Two long days
If you don't know me this morning
I'm aloud to get along
Ignore the warnings
I don't suppose I
I could have started sooner
Re-writing the letter
The last one
We get along
Both sides now
Two long days
Feels like rain
Keeping up since I just started
Spell it out
But whose to blame
All my friends use to say I knew you
I don't suppose I
I could have started sooner
Re-writing the letter
The last one
We get along
Both sides now
To strong to start it
To the long departed
The picture does not necessarily involve disapproval or unkindness. These deficiencies are again, often attributed to the intensity of the artist's preoccupation with his particular view and to the unworldly nature of the artist's vision itself. The tolerance granted to the absentminded professor is extended to the artist. Collectors, and common art enthusiasts contrast the artlessness of the creative person with judgments on the high attainment of his art. While his or her naïveté are gossiped about, they are viewed as signs of simplicity and inspiration. If the artist is inarticulate and lacking in the usual repositories of fact and information, how fortunate, I have heard it said, that nature has contrived to divert from them all worldly distractions so they may be single minded in regards to their special talent.
This myth, like all myths, has many reasonable foundations. First, it attests to the common belief in the laws of compensation: that one will gain in sensitivity by the deficiency in another. Homer was blind, Beethoven deaf. Too bad for them, but how fortunate for us in the increased vividness of their art. But more importantly it attests to the persistent belief in the irrational quality if inspiration, finding between the innocence of childhood and the derangements of madness that true insight which is not accorded the normal person. When thinking of the artist, many still likes to adhere to the view that there invention in him, or he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer fully there. Although science and technology daily threatens to render mystery from the imagination, the persistence of this myth is the inadvertent homage which people pay to the penetration of their inner being, as it is differentiated from their reasonable daily experience.
Strange, but artists have never made a fuss about being denied those virtues that other people would not do without: intellectuality, good judgment, a knowledge of the world, and rational conduct. It may be said that artists have helped foster the myth. In his intimate journals Vollard passed along that Degas feigned deafness to escape disputations and tirades concerning things he considered false and distastful. If the speaker or subject changed, his hearing immediately improved. Local legend, Joe Reno bolsters around Seattle often wearing a dust mask, and claiming to be Degas or Picasso. Often this occurs during some sort of transaction, either to get something or to trade for something. When on other days, he can be seen strolling around Ballard as even headed as any other person, and very easy to talk to. One can marvel at these acts of bravado , since it must be surmised what we know these days: that the constant repetition of falsehood is more convincing and fascinating than the demonstration of truth. It can be understood then how the artist might actually cultivate this appearance, this deafness, this mis-step, these masks, in an effort to evade the million irrelevancies which daily accumulate concerning their work. While the authority of lets say a doctor or electrician is hardly questioned, everyone deems themselves a good judge or better yet, arbiter of what a work of art should be, and how it should be done, and by what kind of mind it must take to make great works of art. I find this viewpoint, given the state of things within the education system, and even the culture at large, understandable, but boring. I look forward to this changing, and hopefully soon.
I've been thinking about audio lately. I've been thinking on how it help shape some of the things I see and some of the ways I thought. I been putting together a top ten of songs that changed me while I was in college. This song comes in on that top ten. The song is called Never Understand. In 1986 I was fortunate enough to have a close friend introduce me to the Jesus and Mary Chain. The first album by the JAMC was called Psychocandy, and it was flawless. I still listen to it. This song, and video had so much attitude, that as a young art student, it became part of my interior arsenal. In as much as one needs a bit of rebellion in their system, this was in the mix. Hope you enjoy the memory and the feedback...
Travel is in the head. It is the allegiance to a complicated spatial ritual and a radical simplification of being alive. It is a moon-landing at the outlying point of all the rest.
I use to believe, when we would, as a family, travel by car from Washington to visit family in Missouri, that the surroundings outside of the vehicle were a distorted projection or moving screen. One that became visible only when viewed in a special manner, like driving across America along the freeway. I believe another word for this is Anamorphosis. I'd still like to think that the visions of the badlands, and of Wyoming were of some distorted screen or projection, all built to fill the imagination of the passer-by, or a wondering child with ideas of painting the world around himself.
Increasingly, I have found, it is machines , not people, who get nervous. Tinkering technology surrounds me in my daily routine. I've noticed people only become nervous if they force themselves to look or act like machines. Perhaps I've been working too close, or surrounded by this "Window" of technology for longer than I should? Perhaps I haven't been around it long enough?
I have of late, been feeling that I need an infinite stretch of time ahead just in order to think. Infinite energy just to make the smallest decision. The world is getting denser. The immense number of useless projects is bewildering. Too many things have to be put into balance, and there is no sense of scale to these projects. Consistent adjustments, usually with additional add ons. Working with and towards uncertain scale. You can't disappear any longer. You die in a complete and total state of indecision, and scale reassessment.
In front of the lens, the temptation is to stand still, as a defensive reflex. But it is the same on the other side of the lens, when you take a picture: you stand still and empty yourself of your substance for a brief moment to take the object by surprise.
How nice it would be to see the sun in profile.
Abstraction is precisely not grounded in any universal or grand generalities. It is tied to individual experience and to individual sensibility, as they are given greater scope and play. One part of modernity in fact believes in absolute order, and this is one of the reasons that totalitarian governments have never cared for abstract art. Our common culture ... comes, I am arguing, precisely from what is not shared among us. It is not the universal wiring, not the neurology, not the absolute forms of things external to us. The crucial motor generating cultural change, churning out the new, is best found in modern society in private visions, even when those visions are seemingly stupid, banal, hermetic, and utterly particular.
A corollary to the idea that the generator of the new is found in private visions is the idea that abstract art — far from speaking to those things that unite us, to what we all have in common — is generated precisely from giving the greatest vent to those things that make us individually different and separate from each other. And it is by this very process that it re-energizes our shared culture. This freedom and individualism in the creation of art is an irritant, like so much sand thrown into our shells. And for all the sand that we put up with, we get fantastic results, pearls!
Abstraction has been less a search for the ultimately meaningful ... than a recurrent push for the temporarily meaningless: that is, things that are found not often in exotic realms but rather on the edges of banality, familiarity, and the man-made world. It is the production of forms of order that are not recognizable as order, but vehicles of feeling that appear utterly dumb. Abstract art is a symbolic game, and it is akin to all human games: You have to get into it, risk and all, and this takes a certain act of faith. But what kind of faith? Not faith in absolutes, not a religious kind of faith. A faith in possibility, a faith not that we will know something finally, but a faith in not knowing, a faith in our ignorance, a faith in our being confounded and dumbfounded, a faith fertile with possible meaning and growth.
- Kirk Varnedoe
I feel like a complete sell out just to keep matters straight...
Richard Kinssies, Wine Outlet owner and wine sleuth
It's almost Thanksgiving, and to that measure Christmas is almost here as well, so I thought I would give a worthy shout-out to one of my favorite shops in Seattle, the Wine Outlet on 1st Ave just across from Safeco Baseball Field. Stretch your wine dollar at this small, but amazing store. Owner Richard Kinssies stocks his no-frills space with great deals through connections he’s made in more than 30 years in the wine business. In the past he's been a sommelier and restaurant owner, and he's a current wine columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Richard knows his grapes. Prices are often 20 to 50 percent off retail, and one can often discover really great reds and whites at $10 a bottle. There are always at least four of five selections open and ready to taste, with no tasting fee, just Richard informing you of what it is he's found exciting in wine. Richard is very charming, easy to talk to, and his love of the grape is infectious, he really gets one excited about wine. If you feel like splurging, and with the holidays approaching, he has a few collector wines. I must admit, there is a Kenwood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon with a Miro label on it for $100 that I pick up everytime I'm there, temptations, temptations, temptations. So if you are here in Seattle, drop in and take a look around, you won't leave disappointed!
Urban Renewal #5
City Overview From Top of Military Hospital Shanghai 2004
Three Gorges Dam Project Yangtze River 2002
Today was a really fantastic install day, I hung three rather large works by the artist Edward Burtynsky. I've been aware of his work for the last couple of years due to being an art preparator at Microsoft, but the works from this series really grab me. The two pictures above are part of three works that I installed today. Big in format and large in subject, Burtynsky's imagery explores the intricate link between industry and nature, combining the raw elements of mining, quarrying, shipping, oil production, and recycling into beautiful, highly expressive visions that find elegance and humanity in the most unlikely places. These images are metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence: we are drawn in by desire...the desire to live well and in comfort...yet we all know that the world is suffering to meet those demands. The series he entitled China shows our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet. Burtynsky sets us into uneasy contradictions and feeds the dialogue between attraction, repulsion, seduction and fear. Burtysnky's latest body of work gives visual form to the industrial and urban transformation of China, a place where industrial forces are gathering on a scale that the world has never experienced before. If the earth's resources were up to now under siege through western colonialism and technological progress, then China is on the brink of a sweeping assault on the planet's ecosystem that is only just forming and is nowhere close to expressing its full impact. His photos, especially done in the 4"x5" format, capture that. It left me humbled at a place that often leaves me numb.
Rachel Maxi's birthday is today, we all enjoyed a fine amount of alcohol and birthday revelry; Hope you had a good one Rachel!
It's really a simple thing, a bar where those that bend towards the artistic can feel they belong. I recently read about the Mandrake in Los Angeles, and upon thinking about it, wanted to seek out perhaps a similar place in Seattle. The Hideout seems like a very equal equivalent. I was recognizing certain faces, names of course were the loose memory. The simple fact of sitting in a place for a period of time, taking in faces, familiar, and unfamiliar, was actually a fun exercise. I look forward to many a drink in this place, with peers and friends alike. Funny how it took me reading about it elsewhere to realize it was worth seeking in one's own city. The gentlemen getting a drink from Archer the Bartender sat drawing for well over an hour. It was a reminder that I used to do the same in the late 80's, after punk shows. I think I'm going to enjoy coming to the Hideout for drinks and artistic spins, that I haven't gotten anywhere else in Seattle.
Eras End and Begin Again, never has this rule applied as much to an artist that I've enjoyed, and yet, who remains a mystery to so many. Thee Billy Childish.
Similar to a Robert Beauchamp, Billy Childish has had a long standing career of being an outsider; influential, but relatively unknown. Making his own brand of music, and art, Billy Childish is and always will be, in a place all to himself. The music I believe will stand the test of time. His paintings harken back to a bygone era, and the same can be made of his music. But in both he is fluid, strong willed, and sure. He has stride, and dynamics galore, and each time he sends something into the world, I'm curious, and rarely disappointed.
Tonight was a get together with artist Stuart Tume, who has gotten back from a couple of months away to do some shows in New Zealand and Australia. Colin is back from a short vacation and Shawn of course just last week arrived back from a month in Ghana. All had stories, and plenty of ideas flowing, a really fun evening to just sit back and listen to what all had for upcoming ideas. Stuart was hyped to gather a few of us up to show in New Zealand. Colin was rested and ready to get back to work, as is Shawn, who is beginning to make some new paintings. I'm feeling on a roll, so it was good to sit with one's peers who are feeling the buzz of both wanting to, and doing work. It's a good start to the work week!
Seattle artist Shawn Nordfors is back from a month in Ghana. It's good to have him around again, I enjoy bouncing ideas back and forth with him and he's a good friend. Shawn recieved a Fulbright U.S. Student Fellow in 2002 and went to Ghana to create a body of work. Using the knowledge and skills he had, he mixed them with traditional materials and methods he discovered while he was in Ghana. He made a large body of work that wound up staying for the most part there. He ran into some local trouble, and had to clear out before getting his work shipped out. He came away though with experiences and ideas that to this day are fermenting in his work. He's continued to return to Ghana every year since, usually for a month stay, and maintains friendshops and close ties with artists and folks in Ghana. Over the past two summers he has spent many weekends sculpting at his parents old cabin property on Vashon Island, and has created some really fantastic sculptures. It's always good as an artist, to have friends and peers that inform one another, work hard off of one another on things they see, and ideas that they have. Shawn and I make work that contrasts in its design, and it's origins, but we both find common ground on our no-stop love of art and the child like ways we stay curious. He has, and does lead, a rather exciting and sometimes dangerous life, but I must say, it makes for a fantastic time listening to his stories of adventure. He and I are in similar places right now in our careers; no longer the hyped young graduates, and finding our once vaunted positions a bit shaken, we back one another and proceed forward, just like we did when we were students. I hope we both never lose that mental state of mind, just do the work, and stay curious. Glad you are home Shawn!
For your spookyment this Halloween, I provide another 10 songs that I thought you all might enjoy for the night...just click the Halloween Top Ten Header below for your musical enjoyment...
Halloween Top Ten Mix
Whistlin' Pete - U-Men
from a Seattle past that still intros a set so well, I start with the U-Men...
The Fly - The Mummies
because it is so spookylicious, the Fly, by...the Mummies
Frankenstomp - Satan's Pilgrims
Portland's own surf legends, and always a halloween treat...Satan's Pilgrims
Jack The Ripper - Link Wray
Another classic instrumental that fits any spooky evening...Link Wray with Jack The Ripper
Bully Bones - The Birthday Party
before there was Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, there was the Birthday Party, wickedly wildish...
Night Of The Vampire - The Moontrekkers
a classic from the way back, the Moontrekkers...
Punk Slime - Black Lips
someone[Glenn] at Artech turned me onto this group, and I'm not sure its a halloween song, but damn, it and all the latest Black Lips songs are making my fall, fall!
Suck It And Smell - King Khan & BBQ
another band that Glenn spun me towards, and it follows the Black Lips very comfortably, King Khan & BBQ, booooooo!
Peter Lorre - Satan's Pilgrims
come on, just one Satan's Pilgrims song, no way, not with Peter Lorre set to go!
Great Pumpkin Waltz - Vince Guaraldi Trio
and since all you got was rocks in your bag, Vince Guaraldi will send you out with some of the Charlie Browniest sweets, but...watch out for that wicked Lucy!
Happy Halloween everyone!
[detail] big painting in the studio right now...
[detail] of the painting Pacer
Studio - 10-26-2006
I've been working on a load of new works. The other half of the studio is filled with even more artworks I'm currently working on, but for now, I'll leave that a mystery...
Things are on a good roll right now, and hopefully, by stating such, I haven't jinxed it...
Been feeling it all very instinctively, and intuitivley. I haven't been posting much on the blog, primarily to the fact that I don't have much in the way to intellectually describe what I'm thinking, or what is informing the work. I know my collection of fonts, vintage and current wrapping papers, pattern books, etc. are informing what I'm doing, but only as a starting, or leaping off point. I have momentum, and that for me right now is enough.
I have just begun reading Anna Politkovskaya's book, "A Dirty War". She was killed recently as many believe, by a contract killing, and some even suggest it was the Putin government that did the deed. A Dirty War is the harrowing account of Russia's invasion and subsequent decimation of Chechnya--a place with a mixed population, many of whom were themselves Russians. Anna was the author of these books as well; “A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya" and her latest book, “Putin’s Russia,” is very critical of Putin's regime. In the days before her death, Anna Politkovskaya had been working on a story about torture in the government of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Pro-Kremlin premier of Chechnya.
Whiting Tennis - Bovine, The oregon trail reversed: sculpture, paintings and drawings - Greg Kucera Gallery - 212 3rd Avenue, Seattle Washington
The show is a knockout, scale, breadth, and skill all represented in this show of Whiting's. He knocked it out of the park, the paintings look fantastic, he has Guston's touch, and yet it's all Whiting. The raw wood sculptures are pure deja-vu, road trips, back yards in the burbs of the west, all here. I needed to see this in Seattle, my vote for solo show of the year. Now I feel like stepping up my own game, just the kick in the pants I needed, and kudos to Greg Kucera for taking this artist on. I remember the time Whiting took wet works in to Greg's back in the late 80's and Greg yelled at him to get out of his gallery, and never bring wet works for a dealer to look at. Now Whiting is the star in Greg's stable!
Rachel Maxi celebrates the opening of her show, Paradise Built, with her parents[on the left of her], who came in from Ohio to see her and her show, and her dealer Karrie Baas[on the right]. Fun opening, plenty of great paintings, if you can get down to see it, I highly recommend it.
Baas Art Gallery 2703 East Madison, Seattle Washington.
Affair - Jupiter Hotel - Portland Oregon
I arrived at this event on Sunday at around 5 PM. The event looked like it was winding down, and I knew I had missed all the parties and the show on friday night of Steve Malkmus and the Jicks. Ran into Greg Kucera right off the bat, recieved a curt hi, I always try to be nice to Greg, but I swear something on his side of the fence is tight, and seems shoved up his arse, so I move along quickly.
Enter into the Froelick Gallery space and am met by a pleasent Charles who is excited at the ongoing positive response to Robert Yoder's work. I take them in and see that there are a few people more than interested in what Robert is up to and clear the area to let them in to see. The hotel rooms are tight, and it really is hard after being out at the Ocean for the last few days to compress into these tiny spaces. Head on up and get a hug and a smile from Elizabeth Leach, who seems tired from the weekends events. Next door to Liz's room is Quality Pictures who have more than a few things I am excited by. Buy a book on Jason Fulford whose photos I find myself drawn to. Talk with Erik Schneider, the director of the gallery, who just moved to Portland from Atlanta and seems excited about being here and showing off the artists he has. A very good exchange and I look forward to seeing what he shows here in Portland over the course of the next few years. I step into Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery room and say hello to Mary Ann and Rod, and begin to feel afterwards like I'm hitting a wall. I begin to take note that a large amount of the work I'm seeing is leaving me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Kinda like thrifting and not coming up with anything I want to wear or have in my life. I'm noticing lots of artists with large expanses of white paper, or canvas left on the works I'm encountering. Only Ken Kelly and Whiting Tennis seem to putting any meat on thier works. I think I may need to do some reading, find out what is making the current trend of anorexia so popular.
Elk Cove Vineyards - Oregon
On the beginning of my vacation with Lisa and Sophie we hit the wine valley of the Willamette and started with Shafer Vineyards, David Hill Vineyards, Montinore Vineyards, and Elk Cove Vineyards which is pictured above. On our way out of the Willamette, hit Maresh and Rex Hill Vineyards. In all, Lisa and I came away with two cases of wine and some sweet treats as well. Sophie ran wild at the David Hill Vineyards and had some shaded vineyard relaxing with us at Elk Cove as well. Spent the in between time at Pirate's Paradise just north of Lincoln City and just relaxed with some great food that Lisa prepared and a fantastic Ocean view from our cabin. It was too short of a time away, but it was so needed and so wonderful.
Milton Wilson Painting at Portland Art Museum
Jesse Hayward Sculpture at the Oregon Biennial - Portland Art Museum
Spent the weekend in Portland and discovered that I'm more in sync with things going on there than I'am here in Seattle. I visited with Elizabeth Leach of the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, chatted some with Mary Ann Deffenbaugh and Rod Pullium of the Pullium/Deffenbaugh Gallery, and had a funny deja vu conversation with Charles Froelick of the Froelick Gallery. In each case the conversation just rolled like meeting up with old friends, and in some way, oddly enough, I felt like I could show with anyone of the galleries there. I haven't felt that way here in Seattle for quite sometime. It was really wonderful. Charles related a story to me that a client had been in the gallery earlier in the day, and when they both were at the back of the gallery they stumbled upon a box with Hollingsworth enscribed on it. The client asked, "Which Hollingsworth?", and Charles said, "Harold", just as a knee jerk, and then realized he meant Robert Hollingsworth, the photographer. It made both of us laugh, and found it oddly funny that I then show up a few hours later in his gallery space. I relate this story only out of the fact that I don't generally get even a hello from the local personalities here in Seattle. There seems to be, and again let me know if you think I'm talking out my ass, a big stick up the butts of some of the local Seattle art dealers. I know people who purchase artists works from out of state galleries just to avoid the attitude from some of the local dealers. Bad sign for you who show at a couple of spaces here and don't have representation from someone out of town, because there are collectors who avoid your dealers here.
Portland seemed charged with art dealing energy, The Time-Based Art Festival was winding down, the Oregon Biennial was in full force at the Portland Art Museum. I stood in line at the Museum for 15 minutes to purchase a ticket to see the Biennial, it put a smile on this cynics face! The show was good, and I discovered some folks that I'm keeping an eye on, Jesse Haywood, Shawn Records, Matthew Picton, David Eckard, and Brittany Powell all had outstanding stuff. It was also great to see a local museum supporting it's states artists with a catalogue, show, and stage for artists to get recognized for their efforts in a place often reserved for those who have slipped their mortal coils. Upstairs I made a pilgramage to see my friend Ken Kelly's painting that the Musuem owns. I also discovered an artist named Milton Wilson who I had never heard of, but liked very much. It seemed like walking into the undiscovered works of Philip Guston, or Adolph Gottlieb. Over all, the weekend was a success, enjoyed seeing folks I hadn't chatted with in a long time, and spending the latter afternoons and evenings with Lisa taking in sites and having some delicious food and conversations. I have Portland love right now...
I was reading in Dennis Hollingsworth's blog about his night fishing and the connection it makes for him on staying tuned to the hunter in us. It's a good read, and feels true to me, especially now. I'm always effected by the seasons, and I feel fall coming on, which always puts me in a hunting mood. Not for game any longer, or wildlife hunting, but the sense of finding something new to see, a hunt for a spark. Now by accident, or unconscious purpose, I found that after a night walk last week, I can't stop thinking about being in the city, walking around, hunting for images. I even begun a set of photos on Flickr dedicated to this hunt. I realize the dirty vs. clean hands Dennis is speaking of, and when our family lived in Missouri, and I was allowed time on the farm with Grandpa Hess, or Uncle Hollingsworth, dirty hands prevailed, in fact it was part of the life. I live in the city, hunting for food is a bit outside of my routine, but, the hunt for images gives me now a deja vu. I've been feeling the same vibration when I'm out there at night though, taking my time, looking around for the shot. No blood perhaps, but a definate flash from the pulled trigger of the camera. Good Hunting all!