Thursday, March 24, 2005


Yesterday I posted on the current three-person show at ADA Gallery featuring Jason Coates, Bruce Wilhelm, and Steven Little. Bruce and Steven just graduated from the VCU Painting department last year (or maybe Steven is now in his final semester?) - I mean BFA not MFA. I had an awful one-year experience trying to get an MFA at VCU but I was really excited, impressed, and motivated by a lot of what the undergrads were doing. Let me talk about a few more -

Jon Clary & Rob Lee - I'm posting these two together because they are currently showing together at the Cornerstone Gallery. Rob's work generally falls under that style discussed yesterday and I really love Jon Clary's work. He's a very smart, very talented printmaker. Wish I had some notes from the show to look at right now. Suffice to say I already have one small Clary ($10!!) and we have been meaning to arrange a trade of something for a while. Maybe after his show closes I can negotiate for something left-over. The show closes March 29th!

Dennis Matthews, Demetrius (D.J.) Rice, Lewis Taylor - These guys never stop producing. They just keep cranking stuff out and keep getting better and better. The energy is fantastic and it's amazing to see them grow - I think they are all still very much developing but it is unnerving to see how far and fast they are coming along. Dennis and D.J. are especially driven and all three are ambitious about getting their work shown locally: taco restaurants, coffee shops, wherever. Dennis' paintings looked great on a recent visit to World Cup and I couldn't believe he was only asking $100 apiece.

Jules Buck Jones - Jules is really in a class by himself. Inventive, exciting, dynamic, loose large scroll-like works-on-paper of abstracted/stylized streetscapes. He also has a thing for sharks and I hear has recently made a good fish animation. Last year I gave away some large stretchers I didn't want anymore and Jules took one and made a big painting. This thing is big and I think he felt he was finished and wanted to get it out if his sight for fear of overworking it. He gave it back to me! I've had it in storage for months but now I've moved into my new place and I have it in my bedroom and it is really great!! Thank You JULES!!!

Incidentally, Jules' mother is the artist Sheep Jones - she shows at Rentz Gallery and will be featured in the upcoming Mid-Atlantic edition of New American Paintings.

Hali Emminger - This is the only one of these artists that I don't know at all - but she made something really strange, ugly, wonderful, creepy that I think about a lot. It might even make my eventual Best of 2005 list. She was included in a three-person show in the VCU Student Commons Art Gallery a couple months ago with a piece called Goat Boy. It was a larger-than-life-sized (maybe three feet around?) front-half-of-the-head of a goat boy hanging on the wall. It didn't look like something poking it's head through a hole in the wall but rather like a hunting trophy. The face was ceramic and the rest of the head was some kind of brown furry stuff. The thing looked sort of demonic, sort of impish, sort of Alfred E. Neumann. This thing was really weird!! It just looked so out of place, but where would it look in place? That's no mean feat, making something that looks out of place even when it's hanging on the wall of an art gallery. It just didn't look like "art", but didn't look like anything else either. I think this thing would look "good" and have the same uncanny powerful weird presence anywhere.

She also had a very nice wallpiece called East Coast. Clumps and clods of things vaguely shaped like or referencing different East Coast states. Near the top was a plastic lobster - obviously Maine - but I have no idea what state the lamb-shaped baking pan with the red lightbulb nose at the bottom was representing. A piece of sod or something shaped like Florida was more in the middle. It kind of made me think of Robert Rauschenberg.

Well done Hali Emminger!


jeff said...

Why did you leave VCU? Why are you still in Richmond? I think you should move to NY to be in a wider and more interesting arena. I think it would serve you and your work well. Was grad school suffocating for you? It is for many. I happen to know a number of people who dropped out of the VCU MFA painting program.

Martin said...

Jeff - I left VCU for TOO MANY reasons to get into, but I would have stuck it out if I had gotten a fellowship or only had to pay in-state tuition. Nobody I know in that program paying the full out-of-state fee thinks it's worth it.

I'm still in Richmond because I got a fun job as a raft guide last year and I want to do it again this year. The first trip of the season is next week!

I'm from a small town an hour northeast of Albany NY and really enjoy visiting NYC but I've never had a desire to live there. I'm more likely to move back to Albuquerque or Tokyo or take off for Ljubljana.

summer seminar said...

Martin, my two years getting my MFA were the absolute worst years of my life. It was torture and I would have left after time if I hadn't already sunk my teeth into student loans galore. And this was in Albany NY. I could be a walking campaign against getting an MFA.

summer seminar said...

oooops. I meant to say a walking campaign against getting an MFA there. But I do have friends who say their grad years were their best. I just didn't choose wisely.

jeff said...

i also hate grad school. it was torture all the way. they are good at the bait and switch at VCU

Martin said...

"VCU Bait and Switch" pretty much nails it.

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