Exhibition: 2016 Year In Review at Susan Calloway Fine Arts

Opening Reception: January 13, 6 – 8pm
Exhibition runs January 13 – February 4

Susan Calloway Fine Arts is celebrating the nine exhibitions spanning abstract to landscape from 2016, She is hosting an exhibition highlighting the dynamic artworks that were on view. Come see select works by Dana Westring, Mark Willems, Mark Giaimo, Carol Reed, Dean Fisher, Katie Pumphrey, Natasha Karpinskaia, Maud Taber-Thomas, Steven S. Walker, Antonia Walker, and Matthew Langley.

Susan Calloway Fine Arts
1643 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

Morris Louis: Art Supplies Edition

I was doing a bit of research on the web earlier today when I stumbled over this letter from Morris Louis to Rene Bocour. It’s from the National Archives Leonard Bocour Collection. It’s essentially an order from Louis, but at the same time it’s a complaint letter.

Rene Bocour and Sam Golden supplied a paint called Magma – it is best described as an early type of acrylic paint, however, it is thinned with mineral spirits or turpentine. Magma was used by Louis, Newman and Roy Lichtenstein.

To note Magma was sold through Bocour Artists Colors. Golden is the nephew of Bocour and would later go on to create a different successful paint company called Golden Artist Colors, where an updated version of this paint is called Golden MSA Colors.

The full size easy to read letter is at the National Archives website.

Robert Fripp – Let the Power Fall

One of the things I really appreciate in the work of Robert Fripp is the structure that oversee’s his work while at the same time there are clearly areas that allow for the occasional “happy accident” or just enough looseness to allow for new things to be found and explored inside the work. I recently stumbled over this document that was included in the album of Frippertronics called “Let the Power Fall” I’ve included it here – as I find it pretty interesting.

A personal story: I worked at Crown Books in the early – through mid eighties in the DC suburbs and at one of the locations I worked at we would drink Schweppes ginger ale – which in an afternoon of store hijinks, we retitled “schweppetronics”. At the time, we considered ourselves to be pretty clever…

Let The Power Fall – By Robert Fripp

1. One can work within any structure.
2. One can work within any structure, some structures are more efficient than others.
3. There is no structure which is universally appropriate.
4. Commitment to an aim within inappropriate structure will give rise to the creation of an appropriate structure.
5. Apathy, i.e. passive commitment, within an appropriate structure will effect its collapse.
6. Dogmatic attachment to the supposed merits of a particular structure hinders the search for an appropriate structure.
7. There will be difficulty defining the appropriate structure because it will be always mobile, i.e. in process.

8. There should be no difficulty in defining aim.
9. The appropriate structure will recognize structures outside itself.
10. The appropriate structure can work within any large structure
11. Once the appropriate structure can work within any large structure, some larger structure are more efficient than others.
12. There is no larger structure which is universally appropriate.
13. Commitment to an aim by an appropriate structure within a larger, inappropriate structure will give rise to a large, appropriate structure.
14. The quantitive structure is affected by qualitative action

15. Qualitative action is not bound by number
16. Any small unit committed to qualitative action can affect radical change on a scale outside its quantitative measure.
17. Quantitative action works by violence and breeds reaction.
18. Qualitative action works works by example and invites reciprocation.
19. Reciprocation between independent structures is a framework of interacting units which is itself a structure.
20. Any appropriate structure of interacting units can work within any other structure of interacting units.
21. Once this is so, some structures of interacting units are efficient than others.

East Coast / West Coast

I’m currently in two shows that are both pretty interesting – funny enough they are on opposite coasts, so if you can see one, you will probably miss the other one unless you are some jet setting international man or woman of mystery.

Material World at Art DC in Hyattsville, MD is Curated by Stephen Boocks.

Material World features; Sherill Anne Gross, Michael Janis, J. T. Kirkland, Matthew Langley, Katherine Mann, and Marie Ringwald

The commitment these artists have for their materials and craft lets their processes inform the content of the work, not overwhelm it,” notes curator Stephen Boocks. “While viewers will inevitably wonder how the works were made and will marvel at the technical prowess, the pieces selected ultimately transcend the materials used, allowing each finished object to stand on its own.

Material World runs from March 17th – April 3rd

Life of The World To Come: Darkness Falls Upon Us, at NIAD, Richmmond, CA is curated by Timothy Buckwalter.

Shattering the conventions that have until now segregated artists with disabilities from their mainstream contemporaries, Darkness Falls Upon Us blends more than 70 works culled from artists and galleries across the country with those from the National Institute of Art and Disabilities studio program.

Darkness… features; Kate Bingaman Burt, Martin Bromirski, Bill Dunlap, Sylvia Fragoso, Stephen Hendee, Cliff Hengst, Eva Lake, Matthew Langley, David Martin, Tim McFarlane, Mike Monteiro, Rosita Pardo, Michele Pred, Kevin Randolph, Edmund Shea, Danny Thach, Vincent Villenueva, Billy White, Deirdre F. White, Jim Winters, and Michael Zahn

Life of The World To Come: Darkness Falls Upon Us is on view April 4 through June 3, 2010

Blinky Palermo at the Hirshhorn

I found myself in DC this weekend and early Sunday morning found me at the Hirshhorn for the much-anticipated Palermo retrospective.

The timing of this travelling exhibit is just about right as many people are now directly or obliquely referencing Palermo – he is clearly one of the artists the current zeitgeist is looking at. To look at this show and to hope to find direct relations with new art may not be the hardest thing to do in places, but to look at his body of work and to see the openness that went through his work is quite another.

This quality, his “porosity” is what draws many to his work before the period of his living in New York – but in reality this is his strongest period. From the cloth images to the wall paintings and the rough hewn sculpture/paintings Palermo’s early work is a idea and subject rich outpouring of artwork created in such a short period of time (+/- 10 years).

That porosity would start to come to an end with his relocation to New York, as Palermo would start to produce a series of paintings that would be executed on aluminum panel, usually in a small series (most often groups of three and four). However to be fair about the end of the porosity in New York, it is unknown what the future would have held for Palermo as his early death in 1977 would dictate that future works would be very hard to produce.

Installed here is the painting series “To the People of New York City” considered the zenith of his New York body of work. This brutal and yet sophisticated artwork balances itself between both of these two approaches, it is an amazing body of work – my only complaint is that the install seems bit too open for my taste – I would have loved to have seen this just a bit tighter to see and feel some of the overlap between the images. In a way a slightly tighter hanging would let some visuals bleed over into the viewer just a bit, visually pulling the suite of images into a more connected state.

The images I was most interested in seeing was the Cloth “paintings” as these are more often found in Europe than the United States – primarily being due to the location of their origin and relative fragile-ness of the artworks. The cloth works seem to take the many approaches from post war painting and distill them in a way that is clean, open and yet slightly subversive. They are a great opening salvo to a career that was cut short.

Art Beat on WAMU/NPR

Yesterday I was mentioned by WAMU on the ‘Art Beat’ With Sean Rameswaram. It’s a really nice segment on my work and current show. Thanks to all the WAMU staff and Sean for putting it together.

I’ve taken the liberty to post the segment here on the blog but I really think you might also find some interesting things at the “Art Beat” page.

On the web site they gave me the heading “The Canvas King”. It makes me laugh but I’m happy to now include myself with other great “Kings” – Jerry Lawler, Elvis Presley (and all the other “kings” of rock and roll), King Kong Bundy, The King Of New York Pizzeria, and the Burger King among many others.

Nice write up in Elan Magazine

Recently I was contacted by Donna Cedar-Southworth about an interview for Elan Magazine. While sitting in the video lounge at Art Basel we discussed some of the things that matter most to me in making my art, we would follow up later working on getting the details right.

I’m really happy with the resulting interview, you can read it here.

Big thanks to Donna Cedar-Southworth, and Alice Ross at Elan Magazine.

While I’ve got you here…

Indianapolis MoCA (or IndyMoCA) has released the catalog for the show I’m in called “Informal Relations”. That catalog is here.

Matthew Langley at Susan Calloway Fine Art – January 28 through February 26

I’m having a show in Washington DC this month at Susan Calloway Fine Arts (1643 Wisconsin Avenue NW) It features ten new paintings.

Come to the opening: January 28th 6 – 8 pm, or come and hear me talk about my work and ask questions about anything you might want to know about at my “Artist Talk”: January 29th 3 – 4 pm

Here are a few images for a sneak preview…

Perfect Afternoon, 50 x 50 inches, oil on canvas, 2010

The Internationalist, 36 x 48 inches, oil on canvas, 2010

A thought about the internal politics surrounding Wojnarowicz, Clough and the Smithsonian

There is a scene in the movie Patton that shows Patton about to make a political play to become the Commander-in-Chief of the invasion of Normandy. In it he is addressing his aide-de-camp and says this little line.

“The event will be social, and by social I mean political.”

I think this is one of the truest statements I’ve read in a long time. It brings me to what I want to discuss as it pertains to the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video “A Fire in My Belly”.

There has been much gnashing of teeth and open talk that Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough should resign for his heavy handed and weak attempts to pacify a conservative political base. He should. However let me put a quick frame around what he did do, and how in a way he did take the pressure off both the museum and the curators involved.

A Quick Back Story:

In the late eighties the Corcoran Gallery of Art at the last minute cancelled the traveling retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work. The fallout from that has hung over the Corcoran for years and blemished the reputations of the director and curators of that show for a long time.

Back To The Present:

Over the past couple of years the Smithsonian has been under severe financial scrutiny as well as just plain underfunding and mismanagement. (See these articles 1, 2, 3 – there are more, these are just from a quick search) So the Smithsonian has a few issues when it comes to money right now.

The Smithsonian right now is in no position to do two things:

1.  piss of the government
2.  make morale any lower at the museums on a day to day basis than it already is.

By putting the blame on himself Clough has managed to avoid doing too much of either. More importantly, he has been able to keep the reputations of the two curators and the American Art Museum mostly intact. No mean feat considering the dumb ass move he pulled in removing the artwork. I will give him credit for being a leader of the organization and not pushing the blame on others. In Washington that is in rare supply.

He should still resign though.

Afternote: I’ve held off writing this for some time because I think the outcry and voices of protest are important and critical responses to this action. In no way did I want to quiet them nor did I want to look like a Clough apologist.

A bit of media coverage…

It’s always a nice way to wake up in the morning and find yourself in the paper – unless you’ve done something wrong of course. This morning the Jessica Roake at the Washington Post Express was nice enough to include me in her article on the Corcoran’s latest show: Washington Color and Light.

Below is a blow up of my part of the article.