Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Hey big bloggy, I’ve seen a lot of art lately. Turning over stones during listless hours of surfing my favorite art reporting interweb outlets.  Summer is always a cool time to catch up and since my art production in the studio is ramped up as I hammer out a new body of work and  forge ahead getting ready for some exciting exhibition opportunities I like to slip away during the day job to wash the stench of corporate complacency off my body with a refreshing gallery visit or internet poke around. Here is what I found recently.

I secretly ghost traveled with James Kalm to see Katy Moran at Andrea Rosen Gallery. She had a solo show last year in Columbus at the Wexner Center that was great. I’ve enjoyed for the past few years running into Morans work. Each time it changes and grows in ways I love to see in an artist practice. It shows explorations and searching in the studio and in thinking about process and painting that to me exemplifies the spirit of a true painter. These paintings are not as slick as usual. They are manhandled and struggled with. It shows work and thinking.

I also really like the Mark Grotjahn show at Anton Kern Gallery. I think the same work or similar from this series was shown recently at Blum and Poe, none the less the work is magical. Along the same lines as Moran but I think with much more confidence, Grotjahn creates these heavily worked and layered decorative works that suggest to me the tribal drum circle ritualistic haze and magic of a serious painting session. I love the connection between some sort of tribal ritual and the energy, motion and movement of a really serious painter working out problems and personally connecting with making art. Plus just wanting to smell that paint all day would send someone into a K-hole of extacy induced spinning….or maybe that was just me, back in the 90’s.

As I mentioned before I entered Hey Hot Shot last week and just when I was feeling confident I am confronted with Martina Lindqvist as a critics pick of HHS blog. I mean these pictures are poetic, dark, moody and they take you there. You want to be there.  Martina  can execute her vision with clarity and passion. These slick pictures have the feel and drama of a Hollywood-esque high production value Crewdson picture but land more toward the moody, dark outside looking in singularity of man, camera and landscape of Todd Hido. If this is my competition, I’m doomed. Ha-ha.

from NYMAG

And last I end with Urs Fischer at the Venice Biennale.  His installation of a 3 wax sculptures one, my favorite a portrait of the artist Rudolf Stingel that just happens to have a wick in it. A giant man candle. It burns bright from the mind but melts all over. It’s the perfect show piece. Poetic and accessible. Urs has usually bombed for me. Big budget, yadda yadda yadda. But I really like this trio.


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MOCA Delicious Feilds: Jordan Tate and Pipo Nguyen-duy

Oh Bloghart the Magnificent as I sit here lullingly typing on my plastic apple keys I am amazed at the wealth of photographic bounty ripe for the picking at the various local institutions. I know you say, blech, that cutting edge media critic conceptual stuff just reeks of hollow academia. If I wanted to be confused and angered I watch CSPAN. I’d first say don’t be so quick to judge something new and a little odd. If you were to go to MOCA tonight to see the opening of the new Summer season you’d be confronted with some very interesting and thoughtfully curated photographs in a show titled Delicious Fields:Ohio Photographers a Work.  New looks at and uses of photography all with the Ohio landscape/environment as a broad underpinning.  Here artists explore and manipulate the tradition of reacting to and documenting the land by using it as a jumping off point for image critique and social exploration of the role photograph plays today in representation. Also there is some land as stage in which things happen on or manipulated by the artist to create narratives or other possibilities.  Among others, there are two artists I am super excited about, Pipo Nguyen-duy and Jordan Tate ( wasn’t that Dexter’s white whales name in season 4?).  There is a lot of photographic boundary pushing going on and coming from someone who likes to explore and dissect standard photographic notions that makes my water run.

CMA: William Clift, Robert Voit

Well Bloghart if you are still not sold then go on over to an equally exciting yet more traditional leaning exhibition of landscape photographs culled from the Cleveland Museums permanent collection.  Contemporary Landscape Photography is the fight of the century.  It’s the photographic version of Aruthor Vs. Aspartemay! ( yes iCarly is awesome).  Adams Vs. Adams. Robert and Ansel. Landscape as pristine wild and/or human impact on said land. Take sides one and all and take pictures. CMA has curated an exhibition that shows both sides of the story from when it began and how it is carried on today with current working artists. The show looks great.

Get out there Bloghart and stop sitting around and waiting for people to read you.

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Lori Nix

more Nix

Despite the snow and the cold and the short opening hours, Friday nights opening for LIA was in my humble and extremely biased opinion (I’m in the show)  a smashing success. At least I had fun, drank too much red wine and waxed way to intellectual about jeggings. (something I was unfamiliar with before that faithful night).

The work, put together by Mark Slankard, was of the utmost quality. The theme of conceptualism in photography was so subtly worked and represented that each body of work was allowed to stand on its own yet represent the global concept in its own way. They were at the same time individual and collective. Unique but linked together to create a beautiful dialogue.

As soon as you walk in the gallery you are confronted with the obsessively incredible work of Lori Nix who stretches the viewers perceptions of photography by crafting scenes so meticulous that the photo representation of the diorama can under first glance pass off as our own  defunct civilization. I love Nix’s theatrics and chilling assumptions.

Kerry Skarbakka

more Skarbakka

Play that off of Kerry Skarbakkas equally as uneasy and overwhelming large images of himself in a clear state of flux. Whether he is falling, being elevated, levitated or crashing through glass, Skarbakka is the pictorial manifestation of a body out of control, being overtaken either beyond the persons own control or put out of control by themselves, his photographs represent a feeling of the moment. Like a 21st century digital age Cartier-Bresson and the decisive moment. Skarbakka creates the moment, the transition period of imminent danger or the unknowing of what is to come when what goes up must come down. It is the ultimate moment of letting go and not being able to do anything about it.

Also adding to the dialogue was Matt Siber whose large diptychs confront  not just how images on a wall can be manipulated or made to fool us but how in our everyday environment images surround us and subconsciously seep into every aspect of our daily lives. The messages are there whether we choose to look or not. Siber extracts the text from photos of  stores, city streets or sporting events and contrasts the textless scene with an exact replica of all the text in position next to it. As a view we have to deal with what we normally would visual blend. Its like getting a vile of kidney stones from the doctor after a nights stay of agonizingly passing them. You’re like, “wow, all that!”

Matt Siber

Last but not least, the most conceptual of all in my mind are the artist duo of Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman who illuminate just how not private our contemporary lives are. (If we chose to set up shop on the airwaves of social media that is). Nate and Marni follow random twitter feeds from people who have chosen to include GPS geo-tagging with their updates. This allows the artists to find the exact location of the feeds where they photograph the scene and present it with the specific tweet. The end result is a deadpan image/text combo that kind of creeps me out. The photos are at a vantage point of like Micheal Meyers standing in the bushes watching as the teen couple escape to the back bedroom for a little fun.

All in all, this show is one of the best I’ve seen in Cleveland. It runs to March and I recommend it, highly.

Kerry giving an eloquent description of his work. Kerry and I both gave a little talk. He was much funnier than I was.

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New year, new work

Decorations 20 in x 30 in


Still Life with Rabbit 24 in x 36 in

They Don't Suffer This Way 20 in x 30 in

When I Grow Up 16 in x 24 in


I have been tinkering for the last few months and after an incredibly helpful and insightful studio visit with someone who like a vulture smelling a wounded prey so perfectly felt that I was on the fence about direction and eloquently voiced opinion and insight to verbally help me off and on the side where the grass is certainly greener. Thanks Meghan! So off the fence and running with some new photographs and new idea’s.  Check them out. It is the dawn of Aquarius.

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This weekend, snowy or not, will have some fine offerings on the buffet of artistic bounty. Nourish your neurons with a tandem Friday  night openings at Cleveland State Main Art Gallery and Zygote Press.

From 5-7pm on Friday January 21, CSU offers (shameless plug) a show that challenges the notion of photography. Life Imitates Artifice curated by Mark Slankard pulls together five artists including myself whom explore and manipulate the medium in ways that twist the idea of photography as documentation and representations of reality.

At Zygote Press from 6-9pm on Friday January 21 the show called Intersections is an experiment in juxtopostioning where artists, writers and curators matched up literary works with visual art works to make connections and comparisons in hope of illuminating the creative process. Plus my good friend Dana Oldfather is one of the artists. Represent!

And if you want to get a jump on the weekend, Thursday night has SPACES christening THE VAULT, their den of view-niquity, with an hour and a half screening of various video based works. One of which fresh off of the controversial censoring at the National Portrait Gallery is David Wojnarowicz A Fire In My Belly. Go see what all the trouble is about and watch it paired with video works from Michael MacGarry, Eric Rippert and others.

Have fun and snow…stay the eff away.

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Instead of just posting a blank page,  here is a little Agnes Martin. And as the Mrs. is off for a snow day  no doubt Peg Bundy-ing it up on the couch with some bon-bons, I, at the day job,  caught made a paper fish for a new photo I am working on. I thought it turned out pretty nice. It’s a trout about a 4 pounder.

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Michelle Muldrow

Chris Ballantyne

Todd Hido

The summer season is just about over and that familiar August white noise, dead air being broadcast over the art world airwaves just waiting for the new programing to begin has got me rather lazy about posting.  Its hot in my studio and life has seemed to slow down just a bit. Which is  good and nice and a welcome change. What it has allowed me to do is realize that a very important group show that has been on all summer is wrapping up in a bout 2 weeks and I never posted a congrats to Cleveland based artist Michelle Muldrow.

Jen Bekman the mastermind behind 20×200 and longtime gallery owner has put together a fantastic summer show that explores our use of the land. Called Land Use Survey, the exhibition brings together a very diverse group of fantastic artists who interpret or use the imagery of human intervention in the landscape in many ways. Some ironic, some documentary some are poetic responses but all are an extremely cohesive and intellectual grouping that tells a story of or is influenced by the ultimate oppression and the ultimate conflict, man vs nature.

This show is a smart addition to the long running dialogue of such themes. And Michelle’s pieces in the show are great. Cool and detached these observations are painted with a lush-ness of materials and moody overtones reserved for old epic 19 century landscape painting. It’s as if Michelle set out to paint the land and find the sublime but all she could come up with was strip malls. I love the balance of the beauty of the paint with the banality of the subject matter.

Ms. Muldrow is in great company too with such greats as William Wegman and Alec Soth and other great works by one of my favorite contemporary painters Chris Ballantyne and photographer Beth Dow.

So you can see the exhibition images on the JB website and if you’re in NYC till August 15th you can see the show.

Beth Dow

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