Archive for 2011

Art of the Day — Paintings: “Untitled” by Hussein Al-Mohasen (2010?) & “Vase” by Nihad Al-Turk (2010)

October 22nd, 2011



       Hussein Al-Mohasen (b. 1971 (?) in Qatif, Saudi Arabia)
       Untitled, 2010, Acrylic on canvas



       Nihad Al-Turk (b. 1972 in Aleppo, Syria)
       Untitled, 2010, painting

     Two lovely works by contemporary Middle Eastern artists Hussein Al-Mohasen & Nihad Al-Turk. I first stumbled across Al-Turk’s “Vase”, and loved its big fat beet-like proportions and moody maroons. It immediately drew me to it, it had gravitational pull. & I liked its heavy black outline too, and the way it shifted back and forth between two and three dimensions, alternately looking like an upright vessel and some kind of liquefied brick puddle oozing over a mat.
     I was excited to post “Vase” and call it a night when my art-image search, the results of which I was just about to close, revealed to me Al-Mohasen’s “Untitled”. Anyone who’s followed “Art of the Day” or who knows my art tastes won’t be surprised that I gravitated to this piece — I’m a sucker for controlled visual noise (or, better yet, as in the case here, frantic color harmonies and resonances easily mistaken for visual noise). Blues and purples of different intensities, varieties and emotions anchor the piece and provide context for the central burnished golden urn/pouch object. The urn/pouch floats with beatific glow, touched by kelp strands and efflorescing golden glyphs, itself bursting with treasures and curlicues of exuberant color, sprouting pale flowers, lipstick smudges at its mouth. You can probably see why, with Al-Turk’s “Vase” fresh in my mind, this other round stout vessel-portrait caught my attention. That’s where the similarities end though; each work departs from that common ground in very different directions & through wholly different means achieve its own vision & presence & power.

More about Al-Mohasen & more of his art at

More about Al-Turk & more of his art at Ayyam Gallery.


[posted by: C Way at 10:52 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY ||| paintings/drawings]

Art of the Day — Music: Henry Purcell’s “Funeral Sentences” (1695)

October 16th, 2011

“Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and ne’er continueth in one stay.

In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?

Yet, O Lord most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears unto our pray’rs; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty.

O holy and most merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall away from thee.”

                    – from the Book of Common Prayer (as revised by composer Henry Purcell)

Here is Purcell’s musical setting of “Funeral Sentences” (Note: videos appear shrunken on purpose; just use to play sound, the visuals are unnecessary):

1. First, the Funeral March:

2. Second, the sung text:


A terrific bio and collection of info about Purcell lives over at classical label Naxos’ site, right here.

[posted by: C Way at 8:39 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY ||| Music ||| poetry]

Art of the Day — Painting: Yang Hongwei, “Family of China No. 1″, 2007

October 15th, 2011



       Yang Hongwei (b. 1968 in Tianjin, China)
       Family of China No.1, 2007, Wood engraving

     Been awhile! Sorry for the absence folks, will try my best to be semi-regular about this from here on out.
    Today I’m offering up this stunner by Yang Hongwei, “Family of China No. 1″. Like most of the art I post for Art of the Day, this, and its artist, were new to me. This one bricked me when I saw it, just stunned me with its tone, texture, themes. What at first seems like a Fangoria zombie murder scene reveals itself to be more complex: a family in a bathtub, struggling, holding each other desperately. A kind of ghost figure leaning in on the right side. Flesh merging with flesh as the family members lose their autonomy, seeming to eat each other to survive, becoming one unit. A smoky industrial sky, as if these people live out in the sooty open, naked and tangled.
    All of this to me evokes first of all the bloody, raw grind and compress of poverty. The way it forces boundaries erased and puts people in conditions where privacy is impossible. Where there isn’t emotional energy left to waste on anything but extreme expressions of yearning, mourning, fear, hunger, anger. No time for nuance, subtlety.
    And it suggests the ways in which a family, in order to protect itself and survive, can turn inward, become insular and conglomerated, & thereby finding a strength in that insularity, but also a deepening of their confusion.

More of Hongwei’s work at Artnet.


[posted by: C Way at 2:37 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY ||| Ekphrasis ||| paintings/drawings]

Art of the Day: Governors Island art (Sep 2011) Part 2 of 2 — Joel Bacon and Yeon Jin Kim

September 26th, 2011


       Joel Bacon
       fugue, 2009, graphite on paper


       Yeon Jin Kim
        excerpt from Zoonomia, 2010 (?)

     As promised, part two my survey of the Governors Island art bits I came across in September. As readers of Art of the Day know, I never review stuff I don’t love (I’m a negative enough old cudgel as it is). So while I came across a lot of noteworthy art things while wandering on Gov’s Island this past labor day weekend, I’m only covering the stuff that I loved most.
     First up tonight’s a work by Joel Bacon that wasn’t something I saw at Governors Island, a piece called “fugue”. So why did I choose it? Well, a) I like it, but the primary reason’s b) — the two pieces of his I did see and love were ungoogleable: “Barbell Diptych” and “Hedgerow”. And that’s a shame because one of the pieces, the former, was strong as hell, and tied for first in my Gov. Island favorites list (co-winner being the next artist I’ll cover). “Barbell Diptych” comprises two tall oblong canvases side by side, each depicting some kind of tall barbell-shaped mass of reddish, wormy viscera. They hovered there, sentient, full of pulsing alien presence. It felt like they could talk to each other and to you in some weird telepathic whisper. Alternately, they seemed just masses of dead, sculpted meat. A lot of the piece’s power for me resulted precisely from this duality: alive & aware extraterrestrial presence vs. sheer impact of two masses of gutty blorp.
     Yeon Jin Kim’s “4 Zoonomia” was my other favorite piece of art I saw on Governors Island over Labor day. It’s a beautifully strange, unnerving piece of video art where the mouse-eye view camera tentatively enters & navigates a heavily textured dreamscape of plant props, leaves & dried coral. Humanoid forms detach from the vegetal background unexpectedly and move in cute halting shamble, eerie sound-fx of their echoey footsteps provided. All the while the camera takes you deeper, pausing and lurching, creating suspense as to what presence will manifest next, leaves and shadows wriggling and shaking. A blue door opens, a feasting giant bug lumbers by, prey in its mandibles.
     Just as interesting was Kim’s “All Intellectual Animals are Dangerous” (not shown here). The best way to describe this video is just to provide improvised running commentary: Gray and white bricks. Ominous backwards-speech sounds. Camera slowly crawls along them. Roots jostle out of holes made in the brick. A window shows a mass of bright red blood encircling a curious dog sitting calmly in the kitchen. Paper cut-out elk stare at you while their heads fall off. The camera keeps crawling up the brickwall, presents us with a goat chewing off the skin of its companion, green ichor spilled, chewing and chewing in the checkered tile chamber. Camera pans, roots everywhere, broken bricks, hole opens into chamber: tall lithe giantess is there, sad and hugging her knees, Alice after the grow potion, filing up the room. Brick wall again, dog looking out at bluecloudy apocalypse storm space, now a dead shark on droughtland. A window glows now soft echinachea rose, the blueshutter opens. Alligator grins at the exposed foot in the bathtub.

More of Bacon’s art at

More of Yeon Jin Kim’s gorgeous videos over at what I believe to be her youtube channel, here.


[posted by: C Way at 11:22 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY ||| paintings/drawings ||| video/film]

Art of the Day: Governors Island art (Sep 2011), Part 1 of 2 — Matthew Garrison, Kerri Brewer, Selena Kimball

September 21st, 2011


       Kerri Brewer
       [Title Unknown], [Date unknown], photograph

       Selena Kimball
       Untitled (Materialization 1970), 2009-2011, collage


       Matthew Garrison
       In the Rain, 2010, flatscreen television & transparent collage

     Over labor day weekend I visited Governors Island with my girlfriend, and one of the unexpected highlights of our time there was the art we stumbled across in various little galleries set up in the island’s colonial homes. Above is part one of a mini-survey of some of the art which I liked best. ——–> First is a lovely rustheap by photographer Kerri Brewer, whose work I found for sale in a Governors Island Etsy shop. I like how she caught the powder blue graffiti just right, such that it echoes the background waters without calling too much attention to itself. And of course being a general texture- (and particularly rust-) junkie, I dug those upjutting snarls of rust scraping+crashing into each other like waves. ———> Next is a large-scale collage piece by Selena Kimball. This piece was powerful in person, the first thing you saw when you walked into the colonial home gallery that housed it, mounted on the paintpeeled wall of the entryway. It made you step back several paces and take in its aura of smoke, underwater and gathering spirit. The craft, too was impressive & easy to get lost in up close, all those lovely gradations of black and white and gray meticulously managed across a sea of paper cuttings. Great photo, but this piece definitely needs to be experienced live. ——–> Finally, one of my favorite pieces, a video installation by Matthew Garrison. I liked the simultaneous whimsy and slowmotion melancholy of this piece. I stood there mesmerized, watching the artist skip about among the static droplets on the transparent collage layered over the screen. I would’ve stayed there for another couple minutes if we didn’t have so much to do that day. Gorgeous work. Part two coming tomorrow (maybe).

More images of Brewer’s photography here.

More of Matthew Garrison’s art and video here.

More of Selena Kimball’s collage art and other art here.


[posted by: C Way at 11:10 PM]

[file under: ART OF THE DAY ||| paintings/drawings ||| photography ||| video/film]