Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jesse Higman: Illuvium

  Spiral - Jesse Higman

Despite having seen Jesse Higman's show, Illuvium, at Vermillion three times I have been reluctant to write about the work.  Perhaps because some folks have already covered his work and process so well (Evening Magazine, Joey Veltkamp) and the fact that I've been worn out after hanging my own December exhibition. 

But it's also intimidating to write about an artist of Higman's talents who has had to develop an entire new way of creating work after the accident that resulted in a loss of limb function.

-let me stop myself here -

Oh so easy is to fill up a review of Higman's work with stories of overcoming tragedy, fighting obstacles, and the like While Higman pushes his talents to the limits and works hard - this work really isn't about any of that cliched crap.  He was an artist before the accident and continues to be one after.  And he has created some interesting pieces.

The works are strange things - there certainly is a graphic quality that reminds me of some of the rock album cover type imagery he's famous for (see: every Grunge band).  There's a primal organic look about them.  Abstract shapes have the look of nebulas or electron microscope images.  At times it seems like Higman purposefully took pictures towards specific forms, like in Spiral (pictured above) or Pheonix, which looks like the the flaming mouth of a Pheonix, but these have have just been accidents.  It really doesn't seem to matter what you see in the work, it's the composition, colors, and movement that tell the stories.  And the fascinating texture - the metallic flakey paint that Higman uses has a kind of sparkly look to it on some works, and a matte almost chalky look on others. I like the chalky pieces the best, the paint has a look of gouache. 

The show at Vermillion features one of Higman's specially designed tables he works on in his studio with complicated levers and such he can essentially move the painting, angle it any which way he needs to get the water based paint flowing the way he wants.  One can not help but be reminded of another northwest painter, who also had a significant accident that changed how he painted - Chuck Close.  Close cut holes in his studio floor and had a massive crank system so he could easily move his large paintings up and down, as he worked on them. A great artist will find a way.

Illuvium will be on display through January 30th at Vermillion.  Check it out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 5 drawings from The Portrait Challenge at SAM (so far)

The Portrait Challenge has been installed and active at the Seattle Art Museum, in the Think Tank space at the top of the old stairs (where the camel is)  since late September, have you seen it?  Here are my top 5 favorite completed drawings thus far:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Molo's Top 10 songs of 2010

These are the top 10 new songs that got stuck in my head in 2010.  I figure that makes 'em the best.  

#10   Fuck You - Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer I suspect everyone's heard this brazen song by now, but if now, check it out.

#9  Home  - Villagers - Becoming A Jackal  I was very charmed by hearing this young singer-songwriter perform "Home" live.

#8   Ambling Alp - Yeasayer - Odd Blood This track is the archetype of infectious young indie rock.  Its great but after a while it will drive you mad.  

#7  Best Friend - The Drums - The Drums  This one is for Jared.  Hard not to love this band if you like English pop beach rock that sounds like it was made in 1983. 
#6   I Don't Know What To Say - The Magnetic Fields - Realism  Only the Magnetic Fields can make lines like "I could say I want you, that would be a bore, maybe in a font you haven't seen before" and  "I could try and shove you off the nearest cliff..." "I could say   sound so sincerely beautiful.

#5  Alley Cats - Hot Chip - One Life Stand  Great song from a great album. 

#4   Runaway - Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy "Let's give a toast to the douche-bags"

#3   I Can Change - LCD Sound System - This Is Happening  "Drunk Girls" may have been a hella good single, but I prefer LCD's more beautiful sensitive songs like this lovely one. 

 #2  Cave-O-Sapien - Wolf Parade - Expo 86 This song may be pure nonsense but my god, it is so damn fun!  ("I had a vision, of a Gorilla, he was a killer, a killer...")

#1:  Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -  Das Racist's -  Shut Up Dude!  Mixtape

 I don't see you here dog?!