Archive for April, 2010

SOEX’s Alchemy Show
April 28, 2010

I meant to post about Southern Exposure‘s show earlier, but alas, I had to jet out of town and wasn’t able to get this done prior to its closing.  This show is the second I have seen at SOEX’s new space, the first show I hadn’t noticed my biggest pet peeve about the space:  too sunny.  That’s right, the light is too nice in this space, any work on the walls that are framed with glass have such extreme reflections that it is hard to view the work.  Aside from this flaw, the space is really nice.  My suggestion is window coverings or investing in anti-glare glass for framed work, maybe my advice will be heeded…

The show that just closed on April 24th was titled Alchemy, and my viewing partner and I had a long conversation about whether or not the show worked as a whole.  In a nutshell he said yes, I said no.  I find it too easy to slap the word alchemy on a show in which nothing really works together, it was far too disjointed. That being said, the highlight of the show was a piece titled Grizzly Peak at Summit, 2008, by John Chiara.

Grizzly Peak at Summit, 2008, John Chiara

Chiara uses a customized camera obscura that he built in a flatbed trailer in order to create his large-scale cibachrome prints.  The process reminds me a little of the way Jo Babcock works, who has converted everything from a mint tin to a VW bus into pinhole cameras.  The results the two photographers get are very different, however.  Chiara’s cibachromes have a nostalgic feel for me, this is completely a personal response to the landscapes that were on display at SOEX.  They remind me of the mural-sized wallpaper of a forest in the kitchen of the first house I grew up in, wallpaper that has contributed to my own execution of photography.  There is a second layer of reminiscing involved here, which is the cibachrome paper itself, as it brings me to a place of old photo albums…  and the edges of the paper, torn and unpredictable, as if once thrown away.

The Seven Wanderers, 2009, Christopher Sicat

The most peaceful aspect of the show was Christopher Sicat‘s The Seven Wanderers, 2009.  At first I thought these were cast pieces, but the small grouping is composed of actual Redwood treetops that are coated in graphite.  This piece and Chiara’s were the only two elements in the exhibit that made sense thematically.  Having placed them under the skylight was brilliant, as the trees gave a sense they were growing and the light really highlighted the sheen that the graphite created.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the back space of the gallery.  I am not sure if SOEX considers this a second gallery space or what, but the way it was set up for this show made it hard to separate it from the other works previously mentioned.  The first time I visited SOEX’s new space this area was made into a second room for viewing a video piece.  This time the only thing distinguishing it as its own room was the color of the wall, a neutral gray.  Viewing partner and I were perplexed for quite a long time before we came to the understanding that it was a second exhibit.  This second exhibit was an installation by Alison Pebworth titled America, Beautiful Possibility, 2007.  More information can be found here on the show, as there are events, publications and a public art project involved with the installation.  I found the paintings and the clothing to be rendered and sewn superbly, and there is a wonderful essay in the exhibition catalog written by the beautiful Rebecca Solnit to accompany.

America, Beautiful Possibility, 2007, Alison Pebworth

Snow Cake!
April 27, 2010

A little gem of a film written by Angela Pell, directed by Marc Evans, starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver.  Carrie-Anne Moss also appears.  Rickman plays Alex, an ex-con newly released from prison, who starts the film out driving north with a young female hitchhiker.  After a tragic car accident he seeks the young hitchhiker’s mother, Linda, a high functioning autistic woman played by Weaver.   Linda is not easy to get along with but has a way of keeping Alex around to fulfill miscellaneous chores around the house.  A friendship ensues between the seemingly odd pair.

Sigourney Weaver in Snow Cake, 2006

Snow Cake was released in 2006 and is one of my new favorite films.  Firstly, Sigourney Weaver can do no wrong in my opinion as she always brings her all in portraying her characters.  Paired up with Rickman, one of the best character actors on-screen, a pleasantly awkward chemistry occurs as the tension between their two characters ebbs and flows.  Highly recommended by yours truly.

Interiors
April 26, 2010

Big thanks to Netflix for pointing me in the direction of the film Interiors, which is generally plugged as Woody Allen’s first dramatic film.  During my viewing I couldn’t help but wonder why I had never heard of it, and why my friends never mention it.  In perspective, it was released the year I was born, 1978, so it isn’t so out of the ordinary that my peers and I haven’t seen it…  however, Interiors was released in between Annie Hall and Manhattan, films I watch at least once a year as I love them dearly. Color me perplexed.

Woody Allen's Interiors, 1978

I am unsure as to where I would place Interiors in my top 5 Woody Allen list, but it has earned itself a slot.  The film cast includes Diane Keaton and Geraldine Page.  Keaton is one of three grown daughters, Page is the unstable mother whose sanity went on a coffee break years ago never to return.  The complex family dynamics are captivating, but I couldn’t help but ask myself why Mr. Allen overwhelmingly writes his characters as affluent writers and artists who are highly self-centered.  I am guessing it is due to his early entrance into the business, but I still question his choices to do so as he has proven he doesn’t need to, such as with Small Time Crooks.  Regardless of the affluence of the characters in Interiors, I still highly recommend to his fans to take a look at it if you haven’t already done so.

The Bodies Are Back – Last Day!
April 15, 2010

Friday, April 16th, 2010, is the last day to see…

Margaret Harrison, Captain America 2, 1997, watercolor and graphite on paper

The Bodies Are Back, by Margaret Harrison at Intersection for the Arts.  Harrison, a British artist who helped pioneer feminist art, revisited early themes of her work, an exploration of the human body as an object of sexuality, consumption and gaze.  The back story of this show begins in 1971, the year of her first solo show.  The work was deemed too controversial and the show was shut down by the London police the day after it opened.  This uproar/setback caused Harrison to abandon this body of work.  This exhibition at Intersection of the Arts is a paring of the old work with new work revisiting the theme of her controversial first solo show.

Margaret Harrison, Take One Lemon, 1971, watecolor and graphite on paper

The exhibition was up to par with my expectations, and my expectations were high for this show.  My favorite pieces were the original pieces from her 1971 solo show, including but not limited to Take One Lemon, Mrs. Softie, and all three Good Enough to Eat drawings (highly sexualized/fetishized women as the meat in sandwiches).  What I like most about these pieces, aside from my drawing, watercolor and litho fetishes, is the explicit sexuality coupled with strong pop iconic imagery as a means to challenge her viewers perceptions of women, sexuality and advertising.

Margaret Harrison, Good Enough to Eat, 1971, watercolor, guache, and graphite on board

Though this post is a little late in the game, I urge you to make it to the final day of this exhibition if you are able to.

Margaret Harrison, Mrs. Softie, 1971, watercolor and graphite on paper