May 29, 2009




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May 28, 2009

Hiroshi Sugito at Mark Foxx

My good friend Hiroshi Sugito was in town for his show at Mark Foxx Gallery. I was able to catch up with him on his last day here as he was applying some finishing touches.

Our reunion reminded me of the force and delicacy of eye that he has. When his paintings arrived at the gallery and were installed, Hiroshi determined that the installation required that some of the paintings had to be adjusted, the colors modulated so that the space joined the paintings into one immersive environment, a very specific Hiroshi-world. Talking over dinner, Hiroshi was talking about how the color orange looks best in Germany. In Japan, pink is marvelous. In Los Angeles? We talked about the light in different parts of the world, how the local weather and latitude must be a factor in what we saw. What an eye he has! A bit of Matisse was conjured along the way. What about Bonnard? And Richard Tuttle. He delightedly showed me videos of the artist at Dieu Donn?, rigor balanced by play.


Here are some details of his paintings at Mark Foxx:


And by the way, I had an opportunity to see Mark's back room and I caught sight of Jason Meadow's recent work, great stuff.

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May 26, 2009

Weldon Color Lab


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A Fine Weekend it Was


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May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This morning's news: Kim Jong Ill's North Korea squeezed off about 15 kilotons and fired a few missiles so we could connect the dots.

My father was one of a handful of troops sent into the Pusan Perimeter to stop the North Korean invasion. The conquest of Pusan would have decided the war in favor of the North Korea. On July 28th, 1950, his unit was surrounded and wiped out by North Korean forces. Amateur historian Ed Evanhoe wrote:
Meanwhile, "B" and "D" Companies, 29th Infantry were under attack by superior enemy forces at Anui. They tried to withdraw to high ground
across the Nam River but only 2 officers and 16 men made it before North
Korean troops slammed the exit door. The remainder of the two units
engaged in street fighting until around midnight and then, those who could,
slipped into the hills and tried to walk to safety. Approximately half of
the two companies were either killed or missing in this battle.


By August, the South Korean forces and the U.S. Eighth Army under General Walton Walker had been driven back into a small area in the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula around the city of Pusan. As the North Koreans advanced, they rounded up and killed civil servants. On August 20, MacArthur sent a message warning Kim Il Sung that he would be held responsible for further atrocities committed against UN troops.

By September, only the area around Pusan ? about 10 percent of the Korean peninsula ? was still in coalition hands. With the aid of massive American supplies, air support, and additional reinforcements, the UN forces managed to stabilize a line along the Nakdong River. This desperate holding action became known in the United States as the Pusan Perimeter.
Escalation of the Korean war

In the face of fierce North Korean attacks, the allied defense became a desperate battle called the Battle of Pusan Perimeter by Americans.

This is the instruction of Lieutenant General Walton Walker to 25th Division staff, July 29, 1950:

General [Douglas] MacArthur was over here two days ago; he is thoroughly conversant with the situation. He knows where we are and what we have to fight with. He knows our needs and where the enemy is hitting the hardest. General MacArthur is doing everything possible to send reinforcements. A Marine unit and two regiments are expected in the next few days to reinforce us. Additional units are being sent over as quickly as possible. We are fighting a battle against time. There will be no more retreating, withdrawal, or readjustment of the lines or any other term you choose. There is no line behind us to which we can retreat. Every unit must counterattack to keep the enemy in a state of confusion and off balance. There will be no Dunkirk, there will be no Bataan. A retreat to Pusan would be one of the greatest butcheries in history. We must fight until the end. Capture by these people is worse than death itself. We will fight as a team. If some of us must die, we will die fighting together. Any man who gives ground may be responsible for the death of thousands of his comrades.

I want you to put this out to all the men in the Division. I want everybody to understand we are going to hold this line. We are going to win.


My father was a casualty of the Korean War, fifty years after the fact.

I miss him a great deal.

* snip.

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May 19, 2009

Titles: WOPS

Titles (hyperlinked) follow at the jump:

This Weightless, Painful Moment.
Oil on Paper

MacGuffin II
Oil on Paper

Oil on Paper

Oil on Paper

Story of My Life
Oil on Paper

Oil on Paper

Bad Brains
Oil on Paper

Casper Time
Oil on Paper

Jade Emperor
Oil on Paper

Cinnabar Palace
Oil on Paper

Oil on Paper

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A Party in Ur Sky

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Back in the day when I was a sailor, my ship cruised the deep Pacific and Indian Oceans but I never got to learn the night sky since I spent the whole time inside CIC staring at radar scopes. Alack, alas. A few years ago, I delved briefly into the backyard astronomy world, enough to map the constellations (The stories that humanity has projected upon it! The history! The science!), enough to come to the realization that one need not buy that 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope like I did (a good set of binoculars works spectacularly), enough to know that one not need strap on the inner-?ber-geek to tap into plenty of richness of our night sky.

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May 14, 2009



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May 13, 2009



That blue taped rectangle is about the size of some new photoenlargements that I have been thinking about for far too much time. So I called the great Josh White and had a few high res fotos shot. The processing will be done by Weldon Photo Labs located in Culver City. We should see something in about a week. Here's a rough approximation:


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May 12, 2009



Ahora 051209 b.jpg

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Madness of Crowds


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May 6, 2009

LACE Auction

LA artist Carlee Fernandez was kind enough to invite me to contribute a piece for this year's LACE Auction, opening tonight at their space on Hollywood Boulevard:

For this year?s Benefit Art Auction, we have invited a select group of artists, curators, and creative professionals to each organize their personal ?visual playlist?. The resulting array of mini-exhibitions will reflect the multitude of styles and interests that make Los Angeles? contemporary art world such an exciting place to be.

Nayland Blake, Phil Chang, Anne Collier, Stuart Comer, Fallen Fruit, Carlee Fernandez, Eve Fowler & Lucas Michael/ACP, Soo Kim, John Knuth, Jen?e Misraje, Shamim Momin, Terri Phillips, Lucas Reiner, Marco Rios, Aaron Rose, Sterling Ruby, Maya Schindler, Anna Sew Hoy, Thomas Solomon, Carol Stakenas, George Stoll, Catherine Taft, Ed & Deanna Templeton, Matt Wardell and Amy & Wendy Yao.

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LA DriveBy


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May 3, 2009




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Lost Ahora

(Middle of last week.)

A story quickly told:

I started a large canvas with the intention of learning from the egg breaking juice I've squeezed recently (link, link), thinking about the closed circuit formulation which animated paintings such as this, this, and this). The idea behind the closed circuit thing was to start by drawing in and color fill an image, which is sliced/sheared up with tools such as drywall knives... then the paint goes down again, the image encoded in the pile that was sheared off, dropped down at times, rocked out in flowers, blended into mud and printed with paper peels for maximum fractal effect. A closed circuit, like an ecosystem, like a virgin.

A fine idea. But I wondered if it had legs. Closed or open, one or the other approaches are equally dangerous each in their own right, the former a death by rigidity and the latter by dissolution. Meanwhile, I was moving in a direction that was pointing up the dimension of image and text. I wanted all of this to have an impact on what I was to do next.

So down an image went. Both modes were on my mind, closed circuit/image and text... and by the time I sheared the paint off, I noticed the bleed of oil through a canvas, a sign that I forgot to seal it over with two or three coats of matt resin. The initial coats of rabbit skin glue couldn't keep the oil away form the canvas weave. I both liked and didn't like the resultant image I saw at first. I figured that I could let the paint dry and seal up the canvas afterward to continue onward. As I hung it up on the wall, the question formed: why not just let it be?

There on the table was the sheared pile of paint, the image encoded into its' mass. I could imagine a perfect painter (G-d?) being able to drop the pile in such a way as to reverse the force of the shear and deliver the image back again to it's original state. That I couldn't, that no human could, is a fine testament to the inherent fragility of humankind, the very definition of what it means to be human. Painting and wretchedness. The big question was whether I should continue or start another canvas with this pile of encoded paint. To throw this encoded pile onto another canvas was to break the circuit, a broken egg in other words.

And so I did. The next four blogposts should illustrate this.

My friends rolled into the studio as the week went by. Andrew Hahn was the first to say it: "You're done, dude." I had already made the decision, but it was fresh and doubt still hovered overhead, certainty was not yet rock hard. It was good to get a confirmation. Then Henry came by, animated. He had a lot to say about challenging my project, and the brightest jewel in our discussion was Henry's bon mot:
You don't have to
give the motherfucker
an extra scoop!"

Solid gold.

A question remains: where and when does one come to the... extra scoop?

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