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.

Monday, October 17, 2011

cut up and erased

This is a piece I did for an experimental writing workshop called ¡Copy Paste! with John Pluecker.
For an exercise in erasure, we were supposed to bring some books to use in an intervention. I brought Sexual Hygiene, Amateur Astronomy (both antiques) and Walden. When it came time to cut up and/or erase them, I found that I was too attached to them to do it.
I dug through my bag and found this brochure from an exhibition at the Austin Museum of Art, The Anxiety of Photography. The essay was written by Andrea Mellard. but now it is writ by A dreaM. I liked the show and the brochure both.
If you like it, JP is doing a workshop at Skydive in Houston on October 29: How to Cut and Paste Your Way to Artistic Freedom.

click to enlarge

Friday, October 14, 2011

gallery talk

Curators Talk and Gallery Tour of Simulacra
(work by Ted Kincaid, Laura Lark, Shawn Smith curated by Michael Henderson)
Saturday, October 15, at 11 am
Gaddis Geeslin Gallery at SHSU
1028 21st Street
Huntsville, TX 77340

I am far, far from Huntsville, but (thanks to Steve Jobs) I will make a virtual appearance via FaceTime, and students in my Museum and Gallery Practices class will be talking about the artists. My colleague Annie Strader will be directing the tour and holding up my face on her ipad so I can see what is going on and talk about the show.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Flashback to the 90's?

Antennas is the first video I made after I moved from NYC to Texas in 1993.
It was a reaction to the landscape.
I shot it on black and white super 8 and had it transferred to video. The opening titles are my attempt to get ants to spell out the word "antennas" by writing it in sugar on paper and placing it on their mound. They were a lot slower than I expected, so while the expensive super 8 film was rolling, I became impatient and set the paper on fire. (I have sped that sequence up in this version).
The antennas were shot around Dallas and Fort Worth and the surrounding area while I was driving from class to class as an adjunct art professor at various universities and junior colleges. The soundtrack was made by sampling the am radio one night. It turns out to be an odd kind of time capsule of 1993.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I've curated this show of work by Laura Lark, Ted Kincaid, and Shawn Smith in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery at SHSU. My intention was to put together a show of work that had a basis in photography, but transformed the photographic image into an "art object".

Ted Kincaid

Shawn Smith and Laura Lark

Laura Lark is showing drawings of women appropriated from a fashion magazine article that offers instruction on the application of make-up. The works are eleven feet tall and drawn with pantone marker on tyvek. The installation of five of them on one wall effectively creates a "valley of the dolls" in the gallery. She is also showing a three dimensional tableau of Neely O'Hara's bedroom from The Valley of the Dolls. It looks great illuminated against the black walls in the new media room and the sound track from Lark's video Aura fills the gallery with a pleasantly nostalgic soundtrack that makes one of the gallery sitters feel like she is "in a soap opera." (The video uses stop motion to show one of Lark's drawings being made dot by dot, and is set to a Henry Mancini score.)

Laura Lark

Shawn Smith takes images of animals from the internet and creates three dimensional objects made of wooden cubes. They make you feel like you are looking at a blurry photograph in three dimensions. There is a nice interplay between his pixillated technique and Larks pointillistic drawings.

Shawn Smitth, CMYK vs RGB (not the title)

Laura Lark, Shawn Smith

Ted Kincaid's prints are also created pixel by pixel. They have the quality of looking as if they were created by some antique photographic process using wet plates and glass negatives, but are in fact, created on a computer. Like everything else in the show, they are fictions. Images taken from images and mixed into the thin air and spun back into pictures. Pictures that create a reality that exists only within them.

Ted Kincaid

The show is October 3-27, 2011 in Huntsville, Texas at the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery.
Laura Lark talks tomorrow, October 5 at 11am in the art auditorium.
Shawn Smith talks later, December 7, 2011 at 11am in the same place.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marking the Equinox

This marks the end of a summer that scorched Texas. It was the first time I didn't love summer and looked forward to it's end. The equinox at 5 am tomorrow morning marks the beginning of fall and the northern hemisphere begins to tilt away from the sun.

The videos in Indian Marker are meant to be played on two stacked monitors and mark a location as a site where nature and wildness are revered and celebrated.