Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for August, 2008

Dave McKean at Merry Karnowski L.A.

by Suzanne on August 13th, 2008

Death (from The Particle Tarot) by Dave McKean, 2000

Maybe it's just me, but I think there's something genuinely mean about people who don't like Dave McKean's artwork. Not that I'm the biggest McKeanian out there, mind you, but I always felt that proclaiming to the world not to enjoy his works is almost like saying that you don't like listening to music or that the Brothers Grimm were bad writers.

I basically don't trust anyone who says either.

So if you happen to be in L.A. (... and you should, because remember that you need to go see Jared Joslin's exhibition!), you have until Saturday to see the captivating works from Dave's Persistence of Vision series at Merry Karnowsky Gallery.

Closing: Saturday, August 16, 2008

Address: Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90036, USA, tel: 323.933.4408 | Directions

Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 12 - 6 PM (or by appointment)

Preview show | Flyer

Show catalogue available from the gallery for $20.

Dave McKean & Neil Gaiman interviewed by The Onion

Artist's website

Jared Joslin at Yarger/Strauss, Beverly Hills

by Suzanne on August 12th, 2008

Trainer by Jared Joslin, acrylic on canvas, 2005

Over at the WurzelForum, the lovely Jessica Joslin (previously featured here) kindly informed us that her husband Jared (previously featured here) has a solo show at Yarger/Strauss Fine Art in Beverly Hills.

Artist reception for Jared's Shadow of the Silver Moon is this Thursday, August 14, 7 - 9 PM. Further details below.

On show: August 14 - September 13, 2008

Address: Yarger/Strauss Fine Art, 354 North Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA, tel: 310.278.4400

Gallery hours: Tue - Fri: 12 - 7 PM | Sat: 12 - 6 PM | Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Preview show | Press release | Available works | Flyer

Artist's website

Emcee by Jared Joslin, oil on canvas, 2008


I) Never mind the boring puristic display, Wellcome's Skeletons special exhibition is absolutely worth seeing as it will turn you into an ardent hobby anthropologist searching the skeletons for signs of diseases and guessing their age and gender. On display until September 28.

II) Raisins and cereals. They don't go together. Period. It's like yellow and purple. People won't cease to try and convince you that it's oh so tasty and oh so chic, but it's not. Ask your taste buds and optic nerves for confirmation. Thank you.

III) While reading a bit of Ancient Greek prose , I've noticed the existence of a strange ear fetish in the Greek mythological world, mainly manifested in a multitude of stories telling of snakes licking protagonists ears to give them the gift to hear the future (Cassandra) or to understand the voices of animals (Melampus). Anyway, I think it's something I'll definitely keep in mind next time I meet a snake. Might be useful.

IV) The invisibility cloak is almost here and I'll soon be able to break into the Grant Museum and steal their selection of Blaschka works. Yay!

But what would Jesus you do with an invisibility cloak?

"Enjoy It While It Lasts" at DvA, Chicago

by Suzanne on August 10th, 2008

Swan Sculpture #35 by Scott Radke, mixed media, 2008

The insanely twisted Chris Ryniak (picture below), the wonderously enchanting Scott Radke (picture above), and some of their friends of the venerable Art Dorks Collective are currently showing an eclectic selection of works to the Chicago public.

Details below.

Worm Chaser Of The North by Chris Ryniak, epoxy, resin & fiber, 2008

On show: August 9 - TBC, 2008

Featuring: Chris Ryniak, Scott Radke, Brendan Danielsson, Travis Louie, Melissa Forman, et al.

Address: DvA Gallery, 2568 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614, USA | Directions

Gallery hours: Tue - Fri: 12 - 7 PM | Sat: 12 - 6 PM | Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Preview show | Flyer

If you think that your living room looks somewhat incomplete without the Worm Chaser of the North piece (and let's face it - every living room is incomplete without a touch of Ryniakness) you can buy the beauty over at the DvA web shoppe. Weeee!

Massive Eye Candy Overload at CoproNason this weekend!

by Suzanne on August 4th, 2008

Grace by Chris Peters, oil on canvas

The head of the Wurzelmonkeys® who manage my inbox just forwarded me an email by skeleton artist extraordinaire Chris Peters:

"I wanted to let you know that CoproNason Gallery is having a busy night of 5 solo shows, including one of mine!

Kris Lewis' Gilding the Lily
Travis Louie's The Great Gugga Mugga
Chris Peters' The End and After
Michael Page's New Beginnings
Martin Wittfooth's Sandcastles in the Tide

The show opens Saturday, August 9th, from 8 - 11:30 PM and will be up until August 30th.

Very best,


Thank you very much for letting us know, Chris, and the very best of luck (... and fun!) to you, Kris, Travis, Michael & Martin!

Left: Witness by Martin Wittfooth | Right: Arrival by Kris Lewis

On show: August 9 - 30, 2008

Featuring: Kris Lewis, Travis Louie, Chris Peters, Michael Page & Martin Wittfooth

Address: CoproNason Gallery, Bergamot Station T5, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404, USA, tel: 310-829-2156

Previews: Chris Peters | Martin Wittfooth | Michael Page | Travis Louie | Kris Lewis

The Sunday Roast Rant

by Suzanne on August 3rd, 2008

A few days ago, I posted about Alex's recently finished project finding it difficult to hold back my pride to see his skills evolve day by day and today, I find it difficult to hold back my disappointment in finding out that he's been ripped off for the 5th time this year.

Ryan Sawyer - a.k.a. "absinthetic" in LiveJournalLand - has gained a lot of undeserved attention and rather shortsighted praise in the blogosphère in the past two days by creating what he calls a Wonderland Expedition Kit.

He says:

"My lovely girlfriend's birthday is on Sunday, and since she's so fantastic, I wanted to make her something very special. She's a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, and we were awe-struck by the incredibly well-crafted and detailed creations of AlexCF, so I combined the two."

So yes, it's there: He admitted his source of "inspiration" black on white. But is that enough? Is copying someone's work simply a peccadillo once credit is given, compliments made here and there and a neat hyperlink added in a sub-clause?

A BoingBoing reader seems to think so:

"[...] AlexCF's kits are fabulous, very imaginative...but what impressed me about your kit was the thought, the time and the effort you put into [...]. Inspiration is one thing; follow-through is something else. [...]"

I don't think so. "Follow-through" just proves one thing alone: Imperturbable determination to keep copying until the copy reaches that thin demarcation line between originality and blueprinting (or "Abklatsch" as the person who once reactivated my brain - the good old Prof. Dr. Gottfried Boehm - used to call it referring to hand prints in cave art).

While determination may be a great trait for an athlete, in the arts it tends to drown out this faint little voice inside of us and overshadows the translucent subconscious authority that enables self-criticism and the ability to differentiate between creating and imitating, contributing and stealing. The authority that stimulates all cultural evolution and progress.

I've long come to the realisation that the majority of humanity will forever prefer the copied, convenient and painless to the original, challenging and unsettling. And I'm not being a kulturpessimist. I just observe and learn.

"[...] you should make a duplicate and sell it [...]"

See what I mean?

I'm very aware of the fact that assemblage art, just like collage art, is a highly tricky medium and a grey area when it comes to copyrights and ownership laws - after all, we will probably never find the guy who invented the box per se or the first individual in mankind's history who put an object into a box for purely decorative reasons. But that's not the point. The point is that even though it's already a great achievement to actually find someone who mentions his Muse by his name, it doesn't justify or authorise imitating. That's just not what rememberable art is made of.

Let's put ourselves into Mr Sawyer's mind for a second right at the moment when he decided upon the contents of his Wonderland Expedition Kit. And let's be honest - would...

i) you really think to include a set of bloody Cheshire Cat teeth or would you only consider it after seeing Alex's Werewolf Anatomical Research Case III?

Left: Detail of Alex CF's Werewolf Anatomical Research Case III | Right: Detail of Ryan Sawyer's Wonderland Expedition Kit - Please click to see details

ii) it really be that obvious that the same Prof. Lake from the same Miskatonic University that appeared in Lovecraft's stories and on the outside of Alex's Shub Niggurath Specimen would lead an expedition to Wonderland?! Errmmm... think again.

Left: Detail of Alex CF's Shub Niggurath Specimen | Right: Detail of Ryan Sawyer's Wonderland Expedition Kit - Please click to see details

I don't care whether you think I'm being pedantic or trying to protect the person I love. The fact of the matter is that I'm sick and tired of seeing some of my best and most visionary friends' oeuvre being ripped off - foremost Trevor Brown's - and trust me, it infuriates me just as much when I see one of his works being copied.

But I'm not an art or copyright lawyer, all I can do to channel my anger is trying to document cases of imitation and plagiarism. It won't make the world a better place, it won't prevent art from being copied because there will always be an abundance of a) bored, b) jealous, c) competitive copycats out there who have no shame to climb into the filthy downward spiral of degenerative mediocrity. However, building a little Wall of Shame has always been a rather satisfactory activity.

Creating art should always be an inventive process, it's work, it's pain, it's sweat, it's being frustrated, breaking down in tears, banging one's head against a wall, it means being too hard on oneself, it means throwing things around the room and starting all over again, but never giving up creating and inventing. It this chaotic, destructive and cathartic process which provides artworks with a soul, a heart, an indestructible Walter Benjaminesque aura that defies space and time and that only an original can ever have.

And as hard as I try, I'm sorry to say that I simply cannot see an aura, or any blood, sweat & tears in your Wonderland Expedition Kit, Ryan.

Maybe, at the end of the day when those cynic smiles are etched into our faces, we can maybe even find the loudest laugh, some consequent truth, the ultima ratio of the liberated villain in this MetaFilter comment:

"I, for one, plan to shamelessly copy this idea!"