Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Donald Urquhart "The End"
Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles, is pleased to present a solo show of the work of Donald Urquhart titled The End. The exhibit will include 12 works on paper, a painting, and a shrine surrounded by wall drawings.
About "THE END".
The title of my show explains that this is about
endings, it is (as usual) a response to my many
friends dying and about letting go of them; saying
goodbye, calling it a day...
Five friends died this summer - one was a murder, and
while I swore after "Another Graveyard" (2005, ICA,
London and CCA Glasgow) that I was going to avoid any
further exploration of grief and mourning I have found
that I cannot avoid it so may as well go deeper into
it. My mother stopped speaking to me two Easters ago.
This has been hard to bear, and is strangely like she
has died and I have grieved - even though she is very
much alive. This ending was the inspiration behind my
show "52 GIRLS" at Maureen Paley in September, but I
broadened it to be a more general saying goodbye to
the past - be it saying farewell to a bye gone era, or
using a farewell to the past as a portal to the past.
We still have our memories even after something has
ended or is gone, and in this sense the past is always
there and so never completely or resolutely ends.
PORTALS TO THE PAST:
My ink drawings often recall hand painted captions for
silent films or lobby cards in their slightly wonky
but painstakingly neat style. And the show is in
I don't think these images need a lot of explanation.
The swastika of flowers is inspired by the animation
in the dream sequence in Hitchcock's VERTIGO, but
transferred to represent an unimagined scene from
Disney's FANTASIA. History could have been different!
The dog in "Bye!" is Petey from The Little Rascals.
Who remembers him or why he always wore that circle of
make-up around his/her eye? Goodbye Petey, and goodbye
to the alien ephemera of your unfathomable era.
These faces are mainly based on photographs of men
dressed as women - mostly actors. I spent many years
getting done up in drag, and would often make a sketch
of how I wanted to look, who I wanted to look like.
Here I have drawn what I think the "girls" think they
look like. Just to keep you guessing I will not
disclose which are real girls.
A SHRINE TO THE END OF THE PAST:
Red cigarette banner
Since my days of decorating the Beautiful Bend
nightclub, and making flyers for it, I have hoarded
drawerfulls of vintage ephemera - never knowing when
something might come in handy. I find it really hard
to let go of things but that story about the man who
was killed by his book collection when it toppled on
him, that made me think. My little graveyard of the
past could become my own grave.
A recent family incident (ask me - it's a LONG story)
has inspired this collage piece which is a shrine to
the past and a question as to whether anything truly
ends. Faded bygones, old news cuttings, record
sleeves, yellowed pages, facsimiles of old
periodicals; an assemblage of disparate elements
amassed by myself over the last twenty years or so. I
have deliberately selected mainly items with an
overall yellow color, making a jaded past which
somehow focuses on London in 1969 and 1976 (with
assorted other randomly selected times), with a lot of
other eras and history missed out. With these relics I
intend to build a smallish shrine, gluing cuttings
on pieces of cardboard. There will be some writing
over it, and drawing on the wall behind. I don't know
if candles or fairy lights?
The piece is as useless as most totems in that it
can't cater for everybody. We each have our own pasts
to finish. We have our own pasts to deal with. It is
no more my past than yours - although some of it is
very personal to me. Some things I didn't really want
to part with, but felt they added something and as
this is about letting go of the past I thought I
should do some real letting go.
I promise it won’t be too miserable or maudlin.
Posted by J-P Brask at 11:37:00 AM
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
We wish you a happy new year and look forward to seeing you in our
new gallery or somewhere else in the world next year.
Eyesore will be the inaugural show at our new location in the meat
packing district. Eyesore opens January 11th 2008 and will feature
works by:Mads Lynnerup (DK), Graham Hudson (UK), Jenny Holzer (US),
Erwin Wurm (AU), Johannes Hinriksson (IS), Shane Bradford (UK),
Hesselholdt & Mejlvang (DK), Rory Macbeth (UK), Doug Fishbone (UK),
Jes Brinch (DK), Jakob Boeskov (DK), Jocelyn Shipley (US), Sarah
Braman (US), Joachim Cossais (NO), Joe Bradley (US) and Matthew Stone
Congratulations to Nina Beier and Marie Lund who has just been
mentioned for their intervention piece at The Tate Modern, in the “on
the ground London” section in the December issue of Artforum. And to
Stephen Powers who got a good review in the critics pick in Artforum,
while grazing the cover of Juxtapoz magazine at the same time.
Monsieur Powers is on fire.
It was also great to see works by Jakob Boeskov, Dearraindrop, Andrew
Shoultz, HuskMitNavn, Søren Behncke, Richard Colman, Troels Carlsen,
Hesselholdt & Mejlvang and Jes Brinch in museum shows around the
world this year. And last but not least we are proud to announce that
Ulrik Crone will have a solo show at Malmo Kunstmuseum, Sweden,
opening on the 26th of January.
Thank you to everybody that made this an incredible year for V1.
Jesper Elg, Peter Funch, Mikkel Groennebaek, Kristina Valborg
Valberg & Nanna Thylstrup
Posted by J-P Brask at 5:07:00 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The room is dark and crowded. Nearly two hundred partygoers are divided in half by parallel rows of prayer candles on the floor, creating a dimly lit path to an unaccompanied drum set and guitar. The drunken commotion is interrupted with drearily elegiac Appalachian music, and the spectral emergence of a Reaper-like figure carrying a human skeleton. Proceeding between the mystified onlookers, the hooded guest follows the flickering trail, places the bones in front of the pentagram-adorned bass drum, and turns to the crowd. Behind him, two musicians take the stage. After a creepy pause tempered only by the continuing old-time drones of fiddle playing, the cloaked mystery follows the candles back into the darkness, and disappears.
The scene is from Wes Lang’s late September birthday party at his Brooklyn studio. What followed was a dizzying set of live doom metal and an assaultive light show that included a silent projection of the 70s porn classic Devil in Miss Jones. In the early morning hours, the remaining 30 intrepid attendees—including artists, collectors, bikers, gallery directors, publishers, friends, and acquaintances—would move the bash to a local strip club, where an inebriated Lang made sure everyone was offered a lap dance. The night was full of decadence and exaltation; of high and low culture; of deep nostalgia and exhaustive celebration—a worthy tableau vivant for the career of an artist intimate with raw and poetic juxtapositions.
It was the summer of 2005 that Lang's eighth solo show The Promised Land opened at ZieherSmith gallery in Chelsea. The exhibition was a veritable roadside museum of meticulously chosen artifacts, and masterfully rendered portraits of colonial Americana. Though Lang had already made a name for himself with previous shows, the suite of colored pencil and graphite drawings in Promised Land would successfully demonstrate his hard-earned skills as a draftsman, and his gifted visual intelligence. Mock Native American pictographs reminiscent of Amos "Bad Bull" Lee, and densely penciled visages of heroic Indian chiefs were embellished with scrawled quotes from motivational speakers, and lines from Grateful Dead songs. The confluence of America past and present expressed a commendable distaste for irony, and an artistic elan bordering on spiritual. It was a show infused with optimism and tolerance, offering no obvious prescience of the daemonic work to come.
A violent physical altercation, a long year of hard partying, a growing skepticism of the art world, and the distilled mourning for a close friend who perished in the 9/11 attacks left Lang bruised and angry over the next year. During this period, he rose each day to print out loads of Internet pornography and grab a taxi to the studio. Once there, he would cocoon himself in a haze of sinsimillia smoke, blare anything from Slayer to Willie Nelson, and attack each canvas with a spray-bottle, an airbrush, and jars of acrylic until it surrendered into a dismal patina of concrete-gray and muted primary tones. After amassing a sufficient pile of archaic imagery cut from old textbooks and vintage biker magazines, he divided his attention between the copy machine and overhead projector, tracing the imposing central images that would carry the narrative of his new work. When the overhead bulb was flicked off (and more weed was smoked), the tedium of collaging began. Hours were spent staring deep into the ashen backgrounds, searching out the best point and position for each cutout image. If the process became frustrating, Lang would simply work on a drawing.
The resultant body of work is as shocking in its departure from his earlier efforts as it is in content. Black history, debauched sexuality, drugs, bikers, and even the artist’s personal story are now all appropriate subjects for a wandering and boozy ideation. The most vulnerable aspects of cultural identity are routinely, and ruthlessly, revisited. If the muse that inspired Promised Land is present, she has bared her claws.
What has remained constant is Lang’s penchant for recontextualizing American visual heritage to discover new implications therein. He is a consummate collector of historic imagery and forsaken relics. Even the classic-style tattoos that cover his arms and hands render him a flesh-and-blood cabinet of curiosities. If he is nostalgic for another time, it is in the way 60s independent filmmaker Sam Peckinpah might have been; a character Lang identifies with. Like Peckinpah, he wants to revisit icons of bygone American-male heroicism in a statement of protest against contemporary culture. He broached the subject over some beers late one night at his apartment.
“I’m not saying I want to go out and get in a fight every night and fuck every girl I meet—even though I do things like that (hearty laughter). It’s more about standing up and being who you want to be, no matter what the cost.”
Turning to the subject of art: “Everything is cheaply made. Artists don’t take the time with their craft anymore. I live what I’m making. The statements have been harsher because I’ve been really fed-up with a lot of shit. This fucking pantywaist of a world that we live in is full of people complaining that they aren’t getting what they deserve. There are no men anymore. Everything is so catered towards comfort and having whatever you want.
“The death imagery started with facing a friend’s death,” he continued, “I don’t feel like crying anymore, or even talking about it, but I have to get it out somehow. I felt a shift last summer when I was sucker-punched down some stairs outside of a bar. I physically could not work for a while. I was angry. When I finally got back into work, I had to let it all out.”
Finally, he discussed future work: “I’m feeling less pissed-off now. I think my newer stuff will combine everything I’ve been doing for the last four years. It’s not gonna’ be a show about Indians or bikers or black people, but a combination of everything.”
NY Art Magazine
Posted by J-P Brask at 8:57:00 AM