Chance Aesthetics

October 9, 2009

Since my mother was diagnosed with cancer I have not have much time or energy to go out and see many art exhibitions. In addition to that, there hasn’t been much time for even working in the studio. Other than the small drawings I have done I have been sort of out of the art loop.

In saying that, Monday I was able to make it over to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the campus of Washington University. I also what to state that I like going there to see contemporary art than I like going to the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. I think the exhibitions at the Kemper are more varied and I like that the museum is free and being in the situation I am in, free is great. I honestly have not been too interested in the recent exhibitions at CAMSTL.

The exhibitions I saw were Chance Aesthetics and Metabolic City. I will separate the two into separate posts. I was interested in Chance Aesthetics because in my own art I have used elements of chance to develop my work. I tend to use it as a starting point such as dumping ink or paint, using drip patterns and allowing “mistakes” to happen and worked with the unexpected things that come up when making art.

Historically, art has been a skill in which an artist demands exceptional control to achieve a great work. This means works were planned endeavors obsessive perfection. In the 20th century some artists decided to work in opposition to this. The exhibition starts with the Surrealists and Dada, which makes sense to me. What I think is so great about using chance as a basis for a work is that it becomes playful and fun instead of being an intellectual and dry assignment that a lot of art has become.

Some of the works are sloppy and dirty but some are totally obsessive, clean and systematic. The latter still retain an element of surprise and engagement.

Some notable artists and works. I like Ellsworth Kelly’s gridded, cut-up and reassembled drawings.

Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly

There is Mimmo Rotella’s decollages of advertisements that you might see on the streets where posters are layered and ripped apart. Sort of like a defaced pop art.

Mimmo Rotella

Mimmo Rotella

Similar to Rotella’s is Jacques Villegle’s work. Something is very subversive and punk about these works. I like that.

Jacques Villegle

Jacques Villegle

I did love the simplicity of Duchamp’s readymade, “hatrack”, that was hanging from the ceiling. I think most people would see the spider-like look of this work and I think most would enjoy this one cause of its playfullness and it is non-confrontational.

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp

I enjoyed William Anastasi’s subway drawings. I was doing stuff like this when I was in London. I am not saying I did it first but I feel a connection to this cause of my own personal experience with this mindless exercise. Fun and surprising to make.

William Anastasi's Subway Drawings

William Anastasi's Subway Drawings

There is the systematic digital looking Francois Morellet’s telephone directory works. By just looking at it, it looks like a non-objective minimalism. There is the white one that has the layer of varnish on some areas…white on white…so when you look at it at certain angles you see the differences. I think of Ryman’s white paintings. With the black one’s I think of Ad Reinhart’s black paintings. Those ones are definitely more quiet and subtile. Some of them use hot and sometimes competing color schemes that are more challenging. His work can seem like a combination of a Sol LeWit type of work and op-art. The grid seems to be a very important part of the structure of his work.

A telephone directory work by Francois Morellet

A telephone directory work by Francois Morellet

In addition to those works there is Arman’s work in which he collect Claes Oldenburg’s trash. Interesting in an invasion of privacy kind of way. There was a osmotic work by George Maciunas in which spills ink onto a canvas ans lets it spread a soak into the canvas. Marcel Jean and Andre Breton’s drawings were similar. There was Ray Johnson’s mail art and game-like works. There were some exquisite corpse drawings, John Cage compositions and a Nam June Paik’s blank films…well except dust scratches and whatever happened to interfere with the film. Plus there were Deiter Roth’s rotting works.

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Drawing For A Donation Portfolio (Part 5)

October 6, 2009
Ben's Feet

Ben's Feet

Sock Monkey Head

Sock Monkey Head

Sock Monkey Torso

Sock Monkey Torso

Fire Hydrant

Fire Hydrant

Grain Storage Facility

Grain Storage Facility


Drawing For A Donation Portfolio Part 4

September 29, 2009

 

A Mess On Top Of A Mess

A Mess On Top Of A Mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carpet Feet

Carpet Feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layers Beneath

Layers Beneath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Table

Library Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monks Plague

Monks Plague


Drawing For A Donation Portfolio (Part 3)

September 18, 2009

 

English Book Artifact

English Book Artifact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrots For A Roast

Carrots For A Roast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somali Goat Sneaks Into England

Somali Goat Sneaks Into England

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boiling Water Before Bed

Boiling Water Before Bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Sleeping

Mother Sleeping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shirt on a Hanger

Shirt on a Hanger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacked Memories

Stacked Memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topped With A Happy Flower

Topped With A Happy Flower


Drawing for a Donation

September 10, 2009

Make a donation of 10 dollars or more,  I will make a 4″ x 6″ postcard size drawing and send it to you in the mail. The drawing will be a surprise and I will send the drawing within 2 weeks of the donation. The procedes of the money donated with go to assisting my mother with her rent, utilities and food. To find out why I am doing this please visit www.rebeccaeilering.com/artassistance.htm

As I make the drawings, I will post them on here.

Ways to Donate:

1.  You may either pay by credit card or through your checking account.

2. I will accept checks through the mail. Please contact me at reileri@yahoo.com so I can give you my mailing address.

So….Put me to WORK!!

To donate:

www.rebeccaeilering.com/artassistanceDonate.htm

For more information about Artassistance:

www.rebeccaeilering.com/artassistance.htm


Announcement and Cindy Tower

June 5, 2009

Slacking on the blogging. However, I am not slacking in general. I am going to be part of a group show at St. Charles Community College this August. It is their annual Multimedia Exhibition. I am honored to be invited and to be showing with some other awesome St. Louis artists. Plus, I am working on a website for someone I know who has a business. Plus, I might have a few more things in the pipeline. Other than that, I’ve been out riding the bike and enjoying the outdoors. After all, it is summer-time. 

A month or two ago I went to check out some art at the Sheldon Art Galleries. I wanted to see what was up with all the hoopla over the Cindy Tower exhibit. She does plein air paintings of industrial and inner city ruins. Mostly, these are in East St. Louis. Plus, she documents the process. 

I have sort of mixed opinion of her. The paintings are nice as paintings. She is obviously a talented painter can really capture all the detail and beauty of the spaces in decay. They actually seem lifelike. 

IMG_1073

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the paintings can stand on their own. This is where I feel mixed. She makes videos documenting the process of painting these. Obviously, the process is important to her. However, I question the importance to the viewer. Is the video supposed to demystify the process or is it purely self-indulgent? My opinion is that the documentation is unnecessary and I would like to have some mystery. Honestly, I am not interested in the process. Well, I like to imagine what it is like.

Some part of me feels like it is exploitative too. Here is a white woman going into a perceived dangerous ghetto that is almost 100% non-white. She goes in and makes these paintings and then selling showings and probably selling these paintings to well-off people. She seems interested in showing the decay and the beauty of it. However, is she doing anything to make those areas better? I am not sure. Anyway, does she even want that? I mean, that is her subject and the revival of East St. Louis would take away her subject matter. Of course, this is St. Louis. There are plenty of areas wrought with decay. 

Plus she is blatantly breaking the law and brags about it in the videos. I think that sort of makes artists look bad. To me, she is trying to make the paintings a performance but I don’t like the “bragging” about how dangerous the process is. it just seems like a case of a well-off privileged white woman having an adventure (slumming) at the expense of the poor.

I like the paintings and I do find the warped canvases, the dirt and the grime that is on the paintings because of the circumstances of creating them quite nice. They are not these precious and pristine objects. They reflect the subjects well. I am just not sure about the need for the documentation and just giving away the process and not leaving any kind of mystery for my imagination.

Why do I want mystery? In my case when I see an abandoned building or drive through a run down area, being a white woman from crystal clean suburbia, I do have this fascination with decay. It does seem exotic. I do get a sense of wonder because it is different. I get curious and want to explore but I get a sense of fear and anxiety of the unknown. Seeing the paintings lets me see inside and still get that feeling. I guess, I don’t want to the reality because it does expose how well off I am in the world. I guess it makes me feel guilty in finding pleasure in someone else’s pain. What I see between the paintings and the documentation is a tug-a-war or reality and romanticism. However, the mystery is gone. 

The paintings with the artist statement with the description of the process was enough for me. The videos….not interested. However, the work does pose some interesting and pressing sociological issues that St. Louis and the nation needs to deal with.


Can Artists Save Malls?

May 2, 2009

Artist have had a way of coming in and setting up studios and galleries and depressed areas of inner cities due to rents being cheap and space being a plenty. Then the same area becomes hip and and undergoes gentrification. Real Estate values go up and space becomes more scarce. Thus, eventually pushing the artist out to find new pastures to work.

I was listening to Cityscape on KWMU yesterday. I didn’t listen to the whole show but they were talking to the people from Crestwood Court and ArtSpace.

The mall concept that was quite popular in the 70s and 80s and into the 90s has been in a general state of decline in general. Many malls are dying or have died. Northwest Plaza is a great example of a spectacular failure. It was a hugely successful mall and was once the largest mall in the US. However, in recent years, this mall in St. Ann (St. Louis suburb near Lambert Airport) has become an empty shell of its former self. Empty store fronts are common place and some malls are going bankrupt. This is probably partially due to the bad economy but outdoor shopping areas that are sort of a mix of strip mall and downtown main street have been becoming popular.

To explain, Crestwood Court (used to be Crestwood Mall) has been a mall in decline. This aging mall had had its problems lately. Most recent, Macy’s has closed as part of a series of layoffs and store closings because of the economy.

So what to do with all the empty space in malls? Open it up to artists. ArtSpace is part of Crestwood Courts plan to offer studio and gallery space to artists and art groups. The rent is inexpensive and there are plenty of amenities such as running water, heat and electricity. Plus, having this space in a mall makes art more accessible to people who are not as likely to go into the inner city (fears of crime and feeling like a fish out of water) to visit a gallery or may not have had much interest in art. Can the mall transform from just a shopping mecca dedicated to pop culture, whatever fad is in at the moment and consumption to a place where people can get some a cultural experience that enriches the public in a more meaningful way?

Can artists make the mall hip? Will retailers become attracted again to malls? Can the mall become a mixed use center that is not just for shopping, but is a place were people can live and get some culture? If this is successful and the mall can be revitalized, what will happen to the artists?