Artist: Trevor Paglen

Art writer, Christopher Knight wrote an entry for his Los Angeles Times blog, Culture Monster, about artist Trevor Paglen last September. His work has been unforgettable since then. Chronicles of satellites and planes doing reconnaissance work in the night sky play an intriguing yet integral part in our collective understanding of our (militaristic) history. Paglen’s work is allegorical and shows how modern technology can affect our understanding of topics such as politics, economics, and the act of seeing. I find myself much more engaged with history than ever before through his illuminating (pun intended) work. It was great seeing an interview on dailyserving.com about his current show.

…the sublime arises from those moments where we can sense that we cannot sense let alone understand something. This brings us to the “aesthetic” dimension of the work….Historically, aesthetics has often been linked to notions of freedom: ambiguity and the sublime can be quite powerful and is something visual art can be quite good at dealing with. So it’s important to me that it’s a part of my work, but the underlying “relational” and ethical aspects of the work are crucially important. Without them, it’s just pretty pictures. And there’s no reason to care about pretty pictures. ~Trevor Paglen

The work seems simple to understand. They’re photographs. What’s so difficult about understanding a photograph? Nothing too distressing to the retina. Yet, Paglen’s work takes patience, knowledge of the landscape, as well a desire to comprehend our relationships to these vast landscapes. Meshed with his scientific background in geography, the work serves as a marker of the unnatural way in which human movement and action are surveyed.

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A few photos from Southern Exposure of Kenneth Lo’s exhibition, every stone tethered to sleep/every presence wedded to stone

 

Stay...Be Brave

Unfortunately, my mind is completely blank, my body limp, and my heart numb due to some unforeseen circumstances.

Somehow, looking at art always makes me feel better. Even if it forces me to be contemplative.

Thanks for making me think Kara Hearn. If you ever read this, Kara, just know, today, although sad, surreal, and a mixed emotion kinda day,well, it all made a lot more sense to me after looking at your art. I mean that in a good way. Thank you.

Always,

E/IC Art Writer

Virtual Museums? Wow...

Everyone uses Google, well, almost everyone…

I know I use Google (as a search engine, my e-mail, etc.) so it was amazing to see their latest addition to the Google applications – Art Project! Granted, I’d much rather see the musuems of the world in person but if I can’t spend the money to go to Madrid, Paris, or London, I can pay AP a visit and see what is on exhibit!

I’ll have to explore and ruminate about this one. I’m wondering if Google will try to get a prominent museum from all countries. Oh, the possibilities and, oh, the poor artists. These days, artists will truly be on a world stage (and THAT has its own advantages and disadvantages). More thoughts to follow…

The Kitty Cat with Lasers and my Notebook

I know this is an art writing blog but I felt compelled to write about my (art) writing process. It’s simple: I journal (everyday).

That’s right, folks, I still journal. Or, keep a diary. I’ve done this since January 2006.

I love the act of writing organically. With technology, the mind processes many bits of information per second. Writing in a notebook may prove difficult if you’re in front of computer for hours every day (like me – that’s right, I have a 9-5 desk job) but it’s cathartic (even if I’m writing gibberish)!

Naturally, I need an outlet and that’s the reason why I journal as much as I can. It’s where I jot down all the ideas I have for essays and write-ups I want to pursue. If I’m roaming through a museum or gallery, my phone is my handy dandy note taker/keeper/recorder but soon after, I dash off to closest cafe and write in my journal. Some ideas get the boot while other musings garner a bit more attention. As the subject line states, posting a day has really forced me to look at my current writing process and what I would like to do to improve it.

For instance, not worrying so much about what the reader is going to think. Much of my fear, like anybody, is that the reader likes what I’ve written. This is not guarenteed and I’m not always going to write something people agree with or particularly enjoy. As a writer, especially in the Arts, I’ve have to accept this fact and move on. I’m starting to realize the more passionate I am about what I write, it shows.

I’m tired and quite frankly I want to go to sleep.

Now that I’ve got that thought out of the way, let me write a little something before I lay my head down. Who needs sleep anyway? I mean, really!

I was painting as a young artist and mostly I was painting these clouds and one day, sitting and painting looking in the sky, I saw twelve military planes passing by and they made these incredible drawings in the sky. I look at them and I said, God, you know, it’s ridiculous. I’m painting these paintings that are so two dimensional…So after that, I stopped painting…I can use any material I want. Fire, water, and the body. The moment I started using the body, there was an enormous satisfaction that I had. That I could communicate with the public…I could never go back to the seclusion of the studio…the only way of expression is to perform.

~Marina Abramovic, Excerpt from her MOMA interview regarding her piece, The Artist is Present

I think one of the many reasons I’m looking at Abramovic’s work, lately, is due to the fact that I’m trying to draw correlations between her and the work of Guillermo Gomez Pena and his performance troupe, La Postra Nostra. Both artists have travelled the world performing art (different from conceptual art, which deals more with materiality). Performance art deals, predominantly, with the body. Deep down inside, I’m a two dimensional artist but, recently, I have paid close attention to performance art because it does something that many art forms are unable to do – engage the public, physically. It calls for immediate presence and attention. It also draws the viewer into a unique experience that becomes a part of a moment versus something that can be relived (everyday) on a much more ocular level (i.e., paintings, sculptures, etc.). Performance art is not something you can collect, per se, but it is something that finds its way through our subconscious and provokes the mind to re-interpret life. It also gives you the option to participate, which is something I’ll touch upon when I gather my final thoughts about the Corpo Ilicito show.

Speaking of participatory art, for your reading pleasure, an interesting read about participatory art by Christine Wong Yap, Bay Area Artist. Enjoy!