Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I had trouble getting into the Talent Show theme of the group show and it seemed more like an odd assortment of arts and crafts than a celebration of Atlantan's talents, the term "Biennial" seeming inappropriate. For me the show highlighted the great question in Contemporary art of how exactly one goes about defining what is "good" art in an artworld that embraces any practice, from graffiti to knitting, if it has the right spin (and curator) behind it. For example, the image above is a video by the very accomplished Atlanta artist Charles Huntley Nelson, who created a video "examining aspects of race, identity, and transformation" using references from the films The Invisible Man and Metropolis. Below is an image from a wall littered with paintings by the "Open Studio Art Group" which is a "weekly therapeutic art program for the residents of The Jewish Tower" (a retirement home I think).
Another example: the intricate and conceptually layered painting above by Jiha Moon, who is represented by Saltworks Gallery, was shown in the same gallery as the embroidered picture below by Lana Adams.
I enjoyed the performances on Saturday and found them more successfully fulfilling the promises of the show than the visual art. As always, the performance by Ronnog and Steve Seaberg was great, and seeing them for the first time indoors I was able to hear more of the spoken word poetry, the assertion "presidents are maggots" still resounding in my brain.
Talent Show at The Contemporary is up through August 11th 2007. More info at http://www.thecontemporary.org/
Monday, July 23, 2007
At Marcia Wood Gallery, the well known Encaustic artist Joanne Mattera curated the show, called "Luxe, Calme, et Volupte" meaning "A Meditation on Visual Pleasure." Mattera refers to the show as "unabashedly beautiful" and it relishes colorful abstract work. I guess that really just strikes up a debate on the definition of beauty which, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. While it was a meditation on color abstraction and an interesting display of a wide variety of painting processes, I didn't find the show very riveting, conceptual, or daring. The curator avoided questioning the purpose or place of abstract painting in contemporary art and instead seemed to bask in the romance of it.
I thought the painting by Tim Macfarlane was easy on the eyes:
Probably the most interesting show of the night was at Romo Gallery. The three person group show was done is association with The National Black Arts Festival and focused on modern interpretations of the traditional art form of portraiture.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
I put in a bid on Brandy Collier's fabric piece:And Meshakai Wolf's piece "Wound":
Apparently I am not the only one who felt this way about the success of the theme. Roussel acknowledged this is in the curatorial statement saying:
"Curating a show with fury as its theme seemed like an exciting endeavor when I first accepted the responsibility. I had visions of Eyedrum transformed into some kind of inferno, a place where visitors would leave feeling shocked, drained, yet exhilarated. I expected artists to present me with their most primal, gestural, out of control work. I have since come to realize that while an artist may be inspired in the midst of a bout with dark forces, the work of art produced, in most cases, will be created after the storm. This often leaves us with work that is extremely self-conscious, almost apologetic, vulnerable."
There was certainly an element of meditation in the show, such as Jonathan Feild's "Maxwell's Demon [New York Times 2003]". In his work, Feild's reproduces images from the NYT on the first day of each month in 2003 using steel pins on rubber. The materials created an interesting visual effect, forcing the viewer to move around the piece, looking at it in different lights trying to get a grasp on the imagery. There was an element of mystery and underlying danger. Maybe it was because the piece was included in a show called "Furious" but I kept expecting, almost hoping, for an act of violence to eventually be discerned from the pins. Instead the image never becomes too sensational or riveting. For me, like most of the "Furious" work, the piece is missing something- that shock of realization that out of the darkness a new understanding is found.
The highlight of the show for me was "Bomber Boy" by Dietrich Wegner. The sculpture of a small kid with dynamite strapped around his torso was grabbing. Wegner wrote about the piece:
"Bomber Boy is an attempt to understand the face behind the violence. He grew from the American media and general public's failure to acknowledge the humanity of the citizens of Iraq and Palestine. He also formed out of the realization that, should roles be reversed, any American could become a confused little boy loaded with dynamite, caught up in a world seemingly out of his control."
The show runs through August 4th 2007. More info at http://www.eydrum.org/
The sculpture haunted me for the remainder of the day, and I blame it largely on the socks. Something about those little kid socks, white with the grey toe, there was such an innocence and vulnerability. I found myself wanting to protect this little kid, feeling sick at the idea of children being used in war, feeling sicker at the thought of all those kids who are being used in war, and in a way, I became really furious.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
I managed to get there just in time for all of the entertainment, starting with a performance piece by Peggy Dobbins, that involved her dressed in a nun outfit and shouting out various things to the crowd that they would in turn call back in response.This was then followed up by the "Dames Aflame" cabaret dancers. They arrived in Frida-esque clothing, with flowers in their hair, and quickly striped down to next to nothing. I kept waiting for the nun to reappear for some interesting new dialogue but to no avail. It was a great show anyway and the music was so contagious I could tell I wasn't the only one trying to resist joining in.
Aside from the choreographed show of skin, the other highlight for me was the film by photographer Jody Fausett in collaboration with Shana Robbins. I was a bit mesmerized by it and watched it at least three times before able to pull myself away. It was in Fausett's style of high contrast and saturated colors with surreal imagery. Out of everything in the show I felt this film took a different approach to celebrating Frida Kahlo legacy and in many ways was the most successful. There was an insinuation of hidden narrative and imagery used to create something out of a dream or the subconscious. The piece was less a direct illustration of Kahlo and more a work celebrating her influence. There was of course the one not-so-subtle inclusion of the uni-brow that Robbins was sporting in the film but that sexy little detail was just the flare a piece about Frida requires.
Photographer Benita Carr had a poignant piece about the body. Taking Kahlo's trademark attribute of abundant facial hair, Carr demonstrated the abuses the body undergoes to meet our culture's ideals of beauty, by documenting the waxing off of a mustache. But by including an image of Kahlo's uni-brow in the piece, she questions this assumed definition of beauty. After all, as Selma Hayek showed us all, no one was sexier, or more of a woman, than Kahlo and all her bountiful hair.
I found my sculpture "Arch" to be mounted on a pink wall, and to my surprised it really made the piece pop. Who knew? Pink walls? This makes me rethink everything...
I was also very taken by the hallway covered in brightly painted cardboard cut-outs of plants by Justine Rubin. It was the floral "feel good" space I want to transfer over to my apartment once the show is over.
Here's Matt interacting with the sculpture "Broken Column" by Roberta Griffin
Nothing says happy birthday like sparklers. From this point forward, John Otte DJed music that had people dancing in the courtyard well into the night.
During the party some other artists and myself speculated over what element of the opening drew this insane crowd. Was it the half naked dancing women? Free liquor? A group show of engaging art? Or maybe it's all because of Frida? Apparently, after 100 yrs, Frida Kahlo is making as big a splash as ever - and she still throws a damn good party.