Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rousseau on Artomatic

Dr. Claudia Rousseau is the highly respected art critic for the Gazette newspapers, which are owned by the Washington Post and it has always been a mystery to me why the WaPo doesn't also publish her gallery reviews as they do with some other Gazette articles. Dr. Rousseau is also a member of the faculty at Montgomery College. In any event, she recently went to Artomatic and keyed her impressions to my review of AOM. Her impressions are in blue.

  • Every year the overall "quality" of AOM improves and this year is noticeably better looking and more professional-looking than any other year.
  • Well, I wouldn't say better than any other year, but I will agree that the presentation was better.  Not sure about the art being better.

  • There's a lot less porn in AOM this year. In fact, there's a lot less nudes of all kinds.
  • Good. 
  • The range of the quality of the work, even in a postmodern world where everything is art, still ranges from the mind-boggling bad to the artistically sublime.
  • So many people you stand there and ask "what were they thinking?"  10 seconds of your attention.
  • There are several brand new (at least to me) artists in AOM who can show anywhere right now. Agreed.
  • There is a lot of art about The Beatles and blues musicians. Why Beatles?  But true.
  • There's more video art than I expected. I never saw Tim Tate's video? 
  • There are a lot more well-known DMV area "gallery" artists in this AOM than any previous one (except the first one in 1999). I also saw this, and noticed that when I was drawn to something it often turned out to be someone I already knew fairly well.
  • There's a lot of artists working with discarded computer boards and parts. Eric Celarier is the best.
  • There are a lot of glass artists and every single one of them is really good. Amazing.  And they keep getting better.
  • There are a lot of dark room style galleries and a lot of "blue light" art. Really hated most of it.
  • There is a lot of artwork about Obama.
  • There is a lot of left-wing nuttery artwork.
  • There are a lot of really good sculptures. Davide Prete's exhibit was lost in a sea of junk.  His work is actually fascinating, based on mathematically derived shapes. 
  • There are a lot of artists who make it really hard for someone interested in buying their work to get the basic details (how much is it and how do I buy it?) This was still very true.  Even their identities were often obscure. 
  • I thought that listing the artists by first name on the program was absurd. 
  • I liked:
    David D'Orio's bicycle sculpture installation.  When I was there, the radio was tuned to some guy on a right wing rant.  Perfect.
    Joseph Corcoran.  Wrote his name down as someone to remember. 
    Greg Minah.  Interesting that when I first saw his work I didn't like it, but now it does really stand out.
    Emily Piccirillo.  
    Andrew Wodzianski
    Frank Warren's video about Post Secret.  Yes, we all know the story, but I was really caught by the video presentation.
    Michael Janis.  His work just keeps moving forward into new and interesting tracks.
    Blair Jackson photographs.  Made me stop moving for a while. First time seeing this artist.
    Michele Banks.   Would love one of those petri dishes.
    Ellen Hill.  Wonderful work that also is evolving.
    That's 10, but I also liked:
    Linda Lowery (big paintings of crying babies)
    Nicolas Zimbro  (he was a former student of mine)
    Maryann Pranulis  (abstract paintings)
    Lola Lombard  (dresses)
    Eileen Williams  (collages)

    RSVP: Opportunity for Artists

    Deadline: June 30, 2012

    Later this year I will be honored to jury RSVP 2012 for The New Wilmington Arts Association. They support the careers of artists by providing opportunities for uncensored experimentation, professional presentation, and critical dialogue and RSVP is their annual juried exhibition open to all artists and media.

    You can download the prospectus here - hurry and do not leave it to the last minute!