(Please pardon my bad photos)
At Les Yeux du Monde, a small commercial space here in Charlottesville, Dean Dass and Clay Witt are showing individual and collaborative pieces.
Dass earlier showed a wonderful group of landscape paintings here (I wrote about them here), but this work is much crazier. He layers printed images (inkjet images, so they're off a computer) with raw hand-made marks and bits of collage, including what looks like slivers of stone.
The work looks at times like collections of things - catagorized bits of beauty in some sort of alchemical combination. I'm starting to use some digital processes in my own work, and its good to see him embrace those tools while keeping the work aggressively human.
Witts pieces are more comtemplative, though I wouldn't call them calm. They seem like pieces of a landcape, chunks of sand or rock or air melted down and swabbed onto the wall. I also kept thinking of bronze age heroes and fossilized helmets.
Their collaborations were interesting and fun and did tread the ground between the two solo bodies of work - Dass' collections and Witts chunks grind together to form new bits of the world.
Posted by w at 15:51
I looked ta my studio wall thi smorning and found this small drawing taped to it among a bunch of other stuff I'm working on. I DIDN'T DRAW IT! Either my drawings somehow gave birth or multiplied, or yesterday my Dad, was visiting, snuck up here... He does draw a lot, and is very sneaky...
Posted by w at 15:05
I've been a Matt Madden fan for years (since we did 24-hour comics together in Austin) and just got a book he published a couple years ago - 99 Ways To Tell A Story: Exercises in Style. Originally I saw parts of it on his website (you can see some here) but seeing all 99 together is something else entirely.
The book is basically this - he starts with a basic one page comic, telling a simple story of a guy (Madden) getting up from working, answering a question from his girlfriend upstairs, then staring into the refrigerator wondering what he was looking for. Madden then tells this story 99 different ways, all in comics or semi-comcs form.
The idea from this comes from the French author Raymond Queneau, who told a simple story 99 different written ways - so one version from all possible tenses, then all possible forms (poetry, song, etc.) and on and on.
Madden, who shows truly strong drawing skills here, stretches the comics telling of the story every way he can. He goes through genres (superhero, fantasy, horror etc) he goes through form changes (all vertical panels, all horizontal panels etc). He does some truly amazing things - my two favorites are one where he disassembles and collages together all the visual elements of the story making a crazy-quilt mash-up that is wonderful. My other more sentimental fave is the Calligram, a picture made from words and pioneered by one of my heroes, the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. The map version is also great:
In the introduction Madden makes a point that this project shows that form and content aren't at odds, but inescapably linked. I agree, and I think it also shows, and not just for comics, that artists and authors make all sorts of decisions, each of which make an impact on the final product.
Madden says he realized that the basic "template" version itself is full of stylistic and artistic decisions - that no way of telling a story (or of making an image) is free of "style". Again, I agree - and it's in the interrogation of those styles, those assumed points and givens, that an artist can find and create something new.
Posted by w at 16:20
I do know that Miki Liszt Dance Company kicked ass. Really good. I know nothing about modern dance, but I know good art when I see it. I saw the whole thing twice Friday night and wasn't bored once. I know I'm biased because wife is in the company, but it really was good.
But how did Kirkland do at Red Door? How was Second Street? What about the pieces of me at Plant Zero?
I did see Dean Dass having really good stuff at Les Yeux Du Monde here in C'ville - images soon.
PS ANABA has a pic of J.T.'s Dad, who I met once and like.
Posted by w at 16:25
Miki Liszt Dance Company (featuring wife!) here in Charlottesville. ^pm, 7pm and tomorrow at 3pm at McGuffey.
At Second Street Gallery, opening tonight.
and over in Richmond, J.T. Kirkland at Red Door and me and others at Plant Zero.
Posted by w at 14:23