Some days, a brief encounter with something out of the ordinary is all one needs to get a much-needed emotional pickup. Today I needed to grab a prescription at the doc's, which gave me an excuse to work for a bit from Diesel and treat myself to a sandwitch and thai iced tea. Then, on the way back home, I met an artist at the Harvard T station. If you're going through there today, stop by the outbound terminal and see if he's still there. His name is Jeffrey Powers, and he makes amazing art with just a ball-point pen. He was working on one as I walked by, a portrait of some celebrity that was almost photo-realistic. If I hadn't watched him doing it before my eyes I would have assumed it was all done with photoshop filters, or at least tracing paper. The only time I've seen something like it was in an article about an artist from the UK with a similar style. This guy was almost as good, though working on a much smaller scale and still developing his style, with about six binders worth of commissioned portraits, celebrity drawings, and landscapes, each representing about six days of work, to show for it.

An encounter with art is always deepened by an encounter with the person behind it (well ok, not always, maybe not even often, but hey, I'm in a good mood and am choosing to eschew cynicism for the moment), and Jeffrey was friendly and conversive without being gregarious. We talked about how he developed his style, and how he used his art to get him out of the drug culture of his home neighborhood and subsequent homelessness. For all the crap he'd been through, I found myself envying the man because here was someone who had truly found his Gift, and was devoting himself to developing it into something remarkable and touching. Good stuff. He and Antonio Maycott, the guy who makes spray-paint art in Harvward Square, are both locals whose work I find, speaking as a complete non-expert on art, technically intriguing and aesthetically pleasing. Both worth checking out, talking to, and supporting if you get the chance (Powers does commissions).

After getting prints a couple of Powers' landscapes (not as technically impressive as his portraits, but there aren't a lot of people I'd care to have pictures of on my wal), I grabbed some candied peanuts and started this post on the way back home. Tasty treats, plus art, plus caffeine and speed = a pretty content and Copeful me. Now to finish out the day of work and enjoy my first no-set-agenda evening in over a week (and, the way things are looking, my only one for the week to come!).
For all the Chrono Trigger/Mayan Apocalypse fans, I give you...

LAVOS 2012

By SpeedKing on DeviantArt, via [ profile] destroyerzooey.
Well, this has indeed been a weekend of Art and Drama (*badum-bum*).

Yesterday a group of us went to MassMOCA to see Tripod Vs The Dragon. Becca, Jason, [ profile] sandrylene and I went ahead of the rest to check out the museum prior to the show. The extended drive with three people with whom I wasn't too well acquainted proved quite fun, with everyone gelling remarkably well. In fact, partway through we realized that everyone in the car was veggie so, capitalizing upon this was a rare opportunity, immediately got on gmaps trying to find the hippiest, most carnivore-withering eatery in the area. We ended up going to a place called, I kid you not, Tofu A Go-Go, in the charming town of Greenfield, MA. Well, trying to go there, at least. Sadly, the place turned out to be closed, so we ended up at Thai instead. A worthwhile outing nonetheless. Greenfield is a little mountain towns with an old-fashioned ice cream parlour and earthy-crunchy grocery coop across the street from an independent video game store. My kinda place.

Anyway, we went on to the museum and had time to see the whole thing. There were definite high points, but on the whole it didn't do much to change my feelings about modern art. So much of it seems all inspiration and no perspiration... and much of the inspiration didn't seem particularly inspired either. I mean, there was one room full of weird ambient music that was carpeted with artificial grass, scattered with potted plastic plants, against one of which was laid an ordinary electric fan. Hung from the ceiling were a couple of crude shapes that might have been supposed to be animal parts with speakers in them playing slightly different weird ambient music. If it had been set up as a scene in a larp I might have been mildly impressed.

Then again, there were a few things that I really dug. The first piece that really struck me was called "A Little Death", by Sam Taylor Wood. It was a time-lapse video of a rabbit being eaten by maggots; not much technically, but morbidly fascinating aesthetically. It was part curiosity, as I'd never actually seen the entire process, part amazement at the machinery of nature, and part tentative willingness to accept this as as a sort of novel found art. On the table next to the rabbit sits a peach, which the maggots never touch. The peach was a nice touch, making it look like a "still lifedeath" painting, only animated. ...aaaand here it is on youtube. Don't click if you squick over this sort of thing... duh.

The highlight of the visit was a retrospective of the "wall paintings" (that is, painted walls) of Sol LeWitt. I can't find any good images of the ones we saw (edit a ha! the massmoca site has all of them, though the photos don't really do the experience justice), but the examples from his "late period" were almost literally mind-blowing. Imagine a chunk of wall 10ish feet high, and 10-100 feet long. Now imagine that an artist has figured out exactly how much color the brain can process within its field of vision, upped that by about 10%, and applied to to all sorts of weird geometric patterns. It was literally trippy, and a very cool experience.

(edit Yay picture (you just have to imagine it even brighter and filling your field of vision)

His earlier work was a bit more subdued, but led to my favorite part of the trip: there was one long wall that was divided into 20 or so equally-sized quares, each of which was divided into quadrants, which were filled with four smaller squares each. Each smaller square was grey, yellow, red or blue, with no repetitions within the same quadrant, but, at first glance, never in the same order either.

(edit aaaaaand here's a picture)

This grabbed my brain and would. not. let. go. What was the pattern? Was it random, or was there a message here? I quickly got [ profile] sandrylene, and later Jason's, attention and we geeked out for about 20 minutes, finding duplicates and proposing theories as to where a pattern might lie. It was also a neat object-lesson in how differently different people process information. One of us would try explaining a theory, particularly ones that had to do with describing patterns, like how the color order in quadrant B might proceed from the color order in quadrant A, and it was like we were speaking different languages. For example, I found it easiest to explain by numbering each of the positions and analysing the "path" that each color took, so if you went clockwise around the quadrants of one of the squares, the grey square might go 1, 4, 2, 3 but the red square might go 2, 3, 1, 4. This didn't compute at all for Sandry, who instead talked in terms of "rotational symmetry", which didn't compute for me. It was all really fascinating. In the end, I figured out roughly how I could effectively search for patterns with a python script if I'd had my laptop and that was good enough for me. I'm enough of a developer nowadays that the fun of problem solving isn't so much in the solving as in devising the algorithm that solves it for me anyway. ;)

So, to me, that is art I like. I have a pretty liberal definition of art, specifically "any product of creativity". But then I have a rather stricter definition of "art I like", which all comes down to the quality of the reaction it evokes, whether technical appreciation, emotional impact, or simple provocativeness. The trippy walls had an emotional impact in that they were fun to look at, and the pattern wall was the "best" art I encountered simply because of the great playtime that it provoked, intentionally or not.

...although one more thing has to be said for MassMOCA, I lied when I said that the walls were the highlight of the museum. For me, the museum its self was the highlight. Seriously, the building is just fascinating. It's some kind of converted factory, full of twisty passages (most definitely not all alike) and just fun to wander around in exploring.

I'm going to have to do the rest of my Tales Of Culture in a subsequent post, I guess, as it's now well past my bedtime, and having gotten home late from the MassMOCA/Tripod trip last night, and having been awfully labile lately, I'm thinking it's best not to tempt emo by not taking care of myself.
The other day I got an email from [ profile] rubicantoto informing me that an australian musical comedy trio called Tripod would be performing in this neck of the woods in late January. His description of them, "wrong-continent Moxy Fruvous", had me curious. The youtube playlist of their performances, to which he linked me, had me intrigued, and the following description from the event site has me excited:

Part Flight of the Conchords and part Tenacious D, this three man musical comedy group is legendary in its native Australia -- they regularly play the Sydney Opera House and other massive palaces of high art. In residency here for two weeks, this world premiere performance will be the world's first glimpse of their latest opus: a musical theater work of exquisite sophistication and hilarity that delves deep into the terrifying, tantalizing, geektastic world of D&D. North Adams may never be the same.

Like that, only staged, and with puppets? ...umm, Yespls!

Tix are $15 ($10 for students) and the show is on Sat Jan 30th at 8pm at the MA Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. This is about 3 hrs away from Bostonish, so I'm thinking a day trip: check out the museum (another $15/$10, though), then catch the show, then drag ourselves home at zomgithurts o'clock am.

Who's up for it? Details and tix here. I can do the usual thing of buying tickets in a block for whoever is interested and then y'all can pay me back.

EDIT Craaaaaaap! This conflicts with the High Noon larp at Brandeis, for which I'm already signed up! Tempted to drop a game for once, but trying to track down alternate dates instead.... =:(

EDIT II For the first time ever I've dropped a larp I was signed up for to do something else. But I contacted their agent and confirmed that this is the only performance they're doing in the US
Just have to pass on an image [ profile] freckles42 posted recently. It's of a statue by Antonio Corradini. Note that this is all in marble:

Holy crapping crap...

It reminds me of a sculpture I once saw in a gallery in DC. It's called "Ghost Clock", by Wendell Castle:

The image doesn't really do it justice, but that is not a clock with a sheet on it. The whole thing is one wooden statue, though I had to get up close and squint at the place where the "sheet" meets the "clock" to tell.

I love it when art is still as much perspiration as it is inspiration. =:)



October 2016

232425 26272829


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 01:22 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios