Archive for July, 2008

TONY MAY’S ART: WIT WITH ECONOMY

Posted by erin on July 23rd, 2008

Tony May: An Artist’s Profile: by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

Tony May, visits the Ardel Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand in 2007

A native of Wisconsin, Tony May received a BS and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at the time that an energized wave of young postmodern artists were flexing their artistic muscles. If older faculty were distraught over the travesties of pop art and early postmodernism, May remembers that for an extended period of time Madison was an important incubator of artists and attitudes that influenced a larger art scene — nationally and beyond. “Bruce Nauman was an undergraduate classmate, and Harvey Littleton was on the faculty. Dale Chihuly took glass from him. Marvin Lipovsky was there. Clayton Bailey was making inflatable grubs in Madison. He was a friend of mine. I studied with Stephen French and Warrington Colescott. Guys like Donald Lipski came after I left. Tandem Press was founded later, and is still there.”

As an undergraduate, Tony May was drawn to ceramics and studied with Don Reitz. May made large sculptural forms that were, he recalls, “like giant albatrosses, like millstones around my neck every time I moved. I left them abandoned under stairwells and stuck them in my mother’s garden. I remember an uncle asking me if one of my cast concrete pieces would hold up as a headstone for his wife’s grave.”

As part of his Home Improvement Series, 11″x 13″ each, May documents and paints his own handy work around his San Jose home and studio.

Having pushed scale with his ceramics, May was ready to go a different direction in graduate school. From the failure to calculate the fate of his unwieldy early sculptures, May took a turn toward economy and modest forms that has lasted to this day (with the possible exception of his public art). For the most part, his art has focused on the challenge of integrating art into a home environment or elevating largely ignored domestic elements into art. Often, the subject of a small painting or sculpture is home improvement itself — little projects that reveal his own handy work and inventiveness, or provide an opportunity to incorporate art or Asian philosophy into his environment. An affinity for Japanese economy-of-means is a natural for Tony May. By focusing on the small in scale, the recycling of domestic materials, and overlapping meanings in the use of his forms and materials, May reveals his ingenuity, plays with puns and his self-effacing sense of humor.

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Silicon Valley Printmakers Shine at the San Jose ICA

Posted by erin on July 23rd, 2008

The Monotype Marathon, 2008, by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

The annual San Jose ICA fundraiser featuring monotypes produced on one weekend in Silicon Valley area print workshops, cannot end without mentioning a few of the highlights. I always pass through this extensive selection of prints imagining where I could squeeze in another one or two pieces onto my walls. Or should I begin to rotate the collection?

Whirlygig by Cynthia Ona Innis, 2008

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PAKISTANI ARTISTS MAKE STRONG VISUAL STATEMENTS

Posted by erin on July 23rd, 2008

Three Artists from Pakistan at Aicon Gallery, by Erin Goodwin Guerrero

Tradition, Technique and Technology, as a title, does little to prepare one for the surprising artistic statements of three Pakistani artists at the Aicon Gallery in Palo Alto. Rather than being three artists that explore any kind of unified theme, it is best to approach this exhibition as a three-person show. The media is varied, as is the content. It is helpful to know that the violent history of Pakistan, its struggles to reconcile the past and present, along with other radical oppositions in contemporary life is the stuff from which these artists take inspiration.

Aicon has long been a site where viewers could see contemporary art from India, so I was intrigued and anxious to see works from artists residing in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan in this setting. I was not disappointed in the show.

Assembled Bondage by Adeela Suleman, 2008, made of chrome plated utensils and bathroom fixtures.

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