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Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

WoodSwimmer

Came across this interesting little short film this morning called WoodSwimmer. It is a stop motion film made by Brett Foxwell who describes his process as  “a straightforward technique but one which is brutally tedious to complete.” It involves taking continuous photographic cross-sectional scans of hardwood logs, burls and branches and sequencing them so that reveal the universe that exists within the wood, one that Foxwell sees in a sci-fi scenario as holding alien lifeforms in a world that is always near us, hidden in plain sight.

It’s a mesmerizing piece of film. To watch the movement of the material through the cross sections is like watching time itself  flowing, a fascinating rhythm unfolding before your eyes. In its simplest form, it is pleasing in a sheer aesthetic way with the beauty of its movement, colors and textures. Beyond that it, it raises questions on the nature of time and existence.

Take a look– it’s less than 2 minutes. And also take a look at Brett Foxwell’s website, bfophoto.com . It shows some of his other projects including a trailer for his stop-motion film, Fabricated, which was ten years in the making and has garnered many awards.

 

WoodSwimmer from bfophoto on Vimeo.

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Real busy this morning but wanted to share some paintings and a short video/slideshow of the work of the great American Modernist painter John Marin, who was born in 1870 and died in 1953. He was a pioneer in the medium of watercolor as well as the merging of abstraction and realism in his paintings.

His transparent and translucent colors and the freedom with which he painted, along with the ever freshness of his work,  really inspired me early on. Each painting seemed to be an improvised performance, like a visual jazz riff. Though my style has diverged greatly from his, I still find myself wanting the looseness and immediacy of expression that his work so often displayed.

Take a look and a listen. The music behind this slideshow is Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose played by James P. Johnson who was a great pianist and composer, a pioneer in the stride style of jazz playing. Good stuff.

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There’s so much to be done lately. Who would have thought that painting could be a hectic occupation? That’s not how they show it in the brochures! Anyway, here’s a post from several years back with the addition of a video showing the work of another artist, Frantisek Kupka,  who slipped unseen through the radar for many people, myself included. The scope of his work and the way in which he maintains such a high level throughout is fascinating. Take a look.


Frantisek Kupka was another one of those supremely talented painters from the late 19th/early 20th century who is little known outside the world of museums these days.  You probably won’t stumble across a Kupka calendar or mousepad.  But when I  see the scope and quality of his work I wonder why he hasn’t made that leap.  I know I hadn’t heard of him when I first came across his work in a book of Symbolist paintings.  I saw this image shown here, Resistance or The Dark Idol, and was immediately struck by the tension and drama in its mysterious setting.  I was surprised when I saw his other work that was beautifully colored and striking in other ways.

Kupka- The Yellow Scale (1907 Self Portrait)

Frantisek Kupka was a Czech painter who was born in 1871 and died in 1957 in France.  His career saw his work move from the early symbolic work to pure abstraction.  In fact, Kupka is considered one of the founding members of  the group, Abstraction-Creation, that set off the abstract movement.  While I found much of his abstract work beautiful, it was the early work that really pulled me in.  It was obvious that he could have worked extraordinarily well in any style he chose.  But his relative anonymity remains a mystery to me.  Perhaps he never had that one  iconic image or series that became associated with his name.  Monet’s water lillies.  Van Gogh’s starry night.  Gauguin’s Tahiti. Whistler’s mom.

I don’t know the whys behind this.  But his talent is no mystery at all.  It is evident in every piece I have come across.

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Quiet morning and I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what I want to play today for this Sunday morning music break. Spent a lot of time listening to a lot of different things. I would say it was too much time spent but it’s been enjoyable just taking the time and focusing on the music rather than having it as a background sound while I work.

And I think there are benefits in just really zoning in on the music without distraction, hearing the edge of the notes and the path of the rhythm. The individual elements become clearer and stronger, something that is often lost when there are a thousand other thoughts and sensations running through the mind. When I’m in the studio sometimes the sounds in the background become a drone that becomes a thread that interweaves with whatever thoughts are guiding the task at hand.

And that’s a shame because I know that I often miss the crucial part of the music in this miasma of thought, the part that inspires, that takes you to another place and time. The transcendent part.

This morning I’ve chosen the jazz standard ‘Round Midnight performed by its composer, the legendary Theloni0us Monk. I’m no jazz aficionado. Can’t tell you a lot about the history of the genre or the importance of different tracks or performances or even who ranks highest among those who do know. But I do know that Thelonious Monk has iconic standing in jazz, as does this song. This is a performance by Monk and his quartet from 1966.

I can only say that I like what I like. It’s my main criteria for judging most everything. Sometimes it goes along with the consensus of the experts and sometimes it just suits my own tastes. Here, I think it’s just plain good stuff that I can listen to with pure focus. Have a listen and hopefully you will have great day afterward.

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“As I Wander”- 12″ x 6″ on canvas

Getting ready for Friday’s opening of “Truth and Belief,” my solo show at the Principle Gallery. As I wrote the other day, I was a little anxious in the first day or so after delivering the show. My confidence lagged a bit.

Thankfully, that has passed and I am actually feeling very good about this show.  From a superstitious standpoint, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing but I am truly convinced that this is a good and strong body of work. And from a few images the gallery shared with me yesterday as they were hanging the show that feeling is reinforced.

It has that feeling of rightness that I try to describe so often. And that’s a good thing.

Truth and Belief opens Friday, June 2, at the Principle Gallery in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The opening reception begins at 6:30 and runs until 9 PM. I hope you can make it. If you do, please feel free to introduce yourself or ask questions. It’s my pleasure to be there at your service.

I put together a short video/slideshow of the paintings in the show. It’s a simple and short glimpse of each piece that I hope gives an idea of how the show fits together. Take a look…

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Race the LightSunday morning. It’s quiet which I like immensely. Early mornings are my favorite time, when there are fewer people stirring, fewer yahoos who feel it is their right and profound duty to create as much sound as they can in order that the universe might know they are alive. Those rare times when traveling, I like to get up early and prowl the streets of wherever we might be, taking in the landscape and buildings in a much quieter setting. The few people who are there are either early morning folks like myself who gladly soak in the quiet or they have somewhere to go and are still quietly dazed from being dragged from their bed.

Either way, they don’t make much noise.

I wish I had more time to prattle on endlessly but even though it’s Sunday, it’s still a work day for me.  And a very busy one at that as I continue my prep work for my show that opens in less than two weeks. Still so much to do but I am enjoying seeing it come together. I find it exciting to revisit each piece as I frame them, seeing things that may have slipped my mind since I put the touch of paint to them and set them aside.

Take the painting above, a simple 6″ by 12″ piece that employs a boat motif I have revisited a number of times over the years. My challenge when doing that is to find something new within a narrow compositional parameter with but a couple of elements and little space to add more. The new has to come in the form of color and strokes and texture. And I think this piece, Race the Light, feels new and different than its predecessors. It has its own oomph, its own life and it draws me in anew.

So, in keeping with the boat theme for this week’s Sunday morning music I am going back to some 1980’s music and a song from World Party called Ship of Fools. The song was used in a much different form, much darker and menacing, near the end of the most recent episode of the great TV series Fargo. But the original is a good tune, a great bit of 80’s music. Plus the video is really of the time which sometimes might inspire a chuckle.  The lyrics may pertain to today and tomorrow as much as they did 30 years ago.

You be the judge. Enjoy and have a good day.

 

 

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Why?


Just about every day– and on some of those days it seems like’s it’s every hour– we are bombarded by breaking stories from the White House that are so out of the norm and so outrageous that I find myself literally holding my head.

It is like an unending scene in a bad dream where you can see that something wrong or bad is happening and even though you try pointing it out, nobody wants to listen and treats the situation as though it were totally normal. It’s scary in a Kafkaesque way.

I am still confounded by those who continue to defend the actions of this administration. The evidence that exposes this president’s actions and motives seem more and more apparent with each manic day. I know that we all have certain biases that shape how we interpret incoming data but the continued support (although it is at about historically low levels for any president) that is still on display in some quarters just baffles me.

Stephen Fry, who I have enjoyed as an actor and a wit for many years now, narrates an interesting short film that attempts to explain it.  I am not sure it would change the minds of those who view rational thought, knowledge, and sound reasoning as some sort of evil elitist conspiracy. But there are some neat charts that even a pinhead can understand.

I did.

For example, here’s a chart that shows how much the US spends on defense. It exceeds the defense budgets of the next 7 largest countries–combined! And this administration wants to increase it by 10% which is almost equals the entire defense budget  for Russia.  In fact, it would actually be more than their dense budget because they are cutting their defense budget by 25% according to numerous outlets.

Take a look at the film.

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