Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Pulse New York-- Part 2

When last we saw our superhero, Lamgelinaoly had been mesmerized by the works of so much talent, so much detail, so much... well... sensory overload--she could barely contain herself.

Much like an overindulgent all-u-can-eat buffet, she knew deep down she's biting off more than she can chew, but she knew she must move on, for so much more beckoned!!!

Next on the hit list, 23rd Street's Pavel Zoubok Gallery-- in particular, the work of Christopher Tanner.

Remember the feeling you'd get when you'd go through your great-grandmother's jewelry box and say to yourself, "What in God's name was she thinking when she bought all this chachkas costume jewelry?"

Christopher Tanner evokes this emotion and so much more with his masterfully crafted mixed media collages.

Like a full-scale onslaught from Liberace's closet, I'm enthralled by the many hidden messages amidst the golden trinkets and silk-spun blonde hair, glinting mirrors reflecting back unto me with messages such as "The Prince of Hearts Who Stole the Tarts That Looked Like Tits."

There's so much humor that's missing in today's art world.

I feel that the most powerful of all gifts that artists possess is the ability to take a look inside themselves and see another side; one that is clever and celebrates its own cleverness.

Looking at "Nan Kempner," I must chuckle.

It brings to mind Nietzche's own braggadoccio, "Why I am so clever," "Why I am so wise."

If Tanner doesn't see these qualities in himself, I actually hope this blog helps him realize it.

Not only does he possess cleverness, but also craftsmanship.

Each of these photos are but small details of his works-- they are immense triptychs covered top to bottom in formations that the eye must continuously rediscover what it had missed the first go-around.

Sheer brilliance.

Next on our list, the always fabulous Paul Henry Ramirez, represented by San Francisco's Rena Bransten Gallery.

The way Ramirez captivates, these images are like Takashi Murakami if he had a soul.

Each droplet is a study in perfection-- perfection of color.

I love how the rings form out, much like a rain puddle or tree trunks, never truly dissolving, but a kind of coalescing.

The phosphorescent sheens gush forth in fountain-like bursts, forming networks not unlike human capillaries.

(see work detail below)

There's great sexuality in these works-- a release, if you will, of energy and passion--color here is representing the ultimate in eroticism.

Ramirez's smaller ink-designs have an almost Carroll Dunham-feel to them in their amorphous imagery.

(see image below right)

Next up, representing the "other side of the river," Brooklyn's own Parker's Box Gallery.

One standout in particular, Samuel Rousseau's "Plastikcity."

I can't help but think of the legacy Sim City has left on our youth society-- building our own subcultures and cities within a city.

Modern architecture seems to keep doing this very thing-- a constant on-the-go, with designs now holding us hostage, yet providing everything we need all in one place.

Think of the Chelsea condo towers now being built-- retail at base, restaurants, drug stores, banks; full-service gym; cocktail lounge; conference room; apartments; roof deck with pool.

Everything under the sun, under one roof.

Rousseau's little people move to-and-fro so rapidly, you find yourself dizzy just taking it in.

I like to note in the image above how there are only 4 exits at the bottom-- no way out, if you will, from the trap inside.

Very innovative, and very different from anything else at Pulse.

Nice job, Parker's Box-- Brooklyn represents!

Next up, my "Artist Best of Show" award to Chris Larson, represented here by Berlin's Magnus Muller Gallery.

Larson, a 1992 Yale MFA is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota.

I definitely did not expect to find a resident of the twin cities with such broad range.

In my previous post I noted how I find it rare to see a multidisciplinary talent.

Larson dabbles in multiple media formats-- photography, a shotgun-blasted gray guitar, and video.

In no uncertain terms, Larson's installation was the best of Pulse New York 2007.

He expertly takes commonly held perceptions of reality and turns it on its head.

The vignettes are shockingly quiet and cold.

A photo hangs above showing a dillapidated home in the distance-- windows hollow, no door; floating precariously on a lake.

You can see a table within.

There is an African American family sitting quietly at the dinner table; saying grace to the almighty.

Immediately your thoughts go to the forgotten victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Reliant only upon God, the lake represents a totality of isolation; an abandonment of a people; the guitar is destroyed-- no more music, no celebration-- the blues is no more.

To me it represents a homage to Picasso's own blue period, as well as a statement of the blues-- and the pains an entire segment of society has been forced to endure.

No words can quite describe the imagery unless you see it in the flesh.

I believe Larson will not be a forgotten voice in the years to come-- his being far too powerful.

Finally, my Best in Show Gallery Award.

I was inundated by so much at this event, my mind was spinning.

I needed to find something that truly stood out from the rest of the crowd.
The usual boredom-inducing white walls were problematic in this regard.

Suddenly I turned the corner.
This gallery solved this problem and much more.

I am now at ground zero-- tiny Ojai, California's Nathan Larramendy Gallery.

Larramendy traveled cross-country and brought a pleasant Pacific breeze to an otherwise Atlantic dominated event by way of some Florida birds-- Pink Flamingos, to be exact.

Cassandra C. Jones' limited edition art wallpaper boggles the mind.

Upon initial inspection, it appears you've found yourself in the Queen's parlor; Prince of Wales tea is soon to be served in the conservatory.

Then, eureka-- wait... uh... are those flamingos?

Legs and necks intertwine; an embrace that will last a lifetime-- or at least until the owner redecorates with a new interior designer.

But Jones is going towards commerce here as well as art.

It always gets me riled up when I hear artists not embracing the fact that they are their own business, first and foremost.

I believe Jones' work has sold out its entire edition-- and for good reason.

Today's buyers are not only looking to have something simply to hang on their walls-- we are past that-- they are looking at something that will BE a work of art; make their dwelling, and their entire world atmosphere part of the process.

Jones does just that, and is truly ahead of her time in acknowledging this.

Finally, Larramendy Gallery also had an entry that brought out more pathos of the horrors of the American south.

Travis Somerville recreates a scene that takes Harriet Beecher Stowe quite literally-- a noose with a piece of American flag jutting out in a ramshackle cabin.

The blackface imagery is truly shocking-- one that should stay with our culture as we seem to continue on a head-on collission course with destiny; the very blindfolds and hoods we used on the hanging victims of our past are now covering the eyes of our leaders.

A never-ending ouroboros, if you will-- how can the U.S. go on to a settled future if we do not make peace with our past?

A great work, a great gallery, great exhibit, and great art show.

Pulse truly upped the ante this year after a slightly disappointing 2006.

It will be interesting to see what 2008 will bring.

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