January 31, 2010

iPhone photos from Art Los Angeles Contemporary at PDC

The view from inside-The Guzzi is parked on the street by the white building.

^ Zines from the 90's. San Franciso Zine shop. You can photocopy anything you want. I'm sending him some copies of Plastic Ass next week.

^ 4 or 5 scene video showing the Kodak Theater exploding with digital FX explosions.

^ Jeni Spota

^ Tom LaDuke

^ Annie Lapin

^ $50,000

better half #1: Now, this I get-it looks like spaghetti.
better half #2: How much is this?
dealer: $50, 000
better half #2: His works have gone up since we saw them last.

^benches for pondering

^ Josh Smith. I like.

^ Judy Ledgerwood

January 28, 2010

I consider hitting the bottle every other Thursday morning.

Noise pollution overload: lawnmowers, weed blowers, garbage truck, recycle truck, green truck, dog-barking. Looking forward to postman, fedex and UPS to round it all out. And errant skateboarders followed by more dog-barking. That would be good too.

January 27, 2010

Shhhh, don't tell anybody.

Change is good, right? I've made a decision, but until I can properly reconcile the laws of gravity, space and time, I'm going to keep it under wraps. In due time I will be asking for support and leads on making this transition- probably in the form of a wish list. I like lists.

January 22, 2010

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking...

It occurred to me somewhere between last night and this morning, that the brown, club foot/sock puppet/horse on a stick figure should be more one or the other. Maybe, maybe not. I know it's a tough photo, but since it's still in progress, I've placed it on the easel to give it that toiled in the studio look. I think I've been painting on the floor or the wall for the most part.

Okay, here's a less distracted view:

I am enjoying this painting quite a bit. Regrettably, (or not) it's on a store bought canvas. Some people could give a rat's ass if it's on a store-bought, after all it IS the painting itself that matters. Other people place a great deal of emphasis on the superficial construct of surface prep. I'm an any port in a storm kind of painter, so it depends on my agenda. Having only picked up this dirty habit of buying store-boughts in the last few years, I will say that it gives me the freedom and spontaneity that I sometimes need to make messy paintings, without worrying about placing an order, figuring out how many I can afford at one time, or what a precious surface I have to start with. I mean, under pressure I can wreck any surface in a day's time, but I get down to business with store-boughts. No fetishizing the fruits of hand-crafted labor for me.

Fresh flowers last 3 weeks in my studio, thanks in part to it being somewhat (I bet it gets down to at least 30-something) of an icebox in the winter. New flowers went in today. Some pink things. Getting geared up for you-know-what in a couple of 3 weeks.

More importantly, I'm loving how I am shape-shifting emotions using a simple bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe's. Beginning with February of 2009, (almost a year ago) I believe I now have the most linear and narrative body of work I've ever done- and this includes the small abstracts. Initially, it may look like a three different directions, (abstract, pool, flowers) but no. It's a cohesive linear narrative. Cut and dry. Today's bouquet sealed the deal.

Weather report: wet. soggy. My studio leaks (not too bad with the sandbags). My car leaks very badly. And today in yoga class, I and only I, managed to place my mat under the only leak in the room. I discovered this in shavanasa. I almost laughed. When I got home, Fang had puked just inside the door. mmmm.

I am ready for sunny dry stuff again.

The Art Fairs are in town starting this week....

image: lifted from the LA Artshow website

January 20, 2010

Irrelevant Stimuli: Welcome to my World.

I have a doozy of a good bad painting in the studio right now, and it's thrilling. It's a large painting- a veritable ginormous surface measuring in at 20 x 16 inches. What makes this so exciting, for moi, is that it's one of those paintings I classify as godawful. I do not start painting with the intent of making a godawful painting. My godawful paintings come about as the result of sheer determination and unbridled lack of concentration and discretion. Seriously. You know those days when you don't feel like a genius, but you show up in the studio anyway? And on top of that, you're thinking about a million things and so you're making brushstrokes, but not really caring whether it's a "good" brushstroke or if you loaded enough paint on the brush, or maybe there's too much turp- or for some reason the painting looks like it got left out in the rain? AND YET, YOU KEEP PAINTING? Yes?! Well, yesterday after a several days of working on and off of this misfit-
it has started coming together. I said, started, mind you. The magic moment happened late last night, (I could have sworn I even heard a 'click', and I know exactly where I was in the painting, what brushstroke I was on-when that moment happened) so I haven't had a chance to revel in my mad geniusness, but I am hopeful- and thrilled, as I said earlier. [At which point I came across:]

Despite evidence of a link between genius and madness, no one has proved that such a link exists. However, scientists at the University of Toronto have discovered that creative people possess little to no "latent inhibition," the unconscious ability to reject unimportant or irrelevant stimuli. As University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson puts it, "This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment. The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities [source: University of Toronto]."
Bingo. Emphasis mine.

It's this inability to reject unimportant stimuli, I find so fascinating and relevant.
My mother's doctor has recommended we set an appointment with a neurologist. My mother does not want to see a neurologist, so we might have to get there in small steps. Perhaps I can tell her we are visiting a numerologist. All kidding aside, I'm dosing on fish oil.

PS. Yoga is going great. Treated myself to a new skimpy t-shirt and workout bra from Old Navy. Very LA casual of me. Next is the patchouli and an ass-topper.

January 19, 2010

Wow. It's like I'm purposely collecting a mountain of To Do's.

Three or four opportunities are sitting in my inbox right now, things which are no brainers.

The mom sitch is still at code yellow, though orange alert seems inevitable. I am well aware that I need to not ignore my life in the process of making phone calls and getting advice. I should probably start an anonymous blog about the whole mom thing rather than spill my guts here.

Which brings me to my day today:
  • Insomnia. Probably due to expecting....
  • Early morning phone call with mom's doctor.
  • Coffee.
  • YOGA!!!!! (20 in a row days, I'm on a streak.)
  • Walked Fang before the rain started again
  • Took Fang to vet for routine "senior panel." No he wasn't a guest speaker- $273 worth of tests and thyroid meds. He was such a great guy today. Mr. Mellow.
  • Correspondence. By the way, anyone out there teaching Photoshop or Illustrator? I've been asked to teach a class next fall and am looking for some interesting projects to assign.
  • Spent a little time on FB in a thread discussing Abstract Art in the 21st century. Good to know it's still a relevant topic since just last week I decided my pools and flowers were abstract, and not representational. Hah. Solved that issue.
  • Fixed lunch. Not that it was broken.
  • Started one of my inbox proposals.
  • Continued work on 3 paintings.
  • Mulled over titles for solo show.
  • Connected dots.
  • Checked in with blog.

January 17, 2010

Rain. Scale.

It' s that time of year again, except this time we're in for about 2 weeks of non-stop rain and T-storms. Even with normal rain, water seeps under my garage door and puddles into my studio, ergo, the sandbags.
The bonus is naturally green grass, as opposed to water the lawn green grass.

I'm not feeling the need to crank out paintings like a factory this year. So far, 2010 is The Year of the Slow Painter. I've been thinking quite a bit about scale and why I'm adamant not to paint large right now.

The small paintings are not impressive when you walk into a room. They photograph horribly from a distance. Their size is problematic on several levels, none of which are meaningful to me, as they have to do with presentation and other people's expectations of what a painting is, and yet, I am almost defiantly obsessed with the small scale. One of my favorite books from way back when, On Longing, Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection, addresses some of my experiences in painting considerably smaller than I have in the past. I've mentioned it before. An excerpt, reprinted without permission-
Interestingly, there may be an actual phenomenological correlation between the experience of scale and the experience of duration. In a recent experiment conducted by the School of Architecture at The University of Tennessee, researchers had subjects observe scale model environments 1/6, 1/12, and 1/24 of full size. The environments represented lounges and included chipboard furniture as well as scale figures. The subjects were asked to move the figures through the environment, to imagine humans at that scale, and to identify activities appropriate for that space. Then they were asked to imagine themselves to be of "lounge scale" and picture themselves engaging in activities in the lounge. Finally they were asked to tell researchers when they felt like they had been engaged in such activities for 30 minutes. The experiment showed that "the experience of temporal duration is compressed relative to the clock in the same proportion as a scale-model environments being observed are compressed relative to the full scale environment." In other words, 3o minutes would be experienced in 5 minutes at 1/12 scale and 2.5 minutes at 1/24 scale.* This compressed time of interiority tends to hypostatize the interiority of the subject that consumes it in that it marks the invention of "private time." In other words, miniature time transcends the duration of everyday life in such as way as to create an interior temporality of the subject.
1 Susan Steart, On Longing (Durham: Duke Univeristy Press 1993), p. 66.
* there is a detailed footnote about this study, Delong, "Phenomenological Space-Time"

I have a meeting once a week in a facility where in the ladies's room, there is a small-scale reproduction of a Braque. I'm embarrassed that I don't know the title, because whenever I'm sitting on the toilet I stare at it. I should know the title. I suspect it was the first slide projected in my art appreciation class in conjunction with cubism. The one where we find out that Braque not Picasso was the father of Cubism. But now that I think about it, it could be a Juan Gris reproduction. I am compelled to look at this particular reproduction and I always think about scale when I do. Because I do not know the title of said painting, I do not know the original dimensions, but it seems perfect at its present scale, somewhere around 7" x 5" or 9" x 6", I'm guessing, not including the frame. My meeting just changed locations, so I hope they put that painting in the bathroom again. If so, I'll snap a photo and insert it here:


January 15, 2010

What I gleaned from Knight's lecture last night:

I enjoyed the lecture. My day thus far had been consumed with non-art things that were quite taxing. Sitting in a theater listening to a three-time Pulitzer finalist art critic talk about journalism and criticism was refreshing, comforting, even. If I had been a good journalist, I would have jotted down notes, but my purse contained my billfold, lipstick, keys, 3 pens and my iphone. No paper. And I don't tap fast. My disclaimer is that the following recap is what I gleaned from the lecture, paraphrased, with my spin and from memory. In no particular order:

Elitism in art. Say it loud, say it proud. It's a fact- some artists are better than other artists, some art is better than other art, some museums are better than other museums. It's not right to compare apples and oranges. I, too, am an elitist. Elitism is not a bad thing. According to Knight, elitism today is a democratic choice. It has nothing to do with class, wealth, race, creed etc. Anyone can be an elitist, though something about wit was implied. I'd like to add that tweed is helpful. Or elbow patches. The guy 2 rows in front of me had elbow patches on his blazer. He was sitting next to a woman dressed for the beach, but luckily she was wearing a fur and leather duster. I'm guessing everyone at the lecture would have to honestly consider themselves to be elitist to have been there in the first place.

Journalistic art criticism, academic criticism and theoretical criticism are three branches of art criticism. Knight's job as a journalist and critic is to lead the reader through his column from start to finish.

Writing for art mags can have some limitations. Art mags are funded by ads. Details weren't given, but sometime around 1996 (?) Knight quit writing for Art Forum. For years, it was rather obvious that there was a direct correlation with the number of reviews and the ads from galleries in that city. I can only imagine that say a full page ad, might warrant some kind of review at that rate. Pure speculation on my part.

Writing about art is a way of understanding art. True that.

A critic's role is not to promote artists, they write about what they like, or want to understand. See above. Their role is not to pick winners.

Other artists are the best indicators of artists to watch. Not curators, not dealers, not collectors, not critics. Look to see who everyone is stealing from. Good artists steal from good artists.

The Internet and the future of journalism was brought up at the end of the lecture. The future of newspapers-pfft, but the future of journalism is a concern. I would add that the future of everything is a concern, but I would spin off into a tirade on hype and pop culture. I believe I got it right when I say he compared the online arts community to a small village, as opposed to a large city, and that he felt the risk of online journalism could lead to a homogenized view of art. Diversity and eclecticism are needed for art to thrive. I'm butchering this last concept. My apologies. I'll try and clarify later. (Feel free to jump in if you went to the lecture. I'm getting tired now.)

Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life, Manet, Guy, and Edgar Allen Poe.

Picasso, Matisse and Dali.

Dave Hickey's name came up and for the life of me I can't remember why. Doesn't matter. I remember being pleased when I heard Hickey's name. I like Hickey. I like Knight. Currently my dream cup of coffee would involve sitting around listening to those two discuss art. In Vegas, over brunch.

Rebecca Taylor (http://twitter.com/RebeccaTaylorLA) posted more of an accurate recap on Twitter.

I perceived a subtle subtext throughout the lecture– personal integrity. Not only integrity in journalism, but a certain, certain sort of commitment to the task at hand. A kind of "do the right thing, be true to yourself" code, whether it be writing about art or working for a someone with a different set of business ethics than your own.

I'm still wrapping my head around the subtleties within the Picasso, Matisse, Steve Wynn, Le Reve, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinksy narrative, but it was good.

January 14, 2010

Someone needs to re-package dementia to make it sound more fun.


Allison Schulnik at Mark Moore

Allison Schulnik at Mark Moore (detail from another painting)

I made it to Allison Schulnik’s show at Mark Moore gallery. So good. I tried to get a pic of the canvases from a side angle to show the 2-inch depth of sometimes straight from the tube paint, or the swirls of thick paint making up some mass. It smelled like paint and I’m certain if I had poked my finger here or there, fresh paint would have oozed out from underneath a coiled mound.

Thick impasto is possibly the only technique that I catch myself shying away from. Commitment issues. My work involves so much scraping down, reconfiguring and evolving, that laying down a blob of thick paint, only to decide a few days later, it’s no longer useful, presents major construction problems for me. It’s like a speed bump, or speed humps as they are now called. Still, whenever I look at a painting where impasto serves a purpose for the greater good of the painting, I am excited and motivated to get a little thicker in my own work.

My studio: January's floral arrangement

I need to craft an updated statement rather soon. Without writing a novel, I’m trying to figure out how to weave narratives of the miniature, abstraction and gesture, empty swimming pools, nature and decay, memory, and garden club calendar floral design arrangements into a cohesive paragraph without talking directly about loss or appearing overly melancholic. Tricky.

I’ve had a couple of productive studio days, but then again, studio days are always productive. Still working on the flowers and pools. Still working small-scale. It will be interesting to see how Deitch's arrival in LA affects how contemporary art in LA in defined, produced and received. UPDATE: I just realized how totally out of context the Deitch sentence was next to my previous sentence. I left out the part where I'm feeling hopelessly nostalgic for just paint and hopelessly intimate for just paintings. Did that help bridge the gap?

Yoga is going well. I’ve had a daily practice once again for two weeks now. My body is remembering the postures and I’m getting my strength and flexibility back. I’ve noticed inversions, back bends and twists are where I like spending the most time.

Tonight I’ll be going to hear Christopher Knight lecture at SMC Performing Arts Center.

Lecture: "Criticism, Journalism & Looking @ Art" by LA Times Art Critic Christopher Knight

Thursday, 1/14/2010

The Santa Monica College Art Department, in conjunction with Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, is pleased to present Pulitzer prize finalist Christopher Knight. Free. Call (310) 665-6827.

Location: The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College

7:30 PM

January 11, 2010

LA art world news.

In case you were under a rock, the MOCA appointment of Jeffrey Deitch has been in the news. It should be interesting all the way around, but especially for Los Angeles. Interview on MAN here.

And for something refreshing, check the Q&A with Suzanne Muchnik I copped from Christopher Knight's feed on FB.


Today was a studio day. Stretched and primed three canvases (14" x 11") and continued work on three of the 7" x 5" paintings. Fairly productive. No disasters out of the ordinary, just the usual can't leave well enough aloneness happening. At a certain point it's like the thickness of the paint, not so much impasto, but the layers and layers of the trying to get it rightness of the paint is what makes it a painting.

Syllabus is done.

Yoga going well. I used to keep a yoga journal and still have the one I started in January of 2001...2003... 2005...2007, and now, 2010. Going to aim for long-term consistency this time. At least it's all in one journal.

January 08, 2010

Technically, January can go one of two ways.

Last year I was in extreme production mode for a solo in May. This year, I have a solo in September, so I'm pacing. Therefore the first week of January has been more like casual Friday.

I work best on things that I am interested in and that engage me. In a nutshell, painting and observational writing. In lieu of the pleasure principle, I need a schedule, a structure of some sort, either self-imposed or directed by other people's deadlines.

For example:
Tuesday, I paid bills, worked on my syllabus, did some correspondence, both business and personal, and took care of tedious household tasks. It was hardly my dream day, but I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday was tightly structured. Coffee. Studio. Yoga class. Coffee. Studio. Dinner. Relax. I worked on 3 paintings. This was closer to my dream day. It even reads better.

Yesterday was some kind of free-for-all ADD mess. Since Wednesday was a studio day, I designated Thursday an office day, but didn't have a list. I wore regular clothes not studio clothes, lest there be any temptation to paint. (My office is in the corner of my studio).

The day started out great. I'm making good on my yoga promise and therefore am in one of those phases where I wake up and play good vibe yoga music while I'm having coffee. Of course this means I have to compile some trippy meditative music, which led me to downloading a Yoga Journal podcast, after which I needed to skim an article about juggling music libraries between an external hard drive and a laptop, which led me to figuring out how to make my Remote iPhone app work with iTunes. Add some snuggle-puff time and a walk with Fang, and a purchase of kick-ass lycra yoga pants so that I can toss out the ones with the Clorox stains, and it was already afternoon. I started freaking myself out thinking, crap, it's 1:15 PM already and I haven't done anything truly productive. I thought my 2 PM espresso would alter things, but it didn't. I continued to bounce from task to task getting more and more diverted with my efforts to streamline. Finally, I made myself finish one simple task- labeling jpegs, and honestly I didn't even finish that, but I made headway. It was enough to make me consider pharmaceuticals. I am so serious. I've left out the details of exactly how distracted I was yesterday, but it didn't stop until I went to bed. Unbelievably, I slept like a log, and was tired, but rested this morning.

I had a yoga class at 1pm today and am going to be diligent about keeping a regular practice this year. Slow and steady. I cannot extol the virtues of yoga enough, and yet, throughout my 9 years of practicing, I phase in and out. I still fantasize about buying a yearly pass to the yoga studio or taking a retreat. Meanwhile, I'm back to office work in the studio and organizing plans for some upcoming projects.

More fodder on abstraction

I currently have 2 new flower paintings and 2 new pool paintings in progress. I'll upload some studio pictures this weekend. I purchased fresh flowers for the studio and am going to make that part of this year's studio agenda. I worked in a flower shop (I think it was called The Blue Thistle) in Chicago for a little bit and have floral design as part of my skill set. When you get down to it, there is not much in the way of randomness in my paintings.

James Scarborough wrote an essay about abstract painting in conjunction with Andi Campognone Projects' inaugural show, The New Irascibles, pointing out, among other things, that we're heading into roughly the 100th year anniversary of Abstraction. Something to think about.

January 04, 2010

The new agenda, revealed, one blog post at a time.


I continue to work on the flower paintings.

If I were to HAVE to explain this painting, I would tell you that it is inspired by my mom's garden club calendars. She used to give me one every Christmas, but she has forgotten to do so the last couple of years.

I believe I can stop working on this one now.


So much has changed in the last decade. Change is good of course, but often unsettling. I pride myself on adapting to situations and crea...