Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Anthony Lister

Anthony Lister Added to List...
I can say this is one artist in the collection that I actually own, even if it is just a t-shirt...
Lister, born in Brisbane, currently lives and works in Brooklyn. I have to admit to having a little artist envy here. Dude, lives a blessed life, and aesthetically his work tops my list. His older works are compilations of pop icons engaged in a clustered
heap of decadence. Newer work presents a series of super heros whos chiseled bodies are abstractly rendered, disproportionate, and disjunctive. Listers is able to work figuratively while utilizing a very loose but calculated painting style. Expressionistic yet graphic, like BAsquiat and Marvel Comics had a baby. Superheros are representations of power and invincability, the personification of hope. Listers work actively tries to dispell that belief, particularly in the performance/installation pieces. It is here where the hero's are utilized in literal depictions of defeat, despiration, and hopelessness. In between the times I was working on this post, I came across this video. So, basically I'm just ready to publish it and move on already....This just reinforces my appreciation for this dude.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Back from the Bay, Clayton Brothers,

The Luggage Store Gallery

Back from PDX and the BAY. 10 days away from home on an extremely relaxing and at times overwhelmingly exhausting vacation. It was a great trip, lots of great artwork. At the top of the list was the 20 year retrospective at The Luggage Store Gallery entitled, In the Fullness of Time. The show featured work from bay area champs such as Barry Mcgee, Andrew Schoultz, Chris Johanson and Jo Jackson, and a very moving piece dedicated to the memory of Margaret Kilgallen where gallery founders and directors Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazer sanded down areas of a wall Kilgallen had painted a piece on several years before. They removed several layers of paint, each representing a different moment in the galleries physical history. Kilgallens simple yet endearing style of folkloric characters slowly reemerging through the haze of preceding layers of paint. Also included in the show, Os Gemeos, Steve Powers, Yoon Lee and Mark Bradford. I was also fortunate enough to talk to gallery director Laurie Lazer. As she gave a tour of the 6th and Market space, I was blown away by her compassion and dedication to the artists who have passed through the gallery over the past twenty years. The work that has graced the walls of the Luggage Store, has had a tremendous influence on the aesthetic sensibilities and cultural identities of a new generation of see'rs, thinker's, maker's, and taker's. Not unlike the socially conscious and community motivated programming the gallery prescribes, the artists and their work have also taken on socially relavent content that explores gender and sexual identity, popular culture, localism/(vs.)globalism, social justice, graffiti, street art, and skate culture....etc.

Clayton Brothers

What's up bro?
The Clayton Brothers have been collaborating on paintings since '94. Working together to fabricate narratives that weave in and out of our collective subconcious. Within the work, meaning is compounded, symbols exist simultaneously as cohesive and contradictory signifiers, colors are lively, the picture field is full to capacity. These paintings belong to a series of work that reflects and explores western medicine, mental health, and the implications of a medicated society, through the kaliedoscopic eyes of an acid head. Candy coated colors, psychodelic, hallucinatory imagery and sickly looking patiences, are reoccuring themes within this series. They combine to form a disjunctive yet compelling account of a culture infatuated with sickness but in love with the possibilty of finding the cure.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Getting the Ball Rolling

It's one of those Sunday afternoons where time seems to crawl by at the perfect pace. There's no rush, no engagement, no anxiety. It's abnormally warm for a January afternoon, the sun is setting, the house is getting dark. What a perfect time to brake in the new blog...
My goal for this project is to collect, critique, and archive contemporary artwork as a means of developing a relationship with Art that transcends the isolated act of just viewing the work. As the project builds, I plan on organizing the posts from the role of a curator which will challenge me to think both formally and conceptually about the work I choose. But for now, I will start with a couple of pieces from artist I consistantly look to for inspiration. Check it..

Julie Mehretu
Stadia I,II,III
On a trip to NY last spring I was fortunate to have the ability to experience a number of amazing artworks live and in person. While at New York Anthology Film Archive we were able to see a selection of films from the archive hand picked by Archive founder Jonas Mekas. I'm shooting myself in the foot for not being able to find the notes I took that day, because their was one film in particular that made me think of the paintings of Julie Mehretu. In the film, shots of the city and it's inhabitants were portrayed carrying out their everyday rituals. Hords of people walking in different directions, traffic starting and stopping, boats on the water skating across the picture frame. The speed of the film was what made it interesting, sped to the point that everyday situations become blurred. Colors overlapping and moving, drawing lines and color fields into the projected picture frame of the film. Time within the film was flattened, meaning, when you watch it at it's normal speed, time and space have a relationship that gives dimensionality to the film. When it's sped up, you lose that dimensionality. Cars, people, boats, trains, loses their definition to become fleetiing marks of color and line drawing themselves within the space the film has created. Now as I look at these Mehretu pieces, I see the same sort of lines, marks, and shapes within the paintings. From Mehretu's beautiful book "Black City", Agustin Perez Rubio writes, "The multitude of perspectives, scales and strat in the work of Julie Mehretu are not only charged with esoteric references to the history of art and architecture; they are also statements about human presence past present, and future." The works are layered both in process and in content. Expressive lines and marks, bold shapes, architectural blueprints are laid down layer after layer. Mehretu incapsulates these marks by creating a resin layer in between each level of the piece.
In Stadia I, II, III, Mehretu evokes the idea of the stadium. An arena or forum for observation and interaction. In these works, ideas of globalization, interconnectivity, and mass communication enable us as a species to exist in a world were we are both spectator and participant.

Sarah Sze
Things Fall Apart, 2001, SFMOMA
The Art of Losing, 2004, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Japan
Tilting Planet, 2006, Malmo Konstall, Malmo, Sweden
I must say I have only recently started looking at these extraordinary installation pieces by Sarah Sze, so I may update this post as I become more in tune to the shit that flies through my head when I look at them. The objects Sze uses in her installations are common, everyday items you would find in grocery stores, hardware stores, or variety shops. The objects are free from manipulation and remain easily recognizable as what they were manufactured as. However, to pass these off as just references to pop culture or pop art would be to grossly misinterpret the work. The way these objects are used and arranged is important because it allows the viewer to spend less time focusing on the commonplace context of the object and more time understanding it as a formal element within a larger system of objects, gestural shapes, lights, plants, and whatever else Sze might include.
In many pieces Sze places the work in corners, entry ways, closets, ceilings, or a combination of all four. By using spaces that normally exist in the periphery of gallery or museum spaces, Sze's work seem to incubate, hatch, and explode into an elaborate and complex system of possibilty.