So this is the missing link in the OX sequence -- Outsider XMAS 3: HIPMAS Vol 1, consisting of artists whose outsider status is earned not from developmental differences, a weakness for novelty, or alienated immersion in specialized branches of Christianity that embrace ventriloquism, but from just being too effin' cool.
Weirdly, this was the hardest volume to curate. Ten years in the making, and only 3 songs from the original lineup made the final cut. That percentage may increase with the second volume -- necessitated by the fact that I just couldn't whittle down the repertoire very easily. I let Can's Little Star of Bethlehem and Cale's Child's Christmas in Wales go because I couldn't tell what the hell they were going on about, or if it had anything to do with the birth of our Redeemer.
But there's so much quality material from junkies, perverts, communists, tax collectors, and intellectuals that it needs to be capped at two before it takes on a life of its own. But whatevs. Just dig it. Tracklist in comments.
It's been a couple of years since I shared these Outsider Xmas mixes, but they're still available! It's 3 CD-length anthologies of Holiday-themed outsider music (songpoems, celebrities, novelty, developmentally different, amateur, etc). No promises, but if I get a few minutes, the long anticipated Vol. 3 (Hipmas) may be forthcoming...
"You may order your pastels from Alaska,
Imported, as the Igloo, in review"
- Evelyn Christmas (songpoem, Vol 2 track 4)
Just ran across Michael Holingshead's autobiography online, and located this great account of trying to mount a musical about trepanation in the prison chapel after he was busted...
"One of the highlights of my stay at Leyhill was the production of a physio-psychedelic musical called Paradise Lost — The True Story, which had been sent to me by Joey Mellen, friend and former associate from Pont Street, who had decided that the best way to stay permanently 'high' was by trepanning a hole in his head the size of the old sixpenny piece. The play was a strange mixture of Milton and Mellen, with lyrics in praise of trepanation or 'getting the hole'. I reproduce one of the songs below, called 'The Great Brain Robbery':
THE GREAT BRAIN ROBBERY
By Joe Mellen
Up stood the ape—down came the drag—
The beginning of the blues—
Can't talk your way out of it adult
Daddy there's a drag on you.
Oh adult the mistakes you make
You ignorant little man
Adult oh the liberties you take
You mistaken little man.
Between your meals you make your deals
And send your sons to war
Talk all you want but don't you know
We've heard it all before.
Adult will you never see
All you want is to agree—
The lies you tell to save your face
Constitute your grave disgrace.
You're losing and you think you're gaining
It's just your ego needs maintaining
Adult d'you know what is true ?
The drag is bearing down on you.
What you're trying to regain
Is blood belonging to your brain
Will you know before you're dead
That paradise is in your head ?
You was robbed—so you made belief—
It's gravity—we've caught the thief
All you prayers won't save your soul
Adult you need a hole.
Another song, called 'Brainbloodvolume', has been set to music by Julie Felix in her furthest-out number yet.
It was lost and now it's found again
Don't drive it underground again
They call it love and heaven above
Some take it for the hell of it
It's you it's me it's good
It's what the poets have written for
Painters have painted for
Priests have prayed for
Prisons have filled for
Soldiers have killed for
It's what the pipes have been smoked for
Witches have been cloaked for
Headstands have been done for
The whole thing was begun for
It's what the world was made for
The price must be paid for—
It was necessary to approach the Governor to obtain permission to stage it in the prison theatre, perhaps even before an invited audience of students from Bath and Bristol universities. I decided to plug the Milton section at the expense of the rest, feeling that the Governor would be more sympathetic to it than the modern additions.
The Governor was most attentive during my outline of the play, and wrote a memo to the Prison Chaplain that he should consider staging it one Sunday in the Church.
Accordingly, I met with the Chaplain, a nice, easygoing man with a strong sense of Christian vocation, who had been at Leyhill for four years and had a good understanding of prisoner psychology. I introduced the matter by suggesting that there is a mystery in the story of Paradise Lost that lies at the heart of all our lives. And this is older than that of Oedipus. In the play there are overtones of the great four stories of the world's various religions, and specifically of the Hebrew-Christian tradition. Guilt and Sin are pretty powerful themes of the Christian Church, and any attempt to understand their place in the world and their relevance to contemporary man was, I assured him, a matter of concern to today's criminal. One begins by depicting man as some kind of "hairless talking ape" who is unable to benefit from the possibilities of his own existence, who then has a revelation, in this instance, through piercing a small hole through his skull to increase the volume of blood to the brain.
The Chaplain looked puzzled. 'But what has Paradise Lost got to do with making holes in your head ?' he asked.
'Well, the theory is that by increasing the amount of blood to the brain the surface of the capillaries—millions of them—increases, which in turn release glucose from the blood into the brain cells. This is the physiological secret of "getting high". So the "hairless talking ape" who does not know that his "fall" (loss of brainbloodvolume) has a purely physiological cause. Thus he lives out his simple life or death without ever realising his golden future, truly the parable of fallen man.'
'It sounds all rather godless to me.'
'Well, the modern writer uses myths and metaphors in order to get his message across. And in the case of this play, he has found modern counterparts to the story of the Fall in poetry, science, and music to express an awareness that we all have, however obscurely, that there are vast capacities in man which he continually fails to realise. The message of the play is simple. If things are not right inside yourself, then change them. The evolutionary leap in being from monkey to man produced a new kind of animal, a creative animal, an animal with imagination, who could devise ways to regain the lost paradise of lost brainbloodvolume.'
'But why trepanation ?' the Chaplain persisted.
'Because trepanation offers a solution on a manageable scale.'
'A solution to what ?'
'A solution to the problem of staying "high".'
'But what has staying "high" got to do with putting on a musical play in my Church?'
'The Governor and I thought that because of the religious themes you might… '
'But I find the whole thing utterly "godless", and I could never allow such a production to be shown. And now that you have explained it to me, I doubt whether I could allow it to be performed in the theatre. Prisoners are very suggestible you know, and we could not risk wholesale trepanations. It is just what the Daily Express are looking for. I really think, Hollingshead, that you ought to concentrate instead on more practical plans for your own future than try to launch a social movement based on people putting holes in their heads. Have you ever considered the profession of the church ?'
'I'm sorry you don't like the play. I thought you would. What we are seeing today is merely the visible aspect of a universal neurosis, and the Fall myths, in whatever language, illustrate humanity's unconscious awareness of human suffering, which is the failure of humanity which Paradise Lost symbolises. God is simply a creative power which is part of human life in the Garden. A voice within man tells him that he can and should regain the lost brainblood of childhood—should exercise some degree of control over his own consciousness, in other words, which is the message of the new developing religions in the West. The problem facing the established Church is that if man lived up to his full creative capacities, there would be no religion.'
We decided to go ahead anyway, and started rehearsals. Hugh Landsdowne, a poet and magician, who had been imprisoned for growing half an acre of marijuana at his farm in Essex, linked in the I Ching; and together we made a huge stroboscopic mandala with an electric motor we pinched from one of the machines in the tailor's shop. The play was never performed in either the church or the theatre, due to the misunderstanding as to what the play was actually about; but it was seen by most of the inmates at some point in its actual unfolding; and helped keep our minds off more dangerous matters."
F's only gig of 2017 was a great success, and the debut of percussionist Kane Lafia went without a hitch. We played a 35 minute improvised set ranging from a wall-o-noise to delicate ambient soundscapes, while a specially-crafted artisanal psychedelic lightshow was projected over us, and a live video stream of the performance went out online and was rear projected onto the Odd Ark Gallery's frosted window, allowing the considerable crowd that couldn't squeeze into the actual space to follow along. The cassette didn't quite sell out, so text Machete if you're jonesing! Here is a gallery of images from the event, with video to follow, hopefully...
Here are a couple of shots of the neighborhood we're supposed to move to in 3 weeks, after 20 years in the Wilson house on Benton Way -- just inside the evacuation zone of the Creek Fire, one of four major conflagrations currently devastating LA. It's a horse community just south of the 210 freeway, called Shadow Hills, and it recently escaped from the La Tuna Fire from the other side.
This is from the Sepulveda Fire to the south - the biggest -- the Thomas Fire -- is wiping out Ventura and Ojai - here's a shot from a video from some one's morning commute on the 405.
And returning to the Creek Fire, I'm not sure this FB friend was paying attention to the details of the algorithm-generated map that accompanied his good news...
(Just found the Exploratorium posted the pdf catalog (including my essay) for Tim's 2015 installation online...)
"What the heck is a bosun’s whistle? OK, something’s coming back—a deep childhood memory of strongly desiring and eventually obtaining a Cap’n Crunch plastic two-note whistle from the bottom of a cereal box. I was an experimental musician even then, and explored the humble instrument’s potentials extensively around the family home for several weeks, before it mysteriously vanished. I was inconsolable. But I got over it and moved on to the family turntable, which is a whole other story.
When Tim Hawkinson decided to use a bosun’s whistle as the model for his ambitious kinetic sound-sculptural installation at the Exploratorium, he was tapping into a curious nexus of pop cultural and historical reference—an auditory trope that most of us would recognize, but whose original meaning and function are probably lost in the fog of technological obsolescence.
Familiar through countless mass-media depictions of nautical life (and, as I recently noticed, extraterrestrial escapades in the form of the Starship Enterprise’s electronic PA system on the original Star Trek series), the harsh, teakettle tones of the non-diaphragm type whistle have a loose semiotic charge—navy-something—but very few parsable details.
In fact, although it is now limited to ceremonial use—an idiosyncratic vestigial indicator of a “traditional” identity which has been completely subsumed by a homogenized global military culture centered on computers—the bosun’s pipe (aka whistle, call, or pippity-dippity) represents a functional language devoid of words; resembling whistlelanguages found in indigenous cultures around the world and probably inspired and based on some ancient maritime culture—the Greeks supposedly used pipes to time the oar-strokes of their galley slaves.
While a traditional whistled language such as Silbo Gomero—used by inhabitants of the Canary Islands to communicate across their jagged terrain—bears a direct, if convoluted relationship to the regular spoken language of its host region, the same cannot be said with any certainty about the language of the bosun’s call. Instead, seamen have, over the course of time, reverse engineered the whistles with phoneme substitutes of their own devising, nonsense phrases or ironic vernacular translations, such as “The officers’ wives eat pudding and pies, the sailors’ wives eat skilly” for the officers’ call to mess (dinner).
There’s something about this inversion and simulation of an organic communication system—and the improvisational, collaged translation that unfolds from it—that seems very reminiscent of Tim Hawkinson’s creative process. On an immediate level, the bosun’s whistle dovetails with a number of recurring themes in Hawkinson’s oeuvre..."
F will be performing as "F for Fortissimo" at ODD ARK Los Angeles 7101 North Figueroa Unit E, in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, 90042 on Saturday, December 9th from 4 - 6 PM, with psychedelic lightshow.
Admission is FREE!
This performance celebrates the release of their limited edition cassette F for FF on Redacted Records. Each cassette is numbered, hand stamped and sealed with red wax, and the edition is strictly limited to 52 copies. Also available at the event will be a few remaining 12” LPs of their debut album Faüxmish, as well as screen-printed t-shirts.
F is a Los Angeles art-rock supergroup whose motto is "Simplicity Through Noise" and who have developed a practice rooted in improvisational ensemble playing using electric guitars (played with rubber mallets and other extended as well as traditional techniques) and vintage synthesizers, in various combinations of three. F are Daniel Hawkins, Marnie Weber, and Doug Harvey, and this event marks the debut of new member Kane Lafia on percussions.
My piece about Jim Shaw & Mike Kelley's formative years in Michigan is up now on Artsy...
“Michigan Stories” explores the formative Midwestern years before the duo migrated west. Kelley’s working-class Catholic upbringing in the Detroit suburb of Westland provided fodder for much of his later work, including the posthumously realized Mobile Homestead, a replica of his childhood home, now permanently installed as a public cultural center in downtown Detroit. Shaw grew up with three older sisters in the more northerly Dow Chemical factory town of Midland.
After the social disintegration following the 1967 Detroit riots, Michigan’s underground culture experienced a foreshadowing of the gritty and desperate urban energy that would soon emerge as punk, complete with a voracious appetite for lower-class vernacular visual culture. But it wasn’t enough: “Leaving Michigan was something you just did,” recalls Shaw. “Why would you stay? There were no jobs, there was no art world.”
Prior to that momentous journey, though, Shaw and Kelley—along with filmmaker Cary Loren and singer/artist Lynn Rovner (a.k.a. Niagara)— formed the proto-punk experimental noise band Destroy All Monsters (DAM), which recorded hours of effects-laden bleats, squawks, and tape loops and published a series of art-damaged zines. At the same time, the DAM collective—most of whom were attending art school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor—were producing comparatively traditional paintings, drawings, collages, and sculptures.
“Mike disowned a lot of his early work,” Shaw remembers. “But I’m sure some will come out of the woodwork, because he left a lot of it in the back yard. We just left shit in our Ann Arbor house when we moved to Los Angeles. All these oil paintings and ceramics. Mike only took works on paper. Literally, the back yard was knee deep in stuff.”
Marriott International, Inc has an opening for a Funcionario de prevención de pérdidas in their Los Angeles location. We thought you might be interested in this opportunity. To explore this further you'll find more details and the application instructions on the job details page below.
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"Three hundred years ago, on June 24, 1717, four autonomous lodges of the philosophical/political underground that had inexplicably sprung up within the structure of the medieval architectural stone masons guilds met at the Goose and Gridiron Alehouse in the churchyard of London’s St. Paul's Cathedral, merged into what was to become the Grand Lodge of England, effectively launching the movement of modern Freemasonry. Antics ensued.
While even a cursory history of the Freemason phenomenon and its impact on the culture and politics of modern western civilization is beyond the scope of this essay, it’s important to cover at least some of the high points in order to convey exactly why the installation of Jim Shaw’s The Wig Museum in the repurposed Wilshire Boulevard Scottish Rite Cathedral constitutes one of the most appropriate and fruitful site-specific art installations of all time.
Since the 1970s, Shaw has been producing work that simultaneously explores the structure of various belief systems and the forms in which they manifest themselves, with a particular emphasis on the legion of vernacular twentieth-century media fallout—fliers, booklets, posters, album covers, knick-knacks, videos, and so on—which insinuate their ideological memes into the collective libidinal appetite. In this exhibition alone, he cites Abstract Expressionist collage cartoonist Ad Reinhardt, technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs, nineteenth-century French painters Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Théodore Gericault, Eugène Delacroix, visionary English book artist William Blake, political cartoonist Thomas Nash, modernist prankster Marcel Duchamp, Dutch proto-surrealist Hieronymus Bosch, beliked actress Sally Fields, Superman comic artist Wayne Boring, animator Walter Lantz, and science fiction author H. G. Wells. Among others.
One of the most radical aspects of Shaw’s work is that he treats the belief systems and symbolic forms—the ideology and iconography—of capital-A Art with the same political and aesthetic equanimity and skepticism as he would, say, Scientology or the International Monetary Fund, although his scrutiny has most often been drawn to the elaborate cosmologies of fringe religious movements and secret societies like the Masons. Everybody knows that the intrigues of The Art World have more in common with Masonic convolutions than it likes to admit—constantly negotiating accusations of paranoia, defensiveness, and elitism, for example. Plus No Chicks Allowed!
Shaw’s oeuvre can be understood as a ferocious parody that vivisects the conventions of Western civilization’s moral and intellectual traditions in a language that mimics the convoluted and deliberately incoherent institutional mystification by which our imaginations are continually conquered and colonized. But these same strategies of semiotic hypersaturation can be seen in any number of esoteric spiritual and philosophical traditions whose stated purpose is to dislodge the initiate from their habitual understanding of the nature of reality in favor of a direct, unmediated experience—a denial-of-service attack on The Matrix.
The Wilshire Scottish Rite Masonic Temple was built in 1961 by Millard Sheets —as patriarchal figure in the history of Los Angeles art as can be imagined. Sheets, a regionalist figurative painter, headed the art department at Scripps College as well as Otis Art Institute, oversaw the Los Angeles County Fair’s then-prestigious annual art exhibit, and was in charge of which artists were hired to do murals for the Works Project Administration during the Depression. After the war, he entered the public sphere even more emphatically, setting up an architectural design firm that created idiosyncratic, modernist figurative mosaics for buildings from Washington D.C. to Honolulu, as well as the forty-two Home Savings and Loan Association Buildings for which he’s best remembered.
Oddly, Sheets was never a Mason, and when Judge Ellsworth Meyer approached him with the commission he asked for an explanation for undertaking such an extravagant project. As Sheets later recalled, they “had some very good thoughts about the new relationship of Masonry to society and why they felt this was an important time to build the temple and why they wanted to truly represent the spirit of Masonry.”
Whatever those “very good thoughts” were, they didn’t quite pan out, as membership in the Lodge—as in fraternal organizations nationwide—rapidly declined over the next several decades. By the early 1990s, the Wilshire temple was being rented out for commercial interests (in violation of its zoning parameters) and, amidst local complaints about parking difficulties and darker allegations, the 110,000-square-foot edifice was shuttered and cordoned off, becoming a notorious real-estate white elephant until the Marcianos came to its rescue..."
Read the rest of Puzzling Evidence: Jim Shaw VS The Illuminati in "Jim Shaw THE WIG MUSEUM" Marciano Art Foundation Project Series Issue no. 1, ISBN 978-0-9992215-0-1
"Mimi Pond is a legendary figure in LA—part of the generation of independently-minded cartoonists nurtured—then dumped—by the alternative media, she also wrote the first-aired episode of The Simpsons (before being expelled from the bullpen) as well as contributing to Pee Wee’s Playhouse alongside her artist husband Wayne White.
Pond’s public image has recently made a quantum leap via the shadow world of graphic novels, with her acclaimed 2014 fictionalized memoir Over Easy, which detailed her day-to-day social adventures after dropping out of the CCAC and getting a job as a dishwasher—soon waitress—at a nearly post-hippy diner in Oakland in the late ’70s.
Her new volume, The Customer is Always Wrong, picks up exactly where Over Easyleft off—vibrating between laid-back hippy self-mockery and seething punk rage. Although the saga of art-school dropout Madge and the colorful cast of Bay Area lowlifes with whom she consorts were apparently split into two for completely logistical reasons, the bifurcation is fortuitous.
Where the first volume chronicles a relatively idyllic period of compromised innocence—sex, drugs, and rock & roll in other words—the sequel delves into more challenging bardos, depicting beatings, murders, heroin ODs, and abortions with the same light attention as the awkward romances and naughty experimentation in Over Easy.
Pond’s lightness of touch is twofold, evident in both her artwork and narrative gifts. Her relaxed, economical black ink line—augmented by judiciously deployed washes of blue—conveys an archetypal bohemian vibe that immediately sets the tone for Madge’s subterranean journey, and is stylistically supple enough to accommodate anything from lyrical interludes to car-chase sequences..."
Tamara Fites as Lambi Kins at Dan Bernier Gallery, 1995
"Last year some friends and I made a list of Los Angeles artists who were overdue for local museum acknowledgment—project rooms, mid-career surveys, retrospectives, whatever—and had to quit when we reached 100. It just stopped being fun. For all the talk of L.A. as an international art destination, it still has a doozy of an inferiority complex. East coast and international art stars—and a handful of Angelenos that fit the mold—are afforded the bulk of face time, at the expense of the gazillion graduates pouring out of the dozen local MFA programs every year; the idiosyncratic veterans who didn’t fit into the Ferus Gallery agenda; and the off-the-charts originals who blossomed in the lack of limelight.
Here’s a grab bag of overlooked L.A. artists that should be pulling down the big bucks and gracing biennial pavilions. Peers and enemies will undoubtedly find my selection wanting—but that’s what comments are for...
One of the most innovative L.A. artists of the 1990s, Fites assembled elaborate character-driven installations out of carefully curated thrift store detritus, handmade artifacts, and performative leavings. These immersive interactive theaters garnered enormous local buzz, yet are almost entirely forgotten since the artist dropped out of the marketplace, leaving no internet archive behind. Perhaps Fites’s most famous incarnation was as Lambi Kins, a mute, infantile, sexualized sheep-girl occupying a white trash labyrinth, in which she would inappropriately touch unsuspecting gallery-goers. Another persona was as the leader of an anarcho-syndicalist colony of adult babies, who held birthday parties ’round the clock and rescued a litter of baby possums as part of one exhibition..."
All the hype for the second season of the mildly annoying, mildly entertaining Stranger Things reminds me that I never linked to this analysis that I made of the first season...
I don’t think I can tackle the fine kettle of perverse nostalgiafish that is "Stranger Things". I binge-watched it when it came out, now almost three months ago, and it triggered my wanting to finally get this blog rolling, but it just doesn’t seem worth it -- the fact that several generations of Americans (and beyond) have developed into adults believing in and aping the behavior of a reactionary, fictional 1970s revival of 1950s atomic family values (itself largely a normative construct imposed by TV, Duh!) -- to such a degree that kids today are effectively living in a simulacrum of Stevens Spielberg and King’s bedwetting nightmares and subsequent attempts to shift blame (AKA Art) -- can’t be laid at the feet of one otherwise entertaining genre exercise. Especially one with Wynona....
Deveron Richard, "The Wheel of Vowels and Consonants II", 2016
Able ARTS Work presents:
CORE 13: Defining Ourselves
a visual and performing arts exhibition + film festival
CORE 13 gives context to what unifies us through shared dreams, desires, freedoms, fears, threats, - all a part of the human experience. Artists featured in the exhibition challenge assumptions, rewrite stories and propose alternate histories.
Curated by Los Angeles based artist and writer, Doug Harvey
CORE 13 is an inclusive exhibition for ALL artists. Wheelchair accessible. Presented with sign language interpretation, braille and audio description.
Exhibition Dates: October 21 - October 31, 2017
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:00 - 9:00pm
The Liberty Gallery
435 Alamitos Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
CORE 13 is supported in part by a grant from The Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach, The Bess Hodges Foundation and The Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
There is ample FREE parking in the lot next to the gallery. Alternately, street parking is available.
CORE is an inclusive exhibition for ALL artists. Wheelchair accessible. Presented w/sign language interpretation, braille & audio description.
Here's one from back in the day -- 2000something? Erik Knutzen and myself under the aegis of the CCCP-SCC* presenting a program of found social studies cinema as part of a "back to high school" (ironical since I never went in the first place!) performative interactive installation at Cleveland High in Reseda as part of Christine Louise Mills (then Berry)'s Smart Gals' Are You Interested? initiative.
*Coalition for Cinematic Conservation and Preservation - Southern California Chapter
I was very saddened to hear that Greg Escalante, founder of Juxtapoz, Copro-whatevs Gallery, and the Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Chinatown killed himself. I had just seen him during Cathy Ward's opening at The Good Luck Gallery and he seemed OK. Not bubbly, but OK.
Greg meant a lot to me, he was a big supporter of my writing and curatorial efforts -- he hooked me up with two of my major curating projects -- Aspects of Mel's Hole at the GCAC, and Heart & Torch, the Rick Griffin retrospective at the Laguna Art Museum, which we collaborated on.
The pictures above & below (shot by Cathy Ward) shows me & Greg at the GEG last year(?), in a spontaneous reminiscence about Mel's Hole (I'm also wearing one of the Rick Griffin tee shirts produced for our show). Later we talked about doing some more shows together. Guess that won't happen on this plane...
Cathy Ward's Second Solo Show at The Good Luck Gallery Phantasmata
Reception: Saturday Sept 2, 7-10pm Exhibition Dates: Sept 2 - Oct 15 The Good Luck Gallery 945 Chung King Rd LA, CA 90036
The Good Luck Gallery is excited to present UK artist Cathy Ward’s second American solo show, “Phantasmata”, built around the enormous (84 X 284 ins) title piece -- a black and white “drawing in acrylic on canvas” that expands the charged atmospheric intimacy of her celebrated scratchboard drawings to a new epic scale.
Surging and pulsing with dark energies constrained and released, Ward’s dense Herworld drawings capture the restless energy of abstract expressionism through meticulously rendered organic forms. Their undeniable mystery, emotional depth, and sensuality are delivered in a dazzling visual package that recalls psychedelic graphics, hermetic alchemical illustrations, and outsider horror vacui.
In addition to this magnum opus, Ward’s exhibit includes a bronze sculpture incorporating pagan ritual symbolism; exquisite ink drawings on translucent amoeba-shaped mother-of-pearl (Diluvian Sculptures); and two distinct gesso-on-ink portrait series -- Sprites and Spirits -- depicting supernatural entities in a style ranges from action painting to precise draftsmanship, resembling vintage hi-contrast micrographs of cellular structures.
Visions of The Luna Sea comprises a series of hand-painted and photocollaged visionary landscapes -- originally glimpsed during the artist’s “Madge Gill Medium & Visionary Artist“ residency at Orleans House in 2013, but only just completed. Corn Maidens depict “Wicker Man”-like pagan fetishes in incised ink on gold, while the Gaia’s Crown series are some of the most accomplished examples of Ward’s virtuosic scratchboard drawing technique.
With inspiration ranging from coral reef restoration initiatives to the myth of Demeter (the ancient Greek goddess of harvest) and her connection to the pagan corn dolly, Ward’s work opens a portal to a parallel reality -- one in which our exhausted world is revived and restored to a state of awe-inspiring complexity, wholeness, and fecundity by an upsurge of dark feminine energy from the mythological underworld. Step on through!
In honor of his 100th birthday, here are some links to some Jack Kirby stuff I wrote or was involved in over the years... there a couple of other things somewhere, but my archives are slightly disordered.
Video from the closing celebration for "Summery Appeal" at The Good Luck Gallery in L.A.'s Chinatown, Aug 26 2017. Apologies for the outsider cinematography. More info: http://hope4arts.org/
One of the most surprising aspects of the curatorial process of Summery Appeal was discovering so many dev/diff artists with mad abstract skills -- indistinguishable from the work coming out of Yale or UCLA grad programs. Which isn't a slight to studio art grad students, just a gentle reminder that visual art is not a subset of sophisticated verbal discourse. Check out these (mostly still available) abstractions and judge for yourself...