Thursday, September 30, 2010

Head Candy-'The Heat is On'Preview of David Van Goughs Hive show

There's nothing so turgid as discussing the weather, but it thundered here today, ending a five day heatwave that at its peak was 112 degrees.Ironically, it spelled the culmination of fevered activity that has been my studio, for the two shows that have been a year in the making.

Yesterday we hung the show at the Hive, thematically and technically I am beyond delighted with the display, and it was noted by the curator that it's one of the strongest shows he has exhibited.

I've given my all to these shows, and I wish I could afford to take stock for a while, and work on my book.
However basking and enjoying the fruits of my labors isn't an option, the budget for the shows has left us pretty cash poor, and I'm hoping that the returns from the events bring us back from the brink.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Notes from an Easel-Three new paintings summary by David Van Gough

'Memories Decay'
16" x 20"

Oil on Canvas

When I began this piece, I thought it was to be a play on possession, however, as it evolved I realised that in fact it was a rumination on memories of the dead, and how over time the memory itself erodes and decay's, so one is left with disparate fragments and traces of reality.

'Blue Triumvirate'
16" x 20" Oil on Canvas
I wanted to revisit this piece with the emphasis that it would express an emotional transition, as opposed to just it's initial metaphorical concept. The sense is that there has been a shift in the way I feel about things-more of a somber melancholy, and dare I say (almost) an acceptance in the softened cool hues, as opposed to the harsh, stark angularity of bleached bone.

'Mentors Shadow'

16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas

In the melting forms of liquified ridges and hollow cavities, is the Triumvirate biomorphing into an enigmatic, formless mass, constantly in flux and trying to reformulate itself. Like a lava flow, it is a paradox of fire and water, like the process of my own grief and the way I have accomodated it in my work. There is a great dichotomy that suggests a natural order or rites of passage to confronting ones own mortality after a bereavement, in that same sense this ghost would not exist otherwise.

All three pieces will be premiered at the Hive featured show this coming Saturday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Something for the Weekend-Golden Years?

We ought to be in the first throws of Autumn, except it feels like we are in the clutches of an Indian summer.

However,I carry the timbres of fall regardless of the season.

The new Ghost is called Mentors Shadow-informed definitely by the idea of my 'holy' Triumvirate piece unraveling to reveal the vivacious spirit instilled by friends passing. I certainly would'nt be as passionate about the notion of legacy, were it not for realising the finiteness of a mortal life.

That is the cruel irony of what I do I imagine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Notes from an Easel. Blue Triumvirate.

The Blue Triumvirate is virtually complete. I prefer it over the other one, but then it wouldn't have been worth doing if I hadn't.

And I've been reprieved from Sunday's deadline-the delivery date now
in fact is next week.

With ideas still burgeoning for the Hive show, I couldn't say if that's a good thing or not.

All told, I've been burning the candle at both ends as is. I have never really understood what that means but if to qualify means you look like Nick Nolte mugshot, then I'm pretty sure I am defined by it.

And I feel myself coming down with something-hardly surprising really.
Would I have it any other way?
Not on your Nelly!!

Never understood that term either.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Notes from an Easel. Box Office

Spent a large body of the day preparing the body of work for the Alternative Cafe show.

It's the largest collection I've put together for a show thus far, and shipping it to the Moon would have been no less arduous.

So collection 1 is in transit, collection 2 is in transition, since I am still making additions.
Triumvirate reprise is going swimmingly,with the vague idea that I shall be painting two more Ghosts. With just three days to go before delivery, I must be out of my mind.

Is this the same with every art
ist I wonder?

And still, the coffers need filling, so I managed to knock this out for breakfast yesterday. Its a rather nice piece of Pop Surrealism, which uses some common religious motifs to denote the origin of evil.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Head Candy-Bill Bixby goes to Monterey

Took a few days out to throw a shindig for my wife's 30th.

I've never thrown a party before, less hosted one, and hadn't anticipated the mountain of organization involved one iota, less the whole yard looks like it might as well be on Mars factor.
All told, judging from the merry throng and the lateness of the hour, I believe it was a success.

So first day back at the Art thing, should have been a cinch, except I discovered that The Alternative Cafe gig isn't in LA, but Monterey.

I'm not kidding.

Geography, was never a strong point at school.

Some quick thinking and a swift rejig made the shipping option a lot less lofty (by over a hundred nicker), but I'm afraid that I've had to supplement the monster that is 'The Valley'.

Thematically it works much better for the cannon of 12 pieces for Alternative Cafe, but my intended vision for The Hive shall definitely miss 'Triumvirate'-the piece I traded it for.

To that end, I've started a reprise of that work, but with the difference that I am approaching it more as a somber lament, rather than with the stark rawness of its former incarnation.

Sunday is final delivery date.

I swear I am Bill Bixby from the show-The Magician, pulling all kinds of rabbits out of hats.

Here's not a rabbit, but my pinhead cat Ronin, magically appearing on my head.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Notes from an Easel-the Ghost of Medusa-new painting by David Van Gough

"the Ghost of Medusa"
Oil on Canvas
12" x 24"

The mornings are starting to cool, and a dense mist hangs over the wild palms.

I love this time of year.

I've been in a bit of a fog myself this past week, waking in the middle of a night in a frenzy, freaking about the last minute preps for the forthcoming exhibits, living on four hours a night, and beginning each day swirling palettes and consuming copious amounts of tea.

I shalln't truly find the sleep of the dead until the last stroke.

I suppose I'm a man possessed-off the charts and obsessively compulsively picking at the scab of everything I do.

There's some of that in this latest piece I suppose-'The Ghost of Medusa'-though truly its something I've been working towards for twenty years. There are half realized traces of it in drawings I did as far back as 85, it's eerie. Was it prescient or just self fulfilled prophesy? Who cares-I'm in love with the piece-it feels like the herald of a new direction. It's realisation was organic and as natural as breathing-if I must annotate though, it partly has its foundation in the quote from Jack London's novel-'The Mutiny of Elsinor'', which I discovered very recently. In it he says-

"...Man, awake, is compelled to seek a perpetual escape into Hope, Belief, Fable, Art, God, Socialism, Immortality, Alcohol, Love. From Medusa-Truth he makes an appeal to Mayan-Lie (illusion)"

For myself, those words encompass perfectly life's deflections from the shadows of the night.
Along with my continuing obsession with the cosmic resonance of the number three-(Medusa was part of a trinity of Gorgons), I should relate that my dead friend Martin had completed a drawing of Medusa before he died. It hadn't occurred to me until I was working on it. The arc continues.

I have perhaps two more pieces in me before delivery date-though something of a backtrack in the sense that they shall compliment the last gasp of the original Theothanatos series.

Onward and upwards.

Bring it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Head Candy-Personal Preferences

Billy Bragg rather than Morrisey
Max Ernst rather than Salvador Dali
Charles Bukowski rather than Henry Miller
Goya rather than Gainsborough
The Jam rather than The Specials
William Burroughs rather than Augusten Burroughs
The Kinks rather than the Beatles
London rather than LA
George Gershwin rather than Irving Berlin
Hunter S Thompson rather than F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sean Connery rather than Roger Moore
Kate Bush rather than Patty Smith
Egon Schiele rather than Gustav Klimt
Tea rather than coffee
Miles Davies rather than Coltrane
Janes Addiction rather than Nirvana
Pacino rather than De Niro
Mods rather than Rockers
The Tempest rather than Midsummer Nights Dream
Richard III rather than King Lear
Christopher Marlow rather than Shakespeare
White album rather than Sergeant Peppers
Johnny Cash’s version rather than Trent’s
Gaugin rather than Van Gogh
Guillermo Del Toro rather than Tim Burton
Low rather than Ziggy Stardust
Night rather than day
Felix the Cat rather than Mickey Mouse
Wine rather than Beer
John Steinbeck rather than Mark Twain
The woods rather than the ocean
Frankenstein rather than Dracula
Calvin and Hobbs rather than Peanuts
Rita Hayworth rather Marilyn Monroe
Harold Pinter rather than Alan Bennett
Alien rather than Predator
Peter Blake rather than Andy Warhol
Science rather than religion
My wife rather than anyone.

Happy Birthday my darling x

Monday, September 13, 2010

Notes from An Easel-Old Haunts-new Ghost painting by David Van Gough

'Ghost V-The turmoil of Years, '85 and '92'Acrylic on canvas
11" x 14"

Just as the last Ghost felt symbolic of a year, this one seemed distinctly placed between 1985 and 1992. Both of those years of course were significant in that Martin and Ian died in them. There's an arc there, and the yellows and blues seem part of a palette that embodies the garishness of the times,heightened by the muddiness of monochrome. Hopes dashed.

It's always been my intention to work like this, i'ts as close a relative as I can get to ambient, avant garde Jazz I suppose-speaking in terms of form and texture, making tangible those things that aren't,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hive Show Details

A thumbnail of the flyer for the Hive show was posted today.

It's starting to feel real.

I got the date wrong though-its actually a week earlier than I thought, so I have some time to recover between that and the Alternative Cafe showing.

"Heaven and Hell" October 2, 2010
$8 for Hive Hell only, $15 for Hive Hell and Temple Heaven

The Hive Gallery and Studios
729 Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Notes from an Easel-Hollow Death throws-new painting by David Van Gough

Here it is-'Ghost IV-the spirit of '79'

I'm enjoying the way the paint develops the forms, almost in the manner of a Rorschach ink blot, morphing into an organic mass. The series continues to deconstruct, into I suppose the figurative abstraction every artist evolves to.

But is it caricature or a shorthand?

Notes from an Easel-Ghost Town

Began the next Ghost piece. It has a macabre resonance which prompted my wife to make comparisons with the tree from Spooky Hollow, although the only hollow that was inside me when I painted it,was the realisation that its not 1979 anymore.

There's something oddly definitive about that particular year which has always left an indelible mark on me. I guess I would have been twelve, so it was pre teen, but the sound of the times through the music, the movies, my burgeoning hunger for understanding over what life was about was just beginning, and of course it was the end of the 70's.

The final year of innocence then?

In the 90's , I chose to set Post Mortimer in that year, and It was enough for Billy Corgan to write a song about it, so I really must do a post about it one day.

Took a breather, to catch Alan Bennett's satire,The Madness of King George III at the San Diego Old Globe theatre last night.

It's a wonderful piece of work of course, depicting a caricature court of buffoons,fops,sycophants and treachery that showed amusing parallels with contemporary circles of power, but what an extraordinary performance by the lead actor-Miles Anderson.

Disquieting, manic, vitriolic,poignant-I can't recommend the play highly enough.

I've a day of catching up on shipping orders. Still, I'm deeply relieved by the fact that it shall be completely undistracted- after over a month, the house is empty again.

Appropriately, here is Japans sublime 'Quiet Life' from the turn of the 80's.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mosaic-Speaking in Tongues Show snippets

Exhausted, elated, elevated.

Three shows, in two weeks which culminated in the Grand Guignol of Mosaic last night.

I've noted before that I entertain leaving San Diego every two weeks, and then I am prompted to remember how many wonderful, talented, generous, supportive, beautiful friends I have here.

What a spectrum of stars and starlets you all are.

I want to stay here forever.

Barely any photos to share at the moment, because we barely had a moment to capture the dizzying throng of friends and family who attended, but I'll be trawling my friends Facebook's to rectify that over the coming days.

As obligatory as the thank you often is, it's meant no less-Thank you all.

top photo courtesy of Jenny Larson

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Easel Show with Alex Salazar gallery

Easel showing last night-and was delighted to discover that the smaller of the pieces, already had a little red dot on it. Glad I held the piece back-I'd have likely gotten buttons for it on EBay-proving absolutely that galleries are the better venue when it comes to selling my stuff.

Also whilst there, I stood and marveled at the Dan Camps lining on the walls. This piece particularly held me captivated and awestruck.

I have a long way to go.

Tonight is the Mosaic 'Speaking in Tongues' show, Mark has done a sterling job in getting this exhibit out there, it's been picked up by a number of local inkies as well as online.

It's as it should be, it's a strong collection, not just by my own hand I hasten to add.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Notes from an Easel-Legend-new painting by David Van Gough

The work is done-I dropped off the 30"x 40" piece, still wet at Mosaic last night.
By and large, I'm very happy with it, but given another day or two, I may have been able to erase those minor niggles from my critical eye forever.

After Mosiac, I ship it to the Hive featured show, a week short of October.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Notes from other Easels

Wrapped the collaboration with Mark (Jesinoski) late last night.

I'm exhausted and still too close to the experience to say whether the experiment was entirely successful. I enjoyed the camaraderie, the alchemy and the journey, and though I am fairly happy with what we accomplished in nine hours-needless to say, a month unfettered where I could have immersed myself in just that project and polished it to my usual standard, may have produced something truly magical.

However,it was a lot of fun, and shall provide the centrepiece and an interesting talking point for the forthcoming show at Mosaic this Saturday.

Also dropped off two pieces at Alex Salazars Easel showcase yesterday. It's a pretty spetacular litmus test to the quality of artists here in San Diego-dare I say that there is a scene-but the collection certainly gives rise to some kind of burgeoning artistic movement.

Was most impressed by the featured art of Dan Camp. What a true consomate master that gentleman is-a veritable magician with paint, content, color and composition.
He's a sort Noir,surreal,expressionist and his canvases dwarf everything - I'm honored, if a little intimidated to be showing my very meagre contributions alongside such a giant.

For the time being, I am a few steps short of completing 'Legend', to which I added a little humorous side flourish yesterday-the domestic fly, being singularly insignificant and significant in the grand scheme of things-encompassing,I feel- the sentiments of the piece perfectly.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Notes from an Easel-liberating death from religion

Getting so close with this piece.
Recent postings of its progress on Facebook have drawn wrong comparisons with the 'Don't Wait' slogan adopted by Christian bumper stickers and such. I honestly had no idea about their use of the image until very recently.

Like I said when I first contemplated painting it, it was an image which I'd conjured up myself, long before falling upon the old 18th century woodcut. To my mind, the image represents a hollow existence in servitude of death more than anything else. In a sense I'm liberating it from religion.

Save some small tweaks, the piece is done.

Have the no small task of dividing my collection for the upcoming shows in October. I'm still some ways from completing all the pieces I have in mind too.

Today I have to drop off two works plus easels at the Alex Salazar show, before completing the collaboration with Mark Jesinoski for Saturdays showcase.

No rest for the wicked as my old nan used to say.