Saturday, October 20, 2007

Licorice Allsorts... of the Mind!

"The elegant Portal paintings seem to offer a bittersweet passage to a less cluttered realm. Details are sketchy – the bullseye of the spiral’s center is an unknowable threshold of zero dimensions, but it’s clear that all baggage has to be discarded on this side of the equation. What a surprise to find all your familiar acquaintances waiting for you on the other side! Ay, there’s the rub. The deliverance offered in bridging the event horizon of a black hole is as likely to be the inescapable psychodrama of Solaris as it is to be the high amniotic indifference of 2001. Or perhaps it’s a Cabaret, old chum.

Mark Dutcher’s 2007 suite of Black Paintings seem to offer a speculative simulation of this very Far Side of our sensual and phenomenological constraints. Suddenly we confront De Selby’s ultimate accumulation of “black air,” a torrent of matériel noir that inverts our figure/ground understanding in an equally binary optical value reversal. In a variety of tableaux that recall freeze-frames of various vintage Big Reveals – particularly the withdrawal of curtains to expose the theatrical stage or cinematic screen – Dutcher delivers a best guess at second sight. Will there be a new way of seeing in the Kingdom of Heaven? Or is this it? Through a glass darkly, or infinity in a grain of sand? Or the contents of a gumball machine dumped in a cauldron of squid ink at full boil?"

from my catalog essay "Sugar in the Dark: Mark Dutcher’s Black Paintings"
published in conjunction with "Curtains", his exhibit at

High Energy Constructs
990 N. Hill Street, Suite 180
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Opening tonight, October 20 2007 from 6 - 9
On view through December 01 2007

Mark also has a spectacular survey show running concurrently at the Huntington Beach Art Center

Mark Dutcher's Shelf Life
538 Main St.
Huntington Beach Art Center
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
On view through December 16 2007

Above 'Cinema'
Below 'A Year in the Theater'

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Let's Paint Fireworks for Spoiled Children

Art Garage Rock band Fireworks will be doing their thing with John Kilduff of cable access' Let's Paint TV fame at 8 PM on Thursday Oct 18th at the USC Grad Art Gallery at 3001 South Flower Street, LA, 90007 - just off the 110 freeway.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh Canaday!

"A case in point is his recent body of Noir hot rod paintings, a sort-of darkly macho Thanatos corollary to his longer-running pageant of full-frontal suburban Willendorfian Veneres (which themselves allude to often-Eros-tinted 70s airbrush figuration à la Alan Aldridge and Peter Saul). Employing the same backdrop of abstracted industrial domination -- Canaday hails from Detroit, site of some of the bleakest post-globalization urban landscapes in America -- as found in earlier studies of the female figure in the landscape such as Fudge Rammers in Their Pajamers (2005), the similarities end there – Canaday’s car paintings are utterly devoid of overt sexual content.

Instead, these remarkable works propose an equivalency between Ad Reinhart and “Big Daddy” Roth – between the chromatically minimal tail end of the existentialism-tinged Abstract Expressionist school and the more truly subversive eruption of the Grotesque which was occurring throughout American popular culture over the same period. The geometric complexity in a piece like Burnin’ (2007) is almost as compelling as the outlaw imagery it encodes. Drawing substantively from the automotive outsiders of Roth Studios (including Roth himself, Robert Williams - whose comic-book advertisements for Rat Fink tee-shirts bear a resemblance in wit and graphic complexity to Reinhart’s How to Look collage strips - and Dave Mann, later of Easyriders fame), Canaday’s painterly hot rods posit a plausible integration of the transcendental geometry and improvisational materiality of the church of Abex with the post-Jungian pop mythology of EC horror comics."

- from my catalog essay 'Motor City Badness: Steve Canaday’s American Graffiti'

published in conjunction with Canaday's shows at Black Dragon Society (closing October 20th) and Baronian-Francey in Brussels (opening in November). The book should be available at Black Dragon any day now. The Black Dragon show only includes one of the car paintings, but they may be still up in the auxillary space, and there'll be a chance to see at least one more before the new year.

Dough on the Go! reader Jacques de Beaufort put in his two cents in an insightful essay on his own blog and documented the openingto boot.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Now, set the doom machine against the imperial space station itself!

Writing is a lonely calling, so it is especially gratifying when one learns that not one but two of one's blog readers have taken the plunge and rented STARCRASH solely on the basis of one's blog entry recommendation. One such was Steve Roden who may have been stunned into permanent silence, though reliable intelligence says he may be reworking the haunting theme music for his October 23rd gig at the Hammer. The other is Daniel Mendel-Black, who immediately folded the complex STARCRASH cosmology into his own ongoing sci-fi political allegory at his Kulturedrome blog. Let's try and keep this going, people!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hot Diggity Smog

We did not allow our automotive woes to interfere with our attendance of Bill Callahan's appearance in the Echoplex grotto last night. Accompanied by fiddle, bass, and percussion, he drew heavily from his most recent album "Woke on a Whale Heart"- the first issued under his real name instead of as "Smog"

The album is awesome and has a great cover by one of the best artists from the Providence scene, Joe Grillo (of the dearraindrop consortium)

I've seen Smog a few times, and while he always had a mesmerizing stage presence, he usually just sat there - but this Bill guy seems to have brought some slinky body consciousness along with him, as he kept busting mutant Elvis moves and breaking out the old softshoe.

The opening act was virtuosic Sun City Girls alum Sir Richard Bishop. I didn't get any good shots of him, though, so here's one more of Mr. Bill.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Ironing is Delicious

Some one caused some deep wrinklage to our "new" car (the '91 Accord) at 2 AM this morning. According to a coupon left by the police, it was the work of one "Neva Grout." Now, assuming this was not the principal of a Catholic school in British Columbia, my google search turned up this improbable gem. Neva is signator #116. Stay tuned for insurance horror stories.