After an extended break, Power Slice is back. A quick roundup of the sights in Seattle...
Lyle Silver's show at Patricia Rozvar is uninspiring, but Paul Brigham's work (photo above) explores texture and surface through an interesting combination of media. Morgan Brig's sculpture is funny, and alive with references to the draw of antique documents.
Benjamin Cobb and Jane Rosen are both worth checking out at the Traver Gallery.
I continue to find new readings of SAM's Black Art exhibition. It's a difficult concept, but despite stereotypical pieces by Kara Walker and Jacob Lawrence the show raises smart questions about the role 'Blackness' plays in reading and creating art.
Richard Lacayo posts about the experimental films of Beryl Sokoloff. Here's a clip of Werner Herzog's Lessons of Darkness, which he discusses in relation to the New York filmmakers eccentric documentaries.
The music video for Hoppipolla, by Icelandic band Sigur Ros is a visually stunning take on a second childhood.
Karolina Demirovic's Chaos of Complexity brings together arcade music and pixels...a lot of fun.
...Garth Clark's lectureHow Envy Killed the Crafts Movement: An Autopsy in Two Parts, which will be at The Swigert Commons at PNCA (1241 NW Johnson Street) on Thursday at 6:30. Also it's free. Related, PORT interviews Clark
For those who haven't managed to see John Brodie's latest work at Jáce Gáce, OPENWIDEPDX has a number of photographs from the opening. Brodie recently consented to an e-interview with Power Slice:
Power Slice: Jenene Nagy wrote that you create work on an "intimate and heroic scale". Which is more important to you - or can you even draw that distinction? John Brodie: If you can get both in there that is the best. That is partly the beauty of collage - the juxtaposition of divergent or even opposite elements while maintaining a balance and creating a new whole that works. I am fascinated by the contradictions in life that exist side by side, and the high versus low in art, and when you can get both in a work and have that work be balanced, all is well in the world.
PS: I was very impressed by the pieces in this show that didn't necessarily reference specific imagery. Can you describe your approach to images that you collage?
JB: I have a large amount of various source material (shapes, letters, forms, works on paper, prints, billboard images, magazine clippings, etc.) ready to go or pre-cut and then generally start with a primary image for a piece, whether it be a specific image or a shape/color/form. Then it is a matter of matching other materials to it - again based on either image, color or form - then editing, rearranging and composing the piece before it is glued down. Generally I have some sort of story I am trying to tell with the piece to guide the choice and tone of the images. Sometimes after gluing everything down, the piece doesn't work, so it then becomes the ground for another work to be placed on top of it. A few of the pieces in the show have other works below them, which I didn't quite like enough, and new collages were done over them leaving certain parts (that I did like) to peak through. Often if I don't have a image or clipping that works to complete a piece I create it by tearing/painting a shape in the color/style I need to create the emotion or effect for that section.
I also get obsessed with certain images and currently those are architecture and interiors (mostly from the '60s). Next up is the bizzare world of flower arrangements (there are endless books on this at thrift stores).
PS: You've titled the show "My Carbon Footprint Weights A Ton". How deeply do you see yourself engaging with the environment in your work? As an idea or a concrete reality?
JB: We engage with the environment every day whether we realize it on a specific level or not. It is a responsibility and an aspect of modern life. The works attempt to portray part of that complex story by documenting the mode in which we live, and the fact that we have before us a choice, whether or not we choose to acknowledge, accept or change our behavior (which we often almost always don't in a substantial way). That said, the show title is meant to be funny. It is also a reference to a Public Enemy song.
PS: Just curious - Jennifer Gately, the Portland Art Museum's curator of Northwest Art recently resigned after putting together the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards. Did you see the show, and if so what did you think of it?
JB: I liked Whiting Tennis' work very much, and I am a fan of Jeffry Mitchell. His Fu Dogs that he showed at Pulliam Deffenbaugh in 2006 are fantastic!
Jonathan Lasker's work comes across quietly. The squared forms and grids, coupled with academically intellectual titles struck me as nondescript and noteworthy only for their lack of energy.
Over the past week however, I've been unable to get them out of my head. There IS a powerful dialectic at work in Lasker's work, but it takes a while to make itself felt. You can see his pieces at PAM (Reason and Free Will is below).
The LA Times ran a piece discussing Art Spiegelman's newest book. Last Friday I saw the man himself speak, puffing an omnipresent cigarette and full of energy. Comics are receiving a lot of attention lately as a legitimate art form (the work of Alan Moore, Osama Tezuka, or Charles Burns comes to mind) but Spiegelman's lecture traced a historical arc of the comic as a socially relevant medium from the 19th century German lithography that captivated Goethe, to the revolutionary work of R. Crumb.
I have lately been working with artists books by Marinetti, Ruscha, and others - the connection between the comic and the artist book is a tenuous one, but they're united by what Alan Bartram calls "their combative ideas" which are simultaneously "positive and constructive." The work of Spiegelman is important for a number of reasons, but one of them is the ability of the comic (substitute 'graphic novel' if it makes you more comfortable) to respond. At it's best, the comic is interactive, combative, and a very personal medium that can reach to an audience on a far more personal level than say a painting or installation.
Today is the last day that my former professor Philip Miner's show will be hanging at the Pendleton Center for the Arts. The exhibition, entitled Horse/Power (piece above) draws inspiration from the iconography of hot rod engines.
On Kawara'sDate paintings are some of the most easily recognizable icons of contemporary art. Together with his I Read, I Went, and I Am Still Alive works they belong to a body of work that speak for the artist, who refuses to give interviews.
I often wonder whether his numerous pieces that mechanically record the quantifiable variables of his daily existence become an act of self-erasure rather than self-definition. The subtitles to his Date paintings (a 1966 subtitle is displayed below) represent the product of what must be a ritualistic performance every day for the artist. This immersion in production, in the cyclical time of constant output, says something about the work even when the variables (locations, dates, news headlines) change.
A website inspired by Kawara's work allows the general public to make Kaware-esque announcements to the world about their daily lives. Yet to make a date painting once has no meaning - it draws its power from its place in a continuum.
Wild Beauty has opened at PAM. Early indications are that it'll be a successful show-pulling in the numbers as well as providing a fascinating window into the early shaping of the region and the development of photography. Interesting points-the photographs of Edward S. Curtis and discussion of the railroad's influence on early photography .
Suddenly has closed at the Cooley Gallery, with PORT interviewing participating artist Fritz Haeg.
John Brodie has a show of new collage work at Jáce Gáce until the 31st, the press release billing it as a survey of "the swirling absurdity, frenzy and desire of living the Western modern life." His piece Citizens is below.
Artists are certainly shaped by the institutions available to them. Same with budding art bloggers. I've been unable to get PAM's Quai de Bercy — La Halle aux Vins by Cezanne off the brain, but am stumped for anything to say that the picture doesn't say better. So without further ado, in all it's glory...
The growth of the graphic novel and smart artistically sensitive comics has so far been largely unnoticed by the art world. So it's good to see Jonathon Jones picking up on one of my favorite authors, Alan Moore. From Miracle Man to Watchmen Moore has been creating work that deals with the postmodern condition in a way that manages to be both incredibly relevant and rich with the best parts of past art forms. It's high-order art that gets to play with a typically low-order art form. As such his work seems far less inhibited than the often over-intellectualized art world.
The above image was taken by a French explorer in 1914, and shows the First Qin Emperor's tomb before excavation. While the hill was visible for millenia, Lother Ledderose compared the unexposed army within to "inner organs concealed in a human body."