abstract, color, geometry, Modernism, Photography, Wordless Wednesday
Posts Tagged ‘abstract’
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A couple of weeks ago, I went to the opening for an exhibit entitled Angular and Architectural in downtown San Francisco. The title itself features elements that reappear in my own photography as well as my viewing and appreciation of art. Plus it was conveniently on the way home from work.
901 Market Street is one of those typical older office buildings one sees downtown (this building dates back to 1912). It is an imposing stone building, a bit heavy and a bit ornate. The inside, however, features an open modern atrium, very clean, full of light and space, and a perfect “canvas” for an art exhibition, particularly one whose theme is architecture and geometry.
What made this particular exhibit stand out was the pairings and combinations of different artworks, among the best combination arrangements I have seen in a while. Many of these combinations involved paintings by John Haag paired with sculptures by Rebecca Fox and Yong Han. We have seen Fox’s and Han’s metal sculptures before at Open Studios and elsewhere, but Haag was a new discovery. Here is one of his paintings, Midnight Seranade, coupled with one of Fox’s sculptures:
[Click to enlarge image.]
The black-and-white of the painting matches the dark color of the sculpture against the white background, along with the thick bands of black and gentle curves.
Here we see another painting, this time coupled with one of Han’s sculptures, last train of thought:
[Click to enlarge image.]
In this painting, the strong angles and thin lines in the painting match the sculpture, and both have a somewhat Art-Deco quality.
Here is one more set, with the sculptures framing the painting from either side:
[Click to enlarge image.]
The curved shapes and bright red in the last painting bring up the red elements in the two sculptures to either side.
This exhibit reminds us how the placement of disparate works in exhibition is itself a creative act, finding elements across artists and media that somehow work together.
This is the first of several articles showing the work in progress on a piece I recently commissioned from local artist Flora Davis. I had first met Davis at Open Studios in 2008. I purchased a small cat painting at the time but also reflected on how it might be interesting to combine it with her more recent work that explored abstract metallic surfaces, including series of metal boxes. When I met her again this spring, I proposed the idea of doing a series of metal boxes to be placed together with the cat painting Zeus, and we are now going ahead with it!
Part of the process was choosing the sizes for boxes and then the materials/textures for them. Here are the initial sized boxes along with the cat painting:
As one can see, they range in size from only a few inches to almost as large as the original painting. In the final piece, they can placed in any number of arrangements around or near the painting, the idea being for one element to overwhelm the others, and to maintain a sense of straight lines and the square shapes without conforming to a single grid.
Next, it was time to select the exact squares from the various metallic surfaces:
The metal surfaces are quite complex and rich in color and texture. This one with the turqoise/green patina was perhaps the most complex, and thus I wanted it for the smallest of the boxes. Overall, the colors and textures of the various surfaces tended towards browns, greens and reds that picked up elements of the painting.
Here are some of the metal textures seen in place with the boxes and the cat:
With all the materials and dimensions now specified, the next step will be to cut the surfaces and adhere them to the boxes. We will see the results in an upcoming article soon!
Over the last few days, I have largely been absorbed by preparations for my next performance. This one includes a more ambitious element, a 10-minute video entitled 月神1 featuring clips of Luna as well as abstract elements reminiscent of experimental filmmakers such as Stanley Brakhage or Gerhard Richter. The video will serve as a backdrop for live electronic improvisation – it is mostly silent, though I did include some sound at various points so the audience could hear Luna’s voice.
Here are a few example frames from the video:
Some of the video clips of Luna were featured here on CatSynth in the past, including her chattering video, or playing with her blue fish toy. The abstract elements were done is a software package called Processing, a programming language for images, animation and interactions.
Musically, I will plan to focus on a mixture of the Evolver and the Octave CAT synthesizers, along with software on the iPhone and laptop. Indeed, this is the first time I will be using the CAT live, mostly because I am reluctant to move it too often.
Of course, this will only cover about one third of the full performance, so I will be drawing from my repertoire of electroacoustic improvisation to round out the remainder of the time. Although I reuse elements, there is always something new to discover in them.
For those in the Bay Area who may be interested in checking it out, the full information is below:
Full Moon Concert Series: Quickening Moon
Thursday, February 25, 8PM
Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street @ 6th Street, San Francisco.
The Full Moon Concert Series is an experimental music series offered by Outsound Presents, in partnership with the Luggage Store Gallery. Each concert explores the traditional lore of the Full Moon, and in January, the second annual “Quickening Moon” will feature new music springing to life. First up will be Amar Chaudhary in a solo electronica set (collaborating with his wonder-cat, Luna), followed by the world premiere of a new work for twelve improvisers by Polly Moller, entitled Genesis.
This past weekend, I attended several exhibits and performances from the Performa 09 biennial.
On Saturday evening, I saw the New York premier of In Order of Appearance by Youri Dirkx and Aurélien Froment. The piece began with a spare, white on white stage, which was gradually populated by Dirkx with various geometric objects.
I was quite taken with the silence, which in its way became musical (I have long had a musical appreciation of silence in art). It also allowed me to concentrate on the objects themselves, their shapes, colors and perspectives, and the dramatic gestures Dirkx used to manipulate them. The main objects were a cube, rectangular prism, ball (sphere) and cylinder, all in white to match the walls. Sometimes they were stacked, at other moments placed side by side. There were also miniature versions of these same objects, in a dark gray shade. Beyond these were a variety of shapes, clothing and architectural elements, some in bright primary colors, which gave the impression of a modernist/minimalist gallery in a museum.
I really liked seeing this work, with its minimal take on motion and geometry. The spare stage and the silence made it quite arresting to watch. And like a museum, I could switch my attention from one simple object to another on my own terms.
The piece ended with full complement of objects on stage:
I came to this performance without any context, so I pretty much experienced it as described above. It was only afterwards that I reviewed the notes, and found this excerpt quite matched my own perceptions:
“In Order of Appearance” questions ways of presenting an artwork. The presentation takes place amidst architecture made of paper, modelled on the white cube of the museum. This draft version of the gallery space is used here as an operating table, an abstract playground where objects and artworks are transformed in one way and then another, exploring their identity and functions. The piece explores the different viewpoints that one has of objects according to their context of exposition.