Monday, May 31, 2010

Finally Some Vindication!

The conformation world is beginning to catch on to the subtle yet phenomenologically extravagant charms of Winway Portfolio Of Sporting Fields, who took Best of Winners at the San Fernando Kennel Club show in Pomona - the final show in the annual four-day long "Mission Circuit" at the County Fairplex. It would have been a major even, except for some dude used too much make-up. He was askin' for it! Thanks nonetheless to judge Prof. Douglas C. Taylor, who will be recognized as a visionary when the history of whippet aesthetics is recorded. Kudos to you, sir, and congratulations to Portfolio!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Picot Booboo

"Cobbled together from a vocabulary of visual styles, ranging from Chinese shan shui painting to Cubism — and incorporating an array of techniques, including stippling, meticulous brushwork, stenciling and surrealist decalcomania — Pierre Picot's landscapes ought to collapse into a jumble of incomprehensible fragments. Instead, they are so pictorially coherent that Picot has been able to push further — destabilizing traditional perspective and gravitational logic, garbling the horizon — while retaining an immersive spatial illusionism and improbable symbolic consistency. Much of this strength would seem to result from the fact that the works are monochromatic, in black ink on uniform rectangular lengths of paper. But in translating his montage technique to oil paint — represented here by a single enormous 10-by-10–foot canvas — he manages to keep his balance while incorporating a whole new range of art-historical allusions and experiments in color and surface technique, resulting in the most challenging and innovative landscape painting to come out of L.A. since Constance Mallinson's impossible, vertiginous mash-ups of the early '90s."

"It was at a nearby Chinatown gallery — the lamented High Energy Constructs — that I first encountered Picot's work, in an omnibus "boat-themed show curated by painters Brad Eberhard and Raffi Kalenderian (in which I also had a piece). It was there that I also learned that Eberhard and Kalenderian had a band — a ragged, unclassifiable, high-energy construct of its own, called Wounded Lion. WL turned out to be a pretty amazing group. Visually, they present an almost unparsable variation on the standard rock & roll lineup — with former lumberjack Eberhard's towering sincerity and Kalenderian's shamanic seizures and tambourine solos bracketed by Hawaiian-shirted renaissance-geek Jun Ohnuki's frantic musical multitasking, token hotty Shant (brother of) Kalenderian, and a succession of exploding percussionists. Musically, they offer a ramshackle pre- and post-punk synthesis — mixing influences as diverse as Swell Maps, The Clean, ? and the Mysterians, and Creedence Clearwater Revival — that can, in spite or because of its heart-on-sleeve record geekery, get the art girls up and dancing."

Read the rest of Pierre and the Lion here.

Image IDs TK, (Picot; Mallinson; WL Live) but I believe that last one (taken by your humble blogger) is of the original public debut of WL's breakout hit "Dagobah System," the first popular song to be written in the soon-to-be-dominant 'crazy shit there/crazy shit there' rhyme scheme.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Function of the Pleonasm

It may be unseemly, since I'm involved in a couple of projects there, but I feel compelled to direct my public's attention to Pleonasm, a free online record label located at The label focuses on idiosyncratic DIY music, juvenalia, found sounds, and other quirky marginal genres. Although the imprint has existed for a year or so, label svengali Christian Cummings has recently engaged in a flurry of activity, offering new full length recordings by luminaries like Canadian text-sound poet bill bissett, multimedia artist Jeffrey Vallance, and pagan Life Metal band Flugeldar!, as well as a full schedule of forthcoming releases including work from Half Japanese mastermind Jad Fair and post-pop Wunderkind Nic Waterman.

If this wasn't remarkable enough, Cummings - inspired by Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music - has issued the first three volumes in the Human Music Anthology, culled from internet sources and organized into thematic clusters. Volume one is Tongues, focusing on glossolalia in a number of surprising manifetations; Vol 2 is a grab bag of unclassifiable amateur enthusiasms ("Song About Drinking Robitussin"; "Aspergers Girl") entitled Left Fieldists. But it is Volume 3: Extra Credit Songs that most spectacularly fulfills the potential of this Post-McLuhan anthropological foray.

Ranging from heartfelt piano & traps dissertations on the Electromagnetic Spectrum to polished electropop explications of the mechanics of Photosynthesis, these WTF gems were allegedly all created and launched into cyberspace by high school students trying to make up for their academic slack at the end of the term. Colonial History, Hyperbolic Geometry, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pi: no topic is too scholastic to be transformed into a death metal dirge or off-kilter rap. High School Musical 5 anyone?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No mere trifle for me, thanks, I've had a noseful

In recent Nosework news, Winway's Pleats Please (AKA Chloe) has become the second whippet to earn an NACSW NW1 Title. The first was her elder nephew, Sporting Field's Nigel. Celebratory trifle enjoyed by all.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

When Look Runs Out

"Artist/filmmaker Pat O'Neill's 1989 Sundance Grand Jury Prize–winning experimental feature Water & Power — a sort-of Chinatown-meets–Koyaanisqatsi-on-nootropics dealie — is rightfully recognized as one of the signal artifacts of late 20th century L.A. culture, not to mention a radical turning point in experimental cinema. Since making that splash, after a quarter-century toiling in the experimental-cinema mines (and the somewhat more lucrative special-effects fields), O'Neill has expanded his reputation into the art world with gallery and museum exhibitions of his sculptures, drawings, prints and projection-based installations. His double-barreled 2002 magnum opus film/interactive CD-ROM, The Decay of Fiction, took his ambivalent relationship with narrative into even more interdimensional realms (by way of Hollywood noir and the Ambassador Hotel), and marked his first artistic engagement with digital media."

"But digital filmmaking as such has only recently surfaced as a primary medium in O'Neill's oeuvre, all his earlier work having been meticulously rendered on actual photographic stock using an optical printer, a now-obsolete mechanism for re-photographing and compositing layers of different films. This Monday, May 10, the fruits of O'Neill's recent embrace of DV will be debuted at REDCAT in Disney Hall, the downtown exhibition/performance facility of CalArts, where O'Neill co-founded the film and video department in 1970. I Open the Window, I Put Out My Hands and Starting to Go Bad (all 2009) are three short films — or videos or whatever — that translate the auteur's formal and conceptual obsessions into a decidedly more improvisational and diaristic medium than the meticulously composed collages-in-motion that have been his trademark."

"Celluluddites will piss and moan, but many of O'Neill's aesthetic concerns — looping, layering, morphing, mirroring, sampling (of landscape, architecture, advertising, found and borrowed cinematography and the human body) — anticipated and mapped out the strengths of the digital-art vocabulary with uncanny accuracy, decades before the fact. And with uncommon skill.
"O'Neill's films — in spite of their seizure-inducing editing and hard-to-follow story lines — are nevertheless crowd-pleasers, due in large part to the artist's remarkable visual talent. I've seen skeptical stoners who would not sit through five minutes of Godard absolutely riveted as I showed them O'Neill's psychedelic abstract symmetry manifesto 7362 (1967), currently available on the National Film Preservation Foundation's amazing DVD Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film, 1947-1986.

"7362 will also soon be available from O'Neill's DIY DVD label at — a self-preservationist strategy more noncareerist filmmakers would take heed to follow. The label is in the process of issuing a series of discs encompassing O'Neill's extensive undertakings, from 1963's By the Sea through his landmark Runs Good, Saugus Series and Trouble in the Image, his two feature-length experiments — still being remastered — and into his current body of digital work. This is a treasure trove of psychedelic eye candy of the most rigorous kind; poetic structuralism with a gee-whiz factor of 11..."

Read the rest of Movies Go Bad here

Attend Starting to Go Bad: Recent Narratives by Pat O'Neill at Redcat Monday May 10 @ 8:30 PM

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Signifying Oedipi

"In the year 867, a new portrait mosaic of the Virgin Mary & Son was unveiled in the apse of the Hagia Sophia — the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in Istanbul (then Constantinople) — homilized by the Armenian-born soon-to-be–Patriarch Photios as a victory over Iconoclasm: the almost-century-long proscription on depiction that had rocked the ages-old Byzantine art world to its foundations. This forbearance of graven images was (and remains) one of the most profound differences between Islam and its Great Satanic neighbors. At least until the advent of modernism, and the eruption of abstract painting — just about a century ago."

"The craving for persuasive facsimiles of human bodies has reached a recent epitome with James Cameron's Avatar, a realization that makes one yearn for the rigorous formalism of the Taliban — or at least Clement Greenberg. Mid-20th-century critic Greenberg's successful championing of the abstract expressionists and insistence on the transcendental flatness of the painterly medium have just reached an epitome of their own in the most awesome sheet of U.S. postage in recent memory, including dollhouse-ready reproductions of Jackson Pollock's Convergence (1952), Willem de Kooning's Asheville (1948) and eight other iconic images of the New York School."

"These bold artists used art to express complicated ideas and primitive emotions in simplified, abstract form," Linda Kingsley, USPS senior vice president of strategy and transition, says. "Although these stamps can't compare in size to their real-life canvases, they bring the passion and spirit of abstract expressionism to an envelope near you. The Postal Service is proud to pay tribute to the legacy and unique perspectives of these revolutionary artists." Well, yes ... to the general public and the philatelic community, the AbEx painters may still seem revolutionary. But to any artist who came of age in the wake of their conquest, nothing could be more Establishment: By the end of the 1950s, the commercial galleries, public museums and burgeoning academies were presenting a more or less unified front in support of the new, mandatory sublime."

"The current slate of exhibitions at L.A. Louver pairs two artists whose work gained prominence through their association with highly conspicuous movements — '60s pop and '80s neo-Expressionism — that were essentially iconophile reactions against AbEx's monopoly. But neither David Hockney (pop) nor Charles Garabedian (neo-Ex) has ever sworn allegiance to his respective pigeonholes, and their separate engagements with the human body, illusionistic space and art history are as individualistic in their particulars as they are similar in their transcendence of late-20th-century-art critical contextualization."

Read the rest of Representing Motherfuckers here