X Libris

October 23rd, 2012 - Write a comment »

I have a piece in an upcoming show at Root Division Gallery in San Francisco.
The exhibition, entitled X Libris, explores the book as a mode of communication in flux.

The show runs from Nov. 7th to Dec. 1st, 2012.
Opening reception is Saturday, November 10, from 7 -10pm.

Root Division is located at:
3175 17th Street (@ South Van Ness)
in the Mission District of San Francisco.

More info can be found here.

The Mysterious Workings of the Art World

August 14th, 2012 - Write a comment »

“Dear Artist, I regret to inform you that our juror did not select your work for our exhibit.”  

No doubt every artist early in their career encounters multiple rejections like this before something clicks, the planets hopefully align, and their career begins to take off.  It would be nice if having ones artwork recognized and accepted by the hallowed “Art World” resulted from artistic skill, and not from simply being a good huckster with self-promotion. But alas, this isn’t the case.  The art world is a fickle place, indeed.  I’ve seen plenty of situations where artists I found rather lacking in technical ability obtained significant exposure. This can only be explained as having resulted from parameters having nothing to do with art making.

I recently came upon an article online listing the “50 Next Most Collectible Artists“.  I’m not implying that these artists aren’t worthy of their acclaim.  (I’m actually a fan of the work by a number of them).  But as an artist who continues to try to make sense of how how this whole game is played, I found the article to be an interesting peek at the rarefied level of Art World that artists like myself can only dream of reaching.

The Second Best Thing

August 8th, 2012 - Write a comment »

The fairly recent advance of digital books would make you expect that real books are destined the same fate as buggy whips.  Up to now I have felt that art books would be spared this fate as nothing  compares to a well-printed art book.  High-quality reproductions at a decent size in a book are the best affordable option for someone wishing to enjoy an artist’s work without having to travel to see the original works of art.  For me at least, looking at a printed image in a book beats looking at a jpeg on a computer screen.

I have been collecting art books for many years.  It’s something of an addiction for me.  Even though I have long ago run out of shelf space and have resorted to storing books in boxes in my closet, I recently went through yet another buying binge. I fantasize of one day living in a place with a large room dedicated to holding my art library.

Books are heavy and take up a lot of space, however.  I am excited by the recent development of the Google Art Project.  They would seem to be adding new images all the time.  As an painter, I love being able to zoom in to view famous works of art so closely and seeing all the intricate details.  Some paintings in Google’s database are of such high resolution that you can zoom in to examine every brush stroke.  To see what I mean, check out this image of the Tower of Babel by Bruegel.

Dark Matter

August 6th, 2012 - Write a comment »

I recently began work on a new series of enigmatic paintings which portray cars on “fire”.  Not with hot, bright flames, but rather, a dark nocturnal glowing light like bioluminescence.  I haven’t yet figured out what these images are about but I like the mood they produce.  Unfortunately these paintings are proving quite difficult to photograph.  They are very dark.  Not fully black, but they have rather subtle shades of dark blue-green.  They are dark enough, and glossy enough, to create a strong sheen on the painting’s surface.  After a lot of trial and error I seem to have come up with something of a solution, but it still requires a bit of photoshopping to get things looking properly.

Piling it on

July 26th, 2012 - Write a comment »
Collection, 2011 78″x94″ Oil on linen, credit: Catherine Clark Gallery

I thought I would make this post about an artist whose work I greatly admire.  Chester Arnold is an amazing painter I have been following for several years.  He is truly a painter’s painter.  I think his work speaks to me so much as I feel we share a similar worldview.  And he obviously shares my fascination with painting piles of stuff.  Looking at his work, you can sense that he has a lot going on in his head.  His paintings are ripe with narratives.  When I walk up to one of his paintings, I get the same feeling I would if I were to open up to the first page of an epic book of literature.  It’s like the beginning of a journey.  You may not know where you are headed but you can tell it is going to be someplace interesting.

Compulsive Actions

July 17th, 2012 - Write a comment »

Due to a much needed vacation I was absent from my studio for most of last month.  However I’m now rapidly making up for lost time as I have been working on a number of new paintings.  The image above is a detail from one of the works.  The image shows an insanely knotted freeway full of cars.  It is proving to be quite an ordeal to paint.  Presently the painting stretches 16 feet in width.  Each car in the painting is approximately the size of an almond.  I imagine I’ve already painted a few thousand cars so far.  This is proving to be an exercise in obsessive compulsion.

Through That Which is Seen

June 7th, 2012 - Write a comment »

If you live in the Bay Area stop by Root Division Gallery.  I am participating in a group show entitled Through That Which is Seen which explores the diorama in contemporary art.

I will be exhibiting a piece I call “Journey of a Boy.”  The show runs through June 23rd.

“Journey of a Boy”

A child’s wooden school desk becomes a stage upon which a boy’s life is revealed.  Sitting on top of the desk, where an inkwell once stood, is a glass-domed vessel containing a small figurine of a young man wearing a graduation gown.  A light emanating from beneath the lid of the desk illuminates the figurine.  By peering beneath the partially raised lid of the desk, the viewer is able to glimpse a whimsical prehistoric landscape populated with toy dinosaurs.

Within the desk are the daydreams of yesterday’s play-filled childhood, while on top of the desk, in front of the seated student, lies a crystal ball or beacon, guiding the boy to his future destination as a young man.

This piece was created entirely from materials found during my art residency at the San Francisco city dump.

detail view
detail view

Reassessing an Idea

April 23rd, 2012 - Write a comment »

A few months ago I began a 5’x4′ painting which shows a vast mining pit bristling with cranes and machinery feverishly digging into the earth.   After a few weeks of work, however, I began to realize the complexity of the composition I had in mind.  I recognized my need for a bit more planning.  Therefore I began to work on a large preparatory drawing (shown above) to refine my concept.   Normally if I create a study for a painting, it tends to be rather loose.  However in this instance, I found it necessary to be a bit more specific.  By creating the study I came to realize that my final painting would need to be executed much larger than I had previously thought, possibly over 10 feet in size.

detail of lower right

The prospect of undertaking such a large work is rather daunting to me at this time as I imagine it will take quite a long time to execute. It’s not that I don’t feel this to be a worthwhile project to attempt, it’s simply that I presently have so many ideas for new paintings that I am reluctant to become bogged down working on a single painting which may take years to complete.

Spring is in the Air

April 11th, 2012 - Write a comment »

Yes, spring is here! Which means it’s that time again where many artists in the Mission District of San Francisco open their studio doors to the public.  This weekend you’re invited to stop by and see what I have been working on this year!

Slowly but surely

March 13th, 2012 - Write a comment »

This blog is long overdue for a new post, but it’s not because I’ve been slacking off in the studio.  I’ve been busily working on five large paintings.  Each of them is rather complex and it is beginning to dawn on me that I was a bit too ambitious in my intention of completing them all by this spring.  As it is now, I’ll be happy to finish this one by April.

Starting out
A bit further along and the city begins to appear.