All notes from Archives | Notes on Looking

Leg Room, by Anna Bruinsma

The door swings open to reveal a steep staircase descending into darkness. At the bottom is a mattress with the projection of a gyrating girl, limbs splayed- it changes to a woman lost behind a fence, then to feet, camera spinning on the ground. Behind you is a flickering glimpse of shrubbery rustling in the wind- the imagined breeze wafts around the heavy black solids that divide the room. Immersion into the show involves the careful navigation of these forms. Brightly faceted with color on top, they display the projectors insouciantly, waiting for your audience. You feel the rise of an almost instinctual mathematical awareness of space- a physical response to the flattening of movement through film against an expansion of dimension created by the cube plinths. Loops of videos have been choreographed to run in tandem, brushing up against each other in brief conversation. The dancing bodies blithely ignore you standing mute in the shadows, transfixed by patterns of light, absorbing quietly. Jonathon Hornedo comes to stand next to you for a chat before the opening, and the two of you watch Paul Evans greet some early visitors. The curatorial pair commissioned each of the videos specifically for the exhibition: under a minute, on the subject of dance and movement- the results ruffle you with short, seductive spurts. Jonathon tells you about accidentally taking a pop dance class, and finding a surprising amount of enjoyment in the process- he shows you some moves that are reminiscent of Martha Graham. He laughs, and you feel the undercurrent of gentle sophistication and a quiet wit. Anna Bruinsma: “Are you the choreographers?” Jonathon: “Choreography, while being an inherent...

Katie Herzog at Night Gallery

There is a potential to be overwhelmed when one walks into a compact gallery that is hung with close portraits. All those probing eyes, all of those objectified humans… The apotheosis of this effect may be Gerhard Richter’s 48 Portraits, a group of paintings (which were derived from encyclopedia photographs) of serious and seriously dead intellectuals. Given the time in which Richter was working, and perhaps given the artist’s inclinations, all his people are white and male. They look imposing, and slightly antique. Their seriousness makes the work of the mind seem a charmless endeavor. Contrasting this, walking into Katie Herzog’s I was struck at how friendly most of her faces seem. Nearly all are smiling, and they look like human beings I might want to meet. All are transgender, and their nationalities and ethnicities are so diverse that such considerations seem immaterial. Like Richter, Herzog derives her own panoply from encyclopedic sources, Herzog’s being Wikipedia and internet search engines. In this way, also like her predecessor, the younger artist reflects her time, and the 21st Century move away from books dedicated sources of information. In this new show, Transtextuality (SB 48), I think that Katie Herzog is once again following her inclination to depict knowledge as approachable, by making her people friendly and interesting. I am reminded of her long-term project of depicting libraries, and that in them, as in these new paintings, she treats information – be it science, or literature, or etc. – as an endeavor of humanity, rather than of gods and masters. Katie Herzog, Transtextuality (SB 48) is on view at Night Gallery through...

Peripheral Vision and Conversation with Pam Jorden

  January 17 Dear Pam, I have been looking online for the particular John Marin images I had in mind when we met at your studio, when I made a connection to his work in relation to the two paintings you have been working on. The images that I am able to find are too directly dependent on landscape, whereas the paintings I in my memory were much more allusive and abstract, retaining only sketchy references to land forms and to the sky. Mostly what I recall finding in these wonderful remembered paintings were Marin’s colors: he seemed to take colors from a sunset or a sunrise, clip them up, and scatter these bits of color across a swath of canvas; he did similar things with colors of water and sky and greenery. The result was, as you said to me of your paintings, “like what one captures out of peripheral vision,” bare suggestions of shape that are seen in absolute clarity, with colors that impress themselves upon one’s consciousness unnoticed, as through a side door. Thinking of your interest in peripheral vision, do you sometimes find that your eyes see best, and remember most deeply, things that one sees without looking? I think of this as locating the edges of sensory experiences, and I draw on these slight sensory experiences to make “sense” of the world. My looking at and photographing of the ground, and the suggestions of my pathway (and the memory of a pathway, captured by photographing behind me as I walk), all are ways for me to document my being, and also to imagine the histories...

Around This Weekend, Town

Dear Friend, I feel like the term “Feminist” is a dirty word. I’m not sure why but I feel like people’s brains instantly go to the Portlandia feminist bookstore and they have their minds made up for what feminists should be and act like. Stereotypes of “angry feminists”, “slutty feminists”, “man-hating feminists” are always the first that come to mind, and I would like to create a group that explores these stereotypes, as well as come up with an understanding of why they are there and how to move past them. As a tongue-in-cheek gesture, I would like to start a bi-monthly/monthly Feminist book club entitled “F L A P S” (acronym pending). In terms of mood and the way I’d intend to approach it would be a sort of an open syllabus. Everyone would get the chance to recommend either an article,… current event, historical essay, short story, movie or adventure. Severely lacking in my own feminist education, my idea is that I want to read what everyone else read as part of their liberal arts education. Men are invited and encouraged to be a part of this group and I would like some #$%*-ing levity-hence the name. Some Topics Ideas I’ve been Thinking About -Skype-In talk with Terri Kapsalis author of Public Privates -Mooncycle iphone calendaring -post-gender day -Feminist anger management courses -Annoying Jezebel article of the week -Feminist Movie Night, where we watch movies off the http://bechdeltest.com/ list -Reading small 2 books every 6 months? -Fieldtrips! To gauge interest in this endeavor I’m writing this letter to see if you would be interested in either contributing...

A pillow named moribund, the author lays his head upon

Dear friendly NoL readers, Lately, ive been worried that I can’t write anymore, and that I’m depressed, and that notes is changing. I’ve made broad proclamations of disinterest and even despair to any who will listen. “Oh, dear. Maybe I’m done.” Then I remember that David and I sold our home of fifteen years in March, we are uprooted in temporary digs until August, when we move out of town. I’m busy making paintings for a show in August, David retired this month… Umm, maybe it makes sense that I am distracted from notes on looking? Be sure, there are things coming: a conversation with Pam Jorden, a conversation about fatherhood, and I’m hopeful that a few other things come together soon. Enjoy summer....