Friday, May 29, 2009


I had seen an earlier draft of this painting, and now I am super-excited to this image of the final version (see below) of former studiomate Chris Leib's latest painting. As it happens, the subject of the painting is fellow painter and surfer (and my former studio neighbor over at the Art Explosion) Kevin Pincus. Let's hear it for San Francisco painters, whooo!!! The painting below is available/will be on display via Cain Schulte Gallery in San Francisco and Berlin:
Surfed, 16" x 16", oil on canvas, 2008, by Chris Leib.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Joyeux Noel.

On my last day in Philadelphia, I had the thoroughly pleasant surprise of running into Philadelphia painter Scott Noel, for whom I worked for a bit of time back in the early/mid-90s. In addition to being an excellent painter, Scott may very well be the nicest person on earth. No, definitely is the nicest person on earth. No question. So, if you're ever in Philadelphia, be sure to check out his work - he shows at Gross McCleaf Gallery down on 16th Street near Rittenhouse Square. Here's an example of his painting, which is usually still life or figurative, or a combination thereof, sometimes with an allegorical bent, usually in his signature pastel palette. Enjoy:
Orpheus and Eurydice, oil on linen, 54" x 50", by Scott Noel.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I made use of my train-time traveling on NJ Transit and SEPTA in between NYC and Philadelphia and New Brunswick and Jenkintown and Langhorne and so on and so on by sketching fellow passengers. It's that whole stealth, art-ninja thing... kind of like I was describing about my other blog in this previous post about sketching while on the BART train between Oakland and San Francisco. Anyway, here are some samples from the past week's sketching adventures:
Oh, and here's a little one of a jazz musician in Rittenhouse Square, in Philadelphia:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Philadelphia photo roundup.

Here are some more photos from the phabulous Philly experience:
A groovy mural, one of many in the city, likely a project of the awesome Mural Arts Program in Philly.

More cool Philly art: leftover part of an art installation for this month's First Friday event, up under the train trestle around 11th and Vine - beautiful little teeny lanterns. Apparently on First Friday it was accompanied by a mini-performance of people "playing" water glasses under there in the tunnel, for a unique acoustic effect.

Doron's cat, channeling the Crazy and going all postal on my handbag. Yipe.

I cannot - repeat, cannot - resist a turret. This one is in Northern Liberties, and I want it.

More turret, because I can't get enough.

Doron and a random mop lurking behind him.

FASTERMAN!!!! A.k.a. MILO. He's got a helmet in case he goes too fast.

More cool, old, urban, crusty architecture from Philly. I love it. Click on the image and check out the cool shape above each doorway - is there a name for that treatment? Let me know if you know....

Father/son negotiations underway.

On the way back up to NYC. I will always, always love this sign - it manages to be simultaneously boastful and whiny: Come ooooonnn, World, I always make you great things, and you always take, take, take, you never call, you never write, blah blah blah...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Phun in Philly.

I traveled down to Philadelphia on Saturday. Was supposed to go see Greg's latest paintings at his studio, but these plans fell through, alas... I did get to see Alex in his studio next door, though, and then another painter friend in the same building. Excellent painters, all, and good people too – here I am in in Alex's studio, and then Tom in his own studio:
Death by Art.

Tom in his studio.

Tom's art in Tom's studio.

Later that evening another friend and I were at a party and I met an artist who went through the MFA program at the San Francisco Art Institute but who now teaches at Tyler School of Art in Philly. She has some really interesting work, and it looks tremendously painstaking - large in size and done predominantly in ink, often ballpoint pen. Good stuff, check her out – her name is Samantha Simpson.

Earlier today (Sunday) I went to visit some friends from college who I haven't seen in over a decade (yipes!) – it's a shame that we lost touch for a bit there, alas. Anyway, they live in the northern 'burbs of Philadelphia these days, and I had no idea that area was such lush, and beautiful, and green, and full of turn-of the century houses, and all chock full of charm, and such – here's an example:

Wyncote, PA: luscious.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

NYC photo roundup.

Voilà, some photos from NYC.
Groovy Yayoi Kusama installation at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea.

Susan's gorgeous painting of a cow from Argenton-Château. Or should I say "vache"-? Anyway, sorry this photo is a bit blurry and washed-out, because it's a beautiful little painting. Mmm, vache.

Somehow I never get tired of the mosiacs in the NYC metro stations... especially when they're of cute birds.

And I also LOVE surprises!! Surprise! Surprise!

And who doesn't love William Morris-y wallpaper? Found in a friend's office building in SoHo.

Suddenly, Susan! Ta-da! Surprise! Surprise!

Even more surprising? This merger of Spock and Marilyn. It works surprisingly well - but is it Smock? Marilock? Sparilyn? You decide.

OMG, there's, like, a factory somewhere cranking out these creepy chef sculptures. Shudder. Let's hope they're not planning world domination, in a culinary sense or otherwise...

Creepy chef sculpture variant.


This is very "Sex and the City" in every way possible, no? No doubt they sell Manolo Blahhhhhhhniks.

Even owls get excited about New York pizza...

Chipmunk at the Evolution Store. Chipmunks: cute, even in death.

Reassuring news when one is on the subway...

Meet the Met.

I am ridiculously naïve for thinking that there is any feasible way to fit in all of the things I wanted to do in NYC this visit within the time constraints I created for myself. A key example of that is the sad realization that, no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, one cannot possibly do a quick drive-through of the Met just to check out a couple of paintings and take a "quick peek" at a fairly comprehensive retrospective (centenary exhibition, actually) of one of the most fascinatingly twisted painters of the 20th century. Alas, this is just not possible. No. Part of the issue is that I had forgotten this museum was in possession of such a treasure trove of awesome paintings. So, the earlier part of yesterday was consumed by the Met's European painting wing, getting some quality face-time with Bastien-Lepage's Joan of Arc, failing to find Sargent’s Madame X, and, of course, drooling my way through the Bacon exhibit. By the time I was done, there was no time to go over to the Brooklyn Museum for the Caillebotte exhibition, though I managed to convince myself I would have time for that next Tuesday sometime. We’ll see about that.
Joan of Arc - painting by Jules Bastien-Lepage

A painting by Franz von Lenbach - see this previous post for info on my visit to the Lenbachhaus in Munich...

And here's a nice (if blurry, sorry about the photo quality) one by Ilya Repin, I didn't realize they had any of his work...

...nor did I realize they had any by an old favorite of mine, Eugène Carrière - but, lo and behold, here he is. I know most people love a colorful painting, but his monochromatic palette is somehow most pleasing to me... as for modern painters, I think Michael Grimaldi leans a bit in this direction as well - and beautifully so.

After a stroll through Central Park and some forays into fabric stores and such, Susan and I found the NYC shop of Parisian chocolate shop Debauve et Gallais, and later I met up with lovely and talented fellow painter/fellow Studio Escalier student Sarah in the great café at the Neue Galerie. In the evening Susan and I went over to the Joyce Theater to check out the latest offering by MOMIX entitled "Botanica" – a breathtaking combination of dance, performance/fabric art and visual effects that I found to be extremely engaging. RECOMMENDED! Tragically, the high cost of theater tickets kept us from venturing out to see Mike Birbiglia's "Sleep Walk With Me" or Neil La Bute's "Reasons to Be Pretty" – but MOMIX was splendid, I'm glad I saw it. It's been too long since I’ve seen some good dance. Right on!

Friday, May 22, 2009

MAD, consumer.

Last night Susan and I went to the Museum of Art and Design ("MAD") on Columbus Circle. I'd actually never heard of it before, and though the organization has been around for decades, I gather their current building and location is relatively new - as in, within the past couple of years. I didn't expect to be quite as charmed as I was by the current exhibit of industrial ceramics – "Object Factory", but the creativity/innovation/overall awesomeness displayed in the works of the exhibit's contributing artists was actually quite astounding. You can see more at the previously highlighted link for the exhibition. Go for it.

So as mentioned, I indeed delved into some Consumerism yesterday, in the form of mostly benign (and easy-on-the-wallet) snooping around in the Strand and then some of the cheapo shops in SoHo before meeting up briefly with the lovely and amazing Rachel. As usual, the siren song of H&M lured me in, fortunately with minimal impact upon my finances. Ditto for Uniqlo, which I have had a hard time warming to, largely due to their vast and monotonous stock of such things as, say, polo shirts in 50 different colors. This bores me. However, I was able to find a deeply discounted shirt of which I am fond:

Who can resist a Dalmatian-y print? And to the tune of $5 USD? Not me, that's who. Woof.

I briefly stopped into the recently-opened (and much ballyhooed) NY location of the UK's Topshop – and quickly realized this was not the place for me... man, there were way too many sequins in there, thank God I got out before I had a seizure or something. I can't take that much SHINY. TOO SHINY. My GOD.

So as for the book front: the art section of the Strand – despite being populated by SUPER cranky book stockers (their employees have enough angry energy to either power a small country, or to spontaneously blow it up with the sheer force of their negativity) – was wholly enlightening in that I learned of a Francis Bacon show which just opened up at the Met. Now I just have to decide whether I can fit this into the agenda of gallery and museum sightings, or whether I'm Baconed out from previous shows I've seen at the Centre Pompidou and the Musée Maillol and such... but we shall see. I am definitely fond of the Bacon... stay tuned.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No St. Vincent. Oops.

So yesterday's post turned out to be a huge lie in that I didn't end up making it to St. Vincent after all... though I reeeally would have loved to see her live, I ended up spending last night getting caught up with a friend from high school who I hadn't seen in 20 years (auugh!!!) Yes, I am ancient. So, though I missed the concert the catching-up was totally worth it. Twenty years' worth of livin' takes a while to make up for. So, yay!

I meant to devote some time in yesterday's post to praise-heaping for my friend Alex's solo show at J. Cacciola Gallery show in Chelsea. His work is chronically divine, a transcendent experience for anyone who is in love with the violent beauty of paint. Did that make sense? Probably not. But his paintings, they make so much sense. Here's a peek:

These paintings by Alex Kanevsky.

Also nice was seeing another friend's painting in a group show over at Gallery Henoch:
This painting by David Graeme Baker; it looked absolutely lovely in person, both wispy and wistful in the best ways possible.

Today I am going to break from the art world temporarily to engage in crass, crappy, corrosively capitalistic commerce: it's SoHo or bust, baby. More soon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chelsea, lately.

Oh my, I think I have a case of art burnout. No, not really - I just hit Chelsea today and I hit it hard - my head hurts. Despite the overload, though, really, it was art lover's heaven. So many galleries, too little time. I had an agenda, but was easily sidetracked by many excellent discoveries along the way. I'll have to post more when I have the time, but one of the several highlights was an exhibition of German painter Silke Schöner at Dillon Gallery - this artist has a great way of using white space to great effect in her paintings. Also interesting was Scott Anderson at Stux Gallery, he actually has a really great artists statement to go along with his work, about fallen heroes and apocalyptic scenarios and, well, chaos. Worth looking at, and thinking about. Check it out.

More soon - gotta go see/hear St. Vincent, once I wade through the movie they seem to be filming in front of Susan's apartment here in the East Village. Yipes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm headed off for the next week or so to New York and Philadelphia, so updates here will be few and far between if they come at all. It's mostly a social and goof-off trip, of which John was supposed to be a part... however, given the recent cat-related health crisis, he will stay home with Huey and I will venture forth. I'm hoping to see some art while I'm up there, including a friend's exhibition in NYC and some other gallery/museum shows and so forth... I'll post updates at a later date. Hopefully I'll get some sketching in along the way, like the following sketches I was able to sneak in while passing through the airport in Las Vegas a number of years ago:

Monday, May 18, 2009

'tis the season: les pivoines.

Man, I'll miss our awesome friends/fellow artists here in Raleigh when we move back to California. Some of said friends bought these flowers for ole Huey, having heard of his hospitalization:
Very sweet, no? I told Huey that there were flowers for him at home... maybe that's what's speeding his recovery. That, and wanting to get the IV tubes out of his neck.

Speaking of flowers, my head was turned by some lovely peonies I spied during a trip to Whole Foods this weekend. Yay North Carolina peonies! I love peonies – I decided they're my second-favorite flower, a close second to lilacs. Apparently the peonies are in season here in NC currently, so I picked up some local fleurs with the intent to paint them. Naturally I did not end up having the time to do so, but I did manage to get in a little bit of sketching:

And here's a photo of the peonies themselves, lovely little peonies! Wish it could be scratch 'n' sniff, because they have a perfectly delicate scent. Rose-y, but not overwhelming.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Huey update.

So our dear Huey, a newly-diagnosed diabetic who was suffering a bout of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), is actually finally getting better... he went into the vet hospital on Wednesday night and was looking very, very bad for a while there – completely lethargic, to the point of not opening his eyes or moving, really, when we visited him. But he's made quite a turnaround in the past 24 hours, and is even eating solid food as of tonight. Yay! There's still progress to be made in stabilizing his blood sugar levels, but things are looking up. Needless to say, we're relieved. Here he is in healthier times, helping out Emmy with some cleaning (much to Emmy's surprise):
And here he is, reaching out to Emmy, unannounced. Hey.
P.S. Despite appearances to the contrary, Huey does not spend 100% of his time harassing Emmy. Only 80%. He's just full of lovin'.