All notes with the topic Interviews and Conversations | Notes on Looking

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...

Julie Tolentino / Raised by Wolves: An offering, a question to experience

Geoff Tuck: I’ve been thinking about your performance at CWC, and also thinking about the exhibition that exists around your performance. In fact – I’m trying to pin down where one begins and the other ends. My experience of Raised By Wolves began when I made the appointment to attend. A number of things happened when I sent that email: I became aware of making a commitment, of entering into a sort of social contract with you. My failure to attend would have a disruptive impact on the outcome, and I feel like in that moment “you” and “I” (and any other members of that audience to be) were joined in an endeavor: to experience – and to create while experiencing Raised By Wolves. I will tell you that I was nervous while climbing the stairs. Private performances are scary: there is a possibility that attention may be turned to me – the viewer – and any attention that is out of one’s control is… Well – you get the idea. What might happen? What if I were to respond inappropriately, or insufficiently? I noticed your golden ladder while I climbed the stairs – it seemed mysterious, to my eyes it was a glinting, gossamer manifestation of Young’s burned stairs. It looked like a reverse shadow of the stair on which I walked – it was above me, and seemed made with golden spider webs. Feeling my own weight on the wooden staircase, I fantasized myself weightless – and able to ascend yours. Julie Tolentino: I love hearing about your disorientation, your thready weighted wonder – and your worry even…worry...

Emily Mast – BirdBrain in NY & other things

Geoff Tuck: Your work’s sensibility seems to me very sweet, or maybe – since “sweet” has connotations that go elsewhere than I might intend – I’ll say very human. Emily Mast: I definitely do not like the term “sweet” but it would not be the first time I’ve heard that term applied to my work, along with “romantic” and “cute.” I much prefer “human.” I often speak in lectures about my interest in, and investigation of, what I like to call “humanness” or that which makes us human, beyond pure intellect. So by this I guess I mean vulnerability, imperfection, emotion and commotion (and by that I mean situations that invite the potential for failure) — all things that the art world tends to shy away from, I think. Geoff: I’m thinking for instance, of “Bread Subscription” for which you promised a collector (participant) a homemade loaf of bread for each month of the year… Emily: Funny — I see this as more of a (somewhat absurd) commentary on how value is established. I have yet to sell a single subscription. People are willing to pay $5 for a loaf of bread, but they are not willing to pay $100 for a loaf of bread just because it has been labeled “art” —  I’m not fooling anyone here! Geoff: …and your “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”  – for which an unannounced actor whistled the Shirrelle’s song while visiting a group exhibition, all connect to an audience through the heart, though each work could also be accepted (received) by the audience members on their own terms. Emily: Actually, I...

The Fiercest Intellectuals: A Digital Roundtable on Finding Common Ground Between Art, Authenticity and Religion

A conversation with Zach Kleyn, Corrie Siegel, Amanda Leigh Evans, Gregory Michael Hernandez, and Geoff Tuck. Geoff Tuck: I remember our conversation Zach, and I appreciated then that you sparked off a fascinating hour. On the subject of religion and intellectuals, I find, looking back through history, that very often the fiercest intellectuals were also most dedicated to religion, to God. The Puritans and all their crazy, disparate, arguing friends come to mind in 17th century America, the American Transcendental movement, even up to the last century with Teilhard  de Chardin and Corita Kent. Sometime after those two, the intellectual crowd grew to disdain religion. An important exception to this rule is on the right, where (for example) Richard (Father) John Neuhaus exemplifies a right wing intellectual movement, centered around the journal he founded, First Things. I do not know a similar example on the left. Indeed, I think the left has abandoned religious thought and conversation to either the homespun vacuity of Branson level thinking, or outright to Fundamentalist Christianity, with its disavowal of tolerance of difference. I will say that I find a certain intelligence in an acknowledgement of a higher power. I like the idea of God. I think you have a history within the Fundamentalist world, where I do not. Will you tell me about how that experience has influenced your current work? What did you hope for your film  A Very, Very Distant Fire? Maybe too, what did you feel watching the original with your family? Zach Kleyn: I too find the idea of God compelling. I think it can be a helpful ‘tool,’...

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...

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...

York Chang “The Winners” at Greene Exhibitions

Dear York, Congratulations on your show at Rob’s (Greene Exhibitions). I visited Tuesday with Olga and with a mutual friend, David Bell. I recognize some elements of the show, in fact I believe we talked about this incident of capture and hostage-taking by Gustavo Carnevales at the time of our LACE blog project. I also think that you documented the mysterious and dramatic disappearance of Carnevales in the recent Parkfied Review #2 (for which I am and David is hugely grateful). I am interested in (what I take to be a) change of voice for you in this exhibition, perhaps I could say from that of author (albeit an unacknowledged one) to artist (as one whose presence as the maker of the work, or the fiction, is acknowledged all the way through the project). To be blunt, you have come out into the open. It’s funny to me that I respond quite differently to this work than I did to the High Performance project, or to the Visceral Realist project of several years ago. I attribute these new works to you in a direct and physical way. In the past, even knowing that you “made” the films and photos and documentary evidence shows, I had a strange distance; you might have been a scholar, very knowledgeable of the facts that you were presenting, yet equally amazed by them as me. After several years of (so to speak) dancing with your audience to music of an unseen orchestra, it seems to me that we can now see the musical score, the conductor, and the players. I think of your projects as archival and literary...

The reticence of the artist / the anticipation of the questioner. Mario Correa and Geoff Tuck

November 29, 2012 Hey Geoff. Good to see you at LACMA last night. I wanted to let you know that I’ve got a show up at Redling Fine Art through Dec. 22. It’s so good to see Notes on Looking is going strong. I hope this finds you very well. Best. Mario November 29, 2012 Hi Mario, It was great seeing you! Really great, in fact. I just left Redling Fine Art. I like the show a lot. I’m really interested in connections I see to previous bodies of work. I’m curious to talk with you. Can we get together sometime? Best, Geoff November 29, 2012 Hi Geoff. Thanks for seeing the show. Getting together would be great. Evenings and weekends are easiest but I could make time on a weekday with some notice as well. Next weekend is open as far as I know. December 1, 2012 Dear Mario, In anticipation of our meeting next Saturday, I wonder if we can begin our discourse now, and by email? Honestly, but for the fact that I was with a friend, and we were looking at other shows around town, I would have responded with questions  to your initial message to me. Ideas came to me even while I was looking at your work in Erica’s! We spoke on the phone today of the history of your work, and more specifically you pointed out how much I have witnessed. Life is good; I am very lucky to have so often been present. During our phone conversation my mind went to the first painting of yours I recall seeing, at Acuna-Hansen...

Rebecca Ripple on ‘Licking Yellow Fog’ and other things

Geoff Tuck: Rebecca! Such a coincidence you email me tonight. I’ve been working on a message to you today, and I just shut down my pc with it in draft. What the heck – I’ll begin again here and now: Will you tell me about the print or drawing of the bridge of a nose that was posted on the wall of your studio? As an organic shape, how does it relate to your bubble forms, which I understand to be building blocks for the work. Rebecca: Geoff – I was kicking myself for not writing notes during our visit because I couldn’t remember specifics of what you said, only a feeling.  But now I understand that your words melted over me and are not facts that can be conjured up as points of reference– they are liquid.  I think as I am writing that such may be my desire for the tape I use in my work.  I want it to meld things together–to be emotional glue of sorts.  I hope is this true…I think it is. They (the drawing of a nose and the cellular structures) are separate entities.  They were up on the wall for 2 different works.  I often hang parts of things, thought sketches and models around my studio. When I am fully engaged the information collides and I have surprises or it helps layer my understanding of work. I usually have dozens of drawings up on my walls.  Rarely are works thought through from the beginning.  That’s why I like having already worked-out parts to play with.  This process helps me to go beyond an internal control mechanism, which obsesses...

Talking about ‘Desire Armed’ – a correspondence with Aaron Sandnes

Geoff Tuck to Aaron Sandnes: Nov 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM Hi Aaron, I hope my questions to you are okay? I get nervous. I am very interested in learning about your work and about this project. I don’t mean to rush you. I’m kind of laughing at myself – I guess I want reassurance. It is YOUR work that we are discussing, after all. It would be crazy for me to just roll without checking. Thanks a lot, Geoff  Aaron Sandnes to Geoff Tuck: Nov 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM hi geoff i often find my curiosity making me anxious. i know im quiet which is often interpreted as me being an asshole but im not (usually haha) i try to be as open and generative as possible though im skeptical and  critical at the same time. please feel free to start how you want and/or ask anything that comes to mind. something about riding motorcycles that interests me is that a lot of riders often express that they take the long way home when they are on their bikes. i didnt understand why until i started riding myself and realized that i was often riding with no place to go other than to experience the road on my bike.  ask away lets see where this road takes us.  GT to AS: Nov 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM Aaron, Aah. Things make sense. Weirdness from gmail. I (thought I) sent a message to you last week. By the way, thanks for the “long road” reasoning. I like it. haha I wish I weren’t afraid to ride! Geoff GT to...