Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Kirsten Kindler the Second Post

I was talking to someone yesterday and came to realize that the Kirsten Kindler show I thought I had written very positively about, my friend read as being very negative. Whoah!! This is unsettling. Did anybody else get a negative impression from that post? If so, I need to clarify and emphasize that I really liked that work!!

Re-reading the post I see that I was very descriptive, and not so effusive. I guess I can understand how someone with a different sensibility might read the same descriptions and think ugh. Bridal beauty and pond scum gross, fancy from afar but up close cuts and tape. Those things were pointed out in admiration; duality is good, ambiguity is good, shifting perceptions, simultaneous and conflicting associations are good.

It might be that thinking about Kirsten's work infected my writing about her work. Nothing was clear, murky multiple interpretations abound.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Black Factory, come to Richmond?

Last week I read about William Pope L.'s national spring performance tour, The Black Factory, on Art Fag City. I'm not sure what this is or what they do, but I hope they will consider a stop in Richmond.

THE POPULATION OF RICHMOND IS ALMOST 60% BLACK, but where are the black artists?

- at the crowded opening reception of the current Anderson Gallery exhibitions the only black person I saw was also the only uniformed person I saw - the guy pouring the wine.

- did you see Clarke Bustard's short February 15th round-up of the February black shows? Did it make you feel queasy too?

- the only black staff or faculty I can recall meeting in three years of visiting VCU's Fine Arts Building have been uniformed security and custodial staff, and one departmental secretary. As far as I know, none of the four departments in that building had a single recent black faculty member, adjunct or otherwise, until this school year's hiring of Sanford Biggers in the Sculpture Department and Sonya Clark as head(!) of the Crafts Department. Okay, so that now makes two black faculty members out of about fifty-four total.

- also can't think of a single black graduate student in the 2004, 2005, or 2006 graduating classes, of any of those departments. Were there any? Are there any amongst the current group of first-year grad students, the class of 2007?

The painting department is the department I am most familiar with and I'm pretty sure that for the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 classes there are no black students at all, out of a total of maybe thirty-two kids. Somebody please tell me I am mistaken.

Something is very wrong here, or maybe not just here but everywhere. How many black painters have been featured on PainterNYC? Laylah Ali is the only one that I know of, and does she even live in NYC? I'm NOT trying to pick on VCU and definitely not the excellent PainterNYC with this post, but Edna's righteous anger at gender disparity has got me wondering about who is really really really missing.

These are probably the only local black artists that have been featured on this blog - this anonymous artist and Hylah Wright, neither in gallery shows and I don't even know for sure if either one of them is black. If they aren't black then there have been probably ZERO local black artists looked at in almost eighteen months of doing this blog, in a city that is almost 60% black.

What is going on? How fucked up are we?

Emma Amos - "I think it's a political statement for an artist, for a black artist, to walk into the studio, because basically, nobody gives a damn."

Friday, February 24, 2006

glad there is an Edna

I am so glad that there is an Edna. A good idea might be to print out that post, or something similar, and bring it to the Biennial along with a pushpin to pin up in the "Down by Law" room.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stephanie Jarosinski

Stephanie Jarosinski
The first floor gallery of the VCU Fine Arts Building has a memorial show of art by student Stephanie Jarosinski (1983-2005). I didn't know the name but looking at all the self-portraits in the show I thought I recognized her, and then saw a small poster for the show with her picture on it - I remember seeing her around. She was very pretty.

The show is a big collection of her student work, lots of portraits of family, friends, and herself. The piece above is a collage of paper-doll Stephanies - "art student", "dressed up", and "party".

Stephanie Jarosinski
Some pictures of Japanese things. A portrait of her grandmother looks very Asian, she was probably part Japanese.

Stephanie Jarosinski
She looks happy. Too young. Makes me want to cry.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A. Jacob Galle

Stills from A. Jacob Galle video at 1708 Gallery -

A. Jacob Galle
Starts with him measuring off, developing, and planting a small plot in front of a building. People walking by on the sidewalk, sitting on the steps. Filmed on different days but all put together as one.

A. Jacob Galle
Next we are at a field, a structure is being built.

A. Jacob Galle

A. Jacob Galle
Attaching photographs, staring from bottom left and working across, then the row above that, then the row above that. The video is speeded up a bit.

A. Jacob Galle
It is the building from the beginning of the video.

A. Jacob Galle

A. Jacob Galle
Time goes by. Tending the corn.

A. Jacob Galle
Putting a bent-over-shape scarecrow thing in the field.

A. Jacob Galle
It comes alive! He must have made five or six of these different silhouette shapes and is using stop-motion photography - it is like they are dancing in the field. There is music, with a beat. This was unexpected.

A. Jacob Galle

A. Jacob Galle

A. Jacob Galle

A. Jacob Galle
Michael Oatman wrote a short essay on Galle for the exhibition. I wrote about seeing Michael Oatman's video, A Romance in Optics, last summer - this Galle video is another red-tailed tropic bird.

door to chop suey

Chop Suey
This is the door to Chop Suey Books, currently showing Michele Arthur. A yellow school bus drove by as I took this picture but didn't get in the shot. I waited for another one, but... no more.

Monday, February 20, 2006

VMFA Fellowship Deadline

Libby Pumpkin
March 1st is the postmark deadline to be considered for a VMFA Fellowship!

Good luck! This year's juror is Libby Pumpkin. There is some stuff about fellowship categories and residency requirements, but none of that matters. Everybody should just apply.

Libby Pumpkin's photo has been provided by Michael Lease.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Kirsten Kindler

Kirstin Kindler
One of Kirsten Kindler's wall hangings at ADA Gallery. All of her pieces in this show are assembled from cut-outs of magazine photographs, I think mostly advertisements; it isn't possible to identify the subjects of the original photos. I visited her studio once and she had a row of boxes on her worktable filled with shapes, separated by color. Lots of blues, greens, and darks.

This piece is not touching the wall, it's suspended at the top and casting shadows. I'm not sure if, with a piece like this, she knows what she is making from the start and cuts the shapes accordingly, or if she assembles something unplanned from the shapes she has cut. Maybe a little of both. This whole thing is taped together with scotch tape; it looks very fancy here but up close you can see all the tape and the scissor cuts that have been repaired with tape. It shimmies in the wind when the door opens and closes.

This is an interesting piece to compare to one of Carson Fox's wall hangings. They look similar, but Carson's piece is made of wire and synthetic hair, and brings to mind specifics like hair memorials and mourning. The interpretations of Kirstin's piece are more open, your idea of what the material might be (iron, cloth) shifts along with various associations (a closed gate, an illuminating chandelier).

The recontextualized glossy magazine source imagery is making me think of Paul Ryan's paintings.

Kirsten Kindler
One of three mysterious milky rorschachs. Everything is obfuscated - the original source imagery, whatever it was in the magazine, is cut into this sort of creepy rorschach pattern and then placed under a milky piece of glass.

I see a royal insect face-mask, like a character from my Garden story. No, wait, now I see the female reproductive system.

Kirsten Kindler
Many many interlocking rings, cut from magazine photos and taped together. Something bridal beautiful and also pond-scum gross. How does this get moved and stored? Click here to see it much larger and better.

Kirstin Kindler at ADA
Installation at ADA

untitled, 2005, Martin Bromirski
Kirsten Kindler is the ONLY PERSON to have bought one of my paintings in 2005!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Matthew Fisher and Steven Roebuck at ADA

Matthew Fisher
This small Matthew Fisher painting at ADA Gallery is so strong, from all the way across the gallery it commands your attention. The black is much shinier on the wall, the white horse more muscular. Everything is compacted and compressed, like a tensed muscle.

(you need to click on these paintings to see them best, they seem a little distorted here)

Steven Roebuck
Steven Roebuck's newest paintings were such a surprise! The gloomy black glossiness is gone, replaced by a grainy, sandy, sweet white melancholy. You can't tell from these photos, but the canvas is attached very casually, much looser than the previous paintings, which as I recall often had claustrophobic frames. Or maybe they didn't, and that is just the way they felt - heavy black spaces hard to breathe in.

These are as quiet, still, and dreamy as the Matthew Fisher, but without that painting's ominous charged intensity. Not compacted and compressed, but loose and languid depictions of imagination and discovery.

Steven Roebuck
Steven Roebuck.

P.S. - Kirstin Kindler is also showing at ADA right now, I will do a separate post on her next.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Michele Arthur

I saw the Michele Arthur exhibition at Chop Suey today, and it was so strangely rewarding.

Michele Arthur
This piece is at the top of the stairs so it is one of the first things you see. The round piece is attached to a painted screen. You can't see it here, but there is a piece of thread that connects this piece to another circle-on-a-painted-screen piece (more like a morning-time one), with origami birds attached to the thread. Not sure yet how I feel about the thread and origami birds, but I like the individual screen pieces.

Michele Arthur
Most of the paintings were orange and black, or orange or black. This piece is called Moonless Mountain. Wendy White posted on Forrest Bess recently, and one of my reasons to visit Chop Suey was to try and find a Forrest Bess book - I didn't find one but my FB radar was up and my mind was very much in tune with these paintings. Here is a page of Forrest Bess paintings.

It cracked me up reading her labels, the prices were $33, $99, $111, $222, $333, $444, $555, $777, with one for $5,432.10 and another 3,000,000 rubles. It was all so random - perfect and funny for Richmond because nobody ever buys anything anyways. There was no painting for $666.

Some of these cell-phone photos are so bad. The wall around the one above is too white, and around the orange painting below so blue - but it was all the same color.

Michele Arthur
So simple, so little done here, but it is clearly finished. I wonder if it happened for her as easily as it looks like it came? I sometimes am able to make a painting just happen, but that usually surprises me. More often I'll make something that looks like it came a lot easier and quicker than it did.

Michele Arthur
Fingerprint windowpeople and one small antenna.

Michele Arthur
The black one has a smaller canvas glued to it, and an asteroid or shooting star. I think that asteroid is cut from a magazine or something, it isn't painted. There is a texture to the smaller glued-on canvas that I was associating with the moon and craters before I stood in the right light and saw that it was a handprint.

Here is that little one viewed from an angle.

Michelle Arthur at Chop Suey closes March 5th


Broken-hearted Harvey family memorial at the edge of Carytown.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

i take the bait

"Our colleague Jerry Saltz who teaches at Columbia has also dropped by Natalie’s studio"

Jerry Saltz had thirty-two articles published on Artnet between 12/2004 and 12/2005, sixteen of which were individual artist features. Eight of those were of NYC artists, three of whom are Columbia graduates, one of whom (until very recently anyway) is faculty.

Jerry knows which side his bread is buttered on. The features mentioned above focus on single artists, but there are plenty of two or more artist articles with an inordinate number of favorable Columbia mentions. Here is a 12/7 feature on Columbia professor Jon Kessler. Here is a 11/10 article on recent graduate Laleh Khorramian, sandwiched between two articles on European men. The Khorramian article notes that "Khorramian has yet to master the art of melding sound and image (something her Columbia colleague Mika Rottenberg excels at)".

The funniest example is probably the review of the Greater NY show, in which he admits that having 31 Columbia graduates and current students in the exhibition of 162 artists feels fishy, yet includes seven of those Columbia students among the nineteen artists he chooses to name. Six of those Columbia artists are described as "excellent", with the seventh, Tamy Ben-Tor's video, deemed "one of the strongest pieces in the show". The non-Columbia artists mentioned are variously described as "rowdy artists turned tidy", "left to die in hallways", and "intriguing", followed by a parenthetical listing of twelve women artists cited as examples of some of the better artists in the show. Four of the seven photos of artwork (from a show of one hundred sixty-two artists) accompanying the article are the work of the Columbia-affiliated artists.

Oh, only FOUR of those sixteen consecutive individual artists featured were women. Does anybody not notice Jerry's propensity to pay lip-service to a problem (like the absence of women, or the hyping of youth and the market) but then continue to write as if that problem doesn't exist and he isn't a big part of the problem?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Frankenstein Scholar's Rock

This is a (bad) photograph of a Steve Bickley in front of a James Hyde, at Reynolds Gallery. Like a scholar's rock.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

many many prints at Reynolds Gallery

There has been A LOT of printmaking to see in Richmond recently. Barbara Tisserat's show at the Hand Workshop, the current amazing collection of prints from the collection on exhibit at the Anderson Gallery, the current Carrie Mae Weems show at the Hand. I guess the Weems are prints, right? Prints or photographs? The card says "gelatin silver prints", I don't know what all the terms and techniques are.

Reynolds Gallery is showing a big selection of "prints by modern masters" through February -

Marc Chagall
Cute faces in the crowd of Marc Chagall's Les Cyclistes, 1956

Marc Chagall
Here is another shot of the same Chagall lithograph. So much movement and circles and speckles.

Elizabeth Murray
Elizabeth Murray, Undoing, 1989-1990. Much greener in reality than this photograph shows. There are three wavy-edged pieces of paper, each consecutively smaller, placed one on top of the other. The smallest one (the one on top) has a hole cut out in the center, the middle sized sheet of paper has a smaller hole, and the biggest piece of paper (the bottom one) has the smallest hole. Maybe too much explanation on my part, but I liked seeing all these layers and overlapping with everything spinning around into that center whirlpool. Can you see the two uncorked green bottles releasing their spirits?

James Sienna has two prints hung near the corner opposite Chuck Close's portrait of him. Those look interesting together. I noticed that some of the prints - the Sienna's, a Clemente, a Frankenthaler - are all listed as being "ukiyoe style". The Sienna is a "thirteen color ukiyoe style woodcut", the Clemente a "twenty-two color ukiyoe style woodblock", and the Frankenthaler a "sixteen color ukiyoe style woodcut". What does that mean? I know that Ukiyo-e was a Japanese style, and that many woodblock prints were made in that style, but don't understand this as a printmaking term. All three of these artist's work is coming from Pace, did they just make up the term or something?

Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud, Delicatessen (from Delights), etching, 1964. I like this one very much. I was drawn over to it thinking, "this is like that 1964 illustrationy stuff I like so much" - and it was dated 1964!!

Richard Serra
Richard Serra has a black black textured piece called Extension #3, 2004. I like the whole thing but especially this area.

On the left you can see a teeny tiny black mark on the white wall.

On the right you can see a teeny tiny white speck of dust or something on the black etching.

Here is a shot of Bruce pointing to the black spot, for scale