Friday, August 27, 2010

“Art 21 - Art in the Twenty-First Century” the PBS Series

I love this series. You can watch 214 trailers and samplings of the series on You Tube, and you can subscribe and / or donate to Peabody and PBS the sponsors of the series through links on You Tube. I am working my way through it. Lacking a photographic memory I replay some parts over and over because the series is pretty encyclopedic. As I watch, I think that “Art 21” is about Art at the turn of the century because it is a bit presumptuous to assume that the 21st Century can be labeled, described and defined during the first decade of said century. However, I do enjoy listening to the famous artists talk about their art as they work. I know that the working interviews must be staged to an extent though the series has a feeling of actual intimacy often lacking in “Reality TV” staging. I notice that most of the artist’s artwork involves global issues and/or ideas and concepts. None of them are terribly interested in depicting the pretty stream in a nearby park, or, even the grandeur of Niagara Falls, unless the latter could be shown as a Brobdingnagian hole in the center of main street USA. All of the lesser artists interested in such things are left to the sidelines. Never the less, Art at the beginning of the Twenty-first Century is not about the artist’s interaction with any definition of “beauty as some form of truth," unless beauty is understood as ancillary to another concern, such as communication). Having said that, “Art 21” does a wonderful job of summarizing the concerns of the International Art World at the beginning of this century.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drill = Kill

I’ve begun working with distressed paint because I hope to teach a course in mixed media at Lighthouse Center for the Arts in Tequesta, Florida this coming winter. This is one of two paintings I’ve completed, shooting step by step as I worked in order to make a PowerPoint presentation to use in class. The artwork is made of layers of acrylic, tempera, oil crayon, tape, photographs and type printed from my computer. I’ve also shot the painted layers with the intent to use them in future digital mixed media work as well. In some cases I paint into the photographs before copying them into the computer, and printing them out for use in the distressed painting. In the future I plan to do some transfer of photos from magazines onto paper using lighter fluid as the transfer medium, then burying those pictures under layers of paint. Origination of the technique was based on inspiration of layered painted walls in Mexico. Those walls with posters beneath the layers of paint were historical records of a sort, and I loved their appearance. My paintings are hopefully also historical recordings of a particular location in place and time.

This particular mixed media artwork also has obvious political purpose, as it expresses my opinion - based in part on the disastrous Gulf Oil Spill of 2010 - that the “Drill Baby Drill” mantra needs to be rethought at the very least. At best, we need to repurpose our entire energy infrastructure to make the most of reusable energy sources like wind and solar. As such, I hope that the mixed media artwork along with the water related pastels and photomontages will be part of a future exhibit to make money for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and / or other not for profit organizations involved in protecting mother nature’s infrastructure from mankind’s abuses.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Healing the World

This progressive photograph is the latest in my ocean wave grid photographs, the first of which was taken on April 20, 2010 the day the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig went BANG. This particular set of photographs was taken on Poodle Beach in Rehoboth Beach on July 28th, 2010. I would like to do an exhibit of these and other ocean / saltwater marsh related artwork, and contribute the proceeds (after expenses) to the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists or other organizations whose philosophy and goals are similar to my own. Thus, the goals for such an exhibition would be the following.

1. To protect existing natural environment and wildlife.
2. To promote a clean natural environment that encourages the growth of bio-diversity.
3. To promote clean / renewable energy such as wind and solar.
4. To raise awareness of the threat to the natural environment from the consumption and use of oil based products.
5. To help provide funding for (an) organization (s) whose goals are the same as or similar to my own.

A major concern of mine is the specious argument put forward by conservatives that climate change does not exist. Of course, it does – it is a proven fact! So, I want to argue for those things that will create change in human behavior. There is no point participating in an argument based in faulty logic and behavior.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Edgar Mueller’s Street Tromp l’oeil

Last month a Lighthouse Center of the Arts student sent me an e-mail about Edgar Mueller’s unsettling and fascinating murals. Actually, I imagine that seeing these Brobdingnagian artworks in person must be at minimum a vertiginous experience, followed be incredulity and that might finally be capped by a spine tingling thrill accompanied by a giggle. These colossal artworks also trigger playfulness in the viewer that has always been a characteristic response to the artist’s intent in creating Tromp l’oeil art. Beyond all else, this stuff certainly fits the “Popomo” credo of making hyperrealism that is unsettling to the viewer. *

Mueller’s Website includes this U-Tube video of The Crevasse (part of the Ice Age project) being created in a type of anamorphosis that allows the viewer to perceive the work in perspective at ground level, though from only one direction. The perceived hole in the earth dislocates the viewer’s impression of a solid earth thus challenging his/her sense of a secure egocentric universe.

Other works are titled Lava Burst,Waterfall, and The Cave Project. This last a series of street paintings prepared for various festivals and competitions. Below is a photograph of the Waterfall created as part of the Moose Jaw, Canada “Prairie Art Festival.” * 1

The photo below is of Mueller’s current project “Duality” from the series Unconditional Love, and is located in Moscow where he and his helpers are laboring intensely against burning eyes, noxious gases and poor visibility caused by the smog there.

There are many artists working in Tromp l’oeil street art today, but to my eye, Mueller is one of the best with these huge illusionistic imaginary spaces seemingly opened up in the middle of everyday streets all over Europe.


*Popomo – Post Post Modern

* 1 Puetz, Gabriela, E-mail with rights and permissions, 10:02 AM EDT, August 1, 2010.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

“The Search for Life in Distant Galaxies” by Rudy Lemcke

I happened upon Lemcke’s Website after Googling (as I often do) “LGBT Art.”
The guy must be related to me! Either that, or we’re channeling each other’s brainwaves. His protagonist, Ed Marker and the "The Search for Life in Distant Galaxies" (hereafter, SFLDG) Website is so similar in conceptualization to Isaac Stolzfuts that I am thunderstruck as I explore Lemcke’s personal cyber world. Lemcke uses Video, photography and written narrative to illustrate the various parts of Marker’s world. Instead, back in the early to mid 2000’s, I used digital photographic tableau and written narrative to describe Isaac’s world. Isaac’s journal develops as a specific time line, while SFLDG progresses in random bits and pieces that have no specific location in time, but rather describe elements of Ed Marker’s existence; Marker’s various domiciles, his box and its contents, Ed Marker’s library research, and so on. It is a life traced by bits and pieces of evidence, with historic ties to artists like Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell. Ingrid Schaffner (et al) describe a process for creating such a construct in Deep Storage: Collecting, Storing, and Archiving in Art, an Exhibition at P. S. 1, Brooklyn, N.Y. (1998), and book of the same title published in 1995. However, I haven’t seen new examples of cyber archiving recently. Perhaps I haven't been looking because it appears that Lemke and others have been producing a number of similar works.

SFLDG is apparently part of the San Francisco Queer Cultural Center’s 13th annual National Queer Arts Festival. That event took place in June during National LGBT Pride month. I will have to spend a week or two exploring all the vast system of links both within Lemcke’s project, as well as those tied to the National Queer Arts Festival.