Desert + Coast, Smog

I can say with pride that I helped install an exhibition at a gallery. Why can I say that with pride? Because, for the first time ever, I was emboldened to intellectually engage with the work I was hanging. Why was I emboldened? Because the context of the work says it is your duty to not only understand the work, but to share the knowledge you have gained…

Me with giant painting by Sally Gabori that I helped stretch

Here is the exhibition accompaniment essay, Desert + Coast: Seven Elder Aboriginal Painters, by Shanysa McConville. The artists paint Country, or their homeland, through memory- because it no longer exists. They paint watery abstractions of traditional ways of knowing-like when the bloom of a certain flower signals the spawning of fish, or topographical renderings of the desert and the colors that change it from day to night. It’s important they maintain these memories and knowledge, to educate others but most importantly for themselves and their younger kin.

John Baldessari, Buildings=Guns=People: Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog) (1985) at The Broad, LA

And then we went to LA for a week. Good God what an inspiring place. The Broad especially is a FREE museum downtown! Their first floor exhibition Desire, Knowledge and Hope (with Smog) includes work that “reveal a gap between the allure and the reality of life in the city (LA), where a sense of phantasmagoric projection contrasts against much harder, concrete realities.” This is the root of my studio practice, with the allure being the seaside tourist industry’s beach life facade.

The French poster for John Water’s Desperate Living

We visited the Academy Museum for the John Water’s exhibit which felt like coming home. I also enjoyed the storyboards for The Birds, and the letters Hitchcock sent about how good the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is…it’s … a HIT!!

Storyboard for The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock

Back in New York, I’ve been going to a lot of galleries to look at contemporary painters. Honestly I’m super pumped. So many women and non-binary artists on the scene right now. Something I observe, respect, but can’t bring myself to do is have a finished work look, unfinished, if you know what I mean? That the nature of the work is in itself in a sketch-like state. It takes great confidence, skill, experimentation, preparation and planning. Yet for the life of me, it’s like I’d have to break my brain to be able to do that. It’s so ingrained in me that a finished painting should “impress” someone. It’s as if I experienced gratification in 9th grade from people saying “ahh that looks real” that I haven’t yet shaken off. Because I know that’s like 1/100th of the recipe for good art. I like the world I create in my painting though. And here are some others I’ve appreciated lately:

Cathleen Clarke at Margot Samel Gallery

Cathleen Clarke’s body of work The Night Grows Long is inspired by childhood literature during the industrial revolution, surrealist films with childhood iconography that signify what our childhood is before our actual memories do. Her technique of solid yellow, red or green ground with black negative space makes the canvas look like a glowing 16mm film projection- in motion!

Anna Ortiz at Deanna Evans Project

I am entranced by these imagined landscapes that exist in the realm between life and death by Mexican-American Artist Anna Ortiz. Her limited color palette create an unknown time of day- dusk, night, or eclipse like lighting? She covers her oil paintings in a matte medium to take away any glossiness so that the paintings are further muted into ambiguity.

Grace Carney at P.P.O.W.

Perhaps most enchanting of all, these abstracted larger-than-life figures by Grace Carney. I mean… HOW. I hope whoever buys this piece doesn’t keep it in storage. She got her MFA at The New York Studio School, where I took a figure painting class last Fall.

I am very sleepy now.

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