Friday, September 18, 2009

Habits of highly un-effective people

A very nice conceptual piece by Eric Yahnker entitled "American Socrates," a work of personal several hundred pages the artist transcribes the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" with his foot...a journey that is both absurd and overwhelming.

The physical manifestation of the work is clean and simple...the blue pen marks are not contained, bleeding to the edges of the picture plane...stacked neatly on a white pedestal, the work visually exhibits the scope of energy required the complete the piece...underlying is the irony of this highly ineffective method of working in contrast to the theme of the essence, ending the chain of communication by making the message illegible and mute.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fire, smoke and nightmares

A play on perspective and strong angles, this work by Luis Alonzo-Barkigia has touches of the collective fear we (Americans) faced in the wake of 9/11/ ground level the explosions, fire and smoke begins to consume the picture plane...visually spread out across the picture plane, we group these puffy elements...

The clever interplay between background/foreground, developed and underdeveloped spaces make this piece an interesting exploration in creative visual problem solving...the tops of the structures all lead down to the epicenter of the conflict, where flames and smoke are flowing from the Empire state building...the point at which the nightmares originate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Negative space oddity

I appreciate how Nancy Chan uses negative space...sometimes it appears to be an obsession...But can you really obsess over an absence? Some deconstructionist philosophers would say, most definitely YES! What I like about this specific work is how the negative space enhances the mood of the juts up in between the hand in a "V" shape and obliterates the lower part of the face, jaw and chin...
She is also effective in distributing values and personalizing marks...these works have an emotional quality, lonely and sometimes playful...a casual relationship with the viewer...a dialogue needing closure...but isn't that what keeps us interested? Who should speak next and with what orifice?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Art of the Insanity

While in Graduate School, my downstairs neighbor came up to my apartment one afternoon and knocked softly on my door...I barely heard the tapping, but I went to the door to make sure I hadn't just heard noises...viewing through the peephole I saw a demure woman holding papers in her hand...I opened the door and said, "hello, can I help you?" She said she had heard I was an Artist and wanted me to take a look at her was the most obsessive and controlled work I had ever seen. They were incredibly intricate, tight, with small shapes drawn over and over and over and over...I found out later she had just been released from a mental hospital...

The work of Adolf Wolfli feels like those obsessive drawings of my neighbor, but with a darker bent and with a more sophisticated handling of symbols and form. The thing that separates the art of the insane from the insane artist is an awareness of visual language...His managing of the space goes beyond the uncontrollable, repetitive mark making of the compulsive...they way he constructs the space and shows depth and central figures, his placement of the symbols and their arrangement is pattern like and decorative, yet there is something sinister and off about the imagery and faces...the dark circles under their eyes...not smiling, but not frowning...they are bandits who have stolen Adolf's free will...tormenting him and forcing him to do the unspeakable...his crimes are documented and not pretty...I won't discuss them here, but they are easy enough to find...His art lives on and on and on...

Monday, September 14, 2009

They stole more than the guys shoes!

I appreciate artists who can be whimsical, both in their concept and in the materials they choose...this sculptural work by Don Porcella has both of those qualities...a severed foot made of pipe cleaners is both humorous and tragic...dripping with blood, is this some boy who has had more than just his shoe stolen? Or could it be a tragic accident?

The traditional craft materials, disarms the viewer and makes us go back to a time when we were young...playing carefree...artists can play on those original feelings...take the good emotional context and stretch out the possibilities that can occur in those spaces...force the viewer to confront a different outcome, darker places...the tactical quality and the red on red is also exciting visually, another attempt to attract us and pull us into a world we would rather not confront.