Friday, May 20, 2011

AVP in the Studio, 2011

AVP with Patty Smith painting, photo Elisabeth Fried, 2011

Painting Horses, oil paint on canvas, 12ft x 8ft, process, 2011

Cash guarding Horse painting

The Insider | Alison Van Pelt By ALEX HAWGOOD

The Insider | Alison Van Pelt

Van Pelt in front of one of her paintings at her studio. (Maggie Kayne)
The Insider is a recurring profile of tastemakers in the fields of fashion, design, food, travel and the arts. Here the Los Angeles-based painter Alison Van Pelt shares a few of her style essentials. A new exhibition of her latest body of work, “If I Were Ed Ruscha,” will show at the Museum of Contemporary Art China in Hong Kong in November. (The museum officially opens this fall.)
Name: Alison Van Pelt
Age: Old enough to know better!
Occupation: Artist (painter)
Home base: Santa Monica Canyon
Retail standby: Madison, Ron Herman, Fred Segal, Planet Blue
Music venue: The Green Door
Favorite concert: Jack Bambi
Music: Whatever Maggie put on my iPod Provisions: PC Greens, Whole Foods, Yummi
For gifts: Hermès
Restaurant: Patrick’s Roadhouse and Axe for breakfast; Vito for the caesar salad; penne vodka at Laconda Portofino; truffle ravioli at Giorgio; jalapeño yellowtail at Nobu; sea bass at Chaya; truffle macaroni at the Beachcomber; coffee at Cafe Luxxe
Drink: Champagne or tequila
Party central: My bed
Momentary style obsessions: Jenni Kayne, Tom Binns, Lanvin                                                     Reading material: “Loving Frank,” by Nancy Horan; ridiculous number of magazines; The New York Times
Art pick: Kaz Oshiro
Movie: “Roman Holiday”
Vacation destination: My friend’s boat (wherever it is)
Something you are looking forward to this summer: The beach with my dogs
Alison’s Santa Monica Canyon Neighborhood
Here are some of Van Pelt’s favorite haunts in L.A. that she visits regularly. The map below is interactive; click on the blue markers to learn more about Alison’s spots.
  • Patrick’s Roadhouse — Silvio takes care of you and makes great fresh smoothies. And close to home
  • Axe — Best (and biggest) pancakes. Everything’s organic
  • Vito —  They make the caesar at the table. (Check out the wine list.)
  • The Beachcomber Cafe — Remember “Alice’s Restaurant”? Right there on the pier. The Tiki room is great.
  • Nobu — Yum.
  • Caffe Luxxe —  best cappuccino
  • Jenni Kayne (e-mail) —  everything is gorgeous.
  • The Green Door — Jason Scoppa does a smooth (yet rocking) jazz night on Tuesdays.
  • PC Greens — They take care of you at the juice bar.
  • Ron Herman (Malibu) — They let my dogs run around the store.
Paintings from Alison Van Pelt’s “If I Were Ed Ruscha” exhibition.

Fight: Alison Van Pelt by Robert A. Sobieszek, senior curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art 2000

Fight: Alison Van Pelt
by Robert A. Sobieszek, senior curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

To plunge beneath in order to arrive at a surface, to ground one’s vision on the palpable where there is none, and to assault the apparent because too much is still hidden – these thoughts may be useful in approaching the paintings of Alison Van Pelt. She was trained in modern painting at Art Center in Pasadena and Otis Parsons in Los Angeles, and then was classically retrained at the Florence Academy of Art. Much of the art taught at both Southern California schools centered around conceptualism, appropriation, word/text synergy, and postmodern theory. Florence presented her with something more ancient: beautiful form, the love of looking, and techniques of painting, of laying succulent colors in oil onto a canvas, of forming images that have still to be plumbed for some fugitive essence.
Contemporary painting, especially representational and figural painting, is fraught with a love/hate relationship with the photographic image. When patently obvious the symbiosis is taken for granted, when visually redacted as a critique of our culture of images the praxis is applauded, and even when the source is obscured its presence can be felt. The photos behind Gerhard Richter’s figures and still lives are exquisitely and magically transformed into paint. The photos that act as models for Chuck Close’s portraits are critical to the scaffolding of his painted enlargements. Richard Phillips takes the faces of young modes in advertisements and monumentalizes them. The photographic covers of popular magazines of the 60s and 70s are rather melancholically vested in the teenage reminiscences of Elizabeth Peyton’s paintings.
Alison Van Pelt’s relationship to photographic images is quite direct and unapologetic, as well. Carefully choosing images that interest her, she manually copies them, simply painting what she sees, and often manipulating and enlarging their scale. So far, there is little by way of innovation; earlier painters did this as a matter of procedure. In traditional representational painting, the image on the surface of the canvas was a mere analog to the image on the surface of the photographic emulsion, only the painting was done by hand, as if that gave it an edge of superiority. Modern artists had a choice; accept the surface of the image as it had been since Alberti – as a window onto the world – or challenge that surface for what it was: a fraud, a simulacrum, a fiction. Neither realist paintings nor photographs are “windows to the world” or “portals of perception.” They are simply surfaces which someone has played with, regardless of their chemicals or techniques.
Interrupt that surface, alter it, transform it, however, and something deeper may be gotten to Man Ray knew that in the 20s when he solarized his photographs, making us look more deeply upon their surfaces. Lucas Samaras knew it in the 70s when he physically disturbed his Polaroids’ emulsions before they dried. Van Pelt also knows this, and here, she breaks from slavish appropriation of the photographic image. While her faithful rendition of her source is still wet, its oils not yet set in their ways, she takes a dry brush to subtly blend, striate, blur, and dematerialize her forms until, as it were, they become mere Platonic shadows or suggestions or hints of themselves. Hidden within the surface of the paint and not atop the canvas, her subjects take on an essential quality of becoming, of yet to be finished, of possibilities rather than definitions, Caught in some viscous primal ooze, embryonic, dreamlike as in a dense fog, her images appear more within our vision than without, or as if they were projected from us outwardly upon the external retinal field from some deep recess of memory.
Van Pelt’s latest series, Fight, grows out of her last two series which also began with the same letter: Flight and Figures. Not the dynamics of startled birds imaged in mid-flight, nor the elegiac voluptuousness of barely emergent female torsos, Fight goes right to the matter of male aggression at one of its extremes, the heavyweight boxing match. Selected stills from videotaped classic fights are the primary source for the images: Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Randy Turpin, 1951; Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Lisson, 1964; Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman, 1975; etc. The artist has discovered an extreme range of emotions in these stills, from animal violence to physical grace, from the exuberance of the victor to the despondency of the vanquished, from violence to tenderness. She also finds the beautifully dramatic and harsh overhead lighting of these old fights utterly irresistible.
Aside from portraits of celebrities or friends, this series is Van Pelt’s first foray into representing the male body, its masculine forms, its muscular physique, its martial singularity. In her series on the female form, her Venus-like Figures were pictured as strictly iconic, reverential, totemic, and purely in offering; here, in Fight, the male figures are in diametric opposition to both the earlier series and to themselves: they are portrayed as narrative, transactional, removed, and ultimately in action. Yet, while her female figures rose to the surface towards us in remote suspension, her male boxers remain just as remote, out there in some other depth, some other conflict. Van Pelt’s subjects are basic: primal mothers in iconic verticality and feral warriors in narrative horizontality.
Across this horizon, the fighters feign, jab, block, slug, recoil, clinch, and fall – fundamental steps in a complex metaphor of life, perhaps. Joyce Carol Oates may have called boxing the “drama of life in the flesh” and “America’s tragic theater,” yet many of the boxing images Van Pelt chooses to render anew show us the visual poetry of this sport, its masculine choreography, its athletic balance, its atavistic prowess. It really does matter which of the heavyweight champions or contenders was captured on film or videotape; the simple primitive nature of this complicitous and immemorial dance performed by males is sufficient for Van Pelt. The poetic essence of this dance, however, is not to be found in any specificity or particular details, but beyond them; not in the factualness of historical films, but in the thickness of the image’s transparency; not on the surface of the painting, but beneath it; not in pigments but in dreams. And dreams are never the surface of things.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Agnes Martin, 2001, oil on canvas, 40in x 30in, Creating The New Century, Contemporary Art from the Jim Dicke Collection

Inka Essenhigh, Alison Van Pelt, Cecily Brown, Richard Prince, Will Cotton, John Currin, Philip Pearlstein, Francesco Clemente, Creating the New Century: Contemporary Art from the Dicke Collection

The Dayton Art Institute Shows 
"Creating the New Century": 21st century artworks from the Dicke Collection

Dayton, OH.- On view until July 10th, "Creating the New Century" is a special exhibition organized by the Dayton Art Institute, drawing some of the best 21st century artworks from the Dicke Collection. The exhibition features 70 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, all of which have been created since the year 2000 by 69 artists. The featured artists are represented by works that document the range of styles and technical concerns, as well as social and political issues, that engage artists in the 21st century.

While many works are by well-known painters and sculptors who have participated in museum and gallery exhibitions and received reviews in arts periodicals, others are less well known in a selection characterized by the curiosity and tastes of the collector. "Creating the New Century" offers an opportunity to explore aspects of contemporary art practice firsthand and presents the accomplishments of a number of artists whose work has not previously been exhibited in Southwest Ohio.

With a list of artists resembling a 'who's who' of the best in contemporary art, the exhibition features artists from around the world, including the US artists Richard Aldrich, John Alexander, Gregory Amenoff, Linda Besemer, Mel Bochner, Mark Bradford, Brian Calvin, Ed Cohen, Andy Collins, Will Cotton, John Currin, Tomory Dodge, Judith Eisler, Inka Essenhigh, Brian Fahlstrom, Eric Fischl, Louise Fishman, Lars Fisk, Cabio Fonseca, Marc Handelman, Mary Heilmann, Jacqueline Humphries, Bryan Hunt, Bill Jensen, Alex Katz, David Korty, Daniel Lefcourt, McDermott & McGough, Marilyn Minter, Todd Norsten, Thomas Nozkowski, Philip Pearlstein, Richard Prince, David Ratcliff, Lisa Sanditz, Anna Schachte, Dana Schutz, Sandra Scolnik, Amy Sillman, Mark Swanson, Alison Van Pelt, Tommy White, Sue Williams and Lisa Yuskavage. European art is represented by works from Cecily Brown, Gillian Carnegie, Francesco Clemente, William Daniels, Peter Doig, Stef Driesen, mark Francis, Bernard Frize, Gotthard Graubner, Per Kirkeby, Katy Moran, Muntean/Rosenblum, Richard Patterson, Sean Scully, Tony Swain, Juan Uslé and Clare Woods. Other artists featured include Shirazeh Houshiary (Iran), Jun Kaneko (Japan), Takashi Murakami (Japan), Yoshitomo Nara (Japan), Peter Rostovsky (Russia) and Tam Van Tran (Vietnam).

2011 marks the 92nd anniversary of The Dayton Art Institute, one of the nation’s finest mid-sized art museums. Founded in 1919 as the Dayton Museum of Arts, the museum also operated a traditional art school. Its founding patrons included prominent leaders such as Orville Wright and the Patterson brothers, founders of NCR. Originally occupying an impressive mansion in downtown Dayton, the museum was quickly embraced by the entire community. During its first decade, the museum outgrew the mansion. Mrs. Julia Shaw Carnell, a prominent community leader, pledged to construct a new museum if the community would then endow and pay for its operations. Mrs. Carnell’s generosity of nearly $2 million, a significant gift in the early days of the Great Depression, created a land-mark building.

Completed in 1930, the building was modeled after the Villa d’Este near Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola in Italy, both examples of sixteenth century Italian Renaissance architecture. The museum facility was designed by prominent museum architect Edward B. Green of Buffalo. More than 80 years later, the building still houses The Dayton Art Institute and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sitting atop a hill on the edge of the Great Miami River over-looking downtown Dayton, the museum was renamed The Dayton Art Institute to reflect the growing importance of its school as well as its museum.

The striking building of nearly 60,000 square feet soon became known as “Dayton’s Living Room.” People from all walks of life came to the Art Institute to visit the permanent collections and special exhibitions, to attend a variety of classes, or to stroll in the gardens on a Sunday afternoon. During the past decade, the museum has reaffirmed its tradition of providing outstanding educational programs and special exhibitions. Over the past several years, the museum’s collection has grown significantly through generous gifts of artwork by local donors, including important Oceanic art, Asian art, and American fine and decorative art collections. The collection, now comprised of more than 26,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art history, is rated as “superb in quality” by the American Association of Museums. In September 1994, the museum announced its largest ever capital campaign, with a goal of $22 million to fund a major renovation and expansion of the museum’s infrastructure; increase and improve our educational and outreach programs; and fund an endowment for the new facility. In December 1996, the museum reached $23.5 million in capital contributions.

With the completion of the nearly two-year capital project, an even greater emphasis was placed on outreach toward under-served audiences, including our community’s African-American and Appalachian populations. The Dayton Art Institute reopened in June 1997 with more than 35,000 square feet of additional exhibition space and completely renovated permanent collection galleries. The Dayton Art Institute will continue to develop ways of better serving museum visitors and attracting targeted, underserved audiences, such as the African-American community, families with young children, and young professionals. With innovative programming, increased technology and expanded services, The Dayton Art Institute will continue to thrive in the 21st century. Visit the museum's website at ...

Friday, 22 April 2011 21:41 

The Dress, oil paint on paper