Posts Tagged ‘ art ’

Nathan Loda at Adah Rose Gallery

I’m not sure how to write about a friend’s work. I’m not even sure what kind of writing I plan to do for this. Would it be a review? Would it be a, “I was there,” bit of writing. How do I write this?

I wrote several drafts then deleted them. I could revive them, but only in spirit. There were a few nice turns of phrases, little naked dances. And quite a lot of personal relativity. I like Nathan. And that liking is leading my key board tapping. Can I divorce my personal feelings from the analysis? What about artists I don’t like? Won’t that personal feeling influence the reading?

So how can this work. What is the issue here? Is it an issue at all?

I’ll ease into this. Nathan’s underpainting. An umber-sienna drawing then paint up on top. The ending not too smooth, not too painterly. Maybe somewhere in between.  Not just layers. He leaves that earthen underpainting to poke through. Like Jenny Saville with her burning cadmium blaring, yet Nathan’s under painting slow burns, pushes its way to the fore.

You can see it nicely in several cases.

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Look close, boiling beneath that top most layer is that earthen light. That umber underpainting.

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So the painting is done yet some areas are just touched. Manet’s thumbs. He lets the furthest point shine through. And so we get some luminosity.

And the scale is small. Intimate so your body has to relate to the thing, close up. And Adah’s gallery is likewise intimate. So a good pairing here.

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And the subject matter does what Nathan does. Is what Nathan is. That conflicted person, conflicted American. Conflicted history. Skate punk down in the holler. A hunter, killing and planting. He speaks Italian and Spanish and maybe more languages. He has traveled.

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The interpretation can be subjective. Maybe that’s how art is good and less authoritarian. Allowing for more voices. The viewer completing the thing through observation and interpretation. Maybe when the painting presents us with many possible interpretations, then perhaps that ambiguity allows for some potential. So perhaps ambiguity is an inclusive gesture. But do these particular depictions include or exclude?

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There is a thought that toys are safe. For the child they are safe; they are content-less. But one wonders if a toy is neutral.

How can a thing be neutral. It was made for a reason. The toys are myth objects, telling us who we think we are, who we want our children to think they are. Maybe parents give their children toys because they are leading their learning. Leading their world views. Like putting a text (any text) in their hands, like letting them touch the hot stove. So to give a child Cowboys and Indians, what might that parent intend? What might a manufacturer intend? Are those toys neutral? What narratives are implanted?

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Nathan Loda’s Histories, Heroes and Small Moments at Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington, MD up through June 5, 2016.






Erasing Forwards

This past year has been difficult. Post grad life has been a whole host of uncertainties. Food and shelter aren’t free.

A History of a Discard Pile and Its Discontents

A History of a Discard Pile and Its Discontents, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

I have stayed away from my digital erasures for several reasons. Maybe they ran their course. Maybe they are conceptually problematic. When I first started making them, I wrote the following statement:

I make hundreds of paintings that involve erasure. Erasure and multiple is important to this analog painting process. I then digitally erase those analog paintings. Erasure is a sign for doubt for me. I test the painting process through analog erasure and digital erasure. It functions like layered multiple double negatives. The process is a continuous attempt at testing the value of convictions and ultimately discerning a valid space between judgments about good and bad. Through this process I test the space between matter and the digital.

If a painting is an object that speaks to presence, the artist’s hand, or silence, then what changes about that presence, hand, and silence when the painting’s vocabulary changes to pixels rather than canvas?

But I also always made them to process data. They are digital erasures. They aren’t erasures of the actual analog paintings. There isn’t a real threat. No danger. The analog object isn’t modified. It is the photo of the thing. That’s why the so called, “Erased Paintings,” are problematic. If a painting is an analog object, a tactile, kinesthetic object, then a photo of it is a mere representation. The photo of a painting is a record. Camera and painting are record keepers. The end photo is there to be put online, or emailed, or digitally transmitted. But perhaps it is not the thing itself. Of course, an artist can declare what they think that “thing itself,” is for themselves.

A Many One Pivot Lie

A Many One Pivot Lie, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

So, maybe digitally erasing a photo is problematic. But for me, this process helps me go back in time. Dig through the history of these things. Dig through what I was thinking about when I made them. Dig through the good and bad of life at that time. As I digitally erase them, I dig back into their making. I remember each mark. It is like a digital archaeology of an analog thing. Brush marks become signatures. Scrapings become physically remembered. I can hear the canvas being touched. I can hear it through my eyes. It’s all kinesthetic empathy (to borrow from Kenny Jones). A kinesthetic empathy of my memory. I empathize with my hands of that time. The erasure is a time machine. But it isn’t a nostalgic gesture. Nostalgia isn’t something I trust.

A Wild Herd of Indifferents Appears

A Wild Herd of Indifferents Appears, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

If At First You Don't Succeed, Kill Yourself

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Kill Yourself, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

The Erased Paintings are an attempt at delving into why or what is good about painting. I make the analog paintings to test their veracity. The digital work is a continuation of this process.

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Ripple Ending, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

Trainwreck Wreck 02

Trainwreck Wreck 01, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

The digital erasure further analyzes the whole idea of the image on a screen. Much of our seeing is mitigated by the screen. We look at them all day. People live their whole lives online. People buy paintings online. People buy paintings by only seeing a jpeg. These are those jpegs.

Trainwreck Wreck 01

Trainwreck Wreck 02, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper


Tidy ABCD, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

But these jpegs return to the analog object. These digital erasures return as prints. Cluttered processed photos of that analog thing. Some kind of shadow of a painting.

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Wet Gesture, 2016, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

All my work is a continuum. One thing relates to the other. It’s stacked dominoes. They clatter, fall.

The One Pixel series relates to the Erased Painting series. A single pixel of one of my paintings.


One Pixel of a Jay Hendrick Painting, 2013, archival inkjet print on fine art photo rag paper

The Erased Paintings relate to the microscope slide.


Average Color of One-Hundred Paintings, 2015, acrylic on microscope slide in wooden box, 8.5x5x1″

The microscope slide relates to the 100 Paintings.


100 Paintings, 2015, one-hundred acrylic paintings on a 20×16” stretcher on easel, 74x37x37″

The 100 Paintings relate to all the paintings.



Pedagogy as Practice

I am interested in “pedagogy as practice.” I am trying to find my way through this approach. The following is touching on some major issues I want to incorporate.

“When describing their pedagogic practice, these artists tended to define themselves in opposition to teachers. Although respecting the teaching profession, they resisted describing their practice as ‘teaching’, associating it exclusively with transmissive pedagogy. Instead, artists sought to engage participants primarily through discussion and exchanging ideas and experiences. There is evidence of ‘co-constructive’ learning taking place, whereby shared knowledge is generated between all participants including the teacher. These artists’ tended to identify themselves as co-learners, who question and re-organise their knowledge, rather than as infallible experts…”

The concept of co-learner appeals to me. It sounds like an ethical approach to teaching wherein both the artist and the student co-habitate the learning experience. The idea is that both parties are active. The idea is that both parties take agency over the situation of learning. Rather than being taught at, the student learns with the teacher.