June 29, 2011

Ahora

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Posted by Dennis at 2:38 PM | Comments (0)

Tan Lejos (y algunas palabras guarros tambien)

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This is a preparatory drawing (via my Brushes App) for a recent painting.

Tan Lejos = So Far.

Below the fold, I've tucked several images of other text based images that I had declined to exploit for the purposes of painting. They are palabras guarras, dirty words, filthy talk, street language, local color. They are words that are not used in polite company, so this post might be NSFW for you. I jotted them down the other night at a party, recording them in passing from the stream of conversation. Once my friends noticed what I was doing, a stream of others gushed forth with commentary about their meaning and impact.

Prepare yourself for salty language....

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Collons is Spanish for"Balls!" Coullons is Catalan. Cojonudo means ballsy, brave, or cool and awesome.

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Usually used in exclamation, cojones is another word for balls, nuts, nads.
Joder means fuck, usually used the way we say "damn!" or "shit!" at the beginning or end of a sentence for emphasis.

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From the Urban Dictionary:

In Spain, in the infinitive form literally means "to fuck" in the physical sense. Different from joder, which means "to fuck over," not "fuck" in a sexual sense.

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Hostia is used as an expression of surprise. It's interesting in that it was derived from or a direct reference to the Catholic host, the body of Christ in holy communion. The Urban Dictionary has a good translation here. Note the examples as well, super salty.

Also, there is a more polite form of it: "hostras", which means ultimately the same thing.

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Another term used when surprised, co?o literally translated means cunt. When I started to imitate my friends, their eyes would widen and chatter of caution would ensue. Nasty, nasty stuff.

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Finally, patatim patatam is not filthy language. It's used to adorn a sentence with an expression of something accomplished succinctly, similar to the word voil?. Other such delightful words that are similar are "splish-splash" (something done fast and easy), and "pim pam poom" (similar meaning).

Posted by Dennis at 3:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2011

Snorkel

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Posted by Dennis at 3:47 PM | Comments (0)

Casa Viejo de Kiko

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My friend Kiko (Fransisco Noguera) owns an old house that he is interested in selling. It's perfect for someone who wants to own a charming former fisherman's house in a beach town on the Costa Brava. It's also a great spot for a bar, a speak easy maybe. You can see a map of the location here.) He is fixing certain aspects of the house that communicates its' special architectural qualities, this time it is the spiral stairs that wind up through the barrel vaulted ceiling of the first floor. I'll be posting his progress in this work throughout this summer. The pile of rough hewn beams are stacked for a new roof that he wants to replace, he also wants to spruce up the fa?ade.

Here are a few more larger format pics, after the jump.

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This shot is from the front door. The street is Carrer Nou, there are four bars nearby.
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From the other side of the stairs. The existing house is two stories, four are permitted by the city of Tossa.
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The back yard.

Posted by Dennis at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy

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Earlier I posted a note about what might amount to nostalgia, one of my earliest influences when I was a sailor (go ahead and trace the TimeLine Bio for a few more details). I was thinking of radar navigation, plotting charts with the ship's position, course and speed, calculating set and drift, of closest points of approach. I was thinking about how we constantly try to calculate our place in the world and how much we are subject to external forces and how we have to take this into account in charting our journey in life.

Somehow I think that this trip down memory lane was a prehension of a brewing controversy in our art world.

I've been reading the recent brew ha ha about a perceived herd mentality as reported in Sharon Butler's Two Coats of Paint. Folks have been talking about this for at least a couple of years now. Butler does a good job with a roundup.

This week, after a trip to the Venice Biennale, Jerry Saltz worries about the state of the art world and suggests that younger artists have hit a rough patch. At the Biennale he "saw the same thing, a highly recognizable generic ?institutional style whose manifestations are by now extremely familiar. Neo-Structuralist film with overlapping geometric colors, photographs about photographs, projectors screening loops of grainy black-and-white archival footage, abstraction that?s supposed to be referencing other abstraction?it was all there, all straight out of the seventies, all dead in the ?water. It?s work stuck in a cul-de-sac of aesthetic regress, where everyone is deconstructing the same elements....Instead of enlarging our view of being human, it contains safe rehashing of received ideas about received ideas."

Her post skewed towards the injustice of a bias toward emerging (young) artists:
it becomes clear that talented mature artists are making penetrating and imaginative work. They just don't get invited to the international biennials.

The Saltz piece is a karate chop to the neck, and almost amounts to a mea culpa:

Art schools are partly the villain here. (Never mind that I teach in them.) This generation of artists is the first to have been so widely credentialed, and its young members so fetishize the work beloved by their teachers that their work ceases to talk about anything else. Instead of enlarging our view of being human, it contains safe rehashing of received ideas about received ideas. This is a melancholy romance with artistic ruins, homesickness for a bygone era. This yearning may be earnest, but it stunts their work, and by turn the broader culture.

I first noticed a problem when I was teaching in the 90's (adjunct professor, architecture, 8 years) when I realized that a significant portion of my students were only interested in what they had to do to get the best grade, and not so much with the dimension of personal content that they had a chance to cultivate with each architecture design studio assignment. This dimension, I maintained, was crucial in helping them focus their curiosity and self-realize as creative actors. Merely fulfilling course requirements gave them a "C", exceeding them a "B", fluorescing earned them an "A". Using this account of mine as a lens to view today's art school environment, teachers must be culpable in today's transmission of received ideas. There must be an overwhelming sense of consensus amongst art school faculty in what constitutes "fluorescence". Indeed, like a Fannie Mae subprime derivative, guilt and culpability has been multiplied, buried and spread far and wide.

?Oh Mira, you?re such a hippie!.?

Butler's post links to an almost epic Mira Schor post that hinges on the above quotation, ending with a number of wonderfully chunky excerpts, notable among them, Recipe Art.

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Kris Chatterton weighed in in his Facebook page:

Will all of the talk about younger generations of artists and the influence of older generations upon them I found this to put it all in perspective. Posted last week by Stephen Truax.

And he linked us to defense of appropriation, The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism, By Jonathan Lethem (Harper's Magazine), evidently an ironic play on Harold Bloom's Anxiety of Influence. I Wiki thusly:
Bloom's central thesis is that poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintained with precursor poets. While admitting the influence of extraliterary experience on every poet, he argues that "the poet in a poet" is inspired to write by reading another poet's poetry and will tend to produce work that is derivative of existing poetry, and, therefore, weak. Because a poet must forge an original poetic vision in order to guarantee his survival into posterity (i.e., to guarantee that future readers will not allow him to be forgotten), the influence of precursor poets inspires a sense of anxiety in living poets.

Lethem impressively leads off with John Donne and lives up to the reference in a great Harper's article:
All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. . . .

Highly recommended.

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Maybe the extents of set and drift, of north and south, of windward and leeward, of ecstasy and anxiety, of influence and originality are unavoidable in life. Maybe we shouldn't worry so much about how one should win over the other, and instead consider what kind of course we plot, of what kind of oscillation we vibrate at. Maybe the argument should be about the virtue or vice of wild swings versus tight fluctuations about a mean... and what might lie in between?

Then again, I come across articles like this: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education
Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers. By William Deresiewicz
, and I couldn't help but reflect on our art world the whole time as I read it, I don't think it's only about the Ivy league. Here's a slice from the middle:

But if you?re afraid to fail, you?re afraid to take risks, which begins to explain the final and most damning disadvantage of an elite education: that it is profoundly anti-intellectual. This will seem counterintuitive. Aren?t kids at elite schools the smartest ones around, at least in the narrow academic sense? Don?t they work harder than anyone else?indeed, harder than any previous generation? They are. They do. But being an intellectual is not the same as being smart. Being an intellectual means more than doing your homework.


Postscript:

A bit more should be said about the overwhelming sense of consensus... in what constitutes "fluorescence".

One could say that the problem comes from market forces, but what influences market forces? We are riding a larger cultural wave, and it has a name: postmodernism. Since the zenith of modernism in the Abstract Expressionism of the New York School in the late 50's, the world flipped in a revolution that remade art whole cloth. If to be modern is to reconcile what you make with the life you are living, and if the Ab Ex folk were trying to touch G-d through material means, the postmodern era was born with the vision of trying to touch everyday life through conceptual means. Generations of movements gyrated in sequence: Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Critical Theory, Identity Art, CEO Art (a category that I have contrived to understand Hirst, Murakami, Pardo et al.: the art of the deal) and so on... and the narrative arc that describes all of this is postmodernism, a postmodernism that strains to touch everyday life through conceptual means. This, is the consensus that I am referring to.

Moreover, I am saying that there exists and has existed a meta-consensus in an implicit agreement not to talk about it as such. Postmodernism is the name that couldn't be, and still can't be spoken in polite art crowd company since the beginning of the 90's. To do so was to commit the sin of attempting to foist a grand narrative and such a category of ideas was then and are still now, verboten. No one thinks it's cool to reference our generation's penchant to think that we have mastered irony and have thus arrived at The End of History. Such hubris! Thank G-d that we had a prominent philosopher in the person of Fukuyama to coin the phrase for us, provoked as he was by the end of the Cold War. A culture that has the ego to think that it has formulated the last word, the ultimate worldview (even as blind as we were, that irony had twisted in our hands, masters we had believed ourselves to be of paradox itself), we shouldn't be surprised to find our arrival at a kind of stasis, rot, torpor, call it what you wish. Painting has been declared dead many times over (G-d and truth too, but that's now ancient history), the author was interred too long ago, originality has long been considered a fool's game... and now we are surprised that few or none of our young artists are sweeping us off our feet with something outside of our own tidy little big box?

We can't move forward until we all question (or interrogate, to use that horrid, fashionable term) the fundamental premise of our generation, now aged over fifty years now. Unless we do this, subsequent chapters of art history cannot be written. Unless we do this, art history is over. Unless we do this, all we can do is to scribe footnotes and annotate the bibliography... and not much else.

Posted by Dennis at 6:21 PM | Comments (2)

Summer Music

Posted by Dennis at 9:39 AM | Comments (0)

Dead Reckoning

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Out of high school, I joined the Navy. The most interesting job from my point of view was that of the Operations Specialist, the dark room behind the bridge full of radars, computers, radios and many other wondrous things all bejeweled with lights. Dead reckoning was one of the first things that we had learned in order to join that special fraternity of sailors, characters all, faces as they were lit by the glowing jewels. The ship at sea was like an individual scanning, straining for information; much like it is when you get up from bed at night, straining to see the hands of the clock, making your way down the hallway...

Marine navigation

In marine navigation a "dead" reckoning plot generally does not take into account the effect of currents or wind. Aboard ship a dead reckoning plot is considered important in evaluating position information and planning the movement of the vessel.

Dead reckoning begins with a known position, or fix, which is then advanced, mathematically or directly on the chart, by means of recorded heading, speed, and time. Speed can be determined by many methods. Before modern instrumentation, it was determined aboard ship using a chip log. More modern methods include pit log referencing engine speed (e.g. in rpm) against a table of total displacement (for ships) or referencing one's indicated airspeed fed by the pressure from a Pitot tube. This measurement is converted to an equivalent airspeed based upon known atmospheric conditions and measured errors in the indicated airspeed system. A naval vessel uses a device called a pit sword (rodmeter), which uses two sensors on a metal rod to measure the electromagnetic variance caused by the ship moving through water. This change is then converted to ship's speed. Distance is determined by multiplying the speed and the time. This initial position can then be adjusted resulting in an estimated position by taking into account the current (known as set and drift in marine navigation). If there is no positional information available, a new dead reckoning plot may start from an estimated position. In this case subsequent dead reckoning positions will have taken into account estimated set and drift.

Dead reckoning positions are calculated at predetermined intervals, and are maintained between fixes. The duration of the interval varies. Factors including one's speed made good and the nature of heading and other course changes, and the navigator's judgment determine when dead reckoning positions are calculated.

Source: Wikipedia.

Posted by Dennis at 5:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2011

Ahora

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Detail, about as big as your head.

Posted by Dennis at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2011

Ahora

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Posted by Dennis at 5:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2011

Luna

Posted by Dennis at 6:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2011

Paintings 2011

This is a presentation of paintings from 2011 (in progress). Sizes of the following images are relative.

Click on a thumbnail for enlarged images and related information for each painting.


Paintings and works on paper for 2011:
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Supremely So
#398
32"x28"
2011
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victory over the sun
#397
2011
22"x28"
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*
*
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The Known Universe
#396
2011
40"x30"
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*
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Global Tour
#395
2011
30"x24"
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*
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Orbital
#394
2011
40"x30"
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Anti-Delusionists
#393
2011
30"x24"
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Anxiety, Ecstasy.
#392
2011
48"x60"
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Dangerous. Wonderful.
#391
122x98 cm
2011
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...the answer to everything...
#390
122x196 cm
2011
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Golden Thread
#389
122x98 cm
2011
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Gybing
#388
122x98cm
2011
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So What Cha Want
#387
122x98cm
2011
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Horizons, Colinas.
#386
162x128 cm
2011
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Ecstasy, Anxiety.
#385
162x128 cm
2011
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*
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So Far
#384
128x162cm
2011
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One Year of the Moon
#383
91x77cm
2011
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"So"
#382
2011
40"x30"
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Corpus Callosum
#381
2011
60"x48"
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Words Fail
#380
2011
32"x24"
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half-phrases
2011
#379
32"x24"
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Saucer Eyed
#378
48"x120"
2011
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So
#377
60"x48"
2011
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Standing Room Only
#376
60"x48"
2011
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WORKS ON PAPER:
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takin' it on the road.
WOP 21-11
2011
18"x15"
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wtfbbq?
WOP 20-11
2011
18?x15?
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Endless
WOP 19-11
46x38 cm
2011
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tale of the bodies
WOP 18-11
46x38 cm
2011
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Oceanic
WOP 17-11
46x38 cm
2011
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*
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Free Will
WOP 16-11
Oil on Paper
46x38cm
2011
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The Frozen Matrix
WOP 15-11
Oil on Paper
46x38cm
2011
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Blooming
WOP 14-11
2011
46x38cm
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Fluke
2011
wop 13-11
18"x15"
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So Far
2011
wop 12-11
18"x15"
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Dancing School
2011
wop 11-11
18"x15"
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People, Humans, Mankind.
2011
WOP 10-11
18"x15"
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Silent Testimony
wop #9-11
18"x15"
2011
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Paradise
wop #8-11
18"x15"
2011
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Henry Taylor
WOP 3-15
18"x15"
2011
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One day we shall die
WOP 6-11
18"x15"
2011
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So When Tokyo
WOP 5-11
18"x15"
2011
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Dance Some Pi
WOP 4-11
18"x15"
2011
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*
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Hallowed Ground
WOP# 3-11
2011
18"x15"
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*
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Enemy of Art
WOP# 2-11
2011
18"x15"
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Aphorism No.13
WOP# 1-11
2011
18"x15"

Posted by Dennis at 3:36 PM | Comments (0)

Blog Maintenance

I'm tinkering with the blog.

The central objective this week is to provide a catalog of work that is easily obtainable from the blog, soon to be added to the colophon on the left side bar. I have long considered this blog a personal sketch book, a collection of influences pinned together much like a butterfly collection. Recently, I have received requests from some of my galleries to edge out of the cryptic zone and provide access to the paintings that wouldn't force you, my kind audience, from having to scroll through endless archives in order to see the paintings as quickly as possible. I've always avoided the professional earmarks in this publication, considering that this is what the galleries are for (for example, if you wanted to see the resume or paintings for that matter, you could always go straight to my galleries linked in the colophon, and find my resume and pics of various paintings there). But I also understand that after eight years of blogging, I have amassed a huge pile of blogposts and data mining is not everyones' specific m?tier.

Expect to find links in the colophon to painting catalogs by the years and a standard resume that will be set next to my favored and beloved timeline bio.

That is all.

Posted by Dennis at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2011

Below the Sagrada Familia

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Architect, professor, longtime colleague and friend Gerard (Gerry) Smulevich arranged to have his study abroad students (Woodbury University) present their four week projects two floors below the Sagrada Familia. Impressive work by the students, it was interesting to see how Gerry redirected their focus onto process and not product as a means for refracting their study of Barcelona's urbanism through the lens of Antoni Gaudi's design of the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family.
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Posted by Dennis at 6:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 8, 2011

Up ur SPF

Posted by Dennis at 3:43 AM | Comments (0)

Jos? Mar?a Yturralde at Miguel Marcos

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Jos? Mar?a Yturralde opens tonight at Miguel Marcos Gallery in Barcelona. I first met him last year in Valencia, which you can catch a glimpse of at the end of the video in this blogpost.
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Posted by Dennis at 3:29 AM | Comments (0)

Horari Varadero

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Posted by Dennis at 3:21 AM | Comments (0)

Andrew Hahn's Graffito

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Andrew Hahn has rented my studio in LA from me fro the summer. He's got a raft of projects in mind, much of them involving a schmooshing of linoleum blocks prints, silk screens and painting on canvas. The imprimatur of painting and back and forth.

So on his first day there, we toasted the moment and he began with a little graffiti on the wall. Like a dog that marks his territory, but smarter.

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Posted by Dennis at 3:19 AM | Comments (0)

Adam Janes at Martha Otero

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Friend and China Town artist, Adam Janes has a show up at Martha Otero Gallery on Fairfax Boulevard in Los Angeles. (It's a great location, away from the gaggle of shops that cluster around Blum & Poe in Culver City.) Tomorrow is the last day of the show, last chance to catch it before it closes!
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Posted by Dennis at 3:11 AM | Comments (0)

Camera Test

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Prior to departure from LA, I bought another waterproof camera (no, not the HERO, which is what I should have bought... this one is a third cheaper and an unknown brand) after wrecking two others in summers' past. Longtime friend, Gerald Smulevich was visiting Tossa again (he teaches the international program for Woodbury University) and we went out for a kayak ride up the coast. This is a post for a few of the more interesting shots.

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Then I kept clicking as I surfaced the lens to the sky. This camera tends to hyper realize the colors a bit, perhaps it's design intent to compensate for the color dampening effect under the sea?

Posted by Dennis at 3:05 AM | Comments (0)

Phil Wagner at Parker Jones

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Phil's show closed last week at Parker Jones Gallery in Culver City. I should have gotten this out earlier, but then I never pretended to be an art news blog.
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Posted by Dennis at 2:52 AM | Comments (0)

June 5, 2011

Ahora

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Posted by Dennis at 4:20 AM | Comments (0)

June 1, 2011

Something's Happening

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This afternoon, my wife Stephanie and I will be traveling to Europe for the summer, another intense period of work and play at Tossa de Mar. It's going to be a marathon of a summer for me. I've got a date for a show at Pelaires Gallery in Palma de Mallorca on the 15th of September, this summer's production creation will go to that show. I have the show at Tomio Koyama gallery on the 30th of September. And along the way, I've got plans to visit folks at Palma, Valencia and Zaragoza, not to mention an array of friends who will be dropping in for visits all along the way. It's going to be crazy BUSY... but ultimamente, fun.

Posted by Dennis at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

Shipping to Tomio Koyama,Kyoto

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Next September, I have the pleasure and honor of showing paintings at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto. Summer painting in Tossa de Mar is still in effect, so I will have to make and ship out the work prior to my departure to Spain. Crate 88 have come to pick up the work and prepare them for shipping.

Very exciting.

This will be my first time in Kyoto. Already, a part of my head in already on the bullet train from Tokyo traveling west.
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In order to prepare for the show, I mocked up shematics in order to anticipate the scale and possibilities for the disposition of the paintings. Don't hold me to it, once the paintings arrive, it will be a whole new ball game. A train of images follow below.

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Posted by Dennis at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)

Work on Paper

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Fluke
2011
wop 13-11
18"x15"

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Posted by Dennis at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

Greater LA

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(Link.)
(Blogpost bumped. The show ends June 10th, check it out if you haven't already.)

Posted by Dennis at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

GRLA in the NYTimes

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Roberta Smith weighed in on the Greater LA show recently.

Posted by Dennis at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)