slightly wonky


Thankful (and lucky, and sparkly…)
November 23, 2012, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., painting

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  I had a lovely holiday with my husband’s family.  We have plenty to be thankful for…friends, family, our health, our homes, and food on the table.  We also made it though Sandy without much trouble, which can’t be said for a great many people on the East Coast.  Not to be morose, but you can see an interactive map that the NY Times has made here of all of the fatalities.  It’s unbelievable.  So lucky, we are.  (excuse the Yoda talk)

I also managed NOT to eat my weight in food on Thursday, which is a slight miracle…(although I think that peppermint Jo Joes cookies are now at Trader Joe’s…SAVE ME FROM THEM!!!)  Not only was my restrained eating a miracle, but…

I ALSO GOT TO ESCAPE TO NYC/BROOKLYN ON TUES/WED!!!  WOO HOO!!!!!  I kid you NOT!  I had to scramble to NYC for the LAST day that my friend had his show up at Agora Gallery in Chelsea.  Here are some views:

George Oommen

And more:

George Oommen

OOOOO!  I love those last three together.  Here is a closeup of one of them:

George Oommen

These paintings are influenced by traditional sari fabric.  George is from Kerala, and this inspires much of his work.  (what inspires my work?  How much I loathe Stop & Shop? But I digress…)  Please check out his website, as my photography is shoddy.  I was planning on attending the opening, but we had a snowy Nor’easter that day…so it wasn’t in the cards.  This show was a big deal, as it’s not every day that one gets artwork in a NYC gallery…WOOT WOOT, George!!!

In my wanderings…here is another artist whom I also found in Agora Gallery:

Heleen Cornet

I really liked her work as well.  She was using watercolor on stretched canvas.  Detail:

Heleen Cornet

Dreamy!  I love the areas of white in the painting.  More:

Heleen Cornet

Nice!  Aren’t these amazing???

Apparently, lots of galleries in Chelsea are closed because of “super storm Sandy”.  There was lots of flooding.  Luckily, I did get to Pace Gallery to see the Chuck Close exhibit.  A-MA-ZING!  Check it out:

Chuck Close at Pace Gallery

Okay.  We’re ALL familiar with these works.  But sometimes, we think that we know a work just by seeing it in print or on the web frequently.  I felt that I had seen lots of Chuck Close’s works, so I wouldn’t be too surprised with what I saw.  NOT SO.  Seeing these works in person really blows your mind.  GENIUS.  PURE GENIUS.  Just look at these series of self-portraits:

Chuck Close at Pace Gallery

No, those aren’t digital manipulations of photographs.  They are paintings.  (I know that you know that.)  But try to think that when painting these, he could only be at arm’s length to do it.  So, he didn’t see this while working:

Chuck Close at Pace Gallery

 He saw THIS while working:

Chuck Close at Pace Gallery

I know.  Mind boggling, right????  My brain cannot process how he does this.  He is totally a master of color mixing.  Scroll up again to look at the paintings from a distance.  Crazy, right???  I truly could have sat there all day staring at these (especially with a box of mint jo joes).  I bask in his brilliance.  I need to get out of the suburbs more often.  Nothing like this is EVER at Stop & Shop.  (and I’ve LOOKED, trust me…)

That evening…a friend’s restaurant was opening in Brooklyn:  Root Hill Burger in Park Slope.  If you live in the area, please go!  I had the p01 burger…DELICIOUS!  They also make yummy milkshakes too.  Perhaps it was because we eat primarily vegan at home that the burger tasted other-worldly to me?  Hmm.  Nah.  I am wondering if they deliver to Massachusetts, though…

Speaking of other worldly…my luck doesn’t end there!  On Wednesday, I got to go to the BROOKLYN MUSEUM!

I had never been there before!  I was going to see the work of Mickalene Thomas.  But, before I GUSH about her work, I also saw some gorgeous work by Duron Jackson:

Duron Jackson at the Brooklyn Museum

Holy cow…this is GRAPHITE!!!  Is it not the most GORGEOUS thing you’ve ever seen???  My photo is terrible.  He’s also a genius.  Can pencil on black be any more astounding?  I think not. The shape is the outline of a jail, somewhere in the US.  I apologize for not getting the title.  He has a whole series of these drawings, and they are SPECTACULAR.  Go. See. Now.

I’m just going to post some images of other cool stuff on exhibit (whilst I fantasize about mint jo joes):

Portrait by Alice Neel

Alice Neel is my portrait hero.  I love her work.  I was first introduced to her work by a drawing teacher of mine.  Please look at her website to see more of what she does.  Incredible.  Next:

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Precious Stonewall, 2010

This is enormous and it’s made of GLASS.  Othoniel had a wide variety of works in glass.  Really astounding works.  Look at these larger than life necklaces:

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Large Double Lacan’s Knot, 2011 (foreground) /

Lacan’s Knot, 2009 (background)

Also enormous…I can’t imagine how much they must weigh.  They were pretty dramatic.  I actually like this one better:

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Black is Beautiful, 2003

I like that better because I can really feel the weight of these beads.  The previous ones feel odd to me, as they are clearly heavy beads, but the formation appears too weightless.  So, my preference is the latter…it’s beautiful.

Okay, so NOW onto MICKALENE THOMAS!!!!!!!!  Brace yourself…she rocks.

Mickalene Thomas, Interior: Blue Couch with Green Owl, 2012

LOVE IT!!!!!  She has done a huge series of collages of what looks like trendy, 60s interiors.  Then, she translates these collages into ENORMOUS paintings on panels with…(wait for it)…RHINESTONES.  They are BEDAZZLED, and they are awesome.

Mickalene Thomas, Interor: Green and White Couch, 2012

Sooooo brilliant.  She even outlines some of what must be the cut edges of the collage with rhinestones.  These interiors are fractured, sometimes flat, sometimes appearing to have depth, with jarring color palettes.  This is a detail:

Mickalene Thomas

And here is the original collage:

Mickalene Thomas

I’m so sad that my lousy pictures are NOT doing her works justice.  BOO HOO!

Not only did she have paintings of interiors…she also CREATED interiors:

Mickalene Thomas

These “installations” were really amazing too.  She creates so much cultural weight with these scenes.  They are also collages, much like her paintings.  I loved how her visions have become “real” in these works. My living room is just like that, except less hip and with Lego all over the floor…really similar.

Beyond her interiors, she has also done phenomenal paintings of women:

Mickalene Thomas, Le Dejeuner sur L’Herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires, 2012

This work is enormous and astounding.  I’m sorry that this tiny image can do it no justice.  This painting is a “restaging” of Manet’s painting, Le Dejeuner sur L’herbe:

Manet, Le Dejeuner sur L’herbe, 1863

Brilliant!  Here is a detail of Mickalene’s painting:

Mickalene Thomas

Here’s what I love about her work, and about art in general.  I love that (in spite of her riff on Manet), I feel that I haven’t seen this before.  I’m sure some of you are thinking…”duh, it looks like so-and-so”.  Fine.  But, for me, I was in AWE of the world that they created…a world that I CLEARLY am no part of.  But her works allow me a glimpse into it…which I also love.

This is my thinking on her work (which may be wrong, as I am no art critic):  All of her women appear simultaneously “powerful” and “feminine” to me.  This is what feminine power can look like.  Not to be misandric, but I love that no men appear in any of her works.  Her work does not need to speak about women in reference/relation/contrast/comparison to men (see the Manet above).  Her work exists in a world that eschews men.  Men are only part of the diminutive audience that are fixed in the powerful gaze of her subjects.  Somehow, I feel that a “YOU GO GIRL!” is in order.  Is that too suburban of me????  Probably. (sigh)

I need to try to channel these powerful women as I go about my day…picking up legos…buying cheddar goldfish crackers at Stop & Shop…and cursing at myself for forgetting my grocery list.

She’s a genius.  I bask in her glittery glory.

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