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Christian Tedeschi’s “Molasses Happens Rather Quickly” at Western Project

It comes from a dark place, this sculpture; not as though its making was sad or depressing, but as though light doesn’t get to where it was created – the place is too deep. This dark object is inscrutable, not horrible, and I’m more inspired to wonder than to fear. This ur-thing I am looking at is Molasses Happens Rather Quickly, a sculpture by Christian Tedeschi that is in a group show at Western Project. Cliff Benjamin has just told me that, “Christian has more like this – one is ten feet tall and another is, like, knee high… He builds sheds for them in his backyard!” The idea of this is unsettling and powerful, like housing Jungian archetypes in your garden. Molasses… is made with black resin and yellow plastic brush bristles. The resin is massed at the center (a center of gravity, as well as of origin?), and it drips to the floor, where the black liquid puddles; these drips lead me to believe the sculpture is self-supporting. The skinny plastic bristles are melted together at their tips, and, repeated, these unions form lovely arcs across and around the shiny resin mass; the effect is of a hazy, frenetic halo. To the touch, this aureole is soft, the way I hope a halo would be. I recognize that color is a function of materials here. Where yellow plastic meets black resin, shadowed greens and oranges appear; these new colors are aqueous, like the resin, and appear to flow. I imagine this sculpture being borne of heat, and of resolve, and maybe despair. I imagine also that its foundry was in hell...

Justin John Greene – open studio conversation

I saw Justin John Greene’s paintings in an open studio event at the Central and 15th Street studios on April 21st. I was struck by their naturalness, by what seemed to me a skilfull but not a fussy way of rendering figures. I also appreciate Greene’s introduction of the contemporary world through his use of cartoon effects and images. Rather than place these references in scare quotes, he manages to relate them to the content of his paintings. In our conversation below, Greene mentions George de la Tour as an inspiration, and this makes sense to me, for Greene’s paintings have a similar robust liveliness to de la Tour and other artists from that elder day. Justin John Greene, April 25: Hey Geoff, I really enjoyed reading your comments on my work. Below are my responses.  I have also attached images of the paintings you saw at the studio. Please let me know if you need anything else. Thanks again. Geoff Tuck, April 21: Dear Justin, I liked seeing your paintings today. I had a sense that you are establishing a narrative, one from the 19th Century was my guess (hard drinking men, socio-political and economic adventurers, characters singly taking on the world…), and I thought also that you are using tools first developed in film, in the early 20th Century; the long shot, the repeated close-up and other examples of techniques for establishing a mood and scene by offering viewers pieces of information through time, that then aggregate into a story, or into a possible tale. JJG: Yeah, there is a theme of dated or seasoned masculinity running through the work, informed by figures and attitudes from American...

My body double showed up on my behalf to read the following poem at David Bell’s Poetry Slam on April 22, 2013 inside his studio in downtown Los Angeles, by Jonathon Hornedo

Meteor Shower I read online somewhere, without verifying elsewhere, that many of the stars we see at night are not individual stars but clusters of usually two or three or more. Their starlight travels across space and time, converging into what to us looks like one thing, one single point of light. And John Stuart Mill said that a man may have been named John because that was the name of his father. A town may have been named Dartmouth because it is situated at the mouth of the Dart. But if sand should choke up the mouth of the river, or an earthquake change its course, and remove it to a distance from the town, the name of the town would not necessarily be changed. And because the man of the twenty-first century is a multi-tasker, I’m thinking about these things while another dude and I are groping a nude blond woman in the entrance hall at her house in Santa Monica. I’m sucking on the woman’s chest, her neck, her nipples, trying to give her fake boobs a track of hickies and this guy Todd—who I have never met before in my life— is nude with only a white t-shirt on his head and moaning while the blond woman fondles his balls. The Quaaludes and the cocaine and the alcohol are making me do things I wouldn’t ordinarily do and I unbutton my pants, and the blond woman turns to hump me, and she moans in ecstatic stupor and I get down on my knees, positioning myself underneath her bald pussy so I can lick it and...

Dan Finsel considers the self

Afterword: I think of Dan Finsel’s installation of his new exhibition as a relating to music. Or at least the terms I use to describe the show I draw from my understanding of music, and of opera, and ballet. The first room is the overture, and it contains several works that repeat and are expanded upon in the second room of the gallery. In music the second room would be the opera proper, or the ballet – in particular, this one might be a frozen sort of theatrical experience based upon a novel by Dostoyevsky. The gallery space is filled with charged objects and representations, and I think of codes one might use in youth to mask and shield, to explore and to expose one’s self. To expose oneself to the world, of course, but mostly to one’s self. (Isn’t the self our world when we are young?) And, as is true when one is young, the trauma of being for Finsel’s character entails his challenging of, his devouring and shitting out of… his family. Organized around these themes of generation and identity and adolescence, the show is psychological and overwrought. The final space of the gallery contains Dan Finsel’s closing thoughts on the drama he has created; and while in music one might expect a coda, a recapitulation and summing up of the themes (ideas) of the work, I believe that Finsel has taken a different tack here, and has presented us with a transfiguration. In the five double-exposure photographs and the small self box that are installed – this is a modest installation – Finsel offers us a glimpse beyond the exertions and the dreams and the torment...

Patricia Fernandez at Commonwealth and Council

Dear Patricia, I’ve just read your book and have been looking at your show. They both are wonderful. Thanks so much for making this work. I’m excited by your questioning of memory, and of history; your stories in the book, as in the drawings and wood carvings, make me question my own agency as viewer and as the compiler of facts and memories in this show – as I build my understanding my fallibility and my curiosity are engaged. Yay. In the book I found this quote: “Are we destined to live the dreams of our parents?” Perhaps yes, Patricia, yet I think we may live our learned belief, our dream, if you will, of those dreams. I appreciate the conflation in the book of your friend “James” with “R,” your father as a young man. This feels psychological and romantic, Oedipal, even. And your character Barbara, her mystery… is cinematic and literary in its strength and in its evanescence. It almost becomes my past that I (finally) cannot reach in this book… and yours, and hers, and Pepe’s, and etc. Doesn’t every parent have a revolutionary past? (Or – a past in revolution.) I think of small things I gleaned from conversations of my parents’ and from books in their libraries; these half-heard phrases and partial memories of my now-deceased parents became for me a history I sought, and one that I assumed as my own. It’s beautifully sad, your book, and also ennobling. Its characters remain people, humans, and the voice is yours throughout; but there is power and interest in it beyond the personal, beyond narrative, and toward…what? poetry? testimony? certainly art. I hope you’re...

Brad Eberhard – History, process and metaphor in (dis/solve) at Tom Solomon

Geoff Tuck: When I visited Brad Eberhard’s exhibition, (dis/solve), at Tom Solomon Gallery, I was confused by his paintings. Eberhard is a careful, even meticulous artist, he builds up thin layers of paint and he works these by scraping, rubbing and scratching, so that his mark-making is as present as his colors and brushwork. The surface is important in his paintings, one can see it barely hidden beneath the layers of paint. Consequently, the picture, or image, of Eberhard’s paintings might appear to be only microns thick and yet still retain evidence of his active hand. His is not the drama of impasto, and his cuttings and scrapings of paintings do not feel violent; rather they feel thought out. His approach to abstraction is not derived from the Expressionist Germans or post-War Americans; it relates more to French Surrealists and English Pre-Raphaelites. My confusion was two-fold: lately I have grown accustomed to seeing brushier abstractions, which I can easily interpret as emotional; also, I have been exposed to a great deal of true figure drawing and painting, and I have related this strict observational practice to directness and integrity. Eberhard, on the other hand, paints not from life, but from pictures. How then, I wondered, can his figures be “real”? How can I relate to signifiers, to symbols of humans? Then I thought about seeing the Drawing Surrealism show at LACMA, and I recognized that Eberhard’s new figural work isn’t figural the way I understand the term. His man descending to the deep, being lowered from a small boat, isn’t so much a man as he is a god or...