Friday, September 14, 2012

Canzone del Taglialegna dei Monty Python

Admit it. You've long wanted to hear Monty Python's "Lumberjack Song" in the language of Dante and Pirandello. Qui è.

Monday, September 10, 2012

GO Brooklyn: seven artists in two days.

GO Brooklyn was a borough-wide celebration of local artists, many of whom opened their studios to visitors over the past weekend. 
My first stop was the studio of my friend Adam Suerte, painter, graphic designer, and tattoo artist (note his arms) which is in the basement of his Brooklyn Tattoo at 101 Smith Street, to which I plan to repair some day soon to get his Brooklyn Bridge design inked on my arm. 101 Smith also houses his Urban Folk Art gallery.
Hovey Brock is a painter I got to know when our daughters were in preschool together. His studio is at 104 Montgomery Street, near the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Hovey's technique is to stretch a fine plastic grid across the canvas, apply acrylic paint, then remove the grid. This leaves a finely textured image. He describes his work on his website thus: 
My paintings and works on paper are made up of many transparent layers that create an indeterminate space. The colors are intense, yet nuanced. They mimic light, but have density.
 I first met Michael Sorgatz through his then girlfirend, now wife, Eleanor Traubman, publisher of the blog Creative Times. I used his painting Jazz Band at the Park to head my post on "Jazz and the Visual Arts". Mike's style is impressionistic, but in an edgy, urban way rather than a soft, pastoral one.  You can see more of his works on his website. He is also the founder of the website Art in Brooklyn.

Mike's studio is in a location called Screwball Spaces, a complete floor in a self-storage warehouse building, located at 183 Lorraine Street in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, that has been leased for use as artists' studios. On the way out, I saw a photographer's studio that caught my eye.
The photographer is Kamau Ware, who is engaged in a project to photograph his friends without showing their faces. By an odd coincidence, when I looked him up on the web, I got a link to Newvine Growing, the blog of Colleen Newvine Tebeau, wife of painter John Tebeau, who is a close friend of, and shares studio space with, Mike Sorgatz.
From Red Hook, I made my way on foot to Park Slope. This involved taking the Third Street Bridge across the infamous Gowanus Canal, now (despite Mayor Bloomberg's wishes) a federal Superfund site. Known in its polluted heyday as "Lavender Lake", it looked quite innocuous as I crossed the bridge, reflecting sky, clouds, and trees. But, see that greenish tinge at the bottom of the image.
My next stop was at the Park Slope home of photographer Hugh Crawford, whom I first got to know through his wife, Louise, publisher of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, and through his regular feature, "No Words, Daily Pix", on her blog. You can see more of his work on his website
I had planned to make Hugh's place my last stop on this artistic pilgrimage, but Louise reminded me that Simon Dinnerstein was a mere two blocks away. I had met Mr. Dinnerstein briefly following a discussion of his work The Fulbright Triptych at the Brooklyn Historical Society last year. His Park Slope brownstone contained many examples of his complex and fascinating paintings and drawings.  You can take a guided gallery tour of his work here.
On my way to the subway, I saw another "GO Brooklyn" poster outside a garage space, which housed the workshops of several sculptors. One of these, Reina Kubota, does works inspired by living and anatomical forms; for example, the brain (at left and in the background of the photo above), the heart (at the right), and either a tree or a part of the nervous system (center). On the wall behind is a convoluted figure roughly depicting a brain cross-section, made of objects attached to the wall.