Sunday, October 27, 2013


Death is the singular, pervasive, equalizing reality for all humanity.  We are no better than any living thing in this respect.  In fact, stones were revered because they "outlive" humans.  Stonehenge exemplifies the reality of human hands that only have their trace in a monument.  We see the monument today, but can only imagine the individuals who put it there.  In the end, we all become phantasms of the mind.

I think about our society as a whole and how it is psychologically crafted around the issue of death.  Everything from beer, to food, to disinfectants and clothes, all of these products they sell us try to convince us somehow we are eternal in this world.  However, all around us we see people dying.  It is no big deal in the end, without death, there would be no life.  But, in the end it is death that brings us all together as one, not life.  In life, everything is separate, can be described and criticized, but in death, no one can take anything with them.  We still don't even know what happens when we die in truth.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown is an artist who shows with Kansas and is associated with artists like Brian Belott and CANADA gallery.  I have been familiar with her work for a long time, but recently had the chance to meet her personally.  I asked her about her use of landscapes and she appreciated that question.  It made me think more formally about painting in particular.  Again, here is an artist fusing multiple dimensions into something that presents itself in a challenging way.  First glimpse might miss the whole reality.  Her work is more than abstract, architectonic, geological, paradoxical, formal, colorful, etc, more than just a pretty picture.  Of course, that is a part of it as well.  However, all of these aspects are elements that form a larger, "Dadaesque", perhaps quantum reality that in my view is inter-dimensional.

Of course an artist like Melissa is concerned with formal elements, like color and space.  She has the education and art knowledge for such things.  However, there is a quirkiness and eccentricity that is not contrived.  Her playful nature comes through and it is refreshing to see.  She seems to always be seeking out some transformative viewpoint, a new lens of consciousness about painting and art.  I know that she has worked with games like the lottery as a high concept, as well as mail art in the vein of Ray Johnson.  This painting, entitled "Grassy Waves" was in the Dadarhea show at CANADA in 2011.  If you are interested in seeing more of her work you can visit her website at‎.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Double D

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kitsch is Now, Probably Dead or Dying

One thing that seems to be prevalent today in fine art is kitsch.  At first, there was some kind of an ironic play rooted in postmodern academicism going back to the 80's (perhaps earlier) and beyond.  Many artists started to turn to kitsch as a conceptual, tongue in cheek, "I know this is kitsch, but I am doing it consciously, therefore it is high art" kind of way.  Now, this is so pervasive, that bad art and kitsch are hallmarks for what seems to be an entire generation.  One look at the art of today and it becomes obvious that being bad is the only way to be "good".

The referencing of kitsch is no longer about popular culture or bad, unconscious art, it is about fine art itself.  There are a multitude of styles and genres being generated, especially in painting and it is all bad in one way or another.  I think we have all become accustomed to this reality and no longer question it.  It connects to most culture today, especially Internet culture, like motherboards and Internet memes, which seem to favor "low-techism" as a pathway to self-expression.  It is an aesthetic of choice, founded upon increasingly tiring notions that progress was bad as a modernist ideal.

Nothing should become too comfortable in art.  Art is and should remain a way of searching out possible new paradigms, shifting consciousness in new directions, offering potential revelations, being aware, but not to the point of redundancy.  Either art, fine art that is, is dying before our eyes, or we are going to have to find something else to draw upon to plant seeds for a new generation to come.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Matt Jones

I'll give this one a go...outer space magnets for magnitudes.  Deep, dark, darky occult musings on the wonder of spatial emptiness.  All of this is tied together with a quiet, but burgeoning rage in the machine.  The matrix hums as paint renders forth the magic of time as space, etc.

Matt Jones is a strong painter with a different take on abstraction.  He is a very talented draughtsman as well.  This painting is an older example of his space paintings.  He also has paintings that incorporate Black Flag iconography.  I think the use of appropriate forms and imagery is absolutely correct today or at least representative of what is happening.  Behind the scenes it feels like an alien is doing the artwork.

Matt might let us in on that one...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Untitled (Head Morph)

Donald Baechler

Last night I was talking with the Master contemporary artist Donald Baechler.  Donald has a studio that works similar to Warhol's factory.  Many of the past and present assistants in his studio are worthy and emerging contemporary artists in the field.  Brian Belott, Lance de Los Reyes, Brendan Cass, Wes Lang and many others are all associated with Donald.  I think this is what makes Donald a continuing vital presence in the contemporary art scene.  Not only is his work tremendously influential, as is seen in the work of someone like Masaki Kawai, whose opening was last night at The Hole gallery at 312 Bowery, he is very physically present in the scene.  This is something that you just don't see with other artists of his generation.  It is clear that Donald cares about what is going on and is a guiding spirit in the background of it all.  In other words, there is an indication that Donald is not smug or comfortable with the fact that he is well established.  Meaning, as an artist he is continuing to stay in touch with current ideas as they relate to his own work.  Very interesting indeed.

The influence he has had on so many contemporary artists is without question and the fact that he continues to make vital work is something all artists should strive for.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Misaki Kawai

Misaki Kawai is a Japanese artist living in New York City.  Her work is done in a naive style.  Perhaps she has a relationship with an artist like Yoshitomo Nara, but her work looks closer to me in many ways to Donald Baechler.  I have seen her work with Donald's at Cheim and Read.

Misaki has traveled extensively and her work is influenced by her travels.  Her work is fun, symbolic and playful.  It reminds you to be a kid again.  Art is not necessarily so serious an endeavor, we make things because crafting ideas is like child's play; innocent, yet rich with imagination.

I particularly like this piece which is more abstract, looks like a star cross or something else.

She has a show coming up at The Hole, Kathy Grayson's gallery this month.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

George Condo

One of my all time favorite artists is George Condo.  When I first moved to New York, I was searching deeply within and without myself.  With heavy graffiti influence, I started to want to moved away from that and fine my own way.  One day, probably in 1998 or 1999, I picked up a magazine with George Condo's "Interchangeable Reality" painting.  From that point on, the odyssey began for me.  I think as artists we all have one or two, but definitely more artists that are sort of like over souls for us.  Whether alive or dead, they represent psychically what we also would like to become.  Influence is a good thing, because it communicates ideas and memes through the ether into a cultural connection forming neologisms.  I finally met George and showed him how the Art card in the Tarot mystically connects to his "Interchangeable Reality" painting.  Interestingly enough, the zodiac sign that rules the art card is Sagittarius and that is George's sun sign.  I gave him one of my alien drawings back then...I hope he still has it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kadar Brock

Abstraction has never left us.  In fact, it is even stronger today.  As a part of some type of post-post conceptual approach to painting, there are painters making interesting abstractions in spite of its regurgitated redundancy.  Mary Heilmann comes to mind, as well as Laura Owens.  It seems there has to be an intention in making this type of space anymore, because quite frankly, it gets boring.  One of those painters is Kadar Brock from the Hole NYC.  Personally, as an artist, I think his art is his name.  He does not even need paintings, because he is his art.  That is a good thing for an artist.  His persona as well is what he seems to encapsulate in these cerebral zones of street like histories.  The surfaces of these particular paintings are reminiscent of the city walls covered over with detritus and graffiti, and then worn away.  Although a lot of craft goes into these pictures I am sure, they seem to tell of story of self production.  It is as if they happened over a long period of time due to weather or other outside forces, non-human forces.  

Kadar does other abstractions as well that use letters or look similar to late Frank Stella or even Trudy Benson.