Friday, May 22, 2009

Curt Chiarelli article in the News Register

Great article today in the physical paper version of the News Register - an interview and bio of Curt Chiarelli, with a focus on what he loves about art and Yamhill County.

Curt is a fine artist, commercial illustrator/sculptor and art teacher who has made things you yourself have seen - in movies, or on toy store shelves.

Starla Pointer, the author of the piece, is a good writer - she's been writing these local profiles for the News Register since 1996.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Diane Lou and Luke Zimmerman at NW Wine Bar

The reception at the NW Wine Bar for Luke Zimmerman's paintings and Diane Lou's assemblage sculptures was very enjoyable for me, marred only by the obvious flaw: art opening at a wine bar = no free wine. Rrr.

Still, it was a very social event, especially for me, especially with no wine. I got to see people I like (Stuart Jacobson, James Dowlen), and chat with some great people I only knew by reputation (the Red Barn couple).

The art is good.

I liked Luke's still lifes (lives? that's doesn't sound right) of bags and boxes the best, but that might just be because they were lit the best.
Luke can paint.
I hate the word 'facility,' as in "he has a great facility with paint," because it implies an easiness, or almost a... glibness. Like it's so easy it isn't true, or so easy it isn't good. An ability to dissemble, perhaps. Plus there are connotations of pooping and porcelain, as in "all the modern facilities."

So Luke is a good painter.
I like realistic painting. I'm still stunned by the way colors on a flat surface can fool the eye. I love it. I don't generally like still lifes, but his aren't the standard vases and dead pheasants. His boxes and bags are evocative, and kind of sneaky, because the subjects are the quotidian ephemera of everyday living. A paper sack. A smashed pop can and the corner of a Marlboro pack. They could have come off as painting excercises, but the lighting and paint handling is too good, and make you really want to look at them. They are pleasing, without being "pleasant." I want to go look at them again.
The bigger pieces seem more intellectual, and a little less satisfying. It's probably just me. Did you ever see "Basquiat?" There's a great scene where Jean Michel Basquiat approaches Andy Warhol (played by David Bowie) in a restaurant and offers to sell him some "ignorant art." David Bowie looks at his dining companion and says, "ohhh... ignorant art... that sounds goood."
I like that. I like stuff with an undertow, but on the surface, you can say, "what? jeez, it's just a bag." It's probably because things have feelings, and inanimate objects have personalities and histories...
The bigger pieces deserve another look. They're a little bit surreal, and I hope someone tells me how wrong I am to like the boxes and bags more.

Anyway! Jeez, look at the time!

When Diane Lou makes assemblages, she says she consciously avoids "directing" a piece, and lets it find its own way. Puts the intellect to one side. I relate to this method, and I think she's phenomenally successful with it. There are ten or fifteen pieces up there, and she has more ("not many, maybe ten") that she's done... since August. HOly cow.
Just the first couple were stunning (again, the lighting there favors the far corner - a tip to future artists). My internal monologue went a bit like this: "these are great! I love them! ... why do I bother making assemblages? ...well, it's a relief in a way, because here's someone who can do it for me. ... I wonder if she's a student... I bet she's like 19. Rr."
Well, she's not 19, she's older than me, and her work is an inspiration to make art instead of think about it!

Tom Waits would like it.

The pieces chosen for the brochure are not (in my opinion), her best ones. They are the ones that might grab you from a flyer, because they're more direct, but the really good ones would make no sense on a flyer. You look at them, and enjoy them, and they give you the feeling that you could look at them a LOT, and see a lot more. One of my basic tenets is that fine art and commercial art are opposites. Commercial art must be clear. Apprehendable. Staged for immediate understanding, but fine art takes more time. You have to puzzle it out, and it creates a feeling, rather than a mental 'take away.'
I used to make tee-shirts with incomprehensible graphics. Back then, tee shirts were more straightforward, and one that didn't make any sense was actually puzzling to the people in the checkout line. "You couldn't buy your pointless tee shirts at Target and Hollister back then!" As Mike Ness says, "you couldn't get the crazy color for your hair... at the mall." Whoops, I feel this is a topic for another blog!
Diane Lou's art is something that takes time and reflection - it's part of the enjoyment, and similar to the enjoyment she feels making the pieces. "What does it mean?" Well let's wait and see! I think it's interesting that most people would tell the same stories about particular pieces.

The real arbiter of taste is you. What does it mean to you? What do you think it means?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All-day life drawing at Studio Ink

There you have it - Saturday May 30th, 9am - 4pm. Two models, 1 pose, all day long. $20 for 3 hours, $30 for all day, easels and drawing boards provided. No advance notice or tickets needed. Show up, draw, paint, sculpt and commune with the muses. Everyone welcome.

303 NE 3rd St., McMinnville, Oregon 97128

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alien Daze - UFO festival and Art Walk

This weekend is the McMinnville Alien Daze funtime, and some good art on the Art Walk. Curt Chiarelli at the Ford Street Gallery, and (unassociated with the Art Walk) Luke Zimmerman at NW Wine Bar.
Luke will also have an artist's reception on Wednesday May 20th, between 5 and 8. At the NW Wine Bar. Duh. Also on display there is some nice assemblage by Diane Lou. "Nice" is a crappy word. Her stuff looks great, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 18th 2009

There were freaky ceramic characters by Jacqueline Hurlbert and some spare and elegant little animal drawings by Erica Meyer at Hidden Treasures. Troon was there, pouring a new white, a Pinot and their Druid Fluid. The Druid Fluid was tasty, but I can't get past the name. It just sounds like it's made out of people.

Currents Gallery had a crowd, and a bustle. The standout for me were these clay animals. Expressive and well-proportioned, they show their slab-modeled construction like 3D sketches. The title card seems to say Blythe Eastman, but I'll need to look it up.

Donna Lee Rollins showed her Polaroid transfers, and included some information on the process and displays of the cameras. Apparently the transfer film is unavailable, and will be officially discontinued next year. That's a shame, really. So... buy a few good polaroid transfers now, 'cause they won't get any cheaper!
One of the most interesting things was seeing the same image repeated several times, each one unique, and very different from each other.

August Ridge was pouring some nice wines at Found Objects, including a Marechal Foch, which was described as "like nothing you've ever tasted." I scoffed, but it was true. A very unusual-tasting wine, not that great out of a plastic cup, but I could see how it would work well with barbecue or lamb. Their Pinot was good.

Ghost Hill (at Wine Country Kitchen) had their own glassware to taste from, which was pretty cool. I didn't find the wine that compelling, but I'll give them another try.

I'll take notes next month, to keep better track of the artists and wines. I also plan to talk less, so I can see more...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ford St. Gallery - Polaroid Transfers

The new show going up on the 18th for the Art Walk in Mac is of Polaroid transfers. They look good; I usually like a murkier transfer, but these haven't edged into the realm of "well why didn't you just keep the original?"
I feel that if you're looking for perfect fidelity with polaroid transfers, rather than happy accidents, you're barking up the wrong process. I also think making them from slides is like wood-chipping wine, but no one ever wants my opinion.
They're good. Today they were lined up along the wall, waiting for their turn on the exhibition space. I'll check them out in more detail on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 2009 ArtWalk this Saturday

Saturday, April 18th will be the next McMinnville Art Walk and wine tasting event. It happens on Third St., every third Saturday of the month.
Hidden Treasures has its new space (next door to the old space), and it's looking good in there!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

McMinnville Art Walk blog revamp

I just noticed that this long-underutilised blog comes up first when you search for McMinnville Art. That's got to be worth something. To someone. Somewhere.

The new plan for this blog is to:
a) Invite participating stores to post their artists and wineries.
b) Profile local artists' work every week.
c) Invite a few anonymous(?) reviewers to review both the art and the wine.
d) See what the art programs at Linfield and Chemeketa offer.
I work downtown at Gearbox Studios, and I'll see if Adam and Don will let me have a little "how to blog" session at Gearbox one evening, in order to get store-owners familiar with the setup.

If you're interested in any of this, send me an email at philip (dot) williamson (at) gmail (dot) com,