Friday, November 23, 2012

New Life in Old Haunts

The original Utrillo's site is going through another (very well-prepped paint) transformation. Kym Tongate and Garry Toney are opening Infamous Studio Tattoo, their second tattoo shop, in the 2630 East 10th Street location. (Their other site is in Wannamaker). This is the little building that could, which is just west of Rural. They will also be showing art, so stay tuned. 

And yes, I do have some images of the place as the 1990s-era Utrillo's.

 Above window display features hand-cut peg board screens 
with street scene photos montaged on the ends.

Randy Wyatt's show, with a huge reverse-on-plexiglass painting in the window.

Post-tattoo and/or piercing suggestion: Soup of the day at Pogue's Run, just east on 10th. They make excellent soup that is always ruled by the ingredients, never over-seasoned.

Rocktown would like to thanks its new sponsor,Near Eastside Chamber of Commerce....just kidding, no such entity.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Latest Work

I am currently exhibiting a new group of paintings in my gallery space, Dewclaw. The show, "Kinkade Meets Turner Paints Sci-fi With Fanbrush" began as a stylistic riff of sorts. I very soon let go of that, and continued on a rather simple, fast, poetic path. So much of my work is now serial in theme or in formal approach. It was great to go back to some good ole free-meandering. That said, the end results have followed a pseudo monster-based theme, which is fine.

 "Leviathan", 8" x 8", oil on wood, 2012

 "Genie", 8" x 11.5", oil on wood, 2012

 "Ogre", 8" x 8", oil on wood, 2012

This is such a great way to work, and one taps into all sorts of imagery and subtle expressions which would never arise from a more deliberate or planned process. I think I need to keep this in the game-plan, a running line of non-linear works.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Craft Plaques Statement

I was referring to the painted shaped plaques when I wrote this. I'm still not sure yet, how the 3-d materials-based plaques relate.

"I try to create visual images that are different from anything I already know or imagine. I use painting as a process by which to find this new imagery, and set up various frameworks for guidance. The frameworks themselves are always evolving, and they reveal broader areas of interest. My intended focus may be about materials and formal paint handling, or personal experiences, both cognizant and sub-conscious. Very often I create work around an iconic figure or structure of unknown purpose or meaning.

I began using shaped wooden plaques because they offer an interesting compositional challenge, and because they hint of an incongruous craft genre. They serve to foil any conventional aesthetic intentions I may have. I'm deliberately staging an awkward proposal, so that I am forced to find new solutions and new imagery.
These shaped also panels set up a paradox, for they are neither 3-d sculpture nor a picture plane rectangle. These shapes taunt the illusionist world that I treasure, forcing me to make conscious choices about their existence in reality. I must choose to place a representational image on/in these 2-d planes that are also objects. Such images no longer materialize with ease. The outcomes are inevitably negotiated compromises, where painted illusion and personal subject matter and 3-d objects struggle to co-exist in the same perceived reality."
-Carla Knopp 3-18-12

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Studio Happenings

 I plan on moving the 3-d craft plaques to Dewclaw, and using that as a second studio in July and August.

 Above and below are the recently cut shaped panels, gesso primed and then base painted with arbitrarily suggestive color washes and textures. A few are full into painting mode - acrylic painting mode. There are benefits to doing these in acrylic, sometimes just as a start, and even all the way to completion. Things dry and tend to become permanent to the ongoing process/image, much more readily than with oil. This can help me stay within certain parameters, and keep things cohesive in a good way. The downside is that I don't get quite so engaged as I do when using oil. I tend to fret over things drying, both on the painting surface and the palette.

I have also been painting some non-series works, and getting very disparate imagery. I'll post those once they make some sort of sense.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


New recurring post theme - JYST, or "John Yau Speaks Truth". 

The best way to navigate a world overcome by hype and branding is to be honest and open, willfully and brilliantly so. John Yau does this.

This is good for the broader art dialogue, and it is especially good for the individual artist. So much that we do runs counter to prevailing issues of theory and of expectation and of success. Personal fortitude can wear down over time. Yau's essays remind us of the marvel that is artistic exploration. It's very reassuring to have someone presenting such a meaningful dialogue about art. 

His two most recent articles at the Hyperallergic blog:

 A Truly Subversive Artist Is Not Necessarily Someone Who Is Theatrical or Gimmicky
I've coined this notion as "innovation within convention", and thought of it fairly narrowly in terms of style, and more recently in terms of medium (traditional vs. new media). It's very frustrating that art is categorized according to a few signifiers of identity, rather than by actual experience. Yau reviews Thomas Nozkowski is this article. Can it get better?

"At the heart of Nozkowski’s practice is improvisation, a willingness to take something (anything) and do something else to it. He seems to have been one of the few of his generation to understand Jasper Johns’s declaration: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. Do something else to it, etc.”

" This is what subversive artists working in our postmodern epoch share. They don’t have a style, which is, in the end, both a brand and a judgment. How can you produce a brand and be subversive? (It’s like selling torn jeans made by Armani!) Subversive artists always try to undermine conventions, including those that might influence their practice."

And finally:

 "We have yet to consider Nozkowski’s work, and all its formal compressions, in a broader context, preferring instead to isolate him. The reasons for this withholding seem obvious—a deeper analysis of his work would go a long way toward subverting the art world’s elevation of all those other artists who possess an abundance of style and opinions, but, in the end, have very little else to offer us."


The Daily Practice of the Impossible    

I thought it was brave for Dana Schutz to move away from the gorgeous color and application in her previous works. Even her most peculiar imagery was rendered with a certain painterly elegance. These newer works have harsh color and flattened spaces. They are not appealing to the eye. Yau's article offers insight into Schutz' conceptual positioning, which I hadn't really considered at all, because, you know, her paintings are so interesting as images. 

He opens with a pretty funny paragraph outlining a (what is still prevailing in the hinterlands) typical 'scum of the earth' attitude towards painters:

"Dana Schutz, who is in her mid-30s, belongs to the generation of artists who grew up in an epoch where painting was routinely thought of as a dead practice. One couldn’t just be a painter, because doing so would be to enter a dusty domain crammed with empty signifiers. It would mean you were doing something that was obsolete (and reviled) — like speaking Latin to the drugstore cashier. The lines were pretty clear: dumb people became painters; smart people became conceptual artists who painted only when and if the subject called for it. This viewpoint might have started out as speculation, but now it’s a stupid and persistent prejudice."

John Yau at Hyperallergic. Bookmark it, baby.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

60 Blanks

In endurance terms, it was about six too many. Sanding lies ahead. Priming will be a breeze.

I'm juggling using these as bases for the craft plaques and/or for the 2-d painted abstractions. It's not a smooth transition back and forth - work space organization issues and also very different ways of thinking. Having plenty of them will help me plunge in however and whenever I need to. I will also be using Dewclaw as a studio for a couple months this summer.

I should have swept before I started.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Forgotten painting from the past

 Greg's Gypsie Dream, 11" x 14", oil on panel, 1996?

This gifted painting recently emerged from a friend's collection. He had described a dream to me, and I had a very strong visceral reaction to his description. I remember the piece well, but it's still a trip to see one's own work in person, after a long separation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lineup round 4, From the Gut, with Heart

Gwendolyn Skaggs has re-opened SUGAR with her unique curatorial presentation of Lineup round 4, From the Gut, with Heart. I'm honored to be included, along with Erika Keck, Christy Singleton, Alicia McCarthy, Ed Sanders, Mary Addison Hackett, Vincent Como, Art Guerra, Nina Meledandri, Jacqueline Skaggs, Becky Kinder, Liv Mette Larsen, and David B. Frye.

More photos of the show.

Post on Process blog.


round 4
From the Gut, with Heart
04.21.12 - 06.03.12
This installation focuses on, and gives emphasis to, the give and take/push and pull that develops when positioning artworks together as objects, releasing them from their makers reins, into my own. In round 4 these objects are kin to words. A narrative that begins with Erika Keck's Rosebud, and punctuated with a period by Carla Knopp's Prone. The artworks anchored, and securely suspended, in between are rich with sentiment, weight, implication, complication, and justification bound by my continuous will and determination to "write" a complete sentence defining "relevancy and meaning" (and the art of). The end result is From the Gut, with Heart, an installation at SUGAR, and, what I have recently been told... "A writers dream". -Gwendolyn Skaggs

Monday, April 23, 2012

Forget everything I've been saying, and just read this

This recent Katherine Bradford review by John Yau (Hyperallergic blog) sums up so much. It's insightful, concise, and even has a conglomerate dissing of  Eric Fischl, Celine Dion, and Tiger Woods. 

In regard to the generation of women painters who have come into their own after they turned fifty, and to the flawed mindset that negates such occurrences, he says: "Their presence argues for a thorough reevaluation of the canonical thinking that has prevailed in America since the early days of Pop Art. That bankrupt narrative, based on the rather flimsy, narcissistic assumption that the art world got it right the first time, with its own obsession with surface and spectacle, leaves little room for the quiet adventurousness and formal variety of these artists' explorations."

It's important to note that it is the nature in which this group of painters are working, that I find fascinating, and that resonates with me. It's not simply a kinship of clan, or of sameness.

Again, John Yau says it best (this after pointing out that we are in an era where nobody knows what is going on; we have no central paradigm): "The possibility that one could be independent; that one doesn't have to belong to any stylistic tendency or group; and that one need not ally oneself with any of the currently fashionable discourses, is both liberating and daunting, but why should it be any other way? Given the openness of the territory, one should not be surprised by how many artists find a way to be a conceptual artist that paints, for example."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Herron "Beyond Campus" Shows + a rant

A nice list of shows featuring  Herron-linked artists, including the above. For some time now, I've noticed that the academic realm of art has become more progressive and alternative than so-called "cutting edge" art. I'm speaking mainly of local developments here in the Indy art scene ('development' being a very apt term here). Cutting edge entertainment art has become a hot commodity, and is linked both to specific real estate investments and to a broader drive to pump and pimp the city.

On the social conscious front, others are trying to guilt us into making our art "do" something that provides a tangible, overt community benefit.

And sometimes these "help our neighborhoods" people, and the investors, are the same folks.  

Neither drive is the world's worst evil, but both are parasitic. Art has worth without these justifications, and while it can be used to many means, it also has an amazing intrinsic value. Few things in our modern life have intrinsic value. Most have value that is derived from context, or branding, or some sort of identity-dependent system of belief. The academic art system, with all its dogmatic tendencies, provides a buffer against all the opportunistic bullshit. It has become an oasis of sorts, where art can flourish

I spent 10+ years after graduation trying to unlearn so much, but now the university system seems to hold so much potential for real artistic investigations. I'm going to try to see as many of these thesis shows as possible.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Night Driving" at Dewclaw

 Anita Giddings' painting show opened at Dewclaw last Friday night, with a really nice flow of guests. "Night Driving" is a group of paintings that were triggered by a drift-driving experience she had had a few years ago. It's a really nice show that works very well in the space. More here and here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gallery Sitting Dewclaw

I'm not saying Dewclaw is slow on Saturdays, but....
you don't wanna know how many takes I did. 

Current show is Kamilah Gill's "Hashtag Life". She constructs very interesting painting compositions from her online imagery culls. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Hashtag Life" - works by Kamilah Gill at Dewclaw

Kamilah Gill opened a solo show of her work at Dewclaw. I'm excited to have my first guest artist in the space.  "Hashtag Life" is a collection of her paintings, where she uses an online search process to find and build her imagery. Here are some installation shots of the show.

And here is her wonderful drawing from the opening.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wins and Losses

Wow, Matthew Eickhoff scores big with these new paintings at Indie Indy Artist Colony. His cover story is that he's replicating these key moments in Super Bowl history, and yes, he does that. These paintings will rightly be appreciated on that level, but there's so much more to these.

The painting execution is shockingly similar to the very moments depicted. The paint handling has a frenzied casualness to it, where years of training and experience come together in one revisionless moment. His process seems to be one of pure momentous inspiration; of moving forward without question or doubt.

These works are carefully planned, with dynamic compositions and interesting, rather high contrast color schemes. From a distance they read as very solid, almost conventional, depictions. But Matthew also takes these works on a rather courageous and raucous paint ride, and this becomes apparent when one views them close-up. The entire dimensional illusion breaks apart into abstract areas of varying surface treatments. It is all very dynamic, chaotic, and visually stimulating. Out of this melee one starts noticing areas and figures which are startingly distorted. These are not calculated, intentional distortions, nor do they occur from ineptitude. They are something else. They are truthful distortions; they honor an intense moment in paint. These distortions reveal the soaring ego-less innovations that process painting can sometimes yield, on a good day, after years of practice, if you're lucky, and have been a very good lad.


This is why painting is so exciting. It is capable of so much. The flip side is that the best that painting has to offer, is usually not readily comprehensible. I don't fully understand these moments, even in my own work.. I love that there is always more there, than I will ever fully understand.


The amazing potential of painting also makes it very difficult to critique. Recently the Nuvo reviewers gave this show, and another painting show, devasting reviews. Many commentors championed this new audacious approach to reviews. The thing is, in each case it was a show where the artist “scored manna”, in painting terms. Some of these works had truly exceptional moments, and showed intriguing developmental leaps forward for these artists. This was a moment for celebration, for both the artist and the viewer. Often there are not a lot of tangible rewards for being an Indianapolis artist. The goodie bag for explorative painters is particularly sucky here. We kind of live for great moments in paint, because it's all we really get. I am disturbed at how a misinformed review may tarnish these rare artistic highlights. I'd rather indulge 10 unmerited favorable reviews, than risk one unmerited bad one. It's simply too devastating when we artists so often get no other real rewards.


To be very clear: I'm not saying go easy on us painters. I'm not saying everyone is an ignorant doofus who can't possibly get it. I'm saying it's often very difficult for someone with a generalist knowledge of art to get the more profound stuff in painting, on those rare occasions when it happens. It's difficult for us who are deeply engrossed in it to understand it.

If you are going to harshly bash someone's work, please make sure your assessment is informed.

That is all....

Oh yeah, one more day to see Matthew's show. Saturday hours are 12-5, I'd call first.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dual-purposing for Dollars

 On my way to the studio, I stumbled upon this amazing trash clean-up scene, just a few houses away from my own. It's a small house and yard, and I don't know how the tenants managed to collect so many tires without being noticed/cited earlier. The truck was busy collecting from this pile, as the scooper made trips back and forth from the house. Someone was cutting some corners with their cash-only tire place.

 Dewclaw has entered the Studio Turf Wars for a couple of weeks.

 This is on my trip home. Disregard the Mitch sitcker, if you can.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mutating Hobby Plaques

I keep re-working these things. I did finally enter the top two in a juried show, so they are officially part of my oeuvre. My statement for the show:

We all share an innate desire to build things. We gather raw materials from our environment, and we invent new forms. My newest work embraces this ancient drive, with a bit of a vernacular twist. In this series, I fulfill this urge to build, using materials and techniques of the hobby craft genre. I do so more from a genuine enthusiasm for these materials, than for the obvious kitsch angle (although that does play a role).

These “Craft Plaques” explore the aesthetic, narrative, and sensory potential of a borrowed, and vaguely defined, cultural heritage. I'm applying these materials much like paint, using intuition to propel process. I'd like to find innovative formal solutions within these pieces, but I also want to create a sort of new nostalgia, by way of new sensory experiences. Can we be “reminded of” something entirely new to us? Does our shared drive to create, form a common comprehension, one that resonates even from within solo artistic endeavors?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Work

 "Mother", 4' x 4', 2012

Saturday I pulled out an old work that was framed, but that I never really resolved. The size and shape are perfect for the entry view wall in my upcoming "Mounts" show at Dewclaw. I decided to completely paint over and see if I could coax out a Mountsian image by this Saturday. It would have been enough to have a good image happen, but this (newly finished) piece also connected for me personally and fairly directly. That's something I used to experience all the time, but not so much now. I'm a little nervous because this was too easy. That's also something that I used to experience often, fast and effortless moments with meaningful results. So I'm stoked. I'll take a better pic and post once the frame dries and I can move it.

I also decided to augment the Mounts paintings with some new drawings. I've never really worked quite like this before. I used to do large and loose drawings, where charcoal gets smooshed around, much like painting. I've also used drawing to triggers ideas, by making numerous fast, almost autonomous drawings with a sharpie. I'm not real crazy about what these drawings are. They're tightly rendered doodles. I do really like how the process slows me down. It seems to set me at the perfect speed for processing some obsessive tendencies in visual thought. I think their small size also contributes to them being some sort of sweet spot for me, in terms of rendering thoughts as they occur.  They are each 5.5" x 7".

I'll display them on a painted rectangle, I believe just tacked to the wall with some tiny brad nails. I really wanted to have more done for the opening, but I will just work on them and add them to the show as I can. I plan on having a work table in the gallery for this show.