Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gee Whiz

This blog hasnt been active in ages yet it keeps getting new followers. I will ATTEMPT to start it up again- in the meantime you can also follow the Roq La Rue News Blog here!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Random Tidbits

Mark Ryden is opening his new show at Paul Kasmin Gallery in NY next week and I'll be there schmoozing it up and taking pics for Hi Fructose. This little piece might actually be my fave out of the whole show! You can see more images here. He will be exhibiting some large paintings, some graphite/watercolors, and a bunch of drawings.


And then there is this amazing new piece by James Jean. His work continually hits me like a punch in the heart. This is called "Pestilence".

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sad Lambs

Here are more examples of artists inspired by the same image in their works. This one is the "Lamb of God" image. I hate this image with a passion actually. I suppose it's to be looked as an allegory about Christ but it it also makes me think about man's cruelty to the creatures of the world. I suppose my repulsion also fascinates me...

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664) "Agnus Dei"

and then a couple of contemporary works:

Michael Hussar "Lamb of God" 2002

Glenn Brown "Spearmint Rhino" 2009

Pretty horrible, eh? Let's imagine that the lamb went to a happier place...

Lori Earley "The Wish"

Nicola Verlato

Occasionally, I'll see paintings that just make me exclaim "Jesus!" out loud when I first see them...I mean that in a good way, in that I'm shocked and delighted how powerfully and masterfully they are created. I don't love all his works, but when Nicola Verlato nails it, he has no rival.

Jane Kenoyer

Last year I gave a lecture in Reno and met Jane Kenoyer, a young artist who subsequently came and interned for me at Roq La Rue for several months. At the time she was doing beachy paintings that looked like old vacation stills on blown out and faded film. After her submergence into the Pop Surrealism scene her work has taken an edgier, more fantastical feel. She has a solo show in Reno. I think her new work looks really terrific.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jessica Joslin

I don't think it can really be categorized as rogue taxidermy, but I sure love Jessica Joslin's steam-goth (sorry, I had to) sculptures made of bone and metal. It's amazing to me that she can build a metal skeleton out of found metal parts and have it have the same shape as a real skeleton but also capture the fluidity of the creature in motion. She has a new show at Lisa Sette Gallery and I seriously covet the hornbill pieces.

Jean Pierre Roy

Just a little update about painter Jean Pierre Roy- he is exhibiting in a group show in New York- his gorgeously and ambiguously apocalyptic landscapes are starting to generate some serious buzz. I had a solo with him in 2008...but unfortunately I nuked my old site so the show is not online. You can see it on his site however (The Soletta Show)...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mark Ryden at Work

Speaking of Ryden- he's just posted a time lapse of the creation of his painting, "Incarnation". Dig it.

New Hi Fructose Coming Soon!

Well, Hi There!
I haven't posted for a zillion years, maybe I'll get back into it. I've just had other things going on but I do miss the old blog. Anyway- first order of business is that the new Hi Fructose is coming out, with the effervescent James Jean on the cover. I have a pretty low profile this issue- my interview with one of my favorite artists, Chris Conn, got expanded and pushed to the next issue...but I do have a mini-interview with Mark Ryden discussing his new show at Paul Kasmin at the end of the month. I'll be there, will you?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Kate McGwire

Kate McGwire "Sluice"

Just came across Kate McGwire's darkly beautiful and powerful work today...this piece struck me as just perfect for how I was feeling. I got some unhappy family news that is making me think a lot about mortality and what the way of nature and the world really is vs our perception of it, and I found this to be an apt representation for the un-wordable.

Kate McGwire "Heave"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Will Cotton

Will Cotton is another one of those painters that I've seen for awhile and then something in my brain just clicks and I REALLY see it all of a sudden. Cotton paints sumptuous and decadent portraits of candy and baked goods, sometimes nudes with candy and baked goods. What more could you want in life? They are so soft they seem to be painted out of colored air.

Ann Carrington

I seriously covet the work of Ann Carrington. She makes works using general everyday detritus, safety pins, pearl buttons, coconut shells, to make intricate and gorgeous artworks. I especially like her series of glamour-punk portraits of the Queen and Union Jacks, but her other work is just as bewitching. I am contemplating smashing all my piggybanks and seeing what's there. I do love these so.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lori Earley new show

Here is an image from Lori Earley's upcoming show at Opera Gallery in London. Love. More info later....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What The Hell Am I Talking About?

Here's is a nice and mildly humorous glossary of terms trotted out by arty know it alls:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heade's Hummingbirds

The other day Kenny and I were walking through a forested part of a nearby park when we heard an unusual but distinctive chorus of abrupt teeny clicking chirps...hummingbirds! A whole mess of them were zooming around and yelling at each other through the trees. I was reminded of the lovely paintings of Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) who painted many paintings of hummingbirds in almost primordial, jungly landscapes. Let's look at some shall we? I find them just very refreshing to look at...I like how they exude an exotic humidity.
I would love a whole room full of these.

My Dad just emailed me this tidbit- he and my stepmom bought a colonial inn in Fredricksburg, Virginia years ago and with the inn they inherited this portrait painted by Heade! That's pretty fun. Too bad it wasn't a hummingbird painting...then I could swipe it.

"Lady Kenmore" by M.J. Heade

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Matthew Kirscht

As sort of an amuse-bouche for your eyes, check out Matthew Kirscht's paintings inspired by vintage Halloween imagery. Some of these are pretty demented, but I like the the sort of unself-conscious sincerity they exude nonetheless.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dali and Disney

This is neat.

From I Heart Chaos:
"In 1946, surrealist Salvador Dali formed an unlikely friendship with Walt Disney and they spent a short time collaborating on a short film called "Destino". Unfortunately, only 18 seconds of Destino were ever shot, but in 1999, Roy Disney reconstructed the entire short using computer rendering and hand-drawn imagery based on the original sketches and storyboards.
The piece was supposed to have been part of Fantasia 2000, but didn't make the cut and hasn't ever seen release anywhere else. So far, the Disney lawyers haven't come after this YouTube video, so cross your fingers that it still works when you click on the play button. And if you want to know where the original footage, is, look for the two weird turtle monsters at around 5:22."

"Five O'Clock Shadows in Dali-Disney Land" by Todd Schorr

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hi Fructose 12

The new Hi Fructose is coming out soon, with loads of great new stuff, and including two big articles (I just about killed myself over) with Todd Schorr and Michael Hussar! You can see some preview pages here.

Charlie Immer

I am really liking the work of Charlie Immer- more so now that I saw one in person recently at a friends house and could see the lovely rendering and luminous color in person. Some of his newer work could be characterized as gummy bear horror...lots of gelatinous type creatures in pale jello colors, with skeletonized features. I think it's pretty great and fresh to look at.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tigers in art

(The one on the top is telling the one on the bottom he's adopted.)

I have a fascination with tigers in art for some reason. Some of my favorite depictions are in Korean art...the have a wonderful sort of demented cartoon quality tempering their fierceness, and the tiger is a central figure in Korean folklore and therefore a common theme in artworks.

See what I'm sayin'? I dig those googly eyes.

This is not a Korean tiger but is by artist Chris Conn- I thought it had similar qualities.

The Vigilant Tiger by Martin Hsu

Walton Ford's Tiger (Thanks Chris!)

Titus Kaphar

Ok seriously go over and check out this Titus Kaphar site. It's ok, I'll wait.
Isn't it great? I'm a little slow to get on the bandwagon on this one but I am a huge fan of this artists work.

"Contemporary artist Titus Kaphar makes oil-on-canvas copies of European and American portrait paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries and reconfigures them in strategic ways to create a dialogue about race, art and representation. His work is at once beautiful and halting as he dances between fictional narrative and history.

A graduate of Yale University, Kaphar makes work that is a timely display of what he sees as an alternative history. He sees his work as "the first sentence in a longer paragraph that the viewer completes." Engaging history through 18th- to 20th-century European and American paintings by noted figures including Édouard Manet and William Blake, Titus places race and social issues front and center."

-From The Seattle Art Museum's website

Chris Berens- White Ones

Chris Berens has a show up in Amsterdam called "The White Ones". On my way to Kenya last month we had a layover in Amsterdam so we scooted over to Chris' new studio to see what he was working on. It is really nice to have your expectations exceeded and Chris certainly did that with this show. You can see it here.

Tiffany Bozic

Well, HI! Long time no see. Sorry about that. I'm going to TRY to keep up the old blog, but the break was well needed.
Anyway- here is a beautiful image by Tiffany Bozic who I've mentioned before. It is entitled "The Raft" and is being released by Joshua Liner Gallery as a print so if you love it that's where you can get it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

James Jean

James Jean "Excavate"

It is so exciting to see a new painting that cause that weird visceral thrill- like the one I had looking at this new painting by James Jean. This would definitely go on my Top 5 Paintings On A Desert Island List.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is Being An Artist For You?

"I don't feel like talking to you right now, I'm an artist."
Thanks Richard!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

**** (Jungle Law)

The title above is my favorite Love and Rockets song- in which the singer ranks on a music critic. In the art movement I'm a part of, there are lots of art writers but a big lack of critics covering it. This has been good in some ways because I think in a way it has allowed the scene to incubate pretty safely and allowed for the imagination to roam free without too much fear of getting critically hammered. (I should add in the early days any good Lowbrow artist worth his salt could care less about what an art critic thought). On the other hand, and I've said this before, a lot of garbage gets through that gets labeled as "Pop Surrealism" when it isn't, or is just a poor derivative of it. This means critics who deign to cast a glance at it can get sloppy and just think this whole scene is about "bloodied little girls and headless teddy bears"*, ignoring the (and forgive me for using this word) important artists who are making some pretty spectacular work. It's lazy and annoying, but at the same time I also see why that belief has come about. I have to someone who's been watching this scene from earlier than most, it's amazing what it's become, and it's been interesting to watch new people come on the scene who have helped changed the definition of what this "movement" is. Frankly...I do feel a sense of unease amongst many of the artists identified with this genre- and a rumbling that indicates some would rather splinter off (because of the "lumping" aspect). Part of this is because there are no outside voices to put a label on what is or isn't a component on what this scene is about. Any art blog or magazine that caters to this scene gives equal coverage to Pop Surrealism as well as Street Art (and frankly that kinda baffles me). But it's how this scene is morphing, regardless. I'm not really sure what I feel about it. I try to look at it from multiple ways. For the gallery- I stick to what I love and feel passionate about, which is technically well executed, imaginative figurative work. As someone who looks at this scene in with a historian's eye...I know change is inevitable and I can't wait to see what happens next as this scene unravels and reweaves itself.

* I actually did hear this from someone once.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Look Smart

If you are an artist or gallerist (or want to be one) this is a great article about the art world. Probably one of the best I've read. It's more about the art world than art making, which I usually have filed away in two separate categories in my own mind. It really addresses the reality as well as the illusion of what the art world is like. I know people definitely have some wrong perceptions about what MY life is like- and I'm just there on the fringe. It truly seems to be one of the more bizarre things you can do for a living.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hi Fructose Vol 11

The new Hi Fructose is out next month and features an article about Mark Ryden that yours truly here wrote. I have to say it was one of the hardest things I've ever written, and I talk a lot about the symbolism in his work. Reading other articles about Mark I noticed no one really talks in depth about his use of imagery other than what it is (bunnies, bees, ya da da) so I wanted to talk a bit about the potential deeper meanings. Probably one reason no one does is that Mark himself is reticent to let on what he is using each image for. (I talk about why he's like this as well.) I'm totally fascinated by what I think is going on in Mark's work, and when I gave a lecture about the symbolism in his work at the "Wondertoonel" exhibit at the Frye Museum several years back he said I was fairly on it, so I have some confidence I'm on the right track. At any rate I hope it ads a new dimension to looking at and talking about Mark's work (not that he needs any help from me) and I hope everyone enjoys reading it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Creepy Paintings

I've been meaning to post more scary paintings after my last Creepy Peepers post, here are just a few I thought I said in the other post, it's hard to paint creepy without also being inadvertently hilarious. I think these pass the test...these are all creepy because they have a dark, supernatural element.

You thought waking up to find a spider on you was bad. In this painting "The Night" by Ferdinand Hodler, a man wakes up to find an apparition or something worse squatting on him. For some reason this is not sexy but completely scary. Anyone whose woken up at night in a pitch black room and seen "shapes" knows what I mean. The hunched over pose of the apparition adds to the "wrongness" of what is happening and adds a spectral, demonic seeming element.

Speaking of wrong, check out this Jesus. Painted by an anonymous Flemish painter in the 1500's, this is one of those paintings that really fascinate me, on one hand I hate it and on the other I love it. Meant to depict the Trinity, something that should be sublime and holy, the two eyes that almost look normal combined with the three lower faces is somewhat upsetting, off putting, and uncomfortable. But mesmerizing.

"Toutes Les Lumieres" by Paul Delvaux. Delvaux always kind of creeps me out- but this one in particular. Though it actually is somewhat peaceful and has a touch of the Procession about it, the lighting makes it very hallucinogetic. The characters seem to be moving very stiffly and adds to the unnatural, ghostly quality. This reminds me of dreams where it's very weird and beautiful and you are trying to convince yourself it's good, but then something awful comes creeping into the picture to your sheer horror. Um, or maybe that's just me.

This one should be sort of funny since at first glance it's some kind of pterasaur/nazgul steed making off with a ladies glove in impish glee. However, the story changes when coupled with the title of the painting "The Abduction" (alternately known as "The Rape" and "The End of the Dream")
which is part of a series of etchings called "The Glove" by our pal Max Klinger, and the anguished hands bursting through the glass window in a vain effort to catch the ghastly manifestation. Something about those hands makes this etching not funny, but very disturbing.