Thursday, November 16, 2006

Michael Lease and Christopher Wiedeman

An Assault on Taste, formerly referred to as Art of This Century, and Art Basel: Stuffy's are NOT the only two CURRENT BEST shows in Richmond... there is also Michael Lease and Christopher Weideman's artist-initiated Alley-Oop, in an old cinderblock shed behind the former Hand Workshop Art Center.

Michael has wrapped all four sides of the small building with wheatpasted photographs; most of the photographs seem to be of, or reference, people and places that Michael feels close to. Sweet documentary snapshots... details of odd little corners, cropped figures and moments. I think he calls this body of work For The Lack Of Words.

Judith Baumann says "equal parts nostalgia, mystery and deliberate spontaneity, Michael's photography makes you wish you were there."

Michael Lease is also in Art Basel: Stuffy's!!!

The two tombstones one above is funny; Eggleston of course would reference the photographer William Eggleston... Adair must be local artist and teacher Tom Adair.

When I saw Tom indoors at the opening I greeted him with, "hey, there's a tombstone out back with your name on it"... which was probably not the best thing to say. Hopefully he ended up getting the joke. Ha ha.

P.S. Tom is a GREAT drawing teacher...

The opening was a couple weeks ago... some of the pictures are starting to peel away now.

Michael's work is outside, and Christopher Weideman has the INSIDE of the building.

Christopher has built a plywood wall and floor.. so that when you walk into the building you step UP into a short corridor, around the corner of which the plywood floor becomes a curved ramp directing your eye and body toward a black pit near the opposite corner of a darkened room. All of the dirt and rubble pulled from the pit is piled up in that corner, on the other side of the pit and curved around it, so that the black hole is encircled by cement, wood, and dirt.

Man, I really like seeing the arrangement of these three materials together... the rough plywood, smooth cold cement, and soft dirt... and that round black void. It feels like an altar, or waiting for some arrival.

There is MORE! Inside the hole, at the bottom, is a television screen playing a video... a ten-minute (or so) edited loop of Christopher digging the hole. He rigged a video camera directly overhead.

The hole itself is so pretty.. it's hard to see well in this picture, but the sides are like petals. It reminded me of the Imi Hwangbo pieces that were exhibited last month.. but this whole thing was way more interesting.

Christopher Weidman
Working through the layer of cement floor.

Christopher Weidman
The sweaty, grunting artist... glimpses of ambition and futility.

Go see it! Monday through Friday, 9-5, through November 24th. They have documented the whole process here.

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