more things we did

What we did Sunday and Monday - beach, Contemporary Art Center on Sunday, Virginia Aquarium and beach on Monday. The CACV had a great show pairing artists up, I'll write more later about that. Here's quick beach scribbles:


Back from vacation

Surfed small rights, saw elephants, dug sandholes with a two-year-old. Here's what we did Friday and Saturday:

and some Violet art. More Violet art and a tiny plan of our hotel room:

and a handwritten tide chart, Low tide was just lovely for waves.


Packing for the trip

I make picture-lists now. Here's what I'm wearing:

and here's what else I'm bringing:

Note the surfboard, THE SURFBOARD! Ask the gods for a nice sandbar in front of our hotel, one that goes off while Violet is napping. Thank you.

Also note - the little lines off the things mean I have them gathered, when they're packed away I'll cross those lines.


I like waves

Going to the beach Saturday for a few days. Gwydion is there now, here's a great post about being there. I want to draw like he writes.

PS Weapons-grade critical skills at work at ArtBlog.


more Charlottesville art

After being a slack art-citizen for a while, I'm trying to at least see and briefly comment on everything I can see here in C'ville. So there's two more places to mention, The McGuffey and The Bridge:

At the McGuffey there's a big watercolor show - nice, tame, not too great. There's also crazy drawings and ceramics from Robert E. Bricker. While a little too illustration-y, they have a great puzzle feel, a complicated and jigsaw effect. Weird stories inside stories. The mcguffey frequently has half-baked shows*, so this one is really good for them.

The Bridge, which I haven't been by in a long time, has a great group show up, Fuzz. There's a whole calendar of events, from a piñata making workshop to a drawing/zine party. The drawing thing was last Thursday and I stopped by and drew with strangers and saw the show with one of the curators. It's mostly young artists, some still undergrads at UVa (there's also an 80-year-old guy in this show).

I liked the show, it's full of well-made and interesting things with a real strong homespun and DIY aesthetic, one that's around a lot in the art world now. Other than that I went away thinking 2 things - first that this aesthetic is pretty powerful when it shows up even here - and being done well here - the curator I spoke to (Patrick, didn't get a last name) had a great cartoony sewn piece that looked clean, collagy and cartoony.

The second thing I thought was - Ahhh, these guys are me 10 years ago. I have a neighbor who's an undergrad art student, but she isn't really involved and is kind of distracted and not super-motivated. These guys though remind me of me and my friends in school - scheming, plotting and making things constantly. When they sit around on a Thursday night drawing, that's something. I'm glad to find this roots-level art thing happening, one that feels more comfortable to me than some of the clean white walls at some of the other places, though I realize I'm not 25 anymore, and I may end up being the weird old creep if I hang out there.

PS Sean did a puppet show at Fuzz last Sunday but we couldn't make it....His aesthetic - DIY, homespun, but consciously art-world savvy and very beautiful - fits really well with the rest of the show.

* I should mention that I think they see their mission as showing whoever's making work, not being aggressively critical in their curatorial choices. At least it seems that way - that they provide some kind of public service, though I think the public would be better served by tougher standards.


Charlottesville Sept shows

I should have written this last week, but I actually made it out to openings here in Charlottesville Friday before last:


Second Street Gallery - Susanne Kessler: Synaptic Drawings

The whole gallery was full of big installation size drawing/collages. Some of the details are really nice - she made loose, abstract scribbles on paper, then meticulously cut them out and scrambled them all up with wire fencing and other Home Depot materials. I'm glad she doesn't lean only on the intensity of her obsessive methods, and though several pieces don't come together (the Home Depot-ness of many of them is still strong and unintegrated), overall it's a good show.

Migration Gallery - Peter Krebs: Interactions

Krebs shows 2 bodies of work at Migration. A set of drawings of chairs in NYC's Bryan Park is nicely spare and evocative of people without showing them. More potent are his large drawings of worm's eye views of trees, in charcoal on plywood. The clunky handmadeness of them worked better in these than the chair pieces, and when the convincing drawing of the tree rubs against the tiny scratched of the surface of the plywood there's some real magic.

Les Yeux Du Monde - Stefanie Newman, Esmé Thompson and Deborah Kahn
I'll write about each of these individually as there wasn't a real tie between the three shows:

Stefanie Newman's pieces are upstairs and visible from the street and that's too bad because they are by far the worst of the show. It's hard to tell from the image above, but she's taken hunks of 19th century paintings and re-painted them on semi-3D chunks of paper coming off the wall. Think a less graceful and inventive early Elizabeth Murray. The 3D areas have little relationship to the images on them, the painting is choppy and ham-fisted and the whole package seems more like an undergrad art class piece. Maybe even high school. I'm being a little harsh because I don't understand why Lynn at LYDM is showing these so prominently - she usually makes good judgements about what she shows, and the other two artists in the show have much better work.

Downstairs, Esmé Thompson's pieces are more what I expect from LYDM - not always great, but nice, tasteful, and well-made work. Like Newman, Thompson works from other art - the weakest pieces of hers are based on some Piero paintings - but when she goes her own way (or buries her references deep in her own drawing) she makes some luminous, though at times thin, beauties.

The real star of the show, and the night, was Deborah Kahn. Her thick, almost carapace like paint surfaces represent hight abstracted figures, but they also do the almost impossible - they seem ossified into hard shells but still have a lightness and flexibility that's astonishing. She make dirt move while just sitting there. In one work there's a tiny flick of paint that off-handedly coalesces into a figure's eye. Badass mastery.

There's also stuff at the McGuffey, and The Bridge has a GREAT show and that I'll write about later this week.


Interview at Comics Reporter

This past weekend Tom Spurgeon posted an intervew with me on Comics Reporter - read it here. We talk all about HOW TO BE EVERYWHERE and adaptations in general. I put up an extended excerpt from the book in a link to the interview, so go, read and look.