Friday, October 15, 2021
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Another Year in LA Presents:
July 1 - August 31, 2021
Roman Placenta Disc, 2021
Dedicated to Stuart Spence and Diana Zlotnick
Doug Harvey's Moldy Slides project began with a chance discovery of a cache of discarded amateur photographic transparencies dating to the 1970s in the piles of material being disposed of during an apparent hoarder intervention. The slides had been subjected to flooding and grown various types and degrees of fungal layers, altering the pictorial content of the emulsion -- sometimes slightly, sometimes transforming the image into a total abstraction. Harvey describes the resulting (washed and stabilized) artifacts as " a stochastically linked collaboration between the original vacation photographer, crazy hoarder dude, the mold, and me – plus the found and improvised soundtrack elements, and finally the audience."
The once personal narrative contained in the travel photographs had been altered, obscured and even destroyed by the natural processes of decay and the ravages of time in a manner analogous to the effects of memory loss. Harvey performs an act of détournement by transforming this pile of refuse back into a commentary on cultural amnesia and decay by using the apparatus originally intended for nostalgia.
In its performance iteration Harvey projects a curated sequence of 150 images in a slideshow accompanied by live improvisational noise music, taking on what art critic Shana Nys Dambrot called "a conceptual/semantic level, introducing issues of authorship, truth, transcendence, intention, control, chaos, narrative, meaning, and analog physicality" in a "larger conversation about photography in the digital era."
The original live Moldy Slide Show was projected at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the Hammer Museum, UCLA, The Echo Park Film Center, and several other West Coast venues. A selection from that group were reproduced and exhibited in London through the Strange Attractor Journal, where they were hailed by cultural commentator Adam Harper (and subsequently by WIRE Magazine) as a visual counterpart to the "hauntological" music of The Caretaker, William Basinski, Indignant Senility, and others -- invoking the philosophical spirits of Jacques Derrida and Mark Fisher.
Just prior to COVID, Harvey was engaged in a revival of the project, with several performances of a live show with a new selection of moldy slides and a solo exhibit at the California Museum of Photography, consisting of an edition made with an an anachronistic printing techniques in collaboration with The ƒ/Ø Project. Romantic Landscapes Rearranged picks up where The Erinnerungen an Verlassene Zukünfte Suite left off, wandering the ruins, forests and moors in a
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Critic Lights a Way, 2020, dry transfer lettering (Letraset etc.), rubber stamps, collage, shoe polish on paper, 100 X 48 ins.
Critic Lights a Way is part of a set of recent bodies of work done in black & white (including Flash Fudd Black Box, 2020 Abstract Black Paintings, and other sub-series) that began hmmm… somewhere around late 2016!
CLaW is itself part of a series of similarly scaled painting/collages, but is different in the fact that it incorporates no painting, and was conceived and executed specifically for Khang Nguyen’s “5 Facets of Humanity: Intra-human, Meta-human, Post-human, Supra-human, Trans-human”
I read Khang’s explication of the philosophical underpinnings of his curatorial practice with great interest, percolated on them for a while, and was rewarded with an irresistible image of a figure, defined entirely by five dense and variegated fields of hermetic background data.
It is a self-portrait, consisting of a tracing of the outline of my body - lying flat on the floor - onto the paper. This was initially in the rough pose of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, with the intention of breaking the negative space into five sections corresponding to Khang’s facets. But I obviously revised it.
On the one hand, this plan was a little programmatic for my tastes -- improvisation keeps me awake -- and I had a second, irresistible hypnagogic vision, of the piece as it is now, more or less.
This version, while going all Mandelbrot on the facets, is also a direct homage to an oil painting by my wife, M.A. Peers, entitled Found Yuppie in Bear, 2008 (and by extension to Duchamp’s Etant Donnes and that dude on the inside of Led Zeppelin IV), which in turn was based on a radium-infused baby’s room serigraph of a bear cub tipoe-ing upstairs holding a candle.
In order to revise the figure along these lines, I deliberately repositioned and retraced my outline on my own (M.A. helped on the first version), producing an awkward and distorted figure, that nevertheless enacts an archetypal “Excelsior!”-type gesture.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
I can't believe it's been a full year since I posted here - but it has been quite a year! My lapse coincided with the recommencement of the school year, no duh, which took the concept of adjunct exploitation to new and unimaginable heights. Then there was that whole election thing. Plus I jump-started my "critical writing" blog LESS ART, which is where you'll find a lot of stuff that you normally would have found here.
But not everything -- I don't really post any of my actual art over there, or historical materials such as this recently unearthed photograph of the artist as a young writer (age 4? 5?) Anyhoo, I'm gong to try and post more stuff here, even if it's just random images, and maybe backdate some of what I've been up to since last August!