December 8, 2007

Is it Art? Or is it Real Estate?

There is something amiss this holiday season. News of the strike hasn't gotten any better, the housing sector is the red-headed stepchild of the economy, and arts funding has been cut again after promises of substantial increases. It's pretty blah, blah, blah. And that's just in Los Angeles.

But that feeling of something wrong is not just "the holidays" or "an LA thing." Wrong things happen everyday, around the world, and have been for quite a while now. And you are not the only one to feel that.

A Polish businessman and philanthropist, Daniel Czapiewski, decided to express that notion of dissonance by building an upside-down home, which brings tourists to the tiny Polish village of Szymbark. This isn't just an architectural whim, this is intended to let the visitor get in touch with a deep feeling of dischord, followed by nausea and dizziness, as an emotional metaphor for experiencing inhumanity.

So if you ever thought that a humanist who happens to be president of a wooden home manufacturing firm couldn't possibly be an artist, aren't you glad you get to think again?

:: bogna ::

October 14, 2007

Ready for Art Therapy?...and other notions

So, I joined up with artist Quinton Bemiller's gallery tour at Bergamot station, and I wanted to share some of the highlights from it that spoke to me. (Quinton is an accomplished and knowledgable artist who speaks about exhibitions like no other guide or docent. His gallery tours are not to be missed.)
I really enjoyed seeing the luminous work of one of the top abstract painters Jimi Gleason at Patricia Faure Gallery. Reminiscent of Rothko, in the sense that you could just sit there and meditate in front of large fields of color for days, but with a textured and unique application of oil paint which made it feel fresh, real, and intriguing.

I was also impressed by the showing in Shoshana Wayne Gallery of the work of Brad Spence. Inspired by clinical psychology, his show "Art Therapy" has a relaxing and healing quality true to its name. As soon as I walked into the space I felt instantly relaxed. And, like with the work of Gleason, I felt my eyes relax as I gazed deeply into and almost past these paintings - the way it feels when I look at the horizon outdoors. I suppose that is the feeling of infinity, and if I can feel it in a painting, that's something.

The work of Susan Woodruff at William Turner Gallery was a fun fluid romp, kind of like looking like a Georgia O'Keefe painting underwater.

But it was the work of David Allan Peters at Ruth Bachofner Gallery at our last stop at Bergamot Station that really took the cake. Ruth came out and spoke to us about Peters' work, which was a real treat. Imagine the patience of painting layer upon layer upon layer upon layer, then using handmade tools to carve out shapes that expose beautiful rings of color in minimal elegant composition...and that's just for the paintings....then, gather the carved-out bits and make a colorful sculptures too. Talk about eye candy. It is, simply put, rockstar friggin' awesome.

:: bogna ::

September 30, 2007

Public But Not Forgotten: a potato in a parking lot

I am very fond of a certain potato in a parking lot. But it's not just any potato. It's a bronze potato sculpture, and it's sitting in the parking lot of Anawalt Lumber & Hardware in West Los Angeles.
Seriously. Do people even notice it on their way to the hardware store? Do they stop and think how those three massive bronze potatoes could balance off each other so precariously? It is art, after all. Someone had to imagine it and cast it in bronze. It's got a title and everything: "Crutch."
When shoppers use a car remote to lock/unlock their cars, and the potato sculpture happens to be obstructing their view of the automobile, then maybe, maybe, they see "Crutch" for a second... but I think that's about it. I mean, if anyone saw you admiring it in the parking lot, wouldn't they laugh at you?
I guess we've forgotten that art can exist in something as banal and utilitarian as a parking lot. Well, at Pico and Sepulveda, apparently it can. So the next time you need lumber, a bolt, or an eyeglass screwdriver, just remember that art might be lurking someplace unexpected, and closer than you think.

August 19, 2007

Looking for Something

If you are looking for an antidote to the kitsch trend in art this summer, then look just a little further, like towards Hyperion and Rowena in Silverlake, CA.
"Looking for something and maybe almost finding it" is the title of Kathy Jaroneski's solo exhibition at the Silverlake Neighborhood Council.
Her paintings have a quality of seeing both through and far into an introspective reality.
The color composition is bold and soothing at the same time, like good design, but the forms, strokes, and drips of paint have a motion which makes the paintings come alive.
There is a tension in her work, a dichotomy where discipline meets emotion. Color logic rules over expressive brushstrokes in "Silvia's Lake", while a light palette serves to offset an aubergine storm in "Aubergine #2". It lulls you in then shakes you up. Definitely a must for anyone seeking some emotional authenticity in a season of empty blockbusters and subprime refinancing.

On another note, let's hear it for seeing something you weren't really looking for in the first place, and would rather not have seen, but now that you have you can't help but grin a little. I found myself grinning at the Claremont Museum of Art when I saw this sculpture. You get the picture. You should see what the artist Amy Maloof did to a shopping cart as well.

Enjoy the heat and keep looking.

:: bogna ::

June 10, 2007

Walking the Art Walk

Did you get to the Culver City Art Walk? If not, there's always next year. Didn't know there were galleries in Culver City? Well, you might want to up your 411 skills and come check it out. Even when there aren't large happy swells of people ebbing in and out of the galleries during an official art walk with live jazz in the air, it's still worth seeing anytime.

I was so happy to see Mike Stilkey at BLK/MRKET Gallery. His solo show HORSE STORIES was beautiful, and his success couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He totally helped me when I was framing a gallery submission and I seriously wish him well. It was good to see so much of his work, especially when accompanied by his whimsical horses on the walls and all those red dots.

I also was thrilled to see Nicola Vruwink at d.e.n. contemporary. I first saw her work at the OPEN SHOW at Gallery 825 and I knew she was a genius for crocheting audio cassette tape. There is a deep satisfaction when looking at - and reading - her work. Between her and Sharon Kagan, knitting and crochet has been forever elevated in my mind as the ultimate avant-garde lovingly ironic art medium.

So, even if you missed the art walk, you can still make it out there and not be disappointed. And if you do find yourself in Culver City, make sure you see Blum & Poe. They started it all. And I do know that every time I go to Blum & Poe I leave happy, like I've really seen something. Usually something big.

May 24, 2007

WACK! 'd and loving it

If you haven't seen the WACK! show at the Geffen Contemporary, why not? Afraid of feminist art? Don't be. The show has a bit of everything: it's humorous, somber, playful, sad, mischievious, showy, intense, experimental, revolutionary, exploitational, intimate, legendary, so there is something for everyone.

There have been plenty of reviews about WACK! but I just wanted to share the pieces that affected me the most.

First of all, I think one of the funniest inventions of mankind is pantyhose, but it gets better...What if someone made a bold, sophisticated installation out of pantyhose? Not a lame piece, or a pretty docile piece about texture, but something, I dunno, macho, but in an ironic way? There have been times I must say I've been tempted to try, especially after a bad day from a corporate past-life, but Senga Negudi has done what needed to be done and let's leave it at that and enjoy it. It's the first image in the second row on the Geffen's online gallery.

Or have you ever seen any of Judy Chicago's work up close? I still see her Through The Flower piece turning in my head. And nearby was the "soft gallery" - I can now say I have been inside a self-reflective art gallery made of mattresses. So many great pieces but I don't want to spoil the surprises.

Gallery 825 just had an ArtSpeak series with some of the pioneers/renegades of early Feminist Art. We are lucky that we have the opportunity to look at art so politically charged for its time and talk about it openly.

Have you seen WACK!?

:: bogna ::

May 9, 2007

Crackerjack: Jay Belloli from the Armory Juries Gallery 825 Show...

...and one of my pieces, "tribe", is in it! Tribe is an abstract color photograph (not a painting) and it's all about the moment, a very long moment, an "even longer than you think" moment, captured on film. Check out Gallery 825 - they are a very cool gallery and I am very happy I get to be a part of this show.

:: bogna ::

May 5, 2007

[ my first blog ] The Getty LA & MOMA NY

So it should be fitting to start my blog after seeing the Tim Hawkinson show at the Getty. I knew I was into something with the Uber-organ that greeting me in the plaza lobby. A large, industrial organic floating plastic bladder organ with tubing that read sheet music, it played a "song" every hour. And, as a security guard pointed out, kind of sounded like a boat horn. After hearing a tune, I was ready for the rest of the show.
You really have to stand in front of the Octopus piece to appreciate it. Even though there are banners all around town showing off its striking color and composition, can you tell what the little suction cups are made from? I couldn't until I stood in front of it, and I won't tell you because I think it's a spoiler. My boyfriend loved the Leviathon piece. It was made largely of super sculpy. Which is very funny for me because I just threw out a big box of it because I was so "over it" and didn't know what to do with it. I should have given it to Tim! My personal favorite however was the bat made out of radio shack bags and around a twist-tie skeleton. The black plastic skin had an unusual texture on the wings, almost transparent in some areas, while the body had fur. I can't get over the little jaw and teeth too. Yes, all out of the black plastic bags courtesy of Radio Shack. I'm glad they are good for something.

As I was in New York recently, I darted in to
MOMA to check out the "Comic Abstraction" exhibit. The empty speech bubbles with colored backgrounds by Rivane Neuenshwander were printed individually, largely and brightly, and bannered around the city...VERY appealing, luring me right in like a moth to a flame.

I was particularly fond of Ellen Gallagher’s pieces, seemingly earthy, even decorative, abstract textures from a safe distance, but if you got closer the texture was actually a pattern of repeating eyes or lips taken from early racist cartoons. Put a whole other spin on the work.

Very fun to behold was the installation of “Speech Bubbles” by Philippe Parreno, and I realized as I stood underneath it, with empty plastic speech bubbles hovering above me, that I had nothing to say. And “Blossom” inspired by the Powerpuff Girls was deliciously colorful and nice to take in...and so many others (okay I’ll stop listing). The web images on the site don’t necessarily do justice but you get the idea. The Security Guards had fun inviting people to go see Jerry in “Waiting for Jerry” who, of course, never arrived.

:: bogna ::