Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel?

I think that the brutal dictatorship of the Castro brothers is beginning to show the secondary signs of the end of their world as they know it.

Cuba's Roman Catholic cardinal says the country is in one of its worst crises in recent times, with its people demanding political and economic changes sooner rather than later.
More evidence here.

Meanwhile the Damas de Blanco keep marching in Havana and keep getting beaten up by Castro's thugs; but they do not give up. Other than the local news in Miami, you'd never know what's going on in Cuba from the US main stream media.

How Linn Meyers draws

Also, on Friday April 30th at 12:30PM, Meyers will be giving a talk at the Hirshhorn Museum with Carlene Stephens, Curator of Time at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and Ryan Hill, Curatorial Research Associate at the Hirshhorn. The talk is part of a series called "In Conversation".

MFA Thesis Shows

The MFA Thesis III and First-Year Shows at MICA will open next Friday, April 23. This preesents an opportunity to start keeping an eye on Katie Miller's work. She will have a new painting in the First-Year Show, located in the Pinkard Gallery on the first floor of MICA's Bunting Center, at 1401 West Mount Royal Avenue.

The graduating second-year MFA candidates are showing in the Fox Building next door. Both shows feature work from all of the graduate programs, generally encompassing painting, sculpture, photography, video, interdisciplinary, and installation.

Miller will be at the opening reception on April 23 from 5 - 7 pm. The opening involves both the Pinkard Gallery in the Bunting Center, and the Meyerhoff, Decker, and Fox 3 galleries in the Fox building.

MFA Thesis III
Friday, April 23-Sunday, May 2
A public reception with the artists takes place Friday, April 23, 5-7 p.m.
Gallery Talks: Tuesday, April 27, 3-5 p.m. and Wednesday, April 28, 1-3 p.m.
Fox Building: Decker, Meyerhoff, and Fox 3 galleries (1303 W. Mount Royal Ave.)

For a slideshow of Thesis (second-year) work, please visit this website.

See Katie Miller's work here.

Open Studios

April 24 & 25th - click on image for more info.

At George Washington University: More Photographs Than Bricks

By Bruce McKaig

There is only a couple of weeks left (through April 20) to catch an exhibition in DC at GW's Luther W. Brady Art Gallery that pushes the envelope about what a photograph can be. More Photographs Than Bricks (exhibition title and part of a quote from John Szarkowski) has assembled a myriad of works that explore the medium and act of photography in surprising ways, including photographs that are not pictures and a few works that are not photographs.

The artists chosen include emerging and world famous artists: Nancy Breslin, Edward Burtynsky, Chuck Close, Kim Keever, Ana Labastida, Amy Lamb, Bruce McKaig, Megan Marrin, Abelardo Morell, Yasumasa Morimura, Martin d’Orgeval, Sean Scully, Jeffrey Smith, and JeongMee Yoon.

Emily and her pink things

Jeongmee Yoon, "Emily and her pink things" (2005)

Jeongmee Yoon was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to New York in 2004. Her work, inspired by life experiences with her own children, examines cultural codes and gender-subjective consumerism. In Emily and her Pink Things, Yoon constructs then photographs a Pepto-Bismol world cute enough to make anyone sick to his or her stomach. This work does not stop at examining the way gender is used to market products. It is thoroughly personal – Emily is Yoon’s daughter, who “loves pink, like my son [Donghu and his Blue Things] loves blue” – so it is also a confession about having acquiesced, to being engulfed in the marketing strategy.

Martin d'Orgeval (French, b. 1973) lives and works in Paris. His work is an impressive use of space, history, and imagery. Touched by Fire blends tragedy and beauty with images from the entomology and taxidermy store Deyrolle, devastated by fire in 2008. These constructed still lifes have a temporal reference, depicting the passage of time less like a voyeur and more like a detective, or even an archivist trying to put the pieces back together.

Kim Keever (American) lives and works in New York City. Keever’s “landscapes” are studio productions, still lifes in fact. Keever constructs underwater scenes then photographs them, hence the moody weight to his images. Heavy atmosphere aside, the nature of the work requires Keever to capture the scene under a sense of urgency as the materials are in fact more fleeting than stable.

Ana Labastida (Mexican) lives in San Francisco. Her installations are composed of bugs and baskets, moths in this case, made from fabric and photographs printed on glass. From a distance, the installation wants to be playful – and it is – but on closer inspection, the urban imagery on the giant insect wings becomes somewhat disturbing.

According to Lenore Miller, Gallery Director, and Olivia Kohler, Assistant Director, the exhibit started by searching for works that could be academically classified as “new history” or “new landscape” and so forth, but months of conscientious and creative detective work uncovered photographic explorations that would not conveniently fit into “categories that had served to structure art from the 16th to the 19th century.” This discovery prompted the selection process to include some non-photographic works.

The exhibition catalogue has an essay written by Virginia K laying out some of the historical context for the visual dialogue between photography and painting. Many artists and authors have commented on the interaction between photography and painting, and some have examined the resurgence of 19th century techniques in contemporary art.

David Hockney makes a comparison between photography and painting with his assertion that “photography is really good for making pictures of drawings.” (Hockney on Art, 1999). Hockney insists that the lack of “hands on” in photography explains why paintings are better at depicting reality. However, in the same book, he also says that because society is increasingly less certainty that photography is ideally suited to depict reality, photography “has been brought back into the area that painting has always dealt with.” What would Hockney have to say about this exhibition? Another prominent figure in the art world, John Szarkowski, once said, “A photograph is essentially a picture. Not everything that is sensitive to light produces a photograph. A sunburn is not a photograph.” (Looking at Photographs, 1973) Where would Mr. Szarkowski place these works? Perhaps the curator, author and historian Jean-Claude Lemagny (French, b. 1931) best describes where to place these artists by asserting that some artists are photographers, some bump up against photography.

Nineteenth century photo techniques never entirely disappeared from the art world, but the last decades have seen a significant resurgence of these dated processes used to produce contemporary works. Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde (Lyle Rexer, Abrams 2002) lays out an historical timeline to situate these processes, then proposes a number of contemporary artists’ twists on how they are used today (Chuck Close - also in this exhibit, Susan Rankaitis, Jin Lee, Ilan Wolff, Mark Kessell, Bruce McKaig, to site a few). In Rexer’s words, these artists “[work] in both mystical and material ways, letting the chemistry of the emulsion register chance and time, turning Talbot's ‘pencil of nature’ into a paintbrush."

More Photographs Than Bricks is the second of three exhibitions supported by Clarice Smith with a focus on creating a dialogue by bringing the highest quality art for display in the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery. Ms. Smith is a local patron of the arts who has supported numerous large-scale projects to help bring art and people together, and personally explores the arts through her paintings.

More Photographs Than Bricks

March 24-April 30, 2010
Luther W. Brady Art Gallery
The George Washington University
Media & Public Affairs Building, 2nd Floor
805 21st Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20052
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

For more information about the Exhibition and the Luther W. Brady Gallery: Click here. For more information about the author: click here.