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Posts tagged as “art news”

Alix Lambert: Prison Soul and The Edge Of Daybreak

The work of multidisciplinary artist Alix Lambert often shines a light on the dark sides of life.  As a documentary filmmaker, visual artist, TV and film writer-producer, photographer, musician, animator and author, her focus spotlights loss, transformation of identity, the forgotten, social injustice, violence, death and societal perspectives in a world where tweets aim for shock value rather than shock at the world we live in. Enter Lambert, a prolific observer and storyteller who, in addressing crime, injustice and the dark side, also uncovers how we survive and flourish in the face of adversity and the unexpected.  

Her latest project, “The Edge of Daybreak,” a 2018 short film, tells an extraordinary yet obscure story of a prison soul band by the same name. We learn how their album, “Eyes of Love,” recorded on September 14, 1979 in the confines of the Powhatan Correction Center, rose from the band’s love of music, determination and creativity beyond prison walls. 

Lambert heard about this prison band while preparing a podcast episode she was producing about music in prison. The story didn’t end up in the podcast, but Lambert was still interested in developing it into a film. Without much B-Roll, or supplemental footage, to work with she was able to capture the flavor of the times, not only with the music itself but with archival stills, footage and graphics.

Lambert interviews James Carrington, the keyboardist and leader of the band, as he tells of the unlikely journey of the band members meeting at Powhatan, writing songs, finding a local producer and recording seven songs in a restricted, five hour time limit in the visiting room of the facility with guards standing stoic behind each of them. In only one take, the members of The Edge of Daybreak created a flawless recording of original songs the band wrote and sang together.  

This documentary takes twists and turns that shed light on Bohannon’s, a local record store that sent mail order records to prisoners, how Carrington’s work release program led to the renaming of that store to “Carrington’s” and the results of an encounter by Carrington in Virginia with a New York transplant, North Carolina native Jon Kirby, eventually resulted in the re-issuing of this classic record.

After being released from incarceration, Carrington returned to his community and roots in gospel music and is now a well-known, successful local entrepreneur. The other members, who have since been released, still live in the area and enjoy playing and singing on their own. “The Edge of Daybreak” recently premiered in Richmond, Virginia where the story, and its four main musicians are based, so that band members, Carrington, Cornelius “Neal” Cade, guitarist, Jamal Nubi, drummer, and Harry “Cupcake” Coleman, percussionist, could attend along with some of their family members and the local community.  

When asked what was the most surprising thing Lambert learned about the band members and the album while working on this film, she said, “Rather than surprised, I was amazed that the album was so extraordinary and beautiful, especially under the conditions in which it was made. I’m a big fan of the band.” She has plans to expand this story further.

Lambert grew up in Washington, D.C. and studied art at a high school magnet program where she recognized the power of making art. She left for New York City at age seventeen where she attended the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design. Her studies and art have taken her to many parts of the world. She has also lectured at numerous universities and has given a “TEDx Talk” on reaction to her film, “Mentor.”  

Lambert’s full-length feature documentaries include, “The Mark of Cain” (2000) about the language of tattoos in Russian Prisons; “Goodbye Fat Larry” about the murder of filmmaker Jon Pownall; and “Bayou Blue” (2011) about a serial killer in southwest Louisiana and “Mentor” (2014), her award-winning film about bullying and teenage suicide. Lambert has made a number of shorts, “Martha,” “Tiffany” and “Rabbits Among Them.”  She made her first film in 1997, a mockumentary about a female band in the vein of “Spinal Tap.” Her writing and directing credits include work for HBO, PBS and “This American Life She is also the author of a number of books. 

In the introduction of her book, “Crime,” Lambert addresses two traumatic events that crossed her own path early in life. When asked how these experiences influenced her direction depicting dark and difficult topics, and in what way have these traumatic incidents drawn her to the losses and injustices placed upon others and depicted in many of her works, Lambert responded, “To the extent that at an early age I was aware of paying attention in regard to people I loved, there is certainly an indirect relationship to the topics I choose.” 

The road taken by Lambert as a multidisciplinary artist is a rich and diverse one filled with its own unexpected twists and turns. Unlike those who approach with sensationalism the subject matter Lambert tackles, this artist remains fearless and determined to make us think beyond the shadows that are cast within the stories she tells. 

Ed Moses: Origins

 

 

Just about every artist in the Southern California region interviewed by Malibu Arts Journal has said they’ve been influenced by Ed Moses. He was a significant figure on the Los Angeles art scene since the late 50’s. His recent loss hurt the art community here.

“With his shock white mane and beard, Ed was a striking presence and familiar face on the LA arts scene he helped create,” said William Turner, owner of the Gallery that represents Moses.  “He was a force of nature, whose loss will be deeply felt by all who knew, loved and revered him. It has been a tremendous honor to have worked with him so closely and actively in his final years.”

In his early years, Ed Moses was identified with what was later known as “the Cool School” of artists, which emergedfrom the Beat aesthetic of the 1950’s. This group primarily consisted of artists known as The Ferus Gang: Moses, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Craig Kaufman, Edward Kienholz, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, John Altoon and Wallace Berman. They were the first generation of post-WWII artists who rose to prominence between the years 1957 – 1966 at the Ferus Gallery under owners Walter Hopps and later Irving Blum. Moses’ path to this group began about 10 years earlier with an unlikely encounter.

“Ed had been with the Medical Corps when he was in the Navy. Afterward, he thought he might want to become a doctor, which led to taking pre-med classes at Long Beach City College. But it wasn’t taking. He was having difficulty doing the math and memorizing,” said Turner in an interview late in March at his gallery. “Someone suggested that he take an art course. They talked about this kind of crazy bohemian guy, Pedro Miller, who ran the art department. Ed said his first impression of the guy was of him arriving in an old beat-up Willy’s jeep. It had a kind of canvas top, with everything flopping around as he sped into the parking lot. They had these telephone poles laid down as dividers, which he used to bump to a stop. The doors flew open, and out stepped this guy like the Grand Marshall – a total character. Ed said he thought, ‘Hmmmm, that guy is interesting.’”

Turner sat back in his chair relaxed in his gallery surrounded by Moses’ huge works of art on the wall. His hands helped tell the story of the flopping canvas and Moses’ reactions to Miller.

“Ed went to his first art class, where Miller began to discuss copies of Cézannes, Van Goghs and Picassos that leaned on a shelf around the room. Ed was intrigued. Then Miller set up a still life and said, “Now we’re all going to make a painting.” Ed really wasn’t sure what to do. As Pedro Miller came around to each of the students, he knew he had to do something. Sort of out of exasperation, he dipped his fingers in the paint and did this whole thing with his fingers,” said Turner, gesturing with his hands. “Pedro took that painting, and he brought it up to the head of the class. He put it on an easel, and said, ‘I want you all to see something. That’s a real artist.’ Afterward, Ed started to get a reputation as the talented artist in the group, who they nicknamed Picasso.”

Ed always spoke of this as a defining, pivotal moment in his life, one that opened the possibility of being an artist.

“After a somewhat circuitous period, Moses enrolled in the graduate art program at UCLA, where he met and became friends with Craig Kaufman. Kaufman introduced Ed to Walter Hopps, who had just opened the Ferus Gallery,” said Turner. “Walter put Ed into the first group show at Ferus in 1957 and then offered Moses a solo show at Ferus, comprised of the work that was also to be in Ed’s graduate show at UCLA.


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This created some small controversy with the faculty, who felt like Ed had crossed some sort of line by showing his work off campus at a commercial gallery. This early recognition led Moses to this group of artists who would become life-long friends and form the core of the emergent contemporary art scene in Los Angeles.”

It’s difficult to imagine today, but there was almost no art scene in the 1950s, except for the burgeoning film industry. There were surfers, Bohemians and beatniks. According to the film The Cool School, by Emmy Award Winning Director Morgan Neville and narrated by Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisor’s even banned Art Fairs as a form of communism. The powerful New York art scene thought we were just a desert wasteland. Little did they know we were soon to become the Wild West of the art world. That’s when Ferus Gallery and the Cool School came along. Ferus is the latin word for wild. This gallery was located behind Streeter Blair’s antique shop at 736 La Cienega in Los Angeles, an area better known today as West Hollywood. It was on what soon became known as Gallery Row.

“The Ferus Gallery was an artist driven gallery,” said Turner. “They were very involved with deciding amongst each other who was to be in the group of artists represented by Ferus, and who might not make the cut. Amazingly, Richard Diebenkorn was one such artist who didn’t make the cut! If you look at their work from that time, they were all doing pretty different types of work. It wasn’t like they were pulled together by a certain style where you could say they were the Abstract Expressionists, or Pop Artists. It was more about an attitude.”


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Although no real market for their work existed, it did have a benefit – It gave them tremendous freedom to explore – to really find their voices as artists. As John Baldessari once said, “Since no one was buying, I decided to make work that appealed to me, without regard for “the market.”

“What drove them more than anything, I think, was the sensibility that anything was possible,” said Turner. “That there were new ways of thinking about art and experience, new materials coming into play that leant themselves to making bold new moves, simultaneously supporting and competing with one another. You try and outdo someone not by besting them at something they were already doing but by taking even more of a leap in your own work, in accordance with your own

 

sensibilities, but in a way that would knock people’s socks off.”

ED MOSES AND THE FERUS GANG

“The Ferus artists all shared a very California sensibility. They weren’t looking over their shoulders to art history, or New York or Europe. There was a real sense of pushing the boundaries, finding new materials and modes of expression. That led to incredible breakthroughs in how the artists approached their work. A lot of the artists became known for somewhat signature styles. Kienholz was an Assemblage artist, with a lot of social commentary,” said Turner. “Kenny Price elevated ceramics from craft to really a fine art that had a tremendous sculptural sensibility and playfulness. Billy Al Bengston was abstracting elements from motorcycles into mind blowing new forms. Craig Kauffman explored this new material resin, and made these unusual shapes, employing color, but in a sculptural sense. And so on down the line.”

These influential men impacted the art world here with an explosion of visionary works that enabled artists to express themselves in radical new ways. Ferus created an art epicenter, a hotbed for free expression. It was a small storefront with a large sign and window. Ferus first came into the spotlight when the Hollywood vice squad raided what was the first and last in his lifetime solo exhibition for Wallace Berman following a complaint about “lewd material.” These men, including Moses, created a persona for themselves with signs like, “Ferus Gallery Presents As A Public Service The Studs: Moses, Irwin, Price, Bengston.”

 

In its nine year lifetime, Ferus held important exhibitions for major east coast art stars as well, namely Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd and Frank Stella. Andy Warhol had his first solo show at Ferus in 1962, exhibiting the famous Campbell’s soup cans for the first time. Then there were others on the scene like John Baldessari, Dennis Hopper, Frank Gehry, Joe Goode, Tony Berlant, and feminists artists like Vija Celmins.

Kienholz ran the store during the day and used it as a studio. According to Peter Goulds, Founding Director of LA Louver in his work Kienhholz Before LACMA, Hopps was an autodidact intellectual, very much into art history and had connections with Cubist and Dadaist Marcel Duchamp, contemporary collecting interests and the Arensberg Family Collection, and with the emerging young Los Angeles collectors of that era.

After Hopps and Kienholz parted ways, Ferus Gallery was in the red and changed hands to Irving Blum, who was a smooth personality and groomed Ferus and the LA art scene until the gallery got out of the red.  Blum took the gallery from a loose knit group of beatniks and molded them into a competitive and brilliant group of artists that brought about the commercialization of the LA art scene. History says there was much lost and much gained in that process. Blum ran the gallery until its closure in 1966.

“What Ed did, his unique path, was very different. He was very iconoclastic, as they all were, but early on he explored mark making to an intense and unusual degree,” said Turner. “If you look at his early graphite drawings in the sixties, made at a time when pop art imagery, primary color, large bold eye-catching works were taking hold, you see that Moses was headed in a very different direction.

He was doing these works on paper with graphite, not using huge amounts of color. But they were remarkable. You can feel the intense pressure of the graphite onto, and into the paper, almost like he was trying to push through to the other side! There is one very well-known series of huge graphite drawings of dense rose patterns, inspired by a tablecloth that he and his wife, Avilda, found when they were in Tijuana. That


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pattern interested him. You get this sense of curiosity from these pieces, a sense that he was asking, how far could you push that idea and find something that was magical by doing something to an unusual degree, very intensely and with a laser focus.

“A lot of that early work of his seems counterintuitive to that macho bluster that these guys all had. You had these very intense, very intricate, delicate, monochromatic works on paper that were in some instances somewhat intimate in scale. You can see when you look at the arc of Ed’s career, he was really exploring, and pushing through from the familiar to get to another dimension with the material. That became a hallmark of his work throughout the rest of his career – pushing the


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possibilities of his materials.

“As a Buddhist practitioner since 1978, Moses was very much about being in the moment when he was making artwork. He would make a very spontaneous move, see what happened on the canvas and respond to that. It became this dance, which he described by the phrase “chance and circumstance”. He was incorporating the skill and intention of the artist while embracing the chance and circumstance of the gesture, staying always in the moment and responding without preconception.”

Moses has consistently defied definition over the course of his career. He was intrigued with the metaphysical power of painting and embraced the temporality, process and presses, remarking that “the point is not to be in control, but to be in tune.” He preferred the simple descriptive mark maker, or painter rather than artist.

 

“He referred to himself as a mutator,” said Turner. “He was continually evolving, mutating, as his focus changed from one area of exploration to the next. For Ed, the act of painting wasn’t about self-expression, it was about discovery, to reach a place you haven’t been to before. He hated the term artist, or being the idea of being creative, as though you’ve got this preconceived idea, and you’re going to use your ‘special talent’ to share your ‘creativity’ with the world. For Ed, it was just the opposite. It was about curiosity. Going through this process of painting and mark making to find and share the magic.”

“Ed was a fan of Lewis Carroll and Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentinian writer. Both writers played with the notion of altered realities, slipping into other dimensions. Ed often spoke of wanting his work to transport the viewer to the other side of the looking glass, to a different reality and perspective,” said Turner. “Borges had this notion of labyrinths, shifting perspectives and magic realism as well. I spoke to Ed one time about his process, in this context. I said that it often seemed his approach as he began painting, was to dive deep into the heart of the labyrinth, purposely seeking disorientation in search of the unexpected, and that the painting that resulted was the process of finding his way back out of the labyrinth, but somewhere else from where he started. He loved that notion.”

“Ed Moses was more in the moment than anyone I’ve ever met”, Turner said. He would dive into a painting without preconception, without hesitation. Writers will talk about the intimidation of the blank page. Ed would dive into that blank canvas, then respond to what is happening, and the painting would evolve as a dance like that. What’s fascinating is that along with that spontaneity, there is this very sophisticated level of elegant decision making. He’s taking chances but there’s a delicate balance. For me, it’s that same feeling I get watching a figure skater performing with elegance and pure freedom, but you know at any moment they could lose that balance and fall on their ass. That’s what his paintings feel like to me. He’s taking those kinds of risks.”

For over 60 years Moses worked in what others might term Abstract Expressionism. He was a highly productive mark maker. Even into his 90’s, he was still actively painting daily outdoors at his Venice studio and attending numerous exhibitions.

 

Moses’ made decades long friendships in the art world with Gehry, Berlant, Celmins, Alexis Smith, Goode and James Hayward.

“In the LA Times obituary for Ed, Frank Gehry spoke of how Ed inspired him, and others, to take chances in their work. That was his attitude,” said Turner. “Frank spoke about Ed as really inspiring him to think outside the box, to ‘step into the unknown.’ Frank and Ed were very close friends. Ed was the first one of the Ferus group to meet Frank and brought Frank into that group. Gehry talks often about how being amongst that group really had huge impact on his willingness to explore new materials and new approaches, to take chances and risks. If you want to talk about Ed creating a movement that you call stylistic, I would say no. He was too Iconoclastic in that sense. Did he inspire an attitude, and set the bar in terms of willingness to take risks and to always move to new unexplored territories? Yes, he was very influential in that sense.”

FINISH FETISH AND LIGHT & SPACE

Some historical records indicate the Ferus Gallery brought about the Finish Fetish and Light and Space movements for the groundbreaking works the artist were doing, and others contradict these reports. Turner has interviewed and in many cases worked directly with the artists from the Ferus Gang. Malibu Arts Journal asked this question to Turner to set the historical record straight.

“No, I don’t think you can say that Ferus was the catalyst. It sort of evolved. Finish Fetish, where did the term come from? A few LA artists began working with materials similar to those utilized in custom car and surf culture, where the surfaces were highly polished and refined – think custom paint jobs, high gloss, plastic and resin. Artists had an increasing respect for the work being done with these materials and the visual effects they generated, in their work and in the car and surf culture. Artists like Billy Al Bengston, Craig Kaufman, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, John McCraken, De Wain Valentine, Peter Alexander, Fred Eversly picked up on these materials and this sensibility. They were also expanding the notion of what it means to think of someone as an artist.


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There’s a great story about Robert Irwin taking a New York art critic out to the valley to see this car guy who Irwin thought was fantastic and every bit as much an artist as Irwin and his compatriots were. The critic saw it and said ‘I disagree, I don’t think that’s the case.’ Irwin stopped the car, told the critic to get out, and just left the guy by the side of the road in the valley.”

Finish Fetish came about in the 1960’s and was specific to the southern California art scene. It’s an LA look. Light and Space relates in some ways to Finish Fetish and is loosely used to describe work that began being made in LA in the early 70s. The highly polished, reflective and translucent surfaces utilized in works we think of as Finish Fetish, began to be utilized less as objects in themselves, but more as catalytic vehicles to excite and broaden our senses of perception. How light reflected off, or moved through, the art object could enhance our perceptual sense of the space in which it existed. Artists like Irwin, James Turrell, and Doug Wheeler really extended this notion, such that the idea of “art object” and “art as object” gave way to the directed perception of light and space, where entire rooms became the “art object”, or more correctly, the art object disappeared as a meaningful description of what one was perceiving.

“Ed did a very famous piece early on at Riko Mizuno’s Gallery that illustrates this idea. This is post Ferus. She told him


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he could do anything he wanted. Ed said you mean I could even take the roof off the gallery? She said yeah, we just can’t let my landlord find out. He left the beams of the roof intact but took the rest of the roof off. The light coming through created these shadow lines from the beams in diagonal patterns on the wall which the moved down and across the floor and up the other wall as the sun changed. And who helped Ed build that out? James Turrell! Who knows exactly the degree to which that may have influenced Turrell’s later trajectory. There’s always a lot of cross-pollination.”

 

THE FERUS GANG LATER IN LIFE:

“I did a talk about a year ago with Ed Moses, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.  Robert Irwin was hoping to come but couldn’t in the end.  Seeing them all together on stage, which you can see on YouTube, says it all in terms of the playful competitiveness and support they still give each other,” said Turner. “That kind of support for each other began in those early days when there wasn’t a lot of outside support, so it came from within and between them and has continued to this day. They all make a point to go to each other’s openings and when Ed died, they were all there to say good-bye. I find that an inspiration for me in my life.”

When asked if Ed was a feminist, Turner replied, “He loved women.”
ED MOSES EXHIBITION AND TALK

April 4th there will be an exhibition and talk of Ed Moses’ work at William Turner Gallery’s satellite, LIFT SPACE, in Playa Vista next to the new Hal’s restaurant, from 6-8 PM. Cocktails & Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Entrance 145 Runway Drive, Playa Vista. The Ed Moses exhibition runs through April 30th.

Gallery hours 12-5 Tue-Sat

RSVP to SAVANNAH:​  TURNERGALLERY@GMAIL.COM 

William Turner Artists Talk with Ed Moses, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston

WILLIAM TURNER ARTISTS TALK

Between Fact & Fiction: A Q&A With Marcus Jansen

The Judge by Marcus Jansen

By Rick Paulas & Editor Kriss Perras

rickpaulas@gmail.com , editor@topanga-journal.com

Approaching one of Marcus Jansen’s canvasses is like getting your bearings after having your brain rattled by a near explosion.

The chaotic colorful strokes that make up the landscape, the dominant force in any Jansen work, lends itself to momentary squints of confusion. It’s only when the viewer latches onto some familiar object—a hand, a ball, a butterfly, a Dalmatian—that they begin to piece together the work. It’s only then you realize that what you’re seeing isn’t some surreal fever dream, but rather a frenzied form of real-life documentation trying to make sense of the world.

This act of documentation is vital to understanding Jansen’s work. In the John Scoular-directed film, Marcus Jansen Examine and Report, the artist is quoted as saying, “painting is the most intimate act of war.” It’s a point-of-view born out of his years serving with the U.S. Armed Forces, including a tour in Operation Desert Storm. Jansen’s art is a way for him to investigate the world around him, cohere it into a presentation, and exhibit the facts of the situation to the audience. Jansen, born 1968 in Manhattan, New York, was first inspired in his teen years by New York graffiti artist WEST Rubinstein, aka WEST ONE after an introduction of the two. This influence is evident even today in Jansen’s work.

Jansen is currently on tour in Germany and Austria, and his exhibit entitled Obscure Line Between Fact and Fiction is now on display at The Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco. We spoke to Jansen about his work.

 

Q&A

MAJ: What is your process?

MARCUS: My process starts with vague ideas or feeling about a subject that are inspired by everyday events, mostly in connection to global subjects or, at times, biographical information of myself that merges with contemporary life. I gather the general material I choose for that day, and then begin using paint and other tools to construct an impulsive, and usually critical, painterly response on canvas.

MAJ: How did you become a painter?

MARCUS: I started discovering that I had an excess amount of energy to use paint to express myself maybe at six years old, when I had my first painting shown and selected for a NYC exhibition at the Lever House in Manhattan. It became clear to me that this was something one could actually do and communicate with.

MAJ: Who and what are your influences?

MARCUS: I had many early influences, staring with the graffiti art movement in New York City. Since we lived in the city in the 60s and 70s, it was something I observed and watched grow into a world art form. Later, when we moved to Germany, I watched the American abstract expressionists and expressive painters that were there.

MAJ: What does the Examine and Report tour entail?

MARCUS: The museum show in Milano is titled Decade, which is the title of my book by Skira Editore in Milano released in 2016. We have the U.S. tour and the European tour, both include different paintings from the last ten to twenty years. The European tour is falling under the first German publication title Aftermath by Hirmer Verlag. Each exhibition is titled, differently as the selection changes based on space. These are all first mid-career retrospectives.

MAJ: How did you start the series Faceless and why?

MARCUS: I started it in 2011 as a protest or sarcasm to a new system we are in that’s been described by scholars like Noam Chomsky, and recent university studies on oligarchy or elite society, that’s faceless and invisible. I started to investigate anonymity and secrecy by blurring out faces of shady business characters, but it continued in to a large investigation of mankind at large, and where real power lies.

MAJ: Can you explain the painting from your series titled “Cyber Surveillance on Wasteland?”

MARCUS: I generally reject explaining pieces that’s why I paint them. It’s the viewer’s job to get engaged in his or her own way, and adding any explanation is like adding French to the Chinese language for people from China. But this painting was inspired by the overwhelming surveillance increase in the United States and globally over the last decade. The painting was painted in 2009, before anyone knew who Edward Snowden was.

MAJ: Why did you become a painter?

MARCUS: It’s the only thing I wanted to do after eight years in the military service, a very regimented and dictating environment for those that join. It helped me understand that I preferred being free, but I also realized it was a way to serve in social terms as well even though I have always painted for myself. Painters often paint because we choose this medium as a form of communication. It’s broader and you don’t have to speak in normal vocabulary terms using sounds to express yourself you just show the work.

 

MARCUS JANSEN’S WORLD TOUR 2018:

First German Museum mid-career survey at Museum Zitadelle Berlin February 10-April 15, 2018
www.zitadelle-Berlin.de

Marcus Jansen Examine and Report by John Scoular:  http://www.marcusjansenthemovie.com

Casper Brindle: Finish Fetish and Light & Space

Heather Fuller & Kriss Perras

Using airbrush, auto paints, resin and wood, Casper Brindle creates infinite horizons in evocative suggestions of land and sea.

 

Q&A

TJ: What are the Finish Fetish and Light and Space art movements, and how are you connected to this group of West Coast artists?

Kriss Perras, Publisher & Editor Malibu Arts Journal

By Kriss Perras

BRINDLE: Finish Fetish and Light and Space are art movements that were born in Southern California in the 1960s, in direct response to the culture, environment and geography of the region. Artists of the time, James Turrell, Craig Kauffman, Robert Irwin, to name a few, began working with new materials – light, both natural and artificial, industrial plastics, glass – to engage the viewer’s perception and experience of the work in innovative ways. Growing up in West Los Angeles, and being immersed in the unique light of California definitely influenced my work in the way it influenced the artists working in the 60s and 70s, I imagine. There’s something about the light here that is like no place else. On a technical level, I use similar materials – resin, automotive paints – to capture the effects of light with pure color.

 

TJ: Your paintings seem to be inspired by Rothko. What makes your art uniquely a Casper Brindle?

 

BRINDLE: There are similarities to Rothko’s work, in that color is the primary imagery, and it’s used to elicit emotional responses from the viewer. There is a spiritual or mystical quality to my paintings that I think relates to what Rothko was doing. My work is specific to my own experiences though, and the way I organize the picture plane, as well as the materials I use, are a departure from Rothko and other color-field painters. I use high-end, shimmering automotive paints and acrylics applied in layers of fine airbrush sprays, that shift and transform, sometimes dramatically, as the viewer moves around them. I’ve spent most of my free time in the ocean, staring into infinite horizons and these experiences have affected my work profoundly. I’m endlessly fascinated by refraction, and the spectrum of colors created by the sun traversing the sky as light meets water.

“Finish Fetish and Light and Space are art movements that were born in Southern California in the 1960s, in direct response to the culture, environment and geography of the region. “

TJ: What are your influences and inspirations?

 

BRINDLE: I find inspiration and influence everywhere, consciously and sub-consciously, whether its music, art, architecture, science, literature and beyond. I believe inspiration and influence can come from anywhere.

 

TJ: How did you get involved with working with Light and Space artist Eric Orr?

 

BRINDLE: I was actually introduced to him through my father who is an architect. We all had lunch at Hals, and he was looking for an assistant. I showed him my work and started working for him shortly after.

 

TJ: You recently exhibited at William Turner Gallery. What can you tell us about that show?

 

BRINDLE: In addition to my color-shifting Strata paintings, that exhibition is debuted a new body of work that I’m really excited about. In early 2017, the gallery showed my Aura paintings for the first time, and the new paintings for this 2018 show have evolved from those. I wanted to bring color into these works. The Aura paintings were very reductive, monochrome, white pearl on panel, and explore what effects that would have on the viewer, see how color would transform the reading of the painting. They are done on linen, so even the way the paint interacts with the surface is different. At the center of each piece is an enigmatic, metallic bar from which the color radiates across the picture plane. Though the central forms are simple, they have an otherworldly quality. I’m careful to leave interpretation up to those who view the work, but to me, these pieces have a sort of secular sacredness, something that hopefully transports the viewer and helps them tap into another state of perception.

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Exhibition Of The Year: Robert Berman Gallery 35th Anniversary

The internationally acclaimed Robert Berman Gallery has announced it is hosting its 35th Anniversary in conjunction with Bergamot Station’s 20th Anniversary in Santa Monica. Exhibiting throughout the fall will be a four month, rotating sampling of artists and artworks presented at one of their seven different locations.

For the uninitiated, the gallery began in 1979 with their first solo artist exhibition with local artist Zox, reports the gallery in its announcement.

In the 1980’s the gallery was one of the first galleries in Los Angeles to exhibit, in mass, Chicano street artists and muralists. Exhibiting in the 35th Anniversary exhibition is Chicano muralist and painter John Valadez, also the premier artist for the gallery’s January 2015 exhibition.

Also featured as a sampling of the gallery’s three 1990’s seminal shows are: Man Ray: Paris – LA, Concrete and Buckshot: The Works of William S. Burroughs and George Herms: Beat Bar, all of which were presented at the time in collaboration with the also internationally acclaimed Track 16 Gallery. Take a step back to Santa Monica on the 29th of August in 1996. Track 16 Gallery was still at Bergamot Station. Art was different than today. What we would call transition then is staple today. Man Ray, well, Man Ray was Man Ray, modernist then and today.

“In a monumental and unprecedented collaborative effort, Track 16 Gallery and Robert Berman Gallery will present a landmark exhibition of work by Man Ray. Entitled Man Ray: Paris~LA, the exhibition spans this quintessential modernist’s entire 50-year art making career, and includes the first ever in-depth look at the decade Man Ray lived in Southern California,” the press release of the time stated. “Man Ray: Paris~LA opens at the combined Track 16 and Robert Berman gallery spaces at Bergamot Station on Saturday, September 21st and runs through January 31, 1997. A fully illustrated catalogue published by Smart Art Press will accompany the exhibition.”

In the spirit of Dada and Surrealism, Man Ray has said he created works of art designed to “amuse, annoy, bewilder, mystify [and] inspire reflection,” states the press release.

There were some 200 works of art at that exhibition. It featured objects, paintings, sculpture, chess sets, drawings, prints and other ephemera from the heirs of Man Ray’s beloved wife, Juliet, as well as unique and eccentric works from his personal collection that amply testify to his genius.

“If there is one area in the arts in which Man Ray has left an indelible mark it is in photography. Starting with his experiments in Paris in 1921-22, Man Ray has consistently pushed the formal and imaginative boundaries of photography into the outer limits of creative expression. Man Ray: Paris~LA includes a stunning array of the artist’s work from his portraits of the star-studded intellectual firmament of Europe and Los Angeles, to snapshots of Juliet and friends dressing up and clowning for the camera. The exhibition offers not only the formal images for which his photographic oeuvre is known, but also a glimpse into his intimate world where playfulness and amusement (the hallmarks of Man Ray’s work) reign,” the two galleries stated in their announcement at that time.

Concrete and Buckshot: The Works of William S. Burroughs. He lived from 1914 – 1997. He was a writer and artist in many media. More than all of this, he was a primary figure of the beat movement.

“Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac were key figures in his life and early literary career,” The October Gallery writes of Burroughs. “Brion Gysin was fundamental to Burroughs’ artistic development and shared with him such techniques as the ‘cut-up’, calligraphy, and painting with an engraved wallpaper roller. Other important collaborators include Keith Haring, Robert Rauschenberg, George Condo, Philip Taaffe, Antony Balch, Ian Sommerville, Robert Wilson, Tom Waits, and Kurt Cobain…[He is] featured in over fifty international galleries and museums including Royal Academy of the Arts, Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art. “

George Herms: Beat Bar. Herms is a beat era icon and assemblage artist, a legend in Topanga Canyon and the art world alike.

“The youngest of the “Beat” generation of artists who were part of the Ferus “gang” in the late 1950s, including John Altoon, Billy Al Bengston, Wallace Berman, Craig Kaufman, Ed Kienholz and Ken Price,” reports Tobey C. Moss Gallery in Los Angeles. “He embarked upon a career as an artist after seeing Wallace Berman’s work at the legendary Ferus Gallery. George assisted in the hanging of Berman’s famous Semina show (in which Berman was arrested for displaying “lewd” works), and was moved by the way Berman was able to turn an art gallery into a temple. Berman became a mentor to Herms; George’s first exhibition in 1957 was a “secret exhibition” attended only by Berman and Walter Hopps (co-founder, with Ed Kienholz, of the Ferus Gallery.”

A few more samplings of some very well known artists such as Bill Barminski, Raymond Pettibon, Dennis Hopper and John Colao are also included in this 35th Anniversary Exhibition:

Dennis Hopper is a legend in both the world of film and art.

 “Actor/director Dennis Hopper came to fame with 1969’s Easy Rider. Later films like Blue Velvet and River’s Edge cemented his legend,” writes Biography.com “In addition to his talent with film and video, Hopper was a respected photographer, having photos that appeared in various museums and galleries…He also amassed a large modern art collection.”

The turn of the Century saw even further advancement for this seemingly small gallery with a huge impact of the art world. The space exhibited Alex Prager’s first solo exhibition Polyester, which helped stir a groundswell for her artwork, assisting in her propulsion into the international scene.

Prager is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker. She has a noir style in her photography reminiscent of Hitchcock, Lynch, Buñuel and the other classic masters of that style. She uses saturated colors to accentuate the sexual in her work, most especially the feminist side of sexuality. Prager’s photographs are in permanent collections at several major museums, including: the Museum of Modern Art New York (MoMA); the Whitney Museum of American Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunsthaus Zurich; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; among others. Prager has in a very short time made her mark on the world of photography.

Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French were another phenomenal exhibition during 2008, a great year for the gallery. The space really hit their stride during this year. It was one phenomenal exhibition after another. Charbonneau and French exhibited their works entitled Massillon. The pair have an ephemeral quality to their work in a Goth mode. Even their works this six years later still have that unparalleled Goth quality to them.

 In addition to Prager and Charbonneau and French, the gallery also exhibited Will Rise featuring the works of TheSeventhLettter, Rock Paper Scissor (Featuring: Raymond Pettibon, Daniel Johnston, Ron English, Thurston Moore, Gibby Haynes), Vagos Y Reinas (Retna & The Mac), the album covers of Shepard Fairey, Charles Brittin: Vintage Photographs, Transformation the works of Robert Heinecken and Victor Landweber, Paid to Play Illustrating LA (which featured: Charles White III, Dave Willardson, Bob Zoell, Mark Ryden, Todd Schorr), Just Occupy – Ted Soqui, Shepard Fairey, Christopher Felver on the LA Occupy Movement.

Covering this span of the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s, Robert Berman Gallery will present artworks by the following artists in this 35th Anniversary exhibition September 13 – December 20, 2014:

Magaret Adachi, Nick Agid, Carlo Alfonzo, Carlos Almaraz, Herb Alpert, Bill Anthony, Sol Aquino, Kenneth Aronson, Bill Barminski, Jonathan Bickart, Lauren Bon, Hugh Brown, Gomez Bueno, William Burroughs, Clayton Campbell, Ray Cesar, Long-Bin Chen, Jean Clemmer with Salvador Dali, Guy de Cointet, John Colao, Robbie Conal, Robert Sean Coons, Ronnie Cutrone, Jill D’Agnenica, Sarah Danays, Stephen Douglas, Richard Duardo, Jorg Dubin, Britt Ehringer, Carl Michael Von Hausswolff & Leif Elggren, Ibsen Espanda, Ivan Fayard, Christopher Felver, Marc Fichou, Max Finkelstein, Mr. Fish, Andrew Foster, Jeff Charbonneau & Eliza French, Gregg French, Steven Friedman, Simone Gad, Margaret Garcia, Ron Garrigues, Andrew George, Gregg Gibbs, Jeffery Gold, Josh Graham, Cameron Gray, Tyson Grumm, Christina Hale, Stephen Hannock, Irene Hardwicke-Olivieri, Keith Haring, George Herms, Dennis Hopper, Brad Howe, Res Ingold (Ingold Airlines), Sharon Johnson-Tennant, Alex Jordanov, Daniel Kaufman, Scott Kilgor, Serge Kliaving, Leonard Koscianski, Joyce Kozloff, Zara Krigstein, Charles La Belle, Joe Lewis, Leo Limon, Antonio Lopez, Gilbert Magu Lujan, Lauren Marsolier, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Rudy Martinez, Dennis Mukai, Yarg Noremac, Manuel Ocampo, Onesto, Eric Orr, Jason Peters, Gugger Petter, Raymond Pettibon, Nathan Phelps, Pierre Picot, Vanessa Prager, Man Ray, Eric Raymond, Louis Renzoni, RETNA, Victor Reyes, Ellwood T. Risk, Michael Roberts, Michelle Roberts, Frank Romero, John Rose, Christine Rusche, Marla Rutherford, Saber, Dana Sederowsky, Paul Serra, Rob Setrakian, Julius Shulman, Paul Sierra, Philip Slagter, Gerald Slota, Marischa Slusarski, Rena Small, Ted Soqui, Don Sorenson, May Sun, Ben Talbert, Neal Taylor, Elizabeth Tinglof, Eloy Torres, David Trulli, Kent Twitchell, John Valadez, Beril Vallien, Alison Van Pelt, Ewoud Van Rijn, Stephen Verona. Dietrich Wegner, Ray Charles White, Norton Wisdom, Chin Chin Wu, Richard Wyatt, Jody Zellen, Jack Zoltak, Liu Zheng and many others.

Exhibition Information: September 13 – December 20, 2014, Robert Berman Gallery At Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90404, B7 Tel: 310.315.1937, Fax: 310.315.9688, info@robertbermangallery.com Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-6pm.

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