Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dean Liscum Gets His Hands Dirty

This is what that slacker Dean Liscum has been doing instead of writing more posts. Helping Kathryn Kelley looks like serious work, with actual sweat involved. And any work that involved helping Kelley make more sculptures is work well-worth doing.


In the Studio with Alissa Blumenthal

Robert Boyd

After I discussed some of her paintings from the Core program show, I got an invite from Tatiana Istomina to visit her study where she produces paintings by "Alissa Blumenthal." I had never visited a Core studio, so I was quite eager. Long and thin, it seemed functional and less grungy than some studios I've seen. I guess the glass bricks are handy if you like to work with natural light. We settled in to talk as I tried to take it all in. I'm not a polite interlocutor when I'm surrounded by art--my eyes keep wandering. And this is especially true in an environment full of work like this that I find fascinating.

I didn't turn on the recorder on my phone--I wanted the conversation to be natural and unforced. (I also hate transcribing.) So this is all from my own imperfect memory. I wanted to discuss Alissa Blumenthal with Istomina. Blumenthal is the fictional painter to whom Istomina credits her work. Blumenthal is a painter who was born in Russia in 1899, studied with Malevich, immigrated to the U.S. in 1925, and lived a long, uneventful life in New York until her death in 1995, achieving very modest recognition for her art only occasionally, and dying completely unknown as an artist.

My main question was why create this alter-ego? Why not just do the paintings and claim them as your own? A curator who visited Istomina recently inadvertently answered that question. Looking around Istomina's studied, she declared "Painting is dead." "Blumenthal" shifts the time frame back to a period when painting was most certainly not dead--far from it.

But Istomina told me an interesting thing. She said that when she did the first Blumenthal paintings, she hadn't created Blumenthal yet. Blumenthal the fictional character was only a month old. What this suggests is that Istomina just wanted to do some abstract paintings--indeed, maybe felt compelled to do them--with no theoretical apparatus justifying their existence. She says that while she was doing them, she was so deep into them that such thoughts were banished. Jackson Pollack wrote,"When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing." The problem is, what happens when you are no longer "in the painting"? Istomina would move from the trance-like state of total engagement to self-doubt--is this just a piece of merchandise for sale? Does it have any other meaning? Blumenthal was a way to deal with those questions once she finished the work.

Of course, once you start down that road, Blumenthal takes of life of her own as Istomina adds new details to her biography. The paintings came first, but another approach would have been to make up a fictional painter, give her a biography, then paint paintings that seem to fit who she was. The paintings would then be, in a sense, illustrations for the biography of that painter. That is not what Istomina wants to do, but I wonder if it will be possible to avoid it. She created Blumenthal so she wouldn't have to think about the issues of what it means to be a painter in 2013. But now, can she paint without thinking about being a painter in 1940? 1924? Etc.?

I think so far, she has been able to resist becoming an illustrator of Blumenthal's life. For one thing, these paintings don't resemble paintings from Blumenthal's era. Someone for whom the creation of the fictional painter is the main thing wouldn't necessarily come up with such ahistoric paintings. Blumenthal is not just a painter of the 20s or the 40s, she is a highly eccentric painter from that period, doing work quite unlike her peers. That suggests a reason why her work was neglected--it didn't fit in with the narrative that was forming about modern art at that time. Another reasons for its neglect would be her sex. (One of the most exciting developments in recent decades has been the rediscovery of many women painters whose work was somewhat overlooked in their time--for instance, Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968 at the Brooklyn Museum in 2010. I was pleasantly surpirsed to see a large piece by Chryssa hung at the Menil this weekend.)

We discussed many other things that afternoon--Yves Klien, Thomas McEvilley, curve-fitting, etc. I tried to find a link between her training as a geophysicist (she has a PhD in the discipline from Yale) and her art, but she mostly shot this down. It was while she was getting her PhD that she became interested in art--by taking art classes at Yale. I am still astonished that someone would spend so much time and effort reaching the pinnacle of a notoriously difficult area of study (geophysics is geology with huge extra dollops of math) only to change courses so drastically. It's a powerful statement about how important art must be to Istomina.

On April 5, an exhibit, Alissa Blumenthal: A small retrospective, opens at Art Palace. I anticipate that it will be excellent.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Comics at the Emergency Room

Robert Boyd

I mentioned in my last post that Comics: Works from the Collection of Robert Boyd is still on view at the Emergency Room gallery at Rice. I hope readers will indulge me as I publish a few installation shots.

The Emergency Room has a very cool neon sign. It's called "The Emergency Room" because it is all about showing solo work and installations by emerging artists in the Houston area.

So what are a bunch of old comics pages doing there? Some of these artists could indeed be thought of as "emerging," but about half of them are dead. All the pieces come from my personal collection, so Chris Sperandio suggested the way to think of it was as art from an emerging collector.

That's flattering, I guess, but feels a little weird. All I did was to acquire this work. It's not that big a deal. Instead, I think that we keep the idea of "emerging" when we think about comics as an emerging art form. That's an arguable notion for an art that has been around since the early 19th century, but it is emerging into the consciousness of the art world. There are a few artists who have gallery representation and whose work is showed by museums. But within the art world, there is little institutional support for comics. As far as I know, the MFAH (and its many counterparts around the nation) are not buying up pages of comics art.

So what, one might ask? Comics is way outside the mission of a museum like the MFAH. Sure, but consider that the MFAH collects furniture and jewelry and decorative objects and films many other items that some might suggest are not capital "A" Art. (The retired longtime director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art--and former director of the MFAH--Philippe de Montebello said that the Met shows "every category of art in every medium from every part of the world during every epoch of recorded time.") The same is true with other museums all over the country. So from where I sit, this is still a blind spot for art institutions in the United States. (And sorry if I'm picking on you, MFAH. You know I love you.)

Anyway, it has been a personal mission of mine to bring the art world and the comics world closer together in whatever small way I can. That began with Misfit Lit at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle in 1992 (whence it traveled to LACE and several other venues). It continued with Walpurgis Afternoon (a two-person show featuring work by Marc Bell and Jim Woodring) in 2011 at Lawndale.

art by Peter Bagge

So with this show, I am again storming the castle wall of the art world armed with a peashooter. But eventually an army of critics, artists and curators each with her own peashooter will shoot enough peas to crack that wall. And maybe then we'll cease having shows like Splat Boom Pow! The Influenceof Comics in Contemporary Art (2003) at the CAMH, shows that honor comics by featuring one actual comics artist out of the 40 artists whose work was included.

clockwise from the top left: Jim Woodring, David Collier, Skip Wiliamson, Alison Bechdel, Alison Bechdel, Skip Williamson, Dylan Horrocks, David Lasky

But mostly it was a chance to show off a little bit of my collection and have some bragging rights. It's up through April 11. I'd be honored if readers of this blog would come see it.

clockwise from the top left: Gilbert Hernandez, Harry Tuthill, Harold Gray, Jaime Hernandez

The gallery is on what most people would call the second floor of Sewell Hall (but because they start counting floors from a sub-basement, it's officially on the fourth floor). The hours are Thursday, 5-7:00 p.m., Saturday, 11-3:00 p.m. and by appointment.

art by Walt Kelly


6 More Comics

Robert Boyd

I meant to review a lot more comics during the time that Comics was on view at the Emergency Room, but I haven't been as diligent as I hoped. That exhibit is still on view through April 11. I hope you will find the time to go check it out. It includes original comics artwork from a variety of artists, including Otto Soglow and Walt Kelly, whose work I review below.

The Lovely Horrible Stuff by Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf, 2012). A minor work in Campbell's oeuvre. The first half deals with his own interactions with money, including incorporating himself so that he can write and draw a Batman comic (and he sees this as every bit as absurd as it sounds) and loaning his father and law $70,000. Neither of these things ends well, which reinforces Campbell's basic sense that one should keep things simple, not borrow (or lend) money, and otherwise be a good, miserly Scot. Frequent quotations from headlines about the financial meltdown and recession of 2007-09 reinforce these views

The second part of the book involves an unintended trip to the island of Yap, where giant limestone discs were famously used as "money." Campbell explores the mythology and history surrounding this custom, and also discusses the economists who have used the example of Yap to discuss financial matters such as the concept of fiat money. But he finds himself more interested in the discs as artistic objects, carved by generations of anonymous Isamu Noguchis. At the end of the book, he suggests money problems have caused a serious rift between himself and his wife, suggesting that his frugal, conservative approach to money is no cure-all.

For this book, he floats text above each panel. There is a lot of text, and as a consequence, the panels are quite small. It feels like the art is almost an afterthought. The book is in color, and Campbell makes full use of the digital toolbox, but in ways that feel unique to him. The work often involves photographs combined with drawn images and "painted" with slabs of Photoshop color. Sometimes this doesn't work, but overall, it's quite interesting. Because of their detail, photos have an effect of stopping the eye and interrupting the visual flow of a comics narrative. But Campbell's technique of digitally painting the photographic elements simplifies them in much the same way a well-crafted drawn cartoon panel is simplified. This keeps the eye moving and the narrative puttering along.

(It is interesting but probably irrelevant to note that Eddie Campbell was a student of painter Derek Boshier.)

Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations, Part One: 1783-1953 by Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B (Self-Made Hero, 2012). Except for the first chapter, in which a Gilgamesh myth is retold using paraphrases from George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, the content of this book is fairly straightforward. It is a brief retelling of U.S./Middle east relations, starting with our early wars with the Barbary pirate states, our inability to prevent France and Britain from carving up the Ottoman empire after World War I, our establishment of friendly relations with the Saudis during World War II (as a guarantee of oil supplies for the war effort), and finally our involvement in the Iranian coup that set the Shah up as dictator. The book stops in 1953.

There are many details of this history that I didn't know which this book, brief though it is, lays out. I am somewhat troubled by its lack of a bibliography--the authors expect the reader to simply take them at their word that these are true accounts. As I read the section on Iran, it occurred to me that while this history is little known to most Americans, every Iranian probably knows it by heart. So while we may view them simply as religious fanatics, they hold a long grudge.

The reason I think so highly of this book is because of the astonishing cartooning of David B. David B employs literary devices that a poet might use: metaphor, metonymy, etc. And he uses devices that don't really have a name because there is no literary equivalent. He employs the structure of comics so creatively that I just can't think of another artist like him. It is especially striking that he uses this vast expressive toolbox in this essentially informational book. It is not an obvious approach, and yet it works beautifully, leaving the reader with a book ten times more fascinating than it would have been with more straightforward comics illustration. David B. turns what would have been just a polemic into a work of art.

The Furry Trap by Josh Simmons (Fantagraphics Books, 2012). The genre of horror, it seems to me, is at a disadvantage in comics. In prose, horror can use the imagination of the reader to fill in the horrific details--an imagination that each of us has, as we can see from our nightmares. Good prose horror depends on this partnership with the reader to work. In movies, the filmmaker controls time, which means that suspense and dread can be built up to extremely high levels before being released. The simplest version of this (but very effective) is the shot of the long-anticipated bogeyman popping out at the victim/protagonists.

Comics can't really do either of these things. So how does a horror cartoonist like Josh Simmons compensate? Partly by an unflinching willingness to show extremely horrible things quite explicitly (in ways that would never fly in a movie intended for general distribution). The Furry Trap is drawn in an accessibly light-hearted style (cartoonish), but Simmons nonetheless depicts terrible things--extreme scenes of sexualized violence. (This is not a book for the kids.) But curiously, the most unsettling story is "Demonwood." It feels like the prelude to the usual Simmons story--the horror is unstoppable and it's coming, but it isn't here yet. And that is truly frightening.

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, 2012). Mary Talbot is an English feminist scholar, the daughter of a well-known Joyce scholar, James S. Atherton, and the wife of graphic novelist Bryan Talbot. Dotter of Her Father's Eyes parallels her own childhood and upbringing with that of Lucia Joyce, the tragic daughter of James Joyce. And curiously, she chooses to tell it graphic novel form, drawing on her husband's considerable talents and, it must be added, encouraging him to move in a very different direction than his previous work. The book is divided into three interwoven parts--Mary Talbot's past, drawn in brown with a sepia-tone base (with occasional flashes of color), Lucia Joyce's parts, drawn with blue and back duotone, and the scene set in the present, which is drawn with simple black outlines and flat but vibrant Tintin-ish colors. Both of the "past" sections tend towards a sketchiness that I've never seen before in Bryan Talbot's work (it is still very precise; it only feels sketchy compared to his other work).

The problem with the book is that the two stories--Mary's and Lucia's--fail to really parallel one another. Lucia's life is one of thwarted ambition and madness. Mary's is one of abuse and neglect by her father. But Mary's ambitions, it seems to me, were never thwarted at all. If anything, her father seems annoyed that she is aiming so low, and is pleased when she gets her PhD. The most interesting parts dealt with the fact that she grew up in a working class neighborhood because her father wasn't making a lot of money as a Joyce scholar. So she had an intellectual cultural upbringing that was of little use to her on the playground. (Girls make fun of her at school for not knowing who the Beatles are.) There are parts of this book that are interesting and amusing, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1 by Walt Kelly (Fantagraphics, 2011). Pogo got its start as a comic book--this origin is possibly unique in the history of comic strips. That was in 1942. Pogo was revived as a daily strip for the New York Star, a short-lived liberal newspaper, and when it folded in 1949, Pogo got picked up by a syndicate and began its glorious newspaper run. This volume reprints all the New York Star strips and all the syndicated strips through the end of 1950. Kelly's drawing style is quite mature--it's not going to evolve much from here on out. He had worked for Disney and had very slick, deft brushwork. But the strip, constrained by space that an animated movie never has to face, is visually dense, a thicket of brushed lines. His language is dense as well--in an era that is about to see the coming of such minimal strips as Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Hi & Lois, King Aroo, etc., Pogo stands out. These are not strips that, as Wally Wood said of Nancy, take more time not to read than to decide not to read.

In the first two years we get some of the familiar tropes and most of the regular characters. There is a world series game, a gift from Porkypine to Pogo on Christmas, and so on. There are hints of the political aspect of the strip that will come to characterize it, but most of that is in the future. For these first two years, it's mostly about slapstick and wordplay.

Cartoon Monarch: Otto Soglow and the Little King by Otto Soglow, edited by Dean Mullaney (IDW, 2012). The Little King got its start in The New Yorker and made a transition to the comic strips, where it ran from the 1930s to the 1970s. Soglow was a minimalist--frequently the strips had no words at all, and even when they did, he kept them to a minimum. The drawing consisted of simple forms and elegant, thin lines. The strips dealt with a small number of themes over and over, using them as a way to create formal variations on simple ideas. It's in these variations that the strip shines. This thick, well-edited volume shows Soglow returning to the same jokes over and over again (mixed up hats and crowns, soldiers on parade, advertising signs, etc.). Some of the funniest strips are about the King's reaction to modern art. Cartoonists loved to make fun of modernist art (which I've always found ironic--the greatest cartoonists distorted and abstracted the human figure every bit as much as any modernist painter). But Soglow ends up portraying his king as a post-modernist avant la lettre. There are more than one strip where on seeing an art exhibition, the little king adds his own art--which will invariably be an advertisement or a sign with words.

There are several series of comic strip reprints that are attempting to collect the entire work of a given cartoonist on a certain comic strip--Pogo (above), Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates, E.C. Segar's Popeye, Frank King's Gasoline Alley, etc. But this approach is not appropriate for every classic comic strip. In the case of The Little King, it would be tedious to read 40 years worth of these strips. This well-chosen collection of Soglow's best is a better way to honor this master of minimalism. Cartoon Monarch also includes an excellent biographical essay on Soglow.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Translucence: A Talk with Lucinda Cobley

Virginia Billeaud Anderson

Lucinda Cobley is intellectually engaged with her process of painting and printing on transparent materials such as etched glass and clear plastic. The artist possesses impressive knowledge of her materials and at times sounds like a scientist when discussing light refraction or the chemical properties of marble dust. Her practice is to apply oils or acrylics mixed with minerals and pigments such as alabaster, malachite or marble dust, onto stacked sheets of Mylar, frosted plexi, or glass, so that textured paint, reflected light and shadows resolve into meditative translucence.

Cobley recently opened her Sequence exhibition at Wade Wilson Art (up through April 27), and when I previewed it I was disarmed by seeing all of her favorite materials in a single exhibition. There was complexity and cohesion in the presentation that moved me. To anchor my understanding of her chosen process, as well as her evolution in the last five years, I asked a few questions.

Lucinda Cobley, Intervals No. 5, 2012, Ink on plastic, 50 x 40 inches

Virginia Billeaud Anderson: Let’s begin with printing. You are exhibiting mono prints in Sequence, and simultaneously in Santa Fe. Last year you exhibited prints in Wade Wilson’s Impressions show, and in the Spring Street exhibition, and at the Museum of Printing History in October. Tell me about your printing.

Lucinda Cobley: I had not done any print making for many years. It evolved out of working with transfer drawings using carbon paper. I realized I was making a simple print, so that led to mono printing using a brayer, a rubber roller, and a sheet of glass. At first I tried to keep things simple and clean but after a while I began to “let go” and that process became exciting once I began to print from various surfaces such as strips of wood and rubber. About a year ago I joined Burning Bones Press, a print-making co-operative so I could have access to a printing press and evolve. I got excited about re-reading Paul Virilio’s The Aesthetics of Disappearance. Virilio’s book got my brain working!

VBA: That’s impossible reading. I’ll never forget the day I saw those large sheets of plastic drying in the sun. Blue-toned ink created translucent horizontal forms that were also grid-like. Passages ranged from visually abrupt to faint and timid. Many reminded me of waves.

LC: The horizontality of the Intervals series was akin to landscape - water and sky began to materialize out of forms created from the brayer's lap marks which appeared like changing atmospheric effects and time elapsing, as the ink petered out across the surface. Intervals (transition), one of the new pieces from this year, is a hybrid work. I started by using a brayer and transferring marks by mono printing methods, but then went into it with a brush and worked it into a painting. But I used printmaking ink, which is different from drawing ink such as India ink. It's more viscous.

Lucinda Cobley, Intervals (transition), 2013, Ink on plastic, 44 x 36 inches

VBA: You are known for your layered glass works, and of course glass design was a specialty in your art education in England. (It might surprise you to know I’m aware of two other Houston-based artists who completed postgraduate work at Central Saint Martin’s, both teachers.) Talk about your glass work.

LC: The (Dis)appearance triptych in “Sequence” is glass, it’s made with acrylic and pigments on etched glass. It contains 3 glass panels that I “etched” into, with the sandblasting process. The panels are etched on the reverse side.

VBA: That triptych’s coloring is subdued compared to the more boldly colored glassworks in the 2010 Revision series. I recall a striking magenta with weird blurring. Color seemed to float.

LC: For Revision, I painted on both sides of the glass, so it’s fair to say paint was vigorously applied. Also I sandblasted both sides of the glass, meaning I used compressed air to shoot sand to give the glass a granular texture. Due to layering, etching and textured paint, those works have the perception of depth, the reflection and translucency I desire.

Lucinda Cobley, from the Revisions Series, 2010, 2011, Oil and pigment on glass

VBA: You incorporate plexi into works, and some of the new plexi pieces have mirrors.

LC: My Reverb series is made of plexi and mirror plexi. Each piece has three stacked layers - two plexi layers and one plexi mirror, all painted with acrylic and pigment.

Lucinda Cobley, Reverb ii from the Reverb Series, 2013, Acrylic and pigment on plexi with mirror plexi, 44 x 36 inches

VBA: Because we’ve discussed it in the past, I’m aware of your strong interest in pigments. You studied their properties formally, and seriously studied the history of their use from the Neolithic through the ancient Egyptians and Romans, and subsequent eras. And you have lectured on and taught classes on mixing pigments.

LC: Yes, by adding pigments one can alter paint’s texture, and alter color visually. Particles embedded within the paint change it granularly so surface quality can be a crystalline finish perhaps or a matte finish. Marble dust is one of my favorites.

VBA: Also graphite.

LC: Sequence includes works from my Transposition: Graphite series. In them acrylic is mixed with graphite on drafting film. I enjoy combining graphite powder with matte fluid acrylic medium. It seems to contrast and also be comparable to painting with white pigments such as marble dust. Both have had long historical use as pigments.

VBA: OK, after you mix acrylic paint with a medium, and a pigment, what tools or implements do you use for application?

LC: I use a variety of tools - a brush, squeegee, spatula, palette knife.

Lucinda Cobley, From the Transposition: Graphite Series, 2013, Acrylic and pigment on plastic, 26 x 19 inches

VBA: Plastic makes up a significant part of your portfolio, and it turns out one of your plastic pieces, Revision: White 1, entered the permanent collection of the MFAH. Curator Rebecca Dunham put Revision: White 1 in the museum’s 2011 Synthetic Support: Plastic is the New Paper exhibition, which included works by Jasper Johns who innovated the technique of drawing with ink on translucent polyester film. You told me at the time of the acquisition that Revision: White 1 had layered sheets of plastic painted with acrylic mixed with selenite crystal, and that the ancient Babylonians called the mineral selenite “moon dust.” A shaft of moonlight in your bedroom inspired that painting.

LC: MFAH hung me next to a Man Ray!

Lucinda Cobley, Colour Transposition Series 5, 2013, Acrylic and pigments on plastic, 12 x 12 inches

VBA: Lucinda, you once used the word “rhythm” in an artist statement, and in my opinion it’s a proper word for the new small-scale plastic pieces. Most have disarranged columnar forms and diagonals, with estranging colors.

LC: The 12 x 12 works are from my Colour Transposition series, in which each piece is made with 2 layers of polyester drafting film, which is actually Mylar. Paint application varied from thick to thin veils of color, I used both runny liquid paint and more viscose paint, and some paints are mixed with a variety of pigments. I attempted to pair the sheets that seemed to work together. An “eclipsing” takes place as the upper painting creates a dynamic with the lower, obscuring almost completely or contrasting in a way that is visually compelling. After pairing, I tried to unify the whole by reworking the surfaces, adding and erasing paint.

The choice of forms - the vertical blocks and diagonals are simple shapes that are vehicles for experimenting with color and texture. The forms are derivative of tree trunks or branches but in misshapen fragmented states, as if seen through a veil.

VBA: For all that is deliberate, your process is sprinkled with randomness.

LC: It pleases me you get that. Colour Transposition allowed surprises - heavier gestural marks and unexpected hues. I can do something radically different each time. I enjoy working in a way that offers the possibility of chance arrangements, it keeps the process fresh.

Lucinda Cobley, Colour Transposition Series 2, 2013, Acrylic and pigments on plastic, 12 x 12 inches


Judy Haberl's Ghostly Garden

Robert Boyd

The Houston Center for Photography has a very interesting show up right now called Unusual Garden. One photographer has a room all to herself. Judy Haberl's photograph Antidote, takes up one complete wall. It's 21 feet wide. Then on another wall are circles of woven fabric arranged in a seemingly random pattern.

Judy Haberl, Antidote from the series Photoluminescent, photoluminescent print, 21 x 8'

Judy Haberl, Antidote (Doillies) from the series Photoluminescent, photoluminescence on woven fabric

The room they are in is curtained off from the rest of the HCP by heavy, opaque curtains. And every few minutes, the lights turn themselves off. Then you see something like this.

Judy Haberl, Antidote from the series Photoluminescent, photoluminescent print, 21 x 8'

I apologize for the shaky image--it would have been better if I had used a tripod. This glowing image of a topiary garden in a darkened room verged on the uncanny. The five-year-old me might have been unnerved by the topiary--the sudden darkness and mysterious green glow would have been terrifying. I've been obsessed with things that glow ever since I was a kid seeing the phosphorescent minerals at the Museum of Natural Science. The effect in artwork is often used towards trivial ends, but Antidote seems just right--it speaks to the deep spookiness of glowing images.

Judy Haberl, Antidote (Doillies) from the series Photoluminescent, photoluminescence on woven fabric

And Doillies is, if anything, even more powerful. (Again, forgive the focus--imagine them in sharp forcus. Or better yet, get down to the HCP and see them in person. The show is up through April 21.) As woven circles in a lit room, they made little impression on me. As glowing objects floating in front of my face in a pitch dark room, I felt myself regressing like William Hurt in Altered States. I was a primitive animal, perhaps a rotifer, swimming in a warm Cambrian ocean among a colony of photoluminescent diatoms. It is a shock when the lights come back on, yanking one back into reality.

There is something a little gimmicky about producing glow-in-the-dark art. Certainly it doesn't seem like a medium conducive to producing strong feelings in the viewer. As Bob Dylan put it, "...flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark / It’s easy to see without looking too far / That not much is really sacred." But somehow Haberl has pulled it off. I was unexpectedly stirred by these glow-in-the-dark pieces.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pan Recommends for the week of March 28 to April 3

Robert Boyd

I've been in a hotel room in Arkansas for the whole week, so here are a few things I am looking forward to very strongly when I get back to sweet home Houston.


God's Architects by Zachary Godshall at 14 Pews, 7 pm. A documentary about visionary architects and the mystical visions from God that inspired their work. Sounds fascinating!


Christopher Cascio, Harvest Time, 2012

35th UH School of Art Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at the Blaffer Gallery, 6 pm. A show I look forward to every year, this year's class includes Megan Badger, Christopher Cascio, Erica Ciesielski Chaikin, Fiona Cochran, Carrie Cook, Stacey Farrell, El Franco Lee II, Elicia Garcia, Jessica Ninci, Stephen Paré, Jasleen Sarai, and Katelin Washmon. Many of these artists have been making their mark locally for a while, but now they will have something they didn't have before: a diploma (to paraphrase the Wizard of Oz).

Jessica Ninci, Waiting for to Go, 2012

Hillaree Hamblin painting from Daytime Television

Daytime Television featuring art by UH and Rice art students Trey Ferguson, Hillaree Hamblin, Stephanie Hamblin, Miguel Martinez, and Ana Villagomez, curated by Debra Barrera at galleryHOMELAND, 6 pm. The UH Thesis show isn't the only student show opening Friday night--young artists traditional rivals Rice and UH are teaming up at galleryHOMELAND to show their stuff.


Project Row Houses Roung 38 featuring installations and work by M’kina Tapscott and Kenya Evans, Darin Forehand, Derek Cracco, Jürgen Tarrasch, Sean Shim-Boyle, Rahul Mitra, and Thomas Sayers Ellis, 2:30 pm (artists' talks) and 4 pm (opening). Another big Project Row Houses Saturday afternoon, featuring some work in cultural exchange with Space One Eleven in Birmingham, Alabama.


Paul Horn's Cheeseburger Cheeseburger II at the McDonald's @ I-45 and N Main, 7 to 10 pm. A pop up show at Houston's swankiest eatery, brought to you by Paul Horn and his merry band