Saturday, October 23, 2010
The title of Matt Connors' latest show of paintings "You Don't Know" made me immediately think of the Kirsty MacColl Song "They Don't Know About Us" and the show, which opened last night at Canada on Chrystie street in Chinatown felt to me to be about relationships, the relationships that all artists have to what came before them. Matt's paintings have always displayed their parentage quite blatantly, like the best artists, Matt's work is about what it's like to be a painter of his time.
The Canvases are all the product of one unique artist's vision but they speak of what came before him, painting's immediate history, there's the Albers, the Malevich, The Noland, there even seems to be a ray-o-gram painting and for me, oddest of all there is a tie-dye painting in an elegant, red tray frame that is both raw, emotional, abstract expressionism and cheerful hippie peace and love, but for some reason the frame, which is clearly an integral part of the piece seems to imply a border around a movement and in this case a border which is broken down as the piece straddles two disparate schools from the two decades of the last century that couldn't have been more different, the '50's and the '60's. But as any viewer of Mad Men is seeing, the early sixties still feel a lot like the fifties so where does one end and the other begin? The frame, like words, names, schools and other arbitrary borders clearly says "This is where the painting stops" but does it really need to be cherry red ? ...isn't that going a little too far? ..maybe...just like maybe our desire to categorize and give names to different schools of paintings is maybe a convenient way to learn art history but at a certain point these boundaries just get in the way. Warhol's "Orange Car crash 14 times" is just at home in MoMA's pop galleries as it's minimalist galleries and I think we are seeing, more and more that the unrelenting march of the last century to "Make it New" left a lot of fertile territory un-mined and left behind.
What Matt's works seem to do, for me, is to examine these movements that we have all been subjected to, those with any awareness of the recent past and instead of "Make it New" the impetus seems to be "Make it Mine". There is the Albers' square within a square painting that has, at it's core, a circle. There is the Malevich white on white painting that has instead of a square in a square, a rectangle in a rectangle and even a few extra rectangles. These are not dry lifeless copies a la' Mike Bidlo, rather, Mr. Connors is making highly personal works about who he is and what he is composed of, what his history is.
As all great artists do, Mr. Connors makes the personal, universal.
More information Can be found here...
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Do You Realize? Oil on Canvas 30 x 24 inches 2010
Today is my Birthday, but it dosn't feel like any other birthday I've had. I had a great breakfast, then ended up spending $50 on the kinds of things I usually deny myselft, that was facilitated by a gift card from a friend. I came home and lit some incense and started cleaning, something I should do a little more often since my favorite cooking style is from the Fred Flintstone school, ie: a juicy steak in a cast iron skillet. So I wiped away a couple of month's worth of airborne steak fat and my mind started to wander and I got to thinking about making my own happiness and how that comes into being. I guess the first step is thinking of yourself and others as equals, and paying special attention to your own needs and wants and either take care of them for yourself or verbalize them to others and if you can't talk about your most important wants and desires with your intimates, maybe it's time to find some new intimates.
I know that there are no guarantees but that dosn't mean I should lose faith. That everything lasts as long as it's meant to and when it dosn't feel that way that's because I havn't fully learned the lessons I was supposed to be learning.
I know I'll have more trials and hopefully I can accept them as a confirmation that my happiness comes from within.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Shelley Aarons & Terence Koh at AA Bronson's Lecture
I went to the AA Bronson Lecture last night at Union Theological Seminary> AA delivered a paper that he had written for a talk he had given in Montreal earlier this year on the convergence of Art and Religion. In his usual, fascinating way Bronson talked around the subject, drawing no conclusions except maybe that some religions are more fashionable than others and that the impetus to be an artist is more a calling than anything else, much like that those who go into the seminary. Bronson described the way he was drawn to the seminary by using the metaphor of the cane that draws a performer off the stage in a vaudeville skit, seemed logical to me. Many of the questions were on the order of "Why did an artist decide to enter the seminary". Bronson's answer was the same one he used often throughout the night"I don't know" and I think that's a great answer!
Often, we artists find we are compelled to things that "Don't make any sense" yet we feel compelled to do them. When I started making portraits a few years ago I had no idea why, it may have had something to do with thinking about someone who was far away but that only vaguely explained it, so when people asked me why I was doing it, I usually said" I don't know, but it will all make sense in my retrospective" ...and maybe it will, I don't know...
Monday, October 4, 2010
This brought me to tears, there are a lot of frustrated people out there. It's tough times all around.