Jun 27, 2008

joshua davis: first serigraphic edition

on sunday night, i got called over to the dynamic abstraction dinner table and we decided that the man himself would make a large-ish pattern that we would silkscreen. i couldn't find any soft woods to make the frame out of, so i used up some of my stash of ash and made a large walnut-splined frame. we finished the frame, dried down the emulsion, and got the final art on tuesday, made the negative and exposed the screen yesterday morning (the lines were numerous and fine, and required some heavy q-tip action). we were going to print on thursday evening, but we also got invited to the home of a pair of art collectors in aspen and got to see, among many other things, a 1970s oldenburg (a green-washed print of soft drums), a very early rauschenberg, several peter voulkos pieces, a frankenthaler, a mehretu, two original eames chairs, and an eliasson photograph. there was also a great architectural drawing by nicola lopez.

claes oldenburg, soft drums, 1972

nicola lopez, coriolis effect, 2008

we left the hoffman's early to get back and print. the stack of shirts outside the digital media lab started at 15 and then grew as people walked by and decided to run off and find shirts or take off the ones they were wearing. by the end of it, we were printing on printmaking paper and kraft paper too and we must have made over 50 screens by hand. it was neat. and i discovered later that this was the first silkscreen he'd ever done, so i now have a signed 2/20 print edition and an A/P secreted away in the studio. this is the art. more pictures of the screening are on the way.

Jun 22, 2008

robert berlind

tonight, lectures from joshua davis, robert berlind (represented by tibor de nagy) and christian burchard. berlind's work is generally classified as landscape; he showed a series of recent large works made from paintings done on site. he stopped at a slide of a painting of a river in full flood to distinguish between realism in painting that attempts to represent what is seen and realism that attempts to represent what is: a photograph of a moving river captures a frozen moment in the river's motion, thus not the motion of the river itself. this is similar to the ability good schematic drawings sometimes have to convey more salient information about the subject than photographs do.* this is the best slide, a pier reflected in dark water on a windy day filled with blowing autumn leaves.

harbor, 1997-1999

* famously espoused by mfk fisher and applied to the illustrations in japanese cooking: a simple art. ask me about it sometime.

on personality

Even my friends began to seem to me marvelous. People's being themselves, year after year, so powerfully and so obliviously -- what was it? Why was it so appealing? Personality, like beauty, was a mystery; like beauty, it was useless. These useless things were not, however, flourishes and embellishments to our life here, but that life's center; they were its truest note, the heart of its form, which drew back our thoughts repeatedly.

from annie dillard's an american childhood

Jun 21, 2008

more new stuff

the slide from the grew-sheridan studio late-nite photo session in may with joe schopplein finally arrived, so new photos are up on my slowly-growing portfolio site:

  1. we want you to focus is a work chair with a wood spring that pushes the backrest gently into the small of your back. the seat is hawaiian koa with some really beautiful figure in it; john had a few boards left from the 1970s and he gave me one. the backrest is a piece of shaped black walnut connected to the laminated, curved oak backpost with a double sliding bevel.
  2. famous among the barns is what happened to the piece of white oak that jini and jess brought back from san diego. i turned it green many months ago, watched it warp out of shape as it dried, then brought it to colorado where it warped even more. the inside is milk paint, the colour i imagine dylan thomas had in mind when he wrote fern hill.
  3. a box for holding contentment has no bottom and irregular dovetail construction -- the dovetails are cut in cherry boards milled to a taper (you can see this in the detail shots) and their size and placement vary on all four sides. the shaped ash lid, when closed, casts a shadow that hides the bottomlessness of the box; it is shaped out of a solid plank almost an inch thick and so is more massive than it looks and has some wild grain on the underside. it was diverting to build this and confound the trained furnituremakers passing through the shop with its sheer impracticality, so this may be the first in a series of boxes for holding intangible things.

Jun 18, 2008

noon on the kamogawa (reinterpreted)

the combination of time, space, and image has been occupying me of late.

noon on the kamogawa (2004), newly improved with fresh geometry (2008)

Jun 13, 2008

from the land of casual elegance

having all-hours access to a fully-equipped studio and machine shop is the closest thing to perfect. in between working on stuff, i'm working on Stuff. this is a pair of not-yet-finished round-bottomed bowls that don't yet have names, turned green out of silver maple. 

and here is a box for holding contentment. the case is made of irregularly dovetailed cherry and the lid of shaped flatsawn ash, painted with casein-based paints, carved, then finished with a danish-style penetrating oil.

Jun 12, 2008

rob amesbury

i went to a presentation of work a few days ago by rob amesbury, who's at the ranch teaching a workshop on fine detail gouache painting. much of what he showed referenced 16th-century dutch painting styles -- allegory, concentrated composition, assemblage, etc -- but applied to modern objects. bottles of clorox, hello kitty, and cans of bud light float through his paintings, which are full of saturated color. this does not normally appeal, but i find myself strangely drawn to them. at breakfast the next morning, i also found out that he'd taken a bunch of stilgoe classes including an early version of the fabled fantasy seminar (now known as Adventure and Fantasy Simulation, 1871 to 2036), which surprises me not at all.

big fish devour little fish


Jun 1, 2008

the future of ice

aspen has a remarkable circulating library for a town of 6,000 permanent residents. i took out madeleine l'engle's a circle of quiet, the first in a trilogy of autobiographical books in which she reflects on her writing life. i also picked up gretel ehrlich's the future of ice, which is a prolonged meditation on physical and psychological landscapes of cold. though it gets irritatingly handwavy at times, the writing is good and the subject matter at least reminds me constantly of barry lopez's arctic dreams and bruce chatwin's the songlines. her descriptions of how landscape and weather are intertwined are particularly beautiful:

The Selk'nam had four skies. Each was thought to be invisible and infinite, constituting a whole cordillera. Where they lived was a place of mountains, and they conceived of sky, ocean, and weather as being mountains as well. The north sky was black, associated with rain, the sea, and the whale. The west was red, made of wind and sun. The east was only a boiling ocean, and the south was pure white because that's where the snow came from, and the moon and the owl. These most southerly cultures in the world had winter weather threaded all through them. When asked about who her parents were, one Selk'nam woman said:"I am snow, my mother was wind, my father, rain."