Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Postcards From the Edge / Visual AIDS

image by Steven Rosen

If you're in New York City during the weekend of January 7 - 9, you should swing by CRG Gallery for Postcards From the Edge, a benefit for Visual AIDS.
Postcards From the Edge is a Visual AIDS benefit show and sale of original, postcard-sized works on paper by established and emerging artists. All works are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The works are signed on the back and exhibited so the artists' signatures cannot be seen. While buyers receive a list of all participating artists, they don't know who created which piece until purchased. All proceeds support the programs of Visual AIDS.
There are over 1,500 one-of-a-kind postcards from artists like John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Yoko Ono, Vito Acconci and many more which means your $85 could be quite an investment, all for a really, really great cause.
Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness through producing and presenting visual art projects, while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS. We are committed to preserving and honoring the work of artists with HIV/AIDS and the artistic contributions of the AIDS movement.
I heard about it from Robert Yoder, so I'm guessing he also sent in a postcard. (I'd love to grab a Robert Yoder original for $85!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

14 years ago...

A picture from the first party I ever threw in Seattle.

It's official - today marks my 14th anniversary in Seattle. I never thought I'd be here this long (Austin and New Orleans were both loudly calling my name at different times) but here I am and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

I moved over during the big snowstorm of 1996 that shut Seattle down. The picture I wanted to include here was the one that my friend Lisa took of me as I arrived at her house with a beard full of icicles after walking from Capitol Hill to Queen Anne during a blizzard.

It's been a crazy 14 years and thanks to everyone who's made my time here so much fun!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Photo by Sol Hashemi

Merry Christmas everyone! As a dear friend quoted yesterday, "Let's hope it's a good one without any fears."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dina Martina!

Yippee! One of my favorite holiday traditions happens tonight - we're going to see Dina Martina! But before that, we plan on drinking lots of Martha Stewart's egg nog. Any holiday beverage that comes a warning ("Yes, it is boozy so be careful.") must be a good thing right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas shopping!

I quit buying Christmas presents a few year back. I was always notorious for being cheap and waiting until the last minute (both of those things are pretty true in my life in general). But if that describes your approach to shopping, you are in luck because there are lots of deals out there and you have plenty of time.

A New Playground (2010) by Shaun Kardinal
Daily Candy has a list of things you can find in SOIL's Gift Shop (which is a part of this) - prices start at a dollar. Matt Offenbacher's postcards ($1) would make a great holiday card. Get organized with a Vs. The Matador calendar ($25). I really love Shaun Kardinal's embroidered pieces and the etched bottles by Kristin Ramirez. Swing by Wednesday or Thursday (from noon to 5) to get all your last minute holiday gifts.

Bear Brooch (2010) by Maki Tamura
If you have a little more money to spend you might like these brooches ($250) by Maki Tamura available at Open Satellite.
Or email an artist you like (or their gallery) directly with your price range and see what they might have available.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good luck, Bond!

Bond (in a very "special" outfit for Versus)
I'm not sure you've all had the pleasure of meeting Bond Huberman. She's been with City Arts Magazine since their launch over 4 years ago, most recently as a writer and online editor. She has remained steadfast in her commitment to cast a spotlight on the things that make our area interesting.
I first met her a couple of years ago and during the short time I've known her, she's shown herself to be a smart, warm, inspiring, sympathetic, funny, easy-going person (plus a kick-ass editor and friend). It's always depressing to lose another talented arts-writer but I'm comforted knowing that she'll be able to devote more time to her own artistic practices of writing and producing interesting things with The Heroes. (And maybe she'll even have time to finish her documentary on bourbon!) Today is her last day at City Arts but no matter what she does or where she does it, she's going to be amazing - just like always! Thanks for all your hard work and support, Bond - it's been noticed and appreciated.
P.S. - I'm really going to miss your Illuminated Things!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chris Crites / Smith

Smith is going to start releasing limited edition t-shirts featuring art by local artists. First up, the talented Chris Crites. They'd make a great holiday gift!

Please join us at SMITH Monday, December 20th from 5 to 6pm for the release of our first limited edition SMITH t-shirt featuring art by local artist Chris Crites. The shirts will be available for $25 each. Complimentary snacks provided.

Wojnarowicz in Seattle

UNTITLED (Falling Buffalo), 1988-89 by David Wojnarowicz
Gelatin silver print, 10 x 13 inches, edition of 100
Image via Greg Kucera Gallery
Great news for those that didn't already know - Greg Kucera Gallery has installed a show of work by David Wojnarowicz. And I'm pleased to say that Derrick Cartwright asked Greg & Larry if SAM can borrow 2 of the pieces; Untitled (One Day) and Untitled (Falling Buffalo). In the interest of getting the work seen by as many people as possible (hello Picasso!), those two pieces will move up to SAM and be on view next Tuesday. I'd like to see the video played at SAM, too - I think it's an extremely important message to send.
Whether they ending up showing the video or not, between the Hedreen, the Henry, Greg Kucera Gallery, the Frye, TAM and SAM, I'm feeling pretty proud to be a gay artist living and making work in a town as supportive as Seattle.
Related: Jen reports on AA Bronson's request to have his work removed from Hide/Seek.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Encore: Vs. The Matador

Nicholas Nyland's Stanchions

I love how enthusiastically SAM has supported SOIL's Vs. The Matador exhibition. Derrick Cartwright, Matthew Renton and Marisa Sanchez all came down the day after the opening and enjoyed the show so much that they asked us if we'd consider a 2nd opening so the rest of the staff could swing by to see it.

Please join us for a rare second opportunity to see SOIL's Vs. The Matador complete with security guards and guides. The only show in town where you're the main attraction! Holiday shopping in the Gift Shop! Don't miss it! Thursday, December 16th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.
More info here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

FFOK Guest Curator - Jennifer Zwick

remixed Jenny Zwick by Korby Sears

Frances Farmer Organ Karaoke (FFOK) was already fun enough but now with the new Guest Curator series, things have gotten even more interesting. First up (this Thursday - after Jesse Higman's opening), the amazing Jenny Zwick (JZOK). She's recommended 10 new songs for Korby to add to the FFOK songbook including hits like "Do the Puyallup", Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry and more!

I know where I'll be spending my birthday (Jan 6) - FFOK with guest curator Mike Pham!! Woo-hoo!

Gage Teen Art Studios

johnny cash died of a broken heart by Gretchen Bennett

I can't imagine ever wanting to be a teenager again but Gage's Teen Art Studios does give me just a twinge of teen-envy. On Friday and Saturday nights, teens (13-18) can swing by Gage (Fridays) or the 2100 Building (Saturdays) for free art classes from 6:30-9:30, with supplies included. Space is limited so arrive on time.

Sharon Arnold heads up the program and she's gathered a great set of instructors like Celeste Cooning, Greg Stump, Katrina Wolfe, Ryan Finnerty and more. This month, Gretchen Bennett leads a class on sticker editions from drawings (see above). I wish I had access to this as a teen.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Free Santa Pics!

Hi folks! If you're on the hill tonight, swing by NuBe Green (in the Oddfellows Building) for free pictures with Santa tonight. Sol Hashemi is taking the pictures and we'll be there from 4-8. Last night, Ruth had an impressive spread of cookies and eggnog and cider. Swing by for some holiday fun and cross some holiday gifts off your list.

Building C Open Studios

Pink Lady by Carol Mallett Adelman, 10"x 20"

Building C Studios in Ballard will opening their doors today from noon to 9. Artists include Carol Adelman, Robert Hardgrave, Junko Yamamoto and many, many more. Click here for more info and directions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holigaze Holiday Sale

Ginomai Studios in West Seattle will be hosting a great holiday sale this weekend in West Seattle. You'll make a huge dent in your holiday shopping if you stop by.
  • D'arcy Hyde of Red Barn Redwood will be selling candle holders made from reclaimed/salvaged wood.
  • Amy Pennington of Gogo Green Garden (and author of Urban Pantry) will be selling seasonal preserved good.
  • Kelly Rae Cunningham will be selling her lovely encaustic and acrylic painting.
  • Tarsha Rockowitch will be selling handmade art, inspired by nature.
  • Shelli Markee will be selling her gorgeous hand-forged/hammered/wrought sterling silver jewelry.
  • Sarah J. Littlefield of Seattle Junk Love will be selling some of her unique estate-sale treasures.
Annual Holigaze Holiday Sale
4401 42nd Avenue SW
Saturday 12-7pm & Sunday 12-5pm

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seattle supports Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz (image via wiki)

Hedreen Gallery just announced that they'll be showing David Wojnarowicz’s film Fire in My Belly.

I'm so happy to see that at least one Seattle museum or gallery has stepped up to show this video. Let's hear it for artistic solidarity! If you don't live in Seattle, check this list to see where it might be playing locally. Yes, we can (and probably already have) watch it on our own computer, but I think there's something powerful about getting a room full of people together to discuss it in person. I just barely remember the Culture Wars of the 80s and outside of John Ashcroft's weird attempt to clothe Lady Justice, I don't really recall any other things like this happening since then (but then I have a really bad memory).

If you have the chance, join the Hedreen Gallery as part of their LUNCH program from 12 - 1:30 pm for a screening and discussion this Friday.

Updated: Jen reports that Henry is also preparing to show it, and that SAM and the Frye are working on their responses.

2nd Thursday, Seattle

Eastlake Plant by Dorian Huerta

KYMATA PROJECT SPACE will be showing BEYOND OUR CREATIONS. This is a photography show with work by Dorian Huerta and Christian Petersen (of Dumb Eyes). Also on view, a permanent installation by Chris Burnside. More info here.

by Troy Gua (image via Amanda Manitach)

Troy Gua is taking aim at peers, critics, and the art game in general in his latest exhibit, Pissing Contest, currently on view at The Living Room. With references to Judd, Koons and other art lions, this latest work continues Troy's examination of fame, identity and ego. Here's an interview between Troy and curator Amanda Manitach. Info.

Full Blitz map/art walk locations. And as always, I recommend ending the night at Penetration at Unicorn.

And if you happen to be in West Seattle for 2nd Thursday, check out these shows.

NEO-Kitsch is a national juried show at ArtsWest including work by artists like Diem Chau, Deborah Scott, Charles Krafft and Thomas Krueger.
"This miniature art exhibition with a big attitude includes artwork in diverse styles and mediums such as painted 45 records, a powder puff, and a skillet; a crayon tip carved into a little girl; a funny shaped rock covered in colorful pom poms; multiple PEZ® container artworks; beautiful misfit dolls made from recycled materials, as well as amusing and just plain cool artwork made from more traditional mediums."
More details here.

Also, Twilight Artist Collective will be hosting a TACKY HOLIDAY SWEATER party in conjunction with their 12 days of X-mas show. Twelve artists each take a day, including folks like Chris Sheridan and Rich Lehl. More info here. Additional West Seattle art walk locations here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Call for Artists / Gallery4Culture

Cut bank, 2010 by Ryan Molenkamp, oil on panel.
Currently on view at Gallery4Culture.
Image courtesy of the artist.

Are you a King County resident who's currently not represented by a gallery (excluding artist co-ops/galleries) and have a show proposal for Gallery4Culture? Artists, artist teams and independent curators are encouraged to apply. I think Gallery4Culture is a Seattle treasure and has amazing programming. As art models continue to change, artists/curators continue to look for respected spaces to exhibit work and with the amount of talent that's been on those walls through the years (Deb Baxter, Buddy Bunting, Dawn Cerny, Anne Mathern, Cat Clifford, Eric Eley and tons more), Gallery4Culture definitely qualifies! Apply here and keep the gallery strong. Deadline, 5pm, January 10, 2011.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention SOIL's current call for proposals, too.

Big Freedia / Neumo's

I know I'm always going on about how I never go see live music, but I can't wait for Big Freedia's show at Neumo's this week!

I first heard of Sissy Bounce a couple of years ago. I've missed seeing any bounce shows in my past couple of trips to New Orleans but I intend to make up for that this Thursday. In the meantime, I'll be working on my azz dance so I don't accidentally make a fool of myself.

Here's a great primer if you want to see what the fuss is about.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday in Seattle

2009's Drawing Jam

You like to draw? You're going to have a blast today. Swing by Gage Academy from 9am to 9pm. "The Drawing Jam has been named a “must do event” by Seattle Magazine, and no wonder why. Three floors of space, art supplies, food, models, inspiration and entertainment are all included with admission — just $10 for adults and free for teens and kids. Whether you draw, dabble or doodle, head to the Drawing Jam to give drawing —or even sculpting — from the model a try." more info free for kids and teens ($10 adults)

Yvonne Rainer Trio A

Hedreen Gallery welcomes Cat Clifford for an edition of Face Time from 12 to 2:30pm today. She'll present a new video, a new series of drawings and will facilitate a movement workshop based on Yvonne Rainer's celebrated minimalist dance piece, "Trio A." more info/free

Strap-On From Memory, 2010 by Wynne Greenwood

Today at 1pm, artist Wynne Greenwood begins the 1st of 4 interviews as part of her current installation, Strap-On TVs. "Inspired by queer and feminist film makers, Wynkoop's current work explores anti-narratives. Kanako Wynkoop is 34 and currently lives in Olympia, WA. She is an active member of the underground music scene in Olympia and works as an agent for social justice. She is the lead singer, drummer, and creates experimental film back drops for her band Broken Water. Since 1996 Kanako has also been the owner/manager of a small resale clothing business, Dumpster Values." More info/free

SOIL Gift Shop

At at 2pm, Vs. The Matador curator Cable Griffith will discuss thoughts around SOIL's latest group show. Should be lots of fun. I was really surprised at how great everything came together! more info/free

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jesse Higman: Illuvium / Vermillion

Spiral, 2010 by Jesse Higman

Jesse Higman has designed posters, tshirts, concert tickets and even album covers for some of Seattle's biggest names like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Candlebox, and Heart.

1989 Bathroom by Jesse Higman

Jesse also takes beautiful photographs. Who'd ever guess that Chris Cornell, Andy Wood and Ian Astbury once shared a room. Chris looks so young, the light and pose make Andy look like angelic and Ian just looks unusually happy.

Jesse Higman, image by Chris Murphy

Thursday (Dec 16), Jesse will be opening up a new show of his beautiful paintings at Vermillion.
"The mica flakes in water flow down a slight hill around an arc into a hole on the canvas which is stretched over a jig built on a table, kind of like a ramp in a parking garage.

Bottles are used as weights, attached to the back of the canvas with strings through the table, they act as weights to pull the painting surface down onto the jig, deforming it to the downhill shape. Sixty fins form the supporting ribs. Over four curving feet, they descend a total of one inch in elevation. Each fin is about one third of a millimeter lower than the previous --shimmed with pennies, scraps of wood and clippings of plastic from yogurt containers.

Often volunteers are asked to help with various steps in the process, creating an interactive experience." - Jesse Higman
The exhibits runs December 16, 2010 - January 30, 2011.
Opening Reception and Party: Thursday December 16, 5-9pm.
Music by DJ Chris Peterson of Dumbeyes

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Matt Browning / City Arts Best of the Year 2010

photo by Damon Mori

Dang, I hope you had as much fun as I did--that was a really fun 1st Thursday. Thank you Sole Repair, City Arts, Blue Moon Beer and, of course, YOU!! I'd list everyone all by name, but I've had way too many beers. And I'd like to pause on the fact that tonight's award brings the total prize money awarded this year to $5,000 - into locals artists' hands.

First off, this was a great year for art in the Northwest, it took days for me to compile my short list of 10 of favorite shows. I think that all of the choices tonight were amazing and each was totally deserving of the $1,000 prize. All night, folks kept asking me who I thought would win--I really had no idea, right up until when we re-counted the votes.

Tradition as Adaptive Strategy, 2010 by Matt Browning

This was close...but at the end of the night Matt Browning's Tradition as Adaptive Strategy took top honors. First shown at Lawrimore Project in May of 2010, there's been lots said about this show--all much better than I could write. The sweetest part for me was his beautiful gesture of covering the fireplace and containing everything to the most remote corner.

I don't know...this was just really a tender show. The idea of tradition is beautiful--it's how we pass down our crafts, culture and beliefs. With the nostalgic resurgence of canning, knitting, embroidery and anything else our grandmothers did, it's surprisingly refreshing to also see its masculine counterpoint arrive in the form of whittling. I think Matt's amazingly talented and an all-around nice guy. His most recent work was a bold departure from what he's been known for and I always love it when an artist takes a risk.

“It was a departure from most of the work we had seen up to that moment. Thirty-four funnel-shaped statuettes were painstakingly carved from solid pieces of fir then filled to overflowing with pitch made from sap the artist gathered from pine trees throughout the Northwest. Inspired by The Pitch Drop Experiment—the longest continuously running scientific experiment in the world started in 1927 that is measuring the flow of seemingly solid substances—it was brilliant, expertly weaving together many threads. His use of narrative was as engaging as ever.

Further consider how he placed the work in the gallery. Given free-reign of the super-sized exhibition space the artist selected the area intended to function as the social space of the gallery, then proceeded to dramatically alter its characteristics. Removing all its domestic features, erasing its color scheme, tearing down interior architectural elements, and tucking his work away in the corner on a hearth-cum-pedestal. This impressive co-option of space highlights the co-authorship inherent in exhibition practice; a gesture I was personally inspired by.” - Yoko Ott

Print Zero Art Walk Calendars

art walk calendar by Allyce Wood

"Hey, isn't that art walk tonight?" It's a busy world and we all lose track from time to time. Print Zero wants to make sure that no matter what neighborhood you live, you won't a miss an art walk in 2011.

They've enlisted artists Dennis Raines, Michael Azzano and Theresa Neinas and Allyce Wood to create 11" x 17" two-color silkscreen prints. $10 each. Buy one (or all four) here.

Wojnarowicz censored

Fire in My Belly by David Wojnarowicz, Diamanda Galas

I'm sure most of you have already heard that yesterday David Wojnarowic's video Fire in My Belly was removed from the Smithsonian's National Portrait exhibition HIDE/SEEK. The reason? Some people were so offended by the content that gallery director Martin Sullivan said, "...people were leaping to a conclusion that we were intentionally trying to provoke Christians or spoil the Christmas season." Huh?

Religious bigots [not to be confused with Christians] lining up to see this show and then getting offended is the head-scratching equivalent of going to a haunted house and then complaining that it scared you. Art can't hurt you but it might make you think about complex things you'd rather ignore. I'm not exactly certain what the curators were thinking. Maybe they wanted to make sure to include something that represented the fear and outrage gay men were feeling in the late 80s: mistrust of the government (did Reagan wait too long to address the crisis?), public abandonment and vilification (including friends and family!) only to die alone in a hospital because people were afraid to touch you. This is what a generation of gay men endured. And folks can't even tolerate 11 seconds of ants crawling on a crucifix? You'

Untitled (One day this kid . . .), 1990, David Wojnarowicz

The first piece by Wojnarowicz that broke my heart was "Untitled (One day this kid...)"*. It's a simple photocopied image of artist as a boy, along with with an essay of how his life is already mapped out because he's gay. I remember reading it around the time I came out (around 1994) and feeling the same despair. And now in 2010 things seem so much brighter. We have the "It Gets Better" campaign, which I think will eventually be viewed as an historical event almost as important as Stonewall itself. But don't forget the entire reason this campaign started was because one pissed off faggot was tired of watching gay kids get bullied and kill themselves. And in that way, coupled with these regressive politics, it feels like the ACT UP days of the 80s all over again.

*“One day this kid will get larger. One day this kid will come to know something that causes a sensation equivalent to the separation of the earth from its axis. One day this kid will reach a point where he senses a division that isn’t mathematical. One day this kid will feel something stir in his heart and throat and mouth. One day this kid will find something in his mind and body and soul that makes him hungry. One day this kid will do something that causes men who wear the uniforms of priests and rabbis, men who inhabit certain stone buildings, to call for his death. One day politicians will enact legislation against this kid. One day families will give false information to their children and each child will pass that information down generationally to their families and that information will be designed to make existence intolerable for this kid. One day this kid will begin to experience all this activity in his environment and that activity and information will compell him to commit suicide or submit to silence and invisibility. Or one day this kid will talk. When he begins to talk, men who develop of fear of this kid will attempt to silence him with strangling, fists, prison, suffocation, rape, intimidation, drugging, ropes, guns, laws, menace, roving gangs, bottles, knives, religion, decapitation, and immolation by fire. Doctors will pronounce this kid curable as if his brain were a virus. This kid will lose his constitutional rights against the government’s invasion of his privacy. This kid will be faced with electro-shock, drugs, and conditional therapies in laboratories tended by psychologists and research scientists. He will be subject to loss of home, civil rights, jobs, and all conceivable freedoms. All this will begin to happen in one or two years when he discovers he desires to place his naked body on the naked body of another boy.” (via)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1st Thursday, December 2010 picks

Baso Fibonacci at Flatcolor Gallery

Tomorrow night is the last art walk of the year. There's plenty of great art - you can see my picks over at CAB. I can't wait to see Ryan Molenkamp's 8' x 36' drawing!

Memory Upgrade / CoCA Pioneer Square (former Elliott Bay Books space)

After artwalking, head on up to Sole Repair for the big after party. Free drinks and music. 21+, RSVP required (

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Say hello to Chris Engman

DUST TO DUST, 2010, archival inkjet print

I think many folks might be surprised at the amount of preparation, calculation and determination required to create one of your photographs. Can you walk us through a piece
like Dust to Dust, from conception to completion?

Dust to Dust is a photographic diptych- on the left a photograph of a pile of gravel, and on the right a photograph of a very similar looking pile of gravel, sculpted from the same material, on the same spot of land, but rotated 135 degrees. Conception began with an observation about the way the sun traverses across the sky: that other than solar noon when the sun is the highest it will get, every other moment during the day has a twin moment when the height of the sun relative to the horizon is identical. From this observation I realized I could recreate a scene, including the light and shadows falling on it, by rotating an object and carefully timing my shots.

After selecting a site and material and finding a front-end loader operator I could work with, we got to work making the first pile. A radial map was drawn straight onto the ground using spray paint. A gravel mound was built and shaped on top. Referencing the map I had made I was able to draw a diagram of the footprint of the mound in its original position. The first photograph was made at 9:58 am the next day. The mound in its second incarnation was constructed using the footprint diagram and snapshots of the original mound as reference tools, first with heavy equipment, then with shovels and rakes and finally by hand. The second photograph was made at 4:04 pm one day after the first. Clouds had filled the sky all day but the sun broke about ten minutes before my shot, just in time. The entire process involved four trips to a site five hours east of Seattle.

I love thinking about how the material in this piece was used first to create one mound, then the second, and is now probably part of a road or the foundation of somebody’s house. In the same way the physical material used to make up my body is borrowed and someday will no longer belong to me. Same for you. Absolutely everything is temporary, and that is what this piece is about.

VARIATIONS, 2010, archival inkjet print, 52 x 44 inches

In addition to the intricate planning, many photographs seem designed to test your physical and mental limits; as if the art is a vehicle to create personal challenges. Your piece Variations required you to rearrange a stack of barrels 120 times over a period of 2 days? If you made one error, you would have had to start over - why put yourself through that?

The art is definitely a vehicle to create personal challenges but most of the time I enjoy those challenges. Variations was a pleasure to make. It was shot over two days, 60 pictures per day, each shot exactly 10 minutes apart, from 8 am until 5:50 pm on two consecutive days: May 22nd and 23rd, 2010. Physically it was actually less arduous than many of my photographs, and I took a real joy out of seeing a predetermined pattern play itself out in very slow motion over the course of two days. I worked very systematically to avoid any errors, and in truth I wasn’t worried about making any. If I had made a mistake I would have gladly started over. When I’m working on a project that I love working on it doesn’t matter to me how long it takes, in fact sometimes I regret when it’s over.

THREE MOMENTS, 2009, archival inkjet print, 48 x 38 inches

Pieces like Three Moments and Equivalence examine the intersection between past and present. What's most compelling about this convergence to you?

We only ever get to experience one instant of time at a time. The future doesn’t exist yet, the past no longer exists, and the present is fleeting and intangible. For the past there is only memory, and photographs provide fixed images for memory. In the piece Three Moments are three highly labored records of moments, each a month apart, each isolated and made into physical objects. The second moment attempts to recapture the first, while the third attempts to recapture them both. The result is meant to feel like a return to a place that may not seem to have changed, yet- since every instance of time and place is singular- it is perpetually and irrevocably being lost.

INVERSE NEGATIVE, 2010, inkjet print, 38 x 48 inches

You frequently work in rural and/or remote areas. Has anything unusual ever happened?

Well, I do sometimes work in very remote areas, and it enhances the overall experience for me to be so isolated so long as all goes well. However all does not always go well. The most frightening experience I’ve had on a shoot was the time I got my rental car stuck way way out on the Black Rock Desert, 31 miles from town. I spent an uneasy night in the car kept awake by the strongest winds I’ve ever seen or heard. The next day I walked out, completely exposed and feeling very vulnerable. If nothing else the experience gave me a greater appreciation for the power that the desert and the elements have over us.

EMPTY FRAME, 2010, archival inkjet print

You recently dipped your toe into the fashion world. How did that come about?

Last year I was invited to go to France to participate in the Hyeres Fashion and Photography Festival. Chauney and I went, and it was a lot of fun. We got haircuts and wore our nicest clothes but stuck out like sore thumbs just the same. Ten young fine art photographers were chosen from around the world, given an exhibition, and then basically they tried to get us to go into fashion photography. I could be working for Prada or Gucci! One art director, seeing that I was skeptical, told me she would just send me a dress and I could do anything I wanted with it, no restrictions. But the dress is a restriction, as I see it, and I don’t know how to make art about a dress, so I turned it down.

EQUIVALENCE, 2009, inkjet print, 38 x 48 inches

I don't think one of your structures would have felt out of place in this exhibition. Do you ever consider displaying them, either as a sculpture or as supplementary material? Or are they strictly a way to achieve the final photograph?

I hear that more and more. My projects really are designed to be photographs, though, which I think is something that makes my work distinguishable from, say, the earthworks artists. On the other hand I am more receptive to the idea than I used to be and I think it is very likely that in the near future I will be making work that is almost as much sculptural as photographic.

ABANDONED CRATES, 2007, archival inkjet print

In a recent talk, you discussed the idea of inserting your version of order onto nature's order. Do you have a desire to conquer nature? Or do you view it as working with nature, rather than against it?

Definitely the latter. In the case of Variations, there is a precise and detailed order to the way the barrels are arranged and rearranged. In the same way that a mathematician strives not just to solve a problem but solve the problem in the most elegant way possible, it was my desire to arrange the barrels in the most rational and elegant way possible. To find not my way, but the way. I see these photographs as attempts to bear witness to order that is observable but outside of myself, and much larger than myself. They are acts of appreciation and participation.

SENESCENCE, 2010, archival inkjet print

Art is traditionally considered an emotional pursuit, but your approach to art-making appears scientific/rational at first glance.

For me the work is emotive, because I experience the process and the unfolding of events as beautiful. But admittedly it is a cerebral kind of beauty that might not be immediately recognizable to the viewer. Rather it has to be discovered or deduced. When I talk about the work I talk a lot about the process because that’s where the art is, in the action, in how it was done. I had to figure out how to do it, and I enjoyed the figuring it out. The viewer, too, has to figure out how it was done, that is intentional, and I don’t always make it easy but I do leave clues. My hope is that the viewer will enjoy the figuring it out too, and in that process experience the work the way I did. It is a scientific approach, but it is very much an emotional pursuit as well.

# # #

Chris Engman's Dust to Dust will be on display at Greg Kucera Gallery through December 24th.

Brad Woodfin / Sloan Fine Art

Hey New Yorkers (and those that travel) - there's a great show opening up later this month at Sloan Fine Art.

Ibis, 2010, by Brad Woodfin
oil on panel, 16" x 20"

My friend Brad Woodfin has been busy making more of his amazing chiaroscuro-style paintings of animals. I just love these.

Curlew, 2010 by Brad Woodfin,
oil on panel, 8" x 10"

The Strangers opens up Thursday, Dec 16 (closes Feb 16) along with Marion Peck's show, What You Are, So Once Were We. Wish I could make it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Charles Le Dray / The Whitney

Charles, 1995, by Charles Le Dray (image via)
Fabric, thread, metal, plastic, paint, 19 × 14 × 4 ½ inches

It'd be a perfect day to teleport to NYC and go the Whitney to see this Charles Le Dray show.

Cricket Cage, 2002 by Charles Le Dray, image by Tom Powel
Human bone, 3 3/8 × 3 3/8 × 1 7/16 inches

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Last chance / PUNCH Gallery

Fale Spring, 2006 by Renee Adams (photo via)
wood, acrylic paint, flocking, steel, polymer clay

Hey folks - today is the last day to buy a ticket that just might win you an entire gallery of art. PUNCH Gallery will be drawing the name of the winner tonight at 5pm. As a member of SOIL (also a cooperative gallery), I know how important these annual fundraisers are in defraying costs, so I guarantee they appreciate your support. As you most likely already know, PUNCH is full of swell folks, most living east of the mountains, and Seattle is lucky to have a satellite branch for their creativity. I already got my ticket.

Also, for those who might not have been able to afford the $10 purchase price, PUNCH fulfilled their legal obligations by offering an awesome no-payment option.
Free Method of Entry: If you do not wish to donate to PUNCH Gallery during the promotion period, you may receive one free entry per address by creating an original drawing of a pugilist on a 5.5" x 8" sheet of paper with your name, address, phone number and email written on the back. Mail the drawing along with a SASE to: PUNCH GALLERY, PO Box 555, Ellensburg, WA 98926. Entries must be postmarked after November 1, 2010 and received by November 20, 2010. By choosing the Free Method of entry, you agree to give PUNCH Gallery full rights and copyright authority for your image. PUNCH Gallery may in turn publish or sell your image for future fundraising projects.
I wish I had seen that earlier. I've been wanting to draw a pugilist anyway!

Update: Congrats to Karen M. from Boise, Idaho! I don't know how you nabbed my winning ticket but congratulations anyway.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Embroidered lithographs by Shaun Kardinal

Near Oregon City, 2010 by Shaun Kardinal
Hand-embroidered collage with promotional lithograph, 10 x 8 inches

I was just looking at this site and ran into these beautiful embroidered lithographs and thought, "OMG!!" and then I looked down and saw that they were made by Seattle's own Shaun Kardinal. Wow. I just love these. He's taken his embroidered postcards to a whole new level!

Seattle, Washington, 2010 by Shaun Kardinal
Hand-embroidered collage with promotional lithograph, 10 x 8 inches

Groups vs. 1:1

collaboration with Susanna Bluhm

I have transitioned into full-on hermit mode. The idea of a group anything sounds overwhelming* lately and so I've been spending lots of time in the studio delicately avoiding people.

Instead of group activities, I've been focusing on 1:1 time with people and it's been a real nice. It seems like I just hardly ever get to interact with folks one on one and I've just loved the conversations I've been having lately with other friends and artists.

Today was especially nice; I got to spend a four hour block working with Susanna Bluhm. We're working on a video for a SOIL show early next year that she and Amanda Manitach are curating called Bloom & Collapse. It will be an interesting show, full of pairs of artists collaborating around the ideas of growth and decay and its variants.

*except our annual Turkey Bowl tomorrow - I can't wait for that!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gretchen Bennett / LMCC Residency

“Ruskin’s Study for a King Fisher” 

2010 by Gretchen Bennett
Colored pencils on paper. 
26" x 32"

Gretchen Bennett is winding down her Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space residency and will coming back to Seattle soon! If you are curious as to what she's been up to, check out MoMA PS1's Studio Visit page. I'm loving these new drawings.