slightly wonky


My granny square strait jacket…
April 14, 2014, 10:17 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., sculpture | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spring is here!  Time to frolic through the dead garden!  Mince through the muddy lawn!   Leap amongst the leafless trees!

In celebration of the GLORIOUS change in weather (it’s above freezing now…), I went to the ICA in Boston.

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Yes, I managed to stop scrubbing the kitchen floor long enough to make this visit.  (Ha ha!…just kidding, I never scrub the kitchen floor!!!)

I did see some sunshine for a brief period.  Luckily, I got a sunny-ish photo to prove that, yes, indeed…it isn’t snowing!

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This sunshine didn’t last long, as you will see in subsequent photos.

ANYHOO…the reason I went was to see the AMAZING work by Nick Cave now on exhibit:

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

He had three of these sculptures together.  They are so comical, and yet somehow regal as well…

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

THAT is a closeup of what is going on in that mass of beads/ornament/tchotchke-palooza.  CRAZY!

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

This piece is four ENORMOUS panels of chaotic, antiquated, thrift store finery.

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

You’ll notice that there isn’t any plastic “junk.”  It’s mostly beads, metal ornaments, ceramic figurines of birds/fruit, and brightly colored afghans.  I think because of this palette, and because the items don’t appear broken or damaged, there is a certain refinement and respect for the materials.  While it does look haphazard, the figurines do have an orientation and are placed upright…the beads are draped and not wadded up/thrown on, so there is some order to the chaos.  HOW he managed to fix all of these things together with no apparent fasteners is VERY interesting.  They aren’t bound together as much as suspended somehow…

Okay, so that is his new work.  Mind-boggling, right?  Here is is older work, which he is more known for:

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

These “Soundsuits” are AMAZING.  Apparently, Cave created the first one in response to the Rodney King beatings.  “I built this sort of suit of armor, and by putting it on,  I realized that I could make a sound from moving in it,” Cave told the Washington Post.  “It made me think of ideas around protest, and how we should be a voice and speak louder,” Cave says.

These suits are beyond incredible.  The materials and excess are astounding…the fantastic manipulation of the human form is phenomenal…and the fact that they could actually be worn and in motion is superb.  See videos here and here for some of his other suits in action.  Cave is an Alvin Ailey trained dancer.  I LOVE the idea of these forms in motion. These photos are terrible in comparison to seeing them in person.  Their enormous size/height makes them overwhelming and mesmerizing.

Here are some close ups of the INSANE textures/colors/materials he used to make these:

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

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Nick Cave at the ICA Boston

I LOOOVE THIS!  Pure genius.  I would LOOOVE to see one of his soundsuit performances!  I’m almost inspired to cover myself in handmade potholders and jump around the living room for an hour!  (Just kidding, that sounds too much like exercise…)  Someday, I fear that I may end up in a crocheted strait jacket made out of colorful granny squares…at least then I’ll have an excuse for not mopping…

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ANYWAY, I had a super fun time at the ICA.  After paying $15 for parking, I felt guilty about leaving.  Wasn’t there anything else that I could do in the area?  I decided no, and headed out.  Now, I am missing the navigational genes that most normal people have.  As a result, I rely heavily upon GPS to get me places.  I know…did I really need GPS to get home when I had JUST driven to the ICA from home a few hours ago????  Well, yes…yes I did.

Unfortunately, my GPS had a momentary lapse in usefulness:

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REALLY?  In order to get to Arlington from Boston I need to take a FERRY????  Why don’t I remember the ferry ride coming over here???  Is traffic really THAT bad that it makes sense for me to take a BOAT home instead???

Sigh.  I guess I’m not the only one that’s “navigationally” challenged around here.  No wonder why I get lost so often…

 

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Searching for solace…

This has been a rather rough week.  A friend of mine, her two sons, and her husband died this week.  I won’t go into the details, as those are even worse.  I want to say something profound about the whole ordeal, and about her, but I’m at a bit of a loss.  I feel as if my brain stopped working this week…my thoughts have been stuck like a needle skipping on a record, repeating the same awful refrain.  Short periods of heartache and angst have been interspersed among longer periods of numbness.

I tried to find solace this week by going somewhere that I love:  The deCordova Museum.

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I have been coming here ever since I moved to the area in 1998.  I find it to be peaceful and beautiful.  It truly feels like an escape to me.  This week, it helped provide me with fresh air and a necessary, albeit temporary, distraction.  While I walked around like a bit of a zombie, there were things that made me smile and appreciate that there is still beauty in this world.  I don’t mean beauty in a superficial sense, but beauty of thought and sensibility. I present to you what I saw at the museum…because I can’t talk or think about my sadness right now.

a-genger1Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It was a cold and clear day.  I aimlessly meandered through the grounds and was drawn to this new installation by Orly Genger.  I first saw her work at Mass MOCA.  This specific piece was originally commissioned for Madison Square Park in NYC.

a-genger2Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

I love to knit, so the loopy, monumental, yet somehow furtive, quality of this work appeals to me.  I like that it becomes taller than a person at times, defying knitting’s typical scale and delicacy.

a-genger3Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It winds its way around, changing from red, to yellow, to blue.

a-genger4Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

See how it winds around the grounds?  Knitting is very meditative, and I looked at all of the silent stitches and wondered about each one.

Inside the museum is the biennial exhibition…

a-murrowEthan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen 

Morrow’s work fills the main staircase at the museum.  His drawings are amazing.  Detail:

a-murrow2Ethan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen

Isn’t that breathtaking? He has drawn gorgeous, ethereal ships floating up the expanse of the stair wall.  He included historical details and text along with his drawings.  I bask in his drawing brilliance.  You must go see this.

a-yurukogluBahar Yurukoglu, Primodial Future, Mixed media installation with projection

Please take a look at Yurukoglu’s website…it’s very interesting.  I like bright colors and transparency, so I liked where this was going.  Everything was wall bound…and I kind of wished that there was even more, somehow.  Look at his website…lots of beautiful images and stunning photographs.

a-bracialeLaura Braciale, Rods and Cones, Mixed media installation

I liked this piece.  I liked the translation of these odd objects into flat, 2D paintings.  It looks like some kind of research project to me…an experiment in perception.  I also like all of the white space (of course.)  You’ll see that there are quite a few installation pieces in this biennial.

a-jane4Xylor Jane, Magic Square for finding missing people,  Oil and colored pencil on panel

I really liked Jane’s work.  It felt very different to me.  At times, it almost seemed to be like a textile, with seams.  Her work was very bold.

a-jane3Xylor Jane, Via Crucis XII,  Oil on panel

There is something both dark and menacing, and happy and lighthearted about this piece.  Overall, it’s chromatically dark…but you can see the sort of rainbow palette with almost heart shapes throughout.  What you can’t see in this photo is the beautiful use of textures…the main background is a matte black, and the colors are glossy dots in a grid.  So cool!

a-jane2Xylor Jane, 2,3,5,7,  Oil, graphite, marker and colored pencil on panel

This was really fascinating.  This painting in particular felt like a quilt/textile…and yet it had such depth and transparency at the same time.

a-jane1Xylor Jane, Nox Rex #26, Hypnos,  Oil on panel

This is an amazingly detailed pointillist painting.  I can’t help but think of The Matrix. (Perhaps, I shouldn’t admit that? Does that automatically make me a total philistine?)  Again, the grid and precision are rigid, but the undulating colors brings some levity to the piece.  I love how her four pieces worked together.

a-gibersonPetrova Giberson, Tree Flowers, Mixed media installation

I really liked how this piece and its shadows interacted.  It’s kind of like a sad, old comforter that somehow went to heaven.  It’s hard to see, but there is a line of threads hanging from the ceiling to the right of the comforter, which created an interesting threshold.  The whole piece had a very intriguing way of occupying the space.

Upstairs, there was more to see…

a-gross1Rachel Gross, woodblock print and acrylic

First off, I want to apologize to Rachel Gross because I did not keep track of what the title of this piece is.  In any event, Gross’s work is stunning.  Her woodblock prints are some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen.  Please take a look at her blog.  I love the layering, textures, color palette, composition…everything.

a-gross2Rachel Gross, Pink Box, Woodblock print with spray paint

I love the simplicity of this.  I love the crinkled paper and flat texture of the wood grain.  (I also love hot pink…)

a-abbas1Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

Again, my apologies to Hamra Abbas, as I don’t know which number this work is in the series.  Abbas does miniature paintings of the Kaaba, contemplating its historic, religious, and everyday influence.  She then has the miniature paintings photographed and enlarged to form these prints.  They have a mysterious and atmospheric feel to them.

a-abbas2Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This is so luminous…with both flatness and three dimensionality…

a-abbas3Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This has a fairytale feel to it…beautiful!

The final artist that I’m going to show is someone who’s work I love, and who I managed to meet at an open studio that he had.

a-palocci4Anthony Palocci, Jr., Empty Fridge, oil on canvas

Don’t you love it?  He just looks at everyday household objects and reinvents them.  Brilliant.

a-palocci2Anthony Palocci, Jr., T.V., oil on canvas

I love the cold glow of this T.V. So amazing…

a-palocci1Anthony Palocci, Jr., Phone Call, oil on canvas

I love this too!  It’s sort of humorous…but there is something “vacant” about all of his work.  The viewer is looking at these objects distilled to pattern and value.  They’re so ubiquitous, yet now they have a sort of uncanny feel to them…

a-palocci3Anthony Palocci, Jr., Window Fan, oil on canvas

This is a large painting.  Take a look at his website to get a sense how how large it is.  It’s as if something that is normally forgotten and silent has somehow been given a voice.

a-palocci5Anthony Palocci, Jr., A/C, oil on canvas

I took a photo of this painting with context, so that you can see some of what I perceive as the humor in this work.  It doesn’t look odd to see an A/C unit sticking out of a wall…but this is a painting, of course.  I thought this was a wry location for the work…

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Well, I’m signing off. It’s been a long week.

On Tuesday, there will be a vigil held for my friend and her family.  If you’re in the Arlington, MA area and would like the details…let me know.

Peace be with them…



Oops…I forgot a title…

This week, I took my five year old son to the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA.  I LOVE this museum.  In spite of the fact that I had to keep saying, “AAAAAAA…DON’T CLIMB ON THAT,” I think he had a great time.  He met some other kids and they spent a good amount of time climbing on some logs cut up from a fallen tree.  I was wishing that I’d somehow brought a latte and a lawn chair, but no luck.  They should rent those.  (I mean the chairs, not the lattes…)

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Okay Mountain, 4-Wheeler Rollover

This was the sculpture that I wanted my son to see.  Hilarious, right?  So awesome.  The tire ruts in the ground are in a swirly/loopy path that noodles around until you reach the tipped over ATV.  It just makes me laugh, for some reason.  (I hope that doesn’t offend the artists…)  It’s great to have this kind of thing in a place that’s rather highbrow…not that this art is lowbrow…(or Loenbrau…) but you know what I mean.

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Tony Feher, The Nothing Before Something

Tony Feher currently has a solo exhibition at the DeCordova.  I wrote about the show here.  This is very striking…a brightly painted telephone pole.  It’s like the Z axis…or a big stake in the ground…It makes me think of the astronauts putting a flag on the moon…kind of monumental.

Speaking of monumental…

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Sol LeWitt, Tower (DC)

I like how pure this is.  I kind of wish it was enormous…building sized…except that you can’t go in.  That would be cool, right?

The next three works are all busts…so different, though!

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John Wilson, Eternal Presence

I am SUCH a fan of his work.  Gorgeous.  He had a solo show at the Danforth, which I wrote about here.  He is supremely talented and brilliant.

I’m kind of pondering the base, though.  I think that they need to fill in the dirt around it so that we don’t see the rough bottom edge of the concrete.  Thoughts?  It kind of makes it look like an afterthought, or as if it could be moved anywhere, and isn’t properly rooted to it’s ground.  Just my two cents.  It’s a stunning work of art, though.

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Jaume Plensa, Humming

I love how this is distorted and elongated.  Don’t you love the title too? I think of the sound of Buddhist monks chanting a long “Om……”  I like how this one is in the shade….seems right.

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Joseph Wheelwright, Listening Stone

Fascinating, right?  I don’t know whether to think his upper ear is listening, possibly to the sounds of nature or of my son’s yelling, or is he listening to the earth?  Thoughts?  Sometimes as a parent, I feel like my head’s made of stone and I’m not listening.  Is that bad?

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Aaron Stephan, Untitled (16 Cans)

You can see the silhouette of my son standing amongst this sculpture.  It’s pretty minimal.  It’s also kind of funny, because if you turn around…this is what you see:

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No, that’s not part of the sculpture.  That’s just a trash can.  Don’t you love the DeCordova???

Besides this excursion, we also went to visit a friend who was renting a house on Plum Island.  My son and my friend’s son had a blast generally running around and yelling. You know how it is, right?  No?  Well, you’re damn lucky, then.

Take a look at this RIDICULOUS dahlia we saw:

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No joke.

Speaking of ridiculous, take a look at this turkey we saw at the same farm:

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They are SO CRAZY looking.  He really is like a big butterball.  Sometimes, he would raise and fan out his scraggly tail feathers, like a moth eaten peacock.  What an odd creature.  I love the dark iridescent feathers on the main part of his body.  I could do without the blobby snood.  Look how freakish the domestic turkey is compared to the wild one:

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Right????  If I was that wild turkey…I’d run, or rather fly, out of there STAT!  It makes me think of these guys:

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Run, Alice!  RUUUUUNNNNNN!!!!!



Transforming the mundane and Godzilla…

Well, it’s BALMY in BOSTON.  I think that we’re at around 80 deg F and 80% humidity.  SOUPY.  I feel like I am sticking to everything, and that’s not only a result of my poor housekeeping skills.  Has anyone else noticed that it’s difficult to get a dried Rice Krispy off of the floor?  Well, I have.  Thank god I don’t bother with manicures, or else our floor would be a minefield of dried krispies.

I stopped by the deCordova museum to see the work of Tony Feher.  Now, let me just preface this discussion (one sided, of course) by noting that I am not usually very interested in found object sculpture.  I know…I’m a philistine.  Anyway, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of  Feher’s work.

WELL…I LOVED IT.  LOOK AT THIS:

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Mountain Home, Tony Feher, 2004, plastic containers

I know.  I KNOW what those are…but I love that they’ve taken on this ethereal form.  They look so pure and delicate, and yet solid.  It’s a modern Mayan temple in miniature…well, not really.   Here is an overview of the main room of his work:

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Tony Feher at the deCordova Museum

Each piece is quite simple, typically using only one or two types of objects, but the reconfiguration is fascinating.

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Tony Feher, Sharadiant, 2000, mop and broom handles with rope

I love this too.  It makes me think of a Dan Flavin piece that’s turned off and seen during the day.

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Dan Flavin

I know…I know…they are NOT even MARGINALLY related.  What can I say?  These are the associations that I come up with.  Speaking of associations…what do you think of this?:

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Tony Feher, Come Out And Play Stephen Jay, 2013, painter’s tape

Yes.  That’s tape.  TAAAAPE.  Now THAT made me think of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or wavelite crystals…

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Swirly!

I’m sure that you’d rather see more of Feher’s work, rather than my bizarre and boring associations.  Fine.

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Tony Feher at the deCordova Museum

This is Feher’s installation in that great stairway at the deCordova.  This space is pure genius (thanks to William Rawn Associates), as it creates this really unusual installation space.  I love seeing what different artists do here.  Feher has taken two liter bottles and filled them with colored liquid.  It’s often hard to get a good photo of this space, as it’s so narrow.  It’s 21st century stained glass, right?

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Tony Feher, 8 White Elements, 2001 and Honcho Grid 1, 1999

Yes, you are looking at a tower of styrofoam packaging.  I can’t help but think of an architectural model…perhaps for the New Museum in NYC?  Hell, Yes!  (that expletive relates to the New Museum…I’m not normally so brash.)  The grid in the background is made from plastic straws and polyester thread.  BRILLIANT!

I love how simple and elemental his pieces are.  I love how these mundane objects feel truly transformed through their reconfiguration.  He doesn’t cut/break/bend the objects…he just puts them together so that they form a new, single object.  There’s such clarity to his work.

Speaking of clarity…oh wait, I never have clarity.   Nevermind.

I’ll segue by my household’s own transformation of the mundane into…well, it’s still all mundane.  My son is obsessed with Godzilla.  A friend of mine is moving to TX, and she let me take some of her boys’ old toys.  WELL, we got a small Godzilla set…and the rest is history.  Godzilla is the perfect combination of dinorsaur-ish creature PLUS a force of ridiculous destruction/demolition.  Greaaaaat.

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My son doesn’t seem at all put off by the idea that this is simply a person in a lizard suit lumbering around a model city.  Perhaps that’s because he’s used to me lumbering around the living room, stepping on Lego buildings, and growling?  I have better skin than Godzilla, thankfully.   (Check in with me again if I make it to 90, and I may not be able to say that, though.)

This is a drawing that my son did in homage to the great beast:

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Let me describe this for you…the lower left has a monster truck parked next to a skyscraper.  The tall thing on the right is Godzilla’s leg, with monster toenail.  Yes, he’s SOOO HUGE that he can’t even fit on the page.  Priceless.

I’m also hoping that my toenails did not provide inspiration for this drawing…sigh.




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