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The David Park effect

In 1949, David Park took his paintings to the dump. They were abstract in an Abstract Expressionist vein. With a clean slate, he used what he knew about the push and pull of moving paint around to return to the figure. Made of big, blunt brush-and-knife strokes, his quiet moments marked the beginning of Bay Area Figurative. In 1960, at age 49, he died of cancer. Almost everyone I know who cares about art and lived in the Bay Area in the second half of the 20th Century considers his work a touchstone. David Park (Image via) In the 21st Century, … [Read more...]

The body tangle

William S. Burroughs' idea of high romance:If I had my way we'd sleep every night all wrapped around each other like hibernating rattlesnakes. Connection creates wreckage:Steven MillerA happy humLuke Gilford from This Is A RaceAnd choreographed symbology, life in death.Peter Santino, self-portrait (Image after the jump, being not quite safe for work, depending on the work)(For more on rattlesnakes, connected and otherwise, you want to read Gordon Grice's Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals. William Burroughs did. It's probably where … [Read more...]

Norman Lundin – painting the past

Norman Lundin is slow to embrace the new. He stakes his studio practice in the pre-modernist 19th century, as an off-shoot of the Barbizon School with a hat tip to 17th Century Dutch still life. His palette is sliver-gray and mossy green. When he hits a hot note, it's usually an emergency, like a fire. The Fire at Petersons Crossing oil / canvas, 2008 unframed: 38 x 86"About the artist's own life I know little, but his paintings live in the world as depressed solitaries. The he who is their unseen narrator drives alone on country roads. … [Read more...]

The beat-up photo

In the go-go part of the 1980s, when the well-heeled were drinking champagne from glass slippers at the Mary Boone Gallery and Robert Hughes was wringing his hands at the corrupt excess of it all, saying, for instance, that young Soho collectors had the "discrimination of vacuum cleaners," back then, Doug and Mike Starn introduced the pathos of the beat-up photograph.Starn Twins Macabre Still Life, 1983 (Image via)Nearly 30 years later, Sean McFarland's version of the seen-better-days photograph is far more modest, as befits his subject. … [Read more...]

How to weave with French Fries

And how to weave with glass, bottle caps, license plates, light, film rolls, corks, spit and packing peanuts, peanut butter and jelly, fire.Jack Daws - TWO TOWERS, 2003 Chromogenic print of artist-made construction from McDonald's French fries and Heinz ketchup photographed by Richard Nichol 50 x 40 inches, Edition of 10Toots Zynsky (image via)El AnatsuiRoss Palmer Beecher - AUTO LOG CABIN QUILT, 2009 Aluminum license plates, tin, Hot Wheel cars and mixed media, 76 x 87 inches Gail TremblayClaude Zervas - d6, custom electronics and … [Read more...]

Gene Gentry McMahon & Jessica Doyle – wet

McMahonDoyle … [Read more...]

Lisbeth Salander as dancer Zoe Scofield

If Zoe Scofield were a fictional character, she would be Lisbeth Salander, who made her debut in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's not the physical resemblance, although it's striking:(images, Juniper Shuey)It's the meaning of their movements,Salander in a boxing ring, Scofield on stage. Scofield never would have made it as a ballet dancer, she says in the video below, because she "couldn't stay in line." Any line other than her own. She is light on her feet but owns the floor. Gravity loves her without being able to contain her. When she … [Read more...]

Gerri Sayler – drawing glue

In the early '60s, kids who sniffed the ink on mimeograph paper switched to glue. While it still meant stuck-on-you, it acquired a penumbra of the outcast otherworldly. Titled Nascent, Gerri Sayler's transparent, kinky, hot-glue strands hang in the air in Suyama Space like cloud tendrils. They are neither metaphors for sexual attraction nor reminders of the functional, but there is a hint of lives wasted.  If they were ribbons, they'd be the kind purchased straight that bounce back curly when run along a knife's edge. That, or unraveling … [Read more...]

Ryan Horvath – foot fetish, continued

Ryan HorvathPrevious. Horvath is currently in a show at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc. … [Read more...]

Andrew Miksys – from Seattle to Lithuania

Wherever he lives - from Seattle but of Lithuanian heritage and largely in residence there in recent years - Andrew Miksys finds worlds inside the world.   Here or there, he connects. Andrei Codrescu:His greatness lies, I believe, in the extraordinary swiftness with which he establishes a relationship with his subjects, a relationship that is unfailingly empathetic.While still based in Seattle but traveling around the country, Miksys concentrated on bingo, where he has roots. He won his first game at 11, collecting the impressive sum … [Read more...]

Zoe Strauss & Melville

Two American classics:Herman Melville's Moby Dick, opening sentence: Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as … [Read more...]

Charles LeDray in Boston (not coming to Seattle)

Charles LeDray debuted in Boston with a solo show at the ICA through Oct. 17. Sebastian Smee in the Boston Globe loved it: LeDray is one of contemporary art's brightest stars, and this show, organized by the ICA's Randi Hopkins, is the most beautiful, poignant, and witty show the ICA has mounted since moving to its new waterfront home in 2006. LeDray treats clothes as surrogates for human identity, particularly male identity, and for the many types of work that go into constructing it. As such -- and unlike the fashion industry, which is … [Read more...]

Ellen Lesperance wins Betty Bowen

From Portland. I've never heard of her, and her website is mysterious - all flash, little info.  Administered by the Seattle Art Museum, the  Betty Bowen Award goes annually to a Northwest artist. The top prize is $15,000.  Two runner-up awards for $2,500 go to Elias Hansen and Barbara Sternberger. Oct. 21, 6-7 p.m., there's a reception for the three artists at SAM, followed by artists' talks, 7-8. Free admission.This image, filed under "writing," is on her website. May or may not be her work. I like it either way, as the … [Read more...]

John Bankston – folk incrustations

In my family, making something out of anything but words was a waste of time. Lumpy clay bowls and crayon drawings brought home from school were considered childish aberrations, akin to picking your nose and eating it.  John Bankston comes from another tradition. He drew his way into the world and hasn't, as an adult, shaken off the magic of turning a blank into an image or a  lump of clay into a man.Following Glenn Ligon .... (Image via)...Bankston investigates the push-pull of African-American traditions through the prism of a … [Read more...]

Hint for old journalism in new world

Considering that the online-only Seattle PI is such a streamlined and staff-starved operation, celebration ensues when it manages to deliver any journalism at all. On the site, Vanessa Ho's elegant boiler-plate story about Seattle Opera's financial challenges nailed every aspect of what/when/why but failed to create any sense of who. Who is Seattle Opera, and why should anyone care about its fate? This failure accounts for the low quality of the comments, most of them either begrudging or outright hostile to the idea that the city extend any … [Read more...]

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