Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh Nancy: Blank Land

Promotional image for Oh Nancy's "Blank Land" on exhibit for two days at the TAM

Here's the story:

Nancy, a young girl with blonde hair, is the daughter of the villanous King of the Sea and the Great Crow, her mother who died in childbirth. Although born with godlike powers, Nancy has no awareness of her potential. However, the Preacher, a charismatic religious extremist who rules the Corn Alliance through prophetic terror, became aware of this young girl and her latent might. In a scheme to gain her powers for his own purposes, the Preacher sent the Corn football team to capture and bring her to him, but, perceiving the nefarious intentions of the Preacher, the Corn Team quarterback, Bill Oolie, decided instead to run away with the innocent girl, fleeing from both the zealots of the Corn Alliance and the evil intentions of the King of the Sea.

Nancy, Bill Oolie, and the loyal teammates of the Corn Team now find themselves on a constant flight, stopping briefly in random places, short sojourns in the forgotten and hidden places of various towns and cities. And at each place of rest, these fugitives set up their mementos, reminders of previous times, keepsakes of their travels, and icons of that which gives them the will to persevere.

Here's the project:

Oh Nancy is a collaborative work which utilizes a base narrative to inspire individual artistic interpretations, creating a multiple authorship that includes divergent perspectives, from the contrasting to the coincidental, all as manner to explore alternative American mythic tropes. This is accomplished by the curation of thematically aligned exhibits showing works from a broad group of artists. In emulation of the underlying story, these exhibitions travel across the country for brief stopovers.

The next Oh Nancy sojourn will be at our precious locale, the Torrance Art Museum. For two days, the TAM will be hosting "Blank Land": Saturday, June 30, from 6pm to 9pm; and Tuesday, July 3, from 11am to 5pm.

It's bound to be a whole lot of fun. Here's an Oh Nancy promotional vid:

"Blank Land" at the Torrance Art Museum

And here is a partial list of the more than forty participating artists:

Michelle Matson, Aili Schmeltz, Emily Link, Bill Dunlap, Brian Willmont, Jenny Morgan, Sam Gibbons, Cat Chiu Phillips, Trent Call, Erin M Riley, Kenny Riches, Cara Despain, Todd Ryan White, Morganne Wakefield, Alex Demaria, Michael Ryan Handley, Jorge Rojas, Mary Toscano, Andrew Shaw, Courtney Moy, Annelie McKenzie, Tina Linville, Nick Rodrigues and many others.

We're looking forward to seeing you at the TAM!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Colloquy Panel Discussions

A bi-monthly series of discussions, Colloquy is organized by Holly Myers (standing at the left).

A few weeks back, the TAM hosted the third Colloquy panel discussion, "Mixed Marriage: Artists, Curators, and the Exhibition". Specifically, the topic under review was the role of the curator and trends within curatorial practices. It was a thought-provoking conversation, with issues ranging from the rise of "superstar" curators to the effects, both positive and negative, of art festivals and biennales upon the local art scene.

The TAM had previously hosted a Colloquy discussion, back in January, "Taking Stock of the MFA". Although much more limited in scope, this conversation provided an honest assessment of the costs and benefits of the MFA, from the obvious financial burdens of debt to the inroads and networking advantages of having a "school" pedigree. It made for a lively talk.

"Taking Stock of the MFA" panelists were (left to right) Cammie Staros, Ruben Ochoa, Deborah Aschheim, Joseph Biel, and Eileen Cowin. TAM's curator, Max Presneill stands at the right.

The second Colloquy panel discussion, "The Success Question", was held at LAXART, in early March when the TAM was closed down between exhibits. This is a fascinating topic that faces everybody in the Art world. Do we measure the success of an exhibit by market standards? Or is it critical regard and approval by the cognoscenti that determines success? How about attendance and interest by the broader population? These were just a few elements under consideration in determining that elusive quality called "success".

As of yet, we have no date, topic, or location announced for the next Colloquy panel discussion. But you can always visit the Then/And website to keep up to date.

"Mixed Marriage" panelists were (left to right) Karen Lofgren, Carrie Paterson, Rebecca Morse, Rebecca McGrew, Ciara Ennis (moderator), and Holly Myers.

So, keep your eyes peeled. I'll try to give you all a heads up when the next one is scheduled. They are engaging discussions. If your interested in deeper elements of the art world, beneath the works on display, then your time will be well spent attending Colloquy.

In any case, we're looking forward to seeing you at the TAM!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Michelle Carla Handel: Big Yearn, Let Down

Big Yearn, Let Down (2012) by Michelle Carla Handel
Wood, fabric, silicone rubber, fiberfill, vinyl
87 x 65 x 22 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Although the TAM is closed until July 21, when "Baker's Dozen 4" opens, there are still a few pieces on the venue. Yeah, the general public can't easily view them, but, if you press up to the windows and peer into the unlit gloom of the lobby, then Michelle Carla Handel's engaging sculpture, Big Yearn, Let Down, can be seen, still standing simultaneously erect and flaccid.

Visitors to the recent show, "Between the Knowing", had plenty of opportunities to appreciate this playful work. It'll still be around when the next show opens. So, make certain to come and take a look at it. ;-)

It's an interesting piece. The material diversity creates a strong contrast between the rigid and the drooping, the glossy and the matte, the patterned and the plain. These two giant fabric staves, juxtaposed in an interpenetrating composition, create a playful contrast between bright desires and dark disappointments.

That's a quick and easy analysis, but the work has other tensions, subtle and technical, that will reward a longer scrutiny, viewed in person.

Detail of Big Yearn, Let Down (2012) by Michelle Carla Handel
Wood, fabric, silicone rubber, fiberfill, vinyl
87 x 65 x 22 inches
Courtesy of the artist

So, mark your calendars. The doors open on July 21 for "Baker's Dozen 4". Come see this cool sculpture and so much more!!!

We're looking forward to seeing you at the TAM.