Saturday, February 26, 2005

   One of the pleasures of diving in and out of blogging is revisiting old favorites and reaffirming fondness for their offerings. I am happy to see familiar treasure troves like conscientious, eeksy-peeksy, language hat, quarlo, and wood s lot still going strong.

Another perk is discovering new enticing blogs. Probably the most memorable recent find is The Glory of Carniola, a blog by an American in Slovenia, which is filled with lighthearted observations of the idiosyncrasies of Slovenian life. It’s marvelously informative and terribly entertaining, and, I'd say, very much in the spirit of the dynamite "Tito i ja", a not to be missed comedy by Goran Markovic.

In a very weird coincidental twist, Carniola’s Michael Manske bears a mysterious resemblance to someone I cannot get enough of lately – Kevin Johansen, an Alaska-born Argentine who makes quirky, infectious, trilingual and very cool music. He just released a new album, City Zen, and while I have yet to give it a listen, I can say nothing but giddy things "Sur O No Sur", his second album.

An unexpected discovery through The Glory of Carniola was a very impressive and rather charming collection of Slovenian stamps produced between 1991 and the present, housed online by Posta Slovenije. Each stamp is annotated with information on the artist and background on the image’s subject matter. I find this resource all the more remarkable in light of the fact that usps.gov besides not sporting a similar online gallery of US stamps of the past decade is inaccessible and buggy most of the time.
"The Golden Bird", Jelka Reichman. Stamp issued 24/03/2003. "Boletus", Bernarda Zajec. Stamp issued 06/06/1996.

"Pustovi", Milena Gregorcic. Stamp issued 20/01/2000. "Primula carniolica", Grega Kosak. Stamp issued 20/05/1994.

Another feature unearthed via The Glory of Carniola is a photographic collection of Balkan Portraits from 1906-1910 by Fritz Wentzel.

Other interesting recent finds include Share by Eider Suso, an illustrator and art director. Go here for visual digs and occasional commentary in English and Spanish.

Thanks to Conscientious, I have enjoyed Kiran Master’s photo paeans to green and orange, yellow and blue, as well as Gaylen Morgan’s light-filled, gauzy work. Many of Morgan’s images capture the locale of Blue Hill, Maine, which I know from first-hand experience to be lovely, lovely. Some of her landscapes are very much in the vein of the great Eliot Porter.

"August Field", Gaylen Morgan. "Blueberry Field", Gaylen Morgan.

Speaking of Maine, who would have thought that the tango scene is thriving in Blue Hill?

And, while off the beaten path in ME, check out truck 808, a strange and rather fascinating blog, which, sadly, seems to be defunct since last November.

Also out of operation since the fall is a Bostonian’s Muddy River blog. Somewhat uneven for the most part, it does contain at least three pretty exquisite images.

"Night in Ocean City", Muddy River "Fence", Muddy River

"Emptyness", Muddy River

Across the water, in France, find splendid cross-process and double-exposure shots at le camembert magique photolog.

Closer to home, take in a keen NYC subway photoblog by Travis Ruse. Some priceless catches here.

"Paths XIII (Nexus)", Marja-Leena Rathje.

Finally, I know you’ll appreciate Marja-Leena Rathje’s part-blog part-portfolio site. It’s marvelous all around.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

   Those of you who like to rummage through online image archives of various kinds might enjoy leafing through the following sites, links to which I have assembled over the past couple of years.

The collection of Japanese photography of the Bakumatsu-Meiji Period (1860-1899) at Nagasaki University Library is very extensive in scope, featuring photos of rural life, home interiors, teahouses, temples, gardens, and beyond. Search by location and keyword is enabled. The latter boasts a peculiar collection of variables -- among the 100 or so choices, you will discover that you can search the Bakumatsu-Meiji photo archive for pictures of "fishing", "Mt. Fuji" and "historic sites" as well as for depictions of "Japanese junk" (74 results), "utility pole" (4 results) and "straw boots" (0 results).

"Cave of Yenoshima", Kinbei Kusakabe

The Photography from Central Asia exhibit, housed online by Santa Fe's Anahita Gallery, is modest in size by comparison but very spirited. Included here is a fine group of images by Georgi Zelma, an Uzbekistan-born photographer known, among other things, for his documentary photo work in WWII, namely during the battle of Stalingrad.

Photo by Georgi Zelma

More images by Zelma and his contemporaries, Khaldei, Alpert, and others, can be found at the Russian Photography Collection presented by Howard Schickler Fine Art, a Brooklyn based gallery specializing in Soviet/Russian photography and Russian avant-garde art.

Foto Tapeta is an enormous resource put together by a gallery in Warsaw that features works by primarily Polish photographers as well as interviews and reviews, some of which are translated into English. Click around at your leisure and sample artists like Anna Beata Bohdziewicz, Bogdan Dziworski, and Basia Sokolowska.

"My Wife", 1986. Miro Svolik

Czech and Slovak staged photographs -- precisely what the title of the compilation says; nothing like what you would expect.

The Netherlands Photo Archives - still a work in progress, as far as (in)completeness of many photographers' profiles is concerned, but already fairly rewarding if you are willing to spend some time poking around here.

"Asswan. February 23rd, 1924", Author unknown.

Middle East Photograph Archive at the library of the University of Chicago contains more than 200 images of Egypt, Turkey, Syria and other places in the Middle East, captured in late 19th century. Landscapes, city scenes, portraits and architectural shots from Cairo, Giza, Damascus, Istanbul, and surroundings abound.

Chances are you already know of the online photography collections at Rochester's George Eastman House. And while you are in the area, check out the archives of student work at RIT's School of Photographic Arts & Sciences and the school's Photo Purchase Prize Collection.

Know of other noteworthy photography collections online? Share the wealth, won't you?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Hello, folks. Almost an entire year has trickled by since my last appearance here, and I am tickled pink to be back. I cannot vow to post regularly and dutifully hereafter, but I will try, genuinely, to treat you and myself to fun finds now and then.

Blogging about the arts is a dangerous pursuit, though, making it oh so tempting to abandon the obligatory bustle and indulge in a by far more exhilirating pastime...

"Catherine", 2004, Valerie Hammond
The timing of my return seems fitting, as some of last year's favorites are turning up in familiar places. Valerie Hammond's mossy and ferny hands, for instance, sampled here last October, are back at the honorable Lisa Sette Gallery, and are even more exquisite than earlier collages. The latter, unfortunately, seem to have disappeared from the gallery's website but some can still be found elsewhere.

In 2004, the gallery featured the marvelous sweet witticisms of Valeriy and Rimma Gerlovin. Their distinctive creations pair up echoes of Don Quixote and Durer.

"Twilight", 1997, David Kroll
In March, David Kroll's solemn and whimsical, whimsical and solemn still lifes are due at Lisa Sette.

The J. Cacciola Gallery has a redesigned website, with lots of images reproduced for the web really well. Mark Beck's shapely seascapes just finished a run there. Do check out Daniel Morper's landscapes and James Lahey's oceanscapes, all striking, while you are in the area.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude are not alone in their preoccupation with cloaked and shrouded entities. There is something primevally comforting in mothering landscape itself and objects in general via enveloping and cradling. The act of encasing and sheltering, without smothering, can be satisfying and engrossing, and equally so -- the act of beholding something encased and sheltered.

Untitled, 2003. EKR

On display at Stephen Wirtz Gallery in SF until Feb 26 are Heide Zumbrun's photographs of sheathed forms. Equally peculiar, be they industrially sized blobs of mozarella, bleached giant bean bags, or hibernating Boohbahs. Numbers 1 and 6 are particularly compelling, bewildering images of solid interest, while the others are more annotative but still sufficiently magnetic.

While I am short of having a penchant for Zumbrun's work from 1999-2001, comprised of partially dismembered and anatomized plush toys, I am not completely indifferent to it either. Further reading may be of interest to those who wish to find out why "Zumbrun credits her dog as a catalyst for this body of work".

Among notable exhibitions of 2004 at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery were a new series of images by the gallery's regular, Todd Hiddo, reaping the fruits of his wanderlust, Alec Soth's continuing claim to fame -- "Sleeping by the Mississippi", and Masao Yamomoto's recent sepia photographs. The curators dub Yamomoto's images "visual haiku", but Basho's and Issa's 3-liners are not known to be quite this pained and contrived.

If you are in Atlanta, catch the Brian Oglesbee exhibit at the Fay Gold Gallery. His water phantasms, already mentioned in this blog, are splendid. Earlier at the gallery, visitors were treated to lavish and burnished canvases of autumnal charm by Zoe Hersey. For more of her images, check out the archives. Unfortunately, the site uses frames making it impossible to link to individual pages directly. Alternatively, you can visit Hersey's own website.

"Butterly Dreams", 2004, Zoe Hersey
Speaking of autumn and its hued delights, you might enjoy representational imagery by Greg Miller. These panoramas of the ever glorious Hudson Valley need no trickery or invented adornments.

While you are in the vicinity of the Catskills, peek at Jenny Tsai's newlyweds frolicking in its valleys.

Won't you agree that the style and palette are somewhat reminiscent of Heidi Yount's loveliness? Yount, by the way, now has more than three dozen new images on her site and as well as section on work in progress.

Cig Harvey, another personal favorite, mentioned herein earlier presents new work in a solo exhibit at the Robin Rice Gallery. I am a bit saddened by a move from the refined and intuitive in the older images to the labored and overtly orchestrated in the newer photos.

On this conflicting note, let's part until the next time.

Monday, February 09, 2004

   Meet Viggo Mortensen - painter, poet, photographer, publisher, and, oh yes, actor. Effortlessly recognizable as the ubiquitous incarnation of Aragorn, this disarmingly handsome man has enjoyed a successful art career alongside his Hollywood stints. Represented by the Robert Mann and Stephen Cohen galleries, among others, Mortensen has held exhibits in the U.S., Europe, and New Zealand. During the past couple of years he has also been running a small publishing company - Perceval Press.

"Later, Red," 2000. Viggo Mortensen.

Mortensen's photography is varied, sensitive, and bold. It grapples with color, saddles it and spins it into a freefall. It eludes categorization, avoids precision and embraces daydreams, savory, if viscous.

"Blue #4", 1998. Viggo Mortensen. "Red #3", 1999. Viggo Mortensen.

I feel that while Mortensen's good looks have been utilized full throttle in films, his dramatic potential has been underexplored. The previews suggest that in the upcoming blockbuster, "Hidalgo", he is straitjacketed into a predictable, clichéd role. I suspect that Viggo may do well in a more demanding lead. Why not posit Mortensen as Raskolnikov, for instance?...:)

"Lost", 2000. Viggo Mortensen. "Lost #5", 2000. Viggo Mortensen.

Check out samples of Viggo Mortensen's photography, read about the man, and consider the output of Perceval Press. Anne Fishbein is one of the notable artists featured by Perceval. "On the Way Home" is a book of memorable, hardy, and gentle b&w photographs taken in Russia's Yaroslavl in the 1990s.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

  Lest the weary and faithful visitors think that I have abandoned this pursuit for good, here's a fresh installment of serendipities, discovered near and far.

At Yossi Milo, Loretta Lux, many a blogger's favorite, presents a show of increasingly creepy and consistently mum children's portraits. It follows December's exhibit of new and noteworthy imagery by Simen Johan, whose earlier work reflected a preoccupation with disturbed tots. Perhaps Lux too will soon branch out and engage other subject matter.

In the window of the Jewish Museum, the poster with Guillermo Kahlo's photograph of the young Frida Kahlo, discussed on these pages earlier, has been replaced by Lotte Jacobi's photograph of Lotte Lenya. Beginning next week, the museum launches a large exhibition of Jacobi's work, of which regrettably few images are to be found online.

Also next week, the nearby Museum of the City of New York will commence a substantial photographic exhibition by many of the medium's heavyweights - "Magnum's New Yorkers". A curator-led tour of it is scheduled for Saturday, the 7th, and a discussion with Bruce Davidson and Susan Meiselas for the 14th.

Diane Arbus' understandably acclaimed photography is the focus of two extensive exhibits on both coasts. At NYU's Grey Art Gallery is Diane Arbus: Family Albums, while Diane Arbus Revelations can be seen at SFMOMA.

"Northern Parula Warbler, Male, Flying," Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, 1968.
Eliot Porter.

On view at the Portland Museum of Art through March 21st is Eliot Porter: The Color of Wildness. Porter's unassuming and unflinching work remains enigmatically unparalleled. Images in this exhibition come from the collection of the Amon Carter Museum in Texas, whose website contains an immense and honorably reproduced for the web collection of Porter's work, full of marvelous, marvelous stuff.

"Shad Bushes," Mount Washington, Massachusetts, 1961. Eliot Porter.

Over at Santa Fe's Andrew Smith Gallery are the Antarctica photographs of Joan Myers. The color images -- grand, glorious, bathed in a quiet bronze light -- outshine the B&W specimens, for the most part.

If I were closer to Arizona, I would pay frequent visits to the Lisa Sette Gallery. Kevin Sloan's opulent canvases just finished a run on display there, and Alain Clement's photogenic drawings are up next.

Lumina Gallery in San Diego is presenting Burton Pritzker's Artifacts Series.

Other miscellaneous finds for the day include a hodgepodge of a collection at Tepper Takayama Fine Arts. A couple of my favorites include two of Kunihiro Shinohara's photographs.

Also worth checking out is an online presentation by the Victoria and Albert Museum -- Exploring Photography. Eclectic and tasteful, it is rather delightful and enlightening.

Cyanotype. Anna Atkins and Anne Dixon.

And on the coming attractions circuit is the intriguing "Ocean Flowers: Impressions from Nature in the Victorian Era", to run from June through August at the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibit will be devoted to examples of "nature printing" by Henry Bradbury, Anna Atkins' cyanotypes, William Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawings and other botany-inspired products of early photography.

Until next time!..

Monday, December 08, 2003

   Another extended hiatus later, today's offering consists of a wishful collection from a hypothetical wish-list.

Available for viewing at Photo Review's website are the remaindered items from its 2003 Benefit Auction. The following images strike my fancy. Are there any that entice you?

"Living Soul, from the "Heart of Man" series", 1984. Patt Blue.

Read about Patt Blue's work and life and see more of her photos.

"Untitled Landscape #4", 2002, cameraless silver print. Norman Sarachek. "Route 95, British Columbia,"1990. Paula Chamlee.

"Dennis, Sal and Rose, 1979. John Milisenda.

Don't miss John Milisenda's striking, quiet, and graceful work on view at his own site.

"Prague Garden", 1930s, Josef Sudek.

"Untitled", c. 1920s. Richard Tepe.

Photographs from the 2002 Photo Review Auction are also online and hold multiple delights, among which are Bob Wagner's "Berlin, Germany, 2000" and a photogram from the 1920s titled "Woman with Wheat Shaft" by an unknown.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

  Two terrifically different still-life themed exhibitions are currently on view in Manhattan.

"Untitled 16", 1999. Laura Letinsky. "Tomatoes", 2003, oil on board. Julien Landa.

Julien Landa was a photographer before he turned to painting, while Laura Letinsky found her forte after switching from painting to photography.

"Untitled #32", Rome, 2001. Laura Letinsky.

Dishes, tabletops, vessels and utensils abound in works by both artists. Colorful flowers and food items speckle and spruce the surfaces. Licked lollipops, nibbled nougats, and other devoured delicacies fill Letinsky's images. Matter-of-fact leftovers languish in pastel-hued interiors. Crumbs, stains, and wrinkles peppering the tablecloths call for deciphering akin to that of tea leaf reading. The photographs are neither elegant nor handsome, per se. Yet they are decidedly seductive. The appeal is mystifying and undeniable.

"Chestnuts", 2003, oil on board. Julien Landa.

Landa's work, mentioned on these pages previously, is knowingly lush, extravagant, and dainty. Next to Letinsky's essentially improvised, lazily lounging meal remnants, Landa's meticulous set-ups are pinnacles of spiffy precision. Both bodies of work are paeans to sybaritism.

Julien Landa's "Recent Paintings" is at the Hammer Galleries through November 29th. Laura Letinsky's "I did not remember I had forgotten" is at the Edwynn Houk Gallery until January 17, 2004.

More of Landa's work can be seen on his website. I must say that the inspiration for his series built around golf paraphernalia escapes me, much as the attraction of the sport itself.

"Untitled #43", Rome, 2001. Laura Letinsky.

Letinsky has exhibited very widely, and plenty of her work is available on scores of gallery websites. Gahlberg Gallery even presents an exhibit catalog and a video interview with the photographer, all ready to download. Before Letinsky photographed tantalizing dinner debris, she focused on intimate portraits of couples in mostly sunlit interiors. Visitors from across the pond may be interested in catching Letinsky's "Morning and Melancholia" later this winter at the Shine Gallery in London.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

  This evening - notices of two coming audiovisual attractions.

Beginning on November 4, The Film Society of Lincoln Center will present "A Tribute to Lenfilm Studios". From the silents of the 1920s to the motley releases of the past decade, more than two dozen movies produced by and associated with the St. Petersburg film studio will be shown at Lincoln Center's cozy Walter Read Theater. The assortment of films to be screened is quite extraordinary. Each feature is a powerhouse of cinematic expression, making for a month-long overwhelmingly black-n-white film-feast. The film stills at filmlinc's tease page alone are just awesome.

from "Saint's Day", Sergei Selyanov, Nikolai Makarov, 1989. from "Mama Got Married", Vitaly Melnikov, 1969.

Toward the end of the series' run, watch out for the goofy and endearing "Window to Paris", a lighthearted but heart-pinching favorite of mine.

On another exciting note, the dizzyingly rhythmical and mellifluous Cesaria Evora will perform at the Beacon Theater on the upper West Side this Saturday evening. Hip-hip-hooray!

Sunday, October 26, 2003

  Here is a compilation of lovely things that have landed in my (e)mailboxes over the past couple of weeks, courtesy of the mailing list fairy.

"Izu Cactus Garden, Shizuoka Prefecture", from the 'Zoo' series, 1986. Takanobu Hayashi.

If you are in Portland, OR, you may wish to pay a visit to the esteemed S K Josefsberg Studio for the second installment of the gallery's exploration of Japanese photography. Mostly monochrome and mostly marvelous prints from the 1970s and the 1980s are said to be present. This exhibit, along with its predecessor, which covered two earlier decades of photography from Japan, can be sampled online. Images by some of the artists presented in the show can also be enjoyed elsewhere -- Miyako Ishiuchi and Masao Yamamoto at Sepia International and the Robert Klein Gallery, Michiko Kon at Aperture, Ryuji Miyamoto at Artnet, Kozo Miyoshi at "Internet Photo Magazine Japan", etc.

"A Box of Ku #550". Masao Yamamoto.

On the East Coast, particularly intriguing are offerings by the Zabriskie Gallery (beware of the virtually barren site, save for the generous preview of the current exhibition), and by the Von Lintel Gallery. Zabriskie presents photograms and other pieces by Theodore Roszak. Some of his other esoteric and elegant works can be browsed in different nooks of the web.

Photogram, c. 1937-39. Theodore Roszak. Photogram, c. 1937-41. Theodore Roszak.

On view at the Von Lintel Gallery is the masterful Joseph Stashkevetch's Quincunx. The tumbling arrangements of mute florals and parched aquatic creatures are rather arresting.

"Flightpattern #1", 2003. Joseph Stashkevetch. "The Tire Dump", 2003. Joseph Stashkevetch.

A very extensive archive of Stashkevetch's other work is located on his website. The artist works exclusively in conte crayon on rag paper. Yes, he does.

Those impressed by Stashkevetch's art are likely to find at least some of the artists represented by Von Lintel of interest as well. Consider, for instance, Mark Sheinkman, or for something different and more ethereal - Yvonne Estrada.

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