Saturday, December 5, 2009

Out of Country

Sorry about the lack of posts during the past several months. I was out of the country for five weeks at an artist residency. I decided not to take my lap top and go unplugged for a period. It was the right choice. I've just recently returned and am organizing my documentation for posting. I will get images and information up in the next few days

Solo Exhibition

venia apparendi #2, acrlyilc on canvas, 36x48, 2009

Exhibition of recent works at Bunny Gunner in Pomona opens on Sat. Dec. 12th, 6 - 10pm
Seven works on canvas and three on paper.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rant opening

Rant exhibition opened Thursday evening to a large and enthusiastic crowd. Works by Merion Estes (who also has a solo show at Galerie Anais, Bergamot Station), Monique Prieto, Mark Dutcher (who also has work at the Torrance Museum of Art), Ryan Callis (who also has work up at LACE), Alex Couwenberg and Dan Callis (who both have work up at Cypress College), Matty Byloos, Quinton Bemiller, Phoebe Unwin, Max Presneill (who also has work up at Carl Berg), Astri Swendsrud, and Zach Kleyn. The event was djed by the amazing Eric Trine
The exhibition has been archived on my website - 

The show will be up through Nov. 20th. The hours are Monday - Friday, 11-5 or by appointment. You can contact me @ to make appointments. There are also a dozen or more other galleries and art project at the Pacific Design Center including Carl Berg and Sam Lee. Its well worth the trip.

I'm too spent to write anything else and we are on to the next project. This Saturday evening, Raid (the new, renewed Raid) opens at the Brewery

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rant - painting in LA

(re) Rant - an exhibition that will be mounted at the Pacific Design Center opening Sept. 24th and going through Nov. 20th

The conceptual genesis for this show began with two experiences. One was an evening of gallery openings in which I was completely under whelmed by the work I observed, more specifically, I was struck by what appeared to be a lack of commitment or conviction (or even a basic enthusiasm) in the works produced/displayed. The other was rereading of an essay by Doug Harvey. In this essay, David Amico: coloring outside the lines, Harvey begins by talking about painting as a map, "a painting is always a map of some kind, if only for being a two-dimensional visual reference to something else, even if that 'something else' is discernible only from its demarcation as 'special', of more deserving of our scrutiny than a non-painting. Indeed, many conceptual artists consider this transitional area to be the only viable territory for contemporary artistic exploration: What is the least gesture, the smallest indication or event that can serve as the trigger for making this distinction?"  There are two things in this statement (two again) that caught my attention. The first is the painting as a demarcation of the special or as Jean-Luc Marion states: a painting as a privileged case of phenomenon, where it becomes an index for investigating the condition of appearance. The second is the idea of the least gesture, the smallest indication as the trigger for activating the area of demarcation (the work.) I find myself currently interested in a practice and practitioners that have a more robust, celebrative production. A production where the triggers are more forceful and I might even say more gracious but definitely more curious. Practitioners of large gestures.

And thus the idea of the RANT.
Rant: to speak in a very loud, aggressive, or in a bombastic way. To rave, to be noisy, to affront. To talk in a loud, wild, extravagant way. And my favorite - Rant: boisterous merry making.

In a metropolitan area that is as diverse and decentralized as Los Angeles there are select things that provide continuity to the region; one of these is a strong sense of optimistic purpose in artistic production. The artists that have been selected for this exhibition show a strong tendency toward belief or expectation in their studio practice. This exhibition gathers these artists together under the common conviction and passionate commitment of object making. 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exhibition at Cypress College this week

I'm excited to be part of an exhibition that is opening this Wednesday evening at Cypress College. ONA2X2 is a project curated by Susie Eaton and Juan Thorp of Bunny Gunner.
They've provided 24 artists with 2' x2' panels and asked us to use this surface to create origional works for this show. It's a great group of artists including Shari Wasson, Michael Woodcock, Steve Comba, Alex Couwenberg and many more. There is also a solo show in the Project room by Macha Suzuki. Macha is an amazing sculpture who's imagery is provocative and haunting and his craftsmanship with leave you breathless.
The works that I submitted are a combination of a surface process and imagery that I have been working with in two different series of works. The surface process that I have been developing in response to my wax encusitc work. I've been using resins instead of wax attempting to create surface nuance and depth that wax allows but in the much more resistive material of resin.  The imagery is from a series of small oil canvas' that I have been doing creating a visual versions of renga. 
Come on over to Cypress, Wed. 6-8pm

Sean Scully

The Bather, 1983, Sean Scully

"My painting, however, is a compression: a compression of form, edge, weight. And colour participates in this density. The painting is immediate since it is painted aggressively, by hand; yet it is difficult because it is compressed. The light in the painting has to be opened up, pulled out. 
And it is exactly this difficulty that gives the work its interior life. It is an incarnation, not an explanation."  S. Scully

Thursday, August 27, 2009

digging in the dirt

Well, it's done. At least on the right side. I've been tapped and drilled. The first ear canal has been drilled out. As I mentioned in earlier post my surfer's ear (exostosis) finally became so severe it required surgery. It's kind of strange, something that you anticipate for so long, the thing you dread and fret over is suddenly done. It's done in the same time someone might spend going to the mall. I went in at 1:00 and was out by 4:00. Can I say that general anesthetic
is such a surreal experience. One moment you are lounging around in your fashionable backless gown nervously chatting it up with the nurses and doctors and then He tells you to breath deeply and the next thing you know you are waking up in a different room and there's a whole new set of folks talking to you. You never do see the previous care providers again but this new group welcomes you back to the world of the living so they seem particularly dear (until they start pulling off the surgical tape.) Then out you go. Just like that.
Thank you Dr. Norman Ge and the surgical staff at Harriman Jones. 

Surfer's Ear

Watch SurfDonkey Ep 9 What Up Doc (2 of 3) in Sports | View More Free Videos Online at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back Home

The birds taking their morning shower

Back from Portland. A very productive time. Produced four glass works, left one in the kiln to be finished later. Thanks to my dear friend, gracious host and ever patient glass teacher, Tim. When we weren't in the studio working we were deep in conversation. When not talking we where looking at art, eating great food and taking in the beauty of the Pacific North West. Music, books, film. Art, life, community. It was really an amazing time. Still thinking about the relationship of glass work and my painting. I will definitely be doing it again. 

I want Tim's birds.

out of the kiln

glass after 12 hours of firing

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

glass work

base glass, ready for firing

pattern making

George Fox University, Glass Studio

Bullseye Glass, Portland, OR

Working in Glass

The last several days I've been in the Portland area, Newberg to be exact, staying with my dear friend and artist, Tim Timmerman. As part of my sabbatical project I have come north to learn the process of glass fusion. Part of Tim's studio production in the last five years has been the addition of various glass processes to his painting and assemblage practice. I am spending a week in the glass studio at George Fox University where Tim is the sculpture and mixed media professor. He's teaching me some of the basic fusion processes as I create a series of small works based on my paintings.

The week started with a supply run to Bullseye Glass. Bullseye is one of the leading art glass studios and glass manufactures in the country. It's located in downtown Portland and truly is an amazing place. I was overwhelmed and seduced by their glass offerings. Row after row of pure color rolled out in slabs of what looked like frozen paint. We bought our glass; a dozen or so colors from my current pallet, as well as frit (ground color glass) and a view other things. 

Back at the studio the first step in the process was to make a pattern of my image. Next was to cut the base colors and lay them out. Glass fusion involves numerous kiln firings of a single work allowing for the layering of color, brush marks and washes (frit), and line work (stringers.) Today I got two works started and in the kiln for the first firing. They'll be birthed from the fire in 12 hours.  

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chisels and drills

"We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome."
G.K. Chesterton

"The human gaze is not the closed, fixed view of a camera but is creative and constructive. Both the gaze that sees and the object that is seen construct themselves simultaneously in the one act of vision."  John O'Donohue

Two days ago while making my morning coffee one of my ears opened. It actually happened over a few days. At first I had a moment of opening, a slight pop, and then it closed. A few moments later it happened again. Just a moment, an awakening, a respite from the silence and then silence again. That was it for the first day. But then, standing at the sink filling the coffee pot, bink my left ear opened. I didn't move for a moment. I was afraid it close again. No, it hasn't closed yet.

I went to see the surgeon and as he examined the closed ear I took a perverse pride when he stated, "in all my years of practice I have never seen such an extreme case. Your ear is completely closed off." I swelled with a boyhood since of a job well done. I did it the best!
He then stated that the other ear wasn't much better. It was only when he started probing my ear canal with small metal tools forcing me to squirm in my seat that it dawned on me that this was not such an accomplishment. 

The surgery is scheduled for late August. "Do you use the mirco chisels or the drill?" I asked (showing off my newly acquired knowledge of surgery procedures.) "Both" he said. "I do the rough work with the chisels and then clean up with the drill." Sounds like he's doing construction.  I suppose he is. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

movie night at the boat yard

Tonights movie is by Seal Beach's own, Cyrus Sutton. Riding Waves, Cyrus' first film, was  an award winning freshman effort pulling in a "best film" and "best cinematography." Come on by at sunset. everyone's welcome. 


"A painting is always a map of some kind, if only for being a two-dimensional visual reference to something else, even if that 'something else' is discernible only from its demarcation as 'special', of more deserving of our scrutiny than a non-painting."   Doug Harvey

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Space of sound

Today I was working on some paintings in a different location then my studio. As I was working I was aware that normally I would turn on music while I worked. I always listen to music when I paint. Music or podcasts. That kind of sound, along with the paint, takes me out of an awareness of time or I should say what I call "task time." But today, not being able to listen to music, I was aware of how much music is a way in which I occupy spaces. It, my music, is one of the significant ways I link the various spaces that I occupy during my day, week, life. I try to be purposeful about attending and listening to the spaces I occupy but a some point I fill those spaces with my songs. I have a fair collection of songs. According to my itunes I have 43 days worth of songs (a modest amount compared to some folks I know.) I also own a good collection of CDs and vinyl (and a seriously large box of cassette tapes.) I am a true NPR junky: All Things Considered, Fresh Air, Prairie Home Companion, Speaking of Faith, Off Ramp, etc. If not music, then NPR. It's been 9 days since I heard any of this. I do miss it, but I also am aware of how I use it to fill head space. I never compared audio to visual in terms of cultural crooning. But now that I have lost the audio I find myself settled in ways that are surprising. I have become more attentive to the task I'm on. I don't mean physically attentive I mean mentally attentive. I am so in love with the world of ideas that I am constantly seduced from one subject to another by a sound, a spoken statement or uttered phrase. Now that the world is momentarily blocked from my hearing I find myself a bit more settled. My head doesn't have that internal buzz that it so often does.
I wonder what I will do with that latter?

Just read the short story, The Hermit's Story by Rick Bass. Amazing, please read. Thanks, Andrew

Friday, July 31, 2009

Spell it!

i say is
whistle that
sing that yell that
that out big

e.e. cummings (thanks elly)

So, life without hearing. There are so many things that I continue to be surprised by each day and many of them are simple annoyances. Like when I want to buy a cup of coffee or go to the grocery store. Or the much more advanced and risky things like restaurants and hair cuts.
What all these things have in common is, of course, they all involve a series of verbal exchanges. Most of the exchanges range from slight to meaningless but you don't want to be the one who misses the cue. "Debit or charge?", "have you been having a good day?", "what kind of dressing?" I took a bit of a verbal fall this morning. I went to Starbucks and ordered a cup of coffee. Once I ordered I knew the first question would be, "room for cream?" So as his lips moved with his silent request I confidently responded, "yes please, room for cream." His look was NOT one of confirmation but one of slight confusion. And then it dawned on me, he had asked the other Starbucks question - did I want my receipt. Oh well, it's the little things.

In these social situations I am on high alert, trying to look for body cues, read lips or see if I can't just get a bit of what's being said. I am very aware of what I should be able to do but can't. However, its when I'm just moving around, mostly outside, that I am often struck by the strangeness of it all. To see trees sway  and not be able to hear the wind. Being on a busy street and not being able to hear the crowds. Driving on the freeway and not being able to hear the traffic noise (not even being able to hear the noise of my own car.) It's a strange and sort of beautiful silence. All that action and no corresponding soundtrack. 

This morning I was in West Hollywood and I was standing on the corner of Santa Monica and San Vicente Blvd. As I stood waiting to cross I watched as four lanes of traffic filed by. When I went to take a drink of coffee my slightly open mouth created an audio cavity that caught the sound of the traffic. It was so slight but so beautiful. If I moved my tongue or slightly changed the opening of my mouth it would change the pitch of the noise. There it was, the sound of traffic singing through my skull.
Noise coming in instead of going out.

I miss hearing my granddaughter's voice. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've had a strange thing happen to me this last week. I have temporarily gone deaf. Silence. My life film with no sound track. I have a condition that is not so unusual called Exostosis or "Surfers Ear". Those of you who know me know that I have been affected by this the last couple of years. But as of last week the spirits of the sea have closed the hatches in my ear canals. 
As I said, it's a fairly common amongst surfers a condition that is brought on by years of exposure to cold water and cold wind. In an attempt to protect the inner ear the body grows bone matter that closes off the ear canal protecting the eardrum and shutting out the outside world. To remedy this there is a common surgery in which the bone matter is drilled out reopening the ear canal. 

From what I understand it will be a couple of weeks before I can have the surgery so I will be in this state of silent bliss or purgatory (depending) for a short while. I've decided I want to write about my experience for the next few weeks but feel like I need to start with several disclaimers.
1) As I stated my situation is fairly common with a very good prognosis so I'm not writing from a distressed emotional state. I have friends and family members who have been vexed with far more serious ailments requiring far more physical and moral strength and I in no way want to equate my situation with theirs. 
2) I am fully aware of my extremely privileged position in which this experience is framed by access to expert medical care and medical insurance. I will be taken care of.
3) Mine is a temporary situation that I will not honor by calling it a disability. I consider a disability something far more impacting and again requiring far more moral strength then I will be requiring. 
4) This situation has not been brought on by some tragic misfortune or wicked transgression. It has been visited me by the long and glorious privilege of surfing; a sport that has brought me great joy and insight, physical and spiritual gains and a sweet fellowship with my sons, brother, dear friends and extended family of practitioners. So I must say, that if this is what the cost is of all the years of wave riding, so be it. I accept.
5) I am going to say a lot of obvious things over the next few weeks but give me a break; I'm trying to learn from this.

That said, why do I want to blog about it? Because it's such a totalizing thing. From full hearing to no hearing (though I can hear using a cell phone as a hearing aid.) To have one of my primary senses taken away has been a profound experience, particularly in light of a busy studio practice. To wake up day after day (this is the seventh day) and be surprised by the fact I still can't hear. I know I will, but I can't now. 

So I will use my blog as a site to document this strange performance I'm in. What the heck, I can't talk to anyone so I might as well write to someone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Richard Tuttle

Sand-tree 2, 1988, R. Tuttle

"Tuttle, who in perilous times persists in making delicate, witty, and in all other respects exquisite things, he is the creator of perishable delights in a period given to appalling destructiveness. Rather than critiquing power's excesses with totalizing alternatives, he does so by changing the subject to the poetics - that is the making - of being in the world."    Robert Storr

Monday, July 27, 2009


"We are indeed beginning to go about our lives homeless, shelterless, undefined and indefinable .... Settled peoples have split the world and themselves into portions, into 'nomai,' into idioms, and that is what they are sitting on, trying to own more and more of these portions. And nomads experience the connected, concrete reality, they travel within it and ride fields of options."
" I have no doubt about one thing, however, if we do not travel toward each other, we will eradicate each other."   Vilem Flusser, Nomads

works in progress

a few things that have my attention 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Activity in the Studio

Whatever you
have to say,  leave
the roots on, let them
And the dirt
Just to make clear
where they come from.
C. Olson

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Return to Baja

I can't remember, do you get the flu or drugs from whale sharks? Anyway, Rafe put us right on top of these creatures. Got to swim with them. Needless to say, it was amazing.  

Spent a week camping through Baja. Went down to celebrate the retirement of Rafe and Jan Payne. For those of you who don't know, Rafe, professor and field biologist, has given most of his teaching and research career to Baja and in particular to Bahia De Los Angeles. He has a home in Bahia where he, Jan and their dog, Poncho, look out over the Sea of Cortez.
In spite of all the bad press concerning drug gang violence and flu epidemics, Dick Flory and I found Baja as peaceful and beautiful as always. Maybe even more so because there were so few tourists. Don't tell anyone but American media has a need to cause paranoia. 
We spent four days camping and surfing on the Pacific side and two days in Bahia on the Gulf side. Highlights of the trip were good surf, spending time with Rafe and swimming with (riding on dorsal fins) migrating whale sharks. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

new life

Secrets on the Way

Daylight struck the face of a man who slept.
His dream was more vivid
but he did not wake.

Darkness struck the face of a man who walked
among the others in the sun's strong
impatient rays.

It was suddenly dark, like a downpour.
I stood in a room that contained every moment - 
  a butterfly museum.

And the sun still as strong as before.
Its impatient brushes were painting the world.

Tomas Transtromer

New Studio

I'm settled into my new studio in Seal Beach. The property is an old boat yard built in the late 1940's. The place has good bones and a rich history, I should be able to make something here.  If your in the area, come on by. 

all you can eat - bunny gunner

One of ten works I have in a current show at Bunny Gunner in Pomona. It's a great little show. Little in that nothing is larger than 5"x7" and prices are little as well. Nothing (much) is priced over $50. The show is the idea of Susie Eaton and Juan Thorp, owners of Bunny Gunner (great people!)  They invited approx. 100 artists to participate, 5 - 10 works, small scale, small price. Easy to own. I thinks a great idea, simple way to share good art. Check it out, thru Mar. 11th. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

New class, new blog

This is the blog for a new class that I am team teaching with poet, Chris Davidson. Half of the class are poets and half visual artist. Our interest? What would happen if poets and painters spent 15 weeks together, breathing the same air, reading the same works, and on occasion working together. Check it out and keep checking.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

up in the pipe organ

Tonight we had an amazing opportunity to go up into the pipe organ area in a Long Beach area church. We were doing some ground work for a commission and needed to see the space that we will be working with and were surprised by this incredible find, a beautiful mid-century German pipe organ. Each one of the pipes could be lifted and mouth blown, it was amazing! It was also pretty great that we accessed it through a bathroom stale.