LA Artcore at the Brewery, closing December 3, with Scott Gordon
Curated by Jeremy Tessmer for Sulliven Goss Gallery Santa Barbara.
Curated by Ricardo Rodriguez for The Fellows of Contemporary Art Los Angeles
Curated by Andi Campognone
'NIGHT THOUGHTS Curated by Philip Koplin
“The album is ‘Hot Rats’ by Frank Zappa. I played it often when I was in my Art School years and it was so inspiring. Every time I put it on, I just went to work. It’s an interesting project you’re doing because listening to it again now, just recently, it’s coming back to me why I liked it so much.
It’s a jazz-rock album; I think it’s the first or second Zappa did by himself without the Mothers. It’s quirky, inspirational, and virtuoso – it’s got a great horn section on it – and Jean-Luc Ponty on violin. Zappa takes you along a road for a certain way and then suddenly he’s off to the left or right. It always keeps you moving. Sometimes a track starts slow, and then goes into driving rhythms and so forth. It keeps you on your toes.
At the time, being raised in England, I wasn’t subject to a lot of jazz like Americans were and so this album was an introduction to it…. A blending of jazz and rock. It assumed a lot of freedom, away from pop music’s three minute song and it’s over. These tracks are as long as 16 minutes, I like that. It’s has a sense almost like rock and roll orchestras… all kinds of subtleties moving through the rhythms. It’s great; it just inspired me every time I put it on. I didn’t have many albums, I was kind of poor… what’s changed! - and that was one and it stayed with me.
Also I loved the cover. I was madly in love with the girl* on the cover, photographed in the swimming pool with her hands coming out. I just recently found out that she was born in 1948 and died in 1972 of a heroin overdose. I only just found that out- tragic. She was actually not much older than me. it would have been nice to have met her, even later on, now I’m in Los Angeles. The photograph was taken up in the old Errol Flynn estates apparently. So, the big hair and everything like that, the panda eyes, the hippy era … though Frank never liked hippies - I don’t know why he liked the cover – he didn’t take the photograph. I guess everything about that album is terrific. I love it.”
Check out OneLP.com
I am thinking about the studio of Scott Gordon from 400 miles away. A highly productive visual artist, his studio is plentiful with artworks; neatly piled on tables, and both half finished on the walls and floor, or finished and framed on the walls; yet this is no Warholian 'art factory'. He is enviously prolific, especially for this slow moving author, yet his process still contains the unenviable struggles of self challenge. The blunt refusal to rewrite the same play over and over, as if doing so would represent a personal defeat of some kind... It would. Every artist on some level, knows that. He has distinct but ineffable goals to be reached, and the productivity I speak of is partly due to his sense of time running away....so little time, so many collages.
The artwork itself is made up of paper scraps, odds and ends, paint, tickets and the like, reminiscent of Kurt Schwitters, the artists artist from 50 years before. Schwitters indeed showed us all the way. Where are the monuments to Schwitters I ask? We all owe him a lot. Schwitters was the printing press on which Gordon writes his visual letters. These 'letters' are personal sensitive missives, each delivering a tasty heartfelt morsel, rather than a breaking of an art world paradigm. Gordon writes the untold story, the story between the lines, the story that cannot really be told by ordinary means. His work is a noble attempt at the seemingly impossible. Each work represents another go at it, another stab at recording what we cannot understand, but can only experience. A reading book is a parallel to illusionism in visual art. The words are there to point at other places. We are not meant to stare endlessly at the words themselves.
Gordon's scraps, book pages, word, and paint break the flow of straight ahead narrative into pieces, each part confounding the linear, and rendering these parts into a gently confrontational present. An arrested moment. All roads into the future are blocked, and here we are with his work...and it is tasty...fine, tuning fork fine.
I have been promised one of these pieces as a gift**, or more accurately a swap. Its subtlety and complicated shapes and surfaces are too much to remember exactly, but I do remember its 'vibe'. His work rings with a tone that awakens something fine. It delivers something corrective...like a homeopathic moment. I remember it from 400 miles away, as I would from 4000. Strangely enough, It is not what the artwork looks like that has me interested in seeing it again; my interest in seeing it again, is because it is a catalyst for what it inspires in me.
There are a millions of waves in the world and it sometimes seems there are as many images of them. So many of these images, whether they be paintings or photographs are simple pictures showing us the perfect smooth lines, the crest, and the big or small splash that follows. There is so often something generic about them, like a Thomas Kincaid of a perfect wave, a fantasy, unconcerned about anything other than the superficial. In Bill Dewey’s photographs, we are asked to meet the waves, upfront and personal, to get to know them intimately.
In talking about his images, he talks about the personality of the individual waves, much like we might talk about peoples portraits. Frozen in time like dense green and uneven sheets of molten glass rising up towards us, these walls of water, start to reveal themselves. The organic detritus of the sea is seen through this wall of glass, and reminds us that the sea, is not a perfect, generic, fantasy, but a dynamic turbulent arena where vitality and decay both reside side by side. Then there are the infinitesimally subtle surfaces, dimples, warts, bubbles, and mottled surfaces. The camera here has parted the sea, allowing us a moment, to ponder its power, and this amazing complexity. This is where photography comes into it’s own. We are a visually privileged generation to be living at a time, where natures exquisite mark making is visible to us for our perusal, and contemplation. Thank you Nikon. Thank you Carl Zeiss!
Bill talks of the forces that come together to make these waves with the kind of words that come from a man touched by a sense of wonder. This sense of wonder is the best part of us, and his wave photographs remind us of this. They show us the unrelenting, unrepeatable and ungraspable forms, colors and nuances of something that happens every second, day in day out. Is it really this amazing all over the world all the time?
At a time where most photographs are taken to either avoid actually looking or instead of looking, these captured moments in time are a real treat.