A look at a Joan Brown painting from 1975 that was featured in SFMoMA's 2016 exhibition of Northern California artists.
One of the most powerful works on display at the deYoung Museum, The Spine and Tooth of Santo Guerro is a piece that exposes what guns, religion, and fictionalized martyrs all have in common.
We talk about the challenges and the major upside of having a space like the Skylight Gallery and how she interacts with artists during installation!
Remember that thing where I said that Pop Art, and Thiebaud in specific, was about the staged nature of th eworld and capturing that in paint? Yeah, that's all about Flatland River, now on display at SFMoMA!
This is a form of Abstract Impressionism. It is the form, or forms, that are recogniseable, while being removed from their context, rearranged, weirded as far as I'm concerned. The effect is one of a whole that is not the sum of its parts, but the grand total of the impression it makes upon the viewer and the canvas.
That's right, the canvas matters.
In fact, this is an anti-deKooning. deKooning tried to create a recogniseable image in his women, but here, it is the recognition of portions that do not form a whole, or at least that do not form a Nude in Environment.
Funkadoobiest. That is what I would qualify this as. Wiley is a personal fave, and this is weird, but it is really in the deatils that this one feels, I dunno, whole.
There are words, there are unrelated (or at least lightly-related) images, and there's a weird fish. The overall effect is at once Surrealist, and stylized, like an Art Deco homage to the dreams of Man Ray. It's nothing like that in presentation, but it's a cool phrase that I've been wanting to use...
There is joy and terror and wonder and threat to this piece. I Love the effect it gives off, that there is life, and the connection to Heironymous Bosch, the master of mingling horror with frantic joy with existential angst with pure flippin' glee, only ramps it up a little!
hI am 100% certain that there is great depth to this piece, that it is making many statements about meaning within the context of artistry, about only understanding a portion of anything that is in front of you because unless you look deeper, you're only getting a tiny fraction, about the inpermanence of what we see as opposed to the mass that is hidden from us. I am sure all these things exist, but for the most part, I do not experience them through this one.
Because it is too calming.
Perhaps it is the transluscence of the blue, of the calming aspect of the shape, but staring at this, as I often have, no matter how ragged I may feel going towards it, leaving it behind, I am smoother, softer, less harried.
We all remember the moment we fall in love, right? For me and The Anderson, it was here, staring at this piece, a good five minutes after I arrived and made my first fast circuit around the place. This was the piece that got me, the piece that I fell in love with, the piece and made me think about doing this series, writing these pieces, going back again and again and again.
I have a thing for sculptures that use found objects, and more so for things that bring them together in a way that establishes an emotional sensation, which this does in spades.
To me, this is a story. A story of disunity, how we are all constructed of bits and pieces, often cast-offs of what we used to be, might have been, wanted to become. We are a disunity of these ideas, these dreams, and when we take that step forward, when we reach for a whole, a cohesion, we are still that muddled whole, that assemblage of pieces disloyal and ill-fitting.
But we try.
We take that step, just like the Canton woman, and we reach forward. It is likely that once we pull the weight off the back foot and try to take another, we'll still be this inharmonious entity without a singular form, but we will have gone forward, perhaps placed ourselves in a new scenario where our inability to become a single thing is our calling card, our definition, our desired trait.
Like maybe an art museum, where these things are celebrated.
When I think about puns, I think about paintings. Apparently, that's the best place for 'em! William Allan's Half a Dam is a visual and a word pun, all rolled into one!
In late 2015, when I started thinking about putting together a program dedicated to the Arts. Not all docs, not all narratives, not all live action, not all animation. Something that took Art as the focus and played within it. It worked! I thought it was a real fun program last year, and like a studio exec with a solid film on his hands, I thought I'd try it again this year, since there were a lot of films with Art as a focus.
I had no idea who much win this would produce.
The 2017 program The Truth in Art is not only the best program concept I've ever had, and we discovered an amazing array of films that just flat-out work. Roughly half docs and half narrative films, they all play within the realm of the Arts, and one that deserves special mention is Real Artists.
Sophia is a filmmaker. She's good. Really good. Anne is working hard to get her to join Semaphore Studios. Anne lets her in on a secret - the secret of all Semaphore's success is based on an illusion of creativity. I'll leave you there.
I know it's not fair to compare new works to existing works, but I'm going to any way. Real Artists is based on a Ken Liu short story. I love Ken Liu, a fellow Hugo-winner! I like him a LOT! The story is so great, and here, director and writer Cameo Wood rises to the source material, and using the perfect level of CGI and precise and wonderful cinematography, she establishes a visual styling that brings her work up to a level that is unbelievable. The acting is so smart, not showy nor staid, and the script is taut. Is it better than the story? A fool would answer that question not realising that they are two very different worlds and it is nigh-impossible to compare, but within their realms, they are on the same level within my view.
The other thing this brought to mind is the wonderful short animation Technological Threat that I wrote about here. There is a very similar thread between them, though the animation takes it into comedy and Real Artists into drama. I can't stress enough how wonderfully they both are in their arenas, and if I was programming a shorts section for a festival or museum around the theme of "Workers & Technology - Fear & Loathing" I would include both.
This is a magnificent film, and one that I am certain will bring much thought, not only about what you see on the screen in this film, but in every film you encounter from here forward...
Real Artists shows as a part of the Shorts Program 3 - The Truth in Art showing at the Century Redwood City on Thursday March 2nd at 330pm, Saturday March 4th at 1030am and Monday March 6th at 930pm. It also shows at the Hammer Theatre in Downtown San Jose on Friday, March 10th at 145pm.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.