Greetings from the studio.
I hope you and yours are well.
I’m happy to share some good news, as part of Coney Island’s Congress of Curious Peoples, my prints will be included in Cannonball Press’ Print Arcade, an affordable art fair offering prints for under $100. What a deal. Come down and put some of my work on your walls!
Saturday April 15th and Sunday April 16th, from 12:00 – 6:00 PM
The Shooting Gallery Art Annex
1214 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224
On the studio wall
I began this year with over a dozen large canvases primed and ready for me to get to work. Over the years I have come to accept that there is a fluidity and plurality that makes it easy for me to work simultaneously on drawings, prints, ceramics, sculpture and painting. I suspect that most folks know my work in ceramics and perhaps in print, but I have always painted. In fact, I got an MFA in painting, and it’s this thing that has been a mainstay in my studio. I find painting to be slower, and a space where all my ideas culminate into; where my love of graphic drawing collides with narratives that collapse into abstraction. I just love it. Lately I have been mining a series of sketch books I’ve kept over the past three years, and moving some of these thumbnail compositions of dreamy landscapes and peculiar portraits into painterly wrestling matches with color, and sense. What are you working on? You might ask… A series of paintings with split compositions, this one below is loosely titled “Back Yard Camping.”
No Wave on Avenue A
This month, I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for my teenaged trade in mixed tapes that my friends and I exchanged, each of us always trying to one up each other with the most obscure, elaborate, and fantastic sound track for our lives back in the 1980s. Here is an assemblage of some of that music which played on my “walk man,” as well as some newer stuff. Much of it heard in clubs like the Pyramid Club, the World, Danceteria, etc. Enjoy
Sketches may seem incidental, maybe even old-school in the face of artificial intelligence, but I still draw every day. I started drawing when I was quite young, long before I learned to read. I stumbled through my early education, dodging the consequences of dyslexia, by learning to draw intuitively, and to sight-read music as a member of the boy’s choir in my church. It took some time, but I eventually managed to unlock that puzzle of language and reading. I do still think visually before I put ideas into words. One early use of drawing was a means of play with my older brother Brooke. The television which only had three channels back then, plus a fuzzy signal for something called UHF. Invariably the idiot box as my father referred to it, was turned off by my mother. She would hand Brooke and I some art materials. We would both flop onto the carpet in front of the grey screen each with a large sheet of paper and pencils. Brooke would draw a horizontal line that would become the cross section of a city, and as the tag-along little brother, I would do the same, he would draw a wall, and I would draw a tank, he would draw a mine field, and I would draw a tunnel, he would draw a fortress, I would draw an airplane, and so on. It always would descend into a spectacular battle with sound affects emitted from little boys, howling with laughter.
Thinking about these imaginative playthings, I am reminded of the architect/artist/designer Ettore Sottsass who produced a series of simple pencil drawings of symbolic cities that depict a utopian landscape in 1973, probably around the same year that Brooke and I would make our battle drawings. The Vietnam war was raging on and war was in the air. It’s probably why the TV got turned off.
“Concerned with the deterioration of urban life, Sottsass used the series The Planet as Festival to depict a utopian land where all of humanity is free from work and social conditioning. In his futuristic vision, goods are free, abundantly produced, and distributed around the globe. Liberated from banks, supermarkets, and subways, individuals can “come to know by means of their bodies, their psyche, and their sex, that they are living,” he said. According to his ideas, once consciousness has been reawakened, technology could be used to heighten self-awareness, and life would be in harmony with nature.”1 Reflecting the counterculture of his time, Sottsass illustrated these ideas as cities and buildings.
Ettore Sottsass, The Planet as Festival: Study for Temple for Erotic Dances, project (Aerial perspective and plan), 1972–1973 MoMA
Join me for a workshop
This spring I’ll be teaching with Greenwich House Pottery on Tuesday evenings 6-9:45pm AND I’ll be leading a series of studio visits and exhibitions on Wednesday afternoons from 2-4pm in NYC exploring ceramics.
Classes start the week of 5 April 2023.
I will also be teaching a throwing workshop in Brooklyn with ArtShack on Fridays 5-7pm, class starts on May 5, 2023 – Jun 23, 2023. It’ll be fun. Drop by this great community studio and make some pots with us.
This spring Greenwich House Pottery has asked me to lead a new class Out On The Town, a study group of art and ceramics enthusiasts. We will be visiting artists’ studios and exhibitions in New York City. We began last week with a visit to several gallery exhibitions including a solo exhibition of Zachary Leener’s new ceramic sculptures titled “Clock, go inside a stone,” on view until April 22, 2023. Go see it. It’s a wonderful collection of wacky forms, reminiscent of baby prams (the artist and his wife are new parents, according to Henry, the gallery associate who was kind enough to talk to our group, Thanks for your hospitality Henry!). Leener’s work has a unique visual vocabulary that includes a sculptor’s attention to interior and exterior form, surface, color and texture. His use of inclusions are a delight and surprise when you get up close. His haptic sensibility and simplified silhouettes remind me of some of the cartoonish forms of late Phillip Guston, as well as more obvious influences such as fellow west coast ceramists Ron Nagle and Ken Price. Go see this show before it closes.
Clock, go inside a stone
Derek Eller Gallery
300 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002
BTW, the easter bunny is a drag queen
In light of all the anti gay, anti trans, anti woman, anti choice, right wing crypto fascist crap-fest happening in the united states, I’ll defer to Lady Bunny at Wigstock.