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?