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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Just for the heck of it.

Persistance of Degradation - The Misogynist

Persistence of Degradation – The Misogynist

Acrylic and Ink on MDF - 122 x 94 cm

David Howard – 2010

The above painting was based on a series of quickly drawn nudes from a stint of life drawing episodes, from a few years ago. In this work the figures are in various stages of obliteration – sort of a loss of information, leaning towards stylising and becoming iconic.

In some ways this loss of information becomes new information added, as the images take on new meanings. Originally the concept of the nude studies was to take the figure drawn and elevate them beyond just studies into something else. 

This re-contextualising the figures takes the focus of the sloppy drawing (as a study) and in turn generates interests in the situation or event depicted.

Two male figures surrounded by females who are in various stages of degradation. The halos, are sort of like  a quadruple holiness or a transcendence that magnifies.  And just for the heck of it (because I didn’t have much else to sacrifice at the art altar) I have entered it with a few other obscure David works at the local competition. I will be surprised if I get a hanging – but really, I just don’t know what these people want – so, I will try anything.

Judy's last wave detail

This is a detail from ‘Judy’s Last Wave’ – I just had to take this photo because it’s as plain as the nose on your face, that I never finished drawing the nose. This of course, for me, makes the piece have tension and will forever be some sort of irritant – until it is destroyed, long after I have died by someone, somewhere, who no doubt thought they had been cursed by this drawing.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Flaunt Magazine : Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

Written by Heather Corcoran | Photographed by Rishad Mistri

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It’s a rainy November morning when I show up at the Museum of Modern Art. I find myself nervous to meet Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Just 12 hours ago, I attended her insanity-inducing “K.62” performance piece, a collaboration with experimental conductor/composer Ari Benjamin Meyers and part of the Performa performance art biennial. This is how it happens:

You get a call telling you to show up at a bookstore at 8 p.m. No earlier, no later. There you meet your company while a violinist plays something vaguely familiar. You’re handed an envelope that says “K12” and told to get in a cab that drops you off outside a nightclub. You walk through the door and into one of the most common nightmares in the collective unconsciousness: you’re onstage facing a packed house and you have no idea what the hell is going on.

That’s one way of experiencing it.

And then there’s another, and that’s how it happened to me. I show up at the Henry Street Settlement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with my sister. We’re each given a ticket—mine blue, hers red—and sent to separate theaters. Every once in a while some riffs on an oboe come from the back of the room. After 30 minutes, a headset-wearing, clipboard-carrying assistant type apologizes—we’re in the wrong room. We’re taken to reunite in a larger theater where the waiting really begins.

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I resist all urges to claw out my eyeballs as I patiently wait for something to happen onstage. After an hour, wide-eyed bodies start to emerge from the door at the back of the stage. Gonzalez-Foerster shows up and mimes her way through a Spanish guitar solo before giving a soliloquy on Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, one of two Kafkaesque films that inspired the evening (the other was Orson Welles’s interpretation of The Trial). The film “irritated” her, she explains, but 20 years later, she can’t get it out of her head. An orchestra shows up from the audience. They play. Meyers does a magic trick and talks about The Trial, and the frightening feeling of insanity that comes with having no idea what is happening around you. Some people get up and leave.

The show ends and we we’re all invited to a club called After. After getting past the velvet rope, we find ourselves standing on the very stage we’d just spent the last two hours staring at. A very friendly guy with a video camera tells me there’s someone he wants me to talk to and from what I can piece together from the conversation, 20 people have been stripped of their names and given “K-numbers” (a nod to The Trial’s Josef K.) and sent to locations from After Hours, where a member from the orchestra waited. Scattered throughout Manhattan, the 20 musicians simultaneously (but separately) played music from the film’s soundtrack, which was piped into the theater through the occasional phone call.

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In Gonzalez-Foerster’s hyperliterate work—whether installation or film, or a mixture of the two—time and space are the media. She doesn’t set out to prove something; she’s more like a scientist building an experiment. The hypothesis behind “K.62”: “What if the time you spent going to the theater was, in fact, more important than the performance itself?’”

The piece, with its if-a-tree-falls-and-no-one-hears-it ambiguity (it seems Gonzalez-Foerster’s answer is yes) and cross-cultural references, is emblematic of a lot of her work. The artist builds environments layered with personal memories and cultural citations. Her short films have turned the spotlight on cities through a series of seemingly mundane experiences. She turned the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern into a dystopian vision of London’s future where you could pick up a copy of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds and read it under supersized versions of a public sculpture by Alexander Calder and Louise Bourgeois. At the Dia Foundation’s Hispanic Society, she built dioramas, with the help of the Natural History Museum, filled with books instead of fauna.

In situations like this, ideas of beginning and end are meaningless. Her work relies, instead, on an audience to activate it. She presents the situation, and then it’s open to the audience to play the role of detective.

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But what about those people who left the performance? If they didn’t make it all the way to the big reveal, did they fully experience the piece? “It’s one of the possibilities,” says Gonzalez-Foerster. “It’s also one possibility that’s given to any audience at any show—to leave; why not? Maybe the person who left, she got out and then she did something else that she wouldn’t have done… it’s still connected. I would say this is the beauty of that structure. At one point, the way it’s set, it can include almost any accident or event.”

If you follow that logic, then the community created with “K.62” includes the audience in the theater, all the Ks, and every one of the people they pass on their journeys. You could probably say that about everything—the idea of the unfortunate butterfly who flaps his wings in China causing a rainstorm in Central Park—but how often do you think about it? That’s the space where Gonzalez-Foerster works.

To get to those questions, those elemental experiences, you have to shake things up, change some parameters, and maybe even get a little uncomfortable, she explains. It’s an artistic sentiment that spills into her real life, half of which is spent in her native France, the rest in Rio. “This is why I like to live in Brazil and, in a way, I would say ‘less-controlled’ environment—because the fact that certain things are less predictable makes me feel that I have to be more awake. It’s almost like something uncomfortable wakes you up, but then it means you’re also more conscious of nice things, you know?”

That doesn’t mean she enjoys playing some sadistic game of puppet-master. It’s more of an Andy Kaufman-like attempt to wake people up. “At one point, yeah, you feel a bit evil, but then you also know it’s for the beauty of something.”

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This attempt to shake the status quo is why her work frequently references others, whether through appropriation or collaboration, with an audience, or with other artists. (With Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière, she deconstructed and rebuilt the concept of a retail store; she frequently works with the likes of Pierre Huyghe and Rirkrit Tiravanija).

“I don’t believe in style and identity,” she says, suggesting that what she finds interesting instead is revealing those things that she is made of—the books and films and people and places that she’s encountered all her life. “For me, the whole thing is an endless chain. At one moment, as a person, you are one possible editing of all this material.”

Details on the artworks can be found in the original article by clicking here.

Article kindly supplied by Flaunt magazine.

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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Talent is a curse

by Blair McNamara

 

talent is a curse - and I have it

I am talented, now please get out of my way

talent is what you do for a living

talent is pain, please cure me

talent has no plumbing or switch

talent is a nuisance…go away & let me get on with creating

talent is useless for wants instead of needs

talent is of no use to the working man (or the plan)

talent is free

talent lies idle

painting in yellow

I have more talent than you

I have no more talent to give

I just discovered my true talent

talent is a curse if you explain how you make money

talent is of no practical use

will the last talent to leave the building please leave the light on

talent is best kept for those secret occasions to surprise family guests

talent is useless without the brand

talent is a label

charcoal and paint mix

is there a drug to cure talent?

am I addicted to my talent?

talent stings my eyes

I cannot afford to be talented

this is no time to be using your talent

take one step backwards and talents unite

a talent scout is wearing the davie crocket hat

being a talent is a good way to burn your way through the village

there are no sweet dreams with talent

take this talent away from me so that I do not give you any ideas

painted surfboard on beach

Monday, 22 March 2010

Childish = Now

I have been roaming the whole world looking for an art that stirs my soul. I have been arrested on the streets of Pompeii, for calling out before that fateful day.  Why have we become so childish: myself not wanting to offend the young, who believe with a pure faith?

I call out in the streets, “Where is the gutsy art”? Is a way of life a substitute for the real thing? The echoes of past heroes, bounce along the electronic band wave like pawns, brutally abused: not by gods or goddesses but by illegitimate terrible enfants.

Helicopter day Helicopter Day

And so Duchamp’s last painting brutally descends, as old man Dylan, mourns in a croaky voice, “the only thing we know about Dylan, is Dylan was not his real name”.

 

Camel circus

Circus Camel

I wish I could find an art so pure, an art so mature, an art so sincere, an art so real, an art that meant something, an art so now that it lasted forever and was always in vogue. An art that reached down into the depths of my soul and ripped asunder the impoverished childish bloat and transformed me into an innocent child, who gleamed with eyes of wonder.

Alas, childish = now.

Instant

Instant Child

Friday, 19 March 2010

Flaunt Magazine : Diana Al-Hadid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Maxwell Williams | Photographed by Dorothy Hong

I met Diana Al-Hadid during last year’s Art Basel in Miami, where I helped her deconstruct one of her pieces—a manatee-sized skeletal tower made of crumbly-looking polymer gypsum honeycomb with a metal and wood infrastructure—in preparation to ship it back home to her studio. Heavy and colossal as it was, the sculpture seemed so fragile. We watched it rumble down the road and then Al-Hadid drove to Disney World.

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We next met at her studio, a cathedral-sized space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we ate falafel and listened to R&B hits while building shelves to house her sizeable working materials and molds. And though we’ve been in touch since, there’s a lot I don’t know about her. I know she was born in Syria, but not that she lived in Saudi Arabia. “Then we moved to the suburbs of Cleveland,” she says over the phone from Florida, where she is working on a residency at the Institute for Research in Art at the University of South Florida, Tampa. “We eventually moved to North Canton, Ohio, which is where my parents are still.”

That the most recognizable building in Canton is the pigskin-shaped Football Hall of Fame is severely at odds with Al-Hadid’s work; her sculptures resemble monuments seen while traveling by dream to far away destinations. “Self Melt” (2008), for example, could be a Tower of Pisa turned upside down, inside out and melted in a microwave. An earlier series of pipe-organ-cum-shrines evoke mutated church basements where hunchbacks and phantoms roam and take turns bashing out haunting arias. It seems at times the organs could shuffle away on their own. “People tell me that [my work] could come to life,” says Al-Hadid. “Or that it died.”

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Al-Hadid’s more architecturally-focused works are less animated, yet they’re still imbued with a sense of humanness and unsaid presence. “The body is implied not just in architecture,” Al-Hadid intones, “but in sculpture, generally. You understand a sculpture viscerally. You compare it, psychologically, by the scale of your own body.” One can walk around Al-Hadid’s work and sense that it’s intended to be explored like a ruin from another time, to be studied, to extract information about human interface with objects.

Despite the invitation from her pipe organs to be played, or her towers’ beckoning for human interactivity, Al-Hadid, a bit embarrassed for allowing magic into such earthly works, eschews them with literal figuration. “Part of the reason that I avoid working with the fully formed figure is—and I’m not a practicing Muslim—but it’s really superstitious. Sculpture has that anyway, when it’s doing a good job. It is alive. But I would avoid making the figure look alive because there’s this superstition that I have where I would risk something actually getting up and moving. I don’t think that’s actually going to happen, but if anything I would want the non-figurative work to be alive.”

 

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Mystic sensibilities in her work are inspired from a variety of angles. Recently, Al-Hadid reunited with a former high school acquaintance who had just moved to New York. He happened to be a world famous magician. “He does ‘close-up’ magic; it’s very intimate. Magicians: these are people that have secrets about the other side of the universe. It feels like [it, anyway]! They have presumably solved the laws of gravity. That stuff that you want to have power over, as a sculptor.” Motivated by a newfound sense for achieving the previously-thought implausible, for her residency in Tampa, Al-Hadid built a spiraling tower of what appears to be playing cards—a visual wink to the precariousness of her creations. In another recent work, “Actor” (2009), Al-Hadid returns to veiled figuration; her examination of the classic form of a woman in repose collides with her newfound interest in illusion and magic. “They both portray a sense of levity,” she says. “The ground that she’s sitting on is a spiral galaxy. You can’t really tell [she’s touching the ground].”

Al-Hadid appears to be pushing away a little bit from the towers she’s become known for, though her work is still monumental. “I’m still young in my career,” says the 28-year-old, “so I can work on something for one year. I have had a year of really, really studying pipe organs and music and architecture, and the next year [I studied] architecture as ridiculously absurd ambition. This year I just want to try to make more constructive things and to try to introduce the character into the narrative again.” And hence the woman in repose? “I guess it’s a critique,” she explains. “I’ve always had this thing about the dramatic women that faint. There’s this dizzying vertigo. I’m not concentrating on the figures; it’s really about the clothes on her. It’s me trying to sculpt how someone would paint the fabric. With that posture, the clothes take on this mountainous landscape.”

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When Al-Hadid shares about her process, one begins to realize why her work appeals to the rugged, largesse-fetishizing, blowtorch lovers in the art world. She’s nearly giddy explaining the history, the sizes, the leitmotifs and so on. There is a sort of grand dance of nature in her words, which explain the massive dynamic that she evinces so well. “There are a lot of materials that melt in my work,” she laughs. “[And one] looks almost like it’s shredded. It’s something between constructed and de-constructed. It is pulling it apart, but it’s distilling it in a way—locating all the fragments. It’s breaking it down. It’s like how you pull a chicken apart, fragmenting. But it’s not like I work with one thing and then pull it apart. I’m actually constructing it, which is a weird irony. I’m adding more than I’m removing.”

 

Article kindly supplied by Flaunt magazine.

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Showcase Review : Blair McNamara

By Blair McNamara

My artwork is a chronology of changes occurring along the coastal plain.

Viking Motif 6 sml

 

 

Title: SURF COVE

Year: 2006

Medium: mixed media on canvas

Size: 100 x 110cm

Price: AU$5,200.oo

 

 

 

Through paintings, drawings, collage, photography, montage, installations and musical compositions I record the relationships between the visual and sound landscape. My fascination with the grid, the play-of-light, the layering of surfaces, the inherent energies found in nature, the abstraction of the shoreline and cultural diversity all inspire me.

PositivesNegatives 2003 150x120cms

 

Title: POSITIVES / NEGATIVES # 9

Year: 2002

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Size: 140 x 120cm

Price: AU$5,200.oo

 

 

With the coming of mass car ownership most Australian families had a car by the mid 1960’s to get to the beach. Around that time I was born the youngest in a family that went surfing all year round. My dad was an active Surf Lifesaving official and worked away a lot as a traveling salesman. He took us everywhere in that company car, even out west occasionally. Back in the 50’s my mother was apparently a page-3 beach girl a couple of times before she became a devoted housewife with 3 boys.

13 gold-coast-indy #1 1993

 

 

 

 

Title: GOLD COAST INDY #1

Year: 1993

Medium: mixed media on arches

Size: 66 x 51cm

Price: AU$2,100.oo

 

 

 

 

 

By the 1970’s and 80’s Australia’s coastal towns were well and truly a wonderland destination. I had evolved into a surf addict, taking annual safaris down the east coast, running around to Granite Bay during a cyclone or thrashing an old car up the beach to surf Double Island.

For over 25 years I have been consistently producing and presenting my work. Having grown up immersed in surf culture, my art is a life of observing, recording and researching the rapid spread of coastal urbanization. My personal philosophies about livability and sustainability have been informed by experiences of the global beach, from Bondi to Brazil.

TOBOGGAN HILL 2000 130X180cms (surfart) acrylic on canvas

 

Title: TOBOGGAN HILL

Year: 2000

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Size: 200 x 120cm

Price: AU$5,800.oo

 

By 2005, my life-long artistic observations of Coolum Beach were assembled to create the “coodabin/shoodabin” art exhibition at the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery to ponder the paradoxes of the current construction craze brought on by the ‘sea-change phenomenon in my seaside community.

The exhibition’s title, ‘Could-Have-Been / Should-Have-Been’ is a metaphor for what people generally discuss about change. This cultural-map of Queensland’s built environment is recognised by some of the country’s best academic, government and architectural institutions.

As a unique record of Sunshine Coast history, “coodabin/shoodabin” embodies the textures, stories and spirit of Coolum’s evolution and sets up a seminal dialogue that artistically portrays the dynamics at play in this contemporary culture of  speculation.

Surf Optique 200 X 150cms

 

 

 

Title: SURF OPTIQUE

Year: 2004

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Size: 200 x 150cm

Price: AU$5,800.oo

 

 

 

 

From both the exhibition and my later involvement with Sea change Taskforce Australia came a community arts project. In 2008, I was accepted as 2009’s artist-in-residence at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery to experience the wonders of the Coral Coast region and formulate my ideas into a solo “coodabin/shoodabin – coral coast” art exhibition which concluded 24th January 2010.

My personal presentations of “coodabin/shoodabin” or art workshops are available to community groups, educational institutions, corporations or clubs.

UMBRIA 2007 153x125cms acrylic on board (abstracts)

 

 

Title: WINDOW

Year: 2007

Medium: acrylic on board

Size:153 x 125cm

Price: AU$3,800.oo

 

 

 

 For further information or your enquiries are most welcome through my website: www.blairmcnamara.com

Saturday, 13 March 2010

4960

I think this is finished - well, almost. It is 1.9 x 1.3 m or there-abouts and it is my entry for the Vasse prize.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

spiral

this was drawn in Rhino 4 WIP for Mac. It is very cool software and is getting better with each new release - the updates usually come once a month, sometimes twice and its free until they finish it. There is a version 5 in progress for pc but I don't know if it is free to download like the mac version.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Early

Early is fun and always free from constraint.

Early is full of hopes and dreams.

Early is always on time because time doesn’t matter.

Early is awkward and doesn’t care.

Early relishes even the mad thoughts.

Early is pretty well full of innocence.

Early is pretentious when it matters.

Early doesn’t mind being seen in the street.

Early will fight over principles, then change the rules next week.

Early falls in love and does crazy things.

Early lasts a short while.

Here are a few early works ………….

River Rocks River Rocks 1981

 

Early Image

Little No Exit Altered 1982

 

bike

Family Slide Altered 1980

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Crazy Guy messing around.

I finally settled on a new web page using Weebly. After lot’s of searching and hacking around in the dense jungles of the internet, I found a system that comes very close to making me happy and not going totally crazy. And of course it’s free unless you want to make it into a full domain like ‘dehoward.com’, instead of a sub-domain like ‘dehoward.weebly.com’. The picture below will take you to my new web page.

New page clip

Also, I have finally added a new posting to my ArtProofer blogging site. I am currently looking for co-conspirators to write articles etc. Let me know if your interested.

ArtProofer clip

On a final note, I have started a blog called Pandanus which will initially just be photos , but may include other art or related items down the track – let me know if you want to be a contributor. 

Pandanus clip

All Artwork Copyright by the Artists represented on this Blog. 2010