6.29.2006

uno, dos, tres



Last February I was in a show curated by Heidi Neff "When You Least Expect It" at the Chesapeake Gallery at Harford College in Maryland. Neff posted some images of the installation (including work by Andy Moon Wilson). Also, you can check out some of Neff's own really nice work by scrolling around.

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Austin English draws stuff, including his great "Life of Francis". Windy Corner Magazine.

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Richmond's Kirsen Kindler is up for the 10K Trawick Prize. I saw her show at ADA Gallery last spring and it was great, plus she's really nice.

6.27.2006

Renoir



"You come to nature with your theories, and she knocks them all flat."

6.26.2006

Space-Domestic in the Washington Post


Amze Emmons
Discarded Personal Ephemera
graphite, gouache, acrylic on panel, 20 x 24, 2006



Jessica Dawson reviewed Space-Domestic in Saturday's WaPo:
"Space-Domestic" looks like an exhibition I've seen before. Its themes -- suburban and societal alienation -- are well trod. Its images, too, represent what's in vogue for a certain younger generation enamored of drawings and drawing-like paintings. And as with the last show with these kinds of pictures and ideas, I didn't find much to grasp on to.

The exhibition is the brainchild of talented artist Jiha Moon. It's her first show as a curator, and her performance is unsteady at best. It was a mistake to include the work of her husband, Andy Moon Wilson, and to give his work pride of place. No matter that his installation conjuring an adult's adolescent angst (rather too convincingly, I might add) fits perfectly well as installed inside the exhibition's front door. When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to avoid it.

On the surface, the rest of the show looks okay. Amze Emmons's works on paper using graphite, acrylic and gouache are delicate renditions of big box stores and Jersey barriers that sound uninteresting but look quite the opposite. (One image could be something of an in joke: The shipping containers and folding chairs Emmons depicts remind me of the beachside exhibition spaces that the Art Basel Miami Beach fair is known for.) Lily Cox-Richard's trio of images recasting screen views from Web sites asks prodding questions about the Internet's public-private boundaries. Still, after considerable looking, I'm unconvinced that "Space-Domestic" says anything much new.

Though I haven't seen the show yet, I think Dawson is way off-base with her nepotism charge. To me nepotism means someone getting something they don't deserve because of good connections. AMW's work not only fits the theme very well, it's good work, which she even admits looks great in the space. Moon included work in the show by people she knew who fit into the idea, and the person whose work she knows best, her husband's, fits well. If his work didn't work, or was bad, then ok, nepotism. But the art world is full of connection after connection - it's taken me 10 years out of grad school to realize it's all about connections once you have good work.

Dawson's other point hits the mark more though. Again, I haven't seen the show so I can't comment on the other artists work, but I know what I sent to be hung. Dawson probably looks at a lot more contemporary art than I do, so I believe her when she says this show's idea might be well-trod. One wrinkle might have been to note that this show which features several works about or inspired by the suburbs takes place in McLean Va, part of the huge suburban sprawl around Washington D.C. Another angle is to mention that a few of the artists are from outside the U.S. (including the curator) and might therefore have a different relationship with the suburban idea, or that some of us actually live in the 'burbs right now.

When she mentions the themes of suburban isolation and the popularity among younger artists of drawing - that cuts to my bone. She's right, and it's something I've struggled with. Drawing has been my main way of working for 15 years, long before grad schools started pumping out baby artists who do lots of drawing for lots of reasons. Some are valid and sincere, but a lot seem to be riding a lazy wave, letting a red-hot market pump their scribbles into "masterpieces."

The suburban angle hits home with me too - again, around 15 years of my mining this vein can be tossed out with all the other middle-class MFAs drawing their nostalgia. I like to think I'm adding something different - an engagement with art history, a perspective from living in the 'burbs right now, a genuine love that goes with the hatred of sprawl, but I may be fooling myself.

So what's an artist to do who believes they've arrived at a place in their work sincerely though long hard work, but finds himself smack in the middle of hot trendy crap? My answer I come to every few months is - KEEP DRAWING. Find better ways to say better things that are more me and less zeitgeist. Drawings hotness will fade to be replaced by installation or video or whatever. I can do better at conveying my place in the burbs (which I believe I have in some of my comics), or I can dispense with that subject altogether (which I've been planning to do after my show this fall).

UPDATE: Review in local paper here, and on Thinking About Art (J.T. Kirkland) here.

6.21.2006

Space-Domestic @ McLean Project for the Arts



I'm in a show in Northern Virginia opening Thursday night:

SPACE-DOMESTIC

Curated by Jiha Moon, including works by Amze Emmons, Andy Moon Wilson, Gianna Commito, Hildegard Skowasch, Isabel Maria Manalo, Lily Cox-Richard, Thomas Henriksson and Warren Craghead.

This exhibit, guest-curated by artist Jiha Moon, explores the idea of space as subject matter. It includes investigations into personal and public zones, the line between fantasy and reality, and the juxtapositions and dislocations that can exist between interior and exterior space. Boundaries, both real and metaphorical are also considered. All of these artists use their physicality, through the act of painting and drawing, to pursue their ideas.

June 22 - July 29, 2006

OPENING RECEPTION
Thursday, June 22, 7 to 9 PM

McLean Project for the Arts
1234 Ingleside Avenue
McLean Va 22101
703.790.1953
www.mpaart.org

6.19.2006

Some things


Joey Slaughter

I forgot to mention last week that ADA Gallery was in NY at the Affordable Art Fair, with featured artists Matthew Fisher, Jenny Laden, Joey Slaughter and Bruce Wilhelm, and with some of my work in their flatfiles.

They'll also be at SCOPE Hamptons later this summer, with featured artists Bruce Wilhelm, Kate Woodliff, Daniel Davidson and Joel Stoehr, and more of my stuff (along with others) in their flatfiles.

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UK art-hound, short-time bachelor and drawing-book collaborator Craig Atkinson had a drawing in yesterday's NY Times Magazine.

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RIP Luis Jimenez, who I met when I was in Austin and was a generous person and great artist.

6.16.2006

more more beach





Also, there was a birthday party for Lady V, and when my friend Marc and I were out surfing we saw a manta ray.

6.13.2006

Beach is fun



Sorry about the no posts last week - we were at the beach having fun. I drew a lot so I'll post a few this week.