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Mark Slankard @ CSU Art Gallery Aug 28th 5-8pm

School buses, crickets, dark mornings all signal one thing: summer is in the September of its years…sob.  The days will still be warm and in theory summer is still raging on, but we all know its a downward slope.  Plastic surgery couldn’t rejuvenate the wrinkled droopy skin of the always fleeting season of humid sweltering weather and long hours of light. The clock just can’t be turned back on this season.  No looking back. Summer group shows and gallery sabbaticals are gone and other than breaking out my favorite grandpa sweater and fleece slippers, the regular art season is a nice distraction to the looming grey  Alaskan cold darkness that is floating on the horizon. Okay enough of the melancholy, move to Phoenix right? Alright then on with the itinerary.

This weekend is jammed. Like a bunch of dogs at the track, the gates are open and we are chasing the rabbit.  So lets run down some of the points of interest.

090828_spiceydames_600The newly re-branded William Rupnik Gallery is presenting Mallorie Freeman: Spicy Dames and Tales of Mystery. Gritty works that are rooted in photography, mystery, myth and fiction. Mallorie’s work seems to occupy the space of kitche yet hints at the perpetuation of female myths through media and history. Fiction and non-fiction are interchangeable as we constantly balance identity with myth and expectation.  All life is drama and fiction I suppose. Located at 1667 East 40th St MF is opening Friday from 7-10 with a after party to boot. Lava Lounge is the perfect place to star in your own pulp novel.

E 40th isn’t too far from Cleveland State so why not hit up the Art Gallery on Friday too and take in  CSU’s provocative photography exhibition from its esteemed faculty member, Mark Slankard. Slankard is a well established photographer with a serious vision. I recommend checking out all of his bodies of work. The one that is being shown proves to pursued and provoke a plethora of presumptions. Too many P’s I know I was on roll. Anyways, Slankard is exploring Turkey and the extreme growth of its urban cities and suburban sprawl.  Western whiffs hang in the air with modern high rises and suffocatingly clone stamped developments rising up from the countryside. What is to be considered is  the implications of the most extreme of gentrification.  Ancient history in an all out over the top arm wrestle with the increasingly unpopular throw away press-board eyesores of sprawl.  Slankard’s works will no doubt be visually stunning. Large, and I’m talking HUGE, color photographs rendered with 8×10 large format camera precision.  The work seems to play out with the staged drama of Gregory Crewdsen only these are pulled and selected from the real world which offers to the viewer a wink as to allude to the surreal scenes of such real life tension and drama. Hot air masses mix with cold air and that can only mean one thing. For Slankard, its a culture storm or old and new. And with the ever changing world, it is a storm that almost all cultures can relate to these days.

On Friday you can hear the artist talk at 4 with the opening reception from 5-8.

More info:
CSU Art Gallery
East 23rd Street and Chester Avenue (2307 Chester Avenue).
www.csuohio.edu/artgallery.

William Rupnik Gallery is proud to present:
An exhibition by Mallorie Freeman
Spicy Dames and Tales of Mystery
August 28 – September 13, 2009
Opening reception 7-10 pm Friday, August 28, 2009
www.wrgcleveland.com

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CIA graduate and now Washington DC artist Michael Dotson has created this Electric Company-esque youtube video look into his process as a painter. Dotson’s hyper colorful Apple I I e program computer-y architectural Tron landscapes are both a celebration of painting and seeing like the Op Art of Bridget Rilley and the tape master Al Held and the CGI virtual reality and urban computer planning and design like the obviously CAD conceived Caddilac CTS.  Its like Cezanne painting using lightwave.  I love Dotsons landscapes. Perhaps it the resonation of a generational kinship of Saturday morning cartoons and early computer graphics. Whatever it is he is a master at creating space with shapes and color and creating a foreign conceived space that feels oddly familiar and recognizable.

Oh yeah and I can’t forget the perfect addition the video…Kraftwerk.  It is More fun to compute.

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studioreprt

Artists whose work is omnipotent, in magazines, proliferated over the Internet and art magazines are sometimes larger than life. The images become icons and then the often man behind the man behind the man, the puppet master, the face in the shadows pulling the strings is like the mystery of the person in the limo.  All this mystique hides the fact that artist’s are just regular people.  And the work is not conjured up in some elaborate shaman-esque ritual, its made in studios, in rented spaces, sometimes small and cramped and loaded with stuff. Some even are quite humble, even for successful creators.  I love the studio, I have since art school and it is funny to see how studios are all really pretty similar.  The obligatory mid century chair or dirty old couch or 60’s tweed lounge chair. Cheap thrift furniture held to the utmost of functional standards. They all have a certain feel to them. I’m romantic of course because of what the studio is to me, but I think objectively it’s true, The studio is the inner sanctum, the war room where strategies are hammered out and armies are built.

So check it out, I stumbled upon during one of my Internet link benders, www.studioreport.com which takes us on a virtual tour of 8 ( I think ) New York studios of such acclaimed artists as Ryan McGinley and Dan Colens studios.  Its a simple site with some simple descriptions and a handful of picts. Very cool insight into the work space of artists.  Most artists hold open studios or entertain studio visits if asked but in case your shy or have an adverse liking to turpentine or large bookshelves filled with source materials and supplies then check out the website.

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I want to start a series called the “The Power of…” that highlights specific artworks that, to me, resonate and manifest the visual power of a successful piece of art. Something that has the ole cliché “it” factor.  Artists often can make work that is a home-run and then can wake up the next day and turn out a big turd. I know I do it all the time. I think, how did I make this work and then turn around and make something so utterly horrid. Oh well, a good batting average is .300, that’s like 30% right?

IMGP0738

Okay, enough about success rates, lets get started  looking at a painting I came across in a book I got from the library. Its called Food and Feasting in the Arts. It chronicles the history and allegory of specific foods found in painting during the heyday of still life and genre painting, read as “old”.  Now I returned the book without writing down the artist so forgive me for the lack of specifics. Why I photographed this painting is for one simple detail that just seems to resonate with me. I find myself thinking about it on the bus….weird, I know.  The book describes this painting as a reflection on the choices we have in living our life. The two boys are sitting and eating different things and how these are the ways and choices of earthly pleasures and the flesh(melons) vs the spiritual(grapes). Fine, cool, I get it. But there is something more there than just translating the imagery and symbolism of the food.

IMGP0738ft It’s the feet. Check out the care and detail given to the rendering of the boys feet. Just by looking at the feet you can smell and feel the hot, earthy, dirty scene like the way the grassy dusty midway of the fairgrounds during the county fair in August smells . The dirt roads of  an Italian village come to life. The way the dirt is a little wet around the heel and ball and big toe. Its as if the essence of life and being is manifested in the painting of those feet.  It makes you feel the dirt and what its like to walk barefoot. Its walking, its living, its the journey that those boys are on, that we are all on.  As much as I love a sweet pair of Onituska’s, I would throw away all my sneakers after seeing those feet. I love those feet.*

note: I don’t have a foot fetish, them are just some sweet feet.

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MOCA+Casey

Last minute Larry here. I’ll be checking out an important and exciting opening at MOCA tonight.  Curated by Megan Lykins Reich, There Goes the Neighborhood is an exhibition that takes on the nature of communities and the ever changing way we live and how forces locally, personally and politically shape our living environments. The show consists of works from 11 international artists.

More exciting is the inclusion of two local artists. Amy Casey will be featured, a no-brainer really, with her brand of nervous affection for the architecture of the rust belt teetering on the edge of extinction and defunct-tion. Casey’s work is like visual spinning of plates as the houses, buildings and roads anxiously try and stay steady amid a broken down infrastructure.

Also featured is Matthew Kolodziej, a virtuosic painter who weaves a cacophony of colors and lines reminiscent of city structures, street maps and topography out of a mixture of rich toothpaste like globs of paint piled up on the canvas over elegant brush strokes and washes. In an ever changing world full of dreams unfulfilled and ideals quickly vanishing it will be interesting show to see viewpoints from around the world trying to identify and define communities in this extremely uncharted, undefined post-boom climate.

Don’t forget too, I will be swinging by William Rupnik Gallery to check out BASK as well. Lots to do on this hopefully, lovely late spring Friday night.

There Goes the Neighborhood @ MOCA
On view June 5th, 2009 through August 16th, 2009
Opening Celebration:
Friday, June 5, 2009
07:00pm – 10:00pm

A COUNTDOWN TO AWESOME
New works by Ales BASK Hostomsky
Reception on Friday, June 5, from 7-10 P.M.

William Rupnik Gallery
1667 East 40th Street, Unit 1A
Cleveland, Ohio 44103

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images courtesy BASK

images courtesy BASK

On the eve of his show opening here in Cleveland, the infamous street artist, cultural filter and art world revolutionary, BASK was kind enough to open the large heavily clad and padlocked wooden door into his artistic mind just a smidge for us to sneak a peek into the inner sanctum of discarded treasure, glue, paint, and cartoons that mix and meld into glorious exercises in semiotics. So all you fans of symbols and signs, cultural references and mind controlling media outlets read on and check out the answers BASK gave me to 9 serious questions:

Brandon Juhasz:  I remember seeing your art a long time back in Cleveland, you were at the forefront of the low art/high art resurgence during the end of the 20 century and continuing today. What was it like breaking into or transitioning into a gallery setting and how did it happen?

BASK: I have to say that I’m grateful I got into the art game the way I did and when I did. I started showing in galleries in the late 90’s when the economy was strong and people and places were more open to taking risks with unknown artists. Aside from the support from my home city, then and now, St.Petersburg Florida, I was getting invites to do solo shows in San Francisco, Detroit, Cleveland, etc. Looking back, I was really lucky to have started within such an encouraging art climate.

BJ-I see your work as a kind of future telling. I picture you as weaving tales of 24 century archaeologists uncovering our present/their past and finding these layered and decaying images and having to parse meaning from them. Do you think about the future when you make work? What kind of things do you think about when you work?

BASK: I usually start a painting off with a generally theme inspired by current events,  a social issue or just a personal situation I’m going through. Something that will get the motor running so to speak and create a good jump off point. However during the creation of almost every piece, I notice another metaphoric undertone that seems to come out subconsciously. Sometimes I don’t even realize it there and it takes me a few months to truly understand the true meaning and inspiration.

BJ-Do you have stacks and stacks of imagery in your studio like the guy who drives around in a Ford Fiesta filled to the ceiling with newspapers?
BASK: haha, pretty close to it only instead of imagery, I collect found objects to paint on like old panels, desks, cabinets, etc. I cruise around back streets and pick up anything I see I could one day use as a backdrop for a painting. Sometimes after I’ve collected a van full of treasures, I feel like Fred Sanford. This stuff really piles up after a while.


BJ
-Where does the name BASK come from? It ranks up there with Sting as the coolest one word names you know. Also, what are your roots, your heritage and how did you come to choose art as your profession?

BASK: The name Bask was and still is my tag when doing street art. I started writing it around 94, 95 I think. I’m not really sure how i came up with it but I do know it was better then the tags i had before it. Some being the likes of, Arugus and Ayl, yeesh! My given name is Ales Hostomsky. It’s a Czech name and since I’ve never had a middle name, Bask fit in perfectly. Most people, when then see or hear my whole name, just seem to prefer to call me Bask. It’s the easiest to remember I suppose.

BJ-I think Rauschenberg is an obvious comparison but is there other influences you have? Perhaps not even artist related, music, film?


BASK: Robert Rauschenberg is a big influence, As far as I’m concerned, nobody has done better assemblage work then him. My other influences are old hand pasted punk rock fliers, random tags and graffiti and discarded debris from our all consuming culture. I try not to look at other artists work too much for inspiration but a few current favorites are Tes One, Barry Mcgee, and Phil Frost.

BJ: In your artistic practice, can you walk us through a typical studio day, and how long do pieces take on average, are they worked over and over or do they happen rather quickly?


BASK: It varies from piece to piece. Some I produce rather quickly, which is about a day or two. But it is a much slower process for most of my work. I build up layers then peel and push them back. I rarely sketch out my paintings and prefer to let it evolve organically rather then a methodically plotted out idea. However, I should say that working in this manner has come back to bite me. Not all of ones ideas are good, so sometimes I’ve found myself looking at a piece that is almost finished and thinking, this is trash. In which case I paint over most of it, if not all of it and try again.

BJ-What’s your favorite cartoon, past or present?


BASK: I love the old Speed Racer cartoon and old Loony Tunes as well. Tex Avery is always a favorite. Anything Spumco I love and most recently, I’ve really been into the Misadventures of Flapjack. Of course I’m into the prime time hits like Family guy and the Simpsons too.

BJ
-What direction do you see your art going in the future and projects your just dying to do, any huge goals?
BASK: I just want to keep discovering new and interesting ways on expressing an idea, thought or emotion. I want to keep pushing myself and not let myself get too comfortable or stale.

BJ: Any regrets, worst art moment, scary art world story, juicy little secret? Anything?


BASK: I’m glad to say I have no regrets so far, and I hope i never do. I’ve had plenty of bad moments, shifty business deals and things that never came through or just let me down but I can’t say i regret any of them. You live, you learn and move forward. Hopefully a little wiser with each stumble, bruise, or scar you’ve acquired.
Thanks BASK. So now that there is a little bit of BASKs world, to see the art check out Friday June 5th here:
A COUNTDOWN TO AWESOME
New works by BASK
@ William Rupnick Gallery
Reception on Friday, June 5, from 7-10 P.M.
Exhibition on view June 5 – July 5, 2009
William Rupnik Gallery
1667 East 40th Street, Unit 1A
Cleveland, Ohio 44103

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lg_sung

Contemporary human existence revolves around data.  Just watch a sports game and the statistical comparisons that are summoned to explain patterns and predictions are sometimes so absurd that its hilarious. We try and quantify everything these days in order to find some concrete ground work for understanding.  I remember the movie Pi where a genius mathematician was on the verge of an equation that could predict the stock market. Ha, wouldn’t that be great. Its like going back in time to 1932 and knew that if you bought 8 copies of Superman #1 you’d come back a rich man. Well, for someone who has worked many jobs one and most current being for a larger corporation, data rules the roost and often its pretty boring. But what if we took data and mapping and market research and applied it to the systems of art.  Like Matthew Ritchie or Julie Mehretu or Ingrid Calame, or DaVinci for that matter, there is a long tradition of mapping and data collection in art.  Its pattern and pattern is design element, why not layer in some social or political or personal element to creating patterns, turning data into marks. In essence, that what art really is. Even Pollack was collecting existential data, really.
In that vein, SPACES new show “Internal Compasses” opens tonight and seems to be a really good “read”.  Look for Sarah FitzSimons site specific  tents that are built to mimic the land around the place in which they are erected, they simultaneously use the environment and also become it.  Here mountainous tents have roots in contemporary architecture and the contemplation of how we as humans find both inspiration in the land and how we adapt and use the land.

Susken Rosenthals drawings are, at first glance,  like the scrawling of a mad man, like someone trying to get the ink to flow from a pen that hasn’t been used in months. But the rectangular bounded white sheets of paper represent the documentation of soccer matches.  An energetic representation of  time, movement, random-ness and energy. Each game finds area’s of the field being used more. I wonder if you can tell who won the game by which end of the field has more marks. The birds nest of marks remind me too of images of migration patterns, or a really bad hair day.

Also, check out Eric Sungs emotional and mystical photographs that seems to be about patterns and rituals. Rites that are historical and human.  A stark contrast to the rigid data depiction these photographs are a nice counter point yet the quietly elude to the patterns and rhythms of life, the ebb and flow of existence. Time is marked here by long exposure and movement.

The show looks great and it opens tonight from 6-9 and its free…FREE, I tell you.

SPACES-2220 Superior Viaduct-Cleveland, OH 44113

KUCIA

Oh one last note,  I just realized that there is a great show at  Shaheen Contemporary:  A solo show of Craig Kucia:  We Left with our Hearts Tied. It runs till June 5th and it is sure to be a great collection of paintings from another stand out product of CIA. Craigs paintings are bold, colorful day dream world paintings. Beautifully constructed these paintings exist in a juxtaposed world of fantasy, Saturday morning cartoon, storybook, weird wonderful rich, allegorical and history (  just totally fell of a descriptive cliff ) I like the look of the paintings, wish this one got more press, it is good contemporary painting.

http://www.shaheengallery.com/exhibitions.php

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