Sunday 17 May 2009

ABSTRACT FUN( young blood- kibbee,mattress factor, eyedrum)





I think the way to approach my previous evening of art travel is to tell it in some sense of reverse order. Even in this case it will not be so much LACIGOLONORHC<---as I myself am not exactly logical,nor was the night one that was monochromatic. Except for perhaps after being filtered through the weight of the evening.
I hit the Majestic at the end- for some orange juice and pancakes. I've always heard this place is "at your own risk" and thus far have been basically satisfied. Man, food is expensive. But orange juice after an evening of art on top of art on top of art is a good thing.
I know I didn't try to conquer the Louvre or anything,but I was reminded of how one is supposed to remember to pace the patience on the eyes and mind. One can only see so much before a certain space is filled. It's an odd feeling I feel in my whole body,I've noticed. I can tell when I suddenly realize I'm just looking at the surface of things. Some nights or days I start off this way. I wonder if it is because I see everything as potential art? Maybe that's a problem. Somewhere along the way I forgot to live and now everything is trying to be a reaction to something I'm not even experiencing? Hmmm.
But art! In Atlanta! I visited Mattress Factory Lofts last. And in there, I visited David Huff last,prior to that was Tony Hernandez.(I have a back pocket full of names I picked up to remember somewhere on the floor in this house I write to you from). I noticed David Huff when I was coming up the metal stairwell,saw him through the spaces of the rusty steps, he was hanging with a crew of guys. They were bent over and drunkin' crooning on an old piano in the factory's foyer.
His studio was one of many abstractions I ran across this evening. His language handling of it was one of the more pure from the tube seeming, Vibrance throughout, I was reminded of what would happen if one took one of Hockney's swimming pool paintings and swirled it up and stretched it out,slapping remnants about. One piece carried a hint of influence from Maxwell Sebastian,or it seemed to me anyways. Of all the paintings,this one had what looked like a deliberately unfinished feel and possessed figurative elements in a staged environment. Not that this alone is a Sebastian flavor, I simply sensed something. Perhaps it was just me projecting my knowledge of their friendship.
Maxwell Sebastian is one of the more intriguing studios to visit in Mattress Factory...ya know, I'm going to save all I could write on Maxwell for another post. I just decided this. This deserves a post on its own. I have known Maxwell for going on 6,maybe 7 years now-and he has shown me what it means to retain a sense of self, a rawness of feet n flesh to the ground, and still develop artistic skills in both technical and conceptual ways. I know he's been clawing at it,he's stood like an oak through some barebones days. And he's always kept art important throughout. His work does not sugar coat,it celebrates delicate when necessary and skillfully controls a sort of deterioration and crudeness,an honesty that is perfectly ugly. All of this shares space and travels across sometimes massive canvases,resulting in his own abstraction,composed of various solid forms. It seems to be a process of truth revealing itself through culling and patching,both visually on the outside,as well as being in touch with the self. I'm happy to hear Max has changed a number of things about his lifestyle,so as to increase lifespan and the quality of it, I guess! Why would he want to do that?(heh)hmmm.
So i went ahead and wrote a bit about him,okay. Hey-I like his will to be gritty,and how in his work his present environment is sometimes-no-ALWAYS-evident. Portraits of friends,not done to be flattering even remotely, everyday objects become iconic atlanta structures looming over everything. We sense the artist deliberately showing us his hand in the making of them,in various ways...one way being the aforementioned will to show his technical skill for beauty,purposefully set next to elements that have a tendency to seem to some(or so he says)-incomplete. I can personally tell they are not.
Okay, okay....where was I before Maxwell's studio? I did see some body's work who made me wonder what the heck was up with that. It is not often I see someone who shows so much work so conspicuously and so prematurely to the public,rare is the moment that makes me realize that there is not a single aspect to the creative process that I have not managed to develop some sense of self awareness that this artist has yet to attain. That may be a rude thing to declare,but by golly-some stuff I saw was just bad-and i don't mean bad as in,it was ...oh jeez. Here we go on subjectivity. Lookit, somebody showing in Mattress is bad news. I don't even recall their name,and that's good for them.
Hell,to be honest-on another end of the spectrum,I find Tony Hernandez's work to be bad news. The space in his massive studio echoes the space he leaves in his work. It seemed like a tomb in there.Silence had become a machine for the wrist,like a sense of self and safety had long sense consumed his process of manufacturing beautiful work. He knows himself,so that's good,but I was rather bored by what I saw. And have always been kind of bored by them. They reek of a need for a big wall space in a big home,one that some wealthy man gets the help from some ADAC type interior designer's mind-he's hardly ever there to see-because his mind and body are usually elsewhere anyways.But they are art. And all the right accouterments are in place. So bing bing!

I noticed microcosms of the larger microcosm of Atlanta's pockets as I moved through the building. Distinct clothing styles and other surface level stuff. People clinging in their environments,their experience sought,they found what they were looking for. Something different did not find them.and everyone knew their place.Including me, i have to suppose....

I did go to Kibbee Gallery. This time it was for Laura Ann Meyers viewing.Hmmmm.That sounds kind of like a funeral,actually. This was more the opposite. But turned inside out and solidified in the form of various little vignettes and structural installations- from view finders of stop motion fun to red streamers flanking a short stairwell rattling color. And a strange wreath of snowy antique shadowy soft texture-which as it turns out was made of deflated balloons. A happy portion of a tree almost going to the ceiling in the entrance corner. Perhaps a paper mache tree or something of that sort of material. It was a happy tree,tho. even though it had no limbs or leaves as I recall.I think it slightly glittered. The gallery felt like moments of a childhood dream, a child's birthday party-but suddenly mixed with a wedding celebration. There was def. a strange air of southern religion creeping beneath it all. Maybe that's just me,or maybe it was the thin oddly legible lit wiring scrawling the words, "swing low sweet chariots" high on the wall. In another room(Kibbee gallery is a house converted into a gallery,guys-it works very well)-one wall had the will to light up,cover up, utilize the entire wall space to illuminate, with evenly space light bulbs,the number Twenty Five. A gyrating transparent plastic amorphic globular wrapping of black balloons hung from the ceiling,and- as I write this I make some sort of vague connection between birth and death and cell division, bringing me back to the white balloons making the wreath in the other room,lacking air, while this ever spinning giant sack of black bubbles, seemed to have something to say about... age? The number on the wall now speaks to me of an age. I did not read anything about this show, I confess now. So I'm sure I miss its finer points. I did enjoy the little Tootsie roll pop movie. It told a strange little story of sorts. As one peered into a little screen mounted on the wall,it framed its visuals with happy yellow colors of tissue. A loosely recreated version of a tootsie roll pop wrapper sat within its opening on the lip. I liked the reference to the indian shooting his arrow on the wrapper-but in the movie it was given a jittering life,it gave it motion. We got to see the indian's arrow fly. I recall childhood lore,- was it oral tradition how was it passed,but the finding of the indian and his arrow shooting the star all on one wrapper was supposed to be good luck.

I also went to Young Blood to check out the skateboard show. Skateboard decks seemed to be irrelevant in terms of what they were originally used for. In some cases it still seemed like the underside of the ol' powell peralta decor,just cool imagery to scuff up by grinding on concrete angles-but those days are long gone, buddy. It's just a surface to carve up into unrecognizable shapes, something to create with now. I think in some cases it is perhaps a bit too removed. To me,if it's a skateboard,it'd be neat to somehow retain that..i mean..it's a skateboard. Not just any other random piece of board. I think it was Stephanie Dowda that made hers look like a brown bagged alcoholic seeming disguised bottle. Pretty cool,pretty funny. Lots of skill on theses walls,for goodness sake. Many people chose to lean in for some detail. Fantastical imagery often drew the eyes in and around. Some were moody,some were creepy,all had fun. Lots of technical skill illustrated. And a large number of boards to experience,too. It was fun stuff.

What's interestingi s i am realizing just now that I edited out Eyedrum from my walk thru of its open studios...dang it all. Woody Cornwell mostly prevailed,in terms of used space as well as quality.(well there was a guy named Jeff Lange,i think was his name-he had a really fascinating piece with...uuum-ducks in the foreground. But Woody, he's a surprising weirdo.(a darn good writer,too). Some strong abstractions he does, playful and often showing a really great eye for subtlety in color. Really ripping on some Stella and other ab-ex gods,but doing it well and making it somehow really odd sometimes. A hint of a bad dream Don Johnson might have had in the 80's vibrates on some of them. Gooey reverb pulses.Perhaps i will go into more detail about what I saw some other time. Like getting a sneak preview of some of Andy Em's abstract fun.
Gosh. Abstract fun....almost an overload of it, I tell ya
I gotta go now.

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