University of Tennessee, Knoxville Gallery Tour

by D. Dominick Lombardi
Joseph Delaney stands with his painting VJ Day
Artist Joseph Delaney stands with his painting VJ Day (all images Courtesy of the Ewing Gallery unless otherwise noted)

As someone who has kept a sharp eye on the New York City art scene since the early 1970s, I must admit that some of my most memorable experiences have occurred in Tennessee. In 2012, it was the Tennessee State Museum where I saw and reviewed an exhibition of the politically charged, multi-media works of John Mellencamp. Later that same year it was the powerful and moving retrospective of the photography and videos of Carrie Mae Weems at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, both in Nashville.

https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/30900-skeletons-in-our-shared-closet

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/d-dominick-lombardi/nashville-arts_b_1924180.html

This time around I find myself in Knoxville, as I visit three different institutions featuring four very diverse selections of art and ideas. Ewing Gallery of Art, which can be found on the campus of the University of Tennessee, features Blurring Boundaries: The Women of AAA from 1936 – Present. The exhibition is comprised of art by 54 female members of American Abstract Artists. An institution begun in New York in 1936, at a time when the pioneers of abstract art, and to a much greater extent, their female counterparts were having a near impossible time finding a gallery to exhibit their work.

Blurring Boundaries: The Women of AAA from 1936 – Present begins with few formidable examples of the earliest work from AAA’s archives. Initially, I am drawn to the painting The Red L Abstraction (1940) by Esphyr Slobodkina, an intimately sized spatial narrative that traverses an advancing perspective with active shapes and a sophisticated color scheme. You can just see the artist’s mind working here, wrangling with representation and abstraction in the pursuit of a purer, more universal and timeless aesthetic. Alice Trumbull Mason’s Magnitude of Memory (1962) has a similar feel with far less representation and increased rhythmic transitions that are suggestive of the kind of visual variances one sees on screen at the end of an old color film projection as it breaks free of its reel and quickly blurs into wiggling bands of color.

Esphyr Slobodkina, The Red L Abstraction (1940),
Esphyr Slobodkina, The Red L Abstraction (1940), gouache on paperboard, 8 x 9 inches

From here, the early work quickly moves to the diversity and the vitality of the current day and how well every piece here, despite the various media and messages, all fit together exceedingly well. Susan Smith’s 2 ½ lb Irregular Grid (2012) is a reactive, jazzy jaunt of red lines as she riffs off of a flattened out, crisscrossed fast food container in surprisingly systematic and seamlessly expanding tangents. The wall label lists the media as collage, but I definitely see ball point pen lines and a slightly different color red in the areas surrounding the more obviously printed pattern on the crushed container; both indicating elements of added drawing. The painting Laughter and Forgetting (2017) by Cecily Kahn reveals an odd sort of control somewhere between the chaotic and the meditative. It almost seems as if when making this painting, the artist was moving back and forth mentally between a waking dream and focused frenzy.

Blurring Boundaries: The Women Of AAA, 1936–present, curated by Rebecca DiGiovanna, runs through December 10, 2018

2 ½ lb. Irregular Grid (2012), Susan Smith
2 ½ lb. Irregular Grid (2012), Susan Smith, 2 ½ lb., collage, 9 x 9 ½ inches

The second exhibition is titled Mutual Muses. Here visitors will experience the work and vision of two late-career artists who inspired and complimented each other’s productivity virtually their entire adult lives. Individually, they both are leaders in their chosen fields. Both are living examples of the transition between Modern and Contemporary Art. Mimi Garrard today, is an award-winning creator of videos that feature her beautiful and elegantly choreographed dance performances. James Seawright, her partner, who currently has his ground-breaking, multi-media light based work Searcher (1966) at the Whitney Museum of Art’s exhibition Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965-2018.

For this exhibition, the artists have created a number of collaborative prints that reflect a variety of sources including video stills that fracture and re-form into largely geometric or symmetrical shapes. Comprised mostly of curious marks that almost jump off the surface of the paper, each image represents a cross between organic and mechanical mapping. When looking at prints like Untitled (KY5) (2018) I keep picturing an army of artist/ants controlled by M. C. Escher in the rigorous pursuit of symbolizing a perfect balance between mind and body resulting in incredibly intricate patterns.

James Seawright and Mimi Garrard, Untitled (KY5) (2018)
James Seawright and Mimi Garrard, Untitled (KY5) (2018), archival digital print, 20 x 20 inches

In addition to the optically opulent prints are intriguing examples of Seawright’s more intimately scaled kinetic and light based art and Garrard’s multi-layered videos of her stunningly choreographed dance performances.

Mutual Muses, curated by T. Michael Martin, ends February 20, 2019

http://mimigarrarddance.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Seawright

At the UT Downtown gallery is an excellent show of portraits by Joseph Delaney (1904-1991) titled Face to Face. Most of the work here ranges in dates from the 1950s to 1970s when the Knoxville born Delaney lived in New York City. The portraits featured throughout the gallery come from the time he spent at his beloved Arts Students League or participating in many of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibits. I am told the subjects that are forward facing were made during his idle time at the Washington Square exhibitions, while the three-quarter and near profile views are most likely of the models at the League.

Delany an accomplished artist who painted numerous city scenes like his wonderful renditions of parades and nightlife despised abstract art. I sense, hearing stories about him, that he felt there is more than enough one can do with representation to expand the critical course of art making, therefore abstraction was an unnecessary endeavor, even an abomination in his eyes.

Various Details, Drawings by Joseph Delaney
Various Details, Drawings by Joseph Delaney

Being an artist myself, I know how my skills and level of concentration can vary from day to day and in these mid nineteenth century portraits by Delaney in a wide spectrum of styles and materials, anyone can see how the media and the mood of the moment can yield such different approaches and results. There is something iconic about the images rendered in charcoal; the overwhelming honesty in the graphite drawings, his distinct flair in the lines he produced with ink and brush; that wispy weariness in his watercolors and that odd sort of awkwardness in his pastels that all the results, somehow, reveal the substance of his subjects and the seductiveness of their souls.

Curated by Sam Yates, Face to Face ends December 8, 2018.

Home

The University of Tennessee’s graduate student gallery, Gallery 1010, maintains a very vigorous schedule with quickly changing exhibitions. This time around it is Dana Potter’s No Good, Know How, an interactive, mixed media installation that challenges the senses while recording your responses. The basic set-up here is quite impressive as all the elements and states of her art-making process are present for everyone to see. From the computer cutouts that graphically represent artist’s equipment and every-day tools to the multi-layered prints they eventually make, Potter reveals a keen vision layered in mysterious methodology that slowly deepens with most onlooker’s involvement.

Dana Potter, Computer Work Station and Installation View, No Good, Know How, Gallery 1010,
Dana Potter, Computer Work Station and Installation View, No Good, Know How, Gallery 1010, size variable. (images courtesy of the artist)

At the core of the installation is the mapping of eye movements via computer relative to the instructions devised by the artist, a process that results in limitless possibilities as printouts. The way I end up dealing with the stresses of the challenge – the self-imposed anxiety of playing a game on an interactive computer screen is a very effective and somewhat disorienting or reorienting experience for me. Additionally, Potter’s prints create a new sort of edginess to the concept of aesthetic beauty – and one that I can easily live with. I very much look forward to seeing what comes next in the promising career of Dana Potter.

“Say, sea,” @ happylucky no. 1

by D. Dominick Lombardi
Buick Exposure (2018)
Elise P. Church, Buick Exposure (2018), acrylic and gesso on bed sheet, 81 x 77 inches

I am always impressed by how a spirited art gallery exhibition can enliven the most dismal of days. Even with many of the nearby stores shuttered on one particular block of Nostrand Avenue, Say, sea at happylucky no. 1 gallery easily brightens my chilly and overcast Sunday afternoon.

Say, sea, is one-person exhibition comprised of recent works by Elise P. Church that reveal a most curious way of reconstructing the missing mementos of a past life. Having often moved back and forth between homes in coastal Massachusetts and Bermuda in her youth, Church lost or misplaced all of her early photographs and souvenirs. To replace them, Church continually scours the Internet to acquire similar photographs to the ones that have vanished. Overall, the images would have to be of or referencing the sea or seaside living, as all of her childhood homes were at or near the sea. In addition, to make them more relevant to her particular past, all would be dated from the 1960s and 70s to correspond to her era. Then there is the title of the exhibition, which comes from a poem by Emily Dickinson titled Part Three: Love, XI, with the last two lines reading: “Say, sea,” “Take me!”

It is sometimes good to know the background and intent of an artist or exhibition, but it is not integral to the success of this show. Walking through the exhibition and not knowing the background information, you can sense that this work is about a person dealing with loss, especially since many of the paintings and photographs are fragments or contain small to large portions of the composition cut away and removed. The painting techniques used by the artist, which come off looking like watercolors overall, are executed on fragments of fabric and sheets of paper giving the exhibition a feeling of weightlessness or buoyancy, which in turn suggests movement or transference.

As stated in the exhibition essay, Church begins her work with an acquired photograph. In her large pieces, these become the aforementioned paintings that read so well as memories softened by time and hardened by loss. The small snapshots, on the other hand, are cut into, reduced and overlapped photographs that result in alluring little abstractions. Despite their size, the results are quite potent as each leaves us with just enough information to pique one’s interest. With each of these intimate works, which have cryptic titles and recent dates, Church brings us to her experiences as a child, her feelings, her memories of sights, sounds and smells coupled with the texture of discovery, and the newness of things when a young mind is filling up with impressions and perceptions that spawn a lifetime of learning.

2: 57 (2018),
Elise P. Church, 2: 57 (2018), photographs, 3 ½ x 3 ½ inches

happyluck no. 1 gallery is located at 734 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. They are open Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 7pm. Say,sea, runs through November 25th.

Three New Exhibitions at the Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden

by D. Dominick Lombardi
Sam Bartman, Majestic Waters (2001)
Sam Bartman, Majestic Waters (2001), mixed media on reflective plastic sheet, 17 x 17 inches

With three exhibitions opening at the Hammond Museum, the big surprise is the work of Sam Bartman. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1922, Bartman has spent the last 60 years of his life creating stirring paintings that combine some of the most the incompatible materials. In experimenting with what he calls his “special sauce”, Bartman has somehow tamed a mix of resins, varnishes, motor oil, glitter and automotive paints with oils and acrylics that results in everything from endlessly crackling surfaces and minute swirling storms of color. There are even the occasional brushstrokes that push the variously drying materials around leaving fossil like impressions of battered brush hairs sorrowfully spent in a furious wake of swished paint.

Bartman is an outsider. His unconventional and periled approach to previously incompatible materials could only have come from a place of pure, unrestrained, fearless experimentation common to this type. He scrapes, he pours, he projects his insights and instincts directly onto strange repurposed square surfaces comprised of millions of tiny glass beads attached to a sour yellow ground. In some instances, it all comes together looking somewhere between the more vigorous works of Vincent van Gogh and the paintings by Max Ernst that feature his decalcomania or grattage technique.

 (top) Vincent van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows (1890), (bottom left) Sam Bartman, Untitled (2008), (bottom right) Sam Bartman, First Attempt (1998),
(top) Vincent van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows (1890) Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Wikipedia image; (bottom left) Sam Bartman, Untitled (2008), mixed media on reflective plastic sheet, 17 x 17 inches; (bottom right) Sam Bartman, First Attempt (1998), mixed media on reflective plastic sheet, 17 x 17 inches

In reference to, or perhaps in his channeling of Van Gogh, you can see in Untitled (2008) and in First Attempt (1998) a similar heaviness and deliberateness in the paint application between the two artists. Comparatively, where Van Gogh is painting highly expressive and intensely colorful works en plein air; Bartman paints at night, indoors, using artificial light and in the solitude of his basement on a commandeered Ping-Pong table. Surrounded by the wafting waves of fumes and off gases his techniques produce, Bartman pulls from his daily observations filtered through a subconscious that allows all and any twist or turn.

With Ernst, when you look at the techniques he used to create Painting For Young People (1943) you see decalcomania, a transfer of paint onto the surface on the large panel in the upper portion of this multi-segmented work; and grattage, a scraping away of material in the large panel on the bottom. You see similar look in A New World (n.d.) by Bartman, only in Bartman’s painting the resulting appearance of the top, where you have the organic swirls of color, is more the result of a chemical reaction relative to the incompatibility of materials used, than it is the chance blending of a somewhat blind transference of medium. And with both artists, there is the addition of facial features to personify the humanoid forms that inhabit these paintings giving some the impression of a lost soul in a threatening space.

(top) Max Ernst, Painting For Young People (1943); (bottom) Sam Bartman, A New World (n.d.), mixed media on reflective plastic sheet, 17 x 17 inches
(top) Max Ernst, Painting For Young People (1943); (bottom) Sam Bartman, A New World (n.d.), mixed media on reflective plastic sheet, 17 x 17 inches

Overall, and despite the similarities to artists that have come before him, the art of Bartman is striking and powerful and worth much more attention than he has garnered to date.

In the same room of the Bartman paintings you will find the mood-laden paintings of Laura Von Rosk. Her landscapes are also rather intimately sized, as her intended visions look like they might reside in a cleverly crafted storybook, albethey dark at times, as her representations often beg narration.

In the front room as you first enter the museum is a circular space with six built-in vitrines. Each one of the display cases hold large sheets of paper filled with delicately drawn, subtly abstracted shapes that are clearly informed by nature. In each instance, Randy Orzano offers us his collaboration between himself and the bees he keeps. By placing his completed drawings flat or folded into the very beehives he tends to, Orzano gathers the residue of an orderly and purposeful social network. As the busy inhabitants eat away at and add wax and propolis to the hive and the bordering artist’s paper a new curious design takes shape that enhances the works on paper, while maintaining an indelible link between the artist and the industrious engineers.

Featured in the large main room of the museum is an exhibition titled Arirang Grace – Between Dislocation and Settlement. All of the 16 artists in this exhibition are Korean and all are quite different in their use of materials and intended message. The loan North Korean Artist is easy to spot. Kun Hak Ri’s Rope Skipping (2003) shows a group of five children jumping with joy above a flower laden rope painted in a style that is both ideal in its representations and over-the-top in its positivity.

Bong Jung Kim, one accomplished artist whose work I have come to know quite well, offers a new series of figurative works constructed of fragments common to our fast-paced, ‘everything-is-quickly-outdated’ conditioning. In his longtime quest to project his addictions and obsessions, Kim bares his soul each and every time he makes his art. Additionally, he is showing us that the vast and endless amount of materials that is largely and quickly considered to be junk, can be seen as a treasure trove of inspiration in the hands of an artist.

Myong Hi Kim’s Tea (2004) is a curious piece whereby the artist uses the recently abandoned school chalkboards she finds in rural South Korean towns that have lost students to the migration to cities. Working with oil pastels and chalk, and with the addition of a video of the foliage of the countryside, Kim art speaks volumes about the disappearing traditions of a simpler, more peaceful and rewarding life that is being erased by the promises of the modern era. Conversely, her husband Tchah Sup Kim opens and splays his paper coffee cup every morning in a shape reminiscent of a traditional folding fan and proceeds to paint or draw on them in various ways and in styles suggestive of his inspirations and interests. Both artists blend era and tradition in fascinating ways and both present the ages old discussion that pits the perils of progress against the tried and true qualities of life.

Myong Hi Kim, Tea, 2004
Myong Hi Kim, Tea, (2004), oil pastel on chalkboard with incorporated video, 47 ¼ x 90 ½ inches

All three exhibitions end November 10th.  There are also sculptures in various media displayed throughout the grounds of the museum by a number of artists including Joy Brown, Mimi Czajka Graminski and Tom Holmes. Thanks to the hard work of individuals like Curator Bibiana Huang Matheis, Director Lorraine Laken and a dedicated board led by its President Evelyn Tapani-Rosenthal, the Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden has maintained its pivotal position in the arts and culture of Westchester County for over 60 years.

Photo-A-GoGo

Don Doe, Fille Sans Dot, Fille Avec Dot (2017)
Don Doe, Fille Sans Dot, Fille Avec Dot (2017), giclee, 22 x 15 inches
by Dominick Lombardi

Photo-A-GoGo presents art that has photography as an element, whether it is predominant or used as a minor accent, to show how the creative process now parallels or responds to the ubiquitous social digital/exchange mentality. We have the MIME, Instagram, Snapchat, all the ways we express or project our ideas or self-image – so the photograph, instead of being “worth a thousand words” is now as common as a mosquito in July. However, that does not mean that art or the intention behind it or the imagery utilized is, in the end, benign.

The artists in this exhibition are quite varied in style and background – they all use machines, mechanisms or minutiae that are accessible to most – and they all bring something new and fresh to the use and application of the photograph. For instance, Don Doe combines portions of magazine photo-pages to distort representation and fracture meaning. It’s a cubist approach in a way, but more like Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) than say Girl With Mandolin (1910) as there is more of an emotional and confrontational content than what one would see as being akin to analytical theory.

Untitled (2018), Limited Edition, Digital Photography
Untitled (2018), Limited Edition, Digital Photography, 20 x 24 inches

Liz Guarracino creates unexpected abstractions by photographing ice at close range. The formations Guarracino captures are similar to those taken with an electron microscope; however, here we see something familiar in a curious context-less presentation. As a result, the trapped air bubbles depicted, as they ascend and form stalagmite-like intrusions in the ice become strange, even otherworldly.

Using abrupt movements and a Polaroid camera Jan Houllevigue creates a haunting image of a cold and calculated world submerged in a thick unyielding atmosphere where feral focus and lingering light breeds unsteadiness in the viewers sense of being grounded. As a result, we get a glimpse of a parallel plane, perhaps the afterlife, where lost souls look for a new home in order to regain full consciousness in the here and now.

Untitled Booklet (a piece from the Book of Debris body of work/series, ca.1995 by Moses Hoskins) (1996)
Untitled Booklet (a piece from the Book of Debris body of work/series, ca.1995 by Moses Hoskins) (1996), assembled including found snapshots/Polaroids combined with scrap, trash, wastepaper & tape, approximately 6 x 5 x 1 inches

Moses Hoskins creates Books of Debris that turn art making into urban archeology. By gathering all the paper and plastic trash that carelessly never made it into our growing landfills and oceans, Hoskins turns us all into voyeurs as we flip through a series of snapshots and Polaroids mixed amongst product packaging, receipts and scented car fresheners.

Janusz Kawa’s photographs can be found in a variety of places including a cover of The New York Times magazine section, as a portrait of Daniel Day-Lewis or in the depiction of the Faces of Rajastan. For this exhibition, Kawa offers one of his works from the Time and Light series where blurred movements dull and disperse the fading forms. A compression of the senses perhaps, which leaves us with a tinge of romanticism in a most mundane moment.

D. Dominick Lombardi, CCAC-21 (2018)
D. Dominick Lombardi, CCAC-21 (2018), ink on paper and acrylic on album cover, 12 1/2 x 12 ½ inches

In my new series collectively titled Cross Contamination, I begin with old LP album jackets that feature a photograph. After all or most of the original lettering is painted out I attach hand made ‘stickers’ of variously drawn sizes and styles to suggest parallels between two distinct types of popular culture. By visually upsetting the base image with the current day fad of tagging objects and signs with stickers, I am acknowledging the importance and the persistence of disruption.

Creighton Michael has had a recent partial loss of his sight due to a surgical error that almost took his life. In response to his circumstance, Michael has initiated the Blindsight series utilizing a number of media and techniques including photography as he explores the space between sight and perception. As in his previous work, there are definite elements of interference only this time they are more real than ever.

Claire Seidl, Moon, Light, Swimmers (2013)
Claire Seidl, Moon, Light, Swimmers (2013), Gelatin silver print, 24 x 23 ½ inches

Claire Seidl turns the night into near non-representation as harsh hovering light overruns the composition invading the deepest darks. Here, one may be reminded of a transitional state of awareness where visual stimuli move from one episode to the next. There are also hints of geometry here, combined with a distant landscape, bringing this moment back to earth and out of the twilight zone.

Jill Thayer’s two-dimensional work creates a medley of movements that begin with the photographed details of her installations. Adjustments are made in a variety of ways with digital media programs where colors are enhanced, forms are stretched and comparisons are made. Inhabited with related elements at different angles and measures, Thayer presents compositions that suggest sound, even music, as much as they do space and perspective.

Roman Turovsky, Stadt 48 (2015)
Roman Turovsky, Stadt 48 (2015), giclée, 11×14 inches

Roman Turovsky presents a visceral view of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. To his photograph, Turovsky applies digital filters giving this print its ‘vintage’ appearance. The combination of the current day image of a part of Manhattan that has, against all odds, maintained most of its low profile and old New York feel is both disorienting and profound, while the frayed focus gives us that added feeling of vertigo.

Patrick Winfield mixes several instant print pictures in a grid format in the creation of a ‘portrait’ that suggests multiple views. Not unlike the Cubist, we see many angles and the inclusion of text, however here, there is something between the excess and ritual practices. What will most intrigue the viewer is the beautifully successful arrangement of crimson reds, phthalocyanine greens and off whites in this most alluring work.

Tansy Xiao, Keys (2016) (in Prague)
Tansy Xiao, Keys (2016) (in Prague), found keys, digital print, wood, velvet (mixed media), 14 ½ x 12 ½ x 1 ½ inches

Tansy Xiao gives us a sense of the theatric, as a pair of characters strut across the picture plane in Keys (2016). The mix of photographs at bottom right is both a minor and pivotal element, as it is comprised of a collage of images of keys garnered from the Internet. The two main figures are made of actual keys, and the absence of a third figure (there are three boxes across the lower half of the composition) raises questions about absence, memory and reality.

Photo-A-GoGo opens Friday, October 19 from 6-9pm at SRO Gallery. The gallery is located at 1144 Dean Street in Brooklyn, NY and runs through November 11th.

The Tale of Auguste’s Brain

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, After the Bath (1888)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, After the Bath (1888), oil on canvas, 25 ½ x 21 ¼ inches, Wikipedia images
by D. Dominick Lombardi

It was probably somewhere around 1987 when I read a quote attributed to Auguste Renoir in an art magazine. I don’t recall the exact passage, but he likened his paintbrush to his penis when discussing why he so obsessed over capturing the erotic aspects of a woman’s flesh. A month or so later I made a drawing, I was in my pseudo Post Modern stage making sculptures that looked like they could have been executed in the nineteen teens, twenties or thirties, and the subject was my interpretation of Renoir’s sensual sentiment about his female nudes. It wasn’t long before I started to carve small pieces of wood, carefully calculating their shape and size so they would fit together without imbalance. After I was satisfied with the shape and length of each section they were painted and lightly sanded before the final assembling.

In a few weeks Auguste’s Brain (1988) was completed. Of course, the penis had to be the centerpiece – oversized and in control and in the end, I had pretty much captured the design in the third dimension. After a day or two of deliberating I decided to show my partner, Diane. Things were going well at the time as I was showing and selling works in New York, Chicago and Cologne during art fairs and in gallery exhibitions and I had hoped to get her opinion on where I should first unveil this new piece. To my surprise, she hesitated a bit then said she wasn’t sure the sculpture or idea made sense – she wondered aloud if I wasn’t “barking up the wrong tree” attacking one of the great Impressionists whose work can be found in every substantive private and public collection throughout the world. Remember, this was prior the Internet being accessible to all and I had no real way of substantiating the quote without doing extensive research in a library and it was very unlikely that I would find the proof I needed.

You also have to remember that this was before the 1990s when the epicenter of the art world in New York City was moving back from the East Village to SoHo, and there was at least one penis proudly presented in nearly every exhibition. This following Mapplethorpe and the Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati’s obscenity case that ended in an acquittal in 1990 – a case initiated by Senator Jesse Helms against NEA funding practices. Not long after that, in the mid 1990s, the dam of pent up penises had burst and it had become a running joke as gallery goers would say “Penises are in!” as we all had gotten over our collective fear that something would go horribly wrong if an institution exhibited a photograph, painting or sculpture of a clearly rendered penis.

D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste's Brain (1988)
D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste’s Brain (1988), acrylic and paper on carved wood with wire, 10 ½ x 6 ¼ x 5 inches

But back then, in 1988, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place (pun intended). What was I to do? After a week or so of weighing my options I decided to reduce the penis to a harmless nub, not unlike the receiving end of a peg leg. As soon as I made the radical reduction I knew it was wrong but it was too late. The sculpture was securely and irreversibly ‘glued’ together with acrylic medium at all contact points and I would have to completely break down and rebuild each part so it was best to just forget about it and simply move onto the next piece.

 

D. Dominick Lombardi, CCWS-25 (2018)
D. Dominick Lombardi, CCWS-25 (2018), mixed media, 21 x 14 x 12 inches

Over the next thirty years I would think about that decision every time I happened upon that sad form of a once proud protruding appendage and think of what could have been. I wonder even today, if there was the ability for me to do an Internet search, if I would have talked myself into keeping the man intact. About two years ago I did do an Internet search, typing in something like “Renoir’s brush is his penis” or something like that, and “I Paint With My Prick” appeared on the site Quote Investigator – it was that easy. More recently, when I was working on one of my new sculptures that featured a toy statue from the 1960/70s with its face buried in the butt of the main figure I decided if I was silly enough to make that connection or placement that I certainly could restore Auguste’s Brain to it original glory.

D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste's Brain
D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste’s Brain (90), cyanotype on museum board, 10 x 8 inches

By mixing papier-mâché with acrylic medium I was now able to carefully rebuild my thirty-year-old mistake using an old watermarked cyanotype print as my guide. Once the bulk of the penis was roughly a little over the desired shape and size it was a matter of some rasping, filing, sanding then finding just the right combination of colors to complete the restoration and voilá, quoting Arby’s: “we have the meat(s)”. As an added punctuation to my newly liberated stance as an uncompromising artist I attached a few one-of-a-kind stickers to reflect of my current-day obsession and the piece was done.

D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste's Brain (1988-2018)
D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste’s Brain (1988-2018), acrylic and paper on carved wood with wire, 10 ½ x 6 ¼ x 5 inches

So here I am, once again struggling with the idea that there is something to be learned by Renoir’s pronouncement when he said he paints with his prick. Or did he actually say: “It’s with my brush that I make love” as stated in the Yale Book Quotations. Either way, I’m sticking with my original design and Diane now likes it too. No matter what he said, my interpretation is the man was speaking metaphorically and his declaration is what my sculpture represents.

D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste's Brain (1988-2018)
D. Dominick Lombardi, Auguste’s Brain (1988-2018), acrylic and paper on carved wood with wire, 10 ½ x 6 ¼ x 5 inches

 

 

dArtles

by Steve Rockwell

It has been nearly 15 years since dArt magazine has stuck its digital fingers into the design and look of its online presence. It’s hardly late-breaking news that the torrent of information flowing through our devices is ever-massing. Its invasive waves lap freely into our private and public spaces. Much to the annoyance of any attendant host, a popular course at restaurant and dinner parties is digital streamfeed. True, the yen of it does offer a nourishment of a kind, but generally it comes at a social price, where its consumer is consumed in return. Yet, therein lies its power, a peculiar kind of omniscience – a social network that alternately connects and divides.

As co-publisher of the Toronto-focused publication artoronto.ca,  along with dArt editorial contributor Emese Krunák-Hajagos, and Gallery 1313 director Phil Anderson, we have come to value the flexibility of Word Press as a platform. My aim has not been to reinvent the digital wheel, but  rather seek the most efficient way to upload content. As it has been with the print version of dArt from the outset, content ought to trump clever design licks. This is not to say that this particular online incarnation is carved in stone. As the old modernist maxim averred, “form follows function.” dArt online will have to prove itself by living up to the old hackneyed credo.

D. Dominick Lombardi suggests that: “dArt International magazine’s on-line component will allow our practicing artist/writers to better cover more exhibitions without losing our ability to express our thoughts not just on the big blockbuster shows, but to continue to embrace the out-of-the-way towns and cities that have vital and thriving art scenes. Since most of our contributors are practicing professional artists, they tend to have a far different way of looking at art critically than someone who hasn’t picked up a brush, chisel or piece of charcoal since college. We know what it takes to go from inspiration, through the process of numerous challenges and decisions to the creation of something that can expose our deepest thoughts and fears. Artists put it all out there, and we know and appreciate what it takes to make the plunge into the studio and out into the public arena.”

Anyone who is an attentive reader of the Editorial Contributors column of dArt will readily learn that dArt’s U.S. editor, D. Dominick Lombardi is a serial curator. Here is a quote lifted straight from the said column “Since 1978, Lombardi has curated over 100 exhibitions in a variety of museums and galleries.” Do the math and we get a number averaging nearly three shows a year. At first glance, that may not seem like a lot – but every year for four straight decades – please! Where do you get the energy? Since no one seems able to curb Lombardi’s curating enthusiasm, we asked him to outline his ongoing curatorial projects. Here is the plan as stated in his own words:

China Marks, art, D. Dominick Lombardi
Art by China Marks for the Lombardi co-curated exhibition Water Over the Bridge at the Morean Arts Centre in St. Petersburg, Florida

“The group exhibition I have opening this May at the Morean Arts Center in St Petersburg, Florida, Water Over the Bridge, is the third of three shows that look at how the contemporary artist is responding to the landscape, the environment and climate change. The first show, Pattern Power, Chaos and Quiet, opened this past February at the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, CT. The second, Natural Impact, was held at the Arsenal Gallery in New York City from March 8th through April 26th.

Stephen Cook, art, D. Dominick Lombardi
Artwork by Stephen Cook featured on the poster for the Lombardi curated show Where to Draw the Line.

Coming up this spring and fall is an exhibition I am curating for Lichtundfire, which is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That exhibition, Parallel Fields, will show how three artists extrapolate their thoughts and observations, building a very personal iconography that nicely balance mystery with clarity. In September I will have the second version of Where to Draw the Line, a show that had its first installment at the Walter Wickiser Gallery in Chelsea from March 31st to April 25th. This second show will be held at OneWay Gallery in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and will feature the work of thirteen artists including four from the gallery’s current roster. That one opens September 14th. Then it’s out to Brooklyn for a photo-based exhibition at SRO gallery where I will select works that utilize photography in some way, while challenging the boundaries of what one would expect to see when considering the photographic image. The title of this group exhibition is pending.”

Editorial Contributors

D. Dominick Lombardi

D. Dominick Lombardi is represented by Kim Foster Gallery in New York, NY and Prince Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since 1978, Lombardi has curated over 100 exhibitions in a variety of museums and galleries. Titles include: Water Over the Bridge, Tondo, Tondo, Tondo, Duchamp’s Plumbing, Shaky Ground, reVision, Through the Veil of the Soul,  HEAD, Eye on the Storm, In Their Own World, Monkey Spoon, Anonymous, Bóm: How art can disrupt, reorient or destroy, Fear is a Four Letter Word, Speaking in Strings: Ken Butler and Kurt Coble, Critics Select I & II, Over the Top – Under the Rug, FUNKADELICIDE, The Impact of War, The Waking Dream, The Tradition  of  Icons and Champions of Modernism: Non-Objective Art of the 1930s & 40s and Its Legacy. For past 21 years, Lombardi’s 400 plus features, interviews and art reviews have appeared in such publications as as The New York Times (1998-2005), The Huffington Post (2012-present), ARTslant (2012-14), Art in Asia (S. Korea) (2007-09), Public Art and Ecology (China) (2011-12), Sculpture (1999-present), dART (2005-present), Art Papers (2004), ARTnews (1997), ARTlies (2004-09), Juxtapoz (2002), New Art Examiner (1997-98), Night (1996-97), Art New England (1997-99), NYARTS magazine (2004-09) and culturecatch.com (2006-present) among others.

Dominique Nahas

Dominique Nahas is an independent curator and critic based in Manhattan. He teaches critical studies at Pratt institute. He is currently writing books on the work of artists Allison Stewart and Amer Kobaslija.

Christopher Hart Chambers

Christopher Hart Chambers is an artist based in NYC. He also writes about art for several periodicals and occasio-nally curates exhibitions. Last year the Nassau County Museum of Art’s Contemporary Gallery featured a solo exhibition of his work. Also last year he co-curated with Al Diaz the Graffiti Street Art exhibition at the Bishop Gallery in Bedstuy, NY. www.christopherchambers.com

 

Emese Krunák-Hajagos

Emese Krunák-Hajagos is an art writer with publications in dArt International magazine (Toronto/Montreal/New York/San Antonio), NY Arts (New York), Artes Magazine (Connecticut), Huma 3 (Madrid/Venice), Balkon (Budapest), Interpress Graphic (London/Prague/Budapest). She writes in English and Hungarian and a few of her articles are translated into Spanish. She is member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Emese is co-founder and co-publisher of artoronto.ca, an online art magazine covering the visual art scene in Toronto. Her holistic approach brings together the history, philosophy and cultural atmosphere of the times, providing a more complex understanding of the art. She lives in Toronto.

Siba Kumar Das

Siba Kumar Das is a former Indian diplomat and a United Nations official who writes about art – an interesting thing to do when a global art is coming into being. Serving the United Nations Development Program in New York and several developing countries, he addressed global development challenges at international and local levels, concentrating on poverty eradication and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. He now lives in the United States as a citizen, splitting his time between New York City and upstate New York. He has published articles on artists living in the Upper Delaware Valley, and is presently focusing on art in a more global context. His experience in development and interest in art has brought home to him that artistic creation and development success are born in similar crucibles.

Gae Savannah

Gae Savannah is a sculptor/writer based in New York City. She works
in new materials including plastics. Savannah also writes for Sculpture magazine. She teaches Contemporary Art, Film, and Writing in the MFA program at School of Visual Arts.

Julie Garisto

A Largo High and USF grad who’s currently enrolled in University of Tampa’s Creative Writing MFA program, Julie Garisto is an assistant editor/contributor at the central Florida nonprofit arts agency Creative Pinellas, where she covers arts and music events. Julie also contributes to the Tampa Bay Times as well as other publications. She served as arts and entertainment editor for Creative Loafing (2010-2015).