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Showing posts from July, 2012

Back in the Studio again

The last time I was here, before I went to England for a few weeks, I did some preparatory work with acrylic pours and underpainting. I took some of those dried acrylic shapes and collaged them to printmaking paper, marked with the coal-circle shapes:



The next stage with them is to draw into them with India ink and airbrush pigment, as I did with these two:


The one on the right in that picture is the newest one (I've posted pictures of the one on the left before). It's 18" x 16", and it also has collaged bits of printmaking paper in addition to the collaged acrylic skins, because I wanted to cover up some stuff that went wrong, but I didn't want to throw away the entire picture.

I'm starting to let go of the anxiety about these images not relating with absolute directness to the narrative-based work that I am also working on (and which I am exhibiting in a couple of weeks). I am  heartened, actually, by the Rashid Johnson show I saw at Chicago's MCA. The…

Text of my presentation in the UK last week

Below is the text of the paper I read at MIX: Transmedia Writing & Digital Creativity, a conference Patty and I attended in Corsham Court (part of Bath Spa University) in the UK. The slideshow has all the images that I projected as I spoke.


The Lucerne Project: Re-Imagining Narrative Art in the Digital RealmTranslation
As a writer who became a visual artist who incorporates writing into exhibitions of his work, I have thought a lot in recent years about the idea of translation. When we talk about translation, the most common association of the word is with languages, of recreating the meaning of something written in Russian, say, into English, as the translators Pevear and Volokhonsky have done with the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. For my purposes, I think of the word translation in a literal way, as an act of moving something from one place to another place. And it’s a concept that has cropped up much more since I started working with imagery derived from digital sources. The …

Note from Bath Spa: The Conference

What a busy few days, not even enough time to do a quick blog post. Patty and I were staying in Bath Spa in western England, and attending a conference at Corsham Court, a fifteenth century manor house about 15 miles north of the city. The conference was called MIX: Transmedia Writing and Digital Creativity, and it brought together all sorts of artists, writers, and academics who are working with writing and narrative, but within the digital realm.

I gave a half hour presentation about The Lucerne Project, which was accepted into the line-up on the strength of the blog part of the project, the QR codes linking to YouTube audio files, and the use of images culled from the internet in order to provide the source for the 100 page accordion book. I threw in a bit of Walter Benjamin for the 9 page paper that I wrote, but mainly I was describing the process of making the book, and so forth. I was I the first time-slot for presentations on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon, Patty and I d…

Notes from Bath Spa, UK

Now we're in Bath Spa, the elegant Georgian city on the banks of the River Avon and the Avon canal. We're here for a conference about writing and mixed media art in the digital realm, at which I am presenting about The Lucerne Project, and at which Patty and I are running a joint workshop (together, not one where people smoke joints).

But even in this museum-like city, the old and the new jostle against each other. In the hallway of the hotel, outside our room, is this Blue Plaque:


And then in the main shopping street, we saw two young people doing some street-hip-hop-jazz, and very good they were at it, too:


Ladies and gentlemen, once again I give you: MODERN BRITAIN!

Notes from Bristol, UK

We arrived in Bristol in the UK on Friday. Evidence of its nautical past are everywhere around the hotel: docks, canals, quays, the old maritime warehouses now converted into pricey apartments, the SS Great Britain (Brunel's ship) moored nearby, the seagulls that you can hear squabbling in the air all through the night and which land on the cafe tables very now and then, nearly tipping them over with their weight.

We went out for dinner with some friends and colleagues, people that Patty worked with at Bath Spa University when she was visiting writer there in 2008. I took the following picture not because we ate at Pizza Express (we ate at a good tapas bar later) but because for me it typifies the collision of the ancient and the new that you see all the time in this country:


We attended an exhibition called Unnatural-Natural History, at the Royal West of England Academy before we had dinner. Among the exhibits was this fascinating grotesque thing: a genuine cow's head which,…

From the Studio

I'm about to head across the Atlantic to the UK for various art and writing-related activities, so the last time that I was in my studio, I completed one thing and started something that I could leave to dry until I get back in two weeks.

The thing I completed was one of these:

Acrylic and acrylic collage on printmaking paper.
The collage is created by drawing the shapes onto a plastic sheet from a large dropper. Once they're dry, they can be peeled off the plastic and glued down onto another surface:

Rashid Johnson, "Message to Our Folks," at the MCA, Chicago

The retrospective of work by Rashid Johnson is the first museum show in the USA devoted to this Chicago-born, NYC-based artist. I haven't talked about it before now, or in any other outlet, because it was heavily covered in the press, and frankly the reviews I read didn't make me that eager to see it. I only happened to walk in and take a look when I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago a few weeks ago to review something else for Hyperallergic. What I saw was very different from what I had imagined, so I'm taking the opportunity here to respond to it.




There is a lot of complex symbology involved in the construction of the sculptural pieces, drawn from physics, astronomy, music, and more esoteric branches of knowledge. I'm sure Johnson is sincere in his interest in that stuff, but as is often the case when artists wax philosophical about the content of their work, I think the pieces function on a much more straightforward level than that. With their assimila…

Interlochen Printmaking: Day 5

Last Friday was the final day of the printmaking class that I taught at the adult workshop of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts. The students were a little doubting that we would get a four print edition of a reduction linocut finished by the end of the afternoon, but I drove them like mules and we got it done.

The slideshow below is from all stages of the day: cutting the first marks on the blocks, inking and printing the first colour, cutting the second stage, inking and printing, and so forth; up to the point when they signedf and numbered the two editions they printed this week. With the solarplate prints from the first half of the week, added to the reduction linocut prints, each person made between 18 and 22 prints each -- a very good haul, I think. Congratulations to Ava, Ashley, and Ginny for pulling through, and for occasionally teaching me a few things, too. That is one of the great things about a printmaking studio, by the way: people of all levels of experience are…