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Work zone, reduce speed

IMG_4867

This studio of mine is humming with work right now, which is why it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. I have a backlog of about a dozen posts I want to write, including a long conversation I had with Jim Mott recently, as well as an assortment of random thoughts, some long overdue praise for a long-gone Thiebaud exhibit I saw at Aquavella,  and hopefully something about the fine new show of quasi-Tonalist contemporary work at Oxford Gallery right now, if I can pull away from painting long enough to focus on this blog. I’m almost done with work for my two-person show in March at Oxford, but still have plenty left to do–slowly and steadily–which generates a bit of anxiety as time grows short and the work proceeds at its own insistently careful pace. I’m loving the work though.

I’m also going to do a series of posts in reaction to my impulse purchase of The Birth of Tragedy, through the Kindle app on my tablet. I’ve been devouring it over the past few days. It’s an incredible book, very short and dense with original thought, and it’s hard to believe it’s so early in Nietzsche’s career, his first published work. The thinking is so subtle and complex, and the compression of his thinking reads like something from late in a philosopher’s career. In it, he questioned the role of science long before it became clear that technology could actually replace human beings, as it appears ready to do, and he went back to Greek tragedy to find a creative focus around which he could cluster glancing insights into art, philosophy and religion–in opposition to the notions of progress and rationality that arose with Socrates. I was softened up for a rereading of something by this German thinker after listening to so many podcasts from Entitled Opinions (whose host regularly revisits Heidegger’s interrogation of Western civilization, a project he inherited directly from Nietzsche, whose name also comes up regularly with guests on that Stanford University program.)

Now that I’ve reread this book, I think Nietzsche might actually have disapproved of the sort of painting I do, and that itself might be worth a post, because I would have something Contra Nietzsche to say on the matter, but he’s making me examine the assumptions underlying what I do. Very little of what’s so powerful in this book relates much to the notions for which Nietzsche eventually came to be known: the ubermensch, eternal recurrence, and so on. He returns again and again to the effect of music in classic Greek tragedy: how it unveils an entire world and obliteration of the self in a kind of cosmic sorrow and wonder that employs the events and characters of the drama as a shield through which that sorrow can be experienced as joy. His thinking strikes me as insightful when it comes to how the cleverness and conceptualism of art in the past century has broken it free of its moorings. The loss of those moorings is what he was lamenting just as modernism was coming to life–without being able to express directly what that central impetus was. So much to write, so little time . . . but I’ll be able to get back to posting soon.

Red, White, and Beard

“In response to stereotypes and intolerance, one man — with a flowing beard and bright blue turban — dashes  around the Big Apple in a Captain America uniform.”

Learn more about the project by visiting:  http://www.redwhiteandbeardfilm.com/ 

 

Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon UPDATE

Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon 
January 12, 2015, 2:30-4 PM, Rogue Gallery & Art Center Studio
Community Meeting Notes
 
Over 18 community members attended including artists, arts advocates, and representatives from art organizations including Rogue Gallery & Art Center, Art Presence, Edgy Art Events, Southern Oregon Guild, Grants Pass Commission for Public Art, Medford Arts Commission, Art Works, and more. Participants from throughout Southern Oregon  represented both Jackson and Josephine County as we came together to forge and strengthen the Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon. 
 
We shared the history of the Arts Alliance:
In Spring 2013, leaders from various arts organizations gathered with a vision to strengthen partnership and improve communication for the benefit of the larger arts community. Since then, we regularly held panel discussions, public, and steering committee meetings to gather input as to what the Arts Alliance should be and came up with mission and vision statements.  Meeting locations varied throughout Southern Oregon in Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, Jacksonville, and Kerby in order to be accessible, inclusive, and to encourage participation by the regional arts community. 
 
MISSION: Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon is an organization of artists, arts organizations, arts advocates, and the public, dedicated to building a strong, creative and sustainable Southern Oregon arts community.
 
With ongoing input from our arts community, we decided to create an active and robust Arts Alliance to help our arts community thrive. Our vision for the Arts Alliance is to accomplish this mission through:
  • Developing a strong, supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having art as a common interest.
  • Strengthening the economies of Southern Oregon communities by increasing the demand for art and increasing arts advocacy.
  • Supporting activities that raise awareness of the importance of the arts and create opportunities for all to participate in and experience the arts.
2015 is the pilot year for the Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon!
Presently, the Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon is planning to launch: we are building a website, creating a map and calendar, designing and creating marketing materials, continuing to streamline communication, build membership, and we received a grant for this launch (thank you, OCF!). 
 
Together, we will be:
Inclusive, Positive, Communicative, Creative, Informative, Collaborative, a Resource
 
During the meeting we brainstormed slogans, or a tag line, for the arts marketing campaign. There were many great ideas but we narrowed down the many choices to these top hits (with number of votes):
Its SO Art (7)
A Brush With Art (6) 
SO heart Art (6)
See Art Be Art SO Art (3)
Keep Calm It’s Art (3)
Art For All (3)
One for All and All for Art (3)
 
The steering committee will meet next month to coordinate details for the arts marketing campaign including a logo design, regional coordination, fundraising, and to continue outreach to our blossoming arts community. We look forward to the Arts Alliance Launch in Spring 2015!
 
Thank you for participating and please encourage more artists and arts advocates to get involved in Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon. For now, our facebook page is a great resource for alls to artists, art events and opening receptions, inspiration and more: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsAllianceSO
 
Next Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon community meeting- Tues., April 14th from 2:30-3:30PM, Shield Room, The Bear Hotel, Grants Pass- SAVE THE DATE!
 
Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon
PO Box 24, Jacksonville, OR 97530
(Donations welcome as we prepare to launch!)

24 pieces of life advice from Werner Herzog – via Kottke.org

Paul Cronin’s book of conversations with filmmaker Werner Herzog is called Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed. On the back cover of the book, Herzog offers a list of advice for filmmakers that doubles as general purpose life advice.

  1. Always take the initiative.
  2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
  3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
  4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
  5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
  6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
  7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
  8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
  9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
  10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
  11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
  12. Take your fate into your own hands.
  13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
  14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
  15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
  16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
  17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
  18. Develop your own voice.
  19. Day one is the point of no return.
  20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
  21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
  22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
  23. Take revenge if need be.
  24. Get used to the bear behind you.

via 24 pieces of life advice from Werner Herzog.

2014 SCA Barcelona Participants

So in the build up to the break for the holidays, we missed this post to present the participants from our most recent School for Creative Activism workshop in Barcelona. Better late than never, we’d like to introduce you to them all now:

Mara Kardas-Nelson

Mara Kardas-Nelson is a journalist, advocate, and activist. She lived in South Africa for five years, where she worked on access to medicine issues for MSF’s Access Campaign and the Treatment Action Campaign, and was a contributing writer to the Mail & Guardian. Mara has now returned to her home country of America, where she continues to write on environment, health, and culture. She is also a consultant for OSF’s Access to Essential Medicines Initiative, where she works on communications and narrative change.

 Lotti Rutter

Since July 2013, Lottie has been an activist campaigning to reform the patent system to improve access to medicines in South Africa (through the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign) for the Treatment Action Campaign. Previously she has worked on IP and access to medicines campaigns for the Stop AIDS Campaign in the UK since 2010. Before moving to HIV and medicine pricing Lottie was a social justice activist campaigning on a range of issues, which included setting up a Suffragette inspired women’s climate action group and mobilizing people to take mass action.

Mary-Jane Matsolo

Mary-Jane has worked for the Treatment Action Campaign for five years. Since 2013 she’s been working on the “Fix the patent law campaign” which involves workshopping ordinary South Africans in different provinces on how patents block access to affordable treatment which led to a mass mobilization and action for the Department of Trade and Industry to finalize South Africa’s Intellectual Property policy. This is the latest campaign in a series of different campaigns that TAC has embarked on over the years.

Diarmaid McDonald

Diarmaid McDonald is Advocacy Manager at STOPAIDS and has been in the role since December 2009. He has worked on HIV programmes in Tanzania and Ethiopia and has eight years’ experience in advocacy and campaigns with UK NGOs, including the coordination of the grassroots university network of the Student Stop AIDS Campaign. He leads STOPAIDS work on access to medicines and reform of the medical innovation system.

Thuthu Mbatha

Thutu works for SECTION 27 as a researcher for the National Strategic Plan (NSP) Review. The NSP review is a joint publication between TAC and SECTION 27 that is published quarterly. As a researcher, her role is to monitor the implementation of the NSP and report on the state of the health systems across the country and things that hinder people from accessing healthcare services i.e. stock outs, overpriced medicines, lack of skilled personnel, etc. Moreover, it involves partaking in community mobilization, demonstrative protests and teaching people about the fix the patent laws campaign.

Oleksandra Ustinova

Oleksandra has worked with Patients of Ukraine since organization’s foundation. She leads all the media campaigns supporting the advocacy of adoption the national programs, reducing the prices for medicines, allocating additional funds in the state budget for state procurement of medications. Creative solutions to attract TV-channels and media pressure have always been the key element of the success of our organization’s campaigns. Just in a few years we managed to adopt the first national program on Hepatitis and allocate additional state budget for it, to increase the number of people receiving ART from 40 to 60 000, decrease the price of medicines for hepatitis twice.

Paata Sabelashvili

Paata Sabelashvili holds MA degrees in International Relations and European Studies. He worked on South Caucasus armed conflicts reconciliation while working for Danish Refugee Council in 2003-2009. In 2006 he founded the first LGBT organization in Georgia. Since 2011 he works at Georgian Harm Reduction Network as a Programs Manager. In his current position he works for rights advocacy of people who use drugs. In 2012-2014 Paata Sabelashvili was Open Society Foundations Access to Medicines Program fellow. His project focused on HCV treatment access. He is member of HCV World CAB (Community Advisory Board).

Vanessa Lopez

Vanessa is the co-founder and executive director of Salud por Derecho from 2004. She graduated in Social Physiology and received a Masters degree in Development. In its first six years, the organization focused on the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in impoverished countries. From 2010 Salud por Derecho has gone further in a broader global health perspective  and has additionally focused in the promotion of more and better R&D in a needs-driven and affordable innovation system and incorporated the commitment to promoting universal social health protection.

Ancel.la Santos

Ancel.la joined the HAI team more than a year and a half ago. Ancel.la is Policy advisor responsible for the projects on the rational use of medicines and good governance. She contributes to HAI’s goal to improve affordable access to needed medicines by promoting policy change and contributing to capacitate other civil society groups.

Ancel.le has a degree in Political Sciences, and Masters in Journalism and in European Politics. She has worked in the past for the medical devices industry sector.

Aliénor Devalière

In addition to holding a degree in European Law from La Sorbonne, Aliénor has a Masters in European Public Affairs. Before joining the HAI Europe team, she worked for three years as a consultant at a Brussels-based public affairs consultancy. Prior to that, Aliénor gained experience on the European Institutional System having worked at the European Commission and the General Secretary for European Affairs in Paris. Within HAI Europe, her work focuses on equitable access to essential medicines, including issues on price and transparency.

Ioannis (Yannis) Natsis

Since joining TACD, Yannis has spent most of his time lobbying the EU on issues of medical innovation. Additionally, he has planned and carried out several patient empowerment workshops in Athens, Greece. Their overall goal is not only to strengthen the voice of patient groups and effectively counter the government rhetoric but also to highlight the failures of the current model of medical innovation in Europe. Prior to TACD, Yannis worked at the European Parliament and for a public affairs consultancy in Brussels. He has also spent four years as an investigative reporter for a Greek TV news programme.

David Hammerstein

David Hammerstein has been working as a senior advocacy advisor for the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue since January 2010. He holds a degree in sociology from the University of California. He was born in Los Angeles in 1955 and he is of Spanish Nationality.  He has lived and worked in Spain since 1978.  From 2004-2009 he was a Green Member of the European Parliament and was a member of  its Industry Committee and also was the spokesperson for the Greens on the EP Petitions Committee that defends citizens rights. As a green politician since the mid-nineties in Spain and in the EU he has legislated and campaigned on a variety of health, environmental and social issues, as well as being a foreign policy specialist on the Mid-East crisis. 

Merith Basey

Merith has 10 years experience in global health and advocacy. Following studies at Universidad Complutense, she spent many years leading AYUDA, where she was responsible for strengthening local capacity in diabetes communities across Latin America. After a Master’s at LSHTM, she worked with the World AIDS Campaign. Her interest in access to medicines stemmed from experiences on the ground and disheartened by a lack of action around access to insulin she was inspired to co-found the 100 Campaign aimed at re-framing insulin access as a human rights issue and reducing barriers to access. She recently joined UAEM as Executive Director.

Keaton Andreas

UAEM’s campus campaigns organizer Keaton Andreas focuses on keeping UAEM’s student chapters supplied and engaged in advocacy.  In addition to training in organizing and social action, he offers direct support in areas of recruitment and chapter planning.  A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Keaton has an academic grounding in advocacy and social action, and is particularly skilled in speaking from a “moral authority” angle.  He has interned with worker justice groups such as CLUE-LA and worked for the faith-based advocacy organization Bread for the World where he served as a regional organizer for their advocacy groups.

Peter Maybarduk

Peter Maybarduk is a Washington, D.C.-based human rights lawyer and a songwriter. He directs Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program, which helps developing countries defeat pharmaceutical monopolies in order to promote access to medicines for all. His work has yielded major HIV/AIDS medicine price reductions and new state access to medicines policies. As a composer and performer of music Maybarduk has released three albums, the latest of which is A Ring Around the Atlantic (2012), produced by J. Robbins.

Pedro Villardi

Pedro has degree in International Studies and is a Masters in Public Health. Since 2012, he is the coordinator of the Working Group on Intellectual Property, a collective of about 15 NGOs and social movements. Pedro is author of the book “Status Patentário e Registro Sanitário dos medicamentos ARVs no Brasil”.

 

Luisa Arueira Chaves

Luisa is a hospital pharmacy specialist with experience in community and undergraduate education, research and activities in access to medicines, rational use of medicines (RUM), pharmaceutical services, primary healthcare and evidence-supported health interventions. She has worked on the production of educational materials on access to medicines and RUM and have been granted twice the national RUM award by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Currently, she is an MA student in public health and teaches health policies, pharmaceutical managing, consumerism and evidence searching and evaluation. 

Lorena Di Giano

María Lorena Di Giano, Executive Director, Fundación Grupo Effecto Positivo (FGEP) – Ms. Di Giano is a lawyer who specializes in human rights and HIV/AIDS and earned her law degree from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina. She is an experienced advocate who has dedicated her professional background to defending the human rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV). Since January 2012 Lorena is serving as General Coordinator of RedLAM – Red Latino Americana por el Acceso a Medicamentos (FGEP is the leading organization of RedLAM) in which role she is coordinating a regional program focused on improving access to ARVs by addressing intellectual property barriers in countries of Latin American region.

Giten Khwairakpam  Singh

Giten is currently the Community and Policy Project Manager at TREAT Asia in Bangkok. He has been working on improving hepatitis C treatment access and advocating for price reductions in South and South East Asia. Giten also has been providing training to national PLHIV and PWID networks on hepatitis C treatment, access issues and new direct acting agents and their use with antiretroviral therapy. His involvement in regional advocacy for hepatitis C treatment access has included efforts to engage with UNITAID and the Global fund, and facilitating negotiations with originator and generic pharmaceutical companies to address price- and non-price barriers.

Loon Gangte (Henminlun)

Loon is the founder of Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) in 1999. He has 5/6 years experience working directly with HIV patient at Michaels Care Home, which is care home PLHIV, before the ARV era in India. In the last 6/7 years Loon has worked as ITPC-South Asia regional coordinator, giving small grants to community to base organization to do advocacy work around treatment access.

Gaëlle Krikorian

Gaëlle is currently working as a political advisor for the Green/EFA at the European Parliament. Before that she was conducting research on intellectual property, free trade agreements and access to medicines. She has a PhD in sociology and is a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute on Social Issues. Social Sciences, Politics and Health (IRIS) in Paris. Her involvement on access to medicines issues started at the end of the 1990s when she was an AIDS activist with Act Up working primarily on access to medicines in the Global South.

Irene Romero

Irene Romero Bhathal is a European Coordinator for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. She has been researching on access to medicines (HepC drugs) and advocating for universal access to healthcare, new models of R&D and transparency in public healthcare. She is one of the leaders of UAEM’s Access & Innovation Project, which aims to involve researchers in advocacy for public needs-driven research, and new models of R&D funding. She is also working on a documentary about access to medicines, R&D and austerity measures in Spain. She has experience in facilitating workshops about access to medicines and R&D intellectual property laws.

Call for Applications: School for Creative Activism – Campaigns to Support Sex Work Activism in South Africa

We’re pleased to announce a call for applications to a School for Creative Activism training session taking place this March, in South Africa.

“In an open society sex workers should have the same rights to safe working environments as all other workers.” (Open Society Foundation)

We’re inviting grantees of the Open Society Public Health Program and their allies supporting the human rights of sex workers to apply to participate in a 4-day School for Creative Activism (SCA) to be held in Cape Town, South Africa on March 30 – April 2, 2015.

You can download the application form here: SCA Call for Applications – Sex Work Narratives – Cape Town

Deadline is Sat 31 January!

Please note: this workshop is only open to grantees of the Open Society Public Health Program. Don’t worry, we’ll be doing more workshops in the coming months, so if this doesn’t apply to you this time stay tuned for future programs.

Actipedia Revisited: #occupysmallstreet

This week we’re giving a shout out to small-scale activism with the #occupysmallstreet movement.

First inspired by a doll-sized action in Siberia, this example has been created by Arts X Activism  from Melbourne, Australia. Signs are made collectively, by regular Occupy Small Street-ers and members of the public (adults and children) who stop by and have something to say. The idea has since been re-staged in London, Indonesia, Brisbane and Sydney.

Simple to do and playful enough to draw people in – they’re diminutive in stature, but big on ideas.

Occupy Small Street

Read more about the project on our sister-site Actipedia 

Letters of Note: Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope.

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”
 
–E.B. White

Letters of Note provides a snapshot into the faxes, memos, letters, telegrams, and any other fascinating tidbits of correspondence that Shaun Usher can get his hands on. Originally a blog-based archive, it has grown into a captivating collection of correspondence from the enigmatic to the everyday.

Though we’ve found many meaningful letters, we direct your attention to one written by author E.B. White (and highlighted by Maria Popova on Brainpickings) as a response to a letter received by a  particularly despondent man.  His words remind us of the importance of hope and perseverance:

 

Dear Mr. Nadeau:
 
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
 
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
 
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
 
Sincerely,
 
E. B. White

Read more about E.B. White and Letters of Note on Brainpickings! 

Au Naturel Opens at CCC Art Center Gallery


The ninth annual international juried exhibit Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century will be on display from January 22 through March 5, 2015 at Clatsop Community College’s Art Center Gallery located at 1799 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, OR. Gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The gallery is open on Sundays and holidays by appointment only. A reception honoring the selected artists will be held on Thursday, January 29, at 6:00 pm.

 

This year’s juror, Barbara Shaiman, an independent curator and art consultant based in Seattle, will be present to give a gallery talk.  Barbara Shaiman was the artistic and managing Director of the Seattle Art Museum’s SAM Gallery for 24 years. She left a year ago to spend more time on personal curatorial projects and art consulting as well as doing her own artwork. Among other projects, she currently is Curator at the Alexis Hotel.  Barbara also devotes time to jurying community art exhibits, participating in public art panels, advising local arts organizations and helping clients with collection management. Before joining the SAM staff, Barbara taught studio art classes in NYC at Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Museum Art School, at Hawthorne Studio in Montana, and in the Seattle area at Seward Park Arts Center and Bellevue College. She was also a working ceramic artist and the owner/director of Shaiman Gallery, a local contemporary fine crafts and design gallery.

Awards to be announced at the reception include cash prizes, purchase awards, a solo show award to be held during the 2015-2016 exhibition season, and a select number of workshop awards. The Bridgewater Bistro and Dairy Maid are providing hors d’oeuvres for the event, and Erikson Floral Company and Bloomin’ Crazy Floral are providing flowers. This reception is free and open to the public. The College also thanks the Cannery Pier Hotel, the Commodore Hotel, and the Ft. George Brewery for their support.

A No-Host Post-Reception party at the Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro, 243 11th Street in downtown Astoria, will immediately follow the reception.

This year, artists from 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, Turkey, New Zealand, and South Africa submitted over 500 images for consideration. The 2015 exhibit will represent 41 artists from 14 states in addition to an international artist from South Africa. Please note that the artist from South Africa will be represented in the online 2015 gallery only at www.aunaturelart.com.

Juror Barbara Shaiman states, “It was a great pleasure to serve as the juror for 2015 Au Naturel competition and to see such a variety of compelling and high quality work interpreting the theme of the nude.  It was difficult to narrow down such a large group to the 56 pieces I eventually chose in order to create a coherent exhibit.  My task as I saw it was to choose work that was both excellent and representative rather than to attempt to create an exhibit with a particular point of view.”

Paring down the artwork from among the hundreds of images is an extremely difficult task.   Each year, a different juror is invited to select the work for the show, and each juror brings his or her own unique perspective and approach to the selection process.  “My curatorial approach is affected by my background as a working studio artist and instructor of studio courses, as well as the many years I have worked as a gallery director.  For me the visual is primary, and then comes attention to concept and execution. When I choose artists for an exhibit or jury a show, I look for artwork that has strong visual appeal and is rooted in ideas I find compelling, stimulating and challenging,” explains Shaiman. “I also look for work that in some way pushes boundaries, reflects a unique vision, or pushes the medium in different areas. The work should be technically proficient, experimental and passionate about its subject matter. None of the works chosen fit all of these criteria of course, but they all meet at least a few.”

Cynthia Yatchman, Seattle, WA: Carapaces, Mixed Media, 12x12

Cynthia Yatchman, Seattle, WA: Carapaces, Mixed Media, 12×12

 

Seattle artist Cynthia Yatchman

who typically works with various combinations of acrylic paint, ink, papers, charcoal and canvas, was invited to exhibit her mixed-media piece called Carapaces. Yatchman enjoys the process of “creating a rich sensual surface by making layer upon layer of marks,” and describes her work as possessing “an unseen history within these layers as images are obscured and revealed.”  While the subject matter of her work references her “experience with nature,” she explains that the content of her work often “speaks to issues of social justice, revelation and connection and how we are all one.”

 

 

Reed Clarke, Portland, OR: Apparition Number Four, Oil on Canvas, 42x42

Reed Clarke, Portland, OR: Apparition Number Four, Oil on Canvas, 42×42

Portland artist Reed Clarke

also a part-time resident in Gearhart, has been invited for the fifth time to exhibit his work in the Au Naturel. Clarke points out that while his two oil paintings selected for the show entitled Apparition Number Four and Woman Standing With Man may be considered by some to be portraits, the design elements such as line, tone, color, shape, and form are equally as important as the subject matter in any work of art.  “It took me a long time to become aware of how painting people/figures sets up the need to solve certain types of problems encountered in the act of painting,” he admits.  “I hope to find some solutions to these problems that I can feel are authentically mine. What I hope to achieve is work that transcends the fact that the painting has a subject and exists simply as a good painting.”

 

 

 

James McComas, Superior, CO: Diana, Oil on Linen, 24x18

James McComas, Superior, CO: Diana, Oil on Linen, 24×18

James McComas of Superior Colorado

who has exhibited in the Au Naturel several times, explores design concepts in his paintings from the standpoint of the fascinating relationship between visual art and music. “I perceive art as a visual melody, which can be as simple as a song, or as complex as a symphony,” he states.  “Somewhere in the music – in the image – is an expression of the human condition, be it narrowly focused or grandly sweeping. Along those lines, I see the role of the figure in my art much as the role a dancer plays in a ballet: profoundly moving in and of itself, yet a cohesive part of a larger story.”

Seattle artist Chris Sheridan looks to the past for inspiration in “early myths, traditional folklore, the histories, and the classics.” At the very heart of his work is storytelling, which he describes as “the foundation upon which my paintings are built,” and further explains that in every one of his paintings that he creates, “every element has symbolic meaning that supports that story.”

 

Patrick Kernan, Portland, OR: Amanda, Watercolor and Pastel Pencil, 21x14

Patrick Kernan, Portland, OR: Amanda, Watercolor and Pastel Pencil, 21×14

Portland artist Patrick Kernan

Portland artist Patrick Kernan has also been selected to exhibit his artwork in the Au Naturel multiple times.  Kernan creates all of his work from observation directly from life, and counts painting the human figure among one of his greatest passions.  Rather than focusing on accuracy as his main goal, he believes his work is successful if the artwork “becomes a journal of my observations, emotions and reactions to the model, at the specific, shared, moment in time.”  The rigorous discipline of drawing and painting from figure models in the studio directly from life has also been a passion of artist Patrick Deshaye of Hillsboro, Oregon.  Deshaye maintains that for him this practice embodies everything worthwhile about the process of art-making, which includes “centuries of tradition, an endless array of media and techniques, a subject of overwhelming expressive potential…what’s not to love?” He describes his oil painting entitled The Model, Death and the Inferno as a “playful hommage to the figure studio model and her inevitably ironic environment.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Jeffords, Austin, TX: Arden, Oil on Canvas, 28x22

Nicole Jeffords, Austin, TX: Arden, Oil on Canvas, 28×22

Nicole Jeffords of Austin, TX

, on the other hand, works from a photographic reference since for her, “a live sitter’s energy would be too much.” She describes her process as a slow and silent dialogue that progresses “until bit by bit a picture emerges, almost as if a channel opens and the person steps forward, allowing me to see some part of them that is real and true. In that way, hopefully, the painting becomes revelation.”

Further information about the 2015 exhibiting artists will be available online at the Au Naturel website at www.aunaturelart.com after January 22nd.

In addition to the CCC Art Center Gallery exhibit, for the fifth consecutive year, other venues in downtown Astoria will be exhibiting nudes in a collective show entitled Nudes Downtown: A Compendium of Art Inspired by Au Naturel. A gallery walk will be held on Saturday, February 14th. Among the galleries and venues hosting this year’s event are RiverSea Gallery, Imogen Gallery, Tempo Gallery and Artist Collective, Lightbox Photographic Gallery, Old Town Framing, and KALA@Hipfish.

Make it timless, not new

Chaucer, as new as he ever was

I was browsing through the squibs in the front of the most recent The New Yorker fresh from my mailbox, hoping to find something to see on a quick trip to Manhattan where Nancy and I, along with a couple friends, have tickets for the Matisse show at MoMA. I spotted three things that stood out, not for what they were critiquing, but for the thoughts expressed in these A.D.D.-friendly five-sentence reviews. Here they are:

1. Museum of Modern Art: “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in the Forever Now.”

“The ruling insight that the thoughtful curator Laura Hoptman proposes and the artists confirm is that anything attempted in painting now can’t help but be a do-over of something from the past, unless it’s so nugatory that nobody before thought to bother with it.”

(But my first response to this was: I will see your nugatory and raise you a negatory. Yes, history has run its course for visual art. The notion of progress is dead. But I have some humble qualifications that fly in the face of what I this show’s apparent tone and spirit. More below.)

I turned the page and found my counterpoint already put into words:

2. Marcus Roberts

While raising money on Kickstarter for his latest project–recording a suite of music that he wrote some twenty years ago, called “Romance, Swing, and the Blues”–the pianist and composer declared that “all great jazz is modern jazz–whatever the age of the piece, we make it ‘modern’ (relevant to our own time in history) when we play it.” This multi-stylistic dictum informs his work with his new twelve-member band, Modern Jazz Generation, which recently released a double album of the material.

(Obviously, right? The individual performer makes it new. Anyone who has heard a great cover knows this.)

3. “The Contract” 

In the European Union, artists receive a royalty each time their works are resold. The U.S. has no such droit de suite, but in 1971 the curator-dealer Seith Siegelaub drafted a rarely used contract to guarantee artists fifteen percent of profits from future sales. The conceit of this show is that all the works in it . . . are subject to the agreement. Is this premise better suited to an article or a symposium than it is to an exhibition? Probably, but in this turbo-charged art market the show has the rare virtue of subordinating speculators’ profits to artists’ welfare. (The show, at Essex Street, was over on Jan. 11, even though this issue of The New Yorker is dated Jan. 12. Which is typical of these notices in The New Yorker: some seem to sit in the queue until after their use-by date.)

Last things first. I wish I’d seen this show just to have been in a place briefly where someone was trying to overturn some tables in the financialized temple of art. The show comments sardonically on the fusion of art and finance–it’s a funny way to nudge buyers, suggesting the work on view would be rapidly rising in value and be irresistible when faced with a chance to resell it–as well as a great idea to further enrich any living artists who aren’t already making a fortune at the art fairs by selling work purchased as a substitute for, say, oil commodities. As if anyone whose work is that hot needs a royalty from future sales . . . but still, it’s a gesture in support of creators rather than speculators. Precisely the same favoritism ought to be applied to the world of business in general, tipping the scales in favor of Wal-Mart floor workers over Wall Street bankers. But fully established artists these days are one-percenters themselves so . . .

Now, about this MoMA show. Arthur Danto announced the end of the history of art long ago, and I’ve been dutifully pointing out here that there’s nothing new under the sun in art, in the old sense of “new” as an advance in art’s scope toward greater artistic freedom and power. Anything can be art, since Duchamp and Warhol. There are no new frontiers. Get over it. We don’t need sophisticated shows at MoMA to point out the obvious. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new in painting, in a sense that really matters. What that “newness” actually is remains inexpressible the way that your children’s worthiness of love will remain something that doesn’t require a theory to elucidate or justify.

When it arrives, spring is as new as it can ever get up in these parts on the lower shore of Lake Ontario, where winter becomes a cowl of cold gray vacancy overhead that siphons the color out of everything for four months. The newness of April is exactly the newness embodied in the opening lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales which are so old that they are virtually incomprehensible, English has changed so much. It’s the newness of the first robin’s song in the trees once spring has arrived. That spring, and that robin, are identical, in almost all respects, to every spring and robin that have arrived here for a thousand years. And yet they are new. Absolutely the same as they ever were, but new and alive. Figure that out and you’ll know what it takes to make painting new.

It isn’t about theory, or art history, or putting an ironic spin on the Old Masters or, God help us, painting things that say Painting is Dead. The challenge is that, as art becomes more and more a matter of investing one’s whole individual being, one’s entire apprehension of life, into a painted image–having left behind the need to belong to a school or period of style of making art–there is even less and less to analyze and say about the work. This is why you have shows like this at MoMA. It gives the surrounding people something to do, now that there’s less and less to say about the act of making art. It’s about seeing, not saying. It’s an entirely interior, secret, human transaction between two people who know how to see what makes the slightest little things joyful in life, and it isn’t about money, nor about finding a market, nor about anything but this attempt to make the act of building a painting sacramental, friendly, a gesture of kindness and generosity, one person to another, or, for the lucky few, one person to a million (one at a time). Newness is a religion for marketers. What matters in painting seems to have become completely withdrawn to a region inaccessible to theorists and appraisers. But in reality it’s where it has always been, at a level where you can’t quite get to it or can’t pin it down, can’t explain exactly what it is, anymore than you can do that for life itself. But you can definitely see it. When it’s there, in the work, it’s as thrilling as the sound of a wood thrush who has gotten lost and found his way into your backyard, miles from the woods where he belongs and where few people go.