product rants

demystifying the artist statement

Dear Lester Monzon and Lester's Gallery Who Should Know Better if Lester Doesn't,

Biography suggests that one speak about one's life. That's how it works. In the field of art. We use statement, biography, resume or CV.  The differences are distinct and important. I have offered a more understandable and accessible version of your "about" statement even if you have titled it "biography".  And while I translate this statement-biography to poke fun at artist statements in general, I wonder if Monzon or his gallery actually means to say what he/it has said?  In other words, is the statement, like the paintings, also a kind of joke, and if so, why?

Sincerely, kds

Lester Monzon,  Googley, 2010 / acrylic and graphite on linen / 9 x 12 inches, courtesy Lester Monzon + Mark Moore Gallery

Lester Monzon, Googley, 2010 / acrylic and graphite on linen / 9 x 12 inches, courtesy Lester Monzon + Mark Moore Gallery

(original "biography")

By collapsing of architecture, space, and art history, Lester Monzon's work dissects the notion of context. Colorful gesticulations conceal sections of rigid patterning, a tete-a-tete between abstract expressionism and hard-edge abstraction that implies a gentle lampooning of the taxonomic tradition. Monzon upends the formalism and segregation innate to the fine art world, and fabricates a composite genealogy of painting - a pithy resolution to an otherwise vapid debate. Monzon's luscious brushstrokes slyly creep into a Hirst-esque field of dots or Noland-like plane of stripes, like the resurrection of a once-declared dead practice through a satirical hand. In his recent work, Monzon applies this critique of contextual art to mark-making in public spaces; be it graffiti on tiles in a public bathroom, stains on the sidewalk, or the popularized notion of "street art.

Damien Hirst. “Zirconyl Chloride,” 2008. Household gloss on canvas. 84 inches diameter. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. © Damien Hirst/ Science Ltd, 2012. Photography Prudence Cuming Associates.

Damien Hirst. “Zirconyl Chloride,” 2008. Household gloss on canvas. 84 inches diameter. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. © Damien Hirst/ Science Ltd, 2012. Photography Prudence Cuming Associates.

(translated "statement")

Lester Monzon makes pictures that refer to architecture, how architecture sits in space and art history.  Sometimes he paints in a messy way and sometimes he paints very precisely.  In Monzon’s world, both of these actions refer to traditions of abstract expression and hard-edge abstraction. With this, Monzon offers an artist’s inside joke:  my paintings, in capsule, offer a system of classification for art history.  He doesn’t want you to worry about what issues* arise in the art world because you can accept his quick and concise summation of art history in place of others’ uninteresting and bland solutions**. 

(Skipping ahead to technique without transition) Monzon uses a lot of paint.  If this paint were a person, he is a sly personality that can impersonate dots or stripes (that Monzon associates with the artist Hirst (dots) and the artist Noland (stripes)).  By impersonating dots and stripes, Monzon (or this sly person who is paint) miraculously brings dots and stripes back to life because they had been dead*.  You should realize that this is satire.

These days, Monzon is taking his version of funny to the streets - literally.  He is painting on dirty sidewalks, on the tile in public restrooms or in some place that is called “street art” that has been made popular.  

** Monzon graciously removes the viewer from a “vapid” solution to a “pithy” one

In summary, I think Mr. Monzon might engage someone to write more precisely about how and why his painting and his work merits discussion and appreciation.  This statement does no service to him, his work or to the viewer.  The work can be satirical and difficult to understand.  The statement should not.  It should additionally be an explanation and give, if not a roadmap, at least a cardinal direction toward better knowing the work and the artist.

Kenneth Noland, Via Light 1968, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 113 inches, Courtesy of Lelie Feely Fine Art

Kenneth Noland, Via Light 1968, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 113 inches, Courtesy of Lelie Feely Fine Art

saaabmb15 | peter makebish

The paintings of Paul Kremer and Les Rogers dare you, "C'mere! Come here!" They say, "Hey, girl! Wanna listen to some music, hear some poetry, let the sun beat down on your head, shake your hair, your haunches? Care to think about heartbeats, the power of color and shape-making, mind and space shifting in a secret, through-all-the-ages-and-time-but-it's-ON-now language?"

Not so fast, sister. The award for excellence in transforming live, genuinely engaged human beings (who can be plied with greetings, information and the promise of owning the most-best painting-makings currently exhibiting) into cold, lifeless stone forever goes to Peter Makebish. His craft in curating a vibe, turning up the music, creating poetry and dashing hopes and hearts is so honed and precise, I named this award after him.

Congrats, mon frère Pierre.

katherine sandoz portrait of peter makebish at  untitled art fair , miami, florida, december 2015

katherine sandoz portrait of peter makebish at untitled art fair, miami, florida, december 2015

saaABMB15 | sasha wolf gallery

Even though a super dirty dude with dreads, badly in need of a shower, had just breezed through Sasha Wolf Gallery at Miami Project, the booth looked substantial, open, felt inviting and proved very well planned.  We remarked to Ms. Wolf that it had been very thoughtful of fair coordinators to provide inset flooring that created an arc that visually extended the "gallery" into the corridor. Like the open feeling of the space, Ms. Wolf thanked us warmly for complimenting the strong feng shui and even admitted that it took much maneuvering to find the right balance of the location of the work, her chair and that of her desk. On the tabletop, a sweet little vintage looking book sat just so at Ms. Wolf's left. I wondered if the gallerist planned on reading much (cool breeze that she is) or if the little piece of prose served as part of what we decided was the best installed of all that we saw.

Clearly, Ms. Wolf knows things other gallerists don't and I bet that book holds some of her secrets. Why didn't I take a photograph?

The "breath of fresh air" Sandoz Art Award for Art Basel Miami Beach (using this to represent the whole shebang - fairs, hotel installations, street, private, etc) 2015, enthusiastically goes to Sasha Wolf Gallery.  

katherine sandoz, sasha wolf, prismacolor on paper, december 9, 2015

katherine sandoz, sasha wolf, prismacolor on paper, december 9, 2015



new works in concrete

I've recently created a number of 3D works using concrete, dry media and - the STD of crafts - glitter.  I built molds using a variety of used food containers.  Many have found treasures from travels, but also from daily life, pressed into the surface. Water resistant, they are functionable, but not food safe.

to appear as part of an installation on May 1st at 1704Lincoln in Savannah (w vernonburg painted bee and Georgia asters) 

to appear as part of an installation on May 1st at 1704Lincoln in Savannah (w vernonburg painted bee and Georgia asters) 

mlk jr day 2015

Every year, I draw a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I try to do this with one or both of my children and we talk about his dreams and then ours.  

Today, I feel as I often do, that maybe I shouldn't dare or try to dream because I am not educated enough about politics, or how the world works.  I am too idealistic.  My ideals carry no weight. Maybe I am too liberal or too conservative so I don't deserve to work toward making my dreams come true.  Maybe my dreams will be judged because I have or am too much or too little.   But that's not quite right, and I wouldn't want any child in the world to feel this way.

Regardless, as with every single day since I-can't-remember-when, I have this thought whether recalling King's legacy or not: 

My stone of hope for this nation and especially for red hills Georgians is that we might rise up (seriously! RISE UP!) and fix these durn schools.

I might go on about the things and events Americans will "rise up" for and I'd hazard that's not right either. If the schools don't work very, very well, I can not see a future of freedom for children or for us. And that is a heartache that haunts my dream.

kds + hambone, prismacolor and graphite, this morning