Monday, March 31, 2008

Ruby Ruby

Last weekend I hit the road headed for the Country Music Hall of Fame

Or just a few blocks shy of it anyway

for the hanging of something entirely more enjoyable. (though maybe not quite as entertaining?)

Sweet ole quirky Ruby. If galleries were people, she'd be the old feisty short one drinkin and smokin and copin feels on the that old crankster Eyedrum.

If you happen to be in Nashville on Saturday.

I'll be showing with Adam Davis and John Trobaugh, two great artists creating very intelligent and provoking works.

The show was laid out, re-laid out, re-re-laid out.

Things were hung from the ceiling, rocks poured in the corner.

Works by Davis had arrived. His newest venture is a video piece involving karaoke, which I am really looking forward seeing.

Atlanta never lets anyone leave easily, but once out, she makes it so very difficult to get back in.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Girlfriend's Gotta Gun

I went by Solomon Projects to check out photographer Nancy Floyd's show "She's Got a Gun." I had seen a couple of different images from this series at the ACP Portfolio Walk last year.

"Sharp Shooter Karen Bowker with Smith & Wesson Model 41, Santa Ana, California, 1994,2008"

Floyd, a professor at GSU, started the series in 1993 documenting woman who carry and use firearms under the three specific premises of "pleasure, power, and profession."

The show is in tandem with the release of her book under the same title. The book began as a photography project but as Floyd became more engrossed in the subject it expanded to include a telling of her personal story (she too enjoys the company of a gun) and the history of woman and guns in America since 1850.

This is one of the more odd shots, and for me, one of the more interesting in terms of composition. Or maybe it's just the inclusion of pink couches with a turquoise coffee table covered in guns that makes the word "odd" come to mind, but her living room does tell a larger story.

Katy Grannan, "Ghent, NY" 2000

I was reminded of Katy Grannan's "Model American" series in the similar approach towards taking portraits of people in their intimate environments accompanied by a trace of something askew or incongruous.

"Clair Sherwood with her Guns and her Grandmother's Guilt. Atlanta, Georgia, 1997. Sherwood's firearms: J. Stevens 12- and 20- gauge shotguns, .22- caliber H-D Military, and .22 caliber Wards Western Field no. 484, 2008."

In many ways I think this series reads like a research project or anthropological study. The long titles state the gun specifications in a concise, fact gathering way, and the images omit miscellaneous information not directly related to the woman or her firearm. Floyd also removes herself from these images (as much as any photographer can) and captures a very straight portrait. There is never a sense of Floyd finessing the viewer's interpretation of the subject. Unlike Grannan's work, which is seeped in insinuation, including weighty details that even the model may not be aware of, Floyd stays true to the subject, she is not pulling the strings but simply pressing the shutter (or dare I say, pulling the trigger?), and no doubt representing these women as they wish to be represented.

"Lily Mendoza with .380 Sig Sauer, On Target Shooting Range, Laguna Niguel, California." 1996, 2008.

Floyd's only apparent agenda in her approach towards these subjects is to capture a sense of pride and confidence in their portraits. The woman face the camera with no trace of fear, (the gun working its magic) resolute in their decision not play the victim, perhaps pleased with their own prowess. Floyd does not question the individual's attraction to the firearm within the photograph, but samples a large variety of women who use guns for different reasons (whether professionally or personally), and leaves it up to the viewer to survey the findings and make their own conclusions.
"Eleven-year old Vanessa Noble with 9mm Ruger P89 before her first Practical Shooting competition, On Target Shooting Range, Laguna Niguel, California." 1996, 2008.

There is a certain happy-go-lucky attitude in these images that seems at odds with the fact that these woman are clutching lethal weapons to the bosoms. I grew up in a family of hunters where guns were treated as common place but there was always a lingering hint of danger and need for caution. In many of these photographs the gun becomes a weightless object, held like a toy; a new conversation piece.

This CL cover is pretty hilarious and that's one big gun. There are excerpts from the book included in the article, with different woman explaining their motivations in acquiring a gun.

"Gail with .45 caliber Colt Gold Cup National Match, 1994, 2008"

Gail, Southern California, 1994

"...If trouble comes to me, I don't intend to just sit there or lay there screaming 'help me.' I'm going to grab, as fast as I can, for my loaded weapon. And believe me, I have made up my mind that in order to protect my life I will shoot to kill."

There is a definite element of gender play in these images. In each photograph the gun is held by the subject as if it is an extension of the body. The figure is never looking at the gun directly(acknowledgement of holding a foreign object) but instead the gun blends in, comfortably held in the subject's grip.

These close up, near the crotch, crops in the "Hand Series" hint at a different form of power play being invoked. Beyond photographing soldiers and cops, any woman holding a gun acquires a certain masculine strength that, as these photographs imply, have sexual undercurrents or a motivation to change cultural role playing. After all, Floyd met her group of gun-slingin' compatriots at a "ladies night," a sort of night out in drag, wielding a new weapon, flirting with a new authority. There is a certain sexual attraction to dominance, strength, and risk and these photographs survey a group of woman confident in their assertion of it.

Go check out the show. Up at Solomon Projects until April 12th 2008.
Update: Show extended until May 3rd 2008 with a second artist talk/book signing to take place on Wednesday, April 23rd at 6:30pm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


One of those dayz

Wandered through Studioplex in search of the "EXTRACTED[examined]" juried exhibition of SCAD students. I was lured into the labyrinth by a show statement offering: "botanical systems as an analogy for the nuances of memory, the meaninglessness and absurdity inherent in human existence, the complexities of contemporary femininity, the effects of human endeavors on the natural environment, the continual interplay of inclusive and exclusive forces in individuals and societies, the human body’s reactions and adaptations to a changing world, and the documenting of our world’s visibly perceivable phenomena."

Sounds really interesting.

The show was closed for Easter weekend. Looks a bit like a kindergarten classroom from the outside. Photoawesome did make it inside the show though and has a video walk through with accompanying soundtrack.

the meaninglessness and absurdity inherent in human existence...

the continual interplay of inclusive and exclusive forces in individuals and societies...

Went by Eyedrum to see the "Draw Off" show but it was closed too. No art for Easter.

the documenting of our world’s visibly perceivable phenomena...

No matter, it was off to the mountains for Junior's first hiking experience.

I think his view of the world changed dramatically. A never ending bed of leaves, over flowing banquets of sticks, new types of animal droppings to sniff, and the absence of distracting fire truck sirens every four minutes... is this... heaven?

Action shot. He's clears the fallen trees like a natural. Some guy said, "that there's a little deer."

the effects of human endeavors on the natural environment...

the human body’s reactions and adaptations to a changing world...

6.7 miles later he was one tired and happy pup.

Alright, so I admit this post is a failed attempt at art coverage and a shameless display of pictures of my dog, but you know you liked it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It Ain't Tru Till It'd Been Foe-toed

Went to the packed launch party at New Street for this new rag.

This post requires no words, it'll just be foe-toes (of our illusionairy world).

Wait, I must interject here (self importance taking over).... this one's great
Child psychology: discernible as a four-eyed cat.

Some guy at the party told me the propagation of images and information via new media is, or already has, destroyed any possibility of an original moment, idea, or thing.

Damn those blogs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

In Small Packages

Last Thursday I made my way over to the new lil Opal Gallery in lil 5 points for the opening of "Color Fields: an instant exhibition," a group show of Polaroid photographs. It was my first time to Opal and I was eager to see the space after learning that the ingenuity of architects Brian Bell and David Yokum, of, were employed for the design the space. These are the guys also behind the renovation of Whitespace and this slick house.

One of the unique aspects of the one room space is that every wall can be viewed from outside of the gallery through the all-glass facade. It creates a nice transparency for passers-by to be able to view shows, even when the gallery is closed, a bit like window shopping but more like window perusing. It seems like a space ripe for shows incorporating public interaction.

The show, of 13 artists captivated by Polaroid film, was curated by Stephanie Dowda and presented by the collective Click Clique. The show was arranged in rows by color value to represent the color spectrum wrapping around the three walls and each grouping was the work of a different photographer.

I was torn between loving the simplicity of the presentation, which complimented the space and engaged the shape of the instant photographs perfectly, with wishing I had more information in the form of name labels. But in retrospect I think the ambiguity of the artists (which I am sure could have been easily rectified if I wasn't too lazy to ask for a show list) actually benefited the presentation of the work. Because all of the artists are using such a standardized format, it was interesting to walk around the room and begin picking up on slight nuances in style, subject matter, and camera handling to develop my own reading of these narrative-rich works.

People hiding their faces in rouge.

Some guy with orange hair took a picture of me taking pictures.

Blues and Greens. A picture of a picture of a picture.

While coincidental in timing, this shows carries extra impact due to Polaroid's recent announcement to end production of their instant film in 2009. It's hard to image a world without Polaroid film and with the resurgence in popularity I wish Polaroid had held out just a little longer. Then again, at $1 a shot, how can they compete with digital? Polaroid needs to move on towards creating a digital camera that captures the same great saturated colors and toy camera feel of the real thing, because there really is no substitute.

This series of colors fields was a nice juxtaposition to the majority of bright figurative work.

Makes me think of Tillman's Concord series

except without the planes. These work really well together.

Stephanie Dowda eyeing the art (or posing uncomfortably at my insistence)

This is a great shot.

Also brings to mind the (Nan Goldin meets street art meets privileged upbringing) Polaroids of this puffery punk.

Yellow. These three are awesome together.

Show is up until April 2nd 2008, go check it out. And at only $30 a pop, start yourself an art collection.