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 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