Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nowhere Close to Normal & Other Print Works

after several months of printing and planning, the traveling group show i've mentioned a couple times is coming to fruition. each friend/artist involved is responsible for finding an exhibition venue in his or her hometown. my venue here may well be the Figge Art Museum, which could prove to be very nice. i've been told the committee is excited about my proposal, and might give it a go ahead for the months of October and November, 2008. my fingers will remained crossed for good luck.

the exhibition schedule as of today:

August 2008
Ft Hays State University Art Gallery
Hays, Kansas

September 2008
Perks Coffee House
Athens, Ohio

January 2009
Red Delicious Press Gallery
Denver, Colorado

some work samples of participating artists...
(click on images for larger views)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Goya's Black Paintings

a month or so back, i took a class (actually a scholarly lecture) at the Figge on Francisco Goya's mysterious "black paintings." the session was titled Interpreting the Dark and Strange and it was led by Emily Alexander (M.A., U Mass). I felt she did a very nice job.

at the time of the talk, and since then, i've realized these "black paintings" have left an impression on me in terms of how they relate to some pieces i've made here and there throughout my life. i wanted to post some images from the body of work and give a very quick paraphrasing of the content of Emily's lecture...

when Goya was 74 years old, sick, and beginning to go mad (throw into that mix the fact that he was already mostly deaf), he began living in a villa outside of Madrid. as i understand it, the only other resident in the home was his servant and lover. soon after taking up residence, he started painting a variety of frescoes on the interior walls of his home. evidently, the manner in which he painted the pieces was both fierce in style and made in haste. the works fell to shit in a short amount of time because Goya failed to correctly apply paint onto wet plaster. after his death, a haphazard attempted to save them was made, but the process didn't go so well. I guess the pieces now exist via a stretched canvas system of some sort, and are in "so-so" shape.

but, back to the content of the work. these murals are insane. large, dark pieces depicting some very eerie scenes. quasi-satanic rituals with a shadowy goat figure. parades of people that look mentally ill. and of course, there's also the famous piece from this body of work - the scene of the god Saturn devouring his children. remember, these were everywhere on the walls of his house. wow.

i'm having a tough time figuring out my favorite work out of the lot. for now, i'll go with Pilgrimage to San Asidro. (as always, click on images for a larger view)

here's The Great He-Goat: Witches Sabbath

Saturn Devouring His Children


and one more, Two Old Men

A Dream in Doubt

last night, PBS' Independent Lens premiered "A Dream in Doubt." The episode/film tells the story of an extended Sikh family (common thread = 3 brothers) as they deal with extreme hardships during the days immediately after September 11th, 2001. Actually, "hardships" puts the situation lightly... you see, two of the brothers from this Indian immigrant family are murdered basically because of their appearance. Yes, it is a simplification, but two killers — hellbent on an enraged revenge for 9/11 — murdered these two american citizens simply because the socially-loaded turbans and beards worn by the brothers somehow signified "Al-Queda" to the killers. As the film goes on, you learn that more violence came to this group of immigrants — another friend of the family is murdered under similar circumstances, and yet another family friend receives a string of life-threatening phone calls and visits to his home.

i just now typed the words "race relations in america will continue to be very complex and difficult to comprehend for a long time to come," but a more direct comment might be "what the fuck is wrong with our country?"

the worst part for me personally about all this is that i have to deal with this brand of hate and distrust daily. i work with people who frequently use the phrase "towel head" and i've heard a lot of bigotous rhetoric about neighborhood gas station owner/operators. sometimes i feel as if i'm surrounded by a severe lack of intelligence.

links to web sites:


Friday, May 16, 2008

Sweep the Leg Johnny + Faraquet

i just realized that this week i've been listening to two defunct "math rock" bands that i never got to see live.


chao, does kanoo have internet access? send him this way to see if he enjoys this stuff still. i know you guys always wanted to work on a mars volta-ish band.

so... first, chicago's Sweep the Leg Johnny. they had clean vocals, did the weird syncopation timings, sounded dark and doom-ey every once in a while, and stood out from the rest of the genre players by inserting a saxaphone as a major component of their music.

here's "Bloodlines." watch the near-end for the guitar player's epic miscalculation of the strength of a drop ceiling. ouch.

then, washington dc's Faraquet. a little cleaner of a sound; a newer band, but as i said, also defunct. i couldn't decide which video to post, so here are both of them. evidently this is filmed in Brazil somewhere?

Cut Self Not

The Fourth Introduction

Friday, May 9, 2008

solo exhibitions in 2009

i received notice this week that i will have a solo show in bloomington, illinois next summer. the specific dates will be June 19th - August 8th 2009, at the McLean Arts Center. Curator Alison Hatcher is as kind as ever, and generous thanks to her for pushing me to submit to the formal committee.

there's also news that i am probably in strong consideration for a show at the Catich Gallery at Saint Ambrose University. Curator Heather Lovewell is being very welcoming to me and my proposal, and says it too has to pass the formal submission process via a university committee. I was asked if I preferred a solo show or to be curated into a group show, and I honestly don't mind either way. fingers crossed for some positive news on that once the fall semester begins.

some other things in the works - i decided what the hell, i'll go ahead and propose a solo show for the 2009-10 season at Quad City Arts. i had a solo show there in 2001, so if my proposal is accepted, it will have been a while since people have seen what i've been up to here in my home town. "why not," eh?

aside from all that, the thing i am most involved in lately involves some grumblings amongst a few new art cohorts here and i about the often unorganized, insular quad city visual art scene. i think something i'm pushing for the next few years here is an group-show-only exhibition space operated by artists — something done with our own money, via our own curatorial practices, on our own terms. there are several artists here that seem to stand out from the pack of the traditional, established, rank-and-file quad city arts scene (not against them, just different from them), and we could bring in some rather strong, fresh, interesting work from all over the country. good artists from San Francisco, Denver, Edmonton, Tallahassee, Athens (OH), Peoria, and other locales could be shown amongst the work of my own and the other local artists i speak of. it's a slowly evolving idea, but we're working on it.

anyways... back to the title of the post. the shows that are actually finalized will probably have a mix of the following pieces.

as always, click on any image for a larger view.