Saturday, June 30, 2012

By Popular Demand

DougH on the Go! reader Anak wonders "So adorable!!! Did the puppy, at any point, just stand underneath Nigel?" This is the only such shot I got, and you can see why it didn't make the first cut! Completely out of focus!

Puppy Fix #0371: Badger & Nigel

I went out to Chloe's exclusive NW3 class in Altadena for the first time last week, and apart from observing some bitchin' nosework, I got to meet 2 new puppies. So did Nigel - here are some glimpses of his first close encounter with Badger, son of Gogo the Bull Terrier. Body language speaks volumes, followed by some sort of mystical shamanistic union. The camera doesn't lie!

Next up, Blaze, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vintage Garabedian & How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I've been falling behind in my postings here, mainly because of my summer vacation in the Land of Viral Meningitis and Goutville - the latter precipitated by the use of large quantities of Pepto Bismol to stem the gastro-intestinal tide unleashed by the former, without reading the fine print. Which of course says "Don't use if you have the gout." So I haven't been getting out much, and a large part of my time at home was taken up with sleep. Not that I don't have plenty of old news to catch up on, but what typing energy I've been able to muster has had to go to final grading and a cluster of deadlines that could not wait - including a couple of pieces for the ambitious magazine ArtVoices which recently expanded from New Orleans to L.A.

The September issue will contain a feature on the Institute for Figuring and their recently opened permanent space in the same Chinatown digs where High Energy Constructs used to manifest, plus a review of Don Suggs current show (through June 30) at LA Louver. (Dig this weird unposed snapshot above of the research materials I was using while writing the pieces - Margaret Wertheim's Physics on the Fringe and the catalog for Don Suggs: One Man Group Show, lying adjacent. Now tell me there's no God! And He isn't a giant olive hovering in the desert!)

Speaking of ArtVoices, the issue containing my first contribution - a review of Charles Garabedian, also at LA Louver (I know, but its the only way I ever get to the beach!) - should be hitting the streets right about now. It's already online, and it goes something like this...

"For anyone who missed his stellar retrospective at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art last year, Charles Garabedian’s recent “Works from 1966–1976” at L.A. Louver offered a glimpse at the most pivotal moment in the evolution of perhaps the most underrated of contemporary West Coast painters. Garabedian (who will turn 90 next year) got a late start, graduating with a master’s degree in painting from UCLA close to the age of 40 before staking out a portion of the LA artscape alongside friends like Robert Irwin and Ed Moses.

His big break didn’t come for another decade, until Marcia Tucker included him in the 1975 Whitney Biennial and the landmark “Bad Paintings” show in 1978, when his deliberately awkward figuration was identified as a precursor to the then-burgeoning neo-expressionist movement. Yet, as with many of the artists associated with that art historical moment, his work has outlived the usefulness of such a pigeonhole through its longevity and sheer idiosyncrasy.

Some of Garabedian’s most idiosyncratic experiments come from the pre-recognition decade covered by this exhibit. Daytime T.V. (1966) inserts a large image of a television screen (featuring a scene of ambiguously erotic violence — under what appears to be a collaged ceramic tortilla/sun) into an urban landscape, marginalizing the actual cityscape into a decorative border. The low camera angle interior shot Restaurant (The Waitress) (1966) shares a similar pulp sensibility, as well as Daytime T.V.’s weird-ass medium: a grungy craft paint called “flo-paque” — the somewhat limited aesthetic possibilities of which Garabedian made a perversely extended exploration during this period..."

Read the rest of Charles Garabedian: Works from 1966 -1976 here.

Images: Miraculous synchronicity in book design documented by DH; Don Suggs Omphalos 2012, archival inkjet print on Crane Museo Max paper; Charles Garabedian Daytime T.V. 1966, flopaque and plaster on board; Henry Inn No. 3 1975 acrylic on canvas; Restaurant (The Waitress) 1966, flo-paque on board

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Never Paint Again Again

These are the last couple of days to check out my solo show Never Paint Again at Jancar Gallery. The main piece, a 16-foot tall site-specific dream-inspired sculptural architectural intervention, will never be seen again. Saturday's the last day, and I'll be doing a semiformal Artist's Deconstruction starting around 3.

TEL 213 625-2522
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5 PM (and by appointment)

Artist's Deconstruction Saturday June 16, 3 PM (semiformal)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Pincus" World Premiere this Saturday

Director David Fenster's new film Pincus is set to have its premiere at the LA Film Fest this weekend, and I recently reviewed it (alongside Val Kilmer's one man show as Mark Twain) for Artillery Magazine. Fenster's previous feature Trona (2004) was described by critic Scott Foundas as "an evocation of the desolate road poetry remembered from the best films of Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch" and screened at MoMA.

Although not technically a member of the Small Form films collective that produced Mike Ott's celebrated indie film LiTTLEROCK (2010 & now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix streaming from Kino Lormer), Fenster was associated with the group at CalArts, and—like Trona—his new film Pincus features a remarkably assured lead performance by Small Form renaissance dude Dave Nordstrom, whose own writer/director/actor feature trifecta Sawdust City (2011) is still making the festival rounds.

Nordstrom plays the title character, Pincus Finster, an incompetent and/or indifferent building contractor in over his head trying to take over the business his father abandoned after succumbing to Parkinson's. The father, Paul Finster, is played by the director's father Paul Fenster, who has lived with Parkinson's for the past 13 years—which only partly accounts for his unaffected naturalistic performance.

Joining a yoga class to pick up chicks, Pincus begins to explore New Age treatments—partly in hopes of helping his dad, and partly as a manifestation of his own bumbling spiritual yearning. As his contracting business unravels, he allows his one employee—a homeless German drunk—to move into a tent on his father's property, but after a couple of days Dietmar (the late Dietmar Franosch) vanishes, shifting Pincus' search into a more pragmatic mode. Or so it seems.

Beautifully shot by Fenster, and minimally but exquisitely scored by John Wood, the deadpan episodic storyline thrums with a formalist glow that imbues Pincus' low-key existential bewilderment with a sense of impending revelation—a promise fulfilled by one of the most satisfyingly anti-climactic denouements ever filmed, which manages to veer Fenster's improvisational autobiographical naturalism toward a magic realism worthy of Vittorio de Sica's Miracle in Milan. Now that's WTF!

A film by David Fenster. Starring David Nordstrom, Paul Fenster, Christi Idavoy, and Dietmar Franosch. Directed and Written by David Fenster. Executive Producer Phil Lord. Director of Photography David Fenster. Edited by David Fenster. Music by John Wood. Total running time: 78 mins.

Click here to see a clip on youtube.

Los Angeles Film Festival Screenings:
Saturday, June 16th at 8:10pm - Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE - Premiere
Thursday, June 21st at 7:40pm - Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE - Public Screening

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Self Diagnosis of the Month: Viral Meningitis

Now I just have to figure out if it was triggered by polio or hoof & mouth disease...