Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Exhibit: Severn Eaton at PUSH Gallery

See What Inspired Me is the title of Severn Eaton's newest exhibit at PUSH Gallery in downtown Asheville. Known for his narrative paintings that reflect on the cultural milieu of neoliberalism, Eaton's new show heralds his familiar anti-consumerist perspective but contains no paintings. Instead, Eaton uses images and slogans cut from billboard advertisements to create an environment that is sensationally grotesque. At this close range the onslaught of bright colors and pixelated food is both horrifying and fascinating.

In the middle of the room two life-sized human forms made out of clear packing tape are connected to a box and breathe in and out when activated -- literally deflating and inflating each other. The kinetic rigging of this sculpture is pretty amazing and lends a compelling interactive element to the show.

Pop into PUSH Gallery and Skateshop at 25 Patton Ave and see for yourself before the show comes down later this month.

Read Kyle Sherard's review for the Montain Xpress: See What Inspired Severn Eaton

Visit to see more.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chaos in Berlin

In April 2007 I spent two weeks in Berlin with my friend Sebastian Collett. We stayed at a squat called Tuntenhaus, went to a couple of raves, rode the subways, looked at art, etc. I also went to the craziest dance performance somewhere in East Berlin where we were blindfolded and then made to interact with the dancers. I loved all the graffiti, the Turkish food, and the way people are so candid and yet so guarded.

While I was there I filmed some of the sights, and interviewed a few artists, and when I got back to the states I used the facilities at the now defunct public access station, URTV, and put together this video. The sound quality of the interviews is quite atrocious, but the music -- by Sys-hex, Glossolalia and Pomme de Terre -- is pretty keen.

Link to video: Chaos in Berlin

One of the people interviewed is a choreographer, Tomi Paasonen. Check his work here:

Happy Holidays

Friday, December 16, 2011

The New Materiality at The Asheville Art Museum

Tim Tate; Burned but Not Forgotten

Artists respond to technology’s ubiquity by combining traditional crafting methods with electronic media. The New Materiality,
a traveling show curated by Fo Wilson of The Fuller Craft Museum, assesses the boundaries between the handmade and the automated, the traditional and the contemporary. Among the work presented: Videos of oak trees embedded into a classically crafted wooden table, jewelry constructed from pixelated low resolution images of gems, woven tapestries depicting the sound waves of hand-operated and mechanized looms, and hand-blown glass vessels ornamented with cast glass encasing mini videos that pay homage to books.

Donald Fortescue and Lawrence LaBianca; Sounding

There are a few glitches in the presentation: some batteries need recharging, and not everything is operating at its fullest capacity, though from a certain perspective this points to a larger issue regarding electronic technology’s fragility and current dependence upon finite resources. Still, considering the multifaceted creative legacy of Western North Carolina, this exhibit is very relevant to the local dialogue of contemporary art and craft, and is worth seeing. Kudos to the museum for exhibiting new media.

Read more: Art Bets Mtn Xpress Dec 14

Through March 18 at the Asheville Art Museum. $8 for nonmembers. Free every first Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Artist Profile: Marcus Thomas

For twenty-five years Marcus Thomas, 52, has been making paintings one deliberate stroke of paint at a time, using a brush he grasps with his teeth. For Thomas, art is everything. "It is my voice and my method of messaging," he says. "Just the act of painting is critical and important to me. Everything else has become secondary."

The irony is that before the accident that left him nearly completely paralyzed Thomas never thought about art. "I would never have even attempted it," he says. At the time he was freshly out of college and heading towards a career in recreation management. "I think we're pushed away from such things at a very young age and we do things that are more expected of us."

On March 3rd, 1986 at the age of 23, Thomas was skiing with friends in Western North Carolina when he slipped and collided headfirst into a tree, breaking his 3rd and 4th vertebrae. As a result, he lost all ability to move his arms and legs. The accident was devastating and he spent months recovering physically and emotionally. One day his girlfriend, Anne, and his sister, Amanda, bought him a set of watercolors — "a real casual tray of Crayolas" and he made his first painting, which he describes as a "third grade doodle."

Read the full article on Marcus Thomas: The Mind's Eye; BoldLife Magazine December, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Artist Profile: Libby O'Bryan

I had the pleasure of meeting Libby O'Bryan when I wrote this article for Verve Magazine. O'Bryan is one of several artists featured in the Out of Fashion exhibit currently on display at SECCA in Winston Salem.

On the opening night of the exhibit, Out of Fashion, O’Bryan performed a piece called “Sewed In,” during which she literally sewed herself up. Sitting inside a bubble of fabric with her sewing machine, she sewed furiously until the bubble collapsed and the material clung to her like a second skin. She ended her performance by breaking out of the wrap, but the performance brought to mind images of suffocation and horrific sweatshops. “I do get a little panicky when I’m in there,“ O’Bryan admits.

“Sewed In” was one of several performance pieces O’Bryan developed as a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago starting in 2008. It’s a way to illustrate, as she puts it, “a physical manifestation of what the sewing machine and I do together.” Like O’Bryan’s other large-scale conceptual performance pieces, “Sewed In” explores the way individuals are implicated in the socio-political and manufactured worlds around them.

Read more: Sew Cool, Verve Magazine December 2011