Sunday, March 4, 2007

Clouds, painting, and Plymouth Rock: a weather report

3 March – 4 March 2007, ~midnight

I can’t remember who said it recently – it might have been Roberta Smith – but you wonder why there’s as much painting around as there it today. I sometimes walk into galleries amazed by the sheer quantities of pigment laid out on any number of surfaces from canvas to every kind of panel and support, natural and synthetic, available in the metropolitan region. (And given the level of demand and fundamental costs involved, I wonder how my painter pals can afford them. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at how expensive even paintings by grad students are.)

I know very little about Samantha Fields; but between my guilt over not giving enough time and attention to the L.A. gallerists scattered through the various fairs (or concentrated at the L.A. in NY fair at the Altman Building) and the interest shown by Fearless Leader (i.e., my editor, Tulsa Kinney), I’m not about to miss this show. Besides, it’s always a pleasure seeing Kim Light (who looks as chic as ever – and rested! How?? I’m just beginning recovery mode.) I can’t fault the acuity of Tulsa’s eye. (I sure the hell can’t here anyway.) They’re all handsomely done – perfectly handsome. Fields calls her show, “The Land” – but it’s all about the sky, or perhaps more specifically, the weather, meteorological phenomena. The paintings are clearly meant to evoke those standardized depictions of cloud formations and other meteorological phenomena; also tourist snapshots of faraway skies; also kitsch photographic imagery of Western and Great Plains land- and skyscapes. I kept thinking to myself, “Beautiful, beautiful…. they’ll look great on postage stamps.” (They reminded me a little of some cloudscapes by April Gornik I saw in New York over the hols at the end of 2005. But Gornik’s work had a little more – what? – presence? drama? I dunno … guess I just haven’t found the right cloudscape yet.)

(I run into Antoinette de Stigter – from Amsterdam’s Art Affairs – fresh from her success with the Mary Younakof installation at Scope – again, which is delightful. Mary was supposed to show up – but I had to move on.)

There wasn’t enough room to breathe much less look at the art at Taylor de Cordoba – I was drawn to a painting (yes, painting again) toward the back of the gallery, but maybe it’s just me and a certain ‘darkness at suburban noon’ thing I’m drawn to – the nightmares I must live over and over again). I’ll have to go back to have a look (yes I just might, I think again – just to think about it darkens my mood). Ditto the stuff at Walter Maciel – big figurative paintings with quasi-industrial subjects. (There’s no information on the artists out and available at either gallery. I guess they assume you’ll access their websites.)

From the Lightbox, it’s down to the Blumbox and Poehouse for Sam Durant. Well. I LIKED the Sam Durant they showed in New York. A girl can hope, can’t she? Actually, the show’s a bloody hoot. I never made it to the National History Museum for my nephew (maybe I can take him I the Fall) as I’d wanted to, so Samila brings the (wax) Museum right back home. ‘Eat your heart out, Jim Shaw – I’ve got the Plymouth bloody Rock.’ Dated 1620 and all. (Rufus should get a head start on his history dates.) He should know about how those fierce (but smart) RED-RED-skinned American Indians put down their tomahawks to help those clueless (that’s religion for you) Pilgrims; how those Pilgrim silver buckle shoes were absolutely useless off the Paris – I mean Plymouth – streets. Loved the loincloths, too. Someone had to do SOMETHING with Grandmère’s stone martens. Or whatever. Hey Samantha – got LAND for you down here. It’s called DIRT. (Well it’s all about real estate these days.)

I know. I should be grateful. No painting. Text. Beautiful text. Signage … uh, maybe not so beautiful. Text – bliss. Information. (Yeah, I know, I’m having a breakdown. It happens. Let me get a drink.)

(PS -- yeah, I'm back in Los Angeles; let me post a NYC recap in a few -- hours, days, lightyears -- hey I'll get to it.)

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Beautiful banner at your site as well, I am reminded of some wall paintings by the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, such as this one http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWNY4. You browse more murals of his at wahooart.com.