Monday, August 25, 2014

Erick Swenson's "Muncie Head"

Erick Swenson, Muncie Head, plastic and acrylic paint, 2001

Last month I finally made it to CCAD (Columbia College of Art and Design) to see their exhibition space. I keep hearing that it is the place to see art in Columbus and I was grateful to see Erick Swenson's Ne Plus Ultra. Since leaving Texas (and no recent trip to NYC), I haven't seen much of Swenson's work in the last couple years. You can imagine my surprise at seeing the title of the above sculpture. After further research, I have failed to find a connection with Swenson and Muncie. My consolation is that it is the best work of art featuring this town's name that I have ever seen though I have no idea as to the context.

The next CCAD exhibition is Tom Burkhardt's Full Stop, another installation I first saw in Texas, once many lifetimes ago. Here's to keeping this space under my radar and to wishing that they update their upcoming exhibitions soon.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Sol LeWitt, A Square of Chicago Without a Trapezoid, 1979

A trip north is necessary because far too much time has passed since my last visit. Yes, I am living in denial that school started this week. Stretching each of the last days of summer to their fullest capacity.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Installation Weekend

Here are a few details from yesterday's installation (= me sneaking around photographing holes and zippers).

(Portrait of an artist with his cat and horse)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Last of This Summer's Water Collections

James K. Russell, Long Beach, Washington

I asked my father to make a drawing in the sand. He found a stick from his yard and packed it in the car. He had no idea what he would make and neither did I. He thought this was much larger than it turned out to be and I envisioned it was closer to the water.  Since my mother was a prominent feature in the Idaho photographs, I wanted my father to be a part of the project too. Note to self: I have skills convincing my parents to do things for my art without any forewarning.

The end product though the "ruffles" kept getting in the way. As with the residency's water photographs from earlier this summer, I am not sure if I will use many of these or what the final outcome will be. For now they are merely a collection and one day when I finish every location, they might transform into something else.

More from Long Beach.

Cannon Beach, Oregon (After Gerhard Richter)

Posing as we all do, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

I will return to Cannon Beach to photograph on a day when it isn't so crowded and warm (yes, warm!) at some point in the future. The two images above document the location where this came from...

... (wishing it was completely full but knowing I can take it back).

You know what this means? I finished everything above the line on the list I made in April. Add a few locations I forgot from Idaho and last year's trip to Texas (which produced this and this) and I am over the half way point in the autobiography of water series (I need a real title, damn it). I hope to complete the final destinations by Summer 2016. Yet another long term project in the making.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I am still alive...

... unlike many of the people that are passing from this world en mass this week. Since returning from the residency and Canadian road trip, it has been difficult to keep up with this blog on a regular basis due to a multitude of reasons not worthy of explanation here. As soon as school starts (shockingly so very early next week), I will have a routine again and it will feature regular blog posting.

There are a couple of exciting events on the horizon. Two years ago, I was fortunate to be asked to return to my alma mater for a two-person exhibition with a dear friend whom I always looked up to as an artist as a lowly undergrad. Our show opens the first week of September. In the meantime, I have my hands full with coordinating this, two interviews for online and print publications, and the inevitable (and suffocatingly large) pile of school work to contend with prior to Monday.

I leave you with Ed Ruscha's Hi There My Old Friend from 1994.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Rósa Gíslasdóttir

Rósa Gíslasdóttir, The Doubts of Future Foes

While on my residency in May, I met an artist named Samuel Paden who suggested I research the artwork of Rósa Gíslasdóttir, an artist from Iceland. Her series The Doubts of Future Foes concentrates on an everyday object, the bottle which relates to my Clear Water Sample series.

Rósa Gíslasdóttir, The Doubts of Future Foes

Rósa Gíslasdóttir, The Doubts of Future Foes

"She is fascinated by artifacts that have been produced and utilized for millennia. In the course of a long development, the forms of plates, jars and bottles have become fixed... She discovers the 'perfect form' in the object of our immediate environment, and our waste, making her selection on the basis of aesthetic criteria. A plastic Coca-Cola bottle, for example, is taken to represent a disturbing product of waste and, simultaneously, a precious form." [via]

Sunday, August 3, 2014

One year later, the paper is weathered

Somehow it survived the worst winter and coolest summer in Indiana. Now to flatten it and determine what list will live on it (hopefully) permanently.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Prints!

Knocking out some prints from May's residency and Lake Louise. I may have already eliminated the paintbrush but the rest are final prints for the autobiography in water series.

Still thinking about these...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry"

Sarah Jones, Cove (virtual film studio) (1), 2007

I continue to read books devoted to the color blue. William Gass's essay On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry, covers the topic tangentially as well as in lists disguised as paragraphs. Here are some passages that linger as I start to gather the early summer's documentation and come to terms with the thousands of photographs that depict this hue.

Blue is "consequently the color of everything that's empty..." [page 3]

"The common deer in its winter coat is said by hunters to be in the blue. To be in the blue is to be isolated and alone. To be sent to the blue room is to be sent to solitary, a chamber of confinement devoted to the third degree. It's to be beaten by police, or if you are a metal, heated until the more refrangible rays predominate and the ore is stained like those razor blades the sky is sometimes said to be as blue as, for example when you're suddenly adrift on a piece of cake or in a conversation feel a wind from outer space chill your teeth like a cube of ice." [page 18]

Bastienne Schmidt, From the series Salt

"It is the sky's pale deep endlessness, sometimes so intense at noon the brightness flakes like a fresco. Then at dusk, it is the way the color sinks among us, not like dew but setting dust or poisonous exhaust from all the life burned up while we were busy being other than ourselves. For our blues we have the azures and ceruleans, lapis lazulis, the light and dusty, the powder blues, the deeps: royal, sapphire, navy, and marine; there are the pavonian or peacock blues, the reddish blues: damson, madder and cadet, hyacinth, periwinkle, wine, wisteria and mulberry; there are the slow blues, a bit purpled or violescent, and then the green blues, too: robin's egg and eggshell blue, beryl, cobalt, glaucous blue, jouvence, turquoise, aquamarine. A nice light blue can be prepared from silver, and when burned, Prussian blue furnishes a very fine and durable brown. For our blues we have those named for nations, cities, regions: French blue, which is an artificial ultramarine, Italian, Prussian, Swiss and Brunswick blues, Chinese blue, a pigment which has a peculiar reddish-bronze cast when in lump-form and dry, in contrast to China blue which is a simple soluble dye; we have Indian blue, an indigo, Hungarian, a cobalt, the blues of Parma and Saxony, Paris, Berlin, and Dresden, those of Bremen and Antwerp, the ancient blues of Armenia and Alexandria, the latter made of copper and lime and sometimes called Egyptian, the blue of the Nile, the blue of the blue sand potters use. Are there so many states of mind and shades of feeling?" [page 59]

Kathleen Velo, Water Flow 1 - Ft. Lowell Pond After Monsoon, 2013

"So - in short - color is consciousness itself, color is feeling, and shape is the distance color goes securely, as in our life we extend ourselves through neighborhoods and hunting grounds; while form in its turn is the relation of these inhabited spaces, in or out or up or down, and thrives on the difference between kitchen and pantry. This difference, with all its sameness, is yet another quality, alive in time like the stickiness of honey or the gently rough lap of the cat, for color is connection. The deeds and sufferings of light, as Goethe says, are ultimately song and celebration... Praise is due blue, the preference of the bee."  [page 73]

Scott Reeder, Untitled (Light Blue), 2013

"Of the colors, blue and green have the greatest emotional range. Sad reds and melancholy yellows are difficult to turn up. Among the ancient elements, blue occurs everywhere: in ice and water, in the flame as purely as in the flower, overhead and inside caves, covering fruit and oozing out of clay. Although green enlivens the earth and mixes in the ocean, and we find it, copperish in fire; green air, green skies, are rare. Gray and brown are widely distributed, but there are no joyful swatches of either, or any of exuberant black, sullen pink, or acquiescent orange." [page 76]

"If color is one of the contents of the world as I have been encouraging someone - anyone - to claim, then nothing stands in the way of blue's being smelled or felt, eaten as well as heard. These comparisons are only slightly relative, only somewhat subjective. No one is going to call the sounds of the triangle brown or accuse the tympanist of playing pink." [pages 76-77]


Richard Misrach, Untitled, February 14, 2012, 6:19 PM

"This is not blue I see but myself seeing blue." [page 83]

"The blue we bathe in is the blue we breathe. The blue we breathe, I fear, is what we want from life and only find in fiction." [page 85]

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Frustrations in the Packing Department

I have dreaded this week for two years and it proved to be as challenging as I suspected it might. An exhibition that was scheduled 22 months ago is occurring in September. For the first time Nine Fake Cakes and Nine Bodies of Water must be shipped to Idaho. Here is an excellent way to drop too much money on shipping materials, obtain a giant paper cut, and utter several strings of swear words when I discovered the dimensions of the boxes were incorrect despite my being assured the contents would fit. A few photos from the behind the scenes frustration follow:

Everyone always ask me if I took a class in box building. I would like to say "yes" [translation: this type of thing was taught in the schools I attended] but no, I had to learn it on my own with some thanks to working at Texas Gallery. It's the only time I enjoy math unless I have unexpected deposits in my checking account. Here all nine photos spread everywhere, packed with bubble, corners and foam awaiting cardboard boxes to cut down and size to my measurements.

The photo lab at school is under massive construction and I haven't been able to work as much as I would like this summer (hence my favorite printer covered with a tarp and random furniture throughout the room). This will change as soon as school starts as I have great plans to conquer a lot of unfinished business this fall, start a new series, and work on the collaboration with Brent.

Enter great swearing when I had to haul these to the UPS Store for four days while they custom build four boxes for me because nothing would work or fit in my car = a great waste of time and energy given that my lifting and walking abilities aren't up to par post surgery.

Fortunately, one piece is done. When artwork fits this well into a box I made, I can't help but feel happy. Maybe I should build boxes for the next faculty show = a great foray into sculpture = imagining that will not go over well with anyone other than me. Now I patiently wait for the phone call from the UPS Store. In the meantime, I may go look at some artwork.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Art Review" Autumn Issue 2013 is Finally Here

This academic publication is a collaboration between Ball State University,  Concordia University and Sichuan University. It's printing was delayed due to the earthquake in China last year but it is here now.

My essay looks out of context with everything else but it's great to see in print.

My bio in Mandarin (showing my ignorance = I think). Thanks to Natalie, cake decorator extraordinaire, for including the essay in the publication.

Friday, July 11, 2014

R.I.P. On Kawara

I learn that everyone dies on Twitter. Yesterday I retweeted MOCA's "I Got Up At..." and created an homage of my own (I haven't woken up at 6:15 AM since I drove West and was operating on a different time zone = a very rare occurrence that I am up before the sunrise).

The next Postcard Collective round is fast approaching. The theme is "you are here" and it may be time for another tribute.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Promo Postcards!

At long last, I listened to my friends, my colleagues, my former professors, professional portfolio reviewers, authors, etc. A year and a half after promising myself that I would design blank promotional postcards to send as thank you notes, they arrived in the mail today. Two look great and one is more saturated that I would like but they are done!

Now to find some people to thank .... (don't worry, that shouldn't be a problem).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Alfredo Barsuglia's "Social Pool"

I have thought about Carolina Miranda's Los Angeles Times review on Barsuglia's pool nearly everyday since hearing about it. First a little information about the work (via the above link):

"The piece... consists of a single, diminutive swimming pool located somewhere in the southern Mojave Desert between Joshua Tree and Apple Valley. The public is allowed to use the pool, but in order to do so visitors need the key that unlocks it (it is kept covered) as well as the GPS coordinates. Only once you have the key, which is kept at the MAK Center, are you given the coordinates."

Also note that viewers are asked to bring a gallon of water to replenish it (if they find it) and it originally held 800 gallons.

Though I love the idea of creating an object one needs to search for in the desert (Michael Heizer's Double Negative for instance), I oppose this artwork being the one to find. First of all, it remains a beautiful, luxurious item in the initial photographs but over the course of time, it is impossible for it to hold these standards (a clear, full body of water devoid of insects, sand, and the presence of other people). Sand, dead scorpions floating on the surface, graffiti, attempts to break in despite not having the key - this is what I envision lying ahead for this artwork. Why? Because this is what happens when an artwork representing a luxurious item is left in the wilderness. The level of lavishness vanishes quickly.

Secondly, when I think of the pool as luxury item in the California desert, it does not look this, rather this, this, and this. None of these examples are conceivable to recreate in Barsuglia's case (albeit one exists in paintings not in real life). Barsuglia's pool is a postage size sample, asking the viewer to imagine something far greater than what is presented. It is opulent when compared to its current surroundings (considering the effort it took to create in such a remote location) but it falls short. In other words, this object is not luxurious or enticing enough to spend a day searching for it. I hate saying that because so much of my life is devoted to finding pristine bodies of water in my own artwork and it seems natural that I would gravitate to this.

I imagine a New Yorker cartoonist having a field day with a parched, crawling couple stumbling across this installation. In that respect, it becomes comical. If it is supposed to question our concept of luxury, environmental concerns, and consumption it does so but I can't help wonder what it would look like if Jeff Koons made it instead.

The work is available to find / see through 30 September 2014.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lake Michigan

The final water photograph of this summer's mega road trip across 2/3 of the United States and five provinces in Canada.

Sleeping Bear Dunes in the rain (ode to Hiroshi Sugimoto)

6108 miles