Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Painters I like: Lynette Yiadom Boakye


"So why do you paint window frames and wastebaskets?"

To answer that question, please read:

Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

When he had tottered out, Dick and Rosemary embraced fleetingly There was
a dust of Paris over both of them through which the scented each other:
the rubber guard on Dick’s fountain pen, the faintes odor of warmth from
Rosemary’s neck and shoulders. For another half-minute Dick clung to the
situation; Rosemary was first to return t reality
“I must go, youngster,” she said.
They blinked at each other across a widening space, and Rosemary made an
exit that she had learned young, and on which no director had ever tried
to improve.

She opened the door of her room and went directly to her desk where she
had suddenly remembered leaving her wristwatch. It was there; slipping it
on she glanced down at the daily letter to her mother, finishing the last
sentence in her mind. Then, rather gradually, she realized without turning
about that she was not alone in the room.

In an inhabited room there are refracting objects only half noticed:
varnished wood, more or less polished brass, silver and ivory, and beyond
these a thousand conveyers of light and shadow so mild that one scarcely
thinks of them as that, the tops of picture- frames, the edges of pencils
or ash-trays, of crystal or china ornaments; the totality of this
refraction — appealing to equally subtle reflexes of the vision as well as
to those associational fragments in the subconscious that we seem to hang
on to, as a glass-fitter keeps the irregularly shaped pieces that may do
some time — this fact might account for what Rosemary afterward mystically
described as “realizing” that there was some one in the room, before she
could determine it. But when she did realize it she turned swift in a sort
of ballet step and saw that a dead Negro was stretched upon her bed. As
she cried “aaouu!” and her still unfastened wristwatch banged against the
desk she had the preposterous idea that it was Abe North. Then she dashed
for the door and across the hall.

Dick was straightening up; he had examined the gloves worn that day and
thrown them into a pile of soiled gloves in a corner of a trunk. He had
hung up coat and vest and spread his shirt on another hanger — a trick of
his own. “You’ll wear a shirt that’s a little dirty where you won’t wear a
mussed shirt.” Nicole had come in and was dumping one of Abe’s
extraordinary ash-trays into the waste-basket when Rosemary tore into the
“DICK! DICK! Come and see!”

Saturday, December 03, 2011

UIC MFA Fall 2011 Final Critiques Open to the Public

UIC MFA Fall 2011 Final Critiques Open to the Public

The UIC MFA Fall 2011 Final Critiques take place from December 5th-9th 2011 and are free and open to the public. All students and faculty will be present to showcase and discuss work from the current semester. Come watch things get REAL!

All locations in Art & Design Hall, 400 S. Peoria St., are abbreviated as follows:
GS Great Space, room 530
SG South Gallery, room 560 (within Great Space)
NG North Gallery, room 570 (within Great Space)
GBU Student Gallery, room 510
SR Screening Room, room 3226

Monday Dec. 5
Guest Critic: Nicolas Collins

9:00 Courtney Prokopas (SG)
9:45 Lauren Anderson (GS)
10:45 Tina Tahir (GBU and 3104 ADH)
11:30 Mark Kent (GS)
Lunch 12:15 - 1:15
1:15 Paul Cowan (SG)
2:00 Kera MacKenzie (GBU)
3:00 Ben Keddy (CVRA A&A 845 W. Harrison Rm. 3304)

Tuesday Dec. 6th
Guest Critic: Kelly Kaczynski

9:00 Daniel Bennett (SG)
9:45 Ben Murray (GS)
10:45 Anthony Koerner (NG)
11:30 Cameron Gibson (SR)
Lunch 12:15 - 1:15
1:15 Nina Barnett (SG)
2:00 Brendan Meara (GBU)
3:00 Tiffany Funk (NG)
3:45 Mark Aguhar (SG)

Wednesday Dec. 7th
Guest Critic: Natasha Egan

9:00 Daniel Shea (SG)
9:45 Jeremy Bolen (NG)
10:45 Josh Albers (GBU)
11:30 Mary-Helena Clark (SR)
Lunch 12:15 - 1:15
1:15 Lauren Edwards (SG)
2:00 Alex Rauch (4th floor crit space)
3:00 Ian Curry (SR)

Thursday Dec. 8th
Guest Critic: Jonathan Rosenbaum

9:00 Jesus Duran (SG)
9:45 Macon Reed (SR)
10:45 Daniel Tucker (SR)
11:30 Drew Mausert-Mooney (SR)
Lunch 12:15 - 1:15
1:15 Marianna Milhorat (SR)
2:00 Nick Rummler (NG)
3:00 Sebastian Aguirre (GBU)

Friday Dec. 9th
Guest Critic: Naomi Beckwith

9:00 Chaz Evans (SG)
9:45 Jon Chambers (GBU)
10:45 Neal Vandenbergh (NG-GS)
11:30 Andrew Reinke (GBU)
Lunch 12:15 - 1:15
1:15 Gwen Zabicki (GS)
2:00 Lilianna Angulo (GS)
3:00 Kasia Houlihan (NG-SG)

New paintings

These are just quick photos I took with my phone, but you get the idea.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making paintings about light, covered things.

Trompe-l'Oeil Still Life with a Flower Garland and a Curtain, 1658

I'm working on a painting of a covered window right now. The painting on the right has been on my mind for a while. I had wished there had been more curtain, so that the still life was harder to see. It is from the Art Institute of Chicago's collection.

Monday, November 07, 2011

A Poem by Jerzy Ficowski

A Poem by Polish author, Jerzy Ficowski about his relationship with the Holocaust, written in the 1980's.

I did not manage to save
a single life

I did not know how to stop
a single bullet

and I wander round cemeteries
which are not there
I look for words
which are not there
I run

to help where no one called
to rescue after the event

I want to be on time
even if I am too late

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Painters I like: Hanneline Rogeberg

Some of her paintings are great. I don't like the figure ones as much, but the obscured/covered thing she is doing is exactly what I'm interested in.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Artists I like: Regine Ramseie

Regine Ramseier's "Windstille" installation involved hundreds (thousands?) of fluffy dandelions, sprayed with fixative and hung from the ceiling of a tall, narrow white room. The result is both exuberant and calming, a kind of preserved fragile moment poised on the line between stillness and motion.

Painters I like: Jenny Saville

Red Stare Head IV, 2006-2011
Oil on canvas
99 3/16 x 73 13/16 inches (252 x 187.5 cm)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Johnny Guitar- "Lie to Me" scene

God I love Joan Crawford. Her strange and wonderful western, Johnny Guitar, is one of my favorite movies. This is how I imagined grown-ups would fight when I was a kid.

Artists I like: Kaye Donachie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thoughts on holes and Louis C.K. from Lauren Berlant's blog-

The Whole Ethic of Sleepless Evidence:

#2 in the series.

I spent most of the summer reading the kind of fierce poetry that moves fearlessly into barely inhabitable breathing space three beats beyond the object that was supposed to anchor attention. A poetics of associology whose noise world sits me down in disbelief at the rare freedom of other people’s minds. Not because attention gets things right (any more than attachment guarantees love), and not because there’s always in operation productive energy that can never be tamed but because—in these poems, and for me–revolt requires curiosity, a tipping over on a verge.

I can’t remember how I heard of C. D. Wright; this book written from within incarcerated space seems to have migrated onto my desk from a lateral impulse I must have had once. People who liked this also liked. It’s been in a pile of revealed intention that I’ve been reading up and down.

iphone 2011 july 107

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit is one version of the commons: C.D. Wright includes it as a kind of acid irony. After all, the next line, si bleu, si calme, isn’t available as realism to the incarcerated–or the manumitted for now who swerve around aggressively while looking down at their feet, or anyone with a stomach overfull of the indigestible. I read this book and my brain clicked around over it all summer: glory hole, dream hole, peephole.

My decoupled brain collected holes. An episode of Louie begins with him in a bathroom looking at a hole in the wall captioned HEAVEN in black magic marker whose magic is not apparent to him. An older conservatively dressed white man comes in, washes his hands, and turns to insert his penis in the hole. Louis asks him, “Why would you do that?” The man says, “HEAVEN, it says right there!” Louie, after a beat: How do you know something terrible’s not going to happen to you, why would you take that risk?” The stranger: “I don’t know, you have to have faith.” The rest of the show explains why he doesn’t have faith. Not having faith is here propped on not being sucked off or sucking off, not reaching with your dick toward heaven, a rough-edged hole on the other side of which, who knows? The atmosphere of this whole series involves its fearless projectile extension of situations into the place where something might happen to interrupt the familiar’s sour reappearance. Oh it says HEAVEN, so put your dick there, because not risking is so much worse than wrapping it all up so tight in the blanket of one’s own homestyle timidity. The show goes where Louie can’t.

It’s even more intricate than this: the HEAVEN episode is followed by an episode where Louie is fellated. He has gone to a gentle dentist’s office, an office for people who fear oral penetration and care. So of course under sedation Louie dreams of convincing Osama bin Laden that he is an asshole, at the same time as his gentle dentist outside the dream is sticking his dick in Louie’s mouth, aka HEAVEN, the hole out of which all of his beautiful intelligence comes. Accepting another man’s dick in his mouth is a fantasy that moves throughout this series, in the absence of which many other things are put there, like ice cream (formless) and donuts (defined by the hole). There’s a bit where he says it’s too late in life for him to do two things: to learn to ski and to put a man’s cock in his mouth. Louie can’t admit his own swerve toward wanting to be fellating with men but he can’t not go there either, and the frankness is of a quality I can’t stop admiring. As my father used to say in Yiddish about women, he is a hole that can never be filled–in the absence of which he fills up the hole of the world. Foucault writes, “My way of being no longer the same is, by definition, the most singular part of what I am”: Louie is in between not being the same and being something else.

In this show, what would usually induce fatalism always gets another beat, another scene or two, to interrupt the hard end one more time. But as one of his friends says, he’s afraid of life. Yet the verge Louie shimmies on is the failure of the failure to thrive. He is astonished at how massively awkward he is at living. But he is desperate to not stop trying to have a style of becoming different.

Desire punches a hole in the wall. Yes it does.

In Wright’s prison poem the dream hole must mean something beautiful (attuned) about the way being revolts against being controlled: the dream hole is what you’re willing to destroy your body for if it might light up a new something to follow through to, and the question of “ultimate consequences” gets left on the side of the road. The incarcerated people Wright listens to experience the proliferation and richness of desires, in the absence of access to which they keep punching holes in the world. They get caught for the holes they punch and put up for life. The privileged usually get protected and bailed out, you know, after they punch holes in the world. And sex remains one of the main places where the aggression and desire to have a simple and chaotic pleasure, to be and to punch the hole, gets replayed as a tableau always violently underdescribed by the unambivalence of any adjective.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Frederic Back

I'm also enjoying the work of Frederic Back right now. He was an illustrator and animator who worked on a Canadian Sunday evening quiz show called Le Nez de Cléopâtre.

The show consisted of a set of riddles to be solved with the help of a verbal clue and a drawing done live on air by Frédéric Back. It presented a dozen riddles which four "experts" had to solve by asking questions. Each week, one of the riddles was selected from suggestions sent in by TV viewers. Quebecers loved the intellectual gymnastics, and the program owed much of its success to Back's clever drawings and subtle humour.

Clarence Gagnon

Clarence Gagnon (8 November 1881 - 5 January 1942) was a Québécois painter. His work is really quite sweet, kind of like children's book illustrations.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Paintings I am thinking about right now

This Edward Hopper painting, Sun in an Empty Room, 1963

And this lovely painting by Gerard Dou, Night School, 1623.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


bodybraingame:Opening at Rhona Hoffman.

Curated by Hudson.

“I like a lot, and in this exhibition that may be understood in at least two ways.

Remember in the mid ‘80s when painting died – amusing, right? For me the significance was more about the focus moving to theory, photography, and information and the resulting effects of how we moved toward a more public understanding or perception of art. After about ten or so years of that, the perception and appreciation of art was more a mental assessment of a thing than an experience of a thing, and while that mode of understanding has continued for another twelve years or so, the shortcomings of operating long term from that sensibility have long remained quite obvious.

Feature Inc. has always offered a strong presence for painting and over the years. I’ve increasingly realized that the impact of the art on the body is just as forceful if not more so, than its impact on the brain. Letting feelings and mutable physical and emotional sensations guide an understanding of something doesn’t necessarily provide for an articulate line of reasoning, but it does offer an interior richness which is personally very satisfying. I especially like how that form of experience leads one to think and talk around something rather than to think or talk something through. Around is more inclusive and open to development than the conclusiveness of through.”

- Hudson, Feature Inc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Looking into the Past

Photo courtesy of
‘Looking Into the Past: Doing the Charleston at the Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC’
courtesy of ‘jasonepowell’

Hey, it’s an old photo, and a new photo, in one…and it’s of people doing the Charleston on the doorstep of Capitol Hill! What more could you want in a photo?

Jason is quite the innovator with this style of photo (Jason calls it “Looking Into the Past”; whatever you want to call it, we can all call the results awesome). He takes historic photos from publically available collections (mainly the Library of Congress), gets enlargements made, and then tries to line up the old picture with the present scene. It can make for quite the sight: some you see how much has changed, others how little, and then you see the downright weird. If you want to read more, Jason’s work has been highlighted by some high profile outlets recently.