Note From Jon


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Artomatic 2007

Artomatic 2007 wraps up today and I want to record some of my impressions of this year's show. The show this time took place in the old Patent and Trademark buildings in Crystal City, and with the metro, free weekend and after 4pm weekday parking (plus bike path access I took advantage of twice) and restaurants in the area, I think this is easily the best location they have had yet.

The highlight of the show for me was getting my portrait done by my friends in the 4traits on opening night (my profile photo - which I think looks like me but which most people said looks like a superhero and as Jan Louis said "looks better than you do"). Overall though this year no single piece stood out to me the way they had in the past, but there were quite a few which I enjoyed and overall my experience at Artomatic this year was as fun as each of the past two. I'm just disappointed I didn't spread my visits more out over the length of the show instead of just opening night and then four visits in the last week. My other regret is not going earlier in the show and purchasing some of my favorite pieces. A couple of pieces I would have bought had sold by the last week.

Here are some of my favorite pieces (if any artists would like me to remove these photos just let me know, I'm not exactly sure of the fair use policies regarding photos of your artwork in my blog).

First of all my favorite pieces from AOM 2002 and 2004 (without credits since I didn't have my blog then, if you happen to know who did these pieces I'd love to know and include them):

2002: A series of photographs taken from the top down of each different color of Converse sneaker in a similar colored setting (green chucks in grass, camo chucks in leaves, etc.). The actual color study effect was much more visually interesting than my description.

2004: Joseph Merchlinsky's painting (who I can finally credit a year later thanks to his comment on my 2008 post) consisted of hundreds of "I Voted" stickers (painted, not actual stickers) in red, white and blue or black, green and red. Viewed from a normal distance it just looked like a piece comparing American and Iraqi Democracy, but the subtlety (or not so subtlety) of the piece was that when seen from a greater distance the change between American and Iraqi stickers occurs in a vague silouette of the infamous hooded prisoner at Abu Ghraib. The 2007 show had another political commentary piece (not pictured) which was really sad to see that was a photo collage of George W. Bush's face constructed from photos of soldier's who had been killed in Iraq.

If I had to pick one favorite memorable piece from this year's show it would probably be Alicia Buenaventura Santos piece shown to the left which reveals something about the viewer.

And another image of the same subject...

Emily Greene Liddle had a fun series of paintings of fruit in unusual shapes or situations (a delicious strawberry and blackberry on a fishing line with the hook poking out menacingly).

On the right is one of pieces I would have purchased had it not already been sold by the time I saw it. The piece was by Richard Goulet and sold for something like $120.

Andrew Cronan's space is filled with a variety of mobiles, most of which are essentially identical to miniature Calder's, although he had created Calderesque mobiles in the shape of a horse and fish which were more interesting.

But my favorite part of his exhibit was the two mobiles he placed in a steel cage and acrylic box respectively and left papers for the audience to comment on what was in each box. Many answers focused on gender roles, but my favorite was perhaps the most literal.

George Koch and Rebecca Gordon's Antomatic was a simple yet satisfying installation of ants stamped all across the walls and ceilings of a dead end hallway

Anna Nazaretz's whimsical Terrance and Philip-esque Close Up was matched by an equally whimsical BRASH poem. One particularly fun part of Artomatic (and a reason to see it again towards the end of the run) is that BRASH writes poems in response to artists pieces and secretly places them in the exhibits throughout the show.

Carl Dahlke captured the last few weeks of his father's life and his mother's interaction with his father is this poignant series of photographs.

Damien Gill captured this series of detailed fire hydrant photos which reminded me of the water tower photo series I'd seen at the LACMA Museum several years ago.

Jennifer Haack's Counting the Days was another piece that I definitely would have purchased ($400) had it not sold before I saw it. I'm just a sucker for Manatees. EDIT: In a wild twist of fate I discovered that this painting was actually bought by a friend of a friend who I went White Water Rafting with this past weekend! Small world.

Bill Remington's The Frame Builder is another piece I considered buying (for the mantle). It's hard to tell from the photo, but the paint was layered on so thick is areas (over an inch) that from most angles it looked like purely abstract art. Only from straight on could you see the man in the painting. The caption was "There is a method to his madness".

Ruth Trevarrow's Caution Christian Values is another piece that would have made a fun mantle hanging. I especially enjoyed the reflectors lighting up with the flash.

My favorite of the Washington Post's Sunday Source Peep Diorama Contest was this peeposuction clinic by Marti Doyle, mainly for the before and after shots of the peep.

Heather Schmaedeke's Senses was a simply but well executed piece that appealed to me...

Thankfully our hands don't actually look like that or else it would have made collecting the materials for this piece even more unpleasant than it surely was (unfortunately I can't figure out from my photos or the artomatic website who the artist is).

Malcolm Jones had a whole series of paintings (as well as decorating his wall with murals) of cartoon Koi. I have to remind myself that Koi are the fish and Poi is the starchy purple pudding I had in Maui.

Genevieve Lynn had a series of Chinese brush paintings including this one of a Tiger. I may actually purchase this one because I am also a sucker for Tigers (Harimau-Harimau) and my Manatee was sold.

Michelle Wee's vibrant rendition of a turtle was another of my favorites. Looking at it made me happy. This was a place where Darren pointed out that our taste in art diverges. He needs visionary scope and layered meaning whereas I appreciate a colorful turtle.

Darren and I did both agree that we loved this impromptu installation (of an artist whose name I haven't been able to determine) that was an homage to a recent episode of Heroes where strings create a 3-D map of the connections between all the various heroes. In this case the strings connect many of the artists in Artomatic and the tagline "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World" has evolved into "Save the Artist, Save the World".

I'm not sure if we succeeded in saving the artist, but I did love the time I spent at this year's Artomatic and can't wait until the next show (hopefully no more than two years away). I definitely share Darren's sentiment about the end of the show as expressed here with our friend Ming's croqueted head.

No comments: