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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lynn Susholtz and Art Produce, Sally Ride and the Earth seen from the Shuttle

one of my new paintings (detail)

I am working on a series of paintings but I do not want to talk too much about them before I show them! I have three upcoming exhibitions in which I am participating. The first one is the San Diego Art Prize, a group show at Noel Baza in February and March, with 12 other artists. The second one is a solo show in June at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. The third one, also a solo show, should be in/or around December 2009 at Art Produce Gallery in North Park. I am very excited to start the year with these interesting projects and I am certainly very interested by the space at Art Produce because I can do pretty much what I want there! I am thinking about a lot of possibilities that the space has to offer and I think it will be a blast to put everything together and especially to work inside the gallery for a while.

Lynn Susholtz in Art Produce Gallery

Two days ago, I went to see Lynn Susholtz, the director of Art Produce Gallery. I saw the show: it is a light and poetic installation by Stacie Birky Greene: "Junk Mail Takes Flight". One thousand origamis made of junk mail. I regret I could not come to the opening because I think it is important to support a gallery like Lynn's. Can I say that I would like to see more artists coming to the openings? "Junk Mail Takes Flight" runs until January 4.

I took a series of photos of Lynn for the project "Movers and Shakers" (San Diego Visual Art Network / SDVAN). I chose Lynn as the person I want to make a portrait of. The deadline to finish the piece is the beginning of March. I am happy to participate in the project. Lynn's dedication to the community, her energy and her personality inspire me and it is exciting to work on her portrait. I asked her to give me a text I could use in the painting. I usually incorporate one or more texts when I make a portrait of someone (it can be a song, a poem, a text from the news). But sometimes I don't.

"Junk Mail Takes Flight" by Stacie Birky Greene

On the way back home, I could not help looking at an unbelievable sky: a breathtaking, huge and changing "installation". I was mesmerized by the light, the quality of the shades underneath the clouds, the shapes. And the scale of the sight of course. How is it possible to compete with that?! Compete is not the right word, but that's what I was thinking, coming back from the gallery. The beautiful but delimited space of the gallery. The delimited space of each of my paintings. I love art, I need it, I need to make images, but I am always more touched by nature - one reason being the scale. I remember watching storms on the sea through the windows at my mom's in Marseille. I could stay there for a long time, staring.

I saw a lot of paintings of the sea, of the ocean, but even "The Wave" by Hokusai so beautifully made, does not really touch my soul. It makes my brain think - certainly too much: how technically impressive it is, how constructed, how clever... But a real storm is way beyond that.
The other day, I read something Bansky said: "The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it." But I have almost no example of a piece of art I looked at more than I looked at some landscapes in the mountains and the deserts I enjoy. When I walk in landscapes, I am often so immersed in what I am seeing that I forgot about everything else. I am simply there. Totally.

(image: Friends of Water)

Each time I look at the sky I am thinking that, not far above it, it is black everywhere. We are floating in space, on our very small planet, very alone. The other day I was listening
Sally Ride, the first American woman to enter space, on KPBS-NPR. She was talking about the first sight of Earth she got through the window of the spaceship: our planet, beautiful, small, fragile, only protected by an ultra thin layer of atmosphere. Beyond it is the infinite space. An amazing vision for all the astronauts who get the chance to fly in space. Maybe all the humans should fly in the shuttle and get that vision. Who knows, maybe, like Sally, we would be changed forever. No more little (and big) wars, no more jealousy, envy, greediness, no more judgmental thoughts... It's not forbidden to dream.

I wrote a letter to Sally Ride,
she is professor of Physics here in UCSD. I hope to meet with her and may be she will accept that I make a portrait of her. We'll see...

Lately I am orienting my work towards more portraits. There is no profile, I sometimes know the person but sometimes I don't - like for Sally Ride. But they are certainly all inspiring. That's exciting, it is certainly more and more a very intimate work, where I definitely find myself.

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