Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Notes from an easel-work in progress-the Valley stage seven by David Gough

After a weeks sabbatical from the new piece, I was hungry again. There is something transcendental about the almost imperceptible pace of working the minutiae, I imagine it to be the closest thing to the repose of meditative prayer, for myself at least. Still a long road ahead to my final intention, but I do see a light at the end of my own corridor.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And Another Thing-Margaret Thatcher, the death of the British Empire

'When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag, and carrying a cross...'
Sinclair Lewis-1935

Fifteen years ago, an intransigent, extreme and archaic, dictatorship was ousted from office by her own party, following an elected third term in the UK.
Though its true to say, that the beginnings of Margaret Thatchers terrible reign, brought an end to a period in the seventies of union discontent, it also brought with it a harsh and cold winter which lasted twelve long years.

During her term in office, Britain endured the Falklands war, The Westland Aff air, the end of the coal and the shipping industry, the privatization of the railways, the telephone lines, the electric and water boards, the beginnings of the end for the NHS, a reinstated Tax (Poll Tax) abolished in the sixteenth century, eight million unemployed (conservative estimate after the book cooking of training schemes), inheritance tax (a tax which ensures you still pay after your death) Education cuts and Mad Cow disease (CJD), censorship, the moral guardianship of the nanny state, Hillsborough, Dunblane, Charring cross, race and poll tax riots in the streets and a further polarization of negotiations with the IRA.

And whilst the maggots flourished and grew complacently bloated, the poor became more emaciated, and what they call the class divide in England became a chasm.
As the country descended further into the bowels of Hades however, the machinations behind number ten maneuvered, and I watched as a tearful Thatcher was removed from Downing street. It was the only emotion I ever saw her betray.
The dark days of the right were numbered, and there was a sense that the working class-through music, through art and culture, were on the move.

Its hard for me to reminisce the hope and promise of those times-but when Labour swept in again after so long, with D-reams song 'Things can only get better', it felt like watching life reanimating a corpse.
Of course, history has shown that hopes are in vain, that the mess left in the Thatcher years was too far reaching -lopping o ff a limb is no good when the cancer has spread, but at the very least, the Conservatives were viewed as an aberrant joke-a terrible wrong footing that was the catalyst for the end an empire, a country were it was twenty five years too late for its terrible former premier to be diagnosed with dementia.

I annotate this, because in the insanity of the birther movement, the spitting sloganeering of the teabaggers, the endless, impending, end of days fervor of the evangelists, the death panels
vindicators-I see all too well, the failings of my own countries past.

The dark unwillingness for change-an unwillingness, that comes spitting the vitriol of judgment, cloaked between the pages of the bible and a pocketful of race hatred. An angry mob, without a taste for irony, resembling the fascist diatribes of the 30's, much more than the institution and leader elect, they are demonizing, all stoked by their own ignorance and those special interests, who balk at change simply because they may end up a little light on change in their pocket.

Perhaps its as Churchill once said, a country does elect the leader it deserves, but having seen the terrible legacy of the Thatcher years, and those still being cast by the long shadow of Bush, it doesn't behoove one to imagine the demagogue borne from the bastard offspring of Limbaugh and Beck.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gough Medicine-The Artist

'I never got my license to live-they won't give it up, so I stand at the Worlds edge...'

Iggy Pop-Some Weird Sin, 1977

© Bill Brandt Archive Ltd

Monday, September 21, 2009

Object D' Art-Tomi Ungerer-Agent Provocateur

'My anger is essential to my work,-Humour is a defense mechanism against the evils of society.'
Tomi Ungerer

I first became aquainted with Tomi Ungerers work, upon discovering his dark little tome-Testament-in an even darker corner of a Liverpool library in the very early 1980's.
The naive, fluid economy of brittle line drawings, belied the psychological and political depth of his renderings-from the protest posters of the 60s, to the flabby skinned,
pearls and fur draped caricatures of high society,stiffing one another with a leer, or the Belsen style corpses humping sadomasochistic machines (when not fleecing swine tied to kitchen furniture,that is), the stark expressionistic monochrome of his sardonic humor, cut through the dung like the knife carving blood trails on the jacket.

A popular children's illustrator and broadsheet cartoonist in the US during the fifties and sixties-Ungerer-seeing too many parallels between the Nazi occupied township of his childhood, and the war in Vietnam, became incensed and returned to his native Europe in 1971, growing more subversive in the approach to his craft.

Recast as 'agent provocateur' no stone of modern malady was left unturned and tossed in vitriol, be it a world choked by greed, overpopulation and industrialization, the sacrificial bloodletting and bomb stockpiles of the warmongers, or the alienation of sexual perversion-now more than ever-his work peels back the thinly veiled skin to reveal the stark bone of societies distemper beneath.

Gough Medicine-Tyrants Fall

""Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants...and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always."
— Mahatma Ghandi

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Notes from an easel-work in progress-the Valley stage six by David Gough

Hours are dedicated to the piece a day, and yet it feels like I'm working at a snails pace, so diminishing seem the returns-its the ultimate game of endurance, and I'm gritting my teeth all the way to the end-somewhat ironic when you consider the subject matter.

You can't tell from the photograph, but I've subtly begun to fill in the marble effect on the walls-I was undecided up until this point whether I was going to replicate the hallway in the Whaley house completely, because it seemed that marble had a conotation of 80's sheen. It struck me however, that as death is indiscriminate, regardeless of ostentation or ghetto, so should my approach, and so it stuck.

Showboat-Faith and Formulas at Thumbprint

Temperatures soared at San Diego's hottest art venue -Thumbprint last night-not only because the collected throng there, was a veritable barrel of Chile's for the city's hottest outsider talent and eye tamales, but because the temperatures for a September evening set just below the point where paint begins to melt.

Despite the heat of the night, attendance was healthy, and my thanks as always to Johnny Tran and Nomad for hosting the event, as well as all those people who came along to view the art and say an enthusiastic hello. My very gracious thanks to
Dan Allen and Brian Dombrowsky who are fellow collaborators from the video game, and who made a special journey to visit and meet me in person.

Here are a selection of photos from the event below:

My gorgeous and endlessly patient wife-Lani-loved this piece:

Long shot showing the work of featured artist-Mofo. Johnny Tran just gliding out of view in the foreground.

Its all for one, and one for all-Dan, myself and Brian from the Dark Vomit video project.

Encouraged by Mister Tran, I took an hour out to do some live painting, on a canvas which will be a collaboration with other artists attending future events- the results of which are as thus-I think I'll call it Endgame.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Faith and Formulas show at Thumbprint gallery, by David Gough

1. Tonight is the Faith and Formulas show at Thumbprint gallery, here in San Diego. Having seen the artists installed, I think this show promises to be the best one yet. Doors open at 7pm and runs until midnight-driving directions here: 3925 Ohio St, San Diego, CA 92104
Hope to see some of you there.

2. I had the real pleasure of seeing the demo for the online video game for the first time yesterday. The game elevates the genre from a standard shoot em up, by placing the universe in a series of rotating galleries, all represented by the cream of 'San Diego surrealists'. Its a very exciting project to be involved with, and already has marked interest from art periodicals such as Juxtapoz. Much credit and thanks should go to Producer- the incomparable Dark Vomit-whose work deserves a post all of its own. General release isn't until October 1st from- www.interactiveartshow.com but you can see a short reel demo, in the youtube link below. My dungeon gallery (with decapitation,) shows up at around the 2.02 mark.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Notes from an easel-work in progress-the Valley stage five by David Gough

I made a concession and took a break from the intensity of the rooms angles, and concentrated on the skull yesterday. The backlight gives it an almost cinder quality-I think this is my best deaths head to date.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notes from an easel-work in progress-the Valley stage four by David Gough

I've never worked so meticulously before-but the precision of perspective and angles requires nothing less-my concentration so acute that at times I have to remind myself to draw a breath.

The image haunts me, and my mind finds itself hearing Bowie's 1972 rendering of
My Death by Jaques Brel for some bizarre reason-particularly the lines 'whatever lies behind the door...'

The performance of which has never failed to move me, particularly at the denouement where Ziggys final lines are eclipsed by the audience cries.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Artifact-Talesof an Antiquarian-Ship of fools

El Barco De Tontos-or Ship of fools-like Death and the Maiden-followed a very European tradition in Art. From Bosch to Durer-there are examples littered throughout art history. It also had its origins in the satirical medieval German poem (Das Narrenschiff) warning against over 100 vices and follies, which later became the basis for a tarot of the same name.

For myself-in the fall of 2006-folly was something that I felt my artistic career path had fallen victim to. Continually stiffed by a series of bad licensing deals, the diminishing returns and production line mentality of selling on Ebay and the alienation of what I considered was the cultural vacuousness of living in California for the first year, I felt I'd reached a nadir creatively and integrally.
In truth, I despised everything I had painted over the previous five years, which seemed bogged down by the flotsum and jetsum of symbolic embellishment, ultimately trying to imbue the cultural trends of a certain Hot Topic audience with some depth of meaning.

So, ever one for the posturing of melodrama, I proclaimed that El Barco De' Tontos would be my final ever piece,and that on the eve of my 40th Birthday, it was time to give up the lifelong dream of being an artist and disapear into the anonymity of a faceless institution. I had probably read Bukowski too much, because, that was exactly what I did, taking a mundane day job at a post office box in La Jolla-one of the most vacuous places in southern California.

As my swansong, I was sending a representative cast of my own familiar characters-clowns,grim reapers, demons pirates and lepers-helmed by a harlot muse, into the endless horizon of an inevitable vanishing point.

It would be six months before I would paint again,and not until I had relinquished an audience,contractual obligations or any expectations of myself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gough Medicine-Childhood

I'd give all wealth that years have piled, The slow result of Life's decay, To be once more a little child, For one bright summer day.
~Lewis Carroll, "Solitude"

Something for the weekend-part two

5. The Thumbprint gallery, here in San Diego shall be opening a group show on the 19th September which is a perfect showcase for my work, entitled Faith and Formulas. Doors open at 7pm to 12am, at 3925 Ohio St, San Diego, CA 92104

6. Whilst my daughter was in town, we had the opportunity of seing an exhibit of Richard Avedons work, entitled Portraits of Power, which was still showing at the Museum of Art in Balboa Park, here in San Diego,up until a week ago.
A former photographer for the New Yorker, mostly known for his high society and movie start portraits, the exhibit centered largely around his political work of the sixties and seventies, utilizing portraits of political benefactors and activists juxtaposed alongside ordinary citizens, to express the moral, class and racial chasm that still exists within American society.

Its a very powerful collection, which stays with you long afterwards, and may be touring to a different city, but is well worth the admission fee should you find it opening in your locale.
7.Accompanying me daily on my artistic travels, are my cats, who have taken to squatting in my studio and using it as their post catnip chill out zone.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Something for the weekend part one

After ten wonderfully hectic days, traveling up and down the coast to enjoy the best sights and company,that California has to offer, my daughter-Emma and her boyfriend, sadly returned to the UK yesterday.
A great time was had by all, and I'll be adding a selection of pics to my Flickr account, as soon as the moment presents itself. In the meantime,there is much to catch up on, starting with my weekly roundup of forthcoming events-Eyes down.

The Hive Show September

1. Whilst we had company, I was delighted to attend this months Hive showing, and proudly introduce my little girl to the work on display,which-alongside the cream of pop surreal bazaar-was a daubing by her old man.

The show runs until September 26th-729 S.Spring St, CA 90014, LA.

The Hive Show October-Tarot Group Show

2. Next months Hive showing will be a Tarot themed show, and will include a selection of the deck, by all of the artists involved. I missed the boat on picking the minor arcana card I wanted, opting instead for the seven of swords.The card itself is fairly innocuous visually, so instead I'll be working from the premise of a few of the keywords pertaining to the cards meaning, such as irrational, duplicity,instability and juxtaposition.

Looking Forward-The Alternative Cafe-October 2010

3.Alongside the featured Hive showing in October 2010, I received confirmation that I shall be a featured artist at The Alternative Cafe later that same month. The gallery is one of California's most prestigious Art hot spots, and regularly advertised in Juxtapoz magazine, so it is a great honor to be showing there.Currently exhibiting for instance, are works by the eminent Eric Joyner, and Gabe Leonard.

Losing my head over a Virtual Show.

4.Having mentioned in a previous post that my work is to be included in the 'Dark Vomit' video game project, and I can now reveal some of the first screen caps, portraying the dungeon room that my art is on display. I'm delighted with the results, and will post further details as they come.

I'll make a second posting shortly.