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.

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