Win Win 5 at NIAD Art Center

It’s that time of year again. Every Spring I try to make a new work for the NIAD’s annual benefit. This helps me experiment with new materials which often spawns ideas for upcoming series. Here I created ‘Evil’, a painted, wired word piece. The wire is gripped and screwed beneath a layer of concrete on a wood frame.

In June, I will be having a small solo show at NIAD. I’m thinking of calling it Medieval Modern. A modern rehashing and manupulation of all things medieval.

Spain. Art Spying in Madrid & Zaragoza part 1 of 3

The one thing you will learn from traveling in Madrid is that there are no modern sky scrapers within the downtown area, like Paris, it maintains it’s old european properties which makes Madrid even more attractive, at least to people visiting like myself. The public transportation is ace and you can easily navigate your way around. The system is incredibly clean and quite proper. It’s a perfect way to move and people watch. At the time I arrived in October of 2015, US and Spanish currency were about 15 cents apart, pretty much equal. This bode well for me as the cost of living is much cheaper in Spain. One can purchase a bucket of five 10 ounce bottles of beer for 4 euros or $7 at the pub or kabab joint. I’m more of a whiskey guy, but you will never find that kind of deal here in the US. I also splurged on an amazing 5 course seafood lunch with bottle of wine, $55 euro for two in central downtown Madrid. Think about it, Spain is surrounded by the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. You get a variety of seafood and this is a plus for Pescatereans. Food in Madrid, it’s markets and restaurants are incredibly tasty. Especially in Zaragoza, where you can eat up on a bar stool and toss your trash on the ground inside the restaurant and somebody will sweep up after you. Winning!

During my stay, I was set up by my old friend and college roommate from San Francisco, Jorge Cortes, an American from Montebello, east Los Angeles. After leaving San Francisco, Jorge moved to New York to finish graduate school at NYU, and there met his wife Rebecca who was originally from Zaragoza, Spain. After graduating and the birth of there first born, they moved to Madrid and currently reside in Barrio Del Pilar, a suburb about a half-hour train ride from downtown. Jorge and Rebe were informative guides which left me excited to go explore their new hometown. What I did notice on Madrid freeway walls exclusively were miles of graffiti name tags, big titles, but not very good styles. The fonts felt dated like some 80’s amateur threw down, as if these were places to practice. I give the city high marks for cleanliness, there are trash cans with ash trays on almost every corner. Another surprise to me was the socialist aspects of governing. Spain’s citizens seem to be the priority in this country, great social services, heavily family oriented and community based organization. Corporate marketing isn’t as loud as it is here in the states. Although unemployment is high, but falling in numbers, I personally did not see many homeless or beggars at all. I could have counted them all on one hand. There’s a lot to like about this place.

Let’s Talk Museums

Madrid seems to be an unspoken gem when it comes to the arts. I was able to infiltrate 3 of the countries most adored visual treasures, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo Nacional Del Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Museums can set you back around 7-20 Euro or $10-$25 dollars US depending on special exhibits. All three museums are located in central and is referred to as the Golden Triangle of Art.

REINA SOFIA


PRADO

The Prado Museo carries true master pieces of historic art. In this place my friends are the works of a life-time spent painting. Painting for everyone, for Kings, Politicians, mostly God figures…life throughout the ages. My favorite being Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder. There collaborations were seamless styles and grand-view images of space (example view Sight). A number of these paintings weren’t very large at all either. Many of the works around 20″ inches wide and 16″ inches tall with immaculate framing. You would have to see it in first person to experience the richness of color and detail through layers of paint. The internet just does not justify seeing the real thing in this case and so many others. The experience is ten fold when you face great art, trust me. During this trip I also found a great appreciation for Goya, which you can read about later when I visited the Museo De Goya in Zaragoza, Spain.

Images are NOT allowed at Museo Del Prado, but because I am cunning and persisitent regardless if I get caught I always manage to escape with some spy imagery. PRETENDING TO TEXT is a good method for sneaky pics. The other I use is “Lock-n-Load”, having the camera on and live in your back pocket. The latter is much more get it quick shots high noon style and results may vary depending on how much time you have to snap the image.

Find out more at Prado Museum

 


 

 

THYSSEN

During my visit the was the exposition, “Vogue like a painting”, 70 great art and fashion photos from Vogue magazine. This show features some of the elite of fashion photography. They were all very cinematic imagery that were inspired by paintings and mimicked fine art masters collected in the archives of Vogue. The other highlight at the Thyssen was Edvard Munch Arquetipos exhibition. A very dark and interesting walk with the artist, his quotes and his paintings depicting various events he witnessed.

 


 

EDVARD MUNCH

No imagery was allowed.


 

THYSSEN COLLECTION

Modern and Post-Modern Art. Learn More about Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Spain. Art Spying in Madrid: La Latina Art District part 3 of 3

GALLERY SCENE + Art Walk

Santiago Giralda is represented by the gallery Moisés Pérez de Albéniz www.Galeriampa.com. His landscapes are amazing, super layered with thick impasto, masked angles which reveal the canvas layer and gives incredible dimension. It’s a mix of abstraction, tuning you in and out of a surreal mountains, lakes, valley’s, rock formations and bodies of water. 


 

STEFAN RINK at GALERIA ALEGRIA

The stone carvings by Stefan Rinck, as he describes, “Ultimately I want to reveal the figure, …which is hidden in the block”. Pretty much sums up what Michelangelo once exclaimed, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Although Rinck’s figures aren’t classical angels or carvings dedicated to the church, his work does release other worldly creatures and beings into the world. I can appreciate the amount of labor in these statues, the polishing of stone and the odd style he implements. I feel as though I’ve been enlightened by his work and in a way these feel like ‘contemporary relics’, timeless works.

 


 

SWINTON GALLERY

Often when traveling I do as much research as I can to find galleries to visit that suits my taste. Swinton Gallery and Grant, served as a bookstore, coffee shop and gallery. The gallery was below deck and was a good size. It had various smaller spaces that receded into areas where you could lurk. On this particular day they were exhibiting the work of SANER and GNOSICK’s Atlantico. SANER is known for his street style art that depicted masked indigenous figures and natural spirits of the earth. GNOSICK’s art had a stellar geometric style and they quite complimented each others work.


 

GALERIA CASAS INFIN

Daniel G Andujar, El Capital. La Mercancia, Guilloche, is a series of illustrated currency and how it affects mankind. A mix of what seems to be vector art and 3D wire framing on printed paper. We happened upon this unusual money grid as we wandering La Latina. You have to get buzzed in to gain entry and the space was narrow probably 8 ft x12 ft in dimension. Standing at the doorway you face a 12 foot wall filled with art, it makes for cozy company and forces you to be engaged with what’s in front of you. The galleries in Madrid really make good use of space. I’m inspired and content with these smaller art spaces.

Find out more about Galeria Casas Infin.


 

AROUND TOWN

 

RUSH HOUR: Perform Chinatown 2015 (Los Angeles, CA)

I went to go visit the wonderful and strange world that is performance art. Up and down gallery row on Chun King Road, the street is littered with voyeurs. This was a small window into the many happenings of this eventful day.

PERFORM CHINATOWN

Richard Ankrom: THE CURIO SHOP & William Powhida: Seditions @ Charlie James Gallery (Los Angeles)

I first saw the work of Richard Ankrom, if I can remember correctly, was at Art Mrkt Fair at the Concourse in San Francisco. I believe it was their first one before heading to Fort Mason Center. He had these “fetish figurines”, basically thrift store type sculptures with black leather resin coated masks. I then saw a short documentary on his performance art of fabricating and installing freeway signs in Los Angeles, Guerrilla Public Service, but at the time I didn’t realize it was the same artist. The vast differences between these two works has caused me to be a bigger fan. At “The Curio Shop”, Ankrom changes the full first floor of Charlie James Gallery into his own quirky fetish shop or lair if you prefer.

Below deck, William Powhida’s Seditions, bathed me some painstaking and high  anxiety word art. I loved his renderings.

Photography by Micke Tong

Graphic Play: Purin Phanichphant

Purin Phanichphant’s art is fun. “Graphic Play” has a graphic designers aesthetic, odd in a good way, with intellectual properties. Graphic Play took place May 13, 2015 at Keystone Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

Photography by Micke Tong

 

DIVERGENCE

I love curating shows, I find it to be an art project or shall I say production in itself. With Divergence, I was fortunate to team up with Rebecca O’Leary for this exhibit featuring an international cast of female artists. The show took place at Keystone Art Gallery in Los Angeles, California.

Opening Reception Saturday, March 21, 2015  | 6—10pm.

Divergence is an exhibition of work by 8 contemporary female artists working in distinctly different mediums. Curated by Micke Tong and Rebecca O’Leary, Divergence spotlights artists who are working in an interdisciplinary manner, integrating unique methodologies or concepts into their artistic practice. The artwork exhibited is of varied styles and genres: conceptual art, abstract painting, ceramic sculpture, mixed media and photography, providing a widely spread artistic experience for the viewer.

In their practices, these artists have subtly but bravely emerged out of the veil of restrictions and limitations of traditional mediums and found their own path to making unique works of art.

Presenting Female Artists: Angela Baker, Brük Dunbar, Sacha Eckes, Laurie Frick, Kohl King, Jessica Miller, Kylea Borges and Kari Reardon.

Photography: Micke Tong

Art Trek February

Had a full art journey. Travelled from Hollywood to K-Town to Chinatown. Rain didn’t stop the art enthusiasts this evening. Visual overload in good way.

Barnsdall Museum, Los Angeles. First Robert Williams and Juxtapoz 20 at LAMAG. It was a joy to hear and see Williams work. I admired his charisma and there was a grand fare of fanboys and girls. I loved his distinct voice and I became well aware of his historical cult status just by glancing around. He spoke of the hardships of being an artist, a man humbled, Williams also spoke of his multiple water colors at the Whitney which he had painted in 3 days. Equally sound was the maze of rooms Juxtapoz curated with a grip of artists from the magazines archives.  It was the first time I was able to view Joram Roukes collage mixed painting. Also, glad to witness bay area artist, Brett Amory in his private room painting install. Here I captured some of Brett’s early work in 2008 at 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco.

Stopped over at Gabba Gallery‘s “Curate This” show where I went to visit Kohl King ‘s work. Layer after layer of  these Gaf tape works are intense, I wanted to touch them or at least peel away some of these sticky strips. I am happy to report that I will be working with King and curating a show with Rebecca O’leary at Keystone Art Gallery titled “Divergence”, opening taking place March 21, 2015, 6-10 pm. Join us on FB https://www.facebook.com/events/826886064048492/ or visit us.

Chinatown, final destination. Paige Wery’s Goodluck Gallery presented, what I thought I over heard was Andrea Joyce Heimer’s first exhibit, and it was so good. Her dreamy, surreal, graphic paintings had a spirit of wonder. Charlie James hosted Amir Fallah, draped figures that reminded me of photo fashion trends of late. I was drawn to the beams, which cut time and space. See More. Coop plastered the walls at Coagula. There were drawings a plenty, do you hear that? that’s back woods art speak for scores of illustrations in pencil sketches and black ink.  Coops signature ink drawings, but my strange satisfaction was the early 1989, Spacemen 3 Poster!

The Object & The Void: Bedford Gallery (Walnut Creek, CA)

Nestled in the Lesher Center of Performing Arts in beautiful Walnut Creek, California is Bedford Gallery. A museum room type space with quality curated exhibits. I stopped by to see “The Object & The Void” featuring Linda Fleming, Bella Feldman, Yoshimoto Saito and Clay Jensen. Very well spaced and grouped sculptures, yet had a very natural appeal.

Suggested Review by David Roth @ Square Cylinder.

 

Photography: Micke Tong

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