Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sound and Silence

Somewhere in the midnight hum of nerves and flesh, there is a rhythm. Each city, each street, each place has its own subtle beat. At certain moments, perhaps in a drunken but acute stupor, we have all at one time whispered to the sublime in the undercurrent of the night and felt the pulse of the immediate. And it was in such a moment that I met Alexandra Pacula, recent winner of the Saatchi Gallery Showdown.

My wife and I attended an eclectic and vibrant party in east Williamsburg, amidst the rush of the tango and the thrum of voices. My good friend Adam Miller had invited me to his studio for this party in almost the nether realms of the warehouse jungle. It was this night that we requested of his girlfriend, Alexandra, who had a studio in the same building, to allow us to visit her studio.

I was immediately taken by the homage to Nighthawks above, entitled Nocturnal Escapade. In the blur of my own aesthetic intoxication, I was able to sense the pulse of the city as I had never before encountered. Stretching back into the inky darkness of Jack Kerouac's New York, the Subterranean bee-bop of a lost generation, and Hopper himself perched upon the bar stool, I glimpsed the string which connects the ghosts of past - through the fluid hours - to strum a steady note under the fluorescent lights. I realized then, that the hum I heard, in the cold New York night, was not that of the warm bar lights, but a supernatural communion with all those lonely souls who've passed before. The city that never sleeps, has truly not slept for years, and somehow this enables each year to live on, blurring into the next to leave an echo which one might detect in the obscure encryptions of Alexandra's calligraphic brushwork.

Alexandra's work is a sensuous effigy to the night life. But more than that, it seeks a truth which lies beneath the clutter of voices and dirty martini's. It seeks (and finds) that intangible eternity which yawns into the depths of human collective remembrance. She employs the color and brush much like a jazz master, drawing on the greatness of the past, infusing it with her own soulful yearning, and improvising amidst our social and physical realities to create a fluctuating reverberation between the abstract and the corporeal. This excitement speaks of both passion and melancholy, but the tension between the two is what makes it so compelling.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What was Lost

My job at Jeff Koons' studio comes with many benefits. Not the least of which is it's location in Chelsea, and proximity to over 500 of the most successful galleries in the world.

And so, my lunch breaks are taken up with lengthy constitutionals accompanied by my good friend and colleague Adam Miller. Last Wednesday, the galleries of choice were Stricoff and DFN, two on my list of possible venues for my work because both show several artists who also graduated from the New York Academy of Art. It was at DFN on this fair day (well actually rather dreary), that we came across the haunting work of Dan Witz.

This is a man after my own heart. His soulful use of tenebrist light could stir the sentiment of even the most cynical gallery goers. They depict seemingly meaningless and forgotten moments in such a way as to point out what we might have missed along the way.

The school crossing might be the moment long ago in early September, when I drove home from rehearsal for the high-school play, exhausted and proud. The ice machine is the half remembered acquaintance once met on a midnight road trip from some anonymous place to another. Lit by the buzz of gas station lights, he is familiar to my dreaming. And this woman I perhaps recall from a single glance, checking a voice mail as I walked by a restaurant in pursuit of my own thoughts. These too are companions to history and are worthy of remembrance. These are the moments which, once forgotten are lost to eternity, yet coalesce to form our existence. These too are the fabric of our very lives.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Lost Dreams of Titian

In past posts I have been known to say some choice things about Jeff Koons. Though I don't entirely recant all of my statements, I must admit that I have developed a different outlook on him and what he does.

You see, I just got a job working in his studio, and my first week has altered my viewpoint drastically. The pay is good, the health insurance is great, and what he gives to emerging artists by employing nearly a hundred of them, is the ability to make a decent living while pursuing their foundering careers in the city that never sleeps (nor gives you an inch).

In my first week I have met a number of intelligent and highly skilled artists in his employ and have struck a friendship with a few. Chief among them is my quickly growing friendship with the painter Adam Miller. His piece "Ariadne", above, awakens in me the haunting remembrance of visions in the dreams of Titian - images to which he never gave expression. These are the lost moments of a master, recently unearthed from the mists of time, and all the better as we can see these marvelous pieces afresh with searching and youthful eyes - never before exposed to this poetic mastery. These are the moments when art is most vital to the human experience. These are the moments when all the senses reach an apex in perception and the work transcends simply the beautiful and surpasses the sublime. These are the moments which reach the human soul.