Contemporaneous Extension


Puddle Jumping

The last week has been RIPE with inspiration and new faces. Amid feeling a bit misguided, talking through both practice and past has enlivened my spirits. I’ve decided to focus my writing a bit. Although it’s quite unwise to be a specialist at this point, there are a few things I’m going to pinpoint. For all of your merciless sifting through the interweb, I’m hoping my passion for emerging artists, collage, process, Czech art, and photography ring clear.

I had a studio visit with stencil artist, Thomas Witte. I discovered Thomas toward the end of 2010 when i checked into GutBox, a collective that he participates in. He very graciously invited me to his work space at the Brooklyn Navy Yards and showed me a great deal of work. What I find particularly special about Thomas are his homemade stencils, uniquely carved out with an X-ACTO knife per his own decisions about light, shadow, and color. Traditionally, Photoshop assists in delineating where cuts should be made based upon consistent degrees of light and shadow. Thomas also works on a variety of surfaces that peek through his work and provide supplementary texture. Iced glass has been a recent favorite of his. Chicken-wire glass made a significant appearance per its availability in the Navy Yard. Currently, he’s looking into utilizing a rad piece of rusted steel and other disposed treasures. His prime concern is Americana: think used car lots, ‘cawfee tawk’ over milkshakes, and the nuclear family. He’s sourced the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Navy Yards for their archives of slides from the 60’s and 70’s, and also utilizes shots from his grandfather’s stash of family photos. The varying levels of construction in his work are what draw the most out of it for me. His technique takes stencils out of the assumed urban, quick-working context. He is meticulous, detailed, and working through a completely different subject matter. The moments he chooses are minuscule. It is impossible to decipher relations, yet these little moments combine to vilify or exalt one’s existence. One’s mind-frame is a testament to the absorption or reflection of components from life’s journey; Thomas raises awareness of the various ways these clues can be reworked to construct entirely foreign stories once the individual has evaporated.

 

 

 

 

 

The first of two excellent openings this week: Luceo photo collective at 25CPW. Pulling photos from six talented photographers located all over the nation, Brian Paul Clamp from ClampArt curated a striking show; not a summation but rather a showing of the most moving pieces from their most recent work. Most of the photographs came from Luceo’s communal mission to document the changes in rural America, the America everyone assumes they know. Prior to the show’s opening, Bess Greenberg of 25CPW organized a panel on the future of photography. Some very informed voiced joined the conversation: in addition to Bess and Brian, Jim Estrin of the New York Times’ LENS blog and Paul Moakley of TIME Magazine. Although the discussion revolved mostly around popping any fantasy of  photography’s fame and fortune, I think it provided many words of encouragement to those ready to challenge the medium and their reasons for pursuing it. There was talk of business practice (specification vs. versatility, distribution, the interweb’s inflammation of photography), but I think one of the most important points to surface was the emphasis on storytelling. Photographers are no longer just illustrators, transferring the world onto a tangible piece of film so the information can be shared. There is enough access to photographs that tell us what’s what and prove that certain places and people exist. Like a composer, the photographer is responsible for pace, vibe/atmosphere, and prioritization of certain passages over others. We yearn for their eyes for a reason. Estrin even noted that ideas are a particular type of currency now. Paul touched on photography books as a great source for emerging artists to get their work out there and assign value. With so much media and photography readily available, finding the value in one’s work is a legitimate challenge. Two pieces of lasting advice to photographers (and really everyone) from this panel: FOCUS, and take your time. Toward the end of the panel, there was talk of a subsequent discussion of photojournalism vs. art…I’M IN.

 

 

 

 

Second stop: FusionArts Museum in the Lower East Side. I met with Shalom Neuman, the founder of the space, earlier this week. We discussed Prague and his new endeavor, IF (International Fusion Museum) in Malesov just outside of Prague, at length. A converted 11th century basilica he purchased is in the process of being converted into a space that he compared to the Socrates Sculpture Center. The location will ideally provide residencies for artists in New York working through the Fusion arts in addition to exhibitions and permanent sculpture. Fusion art combines two or more of the senses into one piece of art, and Shalom has been creating work as such since the late 1960’s. Although we both agree that Prague is a bit more ideal for emerging/broke artist type at this point, the show’s opening last night showed that the Empire State is still in the multi-disciplinary state of mind.

 

Jerry Pagane, 'Self Portrait'

Jerry Pagane, 'Self Portrait'

Phil Rostek, 'San Damiano'

Phil Rostek, 'San Damiano'

Phil Rostek, 'The Flock From Above'

Phil Rostek, 'The Flock From Above'

Orange, 'Untitled'

Orange, 'Untitled'

Varda Rotem, 'Behind the Brightness'

Varda Rotem, 'Behind the Brightness'

Ismael Cosme, 'Urban Cowboy'

Ismael Cosme, 'Urban Cowboy'

Raken Leaves, 'Carol C'

Raken Leaves, 'Carol C'

Jongwang Lee, 'Untitled'

Jongwang Lee, 'Untitled'

 

 

 

 

The week culminated in a meeting with Rich from ArtStar, not only the title of a sick Yeah Yeah Yeah’s song but a wonderfully affordable collector’s tool. ArtStar provides limited edition prints in varying sizes for $450 or less (framing is an option). They have an expanding roster of artists, consisting of photographers and illustrators for the most part, from all over the world. In addition to the editions (usually 50 or so made), there are originals from the artists that are up for grabs at varying prices. With several curators tunneling artists into the mainframe, the selection is mind-blowing and concentrated. The collection of Chinese masters, emerging Brooklyn artists, and mid-career international artists are enticing. The website also curates exhibitions in the online format. Cleopatra‘s holds the reigns for the first show, ‘No Vacancy,’ which cleverly plays on the in-between space of the internet in conjunction with viewing art. Each artist in the collection also has a really well-maintained profile page where collectors can look into studio practice via video, check out exhibits they may have recently shown in, or see new work.

 

Eric Benson, 'After Dark'

Eric Benson, 'After Dark'

Gao Feng, 'Capture of a General'

Gao Feng, 'Capture of a General'

Richard Yumang, 'New York, NY 2009'

Richard Yumang, 'New York, NY 2009'

Katherine Newbegin, 'Chhabigha Cinema I'

Katherine Newbegin, 'Chhabigha Cinema I'

Advertisements

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Thanks so much for the nice post. I just cam across it. Look forward to catching up again soon. cheers

Comment by Rich




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: