Friday, December 23, 2011

Molo at the Movies: The Woodmans (documentary)

Last night I stumbled upon a very interesting documentary on PBS about a family of artists, The Woodmans, (2010)

I new nothing about Betty (ceramicist, painter), George (painter) or their children Charlie (multi-media/electronic) and Francesca (renowned photographer) or their story, and this documentary was immediately enthralling.  The story plays out in a very straight-forward timeline, telling how Betty and George, both serious artists, met and fell in love, and how they started a family.  It moves to the unique ways in which they raised their children while maintaining their artistic practices and as the story goes along, I realized very quickly that this was not going to be a happy tale -  there were no interviews with the daughter, Francesca, but instead we heard excerpts from her diary.

It turns out, which is shown in the film, that Francesca is a very well known, legendary figure in modern photography.  She too some fantastic images in the 70s, highly influential work that even I can see had a monumental impact on the photography world.  She was only 22 when she died, a struggling artists trying to get attention for her work.  Dealing with severe depression. It wasn't until after her death that her legend began to grow.  A very Van Gogh-esq tale.  The tragic misunderstood and ignored artist.  Sounds cliched, but this film makes it anything but.   

The film, in many ways, is her story, but it's also the story of her parents Betty and George, and their son Charlie, who all have struggled for attention for their own work, and have been out-shined by the posthumous fame of Francesca.  This is fascinating.  They support and promote her work as a way of keeping her alive, while at the same time working so hard on their own careers and having to deal with the jealousy of being overshadowed by their deceased daughter.  Then there's the grief, and the guilt and the interesting ways in which this family has dealt with her death and with questions of why she became so depressed.

George says at one point something that there is an inherent psychological risk in the life of an artist

I'm not explaining this film very well - I wanted to give some insight into why I was so interested in it, w/out flat out telling you every little thing about it, but I believe I have failed.  If you have any interest in the arts and in family dynamics, then you will enjoy this film.  It's not all gloom and depression either, there are many happy, joyful moments.

The Woodmans trailer

4 Molos - nothing remarkable about the film making itself, but the story is told very well.

Here some images of art by Francesca and her parents:

work by Betty Woodman (the mother) 

 a painting by George Woodman (the father)

Below:  a few photos by Francesca Woodman - she took many great images and her style
has been borrowed extensively in the years following her death.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My last oil painting ever (?)

This may well be the last oil painting I ever do:

Epilogue, oil on panel, 30 x 40, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Molorazzi: Reception for the Matryoshka show

Okay, most of these pics are going to be of the art, not of people, so it's not exactly a proper Molorazzi post, sorry fans, but still, check it out!

The show was excellent, a very great crowd and tons of great work.  All of the artists did incredible pieces for this show, these Russian nesting dolls look fantastic! Big thanks to Michael Alm for asking me to participate, and to Laurie Kearney for offering Ghost Gallery as the venue!  Good job guys!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bears bears and occasionally rabbits: The art of Luke Chueh

Normally I get really tired of illustrative art - the whole Juxtipoz, Giant Robot, High Fructose type of thing.  There are certainly tons of brilliant, talented artists working in an illustrative manner, creating fun, beautiful, and impressive images, but most often, they are just that:  fun, beautiful, and impressive.  Occasionally an artist will manage to rise above that whole scene and stand out by inflecting something more into the work...something greater.

One such artist is Luke Chueh.  Sure sure, it's basically just that his bears and rabbits are essentially the illustrated version of teenage angst.  The lonely soul, sad and misunderstood, and very dark at times.  But he manages to actually make these characters have believable emotions, which is extremely hard to do in illustration.  I actually feel sorry for those bears!  I buy it.  Nicely done sir.

Or maybe I'm still just on a bear kick.

In any case, a few of my favs are below, and here's a link to his website.

One benefit of working in an illustrative style, like Luke has, you can make your ideas into so many products- prints, pillows, figurines, etc etc.  Sadly I don't foresee any Molenkamp pillows coming out anytime soon.

This might also be why I'm broke.

Just fantastic!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2012 Art Walk Calendars are out

The good folks at Print Zero (Brian Lane and Jess Rees) have created another limited run of artist-created Art Walk calendars for 2012.  I was happy to give them an image this year - here's the result:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tree of Life (Dinosaurs?!)

I finally saw Terrance Malick's latest epic, Tree of Life, last night.  Malick has an amazing knack for taking subject matter of the most heavy nature (loss, God, regret, the meaning of it all), and through sheer beauty and sensitivity to the medium, turning it into poetry.  If I were to read any of his scripts, I would probably consider them to be sentimental, heavy-handed drivel.  I mean his movies are about longing gazes, "who/what am I:" voice-overs, and indulgent shots of nature.  BUT dammit, he gets it just right - they work despite their audaciousness.  Tree of Life is no exception.  It's a gorgeous story centered around one family under the rule of an overbearing father (Brad Pitt), a grace-of-God mother (the stunning Bryce Dallas-Howard), and 3 sons, the eldest of whom is played as an adult in some scenes by Sean Penn.  But primarily it's about the eldest son at about 13/14 or so, how he makes his way in the world ruled over by Father.  I don't need to get into it all, but you can imagine how the drama might unfold.  Under Malick's hand, though, simplicity and subtly tell us this story of loss, regret and love.  Sound trite?  Sure.  But Malick's magic is that he makes it magical.

It's the composed shots, the cinematography - the pacing, the editing that create the magic.  Malick worked on this with movie with Emmanuel Lubezki, who is known for one of the best-shot movies of the last decade, Children of Men and the two of them pull off some of the most gorgeous images I have ever seen on the screen.  Even a simple shot of the interior of a modern office building, a low-angle perspective, is filmed so well.  I could gush about the filming for pages...

But first, to the biggest surprise in the film:  Dinosaurs!

There's dinosaurs in this film!  That came out of nowhere.  Well not nowhere if you had read any reviews of the film when it was in theaters, but I shied away from the reviews this time.  Needless to say I was quite surprised by the dinosaurs.  They come near the beginning of the film, in what has to be the most beautiful, tender film sequence ever made that describs the creation of the universe, and the Earth -and the life on it.  It's like basic science:  big bang and evolution, complete with gorgeous shots of nebulas and even the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. It's a film within a film, and lovely to behold.  I've never seen dinosaurs depicted with humanity before.  (unless you count that puppet show:  Dinosaurs)  The movie is worth a look just for that 20 minutes. 

This is something like Malick's 5th movie in 30 years.  The guy does not play around.  Except a little bit with the dinosaurs.

Tree of Life:  4.5 Molos

Friday, November 4, 2011

Best Movie of the Year (so far)

Drive is the best movie I have seen this year.  The director, Nicholas Winding Refn, takes a script and idea that could have easily been turned into any number recent "case" movies but keeps the film grounded in cool.  A coolness that the fantastic cast, especially Mr. Ryan Gosling (best hollywood actor of his generation?).  Gosling's character starts out very much Bullit and ends up more Taxi Driver, but its such a subtle shift, done so quietly that you can't imagine it happening any other way. 

The movie has the style meter turned way up, but the sharp script and perfect pacing make it oh so real, and oh so much more pleasurable.  The rest of the supporting cast is great as well.  Carey Mulligan (one of my actress crushes) is fantastic again and Albert Brooks has a juicy, career-revival, role.  And my word, I have to applaud Refn for managing to actually tame down the beast of Ron Perlmann and making a sincere character out of what could have easily turned into a cartoon.  Plus the soundtrack is fantastic. We've seen this kind of story before, but rarely have we seen it done with such freshness and a restrained hand - the violence does come but manages to be both over the top and realistic at once.  The film needs a violent release, and it provides.  4.5 Molos

On being filmed for Art Zone with Nancy Guppy

I remember the first time I saw video of myself - it was when some of my art school friends were messing around with a camera in the studio, and they taped me painting and asking questions.  Watching the footage later really weirded me out.  I don't think to that point I really knew what I sounded and looked like to other people, and it was disturbing.  Basically, there's a disconnect between how I would like to appear to other people, and how I actually appear to others. 

Granted, I was in my early 20s, and just really figuring out myself and what the hell I was going to do with my life (art).  Still, I've never felt comfortable being the center of attention, and being filmed, well that's not only the center of attention but also a permanent record of awkwardness.

You'd think, that being near 35 now, and having grown up somewhat, done a few interviews, been taped a few times, that I would finally be okay with this sort of thing and not mind watching myself on film. But today; I saw the episode of Art Zone with Nancy Guppy that we taped last week, and there I am talking to the camera, and I can't watch it.  Not at all.  It still weirds me out. 

But y'all can take a look:

I am grateful for the press and it was a pleasure working on the piece, but who is that guy? 

Here's a few images of the pieces that are going to be in the SAM Gallery show on November 10th (reception 5-7pm) 

 Sluicing Down Beacon Hill

 The Denny Regrade 2

The Diners

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crunk Reflect Raked

 Last week at Studio Group I asked the group to help name my new series of abstract paintings.  I've never enjoyed naming my more abstract works, I have a tendency to want them all to be untitled, but at the same time, it is nice to give them a name, even if it's an arbitrary name.  So we ended up doing an exercise where we all wrote down some words on scraps of paper and put them in a bowl, and then we randomly selected from the bowl, 3 words, that would in turn become a title.

It was quite a fun, absurd way to come up with titles for these paintings, and the first thing we learned was that 3-word titles can be too silly, but there were some great 2-word titles that could be pulled out of the longer titles.

Here's all the titles that we came up with:

Chop Teeth Exhaust
Crunk Reflect Raked
Lute Shaped Changing
Mammoth Word Facet
Limited Kamp Iron
Removed Location Comely
Storm Strands Bone
_______ Sleeve Beleager
Ridge Explorer Extracted
Seductive Dimensional Wish
Drawn Above Believe
Striation Cluster Carved
Japan Achromatic Ambiguous
Sediment Corduroy Cushion
Floating Vein Wrinkle
Bonded Amalgam Spider
Pupil Cyclical Glass
Potato Field Scraped
Temple Spaghetti Crater
Beard Formed Agile
Moving Bunched Let
Winter Sound Set
Aspen Sunbeard Land
Spire Tithe Being
Vestibule Erect High&Low
Galaxy Staff Hapless

There are some winners in this list for sure, and we pulled some nice shorter titles out too, like, "Storm Strands", "Floating Vein", "Sediment Cushion", "Field Scraped", "Dimensional Wish", and "Mammoth Word"

So for this next series of abstract paintings, I'm going to pull all my titles from that list!

Let's start with this work, which I'll call...."Sediment Cushion"

Thanks Studio Group!

Monday, October 17, 2011

SOIL Art Auction: Hoedown this Friday

Hey folks,

I donated one of my pieces from the Bumber by Number's show  for the SOIL art auction/party/fundraiser which is happening this Friday at the Seattle Design Center 6-10 pm.  SOIL is my favorite local art collective, they have been at the heart of the Seattle art scene for years and they deserve our support.  Plus, they throw a hell of a party!  Check their website for details.

.Hope to see ya Friday!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TBA (Time Based Art) festival in Portland

My friend and I swung by  The Works for PICA's TBA festival in Portland on Saturday primarily to check out this ridiculous children's art show called Whoop Dee Doo, (which defies description, but I'll never forget the smell of that room) and to see everything else happening at that location with the festival.   They had a ton of installations, video and performance, both happening and evidence of things that had or would be happening, this is "time based art" after all.

When people say Portland has a great art scene, it's things like the TBA festival, or the Portland Biennial that Disjecta puts on that they are talking about, I think, more so than the gallery/museum scene. 

Any who, I have a headache here, as I write this, so I'm going to zone out and watch football (yes I know, an artist who likes football too?) but here's some picks from some of the installations, and sorry I don't have a heck of a lot of info on the individual artists (titles, names, etc) but it was a really interesting show - today is the last day for the festival this year, but it's in its 9th year, so if you are into the arts I highly suggest checking it out next year!

 Jesse Sugarman's video of inflating air mattresses lifting mini-vans, rather comically.  Jesse also shows
at Season Gallery in Seattle

 This piece is called Collateral Damage  by Joshua Berger.  It's an ongoing performance - he apparently did one or part of a page at the beginning of the festival and had done 46 pages so far.   It's made up of tiny tiny "x"s, each on represents a dead civilian from the Iraq war and the total dead are over 300,000, tallied by him so far, of the 655,000 reported in the NY Times in 2006.  So he has a lot more marks to make.  Needless-to-say, it wasn't all light fun and games at TBA this year.

 installation in the bathroom
 file it under optical illusion

 photo cred to LH

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NEPO 5K Walk don't run

Molorazzi did a 5K today.  Okay okay, truthfully I did drive part of the way, but still, I feel like I accomplished something, checking out this AMAZING EVENT put on by NEPO House.  The work that the organizers put into planning and funding this even and the work that all the artists did, should be applauded!  It's rare that such a fun, engaging, and community based art even ever takes place in Seattle and I am amazed at how well it was pulled off. 

Hats off to team NEPO:  Klara Glosova, Bond Huberman, Amanda Manitach, Leanne Grimes, Rumi Kushino, Todd Jannausch, Erin Shafkind, Susanna Bluhm Callahan, and Seth Damm, and all the other people who pulled it together.  

If you missed it, here's a sampling of images from the day, more-or-less in order of the events!

 Vis-a-Vis Society signing folks in


 Artists Cable Griffith and Curtis Erlinger represent NEPO

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bumbershoot 2011 - Music

 Astronautalis played a great set  with a full band on the fountain lawn stage

 Shabazz Palaces sounded way better than they did at the block party last year, I'm sure this had everything
to do with acoustics and the set-up.

Vetiver was lovely, but started to lull me to sleep...

Bumbershoot 2011 - Visual Arts

 Scott Trimble's impossible-to-skate skate park

Bumber by Number:

 Curators Marlow and Jo David

The Magic Show:

 Jason Puccinelli 

poster designer/illustrator Jon Horn at flatstock