Art Is Not Exceptional was contributed by Christian Lawrence St. Denis in the month of March for our Northwest special feature. Dakota Gallery is located in Bellingham, WA. Having originally started as a DIY Gallery in the Pacific Northwest, Open House continues to be excited by the artwork coming out of the region. It is our intention to create dialogue between the ambitious emerging art scene in the Northwest and New York City. Stay tuned for future special features in April!
By Christian Lawrence St. Denis
Dakota Gallery, Bellingham: three white walls, a glass and black metal facade, a white pillar, black floors. The installation is called I Am Sorry Please Forgive Me. The artist is Hannah Zoe.
A dark room, a cavern upholstered with black plastic garbage bags is home to a ten minute video created by artist Taja Lindley, at the 2017 SPRING/BREAK Art Show. “The Bag Lady” a goddess like figure dressed in a garbage bag dress, a mix of costume and homemade high fashion, ritualistically dances, shouts, and conjures up the trash bags and black balloons surrounding her. “DON’T SHOOT!”, rings out at the height of the performance. This Ain’t A Eulogy: A Ritual For Re-Membering, is Lindley’s reaction to the, “non-indictments of the police officers responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.” An emotionally driven and provoking piece, Lindley talks with Open House about her process of performing, the conversion of the work from performance into film, and the garbage bag as a symbol.
From Taos, to Bellingham, to Richmond to New York City, Open House corralled some of the most interesting contemporary emerging artists of 2017. They were kind enough to share with us some of their secrets to navigating the powerful social media path and their insights on how they use social media. Along the way they put some of our mounting suspicions to rest, discussing the make-or-break reaction to likes, and what kind of benefits they are really seeking–and getting–from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.It is safe to say a few things are certain and that while not everyone needs the help of the internet to survive in the art world, it does seem that most believe it is a valuable tool. From researching artists to posting homemade cat gifs, these artists are not only creative with their posting, but also personal. In the age of social media, where all images, as Jake Reller says “are not fit for mass consumption,” perhaps it is this personal touch that keeps us interested in what these photos on small screens have to offer.
WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU WORK IN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
ON AVERAGE, HOW OFTEN DO YOU POST IMAGE OF YOUR WORK OR PROCESS O SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU PREFER INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, OR FACEBOOK?
WHAT DO YOU DO TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE OR INCLUDE YOUR FOLLOWERS, OR DO YOUR POSTS FUNCTION MORE AS GLIMPSES INTO YOUR ART PRACTICE?
DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES, OR TO MEET/ LEARN ABOUT OTHER ARTISTS? ARE THERE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE YOU WOULDN’T HAVE MET WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA? HAS SOCIAL MEDIA EVER LED TO A SALE OR OTHER OPPORTUNITY?
DO RECEIVED ‘LIKES’ AFFECT HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CONTENT YOU POST?HOW DO YOU THINK THE ONLINE RESPONSE AFFECTS YOUR WORK?
CAN ARTISTS COUNT ON PEOPLE SEEING THEIR WORK WITHOUT USING SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU KNOW AN ARTIST WHO DOESN’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA?
The results are in; the people have spoken. Thanks to you, we’ve been injected with our dose of adrenaline to keep digging, to keep that pickaxe swinging. There’s gold out there.
I am fascinated by the origins of ideas, especially half-finished or unfulfilled ideas. As part of our New Year’s Ring-In, we put out a call for submissions to our readers. We prompted folks to think of a photo that they took as a reference for an art idea in 2016. This could be a snapshot of an interesting texture that might look good in a painting, or a sketch, or just a snapshot of something that they thought would kickstart an idea. Maybe this is an idea that was abandoned completely.
With so many great submissions, we couldn’t narrow it down to 5 as we said we would. So here’s our top 6.
“I see myself as a figure painter,” says Kate Liebman, as I sit in her studio, absorbing her large dynamic paintings in front of me. I see for the first time a repeating pair of eyes in an abstracted painting behind where she is sitting. As I spend more time sitting and talking with the artist, the large well-executed paintings seem to become something more unexpected. Liebman begins walking me through her process, her sources, and her perspective on her own history. Paint tubes and splatters cover the floor almost completely. Her studio is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and she has agreed to an interview with me, after having met me at Bushwick Open Studios this past fall. As our conversation progresses, topics of distance, viewer insight, and political responsibility are tackled, and I learn that this body of work has been sourced from a drawing she made of a photograph — taken during the Holocaust, showing prisoners lined up for a daily count in Buchenwald, Germany. In the time spent in her studio, she also shares with me her perspective on the current painting discourse, including artists she considers to be inspirational and her process of setting productive goals in the studio. In addition to maintaining a studio practice in Brooklyn, Liebman also writes for the Brooklyn Rail.
According to Angela Heisch, only the person who begins a painting can decide how to finish it. I arrived to a room full of decisive paintings; iconic, hard-edge abstractions seeming to have rolled effortlessly out of the last. She knew what the next painting would be. She appeared to have reached absolute freedom from the anxieties of critique, depending solely on instinct.
I begin writing this in the days following the election. A heaviness fills the air. It’s palpable-the collective despair of everyone around me. This weight is something that Agnes Martin dealt with throughout her life. Battling schizophrenia, she found solace and comfort in making art, which is something I think many artists can relate to.Continue reading “Moving Within: An Emerging Artist’s Thoughts on Agnes Martin”→