Monday, June 1, 2009

prison to prison


In Film:

I netflixed (isn't it great when your company can turn into a verb? You know you have a good one when that happens)a movie called The Visitor (2007) directed/written by Thomas McCarthy and I have to say it was very very good. This guy is on a roll. Well, that is, if a roll can be as small as 2. If so then he is on a good one. His last movie, The Station Agent, was a quiet, powerful little movie that was just handled so well. The Visitor is much the same. McCarthy uses a similar lead character-a man at a crossroads in his life, very much thick in a rut, and like in the Station Agent, he gets mixed up in circumstances that he did not forsee. The Visitor finds the man getting wrapped up in the lives of 2 "illegials", one of which ends up in a detention center. It's a very well acted and often lively drama about some pretty serious, topical issues. Check it out. 4 Molos

In Arts:

Caught the latest show at Crawl Space the other day, drawings by Buddy Bunting in a show entitled High Living. Buddy's work (I figure I can call him Buddy, because after all, if your name is Buddy then you are already everyone's friend) is strong stuff, if somewhat thin on substance. Start, minimal landscapes in pencil and ink. His long drawing (33') of Two Rivers Prison is very very well done. It's worth going to the show just to take a look at it. An impressive perspective. The rest of the show is more hit-and-miss. There are well drawn but unintersting car emblems plus a full size el dorado. At least I think it was an el dorado, I can't quite remember (I dont know my cars very well). A couple light landscapes which are very reminiscent of recent b/w work by Zhi Lin.

There has been a lot, stark drawing happening in the art world over the last 10 years or so. At times it feels to me like a bunch of illustrators decided that the wanted to be "high artists" and so created work on white paper, with a heightened sense of formalism, little-to-no surprizes, and framed them in white wood behind glass, thus bringing them into contemporary art context by virtue of style alone. I can't really buy it. I do enjoy strong drawing in general, but what happened to substance, either in subject or in process?

Buddy's work is strong,and it's easy to talk about his choice of a prison as subject matter, or to look at the clever drawing of the back of a semi-truck in an empty lot with the lettering "No Hiring" on the side and make whatever illusions you want to, but I'd like to see more here with his work, and with work of this nature in general.

The shadow of Warhol hangs over us but when can we move back to substance over style in image making?

3 Molos

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