Friday, March 31, 2006

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Wow. I really loved the Trenton Doyle Hancock show at James Cohan. Energetic, exuberant, fun, funny, inspiring, exciting, grand.

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Painting, drawing, and collage. That chair leg and skeleton foot are felt or something.

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Big... Foot.

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Here is the big foot at an angle. The most colorful toenails are THICK with paint.

Trenton Doyle Hancock
An explosion of stuff. There is an ongoing story to all this, something about vegans and mound-meat, the Blestian Room, someone named Sesom and his band of converted vegan disciples. I think there is a war. Lots of buckets of paint marked MM that made me think of Mountain Man. A text about Sesom's strange color experiments and conversations with Painter (is it you Painter? are you in league with Sesom?). So nice to be in someone's make-believe world, and to bring some of my own make-believe world into it, and leave reality. I was wondering if I would run into my old friend Humberto.

Trenton Doyle Hancock
The above piece at an angle; covered with paint, painted and collaged black canvas, felt, plastic plates, peanut butter lids, bottle caps. There are holes in the canvas.

His resume still includes his participation in a 1995 juried student show; the juror was Tom Moody!!!

Christoph Ruckhaberle

Very much enjoyed the Christoph Ruckhaberle show at Zach Feuer. Was he included in the Leipzigger show at Mass Moca I saw and couldn't get into? If so, he must have gotten better.

- the wavy wobbly arm of Frightened Young Man, seated, with yellow spatters, dirty patterns, and green paint, like chewed gum, stuck to his sleeve.

- the distorted, three-fingered, warped wrapped wavy green dancing Butzemann (Troll).

- the blue-faced strangled Reading Lady, spidery Tambourine Man's bottomless black round eye, the ice-cool blue hypnotic chair nails and pink pink ear in The Party.

- all the masks. Those looked like so much fun to do.

This show is up until April 8th. Lots of good fun weird fussy messy painting.

OH! I forgot to say. Ross Bleckner and friend came in and chatted with Zach while I was there. Ross seemed the more star-struck.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

chelsea, march 2006, #3

Wade Guyton at Friedrich Petzel - a small room full of big "paintings", looked great, even very close together. They aren't really painted, the linen (is folded first?) is fed through color printers. Lots of printer's errors - things smudge or drag or blur - make them interesting. Heart As Arena has more info and photos.

I spent some time looking at the one above, thinking about how on one side the white circle looked like positive space and on the other side it looked like negative space, and in the middle it all sort of layered. The two blacks, the left and the right, are not the same; one side is a little more faded. This was an abstract painting, a goofy face, a moonlit night, a hole-y building.

Robert Appleton
Robert Appleton at Paul Sharpe - he painted longing and make-believe.

Laurie Hogin
Laurie Hogin at Schroeder Romero- she can really paint fur! Check out that skull, I saw A LOT of skulls in Chelsea. Cheese skulls, helmet skulls, sad helmet baseball skulls, many many skulls.

in and out real quick: Rachel Whiteread at ?, Tony Oursler at ?, Alois K. at Plus Ultra (the light was really strange in a bad way in there, is that the way it always is?), ? at DCKT, ? at Boesky, ? at Stux, ? at Rare, ? at Freight & Volume. Some others, but can't remember who and where.

not in long enough: Forest movie at Cynthia Broan (only saw the last 20 minutes of the main movie), Phil Collins movie(s) at Tonya Benekder, Kara Walker movie at Sikkema Jenkins. Many good videos in Chelsea. Enjoyed the David Guinan interviews at Alona Kagan (sorry to see Colleen Asper's painting badly lit). Loved Cao Fei at Lombard-Fried.

missed!: Judith Linhares, Jules Olitski at Paul Kasmin!! others i'm sure.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Liz and Val
It's Liz-N-Val!!!

Liz and Val
Val Loves Liz.

by Liz and Val, on Liz
by Liz-N-Val, on Liz.

by Liz and Val, on Val
by Liz-N-Val, on Val.

with Liz and Val
with Liz-N-Val!!!!!!!!!

Look at their work.

(i'm going to add more later, but it is time to go the gym and get home by 10 for Amazing Race)

UPDATE: i don't really have anything to add. the pinkies were eliminated.

Carla Knopp

Found another interesting artist in blog world. Carla Knopp (Indianapolis) left a comment on Bill Gusky's (Connecticut) Artblog Comments. I am thankful for the non-anonymous artist commenters.

anaba, 2004, Martin Bromirski
Carla's self-portrait pictured above is a lot like (to me) my sort-of self-portrait. They both feature isolated wistful figures in fantastically rich remote landscapes.

Check out Carla's paintings!

P.S. Bill Gusky has updated his website. Looks good!

Monday, March 27, 2006

chelsea, march 2006, #2

Stephen Westfall
Stephen Westfall at Lennon Weinberg - I liked every single one, but none of them quite as much as Dogwood, the piece I saw here last summer. I think because Dogwood made me think of Japan.
Jason Fox
Jason Fox at Feature - Jason Fox kicks ass. This was so cool to see right after seeing the Stephen Westfall paintings next door. This painting is in the back and the guy let me look at it, and even pulled out a bigger older one that Fox had painted on the back of a Meyer Vaisman (they are former studio mates).

Everything at Feature was good - the current show in the front room is Lucky DeBellevue; James Wagner has a beautiful photograph here. The paintings are like something from Maurice Tuchman's The Spiritual in Art. Tyler Vlahovich is in the back room with interesting work.

Louise Fishman
Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read - I really liked seeing the little sailboat De Kooning homage in this painting. That's what it is, right? That's how I read it, anyways. Didn't like all of these paintings, some of them got to thick with brushstrokes and flattened themselves out or something. My favorite was in the back room, on the wall on the right. Can't find an image but it was called Ramon De La Vida Loca - it had a lot of variety of strokes and direction and action, and the space was the best. The lightest part was farthest away, the darkest parts closest; and the far away strokes were the sharpest, with the closest the blurriest. There was a big sweep coming down from the top, a little left of center. Like a gauzy curtain.

Lots of Louise Fishman talk on PaintersNYC and at Edna's.
Alison Fox
Alison Fox at Sikkema Jenkins - Another sailboat, maybe(?). Okay, I have now seen enough Alison Fox paintings to know that I generally like them, and in this show she and Paula Wilson were my two favorites, although I didn't like the Fox image that was chosen for PaintersNYC at all, too cake-y. I like her colors and designs, sense of structure, and the seemingly casual brushwork. Some of these paintings get very complicated but they don't become weighted down (except for that cakey one).

The Paula Wilson's were freaky. On some of them all of the crinkly paper add-ons kind of got in the way for me, but on this big butt face one it works well.

The Matt Connors and Mark Handelman were both just completely blah for me, and Chris Dorland's stuff I always find boring for some reason, but not necessarily badly painted. Not sure what it is... the monochrome, the stifling feeling, the sterile settings? Can't get into them or get anything out of them.

They talk about this whole show on Fairy Butler's blog, lots of different thoughts in the comments. Most of them didn't like Fox's paintings, and did like Connors'.

chelsea, march 2006, #1

I saw a lot of stuff.

Inka Essenhigh at 303 - Some of these I liked and some not so much. I like the sense of grotesquerie and wondrousness, all of the attention to detail and the great amount of CARE. This one that was featured on PaintersNYC is full of little animals scampering away into the magic rubber plant forest; the blue painting of the woman in bed being pulled apart by white gremlins looked like a big broken blue egg.

Last June I talked about how recent Essenhigh work was making me think of some of the Ashcan School artists, including a link to this George Bellows. Now that I've seen the painting above I no longer feel like that was such a FAR OUT thing to have said (i noticed that an anonymous someone in the paintersnyc thread also made that connection).

Not so into the colors always. Too much of one color, tooo much blue, like everything is underwater. Maybe trying to make everything seem far away and slowed down?

like an Inka Essenhigh
Little sculpture in the hall of the building I stayed in. Like an Essenhigh.

Tomory Dodge at CRG - Every brushstroke was the same, I couldn't get into these at all. I liked the tube sock hanging from this cactus, and some of the colors.

Tara Donovan at Pace - Too much math. Edna liked it, and of course it is a spectacular piece, but walking around Polly Apfelbaum's Cartoon Garden was more fulfilling.

Michael Raedecker at Andrea Rosen - Overall, I guess I was (a little) disappointed because I was expecting to really love the show, and didn't. This red piece though, from a foot or two away, is ravishingly beautiful. Deep reds and lush decay.

Maybe my expectations were too high, or I need to go back and spend more time with the work. I think these are paintings that I would like more and more every day.

Daniel Johnston at Clementine - Went to this show ready to hate. Most of it was an awful waste of space, but some of them were strong. The person in the piece above is burning in hell and screaming "Please bring me back... I don't want to die. I don't want to be dead!".

The lack of editing was lame. The whole place was just one big ring of framed $2500 drawings. It could have, maybe, been a good show, but this just smacked attempting to cash in.

Diana al-Hadid
Diana Al-Hadid at AIM show- This is not a great picture of Diana's piece but it was taken at the opening and hard to get a good view of. I like that line that goes from the top of the blue painting, through Diana's piece, and ends at the hairline of the man on the right.

Whoah! Diana's name is on Artnet!

Alison Ward
Alison Ward at AIM show - This video was very sexy, strange, and funny. It starts out in the woods with the music from the beginning of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song - just the "aaaaah.. ah, aaaaaaaah... ah" part, followed by panting. It's like someone is running through the woods, breathing hard, maybe being chased. Topless burlesque dancers appear and start dancing. They are wearing wolf masks. I can't describe it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


This is the first piece of art I saw on my visit to NYC this past week. Spotted this Swoon wall piece from my window on the Chinese bus, coming into Chinatown from Richmond, then walked over and took the picture.

$60.00 Round Trip.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

pretty landscape

pretty landscape.

DUMBO show

I'm included in an upcoming show at DUMBO -

"Work In Progress", D.U.M.B.O. Arts Center
Artists: Martin Bromirski, Tom Burckhardt, Chrissy Conant, Byron Kim, Joao Onofre, Douglas Paulson & Ward Shelley.
Curator: Jessica Hough, Curatorial Director of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
March 25th-May 7th, Opening Reception March 25th, 6-9pm

"The exhibition provides an opportunity to glance inside the process of both art making and artist’s block, moments of acclaim and those of isolation. Here the artists have held up a mirror to themselves and generated work that reflects on their own lives"

This is the show I was talking about here, before I knew for sure what I'd be exhibiting, and my contribution is more than originally thought (and will include a painting or two).

Barry Hoggard has used one of my images for his ArtCal listing! Wow! You need to scroll down past the Chelsea listings to get to Dumbo. I guess that means I will need to include that painting in the show, which is GREAT because that is the same painting that swam in the ocean, received a thumbs-up from George Clinton, didn't sell at Aqua, and was represented by Matthew Marks. I enjoy things that happen to paintings after they are made, their "experiences" out in the world. This painting is having a FULL LIFE.

Monday, March 20, 2006

more museum

George Catlin,
Collection of George Catlin paintings. Real liquidy fresh. These are from what he called his "Cartoon Collection", duplicates made of previous paintings that had been sold to pay debts.

This George Catlin is reminding me of this Joy Garnett.

museum room
This huge wall has been empty for at least two months. This would be a good spot to curate a little show of local artists. I'd put up Michele Arthur, Travis Conner, Tom Harte, Ron Johnson, Kirsten Kindler, Michael Lease, Me, Danielle Riede, Oura Sananikone, Bruce Wilhelm, and others - maybe salon style. I was very close to coming back with one of my own small paintings and just hanging it, but wouldn't a little temporary group show, with permission, be better? Please let me do it!!!

The other thought I had was extremely guerrilla, but can't you see a big Rats Rats Rats here? Don't do it, Rats.

museum lobby
This lobby area was disorienting. It was like I had been eaten by the museum. Where is the floor? Where is the wall? It was a Katharina Grosse moment.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

James Pollard

James Pollard (1792-1867) paintings at the museum.

James Pollard
My favorite part of this painting is impossible to see in this awful cell-phone photo. All three outdoor observation decks of that bigger building are filled to capacity with little round heads. They are all tiny tiny tiny and perfectly round. The roof is all heads.

I can't emphasize enough how MANY there are, how TINY they are, and how ROUND they are.

James Pollard
Pollard did a series of fox-hunt pictures. There are other fox-hunt pictures in this room also, with swarms of beagles and beagle tails, but Pollard's are my favorites.

James Pollard, detail
Nice tree.

How can I get the museum to give me better images? They had a contact page for that once and I e-mailed the person, twice, but never heard anything back at all. Now I can't even find that image request page.


I will be visiting the Promiseland later this week. Any recommendations?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tricia Keightley

Tricia Keightley
Tricia Keightley is one of the artists exhibiting at ADA. Very into the precision and colors, the tinted backgrounds. John said these paintings are like what Jules Verne might have imagined paintings of the future to be like.

Tricia Keightley
They are like illustrations of machines from the castle laboratory. Maybe you can find this making cotton-candy at a Renaissance fair.

Tricia Keightley
Gothic. Stained glass.

more later...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Travis Conner

Travis Conner is showing at Chop Suey. I really like these, especially the more sinister spooky sci-fi ones, with spectral forces and demons flickering through slacker Richmond

That green light repeats the color of the green spray-paint in the photo directly above it. The hooded figure on the t-shirt below is an echo one reality removed of the specter in the first photo above, both of them are scary Jedi ghosts. The 7-11 flourescents are like light-sabers.

Travis Conner
maybe I'll write more later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

in-between alley

This thing is so creepy. It's all raggedy and pieces of it are softly blowing in the breeze along with those branches in front. This is a GREAT alley! This piece is directly across from that goest one I posted a few days ago. The alley floor is all grassy green, with birds chirping and sunshine slanting and a soft warm breeze, like another world. You really feel removed from everything, not in the city and not in the country. Trash and neglect and care and attention. It is a very in-between space.

nice painting
This marker drawing/painting is directly to the left of the scary wheat-paste rat-face. It is so unusual (for local graffiti), kind of like one of those big outdoor Chris Martin paintings.

I'm posting the goest one again because they are all next to each other in the alley and I want to be able to see them all together here.

rats is the word
I'm guessing that whoever did the first piece above also did this one, in a doorway on Broad? Are there any more someplace? Spooky.

RELATED: flickr goest tags, F33's Richmond Graffiti set.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Curious, on local graffiti

Someone called Curious has posted a comment waaay too considered and thoughtful to be left hidden in the comments section -

"I love Day by Day videos. I was an avid fan of Punchline and Chew On This magazines. I would have to say that my favorite graff artist/writer would be Expert. The fact that his tag still lingers in hard-to-reach places from more than 10 years ago is testament to what I believe he stood for. I mean, if the municipality isn't even willing to dare to reach it to clean it off in all this time, then it must say something for this man's bravado. I'm proud to see him linger. I still enjoy driving past a few choice stoplights and catching glimpses at Refuse posters several stories in the air. As much as I hated reading "Dirty Ol' South" sprayed on the rooftop of the old Central Bank building, I can't help but still marvel at the prowess of the individual(s), still unknown and at large, who completed the task in a single night. Their attempts were daring and in-your-face, they took risks not only against the forces of law but against the forces of physics as well. We all love a daredevil.

The sad thing is that it seems to me that every year or so I'm now hearing about the latest arrest of another one of these kids who's trying to be the next Samo or something; I even have a direct quote lifted from Basquiat that's been written no more than 100 feet from my house. The sad thing is that every year the names are more and more recognizable and people I've become closer and closer to. Unless you accept the argument that this is some sort of testing ground, can we all agree that it might not be working?

I don't fully yet understand graffiti but I understand and respect artists, those people who seem to be largely responsible for it. I also understand law enforcement. For every day that I decide to let an artist be an artist, another 24 hours has passed that a team of law-enforcement officials might or might not have gotten clues that gets them closer to breaking a case. With Refuse, it was as simple as tracing a bar-code. With others, they had the misfortune of being caught in the act.

It's hard to try to see both sides and come to any firm conclusions. I've got friends who'll never care enough to stop, who know that their lives won't necessarily be ruined and are willing to take their chances on the street. I also have friends who have put down the spray-can and strongly encourage their friends to do the same, fearing that any interruption in the plans they've layed down would risk a future already within their grasp. And still, those that have been caught in the past continue to leave fresh paint and paper on the city walls as if the experience had only crystallized in them who they thought they were, perhaps caught up in the romance of the rogue against the state. Some, even after having amassed a written record of "violations" that exceed $60,000 in retribution, still firmly believe in the sport. In seeing all of this, I'm very reluctant to ever admit any right or wrong in the issue and resign to leave it to a matter of personal choice. But that seems to be when it hurts most.

The part when it really gets personal is when I see an artist intersecting with a community and the result is an error. An artist myself, I believe that many forms of wanton self-expression are worthy of extensive defense and rationalization in the face of community resentment, but the cost to personal property greatly complicates the issue and turns it on its head for me. Ignoring this latter aspect of the argument, we're still faced with communities who feel that abandoned buildings themselves pose lesser threats to our sense of security than the random scribblings, tags, and musings that adorn them. In that, simplest, regard, we still are faced with the dilemma of artist vs. society. It must be noted that Society, while not always the most admirable of opponents, is very adept at winning, and this competance must be carefully acknowledged and calculated by the wise.

But can't we have graff art that, at the very least appears to transcend mere territorial pissings? This is how Society sees graffiti, and most graff artists such as Goest and Goner sadly do little to challenge this view despite whatever intentions they may have.

Far be it from me to solicit notions of Kinkaidian landscapes adorning the crumbling walls of abandoned buildings, and far be it from me to believe that artistic expression should, necessarily, be limited by or restricted to the needs of the community and be held up to notions of what is and what is not acceptable in their eyes. This is, ifnot censorship, appeasement. But still, in spite of all of this, I oftentimes have an intensely difficult time making sense of the current status quo of irrelevant logo-making, brand-recognition, and immersion tactics employed by these artists; actions that are presumably done under the auspices of participating in a rebellion against corporate mass-advertising forces, but instead, appear to doom themselves to imitating them. This is a big argument, and forgive me if I seem clumsy.

As someone who's seen the true compositions of people who've been arrested, as well as those still unknown, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that their voice is better served on the canvas. But graff is what they do. These external explorations do more than just drive their formal content. But still, this martyrdom is a joke. This is the end-sum of heartbreak.

We all do what we have to do for recognition, but in this city I've failed to see it work, and fail to see how there's enough of a sustainable ..anything... to even attempt to make it work. (One or two choice magazine articles and some newspaper headlines, but does it go further?) I admit that it happens in DC, and history has shown that it happens, as anything can happen, in NYC. But as far as Richmond is concerned, is it really working, or is this just an attempt at teaching a pig to sing? When the consequences of bravado in the state of Virginia can get in the way of higher education or land you in jail, I think these are questions we should be asking... In this battle that the artists are waging, I fear our warriors are in a savage land that's over 600 miles from any decent hope of salvation.

I think It's worth noting that Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring weren't saved by a daring and sympathetic art community that upheld artistic ideals in the face of common law, they were saved by buyers and gallery owners who were willing to take risks because they had the financial backing and the appropriate investment forces to believe-in, promote, and profit from what they were doing. Those things don't exist in this town, not even for the good artists, and re-treading the well-worn ground of big-name, big-town artists does little to set us apart. We need a new story.

We need a new public art."

Thanks, Curious. I have a few more related photos I'll post tomorrow.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

rats is the word

got my rejection from the Bethesda Painting Awards yesterday.

rats is the word

rats is the word

rats is the word

Christmas Rats, Richmond, 12/25/1005

rats is the word