Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sea Change

Good effing god... at last, at last at last blundering Bush is on the way out and the future actually seems hopeful, prospects look good, artists could even, maybe (?!?), become slightly more valued in this country. Obamanation. Sign me up. Now if only he can do something about the rampant homophobia clogging the veins of this country (what are those 18,000 married gay couples in CA going to do now?) and put a bit more integrity back into the Supreme Court, things would really be looking up.

I've been too preoccupied lately to keep up with this blog or the barrage of photography the month of October in Atlanta offers. But all the Obama craze (and hope, and joy, and pride, and optimism) reminded me of the excellent show "Nelson Mandela: Man of the People" at Spruill Gallery and compelled me to blog onward.

The show is an impressive collection of photographs documenting the life and struggles of Nelson Mandela as captured by Peter Magubane, an internationally acclaim African photographer.

The front two rooms present the earlier years of the anti-apartheid struggle, dated in black and white, the unsettling images convey the violence and suffering with interjections of surreal beauty in the bare landscape.

The show statement notes about Magubane, "Placed under house arrest, banned from photography, beaten up and imprisoned in solitary confinement, he was not deterred from his task, and sometimes hid his camera in a loaf of bread to capture these moments in history."

I know Obama is not Mandela, and America is not South Africa, but this fight for a better world burns in both of them, and this show only emphasises for me the importance of Obama's leadership in a time when our country has spent too long chasing its own tail while tripping backwards down a very slippery slope.

Ok ok, this is not a political blog, and for good reason, because I couldn't tell you the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite if my life depended on it, so I will stop with my Obamatyzing and get back to the aht.

The show transitions into color photography throughout the rest of the gallery, documenting Mandela's personal life, supporters who rallied for him, his time as President, meeting with various international notables, and his personal life as a father and grandfather.

"We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based of justice for all."

"This is the challenge that faces all South Africans today, and it is one to which I am certain we will all rise."


(Rosa Parks!)

The show is really a must-see, and there is no better excuse than the closing reception (and Obama celebration) this Saturday, November 8th 2008 at Spruill Gallery 6-8pm.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On Marietta St.

Suzanne Opton
"Solider Billboard Project: Bruno"
September 13th - November 3rd 2008

Funded in part by The Contemporary


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hydrangeas: the Vegan variety

Made my way out to Avondale Estates

to pay a visit to my friend Janna and her studio.

which might be the quirkiest alterations shop I've had the pleasure of visiting.

If you happen to be a bride-to-be who needs a complicated wedding dress altered, completely taken apart and put back together, or simply one designed from scratch

this is the lady to see about it.

And her one-woman workshop is always turning out cool detailed pieces (even I think so and I don't like weddings).

Janna is currently making flower girl dresses for a fancy wedding Oprah is rumored to be attending

that are covered in handmade fabric flowers

that are really detailed and too small for my camera to actually focus on.

like these Hydrangeas. Everything is made from vegan friendly materials like Peace Silks (no harm done to the silk worm) and some type of Brazilian nut that is used as a replacement for ivory so the elephants live and the money earning trees aren't torn down in Brazil to make way for more McD's cattle pastures.

Very good things are happening here. Makes me feel slightly better about the world.... I hear Janna is even toying now with organic fabric dyes.

Check out more of Janna Dudley's work here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wrastlin this Weekend

If you're around this weekend stop by Eyedrum Small Gallery this Saturday between 6-9pm! I'll be showing a new installation piece and test running a new way of presenting images. See you there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Road Kill

Eyedrum is full of unexpected surprises at the moment.

With Ruth Stanford's solo show of sculpture "Cryptoecology."

"Indicator Species: Hellbender (Cryptobranchus Alleganiensis"

It's not your typical ecologically-minded sculpture, but it is cryptic indeed. I left the show still trying to wrap my mind around the complex ideas Standford tackled in the show. Interesting to see, especially being in the south, the use of wall-mounted taxidermied animals as the bearers of dire environmental warnings. (Although I am guessing they were fabricated completely by hand?)

Is "Hellbender" meant to be a foreboding as I interpreted it? The skeletal plaque-mounted chicken head hold in its mouth what appear to be deflated tombstones made of a synthetic rubber material to appear like animal skin.

"Bomb Fish"

Fish heads emerge from abstracted landscape paintings that bring to mind the cheesy paintings of ducks in mid-flight usually found hanging between a couple of stuffed mallards on a hunter's den wall.

"Lily Fish"

Each mouth contains a miniature scene of a horrific event unfolding. People in space suits cleaning up a nuclear waste site or a graveyard of tombstones, or bodies on stretchers like the remains of the plague.

"Green Fish"

The fish seem to hold the future in their belly, opening their mouths as if to speak a prophecy, a warning. Ironically these fish are reduced to stuffed heads, caught, killed, and made trophies; Victims of man's growing impact on the planet.

"Forgotten Facts of Natural Ecology: Aquatics"

But just as this show tips towards becoming too preachy, too obviously dire, Stanford gives us the "Forgotten Facts of Natural Ecology" series of cement and dumptrucks spilling grey masses of food all over the ground.

"Forgotten Facts of Natural Ecology: Aquatics" - detail

These are brilliant. The monotone color stark and gloomy but rendering them monumental despite their actual sizes, as if food production on a horrifying large scale is being memorialized.

"Forgotten Facts of Natural Ecology: Terrestrial Harvest"

The sculptures are simple and abstract enough, slick in their delivery that they are as beguiling as disturbing, capturing in essence the complexity of food production in today's society.

"Forgotten Facts of Natural Ecology: Terrestrial Harvest"

Citrus fruits. Where is the artist statement for this anyway? I never came across one but you can read Cinque's Loaf-worthy thoughts on the show here.

"Forgotten Facts of Natural Ecology: Output"

In "Output" Stanford replaces the grey with the bright artificial colors of the processed pastries and doughnuts, making them stand out as disgustingly unnatural and glossy against the stark background.

The center piece of the show is a road Stanford laid down in the middle of the gallery space, covering it with brightly colored small prairie dogs which seems to be innocently sun bathing and playing around, unaware of the impending arrival of the automobile.

Is that a whippet?

While all of the work in the show contemplates a grim outlook, as with the brightly neon colored animals, Standford continuously adds into the mix an element of humor. It doesn't seem Stanford intends to hit anyone over the head with threats but instead invites the viewer in for a party, allowing them to connect the warnings.

Prairie Dog Congo line or praying to the gods?

"Cryptoecology" up at Eyedrum through October 4th 2008. Check it out.