Wednesday, April 30, 2008


This is the kind of patron that gives me a reason to get up in the morning.
My art education is lacking. Yet I come from a long line of artists, myself. Some were quite good. Not even approaching Pretty Lady's level, but then, I have a sneaking suspicion that very few are. When I look at her artwork I have a powerful sense that I'm seeing paintings that the art world is overlooking, and should not be.

These are works of far greater merit, I believe, than she's getting credit for. They move people. It's not just me; I read some fascinating comments about this on her blog. You look at her paintings and things can happen to you, deep down inside of you. I've only felt that before in museums. World-class museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, wondrous place of early art memories for me.

So I want one. There are paintings on her blog that I return to, over and over, falling into them, and I want one.

I doubt I can afford one. Maybe later. Maybe, if I keep on taking care of business here, straightening things out, paying off those old business debts till there's nothing left and we can finally use our bits of money to enjoy ourselves. Walter is all for it; his European love of culture shines happily upon my plans.

So. This precious piece of real art will find a home on a wall in my happy room, my home office, close to me. For now I'll just sit here looking at it in front of me, falling into it. Touching it in its protective sleeve. Happily thinking up frames, and where to put it.

I'm overwhelmed.
It's not about money. It's not about fame, Art World Parties, hipness, fashion, or status. It's about being seen, really seen, both for what is there on the wall and what you had to go through to put it there.

Thank you.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Tenuous Universe

Last week I attended the E32 art series, hosted by Linda Griggs, despite some deep forebodings, based upon past unfortunate experiences with arts groups that met at caf├ęs on the Lower East Side. I am very pleased to report that the past unfortunate experiences were NOT repeated; on the contrary, it is my sober conclusion that this event was far superior, in both content and attitude, to the Armory Fair. At least, I had a lot more fun there.

I was particularly struck by the paintings of Barbara Friedman, which at first sight appeared to be mere blurred photo-depictions, but upon deeper inspection, proved at once more painterly and more metaphysical. The physical world is indeed an illusion, resolving momentarily out of linear time, then sliding away again.

'Ferris Wheel,' Barbara Friedman, 36"x 27", 2006

A salient feature of her style is the bright, almost fluorescent underpainting, which is allowed to glow through the image at key points, intimating the existence of an otherworldly light penetrating into this one.

'The Garden of the Fitzi-Continis, 45"x 60", 2005

They manage to be romantic, melancholic and downright creepy, all at the same time.

'Yellow Splashes,' 36"x 84", 2006

Barbara says that she usually starts out with a specific image in mind, but often her original plan is completely obliterated by the time she is finished. Her work has been compared to Richter, of course, but has a warmth and depth that Richter's lacks.

Then this week, as if my cup weren't already overflowing, I discovered the work of Judith Simonian, through my critique group. Lo! Another rich, vivid, metaphysical painter.

'Twin Boats,' 36"x 48",acrylic, mixed media, collage on canvas, Judith Simonian

Judy told me that she envied people who had had a formal art education in painting technique; I countered that no painting technique was taught at my school, and that her work did not seem to be suffering for the lack of it. I have not been to her studio, but spent a good half an hour on her website.

'Crossing II,' 2007, 42"x 62", mixed media/collage and acrylic on canvas

Again, it seems to me that her work evokes a radiant but fractured world, where physical events and objects are continuously obliterated by light and color, transcending the passage of time.

'Twin Plateaux,' mixed media/collage and acrylic on canvas, 44"x 82"

But maybe that's just what I'm bringing to it. ;-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Two Percent

I meant to post about the art fairs, really I did, but spring is here. To those of you who do not live in a climate with honest-to-God seasons, I don't expect you to fathom the importance of this. I have been out biking round and round the park, the cemetary and various cute little neighborhoods, soaking in the blooming trees and the sunshine like someone with bipolar disorder in a manic phase.

So I am pleased to announce that David Behringer has taken it upon himself to parse the NYC art scene, and particularly the Chelsea scene, into something manageable for people who do not spend 10-20 hours a week reading art reviews. It's called The Two Percent. Because:
On any given day, no more than 2% of contemporary art galleries are even worth entering. With over 300 galleries in Chelsea, each with frequently rotating shows, finding that 2% is an arguably impossible effort… until now.
I don't know if this guy's taste is all he claims it to be, except that he liked the Pulse art fair, too. So I'm taking a chance on him. Let us know what you think.