I've been really digging on West LA artist David Jien's work. Erratic Phenomena has a huge interview with him, and a good sampling of his work. His work resembles a cross between video game-like isometric perspective, graffiti and classic Chinese painting.
I'm really digging on his use of color and the flatness of the images in the context of the perspective. There's a self-limitation there that is comparable to chiptune artists and creators of overtly retro video games.
There's an obsessiveness to the hyper-compact detail that is really brought out by the use of pencil. It almost reminds me of Wolfli, but representational and not, well, crazy.
Every moving-image format has its own way of imparting itself onto the film it used to display. For instance, film has an evident grain, digital video can have compression artifacts. Due to the way magnetic tape displays video, it doesn't naturally freeze to a single image, like pausing a DVD or freezing onto a single film frame. Rather, it shows a blurry, interlaced moment (of course, if you want to be pedantic, it is possible to have a high-quality VCR that can freeze individual frames, but this isn't the general experience of watching a video tape.) Andy Denzler paints these moments.
Couple Sharing Bed
There's an intimacy to these paintings that otherwise wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the distortion of the video tape. These aren't moments from a film, but private ones, from private tapes, never meant to be seen by others not due to the content, but because they wouldn't be of any use to an outsider. They're like a brief window into someone else's life: a peek through the window into someone else's moments.
In to the Blackwoods II
Also, there is an air of purpose around them all. Why were these moments recorded? The fact that they were, in the fiction of the painting, implies a narrative. The framing of them as moments from a VHS tape means they are part of a larger span of time, a number of moments of which -- I am not 100% on how video tape works, despite reading up on it -- are seen here in a single painting.
In 1945, Salvador Dali began a project with Disney that, mainly due to a lack of interest on Disney's behalf, would not be completed until 2003. Titled Destino, it's quite literally a romp through Dali's style and imagery with all of Disney's fluidity and grace.
Japanese arts and science blog Pink Tentacle recently featured "Searching for Paradise," the latest project of painter Shuichi Nakano His site is in Japanese, but here is a translated version which, honestly, creates more questions than it answers. All the paintings feature enormous animals interacting with the Japanese cityscape. Most are relegated to the background in a two-dimensional manner that draws attention to the juxtaposition of the scales; these are not Godzilla-style giant animals running amok, rather there is something wrong with their scaling. Or, perhaps, the wrong-ness lays with the city. Anyhow, my favorite of the paintings is entitled "Chill at 5:25":
EDIT: The artist has let me know that his new English site is up and running.
Co. Pink Tentacle
There's something so ominous about the framing, about the complete disregard of these fish for the city below them. I love it.
I love the idea of consumer entertainment technology being biological, rather than the played out half-man half-machine military uses. There are definite shades of Cronenberg ca. eXistenZ.
So the public schools are out, the city's been hit by an unreasonable heatwave -- they're all unreasonable to me, but this is the first time I've ridden the train shirtless -- and I saw fireworks and visited the beach. Well, Water Taxi Beach, at least: a giant, fence-enclosed sandbox and bar-studded sandbox on a pier in Queens. A friend of mine referred to it as a "hipster terrarium." . It was an enjoyable day; there were DJs, a couple of bands, the correct amount of portojohns (lots) and the food stalls took credit cards. Most importantly, my girlfriend (and this week's Gizmodo illustrator) was participating in a live art show, which was a blast to watch and document. I believe the only rule was the single hour allowed for the session:
Also, thanks to all these factors, I finally picked a summer song. Now, a summer song has to have a number of requirements for me. It's gotta be noisy, full of distorted vocals and overdriven guitars. It can't be too fast because during the summer I am not in the mood to be hurried. Finally, it has to have absolutely no emotional value in it whatsoever. Naturally, I went with Wavves:
It was around seventeen that my friends and I developed drinking as a hobby. My character being what it is was, I also decided to talk about drinking with everyone I knew. Incessantly. One of these people was Josh, who had somewhat-recently returned from Australia. It was there that he had encountered the comedy musical group Doug Anthony All Stars. Josh introduced me to “Broad Lic Nic,” a drinking song done as a rough pastiche of the Proclaimers. I promptly memorized the lyrics and ended up singing it every time I got a good bit of liquor in me. I'm not sure what it was that reminded me of it today, but listening to it I realized that I still remember all the lyrics. And all I can think is, sweet god, I must have been annoying as all get-out, wandering down a deserted Brooklyn street at 3 AM, belting the fucker out. Enjoy!
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In other news, awesome comics artist and all-around great gal Nikki Cook is having a big ole art sale, all originals. She's also taking commissions, so if you've always wanted a piece of, say, Big Barda a rollerderby girl or Thor, Loki and Beta Ray Bill as a black metal band, now is your chance.
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This weekend was the 2010 Armory Show – a large exposition of contemporary art, most of which was painted/photographed/constructed in 2009 and 2010. Sadly, it paled in comparison to last year's. Compared to the dynamic neon pop-art paintings and visceral,organic sculptures of 2009, 2010 seemed safer and less willing to cross that line into “what the hell is that?” That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. As I had the foresight to bring a notepad and camera this year, I now have a small Flickr album devoted to my favorite pieces. Here's a few selections from those selections:
Gormley's best known work is probably England's towering “Angel of the North”. At roughly six feet, “Sublimate XXX” is a tenth of the Angel's scale. The figure is composed of brushed steel and arranged so that the individual blocks seem to hover in midair. It is both imposing in the natural, industrial strength of composition while decaying in a manner suited to the digital world. There's a certain resemblance to a JPEG suffering from over-compression and littered with artifacts. Nothing is recognizable but the very essence of the figure, adding a certain inhuman dread to a distinctly human form.
This painting, with its grand scale caught by eye by way of the visual allusion to the space station design in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The little individuals on the bottom – lab coated scientists/engineers – are all either gawking at or cheering their invention. The scaffolding lines, abstracted into two dimensions, lend a vague occultist feeling to the enormous phallic object. In fact, the perspective of the entire painting struggles to retain itself in the medium. The hubris of the title is not just the object represented, but our endless attempts toward a perfect representation.
This work is by far my favorite of the entire exhibition, although I'm not really sure why. The quote on the bottom reads “Because there is no escape from what does not exist” - a conflictingly hopeful and damning sentiment reflected in the rest of the painting. Everything shown is in visual conflict with itself and with the other elements of the painting. One of the two figures is facing the wrong way, although the girl's withdrawn resolution makes it as though the escalator is descending. It is descending as she faces upward, gaze fixed and illuminated, her face both ready and resigned. She is early adolescent, boyish and yet there is an unmistakable curve of developing breasts. Her posture is grossly unnatural, entranced and yet relaxed with weight tilted onto her left side. Every aspect of the painting speaks of conflict, but the conflict is in the details and the overall feel of the work is a calmness. There is no escape from the clash of parts because they render an untroubled whole.
Today, take a quick tour of the Technology Wing of the War on Artistic Constraints Memorial Museum
Roy Lichtenstein wields the nigh-unstoppable Image Duplicator...
...while the Dead Boys pack the mighty Sonic Reducer.
When I'm rushing on my run
Velvet Underground - Heroin (Demo)
And I feel just like Jesus' son
And I guess that I just don't know
Angry Youth Comix #2, Johnny Ryan