Saturday, May 24, 2008

Artist of the day - Revisiting Emcee C.M.

Last year I had the pleasure of being introduced to the work of one artist, Emcee C.M. Master of None, (i.e., Colin McMullan). The artist really made a mark on me with his "Neighborhood Junk Drawer" at Williamsburg's cutting-edge Conflux Festival. Cutting out a hole in the plywood wall of a boarded-up construction site, McMullan gave a hilarious presentation of our own homes' junk drawer, whereby citizens from all walks of life could "leave" things in the drawer for later use, or trade. In its time period on display, it collected Post-Its, pens, buttons, work IDs, hair combs and much, much more. Totally different and unique from the rest of the pack, I've been enthralled with the artist's work and brilliant ideas ever since.

My personal favorite is McMullan's "Corner Library" project, whereby he invades the news racks on streets across Manhattan with a homemade "box" filled with tradeable books. Taking elements of performance and guerilla art in one, it's also a nice take on how libraries today have become repositories for "events" more than the simple act of lending books.

Right now Emcee C.M. is being featured in a show at the ISE Cultural Foundation at 555 Broadway in Soho until June 27, 2008. I highly encourage everyone to check out his newest forray into creating new works that challenge the viewer to think about cultural norms and accepted notions of what is and isn't art.

Here's a few links of interest to check out:
Footprint Factory in Davis Square, Somerville, MA.
You, too, can be a print artist-- just stomp your feet!
The original review of Emcee C.M. in 2007


Friday, May 23, 2008

Artist of the day - Louisa Armbrust

(At left, artist Louisa Armbrust's "Free Range Hockey")

Ahh, the wonders of team sports. It's all about "teamwork"; all for one and one for all. Maybe. It's also about kicking ass majorly-- stuffing your opponent so far down he won't know what hit him-- and being given a carte-blanche opportunity to willfully maim and damage your adversary at any cost, no matter the consequences-- teeth be damned-- For winning is the all-encompassing goal. "There is no crying in baseball," as Tom Hanks stated so succinctly in "A League of Their Own." And just the other day it was revealed just how pleased Parcells was with his star defender going on "Dancing With the Stars" showcasing his "feminine side."

Artist Louisa Armbrust focuses exclusively on team sports and their social implications. Like a scene right out of "South Park," the players at left battle it out to the death. Do I feel like there's thin ice being skated on? That's putting it mildly. The clip-art nature of the trees seem to bear witness to the slaughter before them. They seem to serve as the game's referees, watching intently for a misconduct call.

In stark opposition to the violence of the hockey teams, the badminton players at right seem to be lackadaisical in the quest for the shuttlecocks seemingly floating in midair. Showcasing the Julian Opie-style stick figures in a game of leisure, it's a nice contrast between blue and white collar. Sure, it borders on the begrudgingly cute, and certainly gives a nod to early video game graphics, but the flatness of the players in court just work well together.

For more fun and games, go see the artist's website at:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Artist of the day - Angelou Guingon

Currently taking up residence in the most recent edition of the always fantastically curated New American Paintings is artist Angelou Guingon. Dare I say it, but the man has an affinity for combining cows, airplanes, people and trucks. And given the daily barrage of increasingly bad news on global warming -- (to biodiesel or not to biodiesel?)-- it's no coincidence that our dear bovine friends are commiserating with their fellow waste-producing counterpart, the modern passenger jet. Cows-- not through their own fault, of course-- each emitting 400 quarts of methane gas a day. Not to be outdone, of course, on a New York to Denver flight, one Boeing 737 would produce almost 1,600 pounds of carbon emission per passenger. That's plenty of fuel to grill a quarter-pounder, I surmise.

So how does this topically relate to these pseudo-apocalyptic cartoonishly brushed nightmares? I'm not quite sure. But I do know that Guingon is great at setting scenes of Surrealism never seen before. The cows are the "fuel" to feed ourselves; the ant-like people at right seem to wander aimlessly as the semis kneel prostrate in worship before the god of all that is pasteurized. An interesting concept of human beings suckling off the teets of outre-species udders and foreign oil pumps simultaneously.

Interesting stuff, though not for the lactose-intollerant.

Fore more great images, go to the artist's website at:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Artist of the day - Roy Andreas Dahl, Norway

Sure, summer is rearing its dreaded head right around the corner (80 degrees in May?-- Sure! Why not? Bring it on.), but right about now I'm fascinated with winter all over again-- at least the enchanted winter of Currier & Ives, or work that reminds me of the modern day team of Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz's wondrous snowglobe creations, or maybe even Rudolph's claymation kitsch. To this day I have the image of those perfect dimples permanently frozen into my memory of Sonja Henie spinning on skates. Perhaps this winter was far too short yet again for me, or the fact that the amount of snow that fell in the New York area was minimal at best, but to me, Norwegian artist Roy Andreas Dahl's work epitomizes all that is beautiful about winter. Utilizing the beauty of his native land of Fjords, windswept flatlands and snow-capped mountaintops, his work is a hushed voice to the harsh reality of our current times.

Dahl, who recently had an exhibit at Trygve Lie Gallery in Manhattan, has such a softness to his brushwork and the pieces are so luminous they almost seem to float. They barely need professional lighting to convey the emotion attached to the imagery. In No. 11, Heavenly Night above, there is such a sense of isolation. Only the stars above light our long and arduous pathway to the village ahead.

And while looking at the young lady below, No. 23, Under the Stars, there's such a moment of nostalgia at play. The shooting star racing across the blue night sky, it's almost reminiscent of the best years of Walt Disney. Jiminy Cricket prompts us for a wish, but my only wish is that winter were here again.

Just some lovely and beautifully painted work.

Check out more of Dahl's blurred sentimentality at his website.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Artist of the day - Joseph Hughes, San Francisco

I'm an eternal sucker for pigment, what can I say?
Just surfing around, and I landed on this gentleman's work.
Some seriously beautiful, yet simple works.
(*Disclaimer--"Simple" does not necessarily mean "simply made.")
Though for some reason I am now craving a cookie... of the chocolate chip variety... and there needs to be some googly eyes in the center of this work with gaping mouth singing a ridiculous song about C is for Cookie.
Sure, this blogger is blatantly alluding to Cookie Monster, but after examing multiple works of this artist, I'm amazed by his mastery of individual lines and cleavage that almost give a fabric-like texture to the works.

Some pretty nice stuff.

I'm absolutely loving this artist of the day thing, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Artist of the day: Jessica Baker

As recently spotlighted on NPR's "Weekend America" edition, Brooklyn artist Jessica Baker creates unique prints on nature's own parchment-- leaves. Why bother going to Pearl or Blick when you have all the materials you need right at your feet?

This past weekend I joined the artist at her show "Leaf and Circle" at Prospect Park's Audubon Center. The works are unique in the same way as that of a snowflake-- no two are quite the same.

Utilizing maples, Paulownias, Lindens, Black Cherry and much much more, I was awash in the beauty of it all, taking it in. The concentric circles within each print seem to bring to mind intracellular communication, or the initial moment of conception. I loved how the colors seem to absorb so easily into the cellulose base of the chlorophyll. But for Baker, it was an extremely fragile process in getting the leaves prepared just right to be able to absorb the pigment. They had to be fresh, but not too moist. In fact, she soaked each leaf prior to printing, and then would blot each so as not to be oversaturated.

Throughout the exhibit Baker fuses together a nice blend of appreciation for the natural realm, and each piece seems to be an almost rebirth in itself.

Check out some of the images at Baker's site, or go to NPR's podcast to listen to her speak about her work.

It's some great stuff.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Artist of the day -- Camille Eskell

Connecticut-based artist Camille Eskell does a succinct summation on the definition of modern feminism with her disturbing, but fascinating creations. Arched over backwards, what can a woman withstand? Are we bendable, but not breakable? This blogger thinks not.

oil stick on paper
45 x 38

Creepily enough, when you look at the empty-headed female "role models" today's generation grows up with, it is of utmost importance that the head here IS disembodied. I find it very interesting that in the makeup of this image, the female body is to be represented only by flesh, exposed innards and breasts, because increasingly this is not only what females are being represented as, but are increasingly willfully accepting the definition of.

Fantastic piece by a very intriguing artist.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Artist of the day

Starting a new thing.

Each day I will spotlight one artist worth checking out on planet earth.

Today, New York-based visual artist Mary Catania Murphy.

This is one of the funniest images I've seen in a while.

It's like violating a pre-pubescent vintage Shirley Temple, cutting off all her hair, and sending her into the sex trade industry with blinders on.

So disturbing, and I absolutely loved it.

What can I say?

I'm a sicko.

FYI-- check out her website, but be forwarned, it is NC-17 rated!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tomorrow-- Open Studio with Phoebe Washburn at the Whitney

Tomorrow at 2pm, Open Studio with Zach Feuer Gallery roster standout Phoebe Washburn at the Whitney Museum of American Art-- 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street.

As the Biennial enters its final month, I wanted to give a heads up to readers that this is one event worth checking out.

"Washburn's large-scale installations recycle scavenged industrial materials to recast exhibition spaces as inventive architectural environments and absurd self-contained ecosystems."
-Whitney site.

At left and below are some of my pics from opening night at the Biennial.

I've always found Phoebe's Frankenstructures to be intriguing, to say the least, and at the Biennial she was a much-needed break from the sheer monotony of institutionalized navel-gazing blandness.

All this piece needed was a plastic palm tree shower sprinkler, and it would have been an oasis in the parched desert.

Sure, you can call these giant Chiapets via way of Lincoln Log sets, but this was a great structure and quite vibrant.

And besides, growing bulbs fertilized by Gatorade, while submerged in broken golf balls tickled my fancy.