up for open studio event.

Things went pretty well in spite of my injuries. They gave me something else to talk about when I saw that look on visitor's faces when they noticed my bandaged hands and swollen eyelid. Had a good turn-out, a little lighter than last year, but still well worth the effort put into preparing for the event.

Monday, October 05, 2009

time lost to a sudden dreaming

Friday found me in a very unusual predicament. I was prepping for my open studio weekend and had a bunch of errands to complete on my bike. One part involved picking up some paper products from the K-Mart at 10th and Market Streets. I purchased what I needed and set off back to the studio eastbound on Market Street.

Before I go on, I have to say something about the condition of Market Street on the south side, the side I was on. For some reason, the city decided sometime back in the 80's or maybe early 90's, I think, that it was a good idea to use a cement mixture to "extend" the sidewalk about 6 feet into the street between 13h and 6th Streets. So, you have the sidewalk, curb, and one lane of "sidewalk" in the street. No one walks on it, it's just another lane for vehicular traffic. Now, after a number of years and all sorts of street work, the cement lane is pretty rough to ride on. It's very uneven and there are areas where asphalt has been used to patch up previous road works.

It's about 12:45pm and traffic on Market Street is light. So, I'm riding and as I approach 8th Street, the red light changes to green and I accelerate and then...nothing. The world around me disappears and I have the strangest feeling that I'm suddenly dreaming. In my mind, I'm even thinking that I'm dreaming and about to wake up in bed. Well, I did wake up slowly, and only after having crashed somehow just after passing 8th Street. I wasn't hit by another vehicle. What I remember is a vague feeling of my rear wheel going sideways out from under me as I rode, which means I possibly crossed an uneven line in the cement and went down. The thing is, I don't remember hitting the ground at all-I simply blacked out.

What I recall after crashing is in bits and pieces: people around me, helping me lock my bike to a near-by bike rack then I was being loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance. Here is where I started regaining full consciousness. I ran through a mental checklist of things, like where I was, what day it was, what I was doing, etc... and then the EMT personnel started asking me a similar series of questions to determine how mentally fit I was. They took me to Jefferson Hospital where I found out that I hadn't broken anything and only had a few patches of skin ripped from my hands. That's it. I was wearing a helmet which probably saved my life. There is an area on the side of it that absorbed the impact. I still had an abrasion over my right eye, which was swollen until today. I also didn't have any headaches, blurry vision, nor double vision, so my brain was working well. Thankfully, I didn't need stitches; they used a skin glue to close the eyebrow wound. In the meantime, one of the nurses lent me a phone to make some calls. One of which was to my wife, who was at work and my best friend, also at work. They arrived at almost the same time.

I was extremely lucky to not have had any more injuries than I did. I mean, as a painter, the use of my hands are pretty necessary, and even though they were hurt, I won't have any problems doing what I need to do in the studio. Besides my hands, I've had no other soreness nor aches, and thankfully, no road rash. They kept me in the ER for about three or four hours. After the x-rays and cat scans came back clear, they gave me the go-ahead to leave.

I'm still not over those minutes I lost on the street being unconscious. I keep wondering how exactly I fell and how it was that I wasn't hurt as much as I could have been. I don't think I'll ever know, but I am thankful for whoever saw what happened and called for medical assistance. I'm also thankful for my body's defense mechanisms.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

POST 2009

Wall of paintings that I hung yesterday. Still more to do today in terms of sorting the other wall that will have works on paper hung on it.

This Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th, I once again open my studio to the public as a part of POST. On both days, from 12pm-6pm I will have a mini exhibit of recent paintings and a selection of works on paper dating from 2003-2009 in my work space.

Tim McFarlane Studio
16-A North 3rd Street
4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Saturday, October 3rd
Sunday, October 4th

Also, while you're in the area, stop by and see the work of other artists in Old City and Northern Liberties.

This is only the first weekend of POST. Be sure to check out those studios west of Broad Street next weekend (October 11-12)

More information about POST: Philadelphia Open Studio Tours

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blog mention

Designer and illustrator, Laura Oster, has been kind enough to mention my work on her blog after seeing my exhibition at the Philadelphia International Airport. Check out her work at Laura Oster Designs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Powhida-Post opening malaise

Some funny and interesting observations. Click image to read.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inside the Painter's Studio

"I clean the studio every week. And a lot of times I think while I am cleaning. Usually at the end of each day, I clean up a little. I also clean up and organize at the start of each day—like nesting. It gets me into the work, kind of like pacing.”

Julie Mehretu, Harlem, New York City
(photo by Joe Fig)

In his new book, Inside the Painter’s Studio, artist Joe Fig documents the day-to-day lives of 24 contemporary artists with photos of their studios, notes on their work habits, and interviews about where and how they make art. In addition, Fig’s own sculptures are shown—miniature reproductions of the artists themselves in the process of creating, a spellbinding sort of diorama as portraiture. For any artist, historian, or art fan, there’s fascinating stuff in the minutia about gear and paint brands, and also the larger questions about what it takes to get up every morning and go paint. As Chuck Close says, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

The arts and "Plan C"

Below is a good chunk of Wednesday's blog post by Gary Steuer, the Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia. In it, Steuer lays out what may lie on the horizon if the budget impasse in Harrisburg is not resolved in a timely manner.


The State House is scheduled to act this Thursday on the bill that would allow the City to close a $700 million gap in its five year budget. Without this action the City will be forced to implement the "Plan C" budget which would be crippling to the City on many fronts, and would effectively eliminate all City cultural programs.

For those that have not been following this saga closely, the budget approved by the City Council and the Mayor required action from Harrisburg on two items - authority to raise the local sales tax by 1%, and some changes in the City's pension plan. The House eventually passed a bill - 1828 - that gave the City what it needed. The Senate then considered the bill and passed it with an array of amendments designed to rein in pension expenses throughout the state. That bill is what is now going back to the House. If the House passes it without amendment it will be signed by the Governor and the City's budget will be balanced. If the House passes a budget with further changes that the Senate does not agree to, the City will be forced to begin the process of implementing Plan C.

In the Arts, Culture and Creative Economy area, this means that notifications will begin going out to the field late tomorrow, providing details on what programs and services will be lost. Much has been written about all the horrible cuts included in Plan C - closure of all branch libraries, closure of recreation centers, 50% reduction in trash pickup, suspension of most programs and operations of Fairmount Park, police officer and fire fighter layoffs. But there has been relatively little coverage of the arts cuts included in Plan C. Here is a summary of what will be eliminated:

  • All funding and staff or the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, including suspension of the Art in City Hall program and the Public Art program.
  • City funding for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund
  • City support for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Atwater Kent Museum, and African American Museum of Philadelphia
  • City support for Mural Arts Program
  • City funding for Avenue of the Arts
In related areas, the cuts to Commerce will include virtual elimination of the Art Commission and the Historical Commission. Other cultural programs and support that take place through Recreation, Records, City Representative and other departments are also largely eliminated. In terms of timing, staff will be notified if they are being laid off on September 18th, and all cuts and layoffs will become effective as of close of business on October 2nd. This is also when all program eliminations will take effect. If the House and Senate agree prior to September 18th, the notices will never go out, and in fact if there is agreement anytime up until October 2nd, we can pull back from the precipice. After that point, while programs and staffing can still be restored it gets much more complicated. Some staff may take retirement and not be able to or interested in returning to work; they may also find employment elsewhere. It will be complicated in many cases to restart programs, reopen facilities, etc.

There is hope that with pressure from their constituents, state legislators from both legislative bodies and both sides of the aisle will find a compromise before this comes to pass. It goes without saying these cuts will be crippling to the City and a significant blow to its citizens.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


"The process by which an artist’s work finds its way into a commercial gallery is often long and circumvented. Stein was gracious, politely tenacious, and smart. Professional relationships can often be analogous to marriage, and after three years of “dating,” I was certain that I liked Stein as a person. This was someone with whom I would enjoy working on a day-to-day basis; someone whom I could trust; and someone who clearly has a bright future, so that after one successful show I will not be left in the lurch with no further compelling work to promote."-Brian Paul Clamp, director,ClampArt (New York City)

The above quote is from this article on the F Stop photography website.

Articles like this should be required reading for anyone looking for gallery representation, from the newly minted BFA or MFA to even older, more experienced artists. Even though this article comes from the viewpoint of a commercial gallery that specializes in photography, the lessons are general enough to cover any kind of artist seeking professional representation.

I can relate to this because it parallels the way I wound up being represented by the gallery I work with, the Bridgette Mayer Gallery here in Philadelphia. When she opened her gallery here around 2001, I was already looking at a couple of other galleries in the city for representation. I made it a point to go to the openings of shows she had as well as checking out the work at other times, as I was genuinely interested in some of the artists she was showing. I introduced myself and got myself onto her mailing list. At the same time, my work was gaining some attention after it was included in a prestigious regional exhibition grant competition and other local exhibitions.

The 'dance' began in earnest when Bridgette asked me to bring some slides and other materials to the gallery for review. About three or four months went by and then she scheduled a studio visit for another three months down the line. In the meantime, we stayed in touch and I kept working as usual.

In the spring of 2002, she came to my studio. She was really interested in my work as I was her gallery, and I remembered that we had a long conversation that afternoon. I was in a transitional period with my work, changing how I painted and was moving towards a more hard-edged, geometric abstraction from work that was more based on biological forms. She had a lot of questions about what I was doing and how I saw the work developing, etc...

At the end of that conversation, she offered to represent me. I took some time to look think about it, asked her some questions and after a couple of weeks, I signed on with her. The relationship we've built over the intervening 7 years has grown to one where there is friendship, mutual respect and benefits on both sides. As with any other relationship, it's constantly evolving and, so far, things are going along well, even with the economic crap storm that's been happening. It's good to know that there's someone standing behind my work in the good and bad times.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Rebecca Crowell slide presentation

Rebecca Crowell, an artist I know only through the web, has included a couple of shots of my project, 'This Moment', in a slide presentation that she has used for workshops this past summer. Other artists that I've connected with online included here are Diane McGregor, Ian MacCleod, Jen Bradford, Lisa Pressman, and Michael Kessler.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Dark Show and new works by Romaiello and Kaiser at Sage

Pam Farrell, Foriegn Soil No. 5, 18 x 18", encaustic on panel

The (Dark) Show

In The (Dark) Show, Pam Farrell, Michelle Marcuse, and Rob Solomon address the dark with a grain of salt, or perhaps a broad brush. Art history abounds with references to dark as a theme. For some, the dark suggests the unspeakable, the unknown, evil, the sinister, gloomy, and ominous. For these three artists, choice of palette represents more than a proclivity for dark thoughts. Light emerging from dark, shining a light in the dark, a playful interaction of opposites, and an exploration of space and time all offer the viewer an open-ended experience to explore individual ideas about the dark, to see beyond the expected.

The Dark Show

August 29-October 3 2009

Reception: Saturday, August 29 2-5 pm


1854 Germantown Avenue. Philadelphia, PA 19122.

More Information at Stratasphere

New Work: Blue Collar

Objects and Storms

September 6 - September 27, 2009
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 13, 6 - 8pm

SAGE PROJECTS 333 South Street, Philadelphia, PA.
The gallery is free and open to the public
Wednesdays and Thursdays 12-6pm, Friday, Saturday and Sundays 2-8pm

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Annie Leibovitz: The $24 million question (New York magazine)

(Photo: John Keatley/Redux)

How Could This Happen to Annie Leibovitz?

I just finished reading this story and I don’t know what to say. It’s amazing to me how someone of her stature and creativity can find herself in a predicament where she might lose the rights to her own work and then still owe millions of dollars on a loan. Leibovitz obviously has problems dealing with money issues, but this is still ridiculous.

Leibovitz is known to have a drive for perfection in her work, which seems to have been the beginning of her problems. According to this piece, she didn't have unlimited budgets from the outset, but drove up the costs of the shoots she did in the hunt for perfection in her work. Of course, she was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to photograph celebrities for high-profile magazines, so I guess having access to that kind of money and not really caring about what was spent would lead to disaster eventually. I mean, get rid of one or two of the multi-million dollar homes, perhaps? Actually hire a good lawyer and financial manager, maybe?

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Wall

"The rich, as a group, are no longer getting richer. Over the last two years, they have become poorer. And many may not return to their old levels of wealth and income anytime soon."

(full article)

Over on Facebook, I posted a link to a story in today's New York Times about how the 'Super Rich' are losing their wealth at a fast pace these days. Case in point, John Mcafee, founder of the antivirus software company, fortune has dropped from a peak of $100 million to $4 million. The story goes on to detail how this situation is affecting other segments of the economy.

The story was ripe for snark, so I added a fictional, one-sided conversation of a father talking to his daughter to the link:

"Honey, hi, this is daddy. How are you? Good, good. Um, listen, your mother and I have discussed it...and i'm afraid that we won't be able to give you that 20-room mansion on a private island that you wanted for your sixteenth birthday.

The good news is that there is still the hotel on the Riviera. You might have to share the building with other guests, but you'll still have ten floors to yourself...I know, I know, but the economy is a little down right now and we have to pinch pennies where we can..."

The link post received a few comments, but artist and fellow art blogger, Joanne Mattera, took it to a whole other level. Her three comments are posted together here:

"Honey, hi. You know that painting we wanted to buy? The impressive large work by that midcareer artist we love? We really can't afford it. I guess we'll have to call the dealer to say we can't get it. No, I'm so embarrassed, I not even going to call the dealer."

"Honey, hi, another thought. That dealer is probably hurting. The artist is probably starving. Let's ask for 50% off and see if we can't negotiate down from there."

"Honey, hi. I have another thought. Why don't we go right to the artist? That's 50% off there. Then we can negotiate for another 50% off and work down from there. We should be able to pick up that painting for pennies on the dollar."

This was fictional, but I can imagine conversations close to it having taken place behind closed doors all over the art-collecting world this last year or more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Paper, pencil, paint

Studio organizing continued today. To the left of the entrance of my space stands a grey metal shelving unit that has been storage for paper and older works since I moved in. The top shelf held paper of various sizes, the second shelf was a catch-all for completed works on paper, the bottom two shelves held a box of canvas scraps and three boxes of older mixed media pieces that date from 1999 or so.

That second shelf, with the drawings, is the one I really dreaded going through. I knew that there was a ton of stuff there and once I pulled it all off and set it up on a table, I was really going to have to find a proper storage solution way sooner than later. Every bit of flat surface space in my studio is precious, so just the thought of having all of these works out on a work table (see above) is enough to get me moving on finding something to store them in asap. That's my challenge for tomorrow or Friday.

I don't go through older works that much and when I do, I'm always surprised by a lot of what I find. Most of the works seen in the photos above date from 2002-2004, so it's going back a few years. There are postcard-sized paintings, one small collage, rough graphite sketches and the rest are paintings on paper and mixed media pieces with graphite, oil pastels, and acrylic paint.

Looking at some of these pieces five and six years out from when I made them left me with a range of thoughts and emotions. There were some ideas I'll be happy to explore more in the present and close the door on others. Then, for a few, maybe three or four so far, there was the ultimate cleansing: rip, tear, rip...

Monday, August 17, 2009

One class, one painting

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins

Penn puts a new spin on the freshman project

Incoming freshmen to the University of Pennsylvania, as at many schools across the country, typically start their college careers reading a common book and then discussing it - an orientation activity meant to unify the class.

This fall, the 19-year-old project takes a new twist at Penn: Students will study and discuss a painting, Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic.

Penn officials said they think they are the first to use a painting for the orientation project, and national officials knew of no other school.

The university is changing its approach as part of a new campaign it will officially launch next month, called "Arts & The City Year."

In addition to the orientation project, Penn plans "arts crawls" around the city, and an arts "passport" to art and cultural institutions with discounts and prizes for students. An "art in public health" series, arts seminars, and a variety of other programs also are planned to put students more in touch with the art venues on campus and around the region.

More here

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Google Street View sees all

Art Fag City, Jon Rafman, Google Street View
S. Avalon Park Blvd. Union Park, Florida

The way Google Street View records physical space restored the appropriate balance between photographer and subject. It allowed photography to accomplish what culture critic and film theorist Siegfried Kracauer viewed as its mission: “to represent significant aspects of physical reality without trying to overwhelm that reality so that the raw material focused upon is both left intact and made transparent.”

Great essay about Google Street View by Jon Rafman over on Art Fag City.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To keep or cast out.


I began the god-forsaken task of straightening out my studio this afternoon. You know, one of those tasks that you know needs to be done, but every time you walk into the studio, you cast a slight glance and think, "I'll get to it" and in the next instant the full scope of the proposed chore gives you all the energy you need...to finally finish that piece that's been sitting in the corner for a year. Yep, dealing with that headache of a painting is preferable to any attempt to organize a growing pile of future, "Why did I save this?". Its a very good thing that I'm no longer the pack-rat I was back in the mid-nineties when I did a lot of mixed media work. Living in West Philly, I never had to go far on trash days to find something of interest to bring back to the studio I had then, situated in a room I rented in a 6-bedroom Victorian house.

Ok, so I'm ready to jump in. I've identified roughly four areas around the space that desperately need attention. I had to break it down like that so my anxiety about the overall picture doesn't do me in. I started with the relatively easy chore of sorting though empty glass and plastic containers that I've accumulated over time. These are containers that I generally use for long-term storage of paints as well as for quick mixing of a color I haven't already mixed. I keep them under a long, heavy wood table that came with the studio, in cardboard boxes. It became one of those slightly hidden 'catch-all' spaces, just out of sight enough to ignore the growing piles of jars spilling over the boxes they were in.

Along with the containers, I also got around to cutting up and storing old clothes and towels that I'll use as rags to wipe paint on. Getting through these two tasks made the space feel much lighter. Now, I'm eyeing the storage shelves near the entrance, which holds and array of old works on paper, small paintings and various pieces of cut canvas.

On a side note...that photo above? Well, that's a small Strawbridge's gift box that I found hidden amongst rags today while cleaning up. It's just big enough to have held cufflinks or earrings. I'm keeping it just out of sentimentality, as Strawbridge's no longer exists and was my favorite of the center city department stores that I would shop in from time to time. The landmark department store at 8th and Market closed it's doors for good in 2006. There was talk of a Target opening up there, but the latest I know of is that a casino might open up on three floors at the site. Just what we need...

Anton Gerasimenko

Anton Gerasimenko-"Spring is colder than winter"

Anton Gerasimenko uses the basics of web browser functionality, like scroll bars and buttons, and makes them an integral part of his one-page web projects.
(source: BD)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Oddments: tabletop

A tabletop full of dried acrylic paint remnants that I'm using for an on-going photography project.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Chlorophyll Skin

Chlorophyll Skin from Lucy McRae on Vimeo.

Chlorophyll Skin is an experimentation into color, movement, absorption and the body by Lucy McRae and Mandy Smith. The music is “When I Grow Up” by Fever Ray. (source)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

“Imagine painting. But you’re 200 yards away from the canvas, and 80 people are holding the brush. And you’re on a walkie-talkie going, ‘Need a little blue there. No darker blue. No DARKER BLUE!’”

—David Fincher’s definition of directing

LIsa Pressman-'Influences'

Lisa Pressman has a feature on her art blog called Influences, a project where she invites artists to share images of their work and to list creative influences. She asked if I would join in and I did. She just posted my entry here: Tim McFarlane's influences

Friday, July 31, 2009

poetry in slow motion

A great video featuring slow motion sequences of skaters doing their thing. The music that accompanies the video is 'Nightfall' by Mileece. Gotta respect the abilities/artistry of these kids.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How artists must dress

What you wear to an opening can be almost important as the work you're showing...

Artists must first of all distinguish themselves from members of the adjacent professional classes typically present at art world events: dealers, critics, curators, and caterers. They must second of all take care not to look like artists. This double negation founds the generative logic of artists' fashion.

The relationship between an artist's work and attire should not take the form of a direct visual analogy. A stripe painter may not wear stripes.

The relationship between an artist's work and attire should function in the manner of a dialectic, in which the discrepancy between the personal appearance of the artist and the appearance of her work is resolved into a higher conceptual unity. An artist's attire should open her work to a wider range of interpretive possibilities.

The artist's sartorial choices are subject to the same hermeneutic operations as are his work. When dressing, an artist should imagine a five-paragraph review of his clothes—the attitudes and intentions they reveal, their topicality, their relationship to history, the extent to which they challenge or endorse, subvert or affirm dominant forms of fashion—written by a critic he detests.

Communicating an attitude of complete indifference to one's personal appearance is only achievable through a process of self-reflexive critique bordering on the obsessive. Artists who are in realityoblivious to how they dress never achieve this effect.

Whereas a dealer must signal, in wardrobe, a sympathy to the tastes and tendencies of the collector class, an artist is under no obligation to endorse these. Rather, the task of the artist with regard to fashion is to interrogate the relationship between cost and value as it pertains to clothing, and, by analogy, to artworks.

An artist compensates for a limited wardrobe budget by making creative and entertaining clothing choices, much in the way that a dog compensates for a lack of speech through vigorous barking.

Artists are not only permitted but are in fact required to be underdressed at formal institutional functions. But egregious slovenliness without regard to context is a childish ploy, easily seen through.

An artist may dress like a member of the proletariat, but shouldn't imagine he's fooling anyone.

The affluent artist may make a gesture of class solidarity by dressing poorly. She is advised to keep in mind that, at an art opening, the best way to spot an heiress is to look for a destitute schizophrenic. Middle-class or working-class artists, the destitute, and the schizophrenic can use this principle to their social advantage.

The extension of fashion into the violation of norms of personal hygiene and basic grooming constitutes the final arena for radicalism in artists' fashion. Brave, fragrant souls! You will be admired from a distance.

-Roger White