Friday, September 15, 2006
Woodstock, James, Chris, Soho, and the Whitney
Indian Head Resort Cottages, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20
Last Saturday, we drove down to Woodstock to attend the opening for the juried show that one of my pieces had been accepted into (and won a prize, as if I haven't mentioned that often enough). We got a late start so by the time we arrived we had just enough time to take a quick look around, have a carrot and a little cheese thing from the food table and then we had to leave to make the 4pm train to the city. I did talk to an artist I had been in another show with last winter, Judith Reeve, and I was hoping to see the juror, Jon deMartin, with whom I had taken a figure drawing workshop with last summer, but unfortunately he wasn't there.
So we made the train, got to our hotel which I discussed earlier this week, spruced ourselves up a bit and left again to go to the show to see James Wolanin's work and to hopefully meet up with him and Chris Rywalt. Which we did. I will skip the details as James described the evening very accurately on his blog and Chris described the evening very accurately on his blog and I really doubt that all you blog readers need to actually read my very accurate description of the night as well. I would like to add though, that James' work is amazing, wonderful color and content and I am happy to have finally met him as I have been reading his blog for quite awhile. Chris is very enjoyable, very smart and funny even if he does tend to forget where he parks his Lexus (just kidding, I don't think it was a Lexus, but it was red which is my usual way of identifying a car, do they make a Lexus in red? aren't they usually champagne or silver or black?), and NYC is so much nicer than it was when I used to visit in the 80's. I was always sure I would be mugged, as most everyone I knew had been, but this time (and the last few times I've been there) I felt completely comfortable walking around late into the night. I do wish that we had gone inside CBGB's, but I just couldn't handle the derision I felt from the people out front. I suspect that I (and Doug) look too much like what they have to hate in order to be punk. I am sighing here.
Anyway, on Sunday, we went to Doug's store in Soho and then walked around visiting some of the galleries in the area, Coda, Eleanor Ettinger, Arcadia, and Multiple Impressions which is just a few doors down from the store. These also just so happen to be the galleries that represent several artists whose work I like, including Francis Livingston, Mark English, Malcom Liepke, Steven Larson and a few others. The Ettinger Gallery had up a group show of landscapes that were all very ordinary, I thought. Aracadia also had a group show up plus a whole wall of figurative watercolor paintings by Malcolm Liepke.* I have always liked his work but I must say that in when I saw a whole group of his figures, there were maybe 20 or so, the thing he does with their noses, (to make them move forward from the plane of the face he makes the noses darker, and they often look reddish), kinda bugged me. In just one piece it works, but when there are so many women and men with red noses, it starts to either look a bit gimmicky or as if his people are alcoholics. It pains me to say this because really I have liked his work ever since I was in college and he was an illustrator, but it's just my opinion and I doubt it will any effect on him whatsoever. So there you go. Then we took the subway (which has also greatly improved in the last 20 years) to the Whitney to see the Full House show. After having recently read so much about Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock, it was exciting to see a few pieces of their work again. I spent a lot of time looking at Woman with Bicycle and looking at a Jackson Pollock drip painting up close, far away and then back up close again is always worth more than the price of admission.
The fifth floor was mostly work by Edward Hopper. I have always admired his work, in fact we have a nice print of Early Sunday Morning in our bathroom which I carefully look at each day. How nice it was to see it first thing when we entered the exhibition! I went back and looked at it several times while we were there. This show also displayed many of his sketches and drawings for many of his most well known paintings. I loved seeing those. I thought they had a lot of energy about them, a quality that is not usually present in the figures in his oil paintings. I also felt that his figures were better drawn in the sketches, I know it's practically a sin to say but sometimes the drawing of his figures in the paintings bug me. They have many redeeming factors such as light and emotion (usually melancholy) which I love but once in awhile I see an arm or a foot that really sends me up a wall.
The other piece I wanted to mention was a slide show of 700 images by Nan Goldin which were accompanied by very well chosen loud, mostly rock music. I thought that many of the individual images were really just candid snapshots, kind of ordinary, often of partygoers, people having sex, and various kinds of seedy characters, pictures almost anyone could have taken. But what really worked was the whole collection of images, which along with the soundtrack was fascinating and we were riveted to the whole thing.
Of course I had to spend too much money on a few books from the museum bookstore before we left. I bought the Hopper book which accompanied the show, a book of Richard Diebenkorn figures on paper and "The Women of the Whitney" which tells the story of how they came to put together the collection and museum and of course that looks very interesting.
It was a nice few days, but we were both surprisingly happy to get back to the daily grind at home. On Tuesday, with visions of Edward Hoppers in my head I painted this painting of cabins located in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire and it will be included in an upcoming group show.
*Sorry, I don't feel like posting links tonight, google if you are interested. There are probably a lot of typos too, but I don't care right now. It's past 9pm and I am crabby and I want to go to sleep but I can't or I will wake up at 4am and not be able to fall back to sleep. I may have to rethink this posting at night shit. Oops, see what I mean? Now I am using bad words....