Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Dead Christ in the Tomb

The Dead Christ in the Tomb, Kehinde Wiley, 2008, oil on canvas, 3x12'
This piece is also on view for a few more weeks at the Kemper's Pattern ID exhibition in Kansas City. I've been looking at Wiley's work for quite awhile, and I believe it provides the beginning of a counter balance to the history of the painted portrait. Not to mention this guy is flipping us off. From his website: "...Wiley has firmly situated himself within art history's portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, black and brown men found throughout the world...larger than life figures interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of black and brown young men."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Putting Down Roots

I'm starting to get this planting thing! I'm starting to get it! I can't believe after all of these years of being an artist, a creator, a provocateur in my own mind, I have not teased out the beautiful, organic and edible from my own dirt. Three weeks ago I was inspired by Karen in Carthage and Adam and Elizabeth in Denver. They plant things, and they were starting to tend their seeds. So a couple weeks ago I took the leap and planted two small tomato plants, two lettuces, basil, cilantro, and oregano. All in planters on a table on my back deck. While I was at it, I transplanted sedum and hostas from my yard, put velvety begonias in my front window planter, and surrounded my Japanese elm with Arkansas river rocks. This weekend--OH JOY--the lettuces and herbs have sprouted. This is so incredibly satisfying. My first salad from my first green thumb will surely be the best I've ever tasted.

Pattern ID at the Kemper: Nick Cave

Saw a fantastic and important show yesterday at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. It's called Pattern ID. "Over the last two decades, artists have increasingly turned to pattern and dress as a language with which to communicate who they are and where they come from. The experiences of culture clash, immigration, and multi-ethnicity in our globalized world have driven artists to use this visual language to chart their personal and communal histories."

There are many layers of meaning in this for me as an artist and teacher. Culture, class, gender, race, sexuality; all are explored. These are mostly artists of color, artists from around the globe. They seek to revise the canon of Western art history with their stories, and do it boldly and vividly, using traditional and non-traditional materials. I want to take my young nephews to the show. The spectacle of color, pattern, and shiny things will attract their little attention spans, but more importantly, they will be exposed to these important artists and issues who are working their way into our lexicon.

This particular piece is one of the soundsuits by Nick Cave, 2009, metal flowers and armature, fabric with appliqued beading, sequins, and embroidery, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery in NYC.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Found a treasure trove of writing and painting. Abarat, by Clive Barker. Beautiful, mysterious, fascinating, terrifying, incredibly imaginative. As an artist and writer, it is clear Barker was and is (project is ongoing) obsessed. The following is found at the beginning of Part Three.

The Day is words and rage.
The Day is order, earth and gold.
It is the philosophers in their cities;
It is the map-makers in their wastelands.
It is roads and milestones,
It is panic, laughter and sobriety;
White, and all enumerated things.
It is flesh; it is revenge; it is visibility.

The Night is blue and black.
The Night is silence, poetry and love.
It is the dancers in their grove of bones,
It is all transforming things.
It is fate, it is freedom.
It is masks and silver and ambiguity,
It is blood; it is forgiveness;
It is the invisible music of instinct.

-Fasher Demerondo
The Division of the Hours