Friday, December 26, 2008

a cold day in LA... spent some time out in the studio and did some good work on small drawings, started on the last trip and work on the new large piece. but it was just too cold to be out there, drinking beer and listening to the bamboo, coming off of the gluttony of christmas dinner (dozens of oysters, foie gras, prime rib, an '83 chateau le tour and a '77 grahams port, etc...). tuesday evening before the flight i went uptown to the bjorn ressle gallery. bjorn was there with the artist marjorie welish, the artist mark wiener and a curator from the morgan library, who was intently checking out the work. it was really nice to be able to actually look at the work in relative peace. bjorn cracked open a bottle of white wine and mark and i moved about the walls taking it in. wiener is a sensitive and physical artist. we discussed the ephemera of mark-making and various notions of intent, admiring the wide range of expressions installed in the gallery. once again, the 2 drawings by the composer, john cage really hit me- this stuttering line, moving about the toothy paper in non-committal arabesques... i also spent a lot of time with three drawings by ron gorchov-- as with the cage drawings, these are tough, hermetic efforts, on tough, heavy paper. there is a lack of control that engenders it's own signature of beauty when working with the graphite line on such meaty, heavyweight papers. the line quivers and blurs, coasting along the curvature of surface. regardless of the artist's hand, the line takes off on it's own. and you deal with it or don't... i've found, that with my own drawing, i'm becoming more comfortable working with a lighter, smoother paper. the drawings bjorn exhibited (and the accompanying 9 in a portfolio) are all notebook drawings, autonomous works, but in their roughly handled immediacy, notebook drawings all the same. for my purposes, the acrylic (and/or oil) staining and re-workings of graphite (and/or india ink) come across truer on the smoother surface, the physicality of my efforts taking center stage, as opposed to a physicality imposed on the work by the support itself.

later i went for drinks with bjorn and mark, taking the downtown bus to the legendary, gino's, across from bloomingdales. not my usual stomping grounds, to be sure, but a fine establishment. bjorn and i ordered martinis and then we were joined by the beautiful rocio.... she was impressed when mark said he always painted while wearing a tie.

i can't blame her...

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