Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You've Been Served

Ever check out the blog Daily Serving? It's really an excellent blog, offering up a different Contemporary artists everyday for your consumption. They have great taste, those guys at Daily Serving, they really do.

You ought to check it out, see who they profiled today... it's really worth a gander, a real barometer of who's hot....

That's just my completely unbiased two-cents anyway.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rumor is, They'll Believe in Anything

I can't believe I let them slip through my fingers. I missed Wolf Parade playing at Variety Playhouse last night. Instead I spent the evening cleaning my bathroom. I guess that's what happens to those who are sluggish in buying their tickets. The repercussions are not for the faint of heart (it required a lot of bleach). The tragedy of it... my band t-shirt collection is starting to look a little inadequate.

And so as a feeble substitute for all the fun foe-toes of the show I ought to be posting, here is a video of the very excellent "I'll Believe In Anything." Just close your eyes and pretend it's being sung to you live.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pom Poms and Tinsel

Tobin Hines "Untitled (Clown)" 2008 - Cast concrete, paint, pom poms

Small town Madison, Georgia never ceases to amaze, which may be due in part to Angela Nichols, Gallery Coordinator extraordinaire for the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.

"Untitled (Glam)" 2008 - Pine, paint, and tinsel

Who put together "Glitz Practice," selected works by artists Tobin Hines and Mike Chapman. The show made excellent use of the large three-room gallery space, incorporating sculpture, drawing, photography, painting, installation, and even a bit of glass work. Each room housed a different series of work by each artist, while upholding a sense of light-hearted amusement throughout.

Tobin Hines "Untitled #2" 2008 Graphite on paper

There's something about these drawings by Hines I find incredibly appealing.

"Untitled #2" 2008 Graphite on paper

Can't quite put my finger on it... but these drawings seem just undone enough to engage the viewer completely. It would have been easy to over work these but the artist leaves it to the viewer's mind to fill in the blanks, creating a nice contrast between what is actually seen and what is mentally inferred.

Mike Chapman "Pink Wall" 2008 - Photograph

The drawings are paired with Chapman's photographs, which come across as equally reduced in detail, eliminating the extraneous.

"TV" 2008 - Photograph

But again the gutting of the image leaves room for the viewer's own thoughts. Chapman is purposefully photographing isolated objects, attempting to remove artistic artifice and deliver a suspiciously straightforward image.

"Bed" 2008 - Photograph

("Bed" and "Pink Wall" above read almost like punctuations of color within the series of work but again Chapman is not attempting to create an image any more flamboyant than the actual subject matter. While the photographs do have an "atmospheric" quality it is almost as if Chapman is saying "the jokes on you, all I did was photograph a wall.")

"Phone" 2008 - Photograph

But if the images are blunt in subject, they are not so sincere. The composition lingers somewhere between candid and staged and the artist's decision to photograph this object, in this particular environment, leaves enough unanswered questions to keep the viewer curious and guessing.

"Untitled (plates of food)" 2008 - Photography

Chapman continues this with a series of photographs of food on plates, but unlike the previous series, these indeed can be reduced to shape and color. Mystery is discarded for amusement and through presentation gives a second, slightly more nauseating look, at food for consumption.
Remember the game where you had to figure out "Which of these doesn't belong?"

"Untitled (plates of food)" - detail

No, not this one, I was referring to the photo of the empty plate...

Chapman's photographs of food are paired with Tobin's recreation of various bumper stickers into painted wood panels and sandblasted mirrors.

Tobin Hines "The Universe White" 2008 - mm on panel, sandblasted glass

Again, the pairing of the artist's works is spot on, Hines pokes fun at the silly slogans that reduce people's opinions and attitudes to catch -phrases much as Chapman reduces food portraits to something as nutritious as Pop Tarts, I mean, Pop Art.

"The Universe White" 2008 - mm on panel, sandblasted glass

Tobin Hines "Untitled" - detail

I have mixed feelings about the presentation of these paintings. Sign design (and graffiti) are all the rage in Contemporary art these days, but it seems that one must go a step further than enlarging and duplicating text by hand to get a greater point across. Why not duplicate via a commercial process? The hand painted look begins to resemble Folk Art but is that an appropriate association?

Tobin Hines "Untitled" - detail

The grouping of so many on one wall does make the one-liners seem all the more idyllic and childish but by removing them from the public sphere of automobile bumpers, they become more homespun hanging on a museum wall.

The third room is the most allusive - reading like an exercise in surrealism, converging inside with out, sky with ground, empty billboards and white clouds.

Installation art meets vandalism

The room even came equipped with a sitting area and material for reading. But I would say this one is better experienced in person than through foe-toes. And you've got your chance this Saturday, August 2nd 2008, there will be a reception for "Glitz Practice" from 2-4pm at the Madison Cultural Center. Show up until September 12th 2008.

Friday, July 25, 2008

All the Way From Brooklyn to Television

Things have been too busy, computer(s) still not really working. Here's some new G Bear live on David Letterman the other night with their newbie Two Weeks. Maybe if I listen to this on repeat the work day will go by a bit more swimmingly.

Did I mentioned I've held Ed Droste on my arms before? Sigh.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Build Up

Went over to the Contemporary last Friday for their newest host of openings. Managed to get pictures of what's going down in Gallery Four, the work of three artists from the Studio Artists Program, all of whom are coming to the end of their tenure in the program.

Eric Mack "RKSB-27" 2007 - mixed media/acrylic

Eric Mack "NVZA-171" 2007 - mixed media/acrylic

"NVZA-171" 2007 - detail

Craig Dongoski, "Duration I" 2008 - Ink on paper

"Duration II" 2008 - Ink on paper

"Duration III" 2008 - Ink on wood

I'm not sure on the unifying theme for grouping these three artists in the space. While Mack and Dongoski are both working in the abstract - each of their works embodying a high level of movement - the process and purpose behind the two artist's work seem entirely different. At the risk of making some large assumptions, I interpret Dongoski's work to be very process driven, each repetitive line a seeming response to the one drawn before it, adding up to create dynamic sound-wave shaped movements. The drawings seem partially out of Dongoski's control, each piece the result of an experiment of subconscious action and the limitations of material and space.

"Duration III" - detail

In contrast, Mack's acrylic paintings read as unified objects. The artist applies the paint and collage with the overall composition in constant consideration. While Dongoski's work contains the tension of varying sound-wave shapes colliding, Mack's paintings gel into one plane of turbulent continuity, offering the viewer a theatrical escape that Dongoski's work avoids.

Tim Hunter, "Vanishing Songbirds" - 2007

"Vanishing Songbirds" - 2007

Tim Hunter's wood-carved song birds are even more removed in process and purpose from the other artists. But upon further inspection the extreme detail of Hunter's carving, the small tedious notches creating both texture and movement in the wood, recall Dongoski's myriad of small ink-marks that make up the large bands of shape in his drawings. Perhaps the shared theme is the level of intense repetition in each of the three artist's processes?

"Vanishing Songbirds" - detail

Better than my speculation, plan on hearing all three artists talk about their work this Thursday, July 24th 2008 at 7pm. Make it if you can. Show up until August 31st 2008.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rock Not Included

Elizabeth Latta, "Sweet Love" - Mixed Media

You'd never believe what those crazy artists will do to 12" vinyls.

Foe-toes from the 4th annual Vinyl Show at New Street Gallery. A silent auction fund-raiser including records decorated and/or deconstructed by 50 artists.

Hey, it's Toya Northington

who's vinyl "Asian Traditionalism/American Commercialism" involves the Dye Sublimation process (that I still don't quite understand).

Left: Anita Arliss, "Whorl" - Mixed Media / Right: Jason Murphy "Skull" - Acrylic

The show looked excellent with a broad range of entries.

This had to be one of my favorite pairings. On the left, Valerie Pensworth Taylor's "Moving Away" (referencing her impending move to Portland, OR) was a drawing etched into a record spray painted white by using an exacto knife. And on the right is Katie Ridley's "Bobo Brazil" - a pencil drawing embodying the quirkiness that makes all her work so charming.

Kirsten Mitchell's "Cracklin." Materials listed as, "vintage porn, gravity, rock."

Nuff said.

Zarlacc, who just had an excellent show at Beep Beep early this summer, had this cosmic wave looking piece "Untitled." (Acrylic and Ink)

"Death Vinyl" by Joe Tsambiras really stood out in all its gold-leafed gory glory.

And Brandy Collier's piece "And I Can Make it Juicy For You" might have won for Best Title.

New Street owner Meshakai Wolf's resin coated photo print "Micro/Macro" reminded me of Jupiter and worked well in the round format.

Jakob Dwight's "Untitled" was another favorite, combining plastic aquarium foliage with acrylic water droplets, canvas, and gold paint to create one of the more subtly bizarre and interesting pieces in the show.

And here's my "25 Family Favorites" exploding record. Make all the broken record jokes you want, there is something really satisfying about smashing records with a hammer.

And last but not least (my camera died at this point) John Robert Schulz's "The Hypnotist" might have won for most insanely detailed. Done in Aquarelle on Rives BFK, it looked sharp.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

His Very Favorite Spot to Nap

Local E has been experiencing some technical difficulties lately - hence the lack of posting. Despite having accumulated two computers - both managed to break over the course of 24 hours and left me feeling as helpless as a guy with a stalwart dog dozing in his shirt.

But luckily things are starting to get back on track and by combining the powers of both (i.e. one has internet and one can handle photoshop), I might just be able to eek out this post....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yer New Record Collection

What are you doing Saturday night?

New Street?

Free music, excellent party, cheap (but good) art by the likes of Allison Rentz, Anita Arliss, Brandy Collier, Corrina Mensoff, Joe Tsambiras, Joy Phasavath, Katie Ridley, Kirsten Mitchell, Maxwell Sebastian, Meshakai Wolf, Stan Woodard, Steven Dixey, Valerie Taylor, Zarlacc....etc

and it's a fund-raiser, so one can spend guiltlessly right?

See you there.
Related Post:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Blue Bear Caged

"Hell's Belles." Went to see the performance by Shana Robbins and Kiki Blood (aka Kirsten Mitchell) taking place in Hell.

Fertile ground for some performance art, no? It's the lowest level of the concert venue The Masquerade (Heaven, of course, being the highest). The collaboration of these two artists is a surprising and exciting moment.

Surprising because both artist typically perform alone, the star of their theatrical worlds. Each woman uses her body as the tool, and replaces her personal identity with larger universal struggles and feminist based issues. To combine visions and share a stage means a compromising of more than ego, but of artistic pursuit and control.

Exciting because both of these woman approach performance art with a level of ambition, confidence, and intelligence that demands of the viewer a redefining of art in this city, shoving the boundaries of expectation and understanding to a new level. These artists jam the conveyor belt of Atlanta's art production (while wearing corsets and stilettos) and demand your attention - now - in this moment. Forget price tags, color swatches, white wine in plastic cups - this is real deal - it's alive - you are not looking at art, you have been engulfed by it.

Anyway, off the soap box, and on with the show....

The cavernous space was kept dark (posing as a rather challenging environment for photo-documentation) and began with the Blue Bear (who has made appearances in some of Robbin's previous work). The Blue Bear burned sage around the perimeter of the painted-canvas covered stage, then swept, and paid it's respects to the eye circled in blue light on the floor. The Blue Bear seemed to be a keeper of the space, coming in and out of it's hiding spot (a large metal cage) whenever the vixens would disappear to clean up their mess and then retreat back to it's cage before their next entrance.

Kiki Blood, vixen

Black wig and white mask

grinding her body across the floor

on stage

sets her face upon the mic stand

cutting away the mask

leaves the mask hanging

lays her body across the stage like a temptress

lazy and dangerous

Shana Robbins appears in a head dress of doilies

and tree-branch antlers

camouflage for skin and a crotch of pink lace

the figure walks out with shaky legs on stripper heals

like a new-born deer, moving like jello

mother nature puts on a budweiser thong bikini

the music suddenly changes to bump n grind

and she straddles the tree trunk

and pole dances like a stripper

a black gem tear where the left eye ought be

gyrating hips and raucous shouts from the crowd

up/down, climb that pole girl

one of the antlers was broken

left on the floor for Blue Bear to retrieve

when the pole dancing ended

next was the aerobic lesson

the instructors: two men in suits on screen

work it out, work that body, break a sweat, whip it into shape

"I am a pyramid"

"I am your symbol"

Robbins, a figure in gold

was lowered from the ceiling


jangling gold bells

gold mask

Kiki Blood brandishes a knife

cutting herself out of the pyramid

sound of ripping fabric

canvas becomes a knee length dress she drops at the mic

nude underwear


(I'll use this pause to mention that the Masquerade turned out to be a surprisingly ideal location for this performance. The lighting and music were an integral part of this piece and the facilities of the theater allowed for an incredible execution and control. And where else could Robbins be lowered from the ceiling with such ease?)

the music has shifted

the sounds become humid and thick

flies buzzing, insects swarming

the women hover around the table

spearing cherries with the tips of golden Thai finger extensions

stacking building blocks and playing cards

pop, little explosions

sticky, stick, the music is creepy

they are bored

they are bidding their time

the women move like insects, Praying Mantises wanting to devour the other

the show ends in an unexpected waltz

the women leave their pointed finger extensions on the table

music changes to upbeat

Blue Bear is invited out of the cage (don't hurt that bear!)

viewers are pulled from the crowd to dance

the show ends quietly

like a compacted version of a woman's life was presented

(or maybe just those teenage years?)

a dark place lit

or a civilization

from rough beginning to peaceful end

turns out Hell isn't nearly as bad as everyone says it is.

Related Posts:
Becoming a Tree (Cake Included)