Nov 17, 2011

Reciprocal: Hana Hillerova & Susie Rosmarin | Gallery 1, Joann Cole Mitte, Texas State University | San Marcos

Susie Rosmarin, Gingham Variation, acrylic on canvas, 2003

WARNING: Are you epileptic? If so, I wouldn’t recommend this exhibition. I’m not epileptic and this exhibition still made me dizzy and made my head feel fuzzy. Though if you like feeling fuzzy you should check out this show. You have been warned. 

REVIEW | Wall and Piece, Banksy, The Random House Group, 2006

Banksy is a pleasant break from the modern art world, in both his work and his ideals on art.

All artists are prepared to suffer for their work, but why are so few prepared to learn to draw?
Banksy's presence in the art world has been both secretive and outlandish, from personally sticking his paintings in galleries to exhibiting his own shows, indoors and outdoors. Banksy's work is always seen in the spotlight, a feat he doesn't seem to take lightly in his book Wall and Piece. Calling graffiti "unspoilt by progress" and coining the term "Brandalism" as any advertisement that gives you no choice. Banksy definitely presents some points that everyone should read.

REVIEW | Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes, La Chambre Claire, 1980

Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes.
"I was overcome by an "ontological" desire: I wanted to learn at all costs what Photography was 'in itself,' by what essential feature it was to be distinguished from the community of images."

That is the spark that set Roland Barthes' book, Camera Lucida, into motion.  The book, published in 1980, the same year he died, is subtitled "Reflections on Photography" and dives deep into the nature of the art and practice of photography, searching for an understanding of what intrinsically sets photography apart from another medium, such as cinema.  Full of rambling, run-on sentences that put you right in the mind of Barthes, you feel his intense reverence for the photograph while driven by his need to understand it.

Review | Hell Bound: New Gothic Art | Francesca Gavin

Hell Bound: New Gothic Art, is a collection of different artist that have similar yet drastically different styles in what the author, Francesca Gavin, has dawned “new gothic art”. The author sheds light on the artist that have taken a darker side in the art world, showing their gruesome and anarchic visions of death and horror. Reading through each artist section, most of these artist came to their artwork by being drawn to the darker side of what surrounds us on a daily basis. Skull and skeletons, blood, black ink, gore and dead animals are a common fixture in this kind of art.

REVIEW | Image Makers Image Takers [Ed. 1] | Anne-Celine Jaeger | Thames & Hudson Inc. | 2007

Anne-Celine Jaeger, Image Makers Image Takers [Ed. 1], Thames & Hudson Inc., 2007

Image Makers Image Takers is a book I bought in Marfa, Texas in 2008 and has since remained a coffee table book until this blog, thankfully. Little did I know how much useful advice it holds for those experiencing creative blocks or for those that are in need of an extra push and motivation to think outside the box. Image Makers Image Takers is full of nitty gritty details vocalized from no one better than those who have seemed to have successfully done it all.

REVIEW | Weirdo Deluxe The Wild World of Pop Surrealism & Lowbrow Art, Matt Dukes Jordan, Chronicle Books, 2005

Weirdo Deluxe The Wild World of Pop Surrealism & Lowbrow Art, Matt Dukes Jordan, Chronicle Books, 2005
While browsing through the hundreds of endless books lined back to back in the aisles of the library, one in particular caught my eye, Matt Duke Jordan's Weirdo Deluxe The Wild World of Pop Surrealism & Lowbrow Art.  It might have been the aqua colored spine that jumped out at me first, but the title starting so proudly with such a strange word definitely appealed to my inner 'weirdo' and held my attention long enough to take this bizarre book home with me to see what was behind the comically illustrated cover.

REVIEW | Pattern Plan, grayDUCK Gallery, Austin Tx

grayDUCK Gallery, Austin, Tx

Located just south of the downtown area of Austin, Texas, grayDUCK gallery proved to be a bit of a challenge to find. Some may argue that this aspect makes it a hidden gem and that the hunt provides  even more satisfaction once you finally find the space.  grayDUCK's exhibition "Pattern Plan" featured three different artists, each with about ten works on display. Each with their own unique approach, Dameon Lester, Jessica McCambly, and L. Renee Nunez explore the theme of man's relationship with nature. In "Pattern Plan"  these mixed media artists bring to our attention the ongoing battle between one's fascination with nature's beauty and our destructive, detached behavior towards that beauty.

REVIEW| Documenting America| Amarillo Museum of Art| Amarillo, Texas

Documenting America, Amarillo Museum of Art, 2011
Documenting America is an exhibition currently on view at the Amarillo Museum of Art in Amarillo, Texas. The exhibition is a collection of photographs taken during the Great Depression documenting the life of Americans.  The collection has work by well-known photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, and Russell Lee.

Review | Perspectives | Hill Design and Gallery | Georgetown, Texas


Aft Pryor, Moser Bay Walkway, photograph on metallic paper, 2011

Hill Design and Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery located in Georgetown, Texas.  Showing mostly local artist of Georgetown, they sometimes show artist from other areas. The show Perspectives does just that. The above picture is one of Alf Pryor’s photos that is in the show.  The native Alaskan and fisherman uses Photoshop to create these amazing images!  Pryor’s photographs are influenced from his job as a fisherman.  Pryor says,

PROFILE| Chloe Early

Silver Tip Symphony, 2010, oil on linen, 183 x 243cm
Chloe Early creates a fantasy world in her paintings with a mix of abstract elements and somewhat photo-real figures in swimsuits surrounded by a variety of objects. The combination of these bathing suit-clad humans with flowers, rockets, bullets, and landscapes conjures up a narrative for me as a viewer. Even as I admire the aesthetic quality of her paintings I wonder what sort of comment she is making about contemporary society with these compositions. Why the swimsuits? Why the dreamy quality of floating objects and confused space? These paintings are not only beautiful, but make the viewer consider the relationship between the people and objects painted.

Nov 16, 2011

AWARDS | Round Three

You don't gotta pay for this!

The mid-semester "hump" is behind us, and we're rounding the corner on the Winter holidays (when shopshopshop is as frequent a mantra as studystudystudy). The blog remains strong and active... want proof? After the jump you'll find the winners of this blogging round, and links to their respective entries.


Ron English, Short Shelf Life, October 2011
     “Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images, on the street, in museums, in movies, books and television. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, populated with his vast and constantly growing arsenal of original characters...” -
     Ron English is a Pop Artist (or rather, pop-surrealist) who works in a variety of media from paint to video and combines cultural icons with a sort of scathing, critical view of the world and an obsession with the macabre and almost carnivalesque. His work does not really follow a single style or theme, rather, the work is pretty conceptual, built around what the message is; however it often includes some concept of high- and low-culture, juxtaposing references to artists like Andy Warhol and Picasso up against icons like Mickey Mouse or Ronald McDonald.

REVIEW| Walkers Gallery, at San Macros Activity Center| San Marcos TX

Unknown artist
The Walkers Gallery in the San  Marcos Activity center is not know by many our age. The gallery is widely seen by senor citizens who walk the walkers gallery for their daily exercise. It is located at 501 E.Hopkins street, San Marcos TX. The gallery size stretches down two halls, one stretch has art lining both walls that face each other. The other is just one wall that faces glass.

Review| Understanding Comics the invisible art, Scott McCloud, Harper Perennial,1994

     One medium that has been touched on quite a bit since this blog has been started is the art form, trend and review of the comic book. But I find it strange yet relieving that it is talked about as if it is already this cultural fad when really today it seems it is more taboo to be twenty plus years old and still reading comics. Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics the invisible art asks the question “why?” to these social misunderstandings and I believe makes and impenetrable case for why the comic should be held as a high art form.

REVIEW | Advice to Young Artists in a Postmodern Era, William V. Dunning and Ben Mahmoud, Syracuse University Press, 1998

Advice to Young Artists in a Postmodern Era. William V. Dunning with Ben Mahmoud. Syracuse University Press. 1998.

Following the advice of the age old saying to "not judge a book by its cover," I picked up William V. Dunning's Advice for Young Artists in a Postmodern Era not expecting much. The cover seemed entirely too generic, and I have a certain distaste for the font used for the book's title itself. However, despite the droll and unassuming exterior of the book, once I dove into the content itself I was flooded with a rich variety of information that was presented in a smart, witty manner. Not only does Dunning provide a great amount of real, solid advice, he manages to maintain a humorous blunt tone throughout the book.

REVIEW | Beyond The Street The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art, Patrick Nguyen and Stuart mackenzie [Eds.], GESTALTEN, 2010

Published May 2010
"There is no such thing as urban art or street art - only art itself "(Beyond the Street p.5). In my search for a book to review, I came across Beyond the Street. This is a 400 page book filled with everything affiliated with street and graffiti subculture. It includes 100 different artists, curators, galleries, festivals, magazines, and blogs that have contributed to shaping the styles and dividing high art and underground art with outdoor murals and domestic collections. Each artist or gallery are personally interviewed, allowing them to speak for themselves. This gives us a first-hand glimpse into their personalities, and also gives these artists public recognition as well as providing street credit.

Nov 15, 2011

REVIEW: Keith Sonnier-Sculpture Light Space, Wolfgang Hausler and Conrad Lienhardt[ED.], Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2003

Dis-play II, Sonnier, 1970
This book is filled with creations of Sonnier starting in the year of 1970 and ending in 2001. Each installation uses modern technology in some shape or form to emphasize light. The book is somewhat a time line of Sonnier’s progress as an artist. In his earlier works, his installations are smaller and much simpler than his works found near the end of the book. In every single work, light is the main focus. The first few installations contain neon tubes which are twisted and displayed in a particular form on the wall. He then progresses to incorporate microphones, speakers, telephones, and televisions. In these installations the viewer is an active participant. 

REVIEW | Decadent Art | Battle Royale | Koushun Takami | Viz Media 1999

Battle Royale, Koushun Takami Viz Media 1999

There are many single words that could describe this book if you wanted to describe it.  Controversial, contemporary, cult classic, dirty, edgy, violent are primarily associated with the book I'm reviewing for this blog.  If you've seen or heard of this title of the novel before, it spawned a movie that doesn't do the novel justice and a 15 volume manga series.  Battle Royale, by Koushun Takami, is a 21st century Lord of the Flies involving third-year junior high students pitted against each other in a winner-takes-all survival game. 

Reciprocal: Susie Rosmarin | Gallery 1 | San Marcos, TX

Canal Street Mini Skirt Study, Susie Rosmarin, 24x30, 2011

When I first walked in the first thing I saw were the canvas's of Susie Rosmarin which she had eight different canvas's of different geometrical images. All eight different canvas's have all colors from black, white, blue, red, orange, yellow, green, and more. They all have strips going vertical or horizontal directions creating shapes of squares.  I would have liked  to see all the canvas's to be the size of 66x66 inches like the painting of Spectrum #10, 2009.  The reason why is because the smaller canvas don't stand out as much as the others which are bigger in size.  The main theme of Gallery 1 in San Marcos, TX is Reciprocal which is a inverse a number or quantity that when multiplied by a given number or quantity gives a product of one. Susie Rosmarin uses "complicated mathematical formula which is based on each layer of the color pattern arrangement being taped, painted, waited on to dry and repeated", said by (June Mattingly, Texas Contemporary Art). When I saw the artist lecture of Susie Rosmarin she explain to the viewers if she had not been doing Art for her career her second choice would have been a degree in Math. That explains why all her painting have a geometric pattern to them.

REVIEW | El Anatsui, When I Last Wrote To You About Africa, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX

El Anatsui, Akua's Surviving Children, Wood and Metal, 1996
        This exhibition is filled with vibrant color and beautiful, rugged, and raw materials showing the culture and folklore of this African Artist.  Just a few blocks from the Texas State Capitol on the University of Texas campus I took a small journey into the heart of Africa at the Blanton Museum through the eyes and work of El Anatsui.

REVIEW I The Artist at Work, Exile and the Kingdom, Albert Camus, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1957

The artistic process takes place within constant reverberation of the movement and society of the time, with great momentary reflection to the artists of the past.  The short story The Artist At Work of Exile and the Kingdom by Albert Camus, is a small, but profound excerpt of Gilbert Jonas's rapid rise and decline within the art community of his day, with a great item of the story developing the balance of the artist alone, versus the mesh of artistic influence.

TREND| Slam Poetry

The 90’s saw something weird and rare in the grand-scape of the American underground, a resurgence of poetry.  I should know I was a victim of it.  Along with this new interest came movies chronicling the lives of poets past and present strangely played by the same actor.  As well as new anthologies announcing the new dirtier life of the free verse poet howling the new songs of Whitman’s angry whiskey soaked children still praising the grass so long steam rolled over by asphalt, pleading “rose still!”  Among these new voices to immerge dragging themselves through the negro streets was Slam. 

Nov 14, 2011

Review | Seeing Things| Tony Cragg | Nasher Sculpture

While in Dallas this past weekend I went some where that I have always wanted to go, The Nasher Sculpture Museum. Being from Dallas and it being a some what new museum I have always heard about it and wanted to go. In 2003 it was opened and was a home for modern and contemporary sculptures. The are either rotating sculptures from the Nasher collection or works from various touring exhibitions. The outside portion of the museum is the Nasher Sculpture Garden. The Garden was my favorite parts, sitting outside under the trees on the clear mid 70's day, looking at these beautiful works was absolutely perfect.
Untitled, Tony Crag, 2001, Wood

REVIEW | Humor in Art | Situation Comedy: Humor in Recent Art | Dominic Molon

Situation Comedy: Humor in Recent Art, Domonic Molon, Michael Rooks, 1996,
Art isnt all about the impression it leaves, it's also about the emotion it gives you when your observing it.  The book,  "Situation Comedy:  Humor in Recent Art",  states the opinion that comedy in art isnt always pretty,  in fact  its usually quite shocking.   In recent years, during this period of widespread political upheavel, artists internationally have produced a heathly dose of humor, both light-hearted and dark, into their work, utilizing the leveling power of comedy and irony to question authority and to encourage laughter in the mueseum.

REVIEW | The Dazzling Instant | Witliff Collection | Alkek Library

9/11, Antonio Turok, 2001, photograph

"The photograph is a guillotine blade that seizes one dazzling instant in eternity."  This quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson, considered to be the father of modern photojournalism is the inspiration for The Dazzling Instant exhibition.  Housed within the Witliff Collections on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library at Texas State University-San Marcos, the exhibition consists of 95 pieces by 70 different photographers.

Review | DaPhid Exhibition, Store Front Space

DaPhid, Store Front Space, San Antonio, 2011

 It was the first cold night of the fall season, walking down a dark street only lit through the shadows of the trees leaning over me as if they were leading me down this path and my pot of gold was awaiting me. Approaching the end of the tunnel I soon realize that it’s not gold that is to be found but an experience that exploits my senses. An environment that would inspire any young artist to create; music, food, and art. First Friday is such a place, a place where the moonlight and street light bring everyone to the same level. There is no artist or viewer, everyone is a comrade in search of their next fix of art and creativity. 

REVIEW | The Anxiety Of Photography | ArtHouse | Austin

Sara VanDerBeek, Presence, Digital c-print, 20" x 16.5", 2010.
          Recently, I recall seeing some old photographs of one of the buildings that occupied 700 Congress in the 1920s, The Queen Theater.  The building has since been the home to multiple businesses, and according to American-Architects, the Arthouse renovations include motifs from the building's past establishments.  Sadly, during all of my time in Austin, I have never visited Arthouse before this. 


Gibney Dance's "View Partially Obstructed", photo by Anja Hitzenberger

 Evan’s Auditorium at Texas State University held quite a performance on the Evening of November 3rd thanks to Gina Gibney’s two productions of “Thrown” and “View Partially Obstructed.” These pieces were very similar in terms of style and form of dance, however the feel I took away from the two pieces were distinctively different. Not only were both dance productions powerful with sharp choreography, but visualy as well creating a more aesthetic imprint on the audience. It was quite a show indeed.

EXHIBITION | Hana Hillerova & Susie Rosmarin: Reciprocal

Hana Hillerova, Untitled (Angel Crystals), 2008

When I first started school at Texas State University, I really did not find it possible for the university to hold interesting exhibitions in their gallery. Going in to the exhibitions I just expected to find average work, unthoughtfully placed on the walls. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see many different interesting works by students, and works by known artists spread out through out the space. I would assume most of the viewers for their gallery are art students, if not all of them, but I wish more people viewed the gallery’s exhibitions. There really is a lot to offer and see. I really enjoyed the gallery's current exhibition; Hana Hillerova & Susie Rosmarin: Reciprocal.


Amy Rice, To Catch a Bandit, 2010.

Tucked away behind a little house off of 1st and Monroe street is the grayDUCK gallery in Austin, Texas.  The current exhibit is based on Wapatui, which is an alcoholic drink in the midwest similar to trash can punch.  In this Wapatui, grayDUCK invited a mix of fifteen different artists from Austin and all over the United States to give gallery viewers a visual variety that packs a punch at an affordable price.  

REVIEW| I Love Kawaii, Charuca, Harper Design, 2011

 I Love Kawaii, Charuca, Harper Design, 2011

Kawaii is the Japanese word for cute or adorable.  Which is the term used to describe a contemporary art trend that is sugary sweet. Charuca says:
Kawaii can also apply to anything that appears childish, both in terms of an object's graphic simplicity - geometrical and curved shapes and bright colors - and the humorous and/or positive message it conveys.  Another feature of kawaii is that everything, be it object or animal, is humanized. A kawaii character usually has a head the same size as the rest of the body, sometimes even larger.  Think of the world famous Japanese icon Hello Kitty - the perfect global example of kawaii.

REVIEW I Idle Hands: The Devil's Art Show

Idle Hands: The Devil's Art Show
I had absolutely no intentions of reviewing this art show. In fact, I had looked up several exhibitions in Austin that I wanted to check out, but when I checked the syllabus and saw when this entry was due, I knew I was out of luck. For the last couple months, and especially these last couple weeks, I've been furiously painting and planning, getting ready for Idle Hands. So unfortunately, due to these deadlines and time constraints, I'm left with no other option but to review my own art show.

For the last few years, I've been putting on art shows at The Stratosphere Lounge, a hookah joint right next door to the tattoo shop I work at. Putting on these art shows has been a great experience for me, and just as frustrating. But it's nice for me to have a goal and a deadline, ensuring that I'm getting off my ass and getting some artwork done.

REVIEW | 5th Annual Muertitos Fest | Say Sí | San Antonio

Say Sí is a visual arts program for 9th through 12th graders in San Antonio and Muertito Fest is an exuberant expression of it’s success in bringing together young students, accomplished professional artists, and the community at large together in a multi-faceted celebration of Dia de los Muertos. Muertitos Fest was part of the November First Friday events in San Antonio. Every First Friday galleries in and around the historic King William district are open to the public late into the evening. On First Fridays the people of San Antonio celebrate the arts in galleries surrounded by live music, street food, vendor booths, and performance art. 

Nov 13, 2011

REVIEW | Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, David Foster Wallace, Back Bay Books, 2000

Two weeks ago, I was in a discussion with an artist friend about what post-post modernism means, and who it can serve. How socially useful is the self reflective, and how do contemporary artists address ideas in and outside of the art world at the same time? She recommended a book by David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.