Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FIGUARATIVELY THEMED WORKS

West Loop Trilogy – Part 1 Contemporary Figuratively Themed Works EC Gallery ChicagoDecember 11, 2009 – January 9, 2010
jeffery mcnary NEOTERICART
It’s as if couriers have arrived, delivering storms of color and skillfully engineered works to the EC Gallery. With the current exhibition, “Contemporary Figurative Themed Works”, curator Ewa Czeremuszkin, has re-collected and filled full her right-size gallery with the art of both Tadeusz Bilecki and Agata Czeremuszkin-Chrut. There’s a bright lawlessness in these handful of paintings, stimulating the senses, and suddenly enabling the visitor to exhale, and to glide from the everyday.
“The paintings, currently exhibited, belong to the ‘Pisz litery’ (‘Write letters’) series. The leading subjects are letters, which I sometimes see in advertisement photography or on billboards”, says Czeremuszkin-Chrut. “My work is very intuitive. I quickly draw specific lines which are my first concept, and which later on I change hundreds of times.”
“Fall Back”, acrylic and oil on canvas’, brings the viewer broad brush strokes blending color, grays and blues forced into purple. There are deep scratches topside through the layered paint. There’s washed pink near its heart with dark, questioning droplets directing toward the deep, the regal purple, the wondering, before shouting loudly, ‘where are you going?’, spreading its fever.
“The, ‘Fall’, series touches upon the topic of two people coexisting and the resulting psychological supremacy of one of them over the other”, the artist shares. “From these, risky combinations and contrasts of colours arise, which only seemingly do not go together.” These works do not wait around for the viewer to catch up. They’re off and fluid and one need leap in front of them.
Her, “Fell Down”, mixed media, brings more purple, and scraping on a broad swath of brown. There are written letters between two figures in this work. “I am often inspired by press, photography and lettering. However, I am not interested in the messages they carry. I dissect them, strip them of their meaning while giving them a new one,” explains. “The elements of lettering included in my works have no communicative value whatsoever, but only a visual one. In a way, they are a manifestation of the modern world. Images just fall into my head and evolve into new ideas.”
The ineluctable works of Tadeusz Belecki are both bold, powerful and have visited upon the gallery in the past. There’s an intriguing texture and immense dimension to his works. They embrace back and kick high. “There are influences, on every moment. They sometimes change the whole artistic searching process. Sometimes even in a drastic way. The influences come from art history or every day life,” he says. His stirring pieces are washed and dreamlike.
“The choice of colours is the result of an evolution, a research process which is always changing, sometimes in an unexpected way. More and more often, there are violent combinations of colours, sometimes accidental,” he continued. “Before, there were more thoughtful, calm, esthetic combinations of colours. Before, I was in search of harmony and balance. Nowadays, the colours I am using are more nervous, stressful, more chaotic.”
Czeremuszkin-Chrut meets that with a game changing, “The limitation of colours? I want my paintings to become sterile, monochrome and very economical. I am also planning to go back to mural painting of large format – contact with a wall arouses very different emotions in a spectator as well as in the artist…texture and scale of a wall are a huge challenge.”
Bilecki’s phenomenal, “The Apparition of the Geisha –suite”, acrylic on paper strayed early on from ready made shades in grid and forethought. The works are pastel like. They are comfortable in the conviction and flavor.
He does not fight for change or evolution in these works. “It is not useful”, he shares. “The need to create, artistic searching is much stronger of me. I am doing it during my whole life, and it is a long time since I stop from thinking about the use of creating, if the creation act is helping me or the other way round.”
Czeremuszkin-Chrut convictions sway differently. “Fighting is involved in each of my paintings because most of them are created through multiple changes of decisions regarding the way of painting (which leads to over painting as a consequence). When matter resists, rivalry and competition are born. The painting resists and demands; it does not allow me to ‘break’ it and shape it.”
Giving thought to future works she sees,”… evolution, and I carry out this process on purpose. I am interested in endless synthesis of human form, in making its personality traits disappear completely, “she says. “I aspire to create a new and individual human form – my own human form. Apart from anonymity, also biology characterized by hidden sexuality, is important to me. I would like to make my work deeper in a psychological sense: a human being as an anonymous entity and at the same time as embodiment of the crowd.”
“I like it very much to observe the evolution of my work, but only when observing the work already done (as if this was already historic)”, says Bilecki. “I never think about it when creating or when preparing my future art works. I have no idea! I leave it, the theoretic art, to redactors and great philosophers, as for instance you,” he shares in jest, “You always have a global look. I don’t.”
http://www.ec-gallery.com/

DRAGGING THE LEASH, LINDA WARREN GALLERY

West Loop Trilogy – Part 2 Juan Angel Chavez: Dragging the LeashLinda Warren GalleryChicagoDecember 11 – January 16, 2010
jeffery mcnary - NEOTERICART

Juan Angel Chavez’s solo exhibition, “Dragging the Leash”, now at the Linda Warren Gallery, lays out a sermon. It presents an emblematic voyagers tale told in pressed wood and street found jagged things tidied up and made to rejoice. It leads the viewer off the curb like an intruder, into circles of the semi-starved and discarded and the opera which runs aside such cultures. It bites, while not drawing blood. It’s way past that. “My work has always had a consistent theme that relates to the notion of being free while being tied to the responsibilities of civilization”, he says. “This is what I call feral work. Thematically speaking, it’s about the ingenuity of survival.” It’s the central activity of this show.
Upon entering the exhibition, “Otherside”, a 3-D collage, beckons the viewer to bend or squat, to take a look inside of the orange, battered construction barrel on its side, back lit, encouraging a peep. “On this particular body of work I’m focusing on the idea of being homeless, the consumption of decay and transient ways of life”, Chavez says. This piece, more or less, kicks off his tour, saddled upon cut waves of wood. Social demanding art has fascinated Shakespeare and many the philosopher – Aristotle, Plato, mac-man Machiavelli to name a few, and a posse or two of rappers. There’s rough shit in that landscape. Mouths move and words don’t come out.
But then…comes now, “Last Breath”, mixed media, with its near overwhelming narrative quality. “Last Breath” is about watching someone die in front of my eyes”, the artist rises. “It’s the contradiction…of life and death and the tranquility in the eyes as he went. I began working on layers until I achieved the feeling of that moment. That is my ultimate goal in the work. I want them to be felt while they are looked at.” Antlers reach from the work, along with tufts of fur, burned wood and a melted plastic letter. And it dictates sadly and clearly, in long hand, the story of another pilgrim’s engagement with concrete and cold.
The circular emerges in many of the artist’s works. Segments of “Deep Scars”, produce a star filled sky effect. Another side of the same work carries a wooden log, back-lit to portray a fire, camp or barrel, providing sympathy and warmth for the resident. The homeless often decorate their spaces and Chavez captures that with a small banner of a male and female figure hanging from the work. Each piece holds its own history. “Shine”, sneers out the memory of a deer, or man, or woman frozen in the headlights of a vehicle where they’d best not be.
Mr. Chavez’s career making art rolled out with his murals around Chicago’s neighborhoods. He has been a prolific figure on that scene with a major work, a mural on the city’s major transit line. “My grand mother drew me to art and the influences have been vast”, the artist shares, continuing, “My influence draws from Rushenberg, Chuck Close, Gordon Matta Clark and others. But, I’m also inspired by outsider art. I’m inspired by what I consider the battle against permanence, which includes daily displays of overcoming what we build and what we forget.” There are other works here one just must spend time with.
The step into the Linda Warren Gallery is a bold, and can be seen as a ‘breakout’ move for the artist. It’s charming. Such ether is a gear shift from the non-for-profit board driven options having housed much of his works and messages in the past and have provided limited choices, and visibility. Will such a move call for a new direction for the artist? Will the pieces fight back as they sometime do? “I wrestle with all of them but they all have a different fight”, he shares. “Some start out huge and end up small. Others are simple and complicated at the same time. When they get overwhelming I usually go for a walk until clarity appears.”
No one can predict the fate of Chavez’s subjects, or the terms and direction of his brilliant, conscious art. “I’m wanting to continue this same path. I have several projects I want to develop regarding this direction. So, it’s hard for me to say what’s the direction. I’m going with this work. I guess you are going to have to wait and see.” And that we will, sir, eager and anxious.
http://www.lindawarrengallery.com/

Friday, November 20, 2009

GO CRIMSON! YALE SUCKS!!

SCRATCH A YALE MAN WITH BOTH HANDS AND YOU'LL BE LUCK TO FIND A COAST-GUARD. USUALLY YOU FIND NOTHING AT ALL!

Friday, November 13, 2009

BRIGITTE RIESEBRODT : METAMORPHOSE

jeffery mcnary
CHICAGO ART REVIEW . NET

GALERIE DE ROY BOYD Rue de 739 puits de N. 30 octobre-5 janvier L'exposition courante à la galerie de Roy Boyd, Brigitte Riesebrodt métamorphose, tient le récit, la perception, et les traces de la foi. Ici l'artiste répand la peinture, littéralement et figuratif avec ses mains sur la toile, et distinctif sur les barres cirées du chêne incurvé et superficiel par les agents des barils une fois remplis du vin italien qu'elle a choisi d'employer. Il n'y a aucun aspect aléatoire dans son utilisation de couleur, beaucoup mettent à la terre des nuances des verts et du cuivre. Elle utilise une fluidité des médias. L'artiste a dépensé presque une peinture de décennie en Toscane, et a utilisé les fresques tôt de cette région et autour à d'Arezzo, en particulier ceux de de Giavanni et Pieve, les deux artistes de la Renaissance de XVème siècle de la région. Parfois les contradictions apparaissent, et le travail peut sembler aigu. Après tout, les fresques commissionnés du mid-1400 ont été daignés pour refléter les triomphes du christianisme. Les travaux de Mme Risesebrodt's sont des résumés, non représentatifs, avec les deux raccordements et interprétations exigeant une large portée. Dans la comparaison, ils sont près de bruit. Elle, « dîner de Leonardo le dernier », le pétrole et la cire sur le bois, sont apparus dans l'institut d'art de l'exposition récente de Chicago, « une caisse pour le vin », mais n'ont pas été tenus en tant que constante. La « rue d'ATF Angelico John », pétrole et cire sur le bois présente une autre série de barres de baril, encore en terre attrayante modifie la tonalité. L'artiste tient une appréciation pour le travail de Twombly et de celui de l'expressioniste danois, par Kirkeby, et exprime la facilité avec laquelle la genèse de son travail dévoile pour elle « Les seuls travaux que j'ai luttés avec sont les collages », les parts d'artiste. Ces travaux, sur la toile, prend le téléspectateur en variant les couleurs pastel, avec d'autres nuances piaulant à travers. Parfois le téléspectateur se demande où l'exposition va, autre que son mouvement vertical. « Ce, » des parts l'artiste, « est parce que la majeure partie de mes travaux précédents a été horizontale » Le travail de Riesebrodt saute avec élégance elle dans une arène des peintres techniquement habiles, et les notices de visionneuse qu'elle est clairement au-dessus de cette barre dès l'abord. Mais il y a peu d'autre pour expliquer, seulement pour comprendre et espérer seulement plus dans une exécution différente.

Monday, November 9, 2009

SEMPER FIDELIS

On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of "American Marines." Congress commissioned 31-year-old Samuel Nicholas, a well-known Philadelphian, as captain of the fledgling force of Continental Marines. Nicholas raised two battalions of Marines and began the long history of g...reen amphibious monsters, made of blood and guts, who arose from the sea, feasting on anti-Americans throughout the globe,doing or dying, rompin', stompin' United States Marines. Happy birthday! Huuraah!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

LOVE, LINDA

Hitching a Star to the Stardom of Cole Porter
By DANIEL M. GOLD
Published: November 4, 2009, NYT
Forty-five years after his death, Cole Porter has never truly left town. His songs are a staple of Manhattan’s cabaret scene: one performer finished a tribute at the Algonquin last month, while two others just opened shows that prominently feature his work.
Stevie Holland in her one-woman musical show, "Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter."
None are as ambitious as Stevie Holland, a jazz singer who has tried to steer into somewhat more daring precincts. Apparently drawing on sources like William McBrien’s fine Porter biography and the 2004 film “De-Lovely,” Ms. Holland and her husband, the composer Gary William Friedman, have written “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter.”
It’s billed as a one-woman play, directed by Ben West. Really, though, it’s cabaret. Ms. Holland takes the nightclub stage of the Triad Theater as Linda Lee Porter, the dazzling divorced socialite from Kentucky who wed Porter, eight years her junior, in 1919 when both were expatriates in Paris. Despite her husband’s homosexuality — Ms. Holland has Linda saying she “accepted his romantic appetite for men because I had his love” — the couple stayed married for 35 years, until Linda’s death from emphysema in 1954.
With a trio playing smoothly behind her, Ms. Holland runs through truncated versions of some of Porter’s best-known songs — “In the Still of the Night,” “I Love Paris,” “What Is This Thing Called Love?” — as well as a handful of comparative rarities. Instead of conventional patter, she ladles out bits of the Porter chronology in a Southern-tinged lilt.
There’s a lot of ground to cover, even for a more polished actress than Ms. Holland: the couple’s time in Europe; the return to the States and Porter’s first great Broadway successes; the move to Hollywood; the horse-riding accident that disabled him; Linda’s failing health. As a result, the piece, which clocks in at just about an hour, feels rushed. Not only does it make great demands of Ms. Holland, who between her singing and narration barely has time to pause, but it also shortchanges the audience, which for the most part gets only bits and pieces of songs that cry out for full, lustrous renditions.
This is a shame because Ms. Holland, tall and stately, has a graceful, silken voice that glides easily through her material. “Love for Sale,” which she sang after discussing the Porters’ growing estrangement in Hollywood, carried emotional weight, and she gave the closing number, “When a Woman’s in Love,” a real sense of triumph.
“Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter” runs through Nov. 21 at the Triad Theater, 158 West 72nd Street, Manhattan; (212) 352-3101, lovelindathemusical.com.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

JOHN AND SHAWN SLAVIK, COMMON LAYERS

jeffery mcnary

Chicago Art Review

There is a rich body of knowledge in the exhibition of John and Shawn Slavik currently at the Ogilvie/Pertl Gallery. The kinship and comparative approaches of these artists, “represent something or some point” in time which transcends the matter of fact. The exhibition, works of father and son, reaches through layers of wood and paint and material and returns with art, without filter. They make book, charmingly, passionately.

The exhibition, “Common Layers”, shares two disciplines, taking the viewer upstream in ways which explore the natural world and how we interpret and behave, possibly, beyond it.

“When things happen to me, I put it in my back pocket”, shares the senior, John, “And I say, ‘someday I’m gonna do something with that.’” And that he has and does, with his installations and flair and veneration of things natural. With his, ‘Indicator”, a wood carved bird, with protective lead covering its head, bares statements, ‘Sing with me’, ‘Why is there bigotry?’, ‘What goes around comes around’, ‘Pay attention’, and other comments. The sculpture is a social statement providing a stylistic luster to the artist’s manifesto. “An indicator gives a warning”, he says, “like that canary in a coal mine story. We, people”, he continues, “have this attitude that we’re the only things on the planet that feel, that think. This bird’s saying, ‘wait a minute, what about us. Since you’re the guardian of the planet, do something.’”

He works in both representative and abstract styles. “They’re both significant he says. I’m the story teller, and here’s a story,” he says pointing to, ‘Good and Evil,’ a stainless sculpture. The piece is in perfect balance when moving and connected when viewed from different perspectives. “Good and evil meet from time to time in life,” he shares.

Shawn’s work, ‘Don’t take Advice from Someone You Wouldn’t Trade Places With’, is an esoteric mixed media, skillfully employing wood and metal, color pigment and oil. “Choosing materials is most important”, he says. ‘It’s a very physical thing. I put on layers of paints, oil, pigments, they build up and I sand them down and carve into them.” The naked tree shapes are influences of the modernist architectural photographer, Julius Shuman, whom Shawn holds in high esteem. He adds that since Shuman’s death, he starts, “I’m throwing down trees”, hesitating, “I think I’ll stop….”, and trails off.

‘You Were Right About the stairs, Each One is a Setting Sun’, a mixed media on wood, steel and hydrosol, whistles, then smiles with its yellow ochre, to the viewer upon entering the show. It makes its presence known. The work, also Shawn’s, carries a host of black circles burned into the wood, further heightening the experience. “This holds a story of a conversation I had once. It was about planets and stars and galaxies and sun rises and sunsets. If we’re experiencing a sunset here, imagine how many other sunrises and sunsets there must be out there.”

Shawn mixes loose pigments with oil to arrive at his colors, and as a result they are seasonal, impacted by the temperature. “Not every thing makes it out of the workshop. Some fight back.”

The passion of the exhibition is uplifting. It’s no token affair and the relationship between the two artists is anything but common. “We’re our biggest critics”, says Shawn, “and he’s my best friend.”

The exhibition teaches and side steps strict adherence, and in the end is both stirring and stimulating. (Jeffery..McNary)

Monday, November 2, 2009

MADAM N'DIAYE, OUI?

Marie NDiaye a déclaré à la presse, en arrivant devant le restaurant Drouant où le prestigieux prix venait de lui être attribué :"Je suis très contente pour le livre et pour l'éditeur. Je suis très contente d'être une femme qui reçoit le prix Goncourt." "Une sorte de miracle s'était déjà produit avec le succès du livre", a-t-elle dit, ajoutant : "Ce prix est inattendu. C'est aussi le couronnement et la récompense de vingt-cinq ans d'écriture et de cette opiniâtreté." Ce livre "est le portrait de trois femmes fortes, chacune à sa manière. Ce qui les unit, c'est une force profonde, une croyance en qui elles sont, une façon de ne jamais douter de leur propre humanité. Ce sont des femmes tranquillement puissantes".
Marie NDiaye a dit espérer que cette récompense permette de mieux faire connaître l'histoire des femmes africaines. "L'histoire des migrants est une histoire déjà souvent relatée, mais si le sort de ces gens peut être encore mieux su et compris, j'en serai très contente."

FRÉDÉRIC BEIGBEDER A "UNE PENSÉE" POUR LE PROCUREUR DE PARIS
L'écrivain Frédéric Beigbeder, qui a obtenu le prix Renaudot, a déclaré : "Le Renaudot est la meilleure des drogues, vraiment je le conseille, c'est extrêmement agréable."
"J'ai une pensée pour le procureur de Paris, à qui je dois beaucoup. Je n'aurais pas écrit ce livre si je n'avais pas été mis en garde à vue. Je remercie également les policiers du huitième arrondissement", a ironisé l'écrivain.


Dans Un roman français (Grasset), Frédéric Beigbeder raconte son interpellation le 29 janvier 2008 en plein Paris alors qu'il consommait de la cocaïne sur le capot d'une voiture. Il avait été alors mis en garde à vue puis transféré au "dépôt". Dans la première version du livre, l'auteur s'en prenait brutalement au procureur Jean-Claude Marin, qu'il accusait d'avoir prolongé sa garde à vue.


Les éditions Grasset ont caviardé, avec le consentement de l'auteur, quatre pages de cette première mouture. Dans la version édulcorée, certaines attaques ont disparu. "Je ne peux pas écrire ici tout le bien que je pense de 'Jicé'. Jean-Claude Marin est procureur de Paris : il faut faire super gaffe quand on écrit sur lui", écrit-il.


Revenant sur cette polémique avec le haut magistrat, Frédéric Beigbeder a évoqué "un mini-scandale complètement absurde et oublié aujourd'hui. Tant mieux". "Le Renaudot efface tout, il remet j'espère mon travail là où il doit être, c'est-à-dire humble et sincère", a estimé le romancier.

Friday, October 30, 2009

JEFFERY IN THE HOUSE

“One Question” with Jeffery McNary
NORBERT MARSZALEK
neoteric ART
10/29/09

Jeffery McNary came of age in Chicago, Illinois. After a career in public service, including service as an Economic Development advisor to then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, turned to journalism and writing. His work can be found in Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The Vineyard Gazette, the Boston Phoenix, Transition Magazine, and other outlets including Chicago Art Review. His poetry has been published in Iconoclast Magazine. Mr. McNary is currently crafting a screenplay, “Ro”, in which he captures the volatility and passion of socio-political in the 60’s and 70’. He is also currently composing a volume of poetry, “Simple Epistles”. Mr. McNary currently divides his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Paris, France.


Neoteric Art: How did you get involved with Chicago Art Review (chicagoartreview.net)?

Jeffery McNary: The opportunity to engage visual artists while exploring and learning about their art and various techniques is both challenging and exhilarating. For me, writing for Chicago Art Review. Net has provided a vehicle for such a very rich and uncommon opportunity.

I hardly see myself an “art critic”. I’m a working writer fortunate enough to have wandered into this genre and found a fit which works for both me and Chicago Art Review. A large portion of my time has been spent crafting a work for stage which explores the relationship between two literary giants, James Baldwin and William Styron. Baldwin lived in Styron’s Connecticut guest house while he was writing, “Another Country”. Styron was beginning, “The Confessions of Nat Turner.” It’s a fascinating story, and the project, it’s off the charts. I’m enthralled by writers who meld different avenues as the subject and times demand and expand and contract….Didion, Mailer, a dose of Sartre on occasion.

Born in Chicago, I’ve spent most of my adult life in New England, a tour of the meta-spiritual with the Jesuits, Harvard, then government and campaigns and campaigns and government and back to academia. Such tides can grow rough. A significant amount of my writing had been politically geared journalism, teamed from time to time with the occasional mandatory poetry, that queen of blood sports.

As the air in the room of political writing grew thin, I sought out other options. To my surprise my first art review found a home in Harvard’s, Transition Magazine, about a year ago. High-cotton. Not at all bad company.

I met Chicago Art Review through a gallery owner who holds some respect for my work. I wanted the kind of space and mobility the outlet has provided. The deadlines bring about a smile, and the interaction with artists calls for sensitivities to the individual’s magnetic-north, influences, and media. There’s a trust factor at play when translating the visual into the written. It shouts at the writer to neither drop nor add. It’s a marvelous banquet of sorts. It’s self defining. Perspectives cannot be un-addressed.

The objective trust factor also blends over into the editor-writer relationship, a new and enriching thing for me. It’s also helpful in rounding up the stray comma. As of yet, there’s been no “Wylie Coyote” moment. I haven’t run off a cliff, yet. To quote Baldwin, “I want to be an honest man, and a good writer.”


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IGOR AND MARINA at THOMAS MASTERS GALLERY

jeffery mcnary
CHICAGO ART REVIEW.NET

In a unique and quite amazing partnership, Igor Kozlovsky and Marina Sharapova, are artists who paint together, on the same works that is. They are husband and wife, and painting collaboratively and approaching the canvas from different directions with an expanded sense of each others style and talents.

Their current exhibition, at the Thomas Masters Gallery, provides a glimpse of the constant supply of delectable compositions produced by this duo. Igor’s sense for color and, “appreciation for the tactile nature of pain, canvas, and wood” compliments Marina’s realistic drawings in poetic fashion. “We divide the duties”, shared Marina. “Igor does backgrounds…color, the dramatic.”

Still, on occasion they appear to venture and stand on their own. ‘Legend of the Spring’, a graphite on paper, is Marina in full flight with crisply articulated and precise stokes. Here the female figure emerges appearing to wear a bird nest-esque hat, arms folded, with bird perched upon her thumb. In ‘Night of the Carnival’, Igor leads the dance with his bold, Pollock style background of bold strokes and splash. He smiles, “Pollock was my favorite. What I took from him was passion. We were trained classically. Pollock was radical. I was attracted to him. De Kooning is another favorite.”

“Wyeth is my favorite”, Marina adds. “You know, the different weather conditions. Sometimes you want something different. Sometimes you just want to try something new.” That they have done in charting and cutting from whole cloth their, ‘Walkers’ series. Here the works reflect the artists’ influence by wall paintings of ancient Egypt and the murals of Pompeii.

‘Apples for Helena’ takes the viewer for a wonderful ride. The early sketch reflects the continued development, dents, and quality of Marina’s calisthenics. Igor’s adopted coloring livens the theatre with skin tones and glow.

Such exhibitions rarely pop-up and embrace about the place. Viewers should feel really bad only if they’re not enlightened.

Monday, October 26, 2009

MARIE N'DIAYE, TROIS FEMMES PUISSANTES, ed. GALLIMARD

Marie N’Diaye a 42 ans et elle écrit depuis 30 ans. Elle est née à Pithiviers en 1967, d’un père d’origine sénégalaise, absent, et d’une mère française, professeur de sciences naturelles. A 17 ans, la même année, elle passe son baccalauréat et publie son premier livre, Quand au riche avenir, chez Minuit. Elle rencontre alors un autre écrivain, Jean-Yves Cendrey, avec qui elle vit depuis, loin des grandes villes et de leur tumulte médiatique. Elle continue à écrire, pour le théâtre, elle est actuellement la seule femme vivante à figurer au répertoire de la Comédie Française, pour le cinéma, co-rédigeant le scénario de White Material de Claire Denis, pour les enfants aussi. De ses origines africaines, elle n’a jamais parlé dans ses onze romans publiés. Il faut sans doute qu’elle s’installe à Berlin, qu’elle échappe à la langue française et qu’elle y écrive un douzième roman, Trois femmes puissantes, pour que naissent ces trois personnages. Trois portraits et destins de femmes, entre le Sénégal et la France, qui se dispersent ou se croisent, dans ce « non » qu’elles partagent. Trois femmes puissantes est présentes dans les premières sélections du prix Goncourt.Dans la deuxième sélection Goncourt

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

M. WEST DE RASSEMBLEMENT

M. WEST DE RASSEMBLEMENT
Issue/Publication: THE ROOT
Web Links
Mots de l'autre M. (Cornel) occidental Avec un nouveau mémoire sur des étagères (et des e-lecteurs), le disciple de Princeton parle le prix Nobel d'Obama, le futur de la politique noire et ce qui Jésus fait (s'il étaient président). Par : Dayo Olopade Signalé : 20 octobre 2009 à 4:22 P.M. Avec un nouveau mémoire sur des étagères (et des e-lecteurs), le disciple de Princeton parle le prix Nobel d'Obama, le futur de la politique noire et ce qui Jésus fait (s'il étaient président). Cornel occidental, professeur distingué au centre de Princeton pour des études d'Afro-américain, et à l'auteur des best-sellers tels que la course importe (Vintage, 1994) des sujets de démocratie : Gagnant le combat contre l'impérialisme (pingouin, 2004) et gardant la foi : La philosophie et la foi en Amérique (Routledge, 1994), a un nouveau mémoire, ouest de frère : Vivant et aimant dehors fort (livres souriants) dans les magasins maintenant. Dans lui, l'ouest décrit son voyage du « enfant de la maman et de l'enfant du papa » à être l'un des sociologues prépondérants travaillant aujourd'hui. La racine s'est assise avec l'ouest récemment pour parler l'art, la politique et le premier président noir. Dans la partie de cette entrevue en deux parties, plats de Dr. West 40 ans d'études afro-américaines, Obama' ; prix de s Nobel et entretien d'offres vrai sur Barack, Bill Clinton et ce qui se produit quand Jésus met ses pieds vers le haut sur Pontius Pilate' ; bureau de s. Lisez la partie ici. La racine : Cette année marque 40 ans d'études afro-américaines. Que pensez-vous à des études afro-américaines, dans et hors du canon, l'idée des études noires ? Dr. Cornel West : Pour moi, les deux sont inséparables, mais non identiques. Pour le commencement même vous ne pouvez pas être bien informé au sujet des études afro-américaines sans être bien informé des études américaines, sans être bien informé au sujet de la modernité. Ce qui inclut l'éclaircissement, le romantisme et les langues très européennes que la plupart des nègres parlent de toute façon. La notion entière de eux étant séparés de n'importe quelle manière analytique ou intellectuelle est vide. En termes d'où on leur enseigne, c'est une question différente. Cela doit faire avec les divisions disciplinaires de la connaissance dans l'académie. Vous pourriez finir vers le haut avec une partie du meilleur travail étant fait sur les sciences humaines sur ce que signifie il pour être moderne et Américain dans le département d'études d'Afro-Américain, s'il est fait convenablement. Mais vous devez cross-fertilize et cross-pollinate… TR : Quel est votre sentiment au sujet de HBCUs, leur importance aujourd'hui, et comment l'éducation fournie se rapporte à une université comme Princeton ? On est qu'on ne peut pas mais avoir le grand respect pour la tradition de ces établissements, parce qu'il a produit une partie du plus de haute qualité des penseurs noirs. Toni que Morrison-vous pouvez s'arrêter bien là. Nous pouvons nous arrêter bien là, nous ne parlons pas de Brown sterling, Amiri Baraka et ainsi de suite, Phylicia Rashad et ainsi de suite. Mais dans la situation contemporaine, ce n'est pas simplement que les masses des étudiants noirs vont aux Instituts de Formation Supérieure et aux universités d'état, mais que les établissements blancs d'élite embrassent les étudiants supérieurs de noir d'entaille en 40 dernières années. Vous devez être très créateur maintenant chez le Howards et Morehouses et nous dire ce qui font offrons, ce qui est distinctif ou unique par opposition à quelle offre de Swarthmore ou de Haverford ou de Harvard. TR : Parlons Obama. Vous l'avez critiqué pour ne pas mentionner Martin Luther King Jr. dans son discours de convention, et dans le livre, êtes encore vous ce que j'appellerais prudent au sujet de sa victoire. Pensez-vous des personnes de couleur devriez-vous être plus circonspect au sujet d'un président noir ? Onde entretenue : Nous devons être honnêtes, nous devons vérité-dire, mais nous devons également comprendre. Après que la célébration de célébration-un qui a été justifiée parce qu'elle était historiquement une sans précédent élection-il doive être protégée. C'est vrai ; protection de lui et de son famille précieux. En second lieu, il doit être respecté. Les gens le traitant sans respect de certaines manières sont quelque chose que nous devons combattre, il semblent à moi. Et troisièmement, il doit être critiqué a basé selon le principe. Ma lecture de frère Barack est comme suit. Il est brillant ; il est charismatique ; il est très stratégique. Il est rapidement devenu hypnotisé par le braininess de certaines de ceux attachés à Wall Street. Et il a voulu rassurer l'établissement afin d'obtenir sa pose parce qu'il est un venu. Les venus sont toujours très inquiétude montés vis-à-vis d'un établissement qui est été autour pour des centaines d'années… Le Président Clinton était un venu. Dès qu'il est entré, il s'est tenu en arrière sur la facture d'investissement, est allé avec Wall Street, apporté dans Greenspan. C'est un genre semblable de chose parallèle. Vous obtenez ces gens qui sont sur le feu parlant de la démocratie, personnes journalières, travailleurs. Et quand vous êtes présenté dans les halls de la puissance, ils entrent vous dans le bureau ovale ; ils disent que « c'est le bouton pour la bombe atomique… » Voyez, il sait le tout que la substance maintenant-il est tête d'un empire. Elle est plus profonde que l'assimilation, et ce n'est pas corruption ; c'est juste la vie au dessus. Si vous mettez Jésus dans le bureau de Pontius Pilate, comment va-t-il se comporter ? TR : Que pensez-vous du prix Nobel ? Onde entretenue : Je souhaite juste que ses parents aient été autour de le voir. Je pense que ces prix sont, car la pierre astucieuse indique, une affaire de famille. Ils sont pour les gens qui vous aiment. Je pense que ceci le met dans une situation très difficile parce qu'avoir un prix de paix Nobel et puis s'avérer être un président de guerre va être très durs. …. Puisqu'ils ont donné basé sur la technologie de l'information sur la promesse et le fait que, et ils sont absolument exacts, ce frère Barack Obama a produit autrement de plus d'un sens d'espoir et de possibilité que n'importe qui sur la planète. C'est un fait qui doit être reconnu, et si c'est les critères pour le prix, il obtient le prix que la manière James Brown l'obtient pour dégonfler-incontesté. Incontesté. Mais c'est au niveau de la promesse symbolique. Le Now sont vous allant avoir un prix de paix et envoyer encore 68.000 troupes en Afghanistan ? Vous avez toujours des gens marcher autour de qui a torturé les personnes, qui sont complètement inexplicables. Vous avez des avocats qui ont autorisé des crimes contre l'humanité et vous dites que vous voulez tourner à partir de cela. Mais quand Jamal se fait attraper avec la fente sur le coin, vous ne tournez pas à partir de celui que vous étudiez et poursuivez ce frère il obtient envoyé à un complexe industriel de prison. Et c'est hypocrisie au niveau le plus profond quand il vient à la règle du droit. Mais elle est maintenant sous Obama. Ce n'est plus Bush. TR : Que faites-vous de ce qu'Obama appelle la « génération de Joshua » des agents élus ? Je veux dire Artur souvent-mentionné Davis, agent de réservations de Cory, Deval Patrick, Adrian Fenty et semblable. Que le récit de la politique noire fait-il avancer ? Onde entretenue : Un que je pense qu'il y a beaucoup de confusion. Une partie de elle doit faire avec l'effondrement relatif des bases organiser-en dépit d'Obama. Je n'irais pas jusqu'ici dire qu'Obama était des bases ; Je l'appellerais Astroturf. Il doit faire avec l'utilisation de la technologie de mobiliser rapidement, mais il est toujours à partir du dessus. Il a attaché au bureau du candidat…. Mais mobiliser pour une campagne est différente de la mobilisation pour une cause. Fannie Lou Hamer et Baker d'Ella n'ont été attachés à aucune élection à court terme. Ils essayaient de réveiller la conscience des personnes pour être les coureurs long-éloignés pour la justice. Et nous avons très peu de cela aujourd'hui. Les formes dominantes de conduite sont attachées au bureau électoral, attaché à la nation état-qui va être le prochain gouverneur noir, maire noir, le président noir. Et je pense par certains côtés qui est l'une des conséquences plus limiteuses d'Obama comme président. Dayo Olopade est journaliste de Washington pour la racine.

ROSILENE LUDUVICO, PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS

jeffery mcnary
Chicago Art Review.NET

An exhibition of primarily small-scale, interrelated works of German-based artist Rosilene Luduvicao currently hangs gracefully in the Michigan Avenue Galleries of the Chicago Cultural Center. The works are soft and sparse and subtle, and they beacon a close-up look.

The show, co-curated by the City’s outgoing Deputy Commissioner for Visual Arts, Gregory Knight, is titled simply ‘Paintings and Drawings’, rather than the artist’s early suggestion of, ‘Lindomar’ or ‘Beautiful Sea’. There is actually little ‘sea’ to be seen.

Luduvico’s paintings and figures are poetical and lyrical, light and airy. They employ soft shades as exemplified in her ‘Ele’ (He), oil on chalk grounded canvas, depicting a lone figure on a seascape. ‘Lotus’ and ‘A New Kind of Water’, both oil on ground canvas, carry an air of mystery, with their pink tints and bird forms in naked trees. They convey a sense of winter, of quiet. The observer can almost hear the crunching snow. At points, some of her figures are playful, and her manner in applying oil to canvass casually mimics watercolor and produces the effect of “blurring the distinction between painting and drawing.”

Born in Brazil, Ms. Ludvico currently lives and works in Dusseldorf, Germany. She studied at Espirito Santo University as well as Dusseldorf Acadamie of Art. She has shown primarily in Europe. This being her first U.S. exhibition, Luduvico’s work has been more spoken of, more than viewed, by many.

Nine of the, ‘Untitled’ works are inter-changeable, all oil on chalked canvas. One can move rapidly amongst or past them.

She goes on to present, ‘Chicago Boy’, color pencil and graphite on paper an entertaining, happy piece with few strokes. Here an elfin, curly haired figure appears napping. There is glitter strategically placed along the drawings bottom.

Although Luduvico has not clearly identified with any art movement, her work is said to reflect that of Caspar David Friedrich and the Romantic Period of German/Northern European painting. Her, ‘Dream Traveler’, it is worth noting, harkens similarities to the work of Peter Doig. So far, however, there is no singular spirit which comes across fully in this show. That will take a little more time, and the viewer should eagerly await that announcement. (Jeffery McNary) October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

JOSUE PELLO: NEW WORK

jeffery mcnary
CHICAGO ART REVIEW . NET

Central to the art of Josue Pellot is, “Questioning cultural structures would be overall. Then, focusing on political and familial experiences,” he says. This is confidently rolled out in his exhibition of “New Works”, currently in the Michigan Avenue Galleries of the Chicago Cultural Center. Here, the artist utilizes an array of mediums and formats, establishing a kind of ‘ethnic modernism’ and delineating linkages often overlooked. A Chicago artist with Puerto Rican roots, he has clearly found ways, through these works, to connect figuratively and creatively his heritage and the American experience, with both pop culture and consumerism.

Pellot’s installation, “Detail of 1493”, uses neon and argon lights to present a three panel historical tale. It begins with a Taino Indian, an indigenous figure, standing on the shore viewing the arrival of three sailing vessels, and concludes in the third panel with a conquistador thrusting his sword into a prostrate Taino figure. “The neon pieces were fully realized and produced after I re-encountered the facade of a Liquor store (styled like a Spanish fortress)”, he explains. “Each sign hung on its own window at the store next to big orange signs that read things like 'Milk 2.99', RC cola .99, eggs, etc.” One sees more than the obvious in what he refers to as an, “index to a story”. Why the neon? “I thought neon would be a great medium to talk about a consumed history, and when the liquor store came in to play it was a must,” he shares.

Another such “index” emerges in,‘Temporary Allegiance’, an amalgamation of U.S. and Puerto Rican flags almost creeping from a large plastic garbage bag. “The floor piece is the end result of a site specific installation project. The 15x25 foot flag was hung on 70 feet high on a light post that divided the highway in Puerto Rico. It lasted about 12 hours before city officials castrated the seam of the flag and put a few extra holes in it for me,” says Pellot. “I waited every day at city officials offices till I finally got the flag back, cut up and stuffed into a black trash bag. And the castrated seam now wraps around that post to this date.” Both installations secrete the artist’s aesthetic argument inviting the viewer to digest the connections of colonialism and consumerism as being more than just inconsequential. A story is being told here.

Pellot’s oeuvre has been influenced by that of Felix Gonzalez Torres, David Hammons and Tom Friedman. “These would be 3 artists who have had an impacted on me. A mixture of humor, politics and unquestionable creativity,” he says.

In his large photograph, ‘Dama a Caballo’, the artist demonstrates his broad range of skills and technique. Here he builds upon a classical work of another Puerto Rican artist, Jose Campeche. Yet true to his internal coherence, Pellot updates his work via a Puerto Rican background rather than the European landscape of the original.

How then, does an artist with such deep political convictions brace for the difficulty of rendering art which does more than lecture? Does the ‘work’ fight back? “More often than not I run with a 'bad' piece to the end. I've spent hours on pieces that will decorate my studio”, he says. Concluding, “The end result can either surprise me or lead to work that does feel right.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

JANE FULTON ALT : AFTER THE STORM

At the Michigan Avenue Galleries of the Chicago Cultural Center
-jeffery mcnary

With “After the Storm”, Jane Fulton Alt’s dramatic, powerful exhibition recounts the aftermath of hurricane Katrina’s impact upon the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Her 30 photographs and accompanying commentary posted aside capture much of the devastation of the unprecedented disaster. The artist use of light and shadow reflect elegance and grit and draws the viewer into an emotional skirmish of irony and frankness. Now at Chicago’s Cultural Center, the photos recall. The shots are carefully composed. The photography is brutally exact.

“I never went thinking I was going to "seriously" photograph the aftermath of Katrina,” said Alt, also a clinical social worker who traveled to New Orleans via a program, “Look and Leave.” “Up until my trip there, I always shot black and white film, had my own darkroom and never done color. I brought a new digital Canon rebel camera along. Had I thought I was going to photograph, I would have brought other equipment. It wasn't until the 3rd day, when I felt I had reached my end physically and emotionally, that I realized photographing would be helpful to me and the larger community.”

In ‘Blue Cup’, Alt takes the viewer through a dense grey fog, down a street where leaning power poles come through like invading monsters. There is a collapsed structure of brown wood and rusted pipe in a heap, as a thing with wings and shanks stemming from it. Catching the eye is a teal blue paper cup, on its side as if a wounded survivor. The photo appears black and white with tint, yet, “They were all color images. There was just no color in the landscape”, says Alt. “Everything was covered with mud and dust and the air was rancid. Never in my life have I seen such destruction.”

Exploring the inherent strains and duality of roles of social worker/artist during Alt responds, “The stories were too much to contain. I asked my team leader if I could leave the "Look and Leave" site early as I thought I was going to have a "meltdown," she says. “I returned to my room and within an hour, I realized I had to photograph what I was seeing. It was like an epiphany...knowing the work would be strong and seen widely, and titled, "Look and Leave." She adds, “I actually had a change of clothes in my car for my different roles.”

Differences are cutting in ‘Mardi Gras Storage House’, its roof gone, skeletal arches and timber appear to hold up a clear sky. On the floor lay’s a silver ‘Tin man’ character from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ while across the way stands the Scarecrow sans broken neck. The vivid colors of the characters stand in sharp contrast to the rest of the picture.

“Superdome”, holds its breath, a grey, alien structure, a threatening presence at nightmares edge. “This picture was difficult...how to get the menacing feel into the photograph. I have to say that for the first time in my photographic career,” she recalls. “I knew when photographing that I was 'getting it.' It was like the pictures found me. It felt effortless, right. There was no struggle. My analytic mind took a back seat and I was responding to the landscape.”

These photographs are not entertainment. The artist captures the community in its fear and despair and searches to do so in its optimism and hope.

Monday, October 12, 2009

AMY CASEY - UNCERTAIN TIMES: NEW WORKS

JEFFERY MCNARY
CHICAGO ART REVIEW
When it comes to the art of Amy Casey, ‘House Casey’ is probably not a brand the artist wants for her themed work. Nonetheless she had to know what she was getting into and how viewers would react. She stems from a new, noisy generation of painters full of journal entries. She breaks from that crowd with exercised, vivid authority, hardly detached from events, the show is a cautionary tale.

“Uncertain Times”, Casey’s current exhibition at the Zg Gallery consist of works driven by her recurring dreams of a world calamity. Here the artist captures bad dreams, recurring sessions of buildings collapsing, ecological catastrophes, reflections of the current nervous state of affairs of society.

“Composition is something very intuitive for me, and I usually lightly sketch out a piece with that first plan and keep it around to look at in my studio while I am forming the painting in my mind, then I block forms in very lightly and work the composition out-usually over a few days or even weeks, by taping bits of paper to the painting and trying different shapes and movements,” she says.

There is amazing detail and sensitivity in Casey’s work. With shades of rust, browns and deep reds and precision, the artist lays out an almost surreal landscape of urban landscapes in decay. Casey applies acrylic to paper, a technique allowing for exacting detail. With her “BigCity, Small Town”, a large work, she exhaust every house used in previous works. She references houses and buildings from her native Cleveland. Structures appear strapped together in absurd attempts to save themselves. “I focused on something that has bothered me for some time about my little communities and networks- that no matter how many group together it must be impossible to get from building to building and actually interact in some real way, which seems absurd since connection seems an important part of the idea,” Casey shares.

In other works stilts are used as a survival strategy for the houses and in others lines have snapped leaving the structures in a state of collapse. In her, “Stragglers” some structures are washed, producing an effect of dust rising, a fog.

There is no debate in Casey’s work. Here is a non-negotiable exhibit of failed fixers and engineers. Her environmentalist aesthetic is translated in a distinctly dramatic fashion. “My biggest struggle with individual pieces is wanting to make every tiny bit of the painting detailed and real to the best degree I can,” she concludes, “but being up against the reality of time and also not overworking something to death. Probably my next biggest struggle when working with a piece is dealing with accidents and having to rethink something that I felt I knew so well.”
(Jeffery McNary) October 5, 2009

WHO WROTE DREAMS FROM MY FATHER

October 09, 2008
Jack Cashill

Prior to 1990, when Barack Obama contracted to write Dreams From My Father, he had written very close to nothing. Then, five years later, this untested 33 year-old produced what Time Magazine has called -- with a straight face -- "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."
The public is asked to believe Obama wrote Dreams From My Father on his own, almost as though he were some sort of literary idiot savant. I do not buy this canard for a minute, not at all. Writing is as much a craft as, say, golf. To put this in perspective, imagine if a friend played a few rounds in the high 90s and then a few years later, without further practice, made the PGA Tour. It doesn't happen.
And yet, given the biases of the literary establishment, no reviewer of note has so much as questioned Obama's role in the writing, then or now. As the New York Times gushed, Obama was "that rare politician who can write . . . and write movingly and genuinely about himself." These accolades matter all the more because Obama has built his political persona around his presumably superior intellect, Dreams being exhibit A.
Shy of a confession by those involved, I will not be able to prove conclusively that Obama did not write this book. As shall be seen, however, there are only two real possibilities: one is that Obama experienced a near miraculous turnaround in his literary abilities; the second is that he had major editorial help, up to and including a ghostwriter.
The weight of the evidence overwhelming favors the latter conclusion and strongly suggests who that ghostwriter is. In that this remains something of a work in progress, I am willing to test my hypothesis against any standard of proof and appreciate any and all good leads.
In my career in advertising and publishing, I have reviewed the portfolios of a thousand professional writers, all of them crowded with writing samples, but only a handful of these writers would have been capable of having a written a book as stylish as Dreams. I have also written a book on intellectual fraud, Hoodwinked, and examined any number of bogus biographies that excited the literary left to the point of complicity, Edward Said's and Rigoberta Menchu's prominent among them, Menchu winning a Nobel Prize for hers. Obama's ascent seems to follow a century-old pattern.
Tracing Obama's literary ascent is complicated by what Politico.com calls a "scant paper trail." That trail begins at Occidental College whose literary magazine published two of Obama's poems -- "Pop" and "Underground" -- in 1981. Obama calls it some "very bad poetry," and he does not sell himself short. From "Underground":
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance . . .
It would be another decade before Obama had anything in print and this an edited, unsigned student case comment in the Harvard Law Review unearthed by Politico. Attorneys who reviewed the piece for Politico described it as "a fairly standard example of the genre."
Of note, Politico reporters Ben Smith and Jeffrey Resner observe that "the temperate legal language doesn't display the rhetorical heights that run through his memoir, published a few years later."
Once elected president of the Harvard Law Review --more of a popularity than a literary contest -- Obama contributed not one signed word to the HLR or any other law journal. As Matthew Franck has pointed out in National Review Online, "A search of the HeinOnline database of law journals turns up exactly nothing credited to Obama in any law review anywhere at any time."
A 1990 New York Times profile on Obama's election as Harvard's first black president caught the eye of agent Jane Dystel. She persuaded Poseidon, a small imprint of Simon & Schuster, to authorize a roughly $125,000 advance for Obama's proposed memoir.
With advance in hand, Obama repaired to Chicago where he dithered. At one point, in order to finish without interruption, he and wife Michelle decamped to Bali. Obama was supposed to have finished the book within a year. Bali or not, advance or no, he could not. He was surely in way over his head.
According to a surprisingly harsh 2006 article by liberal publisher Peter Osnos, which detailed the "ruthlessness" of Obama's literary ascent, Simon & Schuster canceled the contract. Dystel did not give up. She solicited Times Book, the division of Random House at which Osnos was publisher. He met with Obama, took his word that he could finish the book, and authorized a new advance of $40,000.
Then suddenly, somehow, the muse descended on Obama and transformed him from a struggling, unschooled amateur, with no paper trail beyond an unremarkable legal note and a poem about fig-stomping apes, into a literary superstar.
To be sure, it is not unusual for successful politicians to hire ghostwriters -- John McCain gives due credit to Mark Salter for his memoir, Faith of My Fathers -- but it is highly unusual for unknown young Chicago lawyers to hire ghostwriters.
I have attempted to contact Dystel by phone and email without success. It is highly unlikely she refashioned the book, and Osnos admittedly did not. If my suspicions are correct, the ghost on this book shared many of Obama's sentiments, spoke his language and spent considerable time reworking the text.
I bought Bill Ayers' 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days, for reasons unrelated to this project. As I discovered, he writes surprisingly well and very much like "Obama." In fact, my first thought was that the two may have shared the same ghostwriter. Unlike Dreams, however, where the high style is intermittent, Fugitive Days is infused with the authorial voice in every sentence. What is more, when Ayers speaks, even off the cuff, he uses a cadence and vocabulary consistent with his memoir. One does not hear any of Dreams in Obama's casual speech.
Obama's memoir was published in June 1995. Earlier that year, Ayers helped Obama, then a junior lawyer at a minor law firm, get appointed chairman of the multi-million dollar Chicago Annenberg Challenge grant. In the fall of that same year, 1995, Ayers and his wife, Weatherwoman Bernardine Dohrn, helped blaze Obama's path to political power with a fundraiser in their Chicago home.
In short, Ayers had the means, the motive, the time, the place and the literary ability to jumpstart Obama's career. And, as Ayers had to know, a lovely memoir under Obama's belt made for a much better resume than an unfulfilled contract over his head.
For simplicity sake, I will refer to the author of Dreams as "Obama." Without question, he contributed much of the book's raw material, especially the long-winded accounting of events and conversations, polished just well enough to pass muster. The book's fierce, succinct and tightly coiled social analysis more closely matches the style of Fugitive Days, a much tighter book.
Ayers and Obama have a good deal in common. In the way of background, both grew up in comfortable white households and have struggled to find an identity as righteous black men ever since. Just as Obama resisted "the pure and heady breeze of privilege" to which he was exposed as a child, Ayers too resisted "white skin privilege" or at least tried to.
"I also thought I was black," says Ayers only half-jokingly. As proof of his righteousness, Ayers named his first son "Malik" after the newly Islamic Malcolm X and the second son "Zayd" after Zayd Shakur, a Black Panther killed in a shootout that claimed the life of a New Jersey State Trooper.
Tellingly, Ayers, like Obama, began his career as a self-described "community organizer," Ayers in inner-city Cleveland, Obama in inner-city Chicago. In short, Ayers was fully capable of crawling inside Obama's head and relating in superior prose what the Dreams' author calls a "rage at the white world [that] needed no object."
Indeed, in Dreams, it is on the subject of black rage that Obama writes most eloquently. Phrases like "full of inarticulate resentments," "unruly maleness," "unadorned insistence on respect" and "withdrawal into a smaller and smaller coil of rage" lace the book.
In Fugitive Days, "rage" rules and in high style as well. Ayers tells of how his "rage got started" and how it evolved into an "uncontrollable rage -- fierce frenzy of fire and lava." Indeed, the Weathermen's inaugural act of mass violence was the "Days of Rage" in 1969 Chicago.
As in Chicago, that rage led Ayers to a sentiment with which Obama was altogether familiar, "audacity!" Ayers writes, "I felt the warrior rising up inside of me -- audacity and courage, righteousness, of course, and more audacity." This is one of several references.
The combination of audacity and rage has produced two memoirs that follow oddly similar rules. Ayers describes his as "a memory book," one that deliberately blurs facts and changes identities and makes no claims at history. Obama says much the same. In Dreams, some characters are composites. Some appear out of precise chronology. Names have been changed.
As a control, allow me to introduce my own book, Sucker Punch, which is no small part a memoir about race, specifically in my relationship, at great remove, with Muhammad Ali and the world of boxing. In the book, I describe my own unreconstructed coming of age in racially charged Newark, New Jersey as it happened. I change no names, create no composite characters, alter no chronologies. Most memoirs observe the same conventions. Dreams and Fugitive Days, however, are both suffused with repeated reference to lies, lying and what Ayers calls, in his pitch perfect post-modern patois, "our constructed reality."
"But another part of me knew that what I was telling them was a lie," writes Obama, "something I'd constructed from the scraps of information I'd picked up from my mother."
"That whole first year seemed like one long lie," Obama writes of his first year in college in Los Angeles, one of at least a dozen references to lies and lying in "Dreams," a figure nearly matched in "Fugitive Days."
The reader knows that Ayers -- with some justification -- has much to hide. He senses that Obama does too, but he is never quite sure why. This presumed poetic license leads to the frequent manipulation of dates to make a political point.
"I saw a dead body once, as I said, when I was ten, during the Korean War," writes Ayers. This correlation is important enough that Ayers mentions it twice. The only problem is that Ayers was eight when the Korean War ended.
Obama tells us that when he was ten, he and his family visited the mainland. On the trip, back in their motel room, they watched the Watergate Hearings on TV. The problem, of course, is that those hearing started just before Obama turned twelve.
One could forgive a single missed date, but inconsistent dates and numbers appear frequently in both books and often reinforce some moment of lost innocence. In the same spirit, both books abound in detail too closely remembered and conversations too well recorded. These moments in both books occasionally lead to an awareness of the nation's seemingly ineradicable racism.
In 1970, for instance, the 9-year-old Obama alleges to be visiting the American embassy Indonesia. While waiting, he chances upon "a collection of Life magazines neatly displayed in clear plastic binders."
In one magazine, he reads a story about a black man with an "uneven, ghostly hue," who has been rendered grotesque by a chemical treatment. "There were thousands of people like him," Obama learned, "black men and women back in America who'd undergone the same treatment in response to advertisements that promised happiness as a white person."
Obama's attention to detail is a ruse. Life never ran such an article. When challenged, Obama claimed it was Ebony. Ebony ran no such article either. Besides, black was beautiful in 1970.
In a similar vein, Ayers tells of hitching a ride in Missouri with "Bud," the driver of a "brand-new Peterbilt truck." The man proceeds to regale Ayers with a string of dirty jokes -- at least two of them retold word for word -- before reaching under his seat and pulling out a large pistol, his "N****r neutralizer."
"White people can never quite remember the scope and scale of the slavocracy," Ayers reminds the reader again and again, writing as though he were not a member of this benighted race.
These parallels intrigue perhaps, but they prove little. To add a little science to the analysis, I identified two similar "nature" passages in Obama's and Ayers' respective memoirs, the first from Fugitive Days:
"I picture the street coming alive, awakening from the fury of winter, stirred from the chilly spring night by cold glimmers of sunlight angling through the city."
The second from Dreams:
"Night now fell in midafternoon, especially when the snowstorms rolled in, boundless prairie storms that set the sky close to the ground, the city lights reflected against the clouds."
These two sentences are alike in more than their poetic sense, their length and their gracefully layered structure. They tabulate nearly identically on the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), something of a standard in the field.
The "Fugitive Days" excerpt scores a 54 on reading ease and a 12th grade reading level. The "Dreams'" excerpt scores a 54.8 on reading ease and a 12th grade reading level. Scores can range from 0 to 121, so hitting a nearly exact score matters.
A more reliable data-driven way to prove authorship goes under the rubric "cusum analysis" or QSUM. This analysis begins with the measurement of sentence length, a significant and telling variable. To compare the two books, I selected thirty-sentence sequences from Dreams and Fugitive Days, each of which relates the author's entry into the world of "community organizing."
"Fugitive Days" averaged 23.13 words a sentence. "Dreams" averaged 23.36 words a sentence. By contrast, the memoir section of "Sucker Punch" averaged 15 words a sentence.
Interestingly, the 30-sentence sequence that I pulled from Obama's conventional political tract, Audacity of Hope, averages more than 29 words a sentence and clocks in with a 9th grade reading level, three levels below the earlier cited passages from "Dreams" and "Fugitive Days." The differential in the Audacity numbers should not surprise. By the time it was published in 2006, Obama was a public figure of some wealth, one who could afford editors and ghost writers.
The publisher of Dreams, the openly liberal Peter Osnos, tells how this came to be. According to Osnos, Dreams took off during Obama's much-publicized race for the U.S. Senate in 2004, nearly ten years after its modest release. After winning the election, Obama dumped his devoted long time agent, Jane Dystel, and signed a seven-figure deal with Crown, using only a by-the-hour attorney.
Obama pulled off the deal before being sworn in as Senator, this way to avoid the disclosure and reporting requirements applicable to members of Congress. To his credit, Osnos publicly scolds Obama for his "ruthlessness" and "his questionable judgment about using public service as a personal payday."Unfortunately, the technology is not currently available to do a fully reliable authorship analysis. As expert in the field Patrick Juola of Duquesne University observed, “The accuracy simply isn't there.” He cautioned that for high stakes issues like this one, “The repercussions of a technical error could be a disaster (in either direction).” That much said, preliminary QSUM analysis supports an Ayers-Obama link. Systems designer Ed Gold--with twenty years of high-level experience in image and signal processing, pattern recognition, and classifier design and implementation--volunteered to run a QSUM scan on multiple excerpts from both memoirs. “I have completed the analysis,” he wrote me, “and I think you will be pleased with the findings.” In assessing the signature of sample passages from Dreams, he found “a very strong match to all of the Ayers samples that I processed.”Like Juola, Gold recognized the limitations of the process and of his own resources. He has volunteered to make the raw data available to more established authorship authentication experts, and I will be happy to pass that data along. Gold saw the complementary value, however, in text analysis, as did Juola, who encouraged me “to do what you're already doing . . . good old-fashioned literary detective work.”Given that advice, I dug deeper into both memoirs and established one metaphoric thread that ties the two books together in a way I believe is just shy of conclusive, a thread that leads back to Bill Ayers's stint, after dropping out of college, as a merchant seaman.
"I'd thought that when I signed on that I might write an American novel about a young man at sea," says Ayers in his memoir, Fugitive Days, "but I didn't have it in me."
The experience had a powerful impact on Ayers. Years later, he would recall a nightmare he had while crossing the Atlantic, "a vision of falling overboard in the middle of the ocean and swimming as fast as I could as the ship steamed off and disappeared over the horizon."
Although Ayers has tried to put his anxious ocean-going days behind him, the language of the sea will not let him go. "I realized that no one else could ever know this singular experience," Ayers writes of his maritime adventures. Yet curiously, much of this same nautical language flows through Obama's earth-bound memoir.
"Memory sails out upon a murky sea," Ayers writes at one point. Indeed, both he and Obama are obsessed with memory and its instability. The latter writes of its breaks, its blurs, its edges, its lapses. Obama also has a fondness for the word "murky" and its aquatic usages.
"The unlucky ones drift into the murky tide of hustles and odd jobs," he writes, one of four times "murky" appears in Dreams. Ayers and Obama also speak often of waves and wind, Obama at least a dozen times on wind alone. "The wind wipes away my drowsiness, and I feel suddenly exposed," he writes in a typical passage. Both also make conspicuous use of the word "flutter."
Not surprisingly, Ayers uses "ship" as a metaphor with some frequency. Early in the book he tells us that his mother is "the captain of her own ship," not a substantial one either but "a ragged thing with fatal leaks" launched into a "sea of carelessness."
Obama too finds himself "feeling like the first mate on a sinking ship." He also makes a metaphorical reference to "a tranquil sea." More intriguing is Obama's use of the word "ragged" as an adjective as in the highly poetic "ragged air" or "ragged laughter."
Both books use "storms" and "horizons" both as metaphor and as reality. Ayers writes poetically of an "unbounded horizon," and Obama writes of "boundless prairie storms" and poetic horizons-"violet horizon," "eastern horizon," "western horizon."
Ayers often speaks of "currents" and "pockets of calm" as does Obama, who uses both as nouns as in "a menacing calm" or "against the current" or "into the current." The metaphorical use of the word "tangled" might also derive from one's nautical adventures. Ayers writes of his "tangled love affairs" and Obama of his "tangled arguments."
In Dreams, we read of the "whole panorama of life out there" and in Fugitive Days, "the whole weird panorama." Ayers writes of still another panorama, this one "an immense panorama of waste and cruelty." Obama employs the word "cruel" and its derivatives no fewer than fourteen times in Dreams.
On at least twelve occasions, Obama speaks of "despair," as in the "ocean of despair." Ayers speaks of a "deepening despair," a constant theme for him as well. Obama's "knotted, howling assertion of self" sounds like something from the pages of Jack London's "The Sea Wolf."
In Obama's defense, he did grow up in Hawaii. Still, the short Hawaii stretch of his memoir is largely silent on the island's natural appeal. Sucker Punch again offers a useful control. It makes no reference at all, metaphorical or otherwise, to ships, seas, oceans, calms, storms, wind, waves, horizons, panoramas, or to things howling, fluttering, knotted, ragged, tangled, or murky. None. And yet I have spent a good chunk of every summer of my life at the ocean.
If there is any one paragraph in Dreams that has convinced me of Ayers' involvement it is this one, in which Obama describes the Black Nationalist message:
"A steady attack on the white race... served as the ballast that could prevent the ideas of personal and communal responsibility from tipping into an ocean of despair."
As a writer, especially in the pre-Google era of Dreams, I would never have used a metaphor as specific as "ballast" unless I knew exactly what I was talking about. Seaman Ayers most surely did. One more item of interest. In his 1997 book, A Kind and Just Parent, Bill Ayers walks the reader through his Hyde Park neighborhood and identifies the notable residents therein. Among them are Muhammad Ali, “Minister” Louis Farrakhan (of whom he writes fondly), “former mayor” Eugene Sawyer, “poets” Gwendolyn Brooks and Elizabeth Alexander, and “writer” Barack Obama. In 1997, Obama was an obscure state senator, a lawyer, and a law school instructor with one book under his belt that had debuted two years earlier to little acclaim and lesser sales. In terms of identity, he had more in common with mayor Sawyer than poet Brooks. The “writer” identification seems forced and purposefully so, a signal perhaps to those in the know of a persona in the making that Ayers had himself helped forge.
None of this, of course, proves Ayers' authorship conclusively, but the evidence makes him a much more likely candidate than Obama to have written the best parts of Dreams.
The Obama camp could put all such speculation to rest by producing some intermediary sign of impending greatness -- a school paper, an article, a notebook, his Columbia thesis, his LSAT scores -- but Obama guards these more zealously than Saddam did his nuclear secrets. And I suspect, at the end of the day, we will pay an equally high price for Obama's concealment as Saddam's.
Jack Cashill is the author, among other books, of Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Hijacked American Culture. He has a Ph.D. in American studies from Purdue University.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

TURQUE DE FRANCINE

Dans le dialogue de la Turque de Francine, l'observateur trouve des secrets, et des traces de la tradition romantique le long de la modernité latérale. Le corps Language', de `actuellement à la source d'art de Chicago entoure la visionneuse avec l'esprit et passion. « Mes travaux sont les portraits émotifs. I don' ; de t l'aspiration toujours de mes propres expériences, » l'artiste indique. « Mes dernières séries de travaux sont des réponses directes à un désir de dessiner un rapport entre la fabrication de marque, la figure, et la langue. » La place et l'atmosphère de l'exposition est dominée par la nudité, principalement médias mélangés sur le papier, reflétant le confort tôt d'utiliser-et d'artiste avec le charbon de bois. « Je peux obtenir rattrapé en cours de fabrication, et finis tuer vers le haut la chose. Je ne suis pas grand à exprimer un bon nombre de sang-froid quand elle vient à celle ; la figure plus linéaire schémas dans la montr sont plus dure pour moi dans ce sens, » elle partage. Alors il y a son voyage subjectif dans des choses françaises. « Mon impulsion à voler à Paris et pour frotter les tombes au cimetière de Pere LaChaise était un que je ne peux pas entièrement expliquer, il était une impulsion d'intestin avec laquelle j'ai suivi à travers. » Ce sont des frottages avec les bords approximatifs, noms en peinture d'or, émail noir avec l'écriture française un-decipherable sur des nuances de texture de fourniture blue-black. Plus le notable est « Proust ». Le triomphe apprête dedans, C une Femme de Pas de nid de lui d'e non » plus » et « de CE ». Avec leur fond fauve, l'artiste revisite l'écriture de sa série de petit de `, lavée au-dessus des notes en français, avec la nudité trouvant un endroit vers l'avant. Les travaux de compagnon fournissent une avenue Montaigne de stroll vers le bas. « Je pense qui est pourquoi les gens peuvent rapporter à mon travail, ils voient qu'un raccordement entre quelque chose ils ont le feutre. Je la crois que nous fonctionnons hors d'un état de guérison, travaillant vers devenir une meilleure personne plus entière, » conclut.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DRAWING FROM HISTORY

NEWCITY
-jeffery mcnary
Illustration is one of the last great art forms to be recognized by the art establishment. Perhaps because it exists in service to reportage, illustration has yet to ‘come up,’ as it were. It is, however, a well-developed style with major players. At 88 years old, Franklin McMahon looms large, his legacy bundled with some of Chicago’s biggest news stories. McMahon’s realist art captures, on an epic scale, many of the significant events and figures of the past sixty years. It’s a symphony of extensive notes. In graphite, charcoal and acrylic the illustrator substantiates history, providing crisp insight into a moment’s look and feel: politicos, popes, campaigns, cardinals, courtrooms and conventions.

A selection of the artist’s drawings and paintings are currently on exhibition at the Loyola University Museum of Art, with a focus on his religious and civic contributions. Jonathan Canning, the Martin D’Arcy Curator of Art, says of McMahon’s works, “This is a lost art he’s called to. The camera is so ubiquitous we forget that such persons did such work for so very long.” McMahon has written, “The artist who draws directly on the site can see around corners, adding dimension to viewpoint, getting ideas, heightening reality.” He captures bishops in white miters entering St. Peter’s Basilica, the magnificent Baroque dome, impressive marble pillars and statues of saints about the rooftop share a harmony, as if the artist is lifted mid-way up the obelisk and the piazza’s center for a privileged glimpse of it all.

A native Chicagoan, McMahon spent a portion of his childhood in California, and there began drawing posters for school plays. Returning home, he completed studies at Fenwick Catholic High School where he began drawing cartoons, selling one to Collier’s Weekly a week before graduation. Entering the Army Air Corps during WWII, McMahon was shot down over Germany and spent four months as a POW. War’s end found him in evening studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago while continuing to draw freelance. There’s small wonder that sensitive mix of church and politics placed its brand upon his psyche and his creative passions. His love of the city comes through in his engaging book of drawings and paintings, “Chicago Impressions.” “My work has been half assignment, half self-initiated,” says the artist-reporter. “It’s helped that my wife is a travel writer.”

McMahon’s voluminous portfolio contains significant amounts of politically driven material. “I’m interested in capturing the atmospherics of the campaigns, rather than the candidates themselves,” he once shared relative to political coverage. “I’m in hopes those who see the drawings will get a feeling of what a guy has to go through to run for president.” He accomplishes this with in images of a thoughtful Robert Kennedy, charcoal on paper, and his ‘sainted’ brother, the President with his classic hands in the suit side pockets, thumbs out. Soft circular strokes connect that President with those nearby. There’s the young “Edward Kennedy in Chicago,” acrylic watercolor, caught from off-stage. There’s Carters, Reagans, Nixons, wannabes and posses. He presents Eleanor Roosevelt, a thin-lined charcoal on paper, with hands raised as if coaxing one to, well, chill.
McMahon has also captured the darker tambour of American culture and its occasional ugly act-out. In 1955 he was contacted by Life magazine to cover the trial of those who’d brutally disfigured and murdered fifteen year-old black Emmett Till, summering in Mississippi. “Moses Wright Pointing at Defendants” hits a high point in the trial as Till’s uncle’s elongated, darkened hand points out the murderers as he speaks, “Thar he.” McMahon’s “Byron De La Beckwith Holding Gun That Shot Medgar Evers,” from 1964, details the twisted lips of the unapologetic Klansman holding a rifle in the witness chair before a Confederate flag and shadowed wall.

The artist does not hold any single project as being the most profound, adding, “They’ve all been. I’m just an innocent bystander, in the corner drawing.” Poet Robert Pinsky speaks of the Republic being “a great nation, still engaged in becoming a great people.” Should complications of karma hold that true, Franklin McMahon’s drawings provide huge doses of these ‘becomings,’ alluring us to them and holding us there.
Franklin McMahon shows at the Loyola University Museum of Art, 820 N. Michigan, through October 18.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MATT HALLINAN'S ROLL


-jeffery mcnary
NEWCITY
Staying true to its charge of working primarily with emerging artists, Around the Coyote’s 1st Annual Painting Competition and Exhibition convincingly expands those efforts for painters. In the past, the gallery played host to open-call shows for works on paper and photography. In lending its resources to those striving for footholds in the paint medium, Matthew Hallinan’s “Energumeno,” a large, vibrant oil on canvas with surrealist leanings emerged as the premier piece of this exhibition. There are figures partying and one waving a Sandinista flag from the rooftop.
“The purpose of these types of shows are really to just give artists more exhibition opportunities, so they can show their work, meet other artists in the same discipline, meet art patrons, collectors, curators, etcetera,” says Anne Mills, Around the Coyote’s executive director.
This show’s curator, Sara Schnadt of the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs office, selected the ten finalists for the exhibition based upon images of their work, artist statements and biographical information relative to their work and personal styles. Artists paid an application fee of fifteen-dollars, and the financial award for the winner is yet to be determined. Schnadt selected Hallinan’s work based upon her perception of his “vision, technique and how that technique had been developed.”
Elizabeth Kauffman’s work, “Page 249.” a technically sophisticated watercolor and graphite on paper, noted that juried shows wrestle with “institutionalized” points of view and expectations. Nonetheless, she, as does John Mosher, whose open-ended pieces of loose color and hard black lines resemble those of illustrator Ralph Steadman, concur that showing in this forum is exciting, a “breakout thing.”
Hearing his work held the “strongest images,” Hallinan explains his process: “I have in my mind a mental sketch. I manipulate pieces which otherwise wouldn’t exist. I use poetic devices. There are only a few tubes of color put into this,” he says, “I’m thrilled.” (Jeffery McNary)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE BLACK WALNUT GALLERY

-jeffery mcnary
NEWCITY

“Can nature and technology co-exist?” asked Robert Wayner in his staccato-speak. “It’s critical that we continue to explore how wild nature and technology can exist together.” With this as his magnetic north, the geologist turned musician, turned painter and sculptor, now gallery owner, has pinned his hopes on his Black Walnut Gallery where he showcases Chicago artists and his own wood sculptures. Relocated from Wicker Park to the West Loop-Fulton Market area, Wayner’s current offering is a group show titled “Closure.”
Growing up in Southern Illinois farm country in a Mennonite household, Wayner’s imagination drew him to woodworking, which “filled me with amazement,” he recalls. “The Mennonites have been in the forefront of the green movement for a while,” Wayner shares, “as well as being big in third-world relief and agrarian stewardship.” Although he admits, “I don’t think that brought me to where I’m at,” those early groundings are reflected in the flow of the two-story gallery, with its domestic, natural feel and its bundled fasces hanging by twine at points in the long throw of the place. Earlier this year Wayner presented a group show of Mennonite artists.
Wayner’s sculpture, “Nature Cradling Technology,” embodies Black Walnut Gallery’s core values. Aluminum balls perch atop sculpted wood, signifying a balance among progress and tradition, in both art and in life. Alongside naturally felled wood sculptures are some of Wayner’s colorful paintings, many dedicated to Tolstoy, whose “Confession,” said Wayner, “encapsulates the notion that we never choose who we are.”
“Closure” is an exhibition dotted with like thinkers. Painter Rex Sexton haunting “Kaddish” presents a deep blue shadowed, ghostly figure under a full, yellow moon overlooking tombstones bearing semi-faces. “I learned how to paint from a Holocaust Jew,” says Sexton. Growing up in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, Sexton “saw hardship with no let up.” He paints “expressions of humanity with the hope that I capture its dreams in the midst of adversity.” Romanticism emerges in his stunning “Edith” oil painting. This semi-cubist portrait of Edith Piaf seduces with thick, deep layers of tans and blacks, doe eyes and arched eyebrows. It’s more Seine than stockyard.
Wayner coolly accepts the challenges of running a gallery. “I’m an artist, I had to do this,” says Wayner. “I search for truth. I didn’t have a choice,” he says with barely a shrug of the shoulders.

END OF THE 80'S

-jeffery mcnary
NEWCITY

Twenty-two artists, all alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from the mid-late eighties, have come together for “End of the 80s,” a ‘reunion’ show, at the Avram Eisen Gallery. The exhibition is primarily curated by Laura Olear and Bruce Linn, both class of ‘88, with the group collectively dedicating the show to Ray Yoshida, a recently deceased professor and mentor to many participating artists.
A co-mingling of diverse styles can be expected in group shows of this proportion, and “End of the 80s” holds to that. There is unusual grace and also chatter. No obvious Yoshida ‘style’ is identifiable in the exhibition. “It was more a thing of his teaching, his demanding, his aggressiveness,” said Olear of his pedagogical approach. “Few of his students didn’t feel he’d a profound impact on them,” added Linn.
Approaching Lindsay Obermeyer’s “Red Blood,” a cranberry red bead embroidery, connections among the exhibition’s layout emerge. Nearby is Olear’s “Tracheal Diverticulum,” a dark mixed media on arches with the a medical tone, and Linn’s blood-red and black layered oil on canvas, “Sacred Heart with Bullit & Band-aid,” an intensely political statement the artist lays at the feet of the Bush-Cheney administration.
One corner holds Steven L. Jones’ penetrating “Mothman Took My Baby Away,” a two-piece of acrylic and ink on dyed red paper in conjoined wooden frames, “colored by grief and filtered through a mood disorder,” according to the artist.
The exhibition highlights, in sharp relief, vast differences of artists schooled in close time and space. Complicity courts sedition. “People still tell stories about Ray and feel, ‘I’ve got an idea of what Ray would say,’” Linn reflected. Perhaps so, and perhaps he would concur there are works here containing commentary and polish, while others appear swept and bruised and requiring a viable alternative to just muddling through. (Jeffery McNary)

ANNA JOELSDOTTIR

-jeffery mcnary
NEWCITY

There’s a gee-whiz element in the art of Anna Joelsdottir. Her current exhibition, “The Dandelions Are Over,” takes a step beyond previous works, which have evolved in series and often develop around negative space. Now, here, we find explosions of color, activated and covering entire canvases with mystical landscapes and abstractions.
Joelsdottir’s centerpiece, a quasi-sculpture installation, “Flood,” is a lurching, plunging avalanche of mixed media on joined pieces of mylar. Its intense splashes of yellows, tangerines and grays are unpredictable, and the work, with its stained-glass effect, refuses to lie at ease. Twenty-four-by-eleven feet from ceiling to floor, it drapes, gathers at points, and rolls across the upper wall, living dragon-like on the edge of chaos, while another disconnected, daring nine-foot work leaps and hangs across the room.
“When I came to Zg to install, I had decided to use the mylar in the front gallery and somehow work from the windows and ceiling making use of the changing light,” Joelsdottir recalls. Alone to fit mood and space into her system she “pushed a pin into the first sheet between the two windows. As the piece grew and began to take shape, I began to understand what it was I was trying to get at, and the title became ‘Flood.’”
A fairytale appears at work here among four canvases, each medium-sized in acrylic, ink and pencil. An additional six small mylar pieces borrow from “Flood,” capturing its translucent effect and color. Those works meet Joelsdottir’s ambitious efforts at transcending language and cultures via her paints, yet they are best served by their copious notes of the complex main piece.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

EWA'S EC



jeffery mcnary
NEWCITY

Nestled in the trendy West Loop-Fulton Market District is one of the city’s newest delights, Ewa Czeremuszkin’s EC Gallery. Here, where the cool mesh with the seasonal; here, where Oprah works and hosts her tent show, Ms. Czeremuszkin grows her dream. In less than a year she has presented one group and four solo exhibitions of new and mid-career abstract painters. Most happen to be either Polish, like her, or trained at academies in Poland.
Czeremuszkin, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland, holds a masters degree in painting. The simple elegance of the petite EC Gallery, approximately eighteen-feet square, adjoins her studio, and is “a dream of mine being fulfilled,” she says. “This is my life. As an artist I wanted to promote other artists, given the difficulty of placing in galleries. I have selected those who, in my view, merit an exhibition.” She continues, “I have connections and knowledge of European artists who’ve shown in Europe, but not here. So it’s an opportunity both for them to show in the U.S. and for a U.S. audience to see their work.”
One painter to whom the EC has given voice is the prolific Swiss artist Tadeusz Bilecki. Trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland, his bold colors and large format paintings illuminated the intimate space with just six works. “The Apparition of a Geisha Suite,” with its visibly over-painted, layered compositions of acrylics on translucent polyester and paper, filled and enlivened the walls of the ‘gallery box’ with its vaulted ceiling. “I saw his work as something that was fresh, different. I’d never seen something like that. It is close to my vision for the place,” Czeremuszkin commented.

Currently works by Jola Jastrzab, another Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow alumni, decorate the exposed brick walls of the gallery. Her minimalist-abstracts hold few lines and singular color. They strive to electrify a style of hieroglyphs and allegorical concepts minus the parables that may well define such pieces. Her brush strokes tend to bash the canvas and paper, with such works fitting well, in both style and substance in this hip, up-close engagement.
In its brief tenure on the scene, EC has presented the work of Alina Ignatowsky, photographer Paul Kowalow, and a group show including the work of Beata Garanty, Agata Czeremuszkin (Ewa’s sister), and Czeremuszkin herself, whose ethereal work has clear influences of Rothko and Cy Twombly.

All art Polish, however, is not her mantra. The artist/dealer backs away from the works of radical artist Artur Zmijewski and his current movement in Poland. “When I look at something, as an aesthetic person, I enjoy looking at the latest stuff, but I don’t like sad art, tragedy. Art,” she says, is for people to enjoy. Life is sometimes so sad, people should have something to enjoy.”
Big plans for future exhibits are in the works. “I’m always looking for something new, something international, something not shown in other places,” she added. “And this location is just great for art. It’s close to home,” she laughs. (Jeffery McNary)
EC Gallery