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