Thursday, March 1, 2012

In the Tunnel

Screen shot from the Toho film King Kong Escapes, 1967. Lt. Jiro Nomura holds a drawing of a Tunnel dug by King Kong on his remote island home of Mondo. He is showing the drawing to Lt. Susan Watson (Kong's future object of desire) on a submarine in the South Pacific as evidence of Kong's existence.

The image is on screen for 2 seconds and in those 2 seconds that I saw it, I knew I had to do drawings like that.

This is an installation in the Window Box at Box 13 ArtSpace in Houston. 11 feet high x about 23 feet wide. Paint on sheetrock.    Tunnel, 2010.

Above is a drawing by the Artist Hector Alonzo Benavides. I saw this drawing last year at the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas, in the exhibit Texas Gothic. When I first saw it on the gallery wall, I was shocked to see someone had drawn what I thought was the same tunnel I had been drawing. Then I recognized it as Hector's by the amazing, obsessive pen work. You cannot see in this photo detail of the drawing behind glass, but the image is drawn in ball point pen and each one of the gazilion lines is distinct and clear. I recognize the structure of this tunnel as the one that I saw in the Kong movie and the one that I drew repeatedly.

I'm glad I met Hector before he passed away in 1999. I thought a lot about him while I was doing some large drawings with white india ink on gouache. This is a detail from Tunnel (Return) 33" x 44" (2012) that is at MFA Gallery in Dallas in a show that ends this Sunday, March 4.

There is a video installation in the show titled Abyss. 

I first started thinking about drawing tunnels while I was thinking about the abyss and the idea of mise en abyme, a formal trick where an image contains an image of itself and creates a a sequence that repeats infinitely. Like facing two mirrors toward one another.

I messed around with infinity and fell into the abyss, the long tunnel created by the reflections of the reflections

Another show that is about to end is Right to Assemble at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. It is a show of collaborative work by artists with studios at BOX 13. I am collaborating with Kathy Kelley on two pieces and Tudor Mitroi on two pieces.
One of the pieces I did with Kathy (image on left), is about 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Kathy makes things out of  used tires and inner tubes (and other detritus of our civilization). On this piece, I sheetrocked the backside and painted a tunnel with 3 monitors with waterfall video. Kathy's form made me think of a waterfall and the location of the show, San Marcos is significantly located on important sources of water both above and below the ground. The show ends next weekend, March 9, 2012.

Now I am using cameras and stuff to make images and videos for a show in the Project Room at PG Contemporary in Houston, April 21-May 12, 2012.