July 31, 2010


Miguel Marcos and I took the train from Barcelona to Valencia the other day to visit collector and gallerist Ana Seratossa. It's a three hour train ride each way. It was my first time there and we were on a day trip there and back. I was able to see this fabled city after all this time, so very interesting it was to get a feel for the southern frontier of Catalunya, a disputed issue since many will identify Tarragona with this designation... but then I also hear that Valenciana is identical to Catalan, differing only in accent. I hear too that Valencia is considered to be Madrid's beach (only two hours' drive away) and that the federal government has graced the city with the means to build out the civic zone of the city with several Santiago Calatrava super-star-structures. With Catalunya voting out bullfighting and reasserting a statute that seeks more autonomy, I wonder how Valencia will fare in this dispute? As I put this question to folks around here, responses range from aggravation to shoulder shrugs.

Ana took me out to lunch and afterwards we taxi'ed about in a whirlwind tour of the city, ending up at the museum of contemporary art and meeting with painter Jos? Maria Yturralde.

Muy amable todo.

Un ciutat mol macu.

This movie is a foto stream slide show made from a sequence of casually shot fotos. I kept twitching the trigger finger along the way, so I was happy to drag and drop my way into iMovie to make a passable representation of Valencia for this post. Total length of the compilation was a little over eight minutes long, so I scrolled down my list of music to the eight minute mark and found the best match. The music is Anouar Brahem's C'est Ailleurs from the album Le Pas Du Chat Noir.


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Rescue at the Big Beach

Tossa had an emergency rescue event on the big beach the other day. Sadly, it seems that someone had a heart attack or drowning or both. The local authorities cleared a path on the beach to land a helicopter for an emergency evacuation that unfortunately was not needed. It was the first time such a dramatic landing was done here. People were somber and afterward life went on without gossip or hauteur.

Subsequent fotos illustrate the event.




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July 26, 2010



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July 19, 2010


The other night, Kiko asked if I wanted to snorkel out round Cap Tossa at midnight. Hell yea. His daughter Nerea and a friend Lito swam out with us. No moon, the sky splashed with stars, the water was cloudy with plankton and sea stuff; Kiko and Nerea swam out on point to skewer fish for the grill with our tridents. I kept watch on Lito since he had limited experience as a snorkeler, he carried the catch in a bag strapped to his waist.

On the way back, I switched off my flashlight and watched the phosphorescence glow around my gloves like fireflies. You could almost use the light from their glow to illuminate the surroundings by scrubbing your hands in front of you, it was so bright, no real need for a flashlight.

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I won't be able to shoot better pics until I can get the paintings downstairs at the end of summer. Here is a preliminary drawing of my preconceptions and one more here.

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Anatomy Lesson

A few perceptive readers might have asked themselves what that image of a skull was in the recent blogpost featuring a still life using the Brushes App. Here's the artifact in question, a little silly thing that I hope might lead to brighter pastures. In the first moment, I was twisting a plastic bag into a form of a brain and brain stem. Cutting and breaking cardboard into a skull, then muscle then skin... I don't know where this will lead, (there are plenty of dead ends, false leads) but keeping your antenna up, that's what artists do. At least it might be a cool anatomy lesson.


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Joanne Greenbaum

While in Berlin, I stopped by to visit Joanne Greenbaum, who is now splitting her time between the USA (New York) and the EU. After a studio visit, we had lunch nearby her neighborhood of Kreuzberg. I pulled out my iPad, eager to show her the Brushes App and see what she might do with it.

Later, I scribbled out a few notes from our visit off the top of my head. Here they are, as they are (crude), with minimal editing:

Joanne GreenbaumComposition and its other, the note pad. Note pads and marginalia. She likes to treat her paintings and works on paper like note pads, the urgency of transcription over-riding overall composition.

She happily flaunts the strictures of composition. The edges of the canvas call out for design. The four edges so perpendicularly justified, corrals and orchestrates the movements of the eye, the organization within happens fast or slow or otherwise according a theme or vision or mood. And yet Joanne wants to be free of that. She spoke of not always knowing right away what is good or bad in her work, that sometimes it takes time and one day in a flash, she sees something new, that where once something was either ugly or unresolved, later there exists something interesting or novel. Beauty in this case is emergent and fluid. Beauty can be found in its' other. Beauty can lie hidden in plain sight.

Is her desire to live in Germany a desire to connect to a notorious barbarian embrace of ugliness and a willful disregard of composition that characterizes contemporary German painting? (Albert Oehlen, Andr? Butzer, et al) ...Not necessarily. She has many other reasons to split her time between the US and the EU.

Joanne tentatively suggested a return to cubist space: facets, fragments, and yet isn't there something different here? If her work has shattered planes, her edges are soft, not hard and sharp. Considering this, I thought of the fragmentation of modernity and the postmodern artifice of the artificial reintegration of modalities (coordinated systems of installation, the ambition of multiple genres, the overarching reach of politics and critical theory, the recurring desire to overcome the singularity of painting...); I thought of fragmentation as it is in the facets of something like a glass or a diamond, as if the facets of such a gemstone could be polished into something like the singularity of a lens... is this what she is doing by softening the edges of Cubist space? Don't we feel a kind of remorse regarding the fragmentation of modern life and we all desire it to be like it once was (as it was in the garden of Eden?) ...that we wish to return to innocence (Woodstock), that perhaps we could not (Altamont), that perhaps there is a way to create innocence ad hoc, as if there were a way to simulate reintegration in a way that would be at least marginally acceptable...

We rue our shattered lives, but isn't this is what modernity does, it breaks, it fragments, it shatters, it is shattered, it is shattering? And that which comes after modernity, doesn't it seek to repair the break, smooth the edges, ease the pain? But then a life without pain, what is that? A junkie's heaven, the last flop house. A child that never leaves home. A creature who refuses to grow.

Is there a way of faceting that is not rigid as it once was? Could there be facets that degrade, bend, that are feeble, that are on the verge of collapse? (Wouldn't this depend on the nature of the material that is broken?) Is there a Cubistic space that is malleable, fugitive, fungible? Is this is what Joanne is reaching for, what she has invented, what she has found?

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Oyster Farm

As I arrived, I laid out an oyster farm, elements destined for a vitrine.


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Joel in Tossa

Old friend Joel Mesler was here for a few days, much fun was had.

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July 17, 2010


(I have the Brushes App, so you all might expect to see more of these in the years to come.)

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July 15, 2010


Luego, is what this post should be titled. There's been much paint put on and taken off on one of the big canvases since this shot was taken. The big question for today is whether I should scrape of and start again... or is there some saving grace hidden in the one in progress? There's the rub: sometimes the best (and perhaps revolutionary) paintings were once on the brink of destruction. Courting that edge is the way to go, that's where all the thermals are.

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July 5, 2010

Been like that

Here's a comic journal of the past week to give my friends a feel for the time Stephanie and I have had here in Tossa during her vacation.


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July 4, 2010

4th of July

Happy birthday, USA!

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Summer Music Spain: Bonito

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July 3, 2010

Quicu Kiko

Kiku Kiko.gif
I have always known my friend Francisco as Kiko. I have come to learn that this is a specifically Castellano name, his nickname in Catalan is Kiku. Actually, Kiku is my version spelled phonetically. In Catalan, Kiko is Quicu. As Catalunya is becoming more prominent (there is a huge news story around these parts about a statute submitted by Catalunya to the federal government in Madrid in a bid to gain more autonomy for this region, something that's not going too well at the moment), it is interesting to see how the local Catalan population is relating more to their heritage.

Alberto filled me in on the other Castellano and Catalan nickname variants for Francisco: Kiko, Quicu, Curro, Currito, Cesc, Xisco, Xiscu, Paco, Paquito....

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July 2, 2010


When people ask if I am on vacation, I tell them that my life is a mixture of work and vacation. If my paintings don't have un poco de alegria, no vale nada. Truth be told, when Stephanie is here in Tossa for her two weeks of vacation, it is next to impossible to escape into the studio to perform the monkish work that I do. Love does have its own duty to perform.

All of this is to say that there will be lots of catch up blogging to be done soon, please hang in there my dear blog reader.

(Posing in the foreground is Jordi, barista at Bar Josep. On screen at the bar is the world cup, folks over here are keyed up for the play off, Spain is in the running.)

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