Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Hipster Life

Sorry I didn't get this up yesterday, everyone. I was a bit out of commission, but am now back and ready to update your visual horizons.

Karly Wildenhaus' series Atlanta Portraits, despite being a bit too embrasive of the hipster counterculture is quite a well composed, and produced series that could easily scale the pages of VICE. I have never seen these photographs outside of her website and I'm sure that in person something about the size or printing of the pieces might make them less striking for me, but as it stands, I still enjoy them.

Wildenhaus just moved to Chicago and is attending the Art Institute for (I think) visual criticism, which is unfortunate, because I think fashion photography would be a great route for her to pursue. Right now her work exudes a kind of raw talent and understanding of composition and color that with the right training could become really phenomenal work in a few years. I believe when she completed this series she was actually working for a fashion photographer, which I'm sure didn't hurt the richness of these images.

Here are some of the portraits from the series that I like in particular:

Besides the fact that Wildenhaus has a wonderful grasp of what makes a GOOD image, her content has certainly been considered. Granted, I think the style of the work pulls from photography less focused on content and more on dazzling the viewer, but that's not to say that her subjects are solely pretty faces. There has obviously been a great deal of attention to capture these people in their environment and to include objects, pets and people that have some amount of significance in the portrait-sitters lives. This is the one place where I think a couple of the images fall short. In more than one case the subjects seem a bit uncomfortable and stiff in their poses, which considering the locale, should have been considered. Although, going back to my previous statement, I think that these images draw heavily enough on photography that uses blatantly posed figures that is isn't too terribly bothersome.

On the whole, I think the series captures a small sect of the Atlanta population in a very well executed manner. I am very curious to see what else will be coming out of Wildenhaus in the next few years.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Jessica Mills

This week's artist, and the first to begin the trend is a MFA Candidate at the University of Georgia in Printmaking. Her approach to printmaking is a great departure from a medium that can be very traditional and limiting for many artists. Several printmakers, including the greats, seem to become overwhelmed by the medium. One of the most common criticisms of printmakers is that they are more concerned with the process of making an image than in the image itself. The criticism is far from the truth for this artist.

So without further ado, Jessica Mills.

If I had to guess, I would say that Mills is going places. Her work is able to achieve a familiarity with its' audiences that is hard to find outside of old family photographs and movies that you can replay in your mind. The underlying Americana sensibility is one of the characteristics of this series that instantly won me over. Mills' upbringing in Nebraska is undoubtedly what gives these images such a personal stake in her wide and minimalist landscapes.

Her current body of work is predominantly trace monotypes. Previously she was working with intaglio, so I'm guessing this was a pretty smooth transition for her. The work deals with the idea of memory and the images that your mind saves from specific instances, although not necessarily particular events. From what I understand of her working method, she pulls her images from photographs she takes using a digital camera that never leaves her side. This close companion is definitely helping her to turn out some stellar work.

Here are some of my favorites:

Under the Red Sunlight, 2007. Trace monotype.

Afternoon Drags On and On, 2007. Trace monotype.

Passing Afternoon Series, 2006. Trace monotype.

Through intimacy in layering, the transparency of papers and meditative mark making the prints invite the viewer to enter into them. Invite the viewer to read into them in a similar fashion to his or her own approach to a favorite book. To react to them in a similar way to a song that could just break hearts. These images serve as evidence of the body’s imprint on land, of our constant dialogue with the environment that surrounds.


Mills has work up at the Lamar Dodd School of Art right now. In terms of upcoming I have yet to find anything, but will post if I see something come up.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hair to the throne... sorry bad pun.

Bands have made it based off of their hair. Take the 80's. I'm not saying I condone it, but would hair metal have been able to achieve its success without the obscenely Cowardly Linoesque coiffures. Try and imagine Motley Crue without the hair. Damn near impossible. Even the ladies of Motown. Hair is a critical part of the image if a musician. Diana Ross has her sweepingly long (and immense) locks, Kurt had his grease laden face curtains, and Dolly had her blindingly towheaded do. Even today, Britney has become even more infamous after the shaving of her ever-changing style.
Jennifer Anniston will forever be known by the infamous "Rachel" haircut she sported on Friends for so many years. You get my point. Hair makes the celebrity.

Last night I attended a phenomenal show at the 40 Watt in Athens ad believe you me, this hair furthers my point like you would never believe. The Melvins lead guitarist and general face of the band, Buzz Osborne has the coiffure of a lifetime. His signature hair is the before picture of a John Frieda Frizz-Treatment commercial in the best way imaginable. I can only imagine what goes into this production. At one point during the show I turned to the constantly mentioned Sara and asked how much hair product she thought he used. She replied that there was probably not much to it. I beg to differ though. If your career has been marker by a signature look that you carry you have to keep it up. Surely Melvins fans do not rely on Buzz's hair alone to enjoy the band, but think it goes without saying that when going to a show it is one of many elements that makes it even more thrilling to see them perform. Watching his hair bounce around is as much a part of the show as watching him play. There is a theatrical quality to it that is an integral part to the show, and I believe that is true of every performer who has a signature style. To think that Buzz doesn't give it a little tease on a flatter day, or occasionally have it cut to achieve maximum buoyancy is just naive.
I would even go so far as to suggest that there is a little spritz involved before the show.

All I'm saying is the hair doesn't make the man, but it certainly doesn't hurt. And, the next time the Melvins are in town I would highly recommend going for the hair watching.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Resident Evil

No I'm not talking about the snakes. Okay, the snakes. My gallery had two clay snakes in the store at one point. I broke the coiled one when I had to pick it up one day and jerk-reaction threw it across the room. The long one that looks like it's slithering just caused an almost fainting episode on more than one occasion. The snakes are awful. The man that made them is also, not surprisingly, a bit evil himself. Every piece of ceramics he had in our store was incredibly racist, offensive, and just downright ugly. Luckily, he picked his things up yesterday so that I never have to scream in the gallery again when I walk into the store.

Never have to scream again until today that is. In the porch area of the house that the gallery is in we have three residents by the names of Lucifer, Evelyn, and Gertrude. They are healthy, turd-making rats. The Terminix man arrived yesterday and set the trap with a brownie in hopes of killing at least one of the beasts. Never having hunted rat I had no idea how quickly such traps (the instant death kind) worked.

Today, while setting up for the groundbreaking at the gallery I realized I was in need of some things from the porch. Upon opening the door I had what might have been one of the most embarrassingly cliche girl moments of my life. There on the floor right next to the refrigerator was Lucifer, in the trap, looking up at me. One of the other staff members heard my squeal and immediately asked if I saw a rat. My face turned red. Of course I saw a rat! And he was gross. Gross. Huge too! I know it was Lucifer and not one of the girls because he was so large! His tail was at least five inches long. Light colored gray fur.

I considered posting a picture so that everyone could understand my experience with Lucifer but decided to spare you.

Hopefully, after setting more traps Gertrude and Evelyn will also be caught. I just hope Lucifer wasn't as fertile as I think he might have been.