Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Burn Away

I'm sure those of you who actually read this have been wondering where the hell I have been. Well, myself and fellow Atlanta art bloggers are starting something big:

Burn Away is a visual arts website based in Atlanta, GA. Through weekly reviews and columns, as well as studio visits with local artists, Burn Away attempts to answer the famous challenge issued by William Faulkner:

So limitless in capacity is man's imagination to disperse and burn away the rubble-dross of fact and probability, leaving only truth and dream.

To "disperse and burn away"—a statement about the nature of creativity that compels us to look beyond what merely is and envision what could be.

Click here to subscribe to our RSS feed. Expect regular content: loads of articles and local art reviews are on the way, so definitely keep an eye on this space!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


In light of distractions at work I have decided to make you all a list of my current playlist at work. Just for kicks.

Sun Kill Moon, Carry Me Ohio
Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania
Lungfish, Wailing Like Dragons
Townes Van Zandt, Marie
Blame Game, Lemon Drops
Captain Beefheart, Pachuco Cadaver
Secret Chiefs, Exodus
Ennio Morricone, Giorno di Notte
Jim O'Rourke, Therefor, I am
Medicine Shows, Chevrolet Car
Cat Power, I Found a Reason
Shipping News, Axons and Dendrites
T Rex, Jeepster
Smog, Dress Sexy at my Funeral
John Fahey, Desperate Man Blues

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Since I am still not able to make a good post

I thought I would share this article on the disappearing critic with you. You may remember Cinque's discussions on this a few months back (I will link to these later) and thought this was a nice supplement, although belated.

The Disappearing Critic from Big Red & Shiny.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bloggers, now is your time.

The Contemporary has certainly been a punching bag for the Atlanta art's community for quite some time now, and I must say with reason. Not to harp on the "good ole days", but the programming has not a fraction of the old exuberance and intelligence that once reigned during the Nexus years.

Local artist, curator, director, founder, activist, general bad-ass, Ms Julia Fenton has taken on quite a campaign against the tailspin that The Contemporary is caught in. After many shove-offs from board members, she has taken the matter to a higher level: the press. Cathy Fox will be doing a story on the institutions current changing of the guard. If you would like to comment or provide your opinion for this story either on or off the record, please make sure to do so before the 14th of August when Cathy leaves for China. If you are interested and do not have her information already, please leave me a comment and I will get you her information.

Below you can read a snip of the much lengthier letter sent by Julia Fenton to the Contemporary.
As I see it, The Contemporary has pretty much reduced its programming to exhibitions, and a minimal number of education programs. I feel the concensus of people I talk to here in Atlanta is that the exhibitions are marginally aceeptable, generally neither current nor cutting edge, composed of the smallest possible number of Atlanta participants and more often than not of out of town artists represented by Stuart’s fairly small circle of gallery friends. I see no evidence of sound research in putting together exhibitions, no evidence of any long range plans on the part of the gallery, no evidence of any coherent exhibition design. It has been my experience that successful programming of the kind that not just I but a number of The Contemporary’s former Gallery Directors put together took full time research, lots of legwork, and broad involvement in Atlanta’s and other major arts communities. It is not possible to run a successful, exciting, stimulating gallery schedule on a part-time basis...

Artists on the whole are rather astute about their profession, and there is a very large number of well respected artists in this community and beyond who are offended by their treatment at the Contemporary. Most professionally run non-profit galleries schedule their programming at least two years in advance. Last minute invitations to exhibit are on the whole professionally offensive. And, unfortunately, the word I hear most often used to describe Stuart is arrogant; the second most frequent comment is that the Contemporary is haphazard at best, if not sloppy, in its programming content. I believe the community also has a vague, unsettling sense now of having been used rather than served. Many of the artists in the last Biennial were embarrassed both by the look of their work in its installation and in the general content of the show. These are comments I am now also hearing from some of the Portland arts community.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

now that your thighs are probably sticking to the seat of your car by the end of your commute, and there is no point in even drying off after you get out of the shower becuase you start sweating again, i figured you migth want a refreshing image to forget about the heat for a minute.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I know that I have had more than a difficult time trying to compile all of the loose schedules being circulated through emails and the like. For sake of your ease, I wanted to post the schedule for A (new) Genre Landscape.


6.8 Ruth Stanford- Grant Park 2-3.30 pm

6.10 Last Stand Collaborative- Grant Park 6-7.30 pm

6.11 Avantika Bawa- East Lake Park 6-7.30 pm

6.12 Angus Galloway- Lake Claire Park 6-7.30 pm

6.13 Tristan Al-Haddad- Brownwood Park 8-9.30 pm

6.14 Public Art Safari Bike Tour- Grant Park 9.30-1 pm
Michael Reese- Grant Park 2-3.30 pm
Matt Haffner- Coan Park 4-5.30 pm
Danielle Roney- Adair Park II 8.30 - 9.30 pm

6.16 Steve Jarvis and Susan Kraus- Pekerson Park 6-7.30 pm

6.20 Sheila Pree Bright- Mozley Park 6-7.30 pm

6.21 Van Tour - All Parks 10-1 pm
Michael Reese- Grant Park 2-3.30 pm
Joe Peragine, Pam Longobardi, and Craig Dongoski- Sunken Garden Park 8-930 pm

6.23 Nat Slaughter- East Lake Park 6-7.30 pm


7.14 Van Tour - All Parks - 10-1 pm

7.19 Public Art Safari Bike Tour - 9-1 pm
Michael Reese- Grant Park 2-3.30 pm

7.26 Danielle Roney - Adair Park II 8.30-9.30 pm

8.16 Van Tour- 8.30-9.30 pm

I think this is one of the most important things that has happened in Atlanta in quite sometime. In the same way that Shed Space was able to evoke energy becuase of all of the parties it drew in, this project will be able to function very similarly. I hope that everyone can make it out to a few of these lectures. I will be trying to attend as many as possible.

Collecting is a neurosis

Got to show off a little bit... here are a couple of shots from Laura Noel's photo shoot with the bf for her Smokers series.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lopped off.

Thanks to a fateful trip to the hairdresser and instructions to simply trim up any split ends, I emerged looking more like Anna Wintour's 3rd grade yearbook picture than a neatened up version of myself. I am not sure whether or not this more coiffed version is an improvement, but on the plus side it is much less work in the morning and if I decide to be a mod for Halloween I won't have to go out and buy a wig and hairspray. Maybe I should have a Quadrophenia party in celebration. No, wait, in respect to the Anna Wintour reference I think we would have to go Blow Up. Who's in?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Young Americans

Sheila Pree Bright's current Young Americans exhibit at The High reeks of shallow propaganda. The series is comprised of portraits of young voters, all who appear to be in the 18-25 age group, posing as they choose with the American flag. From the uninspired concept to the naive statements of the models on their ideas of patriotism the entire show was a flop. Perhaps it was that I went into the show with such high hopes. After all, Pree Bright's previous work has been smart and thoughtful commentaries on African American culture. Her Suburbia series was one of my favorites of last year. What made this work so emphatically one-note was that her usual subtlety was completely absent.

The Young Americans portraits were saddled with recycled connotations, but without any undercurrent of commentary. Each of the portraits featured the subjects dressed in what seemed to be their everyday attire against a stark white background. If the point of the portraits was to show the newest generation of voters' relationship to their country, then the execution of the portraits was too blank to convey that. Based on Pree Bright's previous bodies of work, this minimalist canvas shouldn't have been a hurdle, but it was. I wish that Pree Bright had interjected a bit more with the poses, because I have the impression that it was the models' lack of inspiration as opposed to the artist. Unfortunately the exhibit came across as a GAP ad as opposed to a study in Americanism.

For a subject matter that was so revered by our 19th century counterparts, it seems that the idea of nationality has simply turned into another pop cultural notion, as opposed to something that deserves to be looked at with a bit more rigor.

Friday, May 16, 2008


For anyone that hasn't been to Atlanta Station recently, let me assure you that the contractors are getting dumber by the day. On my way home this evening, I noticed as I was sitting at a traffic light on 17th Street that the median is now adorned with a triumphal arch. Say what? I know Atlanta is trying to make itself more appealing to tourists, but the last time I checked the most recent battle through Atlanta resulted in us being burned to the ground. After laughing hysterically in my car I became absolutely dumbfounded. First of all, if there is going to be a triumphal arch in Atlanta, why in the hell would it be placed in Atlantic Station? Let's choose the most vapid part of the city to place what I'm guessing is intended to eventually be an architectural landmark. Secondly, why would they build a triumphal arch? Did they not realize that Paris, Rome, Vienna, I could go on do not have these merely for show. They are markers of the cities success. An illustrator of history. Ok, I get it. They want to show how Atlanta Station is a marker of the cities success in building an enclosed "urban landscape." This arch is a sign of Atlanta's capitalistic virtuosity.

Ugh. Between that and the Atlantic Station logo, "Life Happens Here" I don't think I'll be able to keep my dinner down tonight. More to come on this atrocity, I just couldn't wait to let you know.

The joys of being a homeowner

My new stove arrives today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It is always kind of surreal when an artist as iconic as Rauschenberg dies. I don't know if it's becuase they are idolized and examined so closely in art history classes, retrospectives and the like, but it's kind of a slap in the face when they are brought to a more human level.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A show proposal

On returning from a thankfully brief trip to see maternal family members in New York this weekend I am realizing that I have so much catch-up reading to do, that it just may not happen. From what I have gleaned so far though, the discussion over at Thoughtmarker right now on group shows and the roles of critics-curators-artists in these shows is certainly worth taking a look at.

Perhaps as a supplemental post to said discussion, I wanted to talk about a show that I am currently working on getting on its feet for January at Eyedrum. On my flight into New York I finished Michael Kimmelman's An Accidental Masterpiece and became really interested in one essay that he wrote on Hugh Francis Hicks, who was a dentist in New York who collected lightbulbs throughout his entire life. His obsessive collecting resulted in the largest private lightbulb collection in the world and consequently a personal museum in his basement. Call it peeping tom syndrome, but I have always had a certain fascination with the private sector of peoples lives. That has manifested itself in fairly bengign forms of snooping in people houses to see what exactly is on their bookshelves (and more importantly which books appear to have actually been read), taking note of exactly what kind of soap people like to use in their bathrooms, what is displayed on the mantle as opposed to a nightside table. More recently, since the beginning of undergrad specifically, this has shifted more to the makeup of artist studios. Not surprisingly, the most telling thing about an artist's work is in how they keep their studio. After reading Kimmelman's essays, I started thinking about this tendency of collecting in artist's work as well as the pack rats who unknowingly become collectors in the same way as Hicks.

Charles Wilson Peale, The Artist in his Museum

In the 16th and 17th centuries in Holland, before the modern-day concept of the museum came about, collectors of anything and everything held a similar status to that of the Met or the Tate Modern today. Collections became iconic symbols of the society. The underlying interest in these earlier forms of the museum though, certainly touch on this innate fascination in peoples life. In the same way that you can learn about a person through what they choose to present to the public, the undisclosed is always where the most captivating details are present.

On a local level, artists like Tom Zarilli, Susan Cipcic, and Susan Winton have all managed to merge their private lives and the objects that they find and collect in their quotidian routine into a kind of self-portrait of themselves. What my plan is, as of now, for this show is to work more in the mindset of these archaic museums, or "wonder boxes," which they were originally called. Perhaps showcasing side-by-side both the colelcted objects that become the artwork, as well as the finished projects.

I have certainly not worked out all of these details yet, but it always helps to write these things out.

[EDIT] More visuals that I am thinking about in relation to this show, not directly, but as background visual cues.

Joseph Cornell,
Hotel Eden

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A counter:

After speaking with a friend of mine last night about Jason Freeman's piece, Graph Theory that opens tonight at Spruill, I wanted to address his criticism. His main concern with Graph Theory is that it is pretentious and completely ungratifying. Frankly, I just don't understand that at all. If anything, what makes Freeman's piece so intriguing for the average bear is that it allows for something, music composition, that is generally restricted to a select educated few to become a realisitic possiblity for anyone. In the same way that paint-by-numbers destigmatized fine art by allowing anyone to paint like Van Gogh or Matisse, now the same is true of music.

Come and decide for yourself. Beaking New Ground opens tongiht at Spruill Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. We are so much more fun and more free than Radiohead.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Like a tall glass of water

For a myriad of reasons I rarely will attend shows anymore. Be it having too little money in the bank for both rent and covers or the cramped rooms with no breathing space I just don't really enjoy it. Call me an old woman, but I just have been on hiatus. It takes a lot to drag me out of my home-bodied existence. However, when a band who tours about as often as I emerge from my cave comes to town, that can be enough. Especially when said band is Seattle based drone band, Earth.

For a band the tours as infrequently as Earth, and for a band with as many followers, their show at the EARL last Thursday was shockingly empty. As myself and three friends perused the crowd we bemusedly found ourselves to be the only ladies persent with the exception of one other who appeared to have been mistaken and was actaully looking for either the Suicide Girls audition down the street or the ICP show at the Masquerade. Either way, she was a treat to watch throw pelvic thrusts at Dylan all night. At one point I did happen to notice, after an accomplice pointed out that this would be a great show for someone who was smoking pot for the first time, three young'uns who certainly should not have been allowed through the doors had indeed had that same train of thought. I am failry certain they missed the entire show. Outside of that, the usual characters of Atlanta's bartenders guild and various other familiar faces.

But, to move on from the people watching extravaganza, Earth was everything I could have hoped it to be. Right before they started playing I was told that they had been playing 1.5 to 2 hour sets, which just about defeated my spirit before they even began. I love Earth as much as the next person, but dear god, 2 hours of drone might just put me to sleep on my feet. Good thing I mastered sleeping with my eyes open during 7th grade trig (not really! that's super creepy, and anyone with that skill should cease and desist immediately). In my opinion, Bees Made Honey in the Earth's Skull is easily Earth's best album (followed closely by Hex, of course) so I was pleased as punch to hear THE ENTIRE ALBUM played. I kind of wish I had the foresight to have brought a Lazyboy with me, though.

Anyways, I have no illusions of being a music critic so I won't bother to make an attempt at descrbing how awesome the show actually was. My point in this post was primarily to share with everyone a fun little tidbit of information that I learned. Dylan, Earth's founder and prodigal son, if you will, is the person who gave Kurt Cobain the shotgun. Now, if I have ever heard of something to give someone a guilt complex, that has to be number 1. And I haev a Jewish grandmother, so I know all about guilt. That is intense.

Well, anyways. Lovely weekend to all. Enjoy the festivities at Eyedrum for me this evening. I shall live vicariously through you as I continue to paint gallery ceilings this evening.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008



I have never claimed to be technology savy. Needless to say, I am afraid this has manifested itself in alienating myself from YOUR feedback. Please consider this an apology to those who have been unable to comment.



Saturday, April 26, 2008

SNEAK PEAK: Breaking New Ground

Here is the press release for Spruill's upcoming show.

BREAKING NEW GROUND: Intersections at the frontier of art and technology

Curated by Hope Cohn

Spruill Art Gallery presents, Breaking New Ground: Intersections at the frontier of art and technology, an exhibition curated by new Spruill Gallery Director Hope Cohn. Breaking New Ground will be on view from May 9 to June 26, 2008. The exhibition opens with a public reception on Thursday, May 8 from 6:00 until 9:00 p.m.

Breaking New Ground offers a look into the influences that technology has on artists to develop new and innovative ways to express themselves. Through painting, music and interactive sculpture this show celebrates the use of technology in art. The Italian composer Luciano Berio said that "change is always upon us" and the artists included in this show have embraced that change with originality, creativity and skill. Rejecting the "formulaic," they have set out on a new path, a new journey of discovery and invention that welcomes viewers to take a ride with them.
Included in the exhibition are works by Atlanta artists, Danielle Roney, Kathryn Refi, Sarah Emerson, Dick Robinson and Philip Galanter. In keeping with the theme of the show, Spruill Gallery has paired with Georgia Institute of Technology to showcase the work of Faculty instructors Gil Weinberg, Jason Freeman, Carla Diana and Tristan Al-Haddad. These pioneering artists and educators explore exciting new methods and advances in technology to create a new and fresh artistic vocabulary.

Highlights from the show include Carla Diana's piece entitled "Nest," an interactive, music themed installation. Using glowing balls of light, participants place these colorful objects in a sculptural "nest." "This particular work is part of a series that is based upon encouraging people to experience the joy of musical composition, free of any formal constructs" explained Diana, Visiting Professor of Industrial Design at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture.

Kathryn Refi's paintings explore the use and derivation of color. How do we choose our personal palette? Is it a reflection of our individuality, our environment? Mounting a camera on a baseball cap, she captured a typical day in her life by wearing the camera every hour of the day for a consecutive week and then digitally manipulated the frames, extracting the colors to their very essence. Each painting is 100 inches wide, with each inch the equivalent to 10 percent of Refi's day.

Danielle Roney is an installation, multimedia artist examining the impact of modernization in society and in different cultures through sculpture, digital media and public intervention. "For me, the creative practice represents fascinating degrees of perception when combined with scientific theory and innovative technology," states Roney. She has created a site-specific installation for Breaking New Ground which will allow the viewer to reach beyond the walls of the gallery, incorporating the energy of intersections, cars, people and the vernacular architecture. Roney shot and recorded the images then recreated them, turning everything upside down and inside out. She re-interpreted the environment as a unique and highly charged environmental experience.

Morphing, stretching and expanding information is what Tristan Al-Haddad also expresses in his work and as a Professor in the Architecture Program at GA Tech. Al-Haddad focuses on the continuous exploration of digital technology in design. He uses technology to model, design and produce sculptural forms that are organic and fluid and has created a series of pieces for this show that allow the viewer to engage in an interactive dialogue.

Philip Galanter's lightbox drawings explore the physical generative systems, analog and digital video. "Generative art refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules," says Galanter.

Also on view is a new outdoor mural by artist Sarah Emerson.

"Graph Theory" designed by Composer and Professor of Music at GA Tech, Jason Freeman, seeks to connect composition, listening and concert performance. Freeman's works break down conventional barriers between composers, listeners, and performers using cutting-edge technology and unconventional notation to turn audiences and musicians into compositional collaborators. The work of Dick Robinson is featured in Breaking New Ground. He is one of Atlanta's great musical pioneers, beginning his career as a classically trained musician when he played for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. His recent compositions utilize technology to create eccentric, abstract and uniquely special pieces of music. Included in the exhibition is a listening room in which both Freeman and Robinson's work will be featured.

As the Director of the music technology program at Georgia Tech, Gil Weinberg works to expand musical expression, creativity, and learning through technology. His inventions, including Haile the robot, can listen to live players, analyze their music and play it back in an improvisational manner. This work as well as many other inventions of Weinberg's can be viewed through video in Breaking New Ground.

Breaking New Ground: Intersections at the frontier of art and technology paves the way as the Spruill Center for the Arts begins construction of the new Arts Center and Gallery this summer. "We welcome this new period of change and growth for the arts center and this exhibition is a celebration of that in every way, inside and out,"" says Hope Cohn, Curator and Spruill Gallery Director. "We are so thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to showcase the work of Georgia Tech's brilliant faculty and to share it with the Atlanta community."

Established in 1975, The Spruill Center for the Arts is a private, non-profit organization, whose mission is to foster understanding and appreciation of the visual and performing arts, by offering an extensive and diverse program of classes, a professional artist exhibition series and outreach programs for seniors, youth and audiences with special needs.

Spruill Art gallery is located at 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road at the intersection with meadow Lane. For more information about Spruill Gallery and its programs please call 770-394-3447 or check its website.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kids these days

High school art shows always seem to divide up into the same kinds of groups every year: the girl who does gorgeous renderings of her friends but has yet to have enough life experience to translate into content to behind any talent, the pretentious high schooler who will be humbled when he gets to college and realizes that there are more just like him, the doe-eyed student who has no idea how good they actually are, the student with a cause, the sexually frustrated, and the copy-cat. Grady High School's exhibit at Eyedrum last night was able to meet all of my categorical requirements with ease.

I will not spend any time being a curmudgeon about the students whose work was intriguing than others, because it just doesn't seem fair to critique people who have only had the judgement of their friends at this point. Give it four years and I will be happy to tear in. For now though, I just wanted to say that John VanDerKloot's work was one of the best bodies of work I have seem come out of a high school student. The work was predominantly light boxes, with a mirror front that has various things etched into them. His work had a definite Klimt-style with the attention to small, repetitive details that seemed wise beyone his years. His pieces did not have the same limited-seeming scope of his peers. I would imagine that given a few years, he will be able to tighten up his imagery and produce more provocative work.

CASE IN POINT: Joel Dean, Aftermath

For anyone who missed the Grady Show a couple of years ago, it was the best high school artwork I have ever seen. I don't even think it needed to be clarified as high school. Almost every piece could have held it's own in a group exhibition.

Monday, April 21, 2008

By request

In my last post I mentioned the Prada dressing room in Soho. Here is a clip from the paper I wrote on it.

In December 2001, Prada opened the doors to a new store in Manhattan. The space was fully equipped with new technology to reinvent the way we shop. The store offers amenities including everything from cataloguing shopper’s personal preferences to providing staff with identification clips so that they can better serve the clientele. The most striking achievement can be found in their dressing room: The fitting rooms allow Prada patrons the opportunity to experience themselves in the clothing through a full range of situations and environments using various simulated effects. While these technological advances are yet another step forward in the increasingly progressive fashion arena, the fitting room technology forces a quotidian action to be mediated through simulated experiences. This change fundamentally alters perceptions of ourselves in reality...

...Fashion is about the process of creating an image. Our clothing choices are but one way we create and present an image of ourselves to the world. Jean Baudrillard wrote that we have ceased to be spectators, and have become actors in a performance where we “face up to the unreality of the world as spectacle, we are defenseless before the extreme reality of the world, before this virtual perfection.” Fashion allows us to become performers so that we make attempts at perfection: because a person has the ability to alter the image of themself they project to society through fashion. The innovations in the Prada dressing room mimic the transformative ability of fashion, but take it a step further. Now there are computers that can help us to mimic the perfection we strive to achieve: by placing a camera in the fitting room and using computers to help recreate the looks shown on the runway, the identity of the model is imposed on the customer. The model is an image of constructed perfection; by combining the controlled image of the ideal (the model) with reality (the customer in the fitting room) a new perfection can be achieved.
John Berger wrote in his essay collection, Ways of Seeing, “We are always looking at the relation between things and ourselves” (9). While Berger speaks of the relationship of the person to the mirror, and furthermore the ways in which people are perceived by others, his ideas are applicable to the case of the Prada fitting rooms. They give customers an alternate way of viewing themselves: instead of simply looking at their reflection, the shopper’s self-perception is replaced by others’ perception. Through the process of photographing the client in the Prada clothes, and then comparing these to runway models, the dressing room allows clients to see themselves as images- divorced from the present, made anonymous like models. The lighting options make it possible to remove oneself from the moment in the fitting room. In a sense, this mirror provides a sense of escapism. Though the system is intended to be more real, it uses images meant to show how one is perceived in “outside” realities. Simulating alternate experiences distorts any sense of reality. As Jean Baudrillard writes, “…pretending, or dissimulating, leaves the principle of reality intact: the difference is always clear, it is simply masked, whereas simulation threatens the difference between the “true” and the “false,” the “real” and the “imaginary” (Simulacrum 3). By promoting both the actual reality as well as potential realities, the shopper is able to inhabit multiple scenarios simultaneously, blurring the distinction between the constructed reality of the simulated lighting and the actual moment occurring in the dressing room.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Daniel Canogar for Art Papers Live!

***Sorry for lack of images. My computer will not let me put any in here right now.***

Daniel Canogar deals wtih a lot of big concepts in his work. His pieces address topics from phantasmagorias and the history of humans fascination with the spectacle, to consumerism, to identity in the technological age. What's impressive is that he does all of it well. For me, the most salient portions of the lecture were the works that dealt with identity and the incorporation of technology as a way to assess and shape it.

During the lecture he brought up the still from Kubrick's 2001: Space Odyssey. Much like Kubrick, Canogar's work addressed both the historical and contemporary attempts to visualize the impossible. His work presents the limitations and abilties of technology in his depiction of self. I was alost disappointed that Canogar didn't use the scene from 2001 where Bowman is experiencing a surreal fast-forward of his life before his eyes. I think that Canogar's work acheives a similar sense by incorporating the viewer into the work. As the viewer experiences being envelopped within the layers of projections on the walls, having a somewhat out-of-body experience as you view yourself become part of the work, you are simultaneously aware of your actual self watching this projected view. Even more appropriately, the fact that Kubrick ends his projection of Bowman's character in a room surrounded by objects from the Rococo period so does Canogar in many ways, and perhaps this is why he so aptly titled his lecure, "Electronic Baroque." It would seem that in the same way that these periods experienced an influx of cultural stimuli (granted Rococo's being much more vapid than the Baroque and Kubrick's critique was a bit more pointed at the wasteland of flash and nothingness in the Rococo as would be in the future) it seems Canogar plays off of this mentality of overloading the senses and discovering ones identity through the mediation of a projection within a larger context.

Canogar discussed his search for a background at decent length, which I think also played into his idea of layers exposing ones identity. Cultural background certainly defines a person, whether for better or worse, and Canogar's pieces bring up the issue of whether or not we know the extent to how it defines ones identity. I like that as Canogar's pieces and the viewer adapt to each other through his projections, it allows the viewer to question as well how their own culture has imprinted an identity on them.

This also brings to mind the Prada dressing room in Soho. For you that have not been (or had the luxury of writing a final paper on said dressing room) it is very similar to Canogar's pieces in theory. The customer is given the ability to see themselves in the items they are trying on by cameras that shoot them in the dressing room. By having the ability to completely envision yourself as a Prada labeled customer you are given the ability to choose how you wish for your identity to play out. Canogar's work is the same. The piece is interactive in how it lets you, as the subject, become involved and to what extent.

I hope some of you were able to make it to Solomon Projects today or the super secret post-lecture fete last night to rack his brain some more. I was quite disappointed that my ball and chain kept me from going to either.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What do tooth fairies bring to puppies?

Today, my sweet puglet, Orson Emmanuel Bean Darrow lost his first baby tooth. Yes, he is becoming a man. It was the back left top molar. I am so excited. My roommate found it next to her on the couch this evening. She was not as excited as I was. It is now safely in a jewelry box on my dresser. My little man is growing up!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Throwin dubs with the big shots

I should preface this post, by saying that on the way to the MOCA Gala last night I had a remarkable invitation to throw dubs on Camp Creek Parkway. As I was making my way down Northside in hellacious basketball game traffic I looked over and saw a girl signalling me to roll down my window. To my surprise and delight, she thought I looked like someone acceptable to invite to her party. Apparently Lil' Wayne and someone else whose name I missed was there. She promised me that they would have liquor and green and of course, celebrity sightings galore. To my dismay, when I woke up this morning I realized that in my morning-after a free-booze event stupor I forgot to go.

MOCA's Gala was a stunning example of what an difference a new space can make. The old exhibition space at Peachtree and 15th Street was terribly restrictive, not allowing for installations much larger than Sang-Wook Lee's ramen fortress (and even that seemed stunted by the ceiling height limitations). The new space, located in the old Lowe Gallery space, has been completey remodeled and is finally starting to look like a museum. The Gala last night was a good sign of things to come. The auction showcased 109 pieces by Georgia artists, and good pieces at that. Unlike Art Papers auction this year, which seemed to have gotten the scraps of every show in Atlanta last year, MOCA was able to get some stunning new pieces from around the state. Last night, the museum announced the next line-up for the Working Artist Project. I was super excited to hear that they chose Matt Haffner and Maria Artemis. I think Marcia Cohen is totally deserving of the grant, but I am curious to see the ArtNEWS reaction on account of the fact that she was just chosen for their multiples project in August.

This isn't the piece form the show, but I have to upload my images from last night still...

Matt Haffner's piece from his "Project for a Revolution" series was gorgeous. I love the pulp fiction quality of the images and the fact that he owns up to it entirely, reinventing scene compositions from classic film noir and comic book scenarios. Laura Noel's piece from her "Car Wash" series was a complete departure from her carefully considered portrait series she has worked on for the last few years. The piece from the show was actually several years old, but seemed to be one of the most fresh ones there. The image was an abstracted mesh of blues and greens, resembling a Rothko more than a photograph of a car wash. Danielle Roney's fluid architecture composition which she completed through her current grant from MOCA's Working Artist Project showed that they are getting their money's worth. The dynamic piece was easily one of the most captivating from the live auction, followed closely by Lucinda Bunnen and Susan Cofer. Peter Bahouth's sterescopic viewer had a gloriously voyeuristic quality to it, that could certainly let any Peeping Tom get his kicks out in a more benign manner. The scene captures a moment that seems to be just as a young woman wakes in the morning and is lazing in bed.

Hopefully the improved exhibition space will allow MOCA to become an even more important figure in shaping the Atlanta arts. For a city that lacks the number of museums of the average urban arts hub, it is good to see another institution really stepping up to the plate. I don't mean to say that MOCA was not already an important element of the Atlanta arts, but I think that the improved space will allow them to truley function as a museum now, and not just another gallery.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Harper Lee in mixed media

By the 9th grade, most have read Harper Lee's seminal, and only, novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Alongside of the horrors of the holocaust, genocides in Africa, and the bombing of Horshima, children are shown the horrors that the world is capable at an early age. On a more micro level, To Kill a Mockingbird is able to destroy that youthful innocence taught to us through Disney movies and the like through more subversive means. I know when I first read the moralistic tale at around age 8 I was infuriated by the injustice of the book. Of course, this naivete would disipate with age, but the book certainly remained a salient point in my formative years.

Red Weldon Sandlin and Mark Sandlin's I Still Hear the Mockingbird that opened at Whitespace last night illustrated the poignancy of the novel in their lives as well. The show consisted of pieces they created using pages from the book, drawings, sculptures and paintings to pay hommage to some of the more arresting passages from the novel. Although at times pieces seemed too literal, others made insightful studies into the characters' personas. In a style reminiscent of Kojo Griffin's beastial-headed children commiting wrongful acts, the Sandlin's illsutrated the characters according to the fabled characteristics they represented. The depiciton of Scout and Dill with the head of sheep was certainly not a stretch, but in the context of the show, provided a reminder of the viewers personal tendencies as well.

The strength of the show is not the depiction of various scenes from the novel, but the connection of the viewer to the text, and the elements of the text that are perhaps too much of a reminder of why the story is still an important one.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Leaps and Bounds

UGA MFA shows are tricky. The show should be one of the highlights of the year in terms of innovativeness, technical skill, and general execution. These are the young minds of the artistic community who have had time and energy dedicated exclusively to making a body of work for 3 years straight. The 2005 UGA MFA show was phenomenal; Stephanie Dotson’s installation was triumph of printmaking, fiber arts, and general Oldenberg sensibilities. Kathryn Refi’s color field paintings took 1960s abstract expressionsim and brought it into the video installation era seamlessly. In 2006 Claire Joyce exhibited a sparkle extravanganza. Unfortunately, this sabbatical from the rest of the world does not always result in the genius one would expect. Last years MFA show at UGA was a one note catastrophe. Even those whose thesis projects were worthy of praised suffered from the bad hanging job, and blandness of the majority.

Luckily, this years line-up satisfied those still with a bad taste in their mouths from the year past. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me take any pictures, so I’m waiting for somet o come up online to post pictures of my favorites. Here’s a short list for now: Euni Figi, John Powers, Jessica Ann Mills, and Leigh Ann Johnson Swift.

I was certainly not the only one who was completely enraptured by John Powers’ pieces. The mechanized grass in the wind was surrounded by masses of people throughout the night. Each of his pieces utilized elements of sound created by the mechanisms he created. Nothing like nature in the machine age.

I am a sucker for Jessica Mills’ work. Her thesis show was a lovely as I expected it to be. Americana prints with a twing of old photograph. Reads like a Cormac McCatrhy novel.

Euni Figi’s rice apron were absolutely gorgeous. Figi’s approach to rendering a functional item almost completely decorative is quite a feat: The train extends about five feet in front of the wearer, and the weight of the rice that fills the apron would stunt any movement that the train did not. I found the juxtaposition she created between the idea of the long train of the dress immediately signaling visions of matrimony, and of course the added domesticity of the apron, with what she mentions in her artist statement about the apron serving as a type of protective armor to be an interesting approach. Before seeing the statement I had assumed that she was using the apron in a perjorative way, and just covering it in the gorgeous construction of the apron. And maybe she still is.

I’ll post pictures when someone puts them up. They wouldn’t let me take pictures inside, but I am guessing one of the MFA students will put some up soon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Playing catch-up

Ah, sweet blog. I feel like a bad partner who is going back to a relationship two months too late to try and make-up for lost time. Lots of reviews of shows that I have been meaning to post. I will only do the ones that are still up for relevance sake.

City Gallery East has hung its last show. For a gallery that has displayed local greats such as Wayne Kline, Mario Petrirena, and Sheila Pree Bright the final exhibit went out with a bit of a fizzle as opposed to a deserved fireworks show. Granted pin-up shows can be a bit piece-meal and at times redundant, but The Pin-Up Show #4 on top of the usual critiques, the show came across as more of an art school foundations show than a showcase of local talents. The number of figure drawings was absolutely overwhelming and smothered even those that were truly a tour de force. Because of the accompanying mass of figure studies, Tania Becker’s abstracted mixed media pieces, which are usually ethereal and transcendental came across as sophomoric and trite. Anita Arliss’ work suffered from bad placement and was completely lost in its sad corner, despite the fun, punchy colors. Stan Woodard’s piece was the only one that escaped the downward pull of the rest of the show. In his cubicled section of gallery towards the front of the exhibit, his sparsely lit topographical spread, Untitled (Dawn to Dusk) was one of the few pieces that creatively handled the task of a pin-up piece. Woodard’s piece was my choice pick for the show, because it so eloquently embraced Atlanta, whether intentionally or not through the landscape of the sculpture. For the last exhibition of a gallery that so embraced the city and supported its arts, this seemed like a sweet little farewell kiss on the cheek.
Stan Woodard,
Dawn to Dusk, 2008

I don’t know if it’s the undeniable girliness in me, but I love glitter. The more the merrier I say. If you are going to do kitsch go all the way. Despite being pushed up by a couple of months, Marianne Lambert was still able to pull off a spectacular display of glitz and gaudiness at the Swan Coach House Gallery’s current exhibition, All That Glitters. The strength in show lies entirely in the fact that every artist completely embraced the slight vulgarity of such a saccharine theme. Joni Mabes’ slightly garish glitter portraits of some of our flashiest pop icons including P.T. Barnum and Elvis in appropriate grandeur could not be more endearing. Claire Joyce’s contribution to the show was a glittertastic punch that would put any pop artist to shame. If anyone was destined for this exhibit, Joyce certainly proved that she was it. Her all-glitter psychedelic rendering of two cakes are the epitome of the show: unabashedly cutesy and blissful. Between Jim Waters pastel, Vegas Chapel-style crosses, and Sarah Emerson’s sparkling Dark Forest I can’t help that this show came just in time for spring and Easter candy cavities.
Claire Joyce, Double Birthday Explosion

Silence of the Lambs style

There is something about alternative space art shows that gets me every time. When a space can be chosen to perfectly complement the work and layer on the ambiance, nothing gets a whole lot better. Maria Watts’ Reynoldstown basement fit the bill this weekend to a T for the video-performance-installation-sound showcase, Electro-Scuro. The one-night exhibition featured the likes of Karen Tauches, Maria Watts, Jason Cochrane, Mariah Cagle, Lauren Macdonald, and Carrie Elzey. Although the ever-so reminiscent Silence of the Lambs basement night light vision scene was a bit off putting at first, as you wound your way through the basement, the echoes of each video and sound installation became a bit more haunting still and even more all-encompassing.

Maria Watts, who curated the show, showcased a new twist to her video installations. Watts’ past shows, including her piece from Mary Stanley’s 21 Under 30 show and her installation in Eyedrum’s small gallery over the summer paid homage to her relationships and a fascination with capturing the tactile elements of her day to day life. Her installation for Electro-Scuro, “Untitled: A Work in Progress”, provided a spin on her approach to the sensual from her previously unabashedly candid views into her life. The room was harshly lit, and in contrast with the darkened, damp basement was an immediate draw. The room was lined wall to wall cracked eggshells along the floor begging to be walked on. In the corner of the room a video of Maria’s feet clad in the perfect eggshell cracking Doc Marten boot stomping the ground, but without any eggshells beneath. I must say, her suggestion was a hard one to resist, considering that the lack of sound in the video was dying to be filled with the sound of my own two feet doing the favor of crushing the shells. Considering the title, it seems she intended the viewer to be the one to finish the project.

The back-most room was a sound installation by Carrie Elzey, “While My Heart’s Still Beating”, which utilized the space the most effectively by engaging the somewhat buried feeling of the basement. The room featured a window which spanned the wall of the room and looked directly onto the yard outside, but right at grass level, without much room to see what space lay beyond the span of the grass directly outside. A record player in the corner was started followed by a pulling of a cord in the ceiling which triggered an outdoor light. I honestly don’t even remember what was playing on the record player, but the sound mirrored the lives of the grass dwellers outside of the window.

Karen Tauches’ performance, “The Lines of Communication”, had a definite Twilight Zone feel to it, that I think gave me nightmares later that night. Tauches sat at a desk and recited a customer service voice message while an accompaniment attempted to order from a catalogue in the chair next to her. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that online shopping has taken the place of late-night catalogue ordering, or the fact that the installation used an old-fashioned phone which hung from the ceiling, but the otherworldliness of that act seemed more striking to me than the installation itself. The fact that the human element of things has been removed from so many aspects of our day to day life is not anything new, but Tauches presentation of it was such a caricature that it certainly brought the discourse to a head once again.

Watt’s show if nothing else confirmed for me that video installation can strike many more chords than the average art show these days. Eyedrum’s show from a few weeks ago, ReNEW, ReUSE, ReVIEW, seemed to stress that it is going to be a stretch to find the truly avant garde through traditional media. Electro-Scuro was aware and moved ahead with the trend.

Cross posted from the other blog I write on, Pecanne Log.