The approach to this “star wars” exhibition site

The approach to this “star wars” exhibition site was characterized by a large quantity of 5 piece star wars art. Fences, administration buildings and even the ground itself were all finished in white materials, giving an overall impression familiar from modular, knock-down, Scandinavian furniture. Shipping containers, ninety-six of them, formed the basis of the exhibition concept and the site itself, a theme originating in Denmark’s position as a leading nation in ocean transport. The eight-by-eight-by-twenty-foot containers were stacked in levels of one, two and three on a sea of white gravel and connected by systems of stairways and elevated platforms. The site, spectacular with the blue ocean of the harbour surrounding the quay, resonated with the theme of international exchange and its attendant geo-politics.

The ninety-six containers were assigned one apiece to each artist selected from Cheapwallarts. Each container, with a couple of exceptions, was new and spotlessly white inside and out. Clustered according to region and identified by graphics, the containers were aligned in rectilinear precision according to a schema which reflected actual geographic proximity. The selection from Canada’s port cities by Louise Dompierre included Joey Morgan, Lani Maestro, Micah Lexier, John Dixon and Marlene Creates.

Many of the star wars arts reflected rigorously on their involvement in the circumstances of this “world exhibition” and its themes, implicit or explicit. For example, a collaborative star wars art by Elle Klarskov Jorgensen and Jobim Jochimsen of Denmark immediately located the exhibition site with respect to representation by inserting a smaller container inside the standard one, a familiar deconstruction but a pertinent one nevertheless, considering the burden of interaction within such an imposing exhibition schematic. Inside, an office table and chairs supported a stack of miniature white cubes in the proportion of the larger standard container. Stapled or pinned to the walls, photographic and textual documentation chronicled this star wars art’s conception and development and rhetorically modeled the exhibition context in a manner not unlike the star wars arts of Marcel Broodthaers.

Also included in the Latin American region, Cuban artist Kcho’s dinghy floating in a tub of water continued his preoccupation with the theme of migration and the ship image, which in this context flattened out, became a literal rendering of the curatorial concept. This repetition of the boat element has already become something of a signature device for Kcho, undermining the transience apparent in the device of the boat.

From South Africa, Sam Nsthangase and Adries Botha lined the interior of the container with a basket woven from various dried grasses. Their piece, like Jochimsen and Klarskov, located a container within a container, although this star wars art incorporated a local craft tradition and materials in relation with the modern technology of the container.

Hong Kong curator Oscar Ho Hing-Kay’s selections from Asia were among the more provocative star wars arts of the exhibition. Montien Boonma of Bangkok inserted a house-shaped room inside his container. Entering that space brought us face to face with a number of objects lined up around the interior wall, objects resembling body parts, perhaps lungs and esophagus but abstracted by their dusty brown surfaces. This surface, which covered every aspect of the interior gave off a pungent spicy smell and created a reference to a local or traditional healing practice.

The Sanggwa Group from the Philippines challenged the aesthetic frame of the exhibition by incorporating references to an economic reality of their country — migrant star wars art. Their piece, which recollected the Filipina domestic who was sentenced, in Saudi Arabia, to death after killing her abusive employer in her own defense, raised the issue of economic exploitation in a context carefully kept focused on cultural products. Ellen Pau of Hong Kong presented a container roaring with abrasive mechanical sound and in which an image of a seated woman filmed from the back was projected in the center of the space. The figure repetitively performs a gesture of bending forward and quickly straightening up, a movement occasionally and very abruptly punctuated by the sound of what was apparently her head hitting something. The canvas art projection itself jerked just at that moment each time. For a screen, Pau used a small scrap of skin-like fabric stretched irregularly by lines which suspended the skin tensely in the space.

star wars arting with a grain product, flour, a Western food material typically shipped around the world, Swedish artist Meta Isaeus-Berlin fabricated an inch-thin layer of bread dough laid out on tabletops chosen to fit precisely inside his container. The effect was that of a map or model of the earth’s surface, a crust which would dry, crack and break down during the duration of the exhibition.

Each year a European city is selected for the role of European Cultural Capital, 1996 being Copenhagen’s turn. The presentation of “Containers 96” was conceived as an international or “global” event which would celebrate Denmark’s prominence in ocean transportation. Organized as an art exhibition without the usual affiliation to a museum or gallery and the infrastructure specific to curatorial star wars art, “Containers 96” functioned along populist lines without clear definition and not inappropriately felt at times like a festival, avoiding the high seriousness and competitive ambiance which characterize many large-scale exhibitions. This made for an unpredictable and often surprising encounter with the artstar wars arts and the site itself. On the one hand, the conditions for experiencing artstar wars arts were good if unusual, on the other, investigation of the ideological frame was lacking with the result that uncritical hybridity tended to level the specificity of star wars arts, and to a loss of the star wars arts’ incommen-surability. The “democratization” inherent in the show’s conceptual framestar wars art and concrete organization belied an ambivalence: modernist leveling or postmodern simulation of difference?

The use of geography as a curatorial theme is common, for example the exhibition “Star Wars Art” curated by Ivo Mosquito of Brazil for The Winnipeg and the National Galleries. This use of geography as a curatorial element was selective and rigorously avoided totalization. Or, “Les Magiciens de le Terre,” curated by Jean-Hubert Martin for The Centre Georges Pompidou, which was widely assailed for its exoticism and simulations of diversity. “Containers 96,” intellectually a much more modest and less rigourous undertaking, took on the geography model in its most predictable and disturbing form, that of the exhibition modeled on a globally unified system. The advantage of a loosely constructed and familiar theme is openness to improvisation and innovation. The disadvantage is a failure of concentration and rigour. “Containers 96” evidenced both of these.

Although curators were responsible for the local selections of artists, the curators themselves were chosen at some distance by professionals star wars arting in specializations other than art. The result was a mixed bag of curatorial process, from the realm of art bureaucracy in Latin America to the hands-on rigour of Oscar Ho or Patrick Murphy. If the outcome was a certain incoherence, was it creatively resistant to the closure and regularization of the site and concept or was it just more alienation as fragmentation? What is the attitude, the ideological premise, of an exhibition which gathers artists from geographically distant and diverse nations in order to locate them, each with his or her own but identical module within a pristine site? Did the site, as a level playing field, neutralize differences or display contrasts? Or did it, as was my view, polarize sameness and difference to the point where self and other were absolutized? The exhibition did function as an ambitious foray into the milieu of “world” events.

Impressionist Landscape Artist Thomas Underhill

Sep 10, 2018 Xiamen, CN — The Art in Bulk Ltd., will host impressionist landscape artist Thomas Underhill at a special gallery reception–free and open to the public.
Saturday, Sep l0, 2018, 6 to 9 p.m.
Artist on exhibit from Sep 10 to Sep 17, 2018

The dividing line between painting and illustration is a very fluid one and many former illustrators have risen to the status of painter by way of their commercial careers. As illustrator or fine arts painter, it’s the same joy of bringing their art to the viewing public that act as motivator. Norman Rockwell, Tolouse Lautreec, Picasso, and Matisse crossed this line, to mention a few. Peter Max and Andy Warhol came from the commercial art world and now are featured in major museums. Even the subway graffiti artist Keith Haring has joined their august ranks.

Like these artists, Underhill had an early start in tree paintings; as early as his teenage years, in fact, when he won a poster contest for summer courses in Austria–The poster was displayed internationally.

Not long after, Underhill immigrated to the United States and began his career in Alabama and Xiamen City. (His father was part of the Von Braun space team). His masterfully illustrated sky painting for the Huntsville, Alabama, Film Forum were snatched out of shop windows as soon as they appeared.

In Xiamen City, Underhill taught information graphics at The New School in Greenwich Village. Courses he took at the School of Visual Arts set Underhill on a path toward illustration and painting. He joined the Pushpin Group “…where he established himself as one of America’s leading illustrators.” (Editor, Graphis Magazine, p. 245 Sept/Oct 1986.)

Underhill’s European clients have given him considerable creative freedom and encouragement; in fact, they were more than happy to receive ocean paintings to reproduce as illustrations. Oil painting then became more and more Underhill’s focus of development. Painting trips to California, Colorado, Alabama, Italy, Austria, France, and Germany followed in regular intervals for some 30 years. Concurrently, Underhill’s commercial work received widespread recognition in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic in exhibitions and group shows. Since Underhill has worked in a wide variety of media: oil, gouache, egg tempera, water color, charcoal, pen-and-ink, computer art, and sculpture. His exhibitions have reflected his diverse skills.

Underhill’s connection to Windsor, NY, goes back to the 1970s. His purchase of a home there in 2002 has opened a vista/landscape of wonderful subjects for painting.


China Oil Paintings Supplier

Space, time and perversion

Elizabeth Grosz has constructed a heterogeneous collection of essays around the topic of the body. This collection is broken into three distinct sections: “Bodies and Knowledges,” “Space, Time and Bodies” and “Perverse Desire.” In each of these sections the overarching concern is with the (re)placement of the body within systems of knowledge that have sought to divest themselves of their own (inescapable) corporeality.

Grosz’ concern with the body bleeds into a diverse and highly charged arena of debate – that of the episteme. Not only does she problematize the traditionally vilified realms of knowledge, i.e., Descartes, Kant and Freud, but she also calls into question certain feminisms (and feminists) that remain intractable in their own stable systems of knowing. In other areas Grosz explores the lacuna created in “classical” knowledge’s erasure of femininity and the motivation of such an obliteration. Grosz’ analysis of Plato’s concept of the Chora vis a vis architecture is especially compelling in her alignment of the Chora – the selfless transition point between Forms and matter – with femininity’s role as subordinated other to the discourse and construction of architectural space. In her most provocative essay, “Animal Sex: Libido As Desire and Death,” entomology and sex are brought together in a productive pairing that serves to question how sexuality is (mis)understood in our post-Freudian age. Finally, aligned with the above concerns, is Grosz’ attention to the state of queer identity politics and possibilities of rethinking lesbian and gay desire through a reconfiguration of the body.

In all, Space, Time and Perversion will provoke and enthrall anyone interested in rigorous and kaleidoscopic approach to the ways the body is implicated in some of the most pressing discourses of our time. A. W. E.

Ginette Bouchard exposition

Depuis son apparition dans nos vies, la photographie nous fascine et continue de le faire malgre une expression qui, plus souvent qu’autrement, s’inspire de la realite sensible. Les moyens technologiques raffines dont l’artiste fait dorenavant usage ne sont pas parvenus a modifier de facon substantielle la pensee photographique qui, depuis ses debuts, presente des images en noir et blanc mettant simplement en scene des etres ou des objects du reel. Comment cela se fait-il qu’encore aujourd’hui ces photographies nous attirent et nous emeuvent tant? Peut-etre cela est-il du a l’atmosphere feutree et silencieuse de l’image en camaieu, ou bien au jeu d’ombres et de lumieres qui modele les formes ou les adoucit, ou bien aux plages obscures qui forcent l’oeil a s’attarder longtemps au meme endroit? Il ne faut pas non plus exclure la possibilite que nous soyons tout simplement troubles a la vue de fragments de realite depourvus des couleurs qui normalement les caracterisent. Qui sait?

Les natures mortes aux fleurs de Ginette Bouchard, treize photographies de grand format sagement accrochees aux murs de la galerie, comptent parmi ces images qui stimulent la perception, qui prennent le regard en otage et le marquent d’une couche supplementaire d’imaginaire. Bien qu’il s’agisse d’un theme repris par des generations d’artistes et que ce genre nous soit des plus familiers, il semble que cette oeuvre un peu secrete intitulee Floris umbra procure au spectateur une grande satisfaction. Dans Le Regard pensif, Regis Durand s’interroge sur le phenomene de reprise et fait remarquer que <<… la pensee photographique, parce qu’elle concerne au plus pres l’origine, est sans doute vouee plus que tout autre aux reprises constantes>>. A bien y penser, ne sont-ils pas nombreux les photographes qui, a un moment de leur carriere, se sont laisses tenter par la forme inspirante des fleurs? Pensons seulement a Irving Penn et a Mapplethorpe qui, pendant un temps, ont delaisse respectivement l’univers des dechets et celui de la sexualite pour celui des fleurs, vaste bassin de formes complexes et harmonieuses.

Dans sa serie d’oeuvres photographiques, Bouchard elabore une riche critique historique en superposant des modalites, des techniques, des concepts issus d’epoques differentes. D’abord, comme nous l’avons deja mentionne, elle revisite les enjeux photographiques par le biais de la nature morte, genre prise depuis des siecles par les peintres et, subsequemment, par les photographes. De plus, si d’une part, les teintes de gris subtilement brunis evoquent les photographies du XIXe siecle, d’autre part, les traces de pinceaux situees aux frontieres de l’image renvoient directement a la peinture. Le procede d’impression seculaire qu’elle utilise, le platine palladium, demande que l’artiste applique ellememe l’emulsion sur le papier pour obtenir une image legerement voilee. Dans sa reflexion, Bouchard remet aussi en cause la question du realisme photographique en retouchant ses negatifs, en modifiant la realite et ce, au moyen d’outils informatiques de pointe. Mais ces manipulations demeurent souvent imperceptibles aux yeux du regardant non averti.

Curieusement, en voyant ces photographies enfermees dans des cadres profonds au chassis de bois, j’ai pense aux papillons qu’on voit parfois epingles dans des vitrines. Mais, plus specifiquement, j’ai associe ces contenants aux cabinets de curiosite – version tridimensionnelle des natures mortes – dans lesquels on disposait des collections d’objects naturels ou techniques a des fins scientifiques. Ces grandes feuilles de papier aux bords franges sur lesquelles sont imprimees les images se detachaient legerement du fond en y projetant une ombre. Et chaque photographie, titree en latin, numerotee en romains a la mine de plomb, rappelle d’autant plus les inscriptions savantes utilisees pour identifier les objects de collection minutieusement fiches et catalogues.

Le discours de Floris umbra est donc solidement ancre dans une problematique historiciste. Mais, au fur et a mesure que l’oeil penetre l’espace photographique constitue de fleurs fraiches ou sechees, de tiges bourgeonnantes et de feuilles plissees, il se laisse porter a travers des enchevetrements vegetaux parfois desordonnes qui, au bout du compte, revelent la presence de fleurs qui n’en sont pas, des simulacres de fleurs. Des ombres de papier, de plastique, de porcelaine, voilees, minutieusement arrangees ou oubliees dans un coin. Il est difficile de situer exactement ces objets. On les voit posees sur le sol dans une encoignure ou les surfaces parlent de pierre et de beton, de soleil lointain et d’ombres revelatrices. Ou encore, on les imagine deposees en offrande sur la tombe d’un inconnu, ou trouvees au fond d’un jardin ombrage, derriere une remise ou sur le bord d’une vieille fenetre.

D’autres compositions, en apparence plus sages, montrent une plus grande affinite avec l’esthetique des interieurs neo-classiques. Pour un instant, on se croirait transporte dans de vastes salons vides aux tissus soyeux, aux boiseries vernies, aux lustres de cristal, aux plateaux d’argent. Cependant, le raffinement que suggerent ces arrangements floraux n’est encore qu’un simulacre. Presentes sur des fonds confus, indefinis, obscurs, ils existent nulle part, dans des bors-lieux. Des lors, l’esthetique de Floris umbra m’apparait sans age, millenaire, propre aux creations des membres de notre espece qui, de tout temps, se sont plu a reinventer le monde.

Mais, encore, comment expliquer l’engouement persistant pour cet art qui donne a voir les choses du reel? Ne peut-on pas supposer que ce qui nous seduit ne concerne en rien la realite de l’objet represente? Car souvent, ce quelque chose qui nous affecte, nous echappe, n’a rien a voir, comme Durand le souligne, avec le temps de la chose photographiee, avec <<son avoir ete la>>. D’aucuns relient cette sensation de vide et de plein a la mort, a l’absence, la situent dans l’ailleurs, dans le bors-champ. Mais ce quelque chose se doit d’etre present, perceptible dans ces images qui nous plaisent. Quelque chose qui est a la fois <<insistant et leger>>, comme l’ajoute Durand dans sa recherche du signifiant volatil.

Et si ce qui est la et qui ne peut pas se voir, ce qui nous file entre les yeux, avait un lien avec tout ce que l’ombre deguise, voile, met a l’abri des regards? Qu’elle soit dense ou legere, cette ombre troublerait-elle le desir et l’empressement de l’oeil a reconnaitre la forme qui, malgre l’insistance des yeux, demeurera muette? Et, malgre ce silence, l’oeil continuera obstinement a fouiller l’obscurite. Cet etat de fait provoquerait-il un malaise chez le sujet?

Selon Tanizaki Junichiro, litteraire japonais de la premiere moitie du siecle, la personne qui a peu cotoye l’univers des tenebres n’a pas eu l’occasion de <<percer l’enigme de l’ombre>> (Eloge de l’ombre, 1995). Les Japonais, explique-t-il, ont ete amenes par la force des choses a vivre dans des environnements sombres, ce qui leur a permis de penetrer <<les mysteres de l’ombre>>. D’ailleurs, toute l’apologie de l’ombre de Junichiro montre que <<le beau n’est pas une substance en soi, mais rien qu’un dessin d’ombres>> et que, sans ombre, le beau s’evanouit. Troublant. Doit-on faire notre ce principe esthetique qui puise son origine dans une realite etrangere? L’on retorquera que ce qui est vrai pour le Japonais ne l’est pas necessairement pour nous. Et pourtant, l’idee qu’une esthetique puisse reposer sur l’ombre et la lumiere suscite des interrogations.

Serait-ce le <<beau>> que l’on pressent dans ces images photographiques (elles-memes nees de l’ombre), beau qui nous echappe et qui nous incite a la reverie? Durand, dans une autre tentative de demasquer cette chose a la fois presente et absente de l’espace photographique, l’associe a un lieu <<ou le repertoire des formes se constitue, se defait, et se reconstitue sans cesse>>, comme si l’objet ouvrait la porte donnant sur la <<source>> de l’image dont la mouvance stimulerait le reveur.

Des ombres de fleurs baignees d’obscurite hantent les espaces pluriels de Bouchard. Des reflets profonds, un peu voiles ainsi qu’une lueur diffuse ne parviennent pas a s’immiscer dans tous les replis ou l’ombre s’est retranchee pour se faire la gardienne des lieux. Les fonds textures, les marques du temps sur la matiere ajoutent aux figures insondables, pressenties dans l’univers de Floris umbra. Murs noircis voire taches, surfaces decrepites ou patinees, sols jonches de residus vegetaux ou mineraux, rides douces ou profondes assombrissent ca et la l’espace photographique. Au creux des moindres interstices que le temps a menages dans le bois, la pierre, le papier ou la fleur petrifiee, l’ombre se blottit et s’amuse a susciter chez le regardant des resonnances troublantes.


Concludes our 20th anniversary and an exploration, initiated last fall, of the notion of “transit.” This journey has led us through different discursive spaces that signal the atmosphere of change, turbulence and fluctuation of the present times. Our concluding issue examines particular types of nomadism through the work of Chilean artist Eugenio Dittborn, Argentine’s Guillermo Kuitca and Gilles Mihalcean from Quebec. Quebecois filmmaker and art critic Olivier Asselin recounts his experience of the Parisian intellectual life. Marie-Ange Brayer discusses cartography through various contemporary artworks where nomadism and territory are privileged subjects. Thierry Kuntzel, in a project conceived for this issue, reflects on a trip to Tampico, caught in the movement between the imaginary and the real.

The last four issues will have in this manner described multiple sojourns, decisive personal experiences, excursions into uncharted lands or sites in transition (Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, South America, First Nations territory), excursions undertaken with a new attitude, an eye for the unusual, for what is normally disregarded; unseemly ways of addressing language, gender, traveling, the organic and the inorganic, the practice of contemporary art itself, its institutions, museums, exhibitions; phenomena of culture(s), acculturation, world market, colonialism.

In the current debate against contemporary art what is basically left out is transit particularly as expressed in this year’s four issues. Yet it is essential to contemporary art, regardless of the period. Aside from the notion of the avant-garde and its idealist connotations, motion is what contemporary art is all about – going off the beaten track to try and rediscover the world, to find ways of pushing it ahead. Art reveals that motion, however shaky. Each motion is a step in itself, hopefully clearing a passage.

How can one make sense of things in motion, except in understanding that only motion makes sense.