Friday, January 30, 2009

a good day in the studio and then the hassle of trying to find a parking spot... life in NYC. we deal with it... or we don't. after i filled up my xmas present flask with a bit of vodka to ward off the winter night, i hit the subway uptown to the performance/exhibition/collaboration of artist, mark wiener and Panman Productions, on the roof of 123 East 47th street. film, music, and wiener with various programs on his laptop, layering images on the whitewashed wall of the neighboring building. it was cold and the artist asked who had a joint and i seconded the notion. where was my stash when so sorely needed?? it was that sort of night-- cold, cold and the wind started and then the mere cold became something a bit more horrific. but who's counting?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

i hadn't realized how long it had been since i wrote in this... it's kind of like trying to keep a correspondance up with a beautiful woman a world away-- you want to put down these words, but life gets in the way and the words don't get down. and then you may or may not forget each other... but thats another story.

it's been a great 10 days out here in the valley-- mid '80-'s throughout the trip, while nyc was hovering around 6 degrees. nice... so tonight is the last night. i took out 4 new paintings (completed on this trip) to the william turner gallery in santa monica and bill seemed pretty excited by them, so thats not a bad thing. now it's the usual holding pattern of waiting. and waiting. but they're out there in the world, not cluttering up my small space out here under the orange tree. and i'm proud of them-- i think these are paintings that helped me learn a bit more about my art. there is a lot of moves from the latest nyc work in them as well, thats their strength-- these new moves entering the fray. and the best part is that driving back, on the cramped 405, i started envisioning new pieces to be made, new color, new form, what have you...

so, last saturday, jan. 17th, my great friend, the artist alex couwenberg had his first solo show at the turner gallery. the day i flew in i went out to the gallery and checked out the installation in progress. we shared some beers and discussed the orientation of three birch panels, along the massive main wall-- alex settled on an 8 inch seperation. then i drove back to the valley and got back to work...

the opening of his show on that saturday was (for all his commercial success) alex's coming out party. this was the kind of reception you dream of as an artist... period. there were the senior abstract painters of LA (ed moses, jimmy heyward), the writers (mat gleason, george melrod, peter frank and kerry kugelman) and the hot women you would imagine coming to a hot painting show in santa monica. indeed, the art was great and a lot of it was wearing high heels... sadly, i must say this isn't always the case in nyc. and, when i think about it, it's not always the truth in SO Cal, it just seems that way sometimes... and thank god for it. but yeah, the art... couwenberg has always been an inventing and gripping artist of a most graphic quality and intent. the first time i saw his work (we were both in the holiday group show at ruth bachofner gallery, maybe 2002, or so) i was floored by the material and that sensuous curve of line. through the years he's managed to maintain a startling consistancy, while, at the same time, invigorating his work with dynamic shifts of interest and compositional twists. in the end, this is the work of the wholly charged, fully engaged and focused artist. there are many painters tackling the issues of process and surface, etc, etc... there always have been. i do it myself... alex couwenberg gives us, however a bold and (dare i say?) original take on matters of such painterly importance. others, including the above mentioned writers have discussed such concrete influences as mid-century design, surf boards, etc, on and on, trying to pinpoint a hub for couwenbergs unique perspective. fine. perhaps its important to have that firm a grounding... i'll say this: alex and i were talking in NYC about inspiration. someone asked him what his inspiration was, earlier that night. it's a question that i've (and probably any other artist) had lobbed at me countless times. to paraphrase (we both had a lot to drink that night, funny enough...), alex looked at me and said something like, "'s everything-- how can't you be inspired??"