"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within that prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness." Andre Malraux

26 September, 2010

Bryn Terfel

I won't pretend to follow opera with anything resembling regularity, but I do enjoy it in an casual, uninformed, can't-afford-to-go sort of way. I've always wanted to see Wagner's Ring Cycle, though, so I've been watching the story of the Metropolitan Opera's new production with some interest. The lead, Bryn Terfel, is internationally acclaimed, but I'd never heard of him before. I've been listening to him all day -- amazing voice. While I wait to hit them winnin' lotto numbers so's I can go, here's Bryn doing some non-Ring ditty to tide us over....

19 September, 2010

Mel Leipzig and Pipilotti Rist

My favorite 2 exhibits from a visit to the Chelsea galleries yesterday:

Mel Leipzig is one of those brilliant artists, always thrilling to find, who have been hiding in plain sight. He's 75 & lives in NJ, so I have no excuse for never having heard of him before, but it wasn't until seeing his exhibit yesterday at Gallery Henoch (he's a living figurative artist, so where else?) that I'd ever come across his paintings. He works in acrylics, limits himself to 4 colors (red, blue, yellow, white) & doesn't work from photographs -- I may have a new personal hero. "The Cast of Hedda Gabler" (2009), below, is monumental in every sense of the word; it's 5' x 6' (& unlike most large paintings, works on that scale), has a thrilling composition & is on my (very) short list for best new painting I've seen this year.

I also loved Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist's transformation of Luhrung Augustine's space. It's always a wonder to me that more artists don't take full advantage of the possibilities of really making over the small white box of the gallery -- the spaces are designed to be fluid, after all. Here, Rist uses wallpaper, light, sound, projection and sculpture to turn Luhring's interior into something otherworldly. She's not the first artist to hang rows of scrims & project images through them (I saw personal fave Bill Viola do this back when I was in college), but she uses it to great effect.

This is one of those you really just have to go experience if you can, but the video on this page will give you some notion of what it's like. Don't miss the underpants chandelier in the back.

Lastly, there is some very strong work at the SVA MFA group show at Perry Rubenstein Gallery. I especially liked 2 works on paper of fantastical creatures by Sean Dustin-Halliday. Alas, I can't find any links to his work, but I hope to run across more of his stuff someday.

Thanks for droppin' by....

06 September, 2010

And like a Phoenix rising from the ashes...

Yes, it's been rolling around in the back of my head for a while, but it's time to re-launch this thing. Summer of 2010 is, alas, behind us, and it's as good a time as any to bring the blog back to benconrad.com. (I've also re-designed the site, for what it's worth.)

So unlike my last rather unfocused attempt at a blog, this one will serve basically one purpose: to introduce artists whom I have recently discovered. They may have been your favorite painter/singer/author/whatever for decades, but if they're new to me, they're fair game. I'll also sometimes write mini-reviews of shows I've seen or relevant news about myself, but I'll try to keep the focus tight on the newbies.

To wit, one photographer and one movie/filmmaker who have recently caught my attention:

Valérie Belin: I caught this French photographer's show at Sikkema Jenkins before they closed for the summer. She has a series of creepy portraits of live human beings who are made to look eerily manequin-like. Interestingly, she chose to juxtapose these portraits with lush color photographs of still lives (mostly fruit) that pulsed with life, taking life from the living and bestowing it to the non-living.

Ink, written & directed by Jamin Wayans: I stumbled across the preview for this movie (see below) on some random DVD & thought it looked interesting. I enjoyed it so much that now I've become obsessed by the fact that nobody has heard of it. It doesn't even have enough reviews on rottentomatoes to warrant a rating, but one of the few there calls it "absolutely one of the best movies of 2009." I couldn't agree more. You owe it to yourself to check this one out. (It's available to watch instantly on Netflix, btw.)

Winans also wrote the haunting score & did most of the special effects himself. Clearly he's one towatch.

See, short & sweet. I'm a blogger who cares about my readers' busy, busy schedules. Thanks for droppin' by....