Friday, May 25, 2007

"Who Doesn't Like Owls?"

As contemporary philosopher C. Clerc observed in the title of her seminal text "Who Doesn't Like Owls?," who doesn't like owls? This cunning turn of phrase returned to me recently while I was guest-juring the annual student exhibit at the righteous Pasadena City College. It was a chore, with over 220 works to sort through. The painting above, "If the Waking Life Fell Asleep" by Heber Rodriquez caught my eye immediately, and I kept returning to it. Another work that attracted and held my attention was Marcus Anthony's intricate carved wooden wall relief portrait of DJ Kool Herc, though I could do without the text panel plunked in the middle of the negative space. I'd be pleasantly surprised to come across either of these works in a gallery or grad school. These kind of gigs are sometimes a radical challenge to preconceptions about the supposed function of The Art World as qualitative filter -- not only do you see a vastly wider range of unprocessed creativity in play, but many of the works are equal to or better than anything out there.

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