Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Names in the news and reasons to exhibit…
As I enter the final 4-5 weeks prior to my next museum exhibition, I realize that I’ve hit the stage of the game where I put-off the detrimental exhibit details - such as framing; ordering glass; measuring for stretcher bars; compiling a final list, for the museum staff, of each piece I actually plan to place in the show. How do I usually spend that time, instead of preparing for my show… ironically, I paint more large pictures, which in turn leads to needing more solo exhibits to sell the work; so I can make more room to paint in the studio. Vicious circle…. Like most process-oriented artists, I could really care less about having/getting to exhibit my work. I do it, however, as an end to justify the means.
Artnews has a list of who they believe will be famous in 105 years. But "Jeff Koons, whose collectors include billionaire Eli Broad, and Damien Hirst, whose shark is owned by hedge-fund manager Steven Cohen, failed to draw a vote from museum curators nominating artists who'll be famous in 105 years' time for U.S. magazine ARTnews." Bloomberg 10/30/07
Yeah, I need exhibitions to sell (and survive?)… but… how much of the commercial aspect of the art world game is truly inconsequential? Does the fact that two of the highest selling living contemporary artists, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, never actually “did it for me” suddenly have some deeper meaning in my own search for artistic immortality? If I won the lottery and just gave away everything I painted (hence, not needing the subsequent income)… would my value to or place in the future of art history be diminished, flawed or non-existent? - DN
Monday, October 29, 2007
Do Explanations Help Art?
I’ve included narratives with my paintings for as long as I can remember. In my work, the story is inseparable from the initial reason to make the painting. –DN
Friday, October 26, 2007
My hiatus from writing has been influenced by the mad rush to complete works for the upcoming December show at the Margaret Harwell Museum in Missouri. While I should be busy stretching paintings from the pile of completed canvases on the corner studio shelf, instead I find myself working to create from those final surges of mad energy often associated with works of greater dimension.
Currently, I have two large (3’x7’) oil map-paintings stretched and drying. Its never a question of what to paint, just one of where to put them whilst they dry and I carve out a new one. I’ve returned to oils with these last two works and I find myself swimming in the continuous inhalation of mineral spirits I temporarily abandoned. Maybe its related to the process of marking, tracing and manipulating the movement of space across a composition that forces the frantic desire to continue my painting narratives. I build these make-shift stretched canvas structures as quickly as possible so that I can lay my hands down and allow the rotation of my arms to overtake their sockets and my perception of depth. Painting with one’s entire body is a sensation unmatched by anything constructed outside the natural world. A computer mouse and Photoshop have nothing on a jar of the purest thinned paint and two fists of Chinese brushes, brayers and sticks.
Once the work is dry, I re-stretch over heavy-duty kiln-dried stretcher strips, exhibiting with wrap-around painted sides and deliver unto the outstretched paths of the world… allowing me to forget them and love another. - DN
Thursday, October 25, 2007
He was good... but not scientist good...
Click here to read the entire article.
ahem... (cough) forgery... ahem... - DN
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Old... Modern Art
Maybe the modernists did come first…click here to read the entire article. - DN
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
At what point does the philosophy of an art group’s manifesto have to give way for actual cohesion of style or subject, so that an actual art movement can form? My own work runs the gamut of (1) travel-inspired works, (2) abstracted landscapes that propel movement as a binding force and (3) introspective anthropological narratives – at what point do I take one or all of these directions and build some sort of unified front to stamp a permanent spot upon the present or future art world. Within my lifetime will that even be possible for a painter stuck in the current conceptual art time warp? After all these years, try as I might, I can’t help but feel more passion for painting over all other mediums. – While I still don’t believe they hold the answer for the direction I see my work taking, I think I just had a small epiphany with regards to what motivates the Stuckists’ art movement.
Could the most ridiculous of all the twentieth century questions (Is painting dead?), be the button that sets me off? My personal motivator to prove that painting is or should be the high art of choice? Surely the contemporary art world has not branched so far out that something as simple as stating “I am a painter” is a call to arms or binding factor for an art movement... I am a painter. - DN
Monday, October 15, 2007
Defense of the Ignorant - the art made me do it?
Read the complete article, here.
So violence leads to a healthier culture? I appreciate that not everyone approves of the works produced by Serrano, but who grants the right to destroy the property of another in the name of decency? The entire concept of destroying art to prove righteousness is absurd. Its right up there with bombing abortion clinics to stop “murder” or claiming that disagreement with the government is unpatriotic.
However this phenomenon is not limited to only the most controversial of art, last week, another vandal destroyed a Monet… a Monet… who would have something against a Monet? Ninety-nine percent of Impressionists’ paintings do nothing more than feed the human soul with goodness and beauty. Vandals. I hate it when the world reminds me that there are still dregs in society. - DN
Friday, October 12, 2007
More about the crack at the Tate...
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Living with Art...
The Tate said the trio did not sustain serious injuries. "We can confirm that three visitors missed their footing and tripped in the Turbine Hall at the opening event. "They were attended to immediately by Tate security staff trained in first aid but there have been no serious injuries. Twelve thousand people visited the installation on the first day and there have been no further incidents," a spokeswoman said.
"Tate staff are monitoring the space carefully to ensure the safety of our visitors. "Tate has a lot of experience handling complex installations and visitor safety. We have thought carefully about visitor safety, working closely with Southwark Council and there are measures in place. There are no plans to barrier off the work at this stage."
Tate staff are on hand with leaflets warning about the dangers of getting too close to the piece. Gallery attendants have also been instructed to give verbal advice to visitors.
Brazilian sculptor Salcedo says the work, entitled Shibboleth, symbolises racial division.
The crack represents the gap between white Europeans and the rest of the world's population. According to Salcedo, the fissure is "bottomless... as deep as humanity"...
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Why Immersion Travel Art?
I recently met my most interesting local, yet, in the southern Midwest… given the fact that I’m originally from this area – that’s saying a lot.
The woman was a teacher in her late fifties, both employed and residing within fifty miles of where she was raised. That in it’s self is not uncommon, I dare say that many of my neighbors have rarely (if ever) made the three-hour-drive north to St. Louis or south to Memphis. However, the person, to whom I refer now, seems to have traveled, though exactly how widely, I do not know. She herself is well educated and her daughter is a writer, currently living in Los Angeles and doing script-work for the television show “Jericho”. None of this is what stood-out in our conversations, though. Instead, I was completely intrigued by her stories of attending the “Negro School” prior to desegregation taking root in the Mississippi Delta region of southern Missouri.
I expected tales of want and discomfort and instead was met with … a happy childhood. While she made distinction that not all students of segregated education had a “fine experience”, she remembered her own experience as boasting a school that offered limitless opportunities for education as it was well-funded with new books, a nice well-kept brick building and only the best support materials (new chalk-boards, desks and such). "We had everything the White School had," she told me. The Negro School was located behind the White School (adjoining properties), with the playgrounds divided by a gravel road. She told me that when one side’s ball would bounce over the line, the group of children on the other side would happily toss it back. It was a surreal discussion on race without any real mention of color or class distinction.
Located in the middle of corn and cotton fields, only a few miles across the Mississippi River, with Dyersburg Tennessee as the nearest neighbor - this pocket of uncommon racial co-habitation continues to exist to some degree, today. The schools are now joined as one, with the former Negro School serving as the district’s Middle School. The interior of the school boasts photographs of the school district’s history, hiding nothing in the shadows. Proudly displaying throughout the halls images of multi-racial graduating classes from their school, over the years. Even now, there continues a small black population mixed intermittently amongst the predominately white classrooms, but the race relations seem nowhere near the strain found in other regions of the country, or even other neighboring sections of southern Missouri.
Why Immersion Travel Art?… for stories and interactions, just like the one above. I could have never heard this story from the mass media, or read about it in a travel brochure provided by the local Chamber of Commerce. Now what do I do with this information, this aspect of “knowing” that exposes intimacy of relationships and turns my mind and actions from tourist to indigenous. – DN
Monday, October 08, 2007
Mass Marketing Dreams
What is the exhibition of art, but a dream to attain acceptance from society? Why else display it? I don’t paint to a mold, do I exhibit towards one? Is it really possible to display work with the same individuality as one creates art? – DN
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Looking for art in a technical world...
Even the postings in the archive read as if they are indifferent to time, her blog lives in the moment… “Nietzsche's Wife” has quite possibly figured-out how to turn a simple blog into process-oriented art.
Click here to read. – DN
Friday, October 05, 2007
Morris Graves Museum
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Endorsements and Labels of Affection
Which leads me to the question of “how to endorse a style or genre of art?” I’m sure this is not a unique area of conflict… every artist that is interested in creating work for the sake of the process, must at some point grow tired of pigeon-holing into a series, style, subject…etc. Yet, do we place ourselves into the position of defining our art or do we simply cave to societal pressure?
I would have to say the most common question that accompanies, “so whadya do?”… has to be “what kinda art?”
After all these years, I still have nothing short of a half-assed response when faced with this question. “uhhmmm, I paint a lot, no really a LOT”. But what happens if I start to utilize the kiln in the corner of my studio (you know… the one under the box of travel books)?
Some additional common questions I field:
Is it landscape or abstract (what about when I venture into figures)?
Is it paint or ink (what about when I mix the two... mixed-media)?
Are scrolls still paintings, in the strictest commercial sense of the word, if they’re not on canvas or framed behind glass?
And my favorite: Does it hurt your value if you produce too many paintings in a year (supply and demand)?
By the way, I don’t care for any of the candidates but I dislike Obama the least, so that's how I lean in our current political climate. - DN
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Enough is Enough?
Monday, October 01, 2007
"Samuel's Drawing, age 4", Sharpie & Watercolor on HP Photopaper
My son has already acquired an interest in working with non-traditional painting media. This painting, along with ten more, was completed a month before his fifth birthday. Since that time he has started an intensive pre-school program that has been wonderful for his social development and maturity, but has done serious damage to his natural artistic technique. That nice three-dimensional figure you see above has been replaced with traditional stick figures with scribbles for bodies. Today, when we work in the studio, we’ll have to practice the process of unlearning what I refer to as… idiot-socialized art (the faux-modesty that occurs when a student joins a group of peers and suddenly prefers to paint or draw like everyone else in order to be accepted as “nothing-special”).
Which brings me around to narratives. Stories about life, seemingly insignificant moments in time, and what happens to dreams when mortality gets in the way. That special desire to be accepted as less than exceptional, particularly in the South and Midwest… Garrison Keillor has used the ideal as the basis of his writing and radio program for nearly forty years. That concept that extols – what’s good enough for one man should be more than enough for a generation.
But I’m alluding to the negative, again; who’s to say mortality can’t emphasis rather than unravel a fantasy of self-confidence and artistic alienation. After all, it’s the richness in the details of existence that make life worth living.
Abstract concepts in a literal world, occasionally, are harshly received. I’ve previously mentioned my admiration for the writings of John Haines. A painter turned poet that wrote every word like the scratch of a minimalist painter searching for the perfect brushstroke. His beautiful genius for detailing metaphors from analogies is a rare find in the most perfect of situations. However, it was even more out of place for an east-coast native with an on-again, off-again romance with mid-twentieth century Alaskan homesteading. Innumerable winters and a couple wives later, he was suddenly old. No longer in the place he loved. Instead he was conducting readings in New York and other university-infatuated cities along his book tours. He learned his lesson and returned to the source of his passion, unfortunately… naturally, though… lives continued while he was away. The best moments seemed to have passed into realms of technology and we only have his poems and prose as a record of that time as a path to relive it. His best poems and stories were the ones derived from chance encounters with locals along lonely hunting excursions and the very occasional all-night storytelling camps with fellow sourdough dreamers in remote shacks reserved as meeting places originally intended for joining men with whiskey.
Humans are social beasts, but that does not mean that we should lose our individuality for the prospect of further association; quite the contrary, it is our individual character that defines our purpose. – DN