Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best Dang Book of the Year, "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver

I have been putting off writing a review of this book for way too long, it is just daunting trying to write anything about writing so incredible. But one of my FB friends Jenny,  raving about "Rat Girl" by Kristin Hersh (another great book) made me realize I need to get off my butt and do this.
If there is one book to get all your friends for Xmas, this is it. It has everything - incredible imagination, art history, detailed and consuming research, emotionally involving characters, a complex and intriguing plot, fantastic writing, fascinating history... The only negative thing to say - is the cover sucks. But you can't judge a book by it's cover right? Oh the fantastic visions I had reading this book! How they came up with this lame excuse for a cover is beyond me...
Enough, now back to the book. After looking at a few other reviews out there, I don't want to give away too much of the plot or it's punch. Plus, there is no way my feeble attempts at writing could come close to Kingsolver's. The very few negative reviews out there had to have been written by illiterates, those who can only handle the narrative of a comic book. "The Lacuna"  has Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Trotsky and the history that weaves them together. It has the wonderful flavors of Mexico and it's people, the insides of artists and writer's brains, chunks of America around World War II, insights into art and the art world, censorship, McCarthy and his "red" hunts, sexual politics, economic injustice, small town hypocrisy, the beauty of nature and the pursuit of beauty. All of this and more - wrapped up by the most beautiful writing, deeply sensitive, heart warming characters and the essence of life's worth. Gut wrenching in it's pain and soulfully humanitarian in it's motives. It's fiction with a whole lot of non-fiction - put together in such a masterpiece that putting it down to go pee will be a problem. Kingsolver spent a good 7 years researching and writing this book and it shows. The kind of book that makes you cry when you've finished it because there isn't anymore. So - don't read about it, (or look at the cover) - just get it and read it. And then pass it on. The best book of 2010 easily, in my opinion - the best book of the decade.    
Just one excerpt for you here, (one that wouldn't give away any of the plot)-
"In the afternoon when the sun lights the stucco buildings across the street, it's possible to count a dozen different colors of paint, all fading together on the highest parts of the wall: yellow, ochre, brick,blood, cobalt, turquoise. The national color of Mexico. And the scent of Mexico is a similar blend: jasmine, dog piss, cilantro, lime. Mexico admits you through an arched stone orifice into the tree-filled courtyard of its heart, where a dog pisses against a wall and a waiter hustles through a curtain of jasmine to bring a bowl of tortilla soup, steaming with cilantro and lime. Cats stalk lizards among the clay pots around the fountain, doves settle into the flowering vines and coo their prayers, thankful for the existence of lizards. The potted plants silently exhale, outgrowing their clay pots. Like Mexico's children they stand pinched and patient in last year's too-small shoes. The pebble thrown into the canyon bumps and tumbles downhill. " (page 393)
P.S. - Although you might have to expand your vocabulary and look up a few words while reading this book, here at least, is the definition of a "lacuna" - An empty space or a missing part; a gap.

GoodBye To 1988- Another Bay Area Gallery Bites The Dust

With a very heavy heart I write this. Gallery 1988 will be closing it's doors for good here in San Francisco. It has shown consistently solid shows here for a number of years, never have I been disappointed by their overall selections and presentation. One of the very few galleries left around here that this can be said about.
Stopped in to see their last show - EWELINA FERRUSO, JEREMIAH KETNER, & YOSUKE UENO and was not disappointed. Ewelina's works (above) have been featured here on Eclectix before and she had a whole wall of very small, detailed incredible little paintings. Picked two of my favorites, below (although they are all favorites!)

And here are a few more picks (below) - by Jeremiah Ketner... These pieces were so much better in person.

And last but never least, two wonderful pieces by Yosuke Ueno ...

Gallery 1988 also has a space in LA which is doing well, they are opening another gallery in Venice after closing the one up here. Why is it LA supports it's artists but not the Bay Area? Come on, all you Nor Cal peeps - support your local galleries and artists before they all move to So Cal!
The final show at 1988 "Sailing Through Shadows" opens on Dec. 4th, it looks to be another great show. So get out and say goodbye, buy some art while you're there - 'tis the season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cris Brodahl Rocks The Seattle Art Museum

Spent the good part of a cold day strolling around the Seattle Art Museum and was riveted by the works of Cris. Her paintings are based on collages from magazines that she puts together, so from far away they really look like huge collages. Up close it is obviously a painting... They have a great mixed marriage of surrealism and symbolism- added with the dark sepia tonalities, they juxtapose modern day with vintage times, in a strange but beguiling way. Easily the best stuff on display in the museum, better than even the huge Picasso exhibit. Skip the lines for Picasso and go see Cris instead.
SAM link.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seattle Street Art

Thought you all might enjoy a few pix of some cool street art that we spied on our recent trip to Seattle.

"Machine Punk" and "Hybrids" at La Luz de Jesus Gallery

Laurie Lipton

If you are an LAlien and are going home for the Thanksgiving holidays or if you live there in LA, make sure you go see this dual solo show at La Luz de Jesus. It is not to be missed and a fun, cool thing to do with family and friends. Both the artists - Laurie Lipton and Jessica Joslin are incredible creative forces of the newbrow art world. Laurie's intricate graphite works will have your jaw dropping. And Jessica's demented little steampunk pets will cry out for you to adopt them. 

Jessica Joslin
Both artists create beautiful works and the two of them together just makes my heart break that I can't go.. so if you can, you better!
The show ends on Saturday, November 28th, so scoot on over to Hollywood Blvd. and get some art on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Foto Fix: Beheaded by Phil Poynter

From Phil comes a fun digital work of a cool, calm and collected model beheading herself. His site is mostly fashion photography, the coolest series being his Vogue Italia Flea Market. Wish there were more like this one... maybe there are, somewhere?
His site 

Five Stars For Femke! "The Bone Shaped Bone" Exhibit

Made it up to Seattle and was so stoked to be able to go to the opening reception of Femke Hiemstra's new body of work. Rarely do I see a solo exhibit where every single piece is of top notch caliber. 

Her superlative works, currently on view at Roq La Rue in Seattle, fall into every category of excellence possible. The vision, creativity, technique, imagination, originality and presentation - all exceeded expectations and then some. They are smallish, beautifully solid works; so fine was the detail and shading it looked as if it had been painted with a single bristle. In fact,  I can't believe she's not blind. Some were painted directly on vintage book covers or game boxes and some were black and white graphite renderings on paper. The imagery is fairy tale in feel, lots of animal characters and fantasy scenarios. Typographic embellishments  highlighted a few of the pieces - graceful additions of vintage lettering styles, they wove in and out of the imagery, as only a keen eye for design can accomplish.

Roq Le Rue interior
It was rewarding to finally visit Roq Le Rue gallery as it has been on my hit list for way too many years. They have had incredible shows over the years that fill the newbrow art niche for Seattle. A nice space with cool tunes (playing Bowie as I walked in...) and a wide open feel, one couldn't have asked for a better exhibit to see than Femke's "The Bone Shaped Bone". If you live in Seattle or plan on being near there, make sure to put this on your "must do" list! The show is up thru Dec. 4th, 2010.
The beautiful and friendly Femke Hiemstra, love her!
If the images weren't enough to satisfy your soul, here's some more words - a nice take on Femke's works from the gallery site:
Femke Hiemstra’s meticulously tight, jewel like mixed media paintings and exquisitely rendered black and white drawings are homes to a dark fairytale land where inanimate objects come to life and frolic with animal neighbors. Lollipops become ship captains, strawberries become giant wrestlers, and vegetables become Halloween gods with lantern eyes. Femke occasionally uses typography in her work, using words from various languages and letters in her paintings to further enhance the narrative while still retaining a playful sense of mystery, or as a visual device to frame in the scenery, as if you were looking at her world through a secret window. She also uses found objects to paint on, such as boxes and wrappers, to create imaginary products with magical properties. In this series she has several paintings on vintage book covers, which are then tantalizingly sealed up in a frame, leaving the viewer to speculate on the full story.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ron English Takes on Magritte

Dang! Just got this hot little piece in my inbox and you get to see it.  It's titled "Apple and the Afterlife", and it is so phenomenal! Right down to the apple core, in more ways than one. Announcement of Ron English's huge show at the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion with over 200 pieces. Go if you can, wish I could.
From the announcement: "Status Factory," a surreal assemblage of over 200 artworks by Ron English. This highly interactive exhibition traces the arc of English's most ambitious themes across mediums. 
One of the most prolific and recognizable artists alive today, Ron English has bombed the global landscape with unforgettable images, on the street, in museums, in movies, books, television, and album covers. English coined the term POPaganda to describe his signature mash-up of high and low cultural touchstones, from superhero mythology to totems of art history, populated with his vast and constantly growing arsenal of original characters. Ron English's art, whether in paintings, billboards, murals, or sculpture, blends stunning visuals with the bitingly humorous undertones of America's Premier Pop Iconoclast."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Collection and Exhibit of Day of the Dead Art, Eclectix Volume 5

Lady of the Dead by Edith Lebeau

For Eclectix Volume 5, we've put together a spectacular selection of Day of the Dead art and related topics. Just  a few selections are posted here. This collection will continue to grow with new additions.
Enjoy all the deadly art here.
Artist: Jessica Ward
Day of the Lady Bird by Patrushka

Eclectix Interview With Genevive Zacconi

New work: Illusions of Grandeur by Genevive Zacconi
Just posted a new artist interview, this time it's with the ever so fabulous Genevive Zacconi. She has a new body of work and her upcoming exhibit at Last Rites Gallery promises to be outstanding.

Genevive in her studio

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ewelina Ferruso Is In Town! New Works at Gallery 1988

"Who Let the Cat Out of the Bag?" by Ewelina Ferruso. 5 x 7 oil on board, encased in antique shadowbox with engraved title plate

Ewelina Ferruso will be showing "Meanwhile in Purgatory", a new collection of 5 x 7 oil paintings at Gallery 1988 in San Francisco, opening on November 6th, 2010. We love her art and this is a great chance for all Bay Area locals to get out and see it in person. Jeremiah Ketner and Yosuke Ueno are also showing works in this exhibit.
View the preview at www.nineteeneightyeight.com
and here, at Ewelina's site: www.ferrusos.com.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Foto Fix: Chad Michael Ward

Visited the website of photographer Chad Michael Ward, which he calls- “Digital Apocalypse”. Not sure about that - but it definitely has some riveting, dark and intense images. Some are posed, pretentious naked women in goth settings (altho you dudes may like them). There are a number that may set off angry sparks - might be interpreted as misogynist and overly violent. Whatever you may think or however you may react, many of the pieces are worthy of a good look, shocking and moody nightmare imagery, it gets the creep on big time. 

Ward's website link.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Eclectix Issue No.5, Nightmares Before Xmas

Dan Harding

Our fantastic fantasy exhibit of the best of all the "dark art" out there. Need labels? How about - scary, creepy, Halloween, evil, and goth. Chock full of scary monsters and super freaks, devils, blood, ghouls, skeletons, monsters, witches, bones and vampires by all the best newbrow, nobrow and lowbrow artists out there.
Online now HERE.
For the front page and weekly related posts go HERE.

Artists Included (so far... and more to come!) -
Adnrey, Dave Aikins, Bundy Al, Jennybird Alcantara, Suliman Almawash, Amy Kollar Anderson, Esao Andrews, Carrie Ann Baade, Tom Bagshaw, Shawn Barber, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Christine Benjamin, Brom, Marc Burckhardt, Nicolas Caesar, CW Carter, Santiago Caruso, Sean Chappell, Sue Coe,  Anita Collins, Coop, Corey Corcoran, Mike Davis, Jenny Dayton, Sheri DeBow, Dave Decaro, Sarah Dolby, Camille Rose Garcia, Frank Garvey, Kelly Haigh, Dan Harding, Sean Harty, Gottfried Helnwein, Joshua Hoffine, Michael Hussar, Inertiak, Malgorzata Jasinska,  Jessica Joslin, Marcin Klicki, Nick Kushner, Eric Lacombe, Craig LaRotonda, Jason Levesque, Paul Lewin, Laurie Lipton, Travis Louie, Eric Orhun, Chris Mars, Elizabeth McGrath, Mia Makila, Angie Mason, Matt Mahurin, Brandi Milne, Mike Nash, Chris Parks, Petrushka,  Ravenar, Cate Rangel, Bonni Reid, Jenifer Renzel, Mark Ryden, Isabel Samaras, Maya Samuels, John Santerineross, Scott Saw, John Seabury, James Guinevan Seymour, Pete Schlasser, Natalie Shau, Ian Strawn, James Wolf Strehle, G. Edwin Taylor, Strephon Taylor, Anwar Vazquez, Jessica Ward, Edward Walton Wilcox, Joel Peter Witkin, Martin Wittfooth, Jasmine Worth, Genevive Zacconi, Chet Zar

New Eclectix Interview With Dean McDowell

"Dean is an exceptional newbrow artist who has shown works with Eclectix in the past. His acrylic portraits have a wonderfully deep base of fleshy, thick textures and layered strokes, hints of mummy wrappings. The images evoke emotion, red eyed from crying, some bruised and bloodied by life or it’s vampires, some lipstick smeared and hinting of violent encounters. They may have been victims, hardened by abuse; becoming cold and indifferent as a form of self-defense and survival. In spite of it all, beautiful and sensual colors bleed through, and a strong and silent resolve seems to mature..."

Monday, November 1, 2010


Okay, a day late... but that doesn't spoil the artistry of these pumpkins. First are the incredible carvings of Ray Villafane (Via Street Anatomy)...

And second, (below) are these great pumpkins sent to me from Oregon, carver unknown, photographer: Chuck Mitchell.