San Francisco and San Antonio don’t share too many traits other than their benevolent monikers. Eric Taylor arrived onto the local scene with a subdued and observant manner, something atypical in the art hipsterville of the Bay Area. This new Texan seems to find lots of work for idle hands in the form of repetitive rectangles and clusters of lively algorithms. His latest artistic endeavors are on exhibit at Joan Grona Gallery through the end of the month.
Taylor’s drawings belie another side to his oil paintings on wooden panels. In one medium (oil paintings on wooden boxes), he embraces ambiguity by displaying amorphous shapes in layered compositions. In another medium [paint pens/drawings], he creates vibrant, fantastic yet systematic scenes in concentrated drawings compromised of quarter-inch rectangles. To paraphrase the artist, the small, loose grid drawings give the work “the illusion of clarity” found in analog devices and typewritten missives.
Joan Grona Gallery perfectly suits this show for its voluminous exhibition space and proclivity towards the unconventional. Go see this show!
On the news of Kurt Vonnegut’s passing, a friend sent me this passage from , which I think is appropriate for the occasion:
“Bill,” he said, “I like you so much, and I am such a big shot in the Universe, that I will make your three biggest wishes come true.” He opened the door of the cage, something Bill couldn’t have done in a thousand years.
Bill flew over to a windowsill. He put his little shoulder against the glass. There was just one layer of glass between Bill and the great out-of-doors. Although Trout was in the storm window business, he had no storm windows on his own abode.
“Your second wish is about to come true,” said Trout, and he again did something which Bill could never have done. He opened the window. But the opening of he window was such an alarming business to the parakeet that he flew back to his cage and hopped inside.
Trout closed the door of the cage and latched it. “That’s the most intelligent use of three wishes I have ever heard of,” he told the bird. “You made sure you’ll still have something worth wishing for — to get out of the cage.”
So it goes.
Just a quick note to point out two Flickr accounts with some photos of note: our own Justin Parr has been going on a Flickr binge, posting everything from Barcelona street art to Tacoland’s final moments.
These accounts will be worth keeping an eye on…
Right now I don’t have a lot to say about this, but following up on my previous posts, I wanted to point you to some further reading:
First, let’s get Artpace out of the way. As the local contemporary art biscuit factory navigates through firing, hiring, and renaming of employees, it’s obvious you won’t be seeing any new catalogs in the near future. A little bird tells Emvergeoning that Kate Green will be leaving the drudgery of Artpace, though no official word confirms whether its of her own volition. Either way, we know she’s bound for better things. In other end of the road news, looks like The Donkey Show, a home/gallery space in Austin, finally bit the dust. No word on what fellow Bard-educated curator R. Puleo has lined up but it’s likely she will go work for Art Palace.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at Ye Olde Blue Star Contemporary Art Center. The local institution seems to be treading new waters to distance itself from a dismal Salma Hayek portraiture show and depressed local interest. A new, cleverly designed membership newsletter offers an earnest effort to steer the ship back into the warm waters of Contemporary Art. This month’s “Monumental Drawing” show managed to coax that fickle New Yorker art crowd into the city limits. Still, artists like Annabel Daou were absolutely inarticulate and disdainfully evasive when asked to expound upon her selected works and her affiliation to the DB Foundation. Ms. Daou seemed preoccupied with talking about her stilletto heels. [Insert ennui induced eye roll here]. Her drawing titled, “A minor gesture” involved scribbles on paper that stretched the world of cursive text into lunging, schizophrenic territories. Nice. I’ve posted a better drawing from one of her earlier shows for this article, since there aren’t any press photos on the Blue Star website. Creighton Michael created one of the larger and yet serenely subtle “drawings” with shadows of white paint-coated clips of disconnected twine and metal. It reminded me of Gego’s Dibujos Sin Papel.
In other neighborhood news, this is your last chance to see Hana Hillerova’s lovely thought-forming mirror sculpture at Sala Diaz. And don’t forget, this weekend is the fireworks-illuminated grand opening of the Museo Alameda Smithsonian. Somebody needs to buy Raygun & Andy Benavides some top dollar, imported beer…
Though the musical element suggests some strange, Novocaine soaked landscapes, the puppetry evokes Hans Bellmer and Bjork.
When we meet we know the weeping witness, the wailing waters, the countless victims. They set off in rafts and arrived in bones, behind the veil. Into the blankness our bouquet spilleth. A pleasant day to awaken in the midnight desert (a trickle first, then a river). The kiss of fear warms the wounds of the fearful, welcoming homeward the sibyl of the light drizzle, the thunderous bloom of belief. Approach the watcher with caution. When we meet, we know, on this day (a sea of fire and a shower of blood), the cliff of enduring hope.
[This is a found poem composed of titles of cut paper works by Michael Velliquette. Some of his work is showing at Unit B through Friday, May 4. The image above is The Great Protector (detail).]
Rachel Cook & Leona Scull Hons have been busy little honeybees this year, and the ripe crop of artists currently on exhibit in the massive Wichita Falls Museum of Art doesn’t disappoint. The humble museum in Wichita Falls, just an hour north of Ft. Worth, houses at least 5 gallery spaces and an amazing planetarium. In many ways, this group show featured a better overview of Texas-based artists than the Biennial. In addition, it gave them ample space to branch out into site specific installations. A good example is Justin Goldwater from Austin. Though known for his drawings, he adroitly rendered his playful and anonymous characters in the 3rd dimension. Here’s an installation shot from “Every party I ever missed.” The cups were all nice little plaster surprises.
I had the honor of being placed alongside the soft-underbellied work of Miss Helen Altman as well as the fuzzy, wild things of Daniel Fabian…this little kindling fire also had a nice white paper circle confetti mechanism installed into the ceiling tiles.
This is an installation view from “Harrows, Sparrow, Sorrows,” based on an Emily Dickinson poem about death, carriages and horse heads.
Here’s a picture of Mimi Kato inside a giant, ape-hand costume sewn by the elusive Celia Eberle. She was really hittin’ the sauce that night.That’s Mr. Goldwater and his Chinese Star in the background watching Mimi’s minimal video installation.
One last picture, here’s a lesser known, autodidactic artist named Jorge Lopez.
Before I get into the actual events coming this Friday, let me just say that Blue Star really needs to rethink their web site. I gave Artpace a hard time about their site going down a little while back, but when it comes down to it, they have an organized, useful, up-to-date site. The first thing you see when visiting Blue Star’s site is a bunch of images for shows that closed three weeks ago. And the shows that are opening tomorrow? No information on the front page, nothing more than titles and dates on the Exhibitions page (and not even for all the shows!), and some brief descriptions on the Events page. Add to that the fact that they inexplicably changed the domain name a little while back, breaking everyone’s bookmarks, and the Blue Star Complex site still hasn’t updated the link. Now that I’ve got that little rant out of the way…
I’m actually excited about First Friday this time around (and remember, for those of you who have trouble with crowds, on the Thursday before First Friday most galleries in the Blue Star complex have soft openings which are much mellower). Blue Star itself will be exhibiting a drawing show curated by Barbara MacAdam, deputy editor of ARTnews; a video series curated by Eric Michaud (who recently did a performance / installation at Unit B); and an interactive drawing exhibit by Katie Pell (who was a recent resident at Artpace). Barbara MacAdam writes about the Monumental Drawings show:
“While the theme of this show, monumental drawings, is a loose one, it is intended to focus on the questions of if, how much, and when size matters in artists’conceptions of their work and in viewers’ perceptions. The eight artists in the exhibition—Mike Bidlo, Annabel Daou, Nancy Haynes, Ryan McGinness, Creighton Michael, David Rabinowitch, David Remfry, Daniel Zeller—have all worked in different scales, the monumental only on occasion, and their styles, working methods, materials, and subject matter (where applicable) vary widely.”
And more details on Eric Michaud’s video series:
The singer sucks, but the band… finding the good in an otherwise dismal world is a screening that puts forth a strong showing of video art ranging from the 70’s to the present. Curated by Eric Michaud, the program showcases different types of video. There is no theme or conceptual categorization; this show wants only to be defined as a celebration of the video medium.
Potter-Belmar Labs will be taking over Three Walls for their first San Antonio gallery show since the Salon Mijangos performance back in August. This show is called The Three Aethers at the Center of the Sphere, and if that doesn’t pique your interest, maybe you’re reading the wrong blog.
Other shows in the area include Ian O’Brien at Cactus Bra, and Eric Taylor and Hildegarde Slaughter at Joan Grona. Down the street, Gary Sweeney unveils new work at Unit B (and be sure to check out Paperworks at Unit B if you missed the opening!).
All in all, it’s shaping up to be a good weekend for art in San Antonio. I’m gonna see how quickly I can work through it all and race up to Austin to catch the William Parker show.
A group of satisfied Bike Gangers looks on at the renegade video projection stumbled on in “Tacoland Park,” this last Saturday Night. The Bike gang stopped by the SWC Club, Tacoland Park, The Cherry street Bridge, Brackenridge Golf Course, Pine Street stretch, above Sunken Gardens, Ghost Train Field, and La Tuna to name a few. (some of these place names are local lore and quite unofficial) . A collection of photos outlining the entire evening in its entirety can be found here.
Shouting at an oncoming train on the Cherry Street Bridge
Legend has it that when the moon is jussssst right you can still see the trains turning on imaginary tracks out here, emptying herds to slaughter at the union stockyards.
If you were one of the many who took part, Thank you!
Justin Parr took some cell phone video of Chris Kubick & Anne Walsh’s recent performance at UTSA, A Thousand Years of Sound Effects (below). It was a three-part performance, with each part focusing on a specific kind of sound effect. In all three parts, the performance was an interaction between the artists and a SuperCollider program designed to play sound effects in response to input parameters, with a certain amount of randomness thrown in. The first part, which was performed by Kubick alone, involved less physical performance than the others. This piece was a collection of bell sound effects, which were played as Kubick interacted with the program through the keyboard and other inputs. For the next piece, Kubick and Walsh both interacted with the computer by stepping on pressure sensitive inputs placed on the floor. The sounds used in this performance were of horses galloping or walking. The final piece used sound effects of people clapping, and the artists interacted with the computer by clapping into a microphone (you can watch a segment of this piece below).
The program also generated video to accompany the sounds. For most of the performance, the program displayed the name of the audio file(s) being played, giving a glimpse into the strange world of sound effect naming conventions. Many of the effects had titles such as “Fairy Belching” or “Claps of old powerful men, white.” Sometimes the titles referred to the location of the recording, other times to more abstract characteristics. The interaction between these sounds, which have no context and therefore a wide variety of potential meanings, and their titles, which at times provided absurdly specific cultural contexts, was of particular interest to the artists. During the horse performance, some images of horses were displayed rather than the titles of the sound effects. The images were fairly crude and had a sort of clip-arty feel.
The performance was rough, and the artists are clearly just beginning to explore the potential of this concept (in fact, this was the first time that the pieces have been performed in public). The work does, however, have a lot of potential, and it will be interesting to see how they develop these performances in the future.