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Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh You, Human Brothers

"Territories Series: Landscape #4",
2009, 4"x4", acrylic on wood panel

"Territories Series: Landscape #5",
2009, 4"x4", acrylic on wood panel

Today I painted and sent through mail two 4"x4" paintings to Spraygraphic, which organizes "Mini Mini Art Show", in Tempe, Arizona. I usually do not work pieces that small and I was interested to see how I could work on very small landscapes. I thought about the pieces for a few days. I knew I was going to use the photos I took at the beach last week-end. And today it was a pleasure to make them.

Art of Framing Gallery also notified me that my piece, "Piece of Her", for the "Idol Worship" show, was accepted. I really like the piece, I am thrilled that it will be part of the show.

Went to the park with the kids. Potluck day. I bought a pizza on my way, I had not time to cook anything. Felt bad about it, but the pizza was gone in no time.
Still had blue paint on my hands. When I mix a lot of medium with the acrylic paint, it does not come off easily.

Tonight I went to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, to the opening of the "Mosaic Arts International 2009 Exhibition". Irene de Wateville invited me. She is a tile painter and a ceramic sculptor, one of the three jurors of the show. I met her at the Dada Dinner (SDVAN) a few months ago. I was happy to see her.

"Wishing Tree", Ilana Shafir, Illinois,
ceramic tile and pottery, stone, smalti, pebbles.

A $12.000 piece was sold during the opening. I saw the buyer. It was very interesting to watch him so excited about the piece he just bought and talking about it.

"Pacific Beach Sunset", Thierry Chatelain,
48x24 inch, oil on canvas

I talked to Dennis Paul Batt. He told me that the painter Thierry Chatelain committed suicide seven months ago. I was stunned. I did not know. I knew Thierry through the Studio 234, a small gallery - now closed - in the 2400 Art Complex on Kettner Street. When Zapf Gallery (now closed too) and Scott White were still there, I used to go every month to Kettner Nights. I enjoyed talking to Thierry and Ruth Hoffman, the director.
Thierry was always nice, seemed always happy to talk about his last paintings, bright and colorful
landscapes, delicately crafted. We were talking in French together. Last time I saw him he was very excited because a large gallery was about to represent him. Dennis told me it did not work. They did not keep him.

Thierry had chronic pain
and I did not know, he was depressed too. He did not have a second job, he was living off the sales of his paintings. But he did not have a good health insurance, maybe not at all.
His name is in my contacts, like nothing happened.

I should pay more attention. See more. I should have seen something was wrong. I did not.

When I got outside the museum, hundreds of Friday bikers were riding together, singing, screaming joyfully, playfully. Happy to be there and to share the moment.

In the car,
driving on highway 5 North, I listened to Muse, "Unintented".

I am thinking about my abstracted washed landscapes with people walking, and Thierry's detailed and colorful landscapes, with nobody in them.

When I got back home, there was "Hey Jude" playing on Pandora.

"And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,

Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.

For well you know that its a fool who plays it cool

By making his world a little colder."

Just after: "Yellow" (Coldplay).

The house is quiet.
Enjoying what I have while I have it.
The kids are building a bridge for their Lego monsters
with the kapla blocks.
Not wanting much.
"Are you still listening?" Pandora asks on the screen.
I'm still listening.
"Smile" (Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ivan Sigg + Eric Meyer: Mail Art surprise

Mail Art Ivan Sigg + Eric Meyer

The invitation for the show at the SDAI (June 2008)

Received from my friends artists Ivan Sigg and Eric Meyer, who live in Paris, a colorful and very interesting envelop! Ivan started to work with the invitation of my solo show at the SDAI: "Here it's Peace". Then he sent it to Eric who sent it to me! Et voila. My postcard developed into a whole new world!

Thank you! It is a beautiful surprise, I love it!

Here's what is written behind the envelop:
[Eric, ca te dit de bidouiller cette enveloppe debutee a partir d'une oeuvre de Michele puis de lui envoyer?
- Bien sur Ivan, que ca me dit! D'ailleurs voila, c'est fait! je poste! Michele, Kyle et les enfants, un grand bonjour de Paris-France, on vous wembrasse! Art-micalement!!

On Eric and Ivan's blogs you will see powerful exemples of mail art they send to each other, and work one after another. Strong collaborative work.

Friday, February 20, 2009

After the opening of New Contemporaries II

I went to the Community Recreation Center in the neighborhood to leave an envelop for Fatima, with the prints of her picture. Hopefully she will come to pick it up.

I am working on a painting for the "Idol Worship" show coming up at Art of Framing Gallery. I am very interested in the theme. Maybe I should focus entirely on the solo show coming at the SDAI. I am also working on a series of paintings.
Always working on several paintings at the same time.

We went to see "Coraline" yesterday in the movie theatre in our neighborhood (we did not see the 3D version).
The very strange story of a daring little girl with blue hair. Milo was not sure. The preview was scary he said - because of the buttons. Beautiful, beautiful movie, creepy for sure, very poetic, somewhere between "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas". The first thing the kids did when we came back home was to draw a small door on the wall in their bedroom and to hide it behind a Lego case.

Saw a young guy on a parking lot, wearing an over sized pair of jeans with a large silver skull belt buckle covered with diamond-like stones. A woman walking by, says "Hi" to the guy and adds "Nice belt!". The guy says "It really pulls my pants down though!"

Not many comments about the work I have in Contemporaries II right now. Received a very nice email from Iana Quesnell though. Made my day. I missed her at the opening.

Feel kind of alone with my work. Do not belong to any group or movement.

The Snapshot "Changing Perspectives in the San Diego Art Scene" last night was very interesting at Art Produce,
Lynn Susholtz' gallery. Organized by Kevin Freitas (Art As Authority). Last chance to see "Front Curtain" by Richard Gleaves installed in the gallery. Lots of people showed up and the room was packed, some people who could not even get in. Nice panel: Philly Joe Swendoza (Art Rocks!), Robert Pincus (Union Tribune), Patricia Frischer (SDVAN) and David White (Agitprop Gallery). The moderator was the young, talented and calm Katherine Sweetman. The discussion was very much needed. I know it is only the beginning and I really hope there will be another panel discussion like this one. There is more to do and more energies to put together.
Very nice conversation afterward with Kevin Freitas, Richard Gleaves, Steve Gibson and Kyle.

I took a video of the discussion, now I have to do something with it. But the memory space on the computer is completely full so I cannot copy anything yet...

The kids are building a tree-house in the backyard. But the tree is overlooking the canyon so it is kind of dangerous. They really want to built the house, it is an obsession since they saw "Bridge to Terabithia" the other day on DVD. They saw it twice actually because of the tree house.

I worked on a poster about Charles Darwin with Milo for his class. It's Darwin's birth 200th anniversary this year and there are lots of programs about his work on the radio. I Cannot believe that some people still don't make the difference between religious beliefs and science.

Milo saw the shoes high on the red light pole. I always have my camera handy when I am in the car. I took a picture.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My paintings for New Contemporaries II - San Diego Art Prize

"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness",
ensemble of 6 paintings, mixed media on canvas.

I brought my paintings to Noel-Baza Fine Art last Saturday. Noel and Tom were there, Larry was typing on the computer, Tom arranging the art pieces in the gallery. I saw Jen Trute briefly, she was leaving. I talked with Keikichi Honna about his paintings that he just brought.

A few weeks ago, when I brought the paintings to the gallery to try some different combinations on the wall I was assigned, I realized there was this aeration grid in the right corner and that I could not fit another 36x48 size painting. It was an interesting challenge as Tom really wanted to transform the wall into a billboard, which I think is a great idea.

The sixth painting: "I live here (Watching you)",
24"x48", acrylic on canvas

So in the time I had between the day I went there to make the tries and last Saturday when I brought the paintings to be hanged on the wall, I made a new painting, which fits into the space. I made 3 versions of the same paintings - with the same trio (Kyle and the children). I tried different colors, different compositions, with and without text. In the end I did not want to have a stamped text either (one version of the painting contains text). I thought a lot about it. At my house I have barely the space to try the combination on the floor, to check the colors and the composition, so it was not easy. But it was intense, interesting. And stressing because I had not much time.

Tuesday morning I went back to the gallery to take a picture of the wall. I wanted to make a postcard with the photo of the wall. But I also brought another version of the last painting (the trio), I wanted to be sure I had make the right choice. It was interesting because Tom and Larry did not hesitate and wanted to keep the version I had brought the Saturday. I guess I was relieved. I took some pictures of the wall.

I saw Oscar Pimienta who participates in the show. It was very nice to talk to him.

That day I also brought some small paintings that Tom and Larry will have on consignment during the show.

It was not easy to decide if the ensemble of the 6 paintings should have a title. I decided to take the title of one of the paintings for the ensemble: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". Each painting has a title too.

I thought it was really important to work with the space. I am very happy with the result now. I like the boldness of it and what is going on between the pieces.

Now let's see what happens.

More info on Art As Authority's blog

New Contemporaries II
Feb 18th - March 21

Public reception: Friday, March 13, from 6 to 9

featuring 13 artists nominated for the San Diego Art Prize:
David Adey
Tania Alcala
Michele Guieu
Keikichi Honna
Oscar Pimienta
Marisol Rendon
Daniel Ruanova
Tara Smith
Matt Stallings
K. V. Tomney
Jen Trute
Gustabo Velasquez

Noel-Baza Fine Art
2165 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Tues-Thursday 11-6
Friday, Saturday 11-8
or by appointment
(619) 876 4160

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

North Park Nights

Richard Gleaves: "Front Curtain" and "Behind the Curtain"
Art Produce Gallery

Front Curtain

Behind the Curtain

Spacecraft Gallery / Last show

Garage Sale @ Agitprop
Joy Boe, Judith Pedroza, Eddie Miramontes, Josh Bellfy, Joe Yorty, David White.

Agitprop Gallery
2837 University Ave.
San Diego, California
(619) 384 7989

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At the community park - Fatima


I am at the park with the kids. I am taking pictures. A woman that I did not see coming says to me:
"Take me picture!"

I see her, a smiling woman.

"Hi! You want me to take a picture of you?"

"Yes, take me picture!"


"For my daughter. I am Fatima. Me from Ankara, Turkey. Turkey, Istanbul. You know Ankara?

"No, I've never been there."

"Beautiful. San Diego beautiful too. I love San Diego. My son in Utah, very cold. Very cold. Him not happy. too cold."

"How long have you lived here?"
"Ten years. And you? You from...?"

"France, I live here now. I arrived in San Diego 4 years ago."
"Hooo, France beautiful too! Tickets too expensive to go there. Me not see my family in Ankara."
"My mother is coming to visit
"Very good! You lucky. We can take the picture now. Here."


I take a photo, and another one.

"Good, good, that's good."
"How will I give you the print?"

"Me come every day."

"OK, I will leave an envelop at the office of the recreation center for you, Fatima, with your name on the envelop."
"Good, good, you kind, very kind."

"Maybe I will see you around but I prefer to leave the photo at the office because I do not come very often to this park these days."
"good. Your name?"


"Oh, Michele! My son is Michel! Michele, Michel, beautiful!
Me go now. Bye Bye. Thank you."
"Bye Bye Fatima."

Fatima puts her hand on her heart, says something (I do not understand), and leaves, still smiling.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In Balboa Park

At school, white blossoms against the white sky.
Can't be late at school. Always have to check the time, and usually around that time I am in the garage painting. I am kind of always late anyway. A few minutes. Sometimes I do not have the time to change my clothes. The children say "you have paint on your shirt, you have paint on your pants". They say it less now, they get used to it.

I went to the San Diego Art Institute. In June, I will have a solo show there and Dennis VanderVlist will have a solo show at the same time. We were interested in the same space to show our work. Marc Pickett, the administrator of the SDAI, proposed that we tossed a coin to decide. So Saturday, I took the kids there to find out who will get the space. It was not a coin toss. Marc had prepared a plate with 5 folded papers on it, on each of them a hidden number, from 1 to 5 (the higher number wins). Dennis VanderVlist and I picked a paper. Dennis got #1. That was it. I will use the same space I had in June 2008.

We were in Balboa Park and I promised the kids we would go to see a show at the puppet show at the
Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre: "Chu Chu the Red Dragon". I love to take them there. It is a very old theatre and they do not have a lot of money to run it, but they have very often a new show and it is always poetic and creative.

The parking lot in Balboa was covered with water, the kids were fascinated. Wanted to run through it, of course. I took some pictures.

When we left, we saw that the Circus Vargas was on the parking lot on the other side of Park Boulevard, next to Inspiration Point, In Balboa Park. I realized that we never went to the circus together. I also wanted to be sure that there were no animals - or at least not too many!
The following day the four of us went there. Harper said "It is the best day ever!".

Monday, February 2, 2009

Art Run to L.A. part 2: Culver City / Washington Blvd and South La Cinemag Blvd.

On Washington Blvd.

Valerie Favre
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
5795 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Valerie Favre was born in Swiss and lives in Berlin, Germany. Large paintings in the main room, a series of very small paintings in the adjacent space. The large paintings talk about nature (lush vegetation and open spaces), with elements of human presence (boats, constructions), they relate to a mythic world (the Pan-like creature next to the painter in
Bonnard Kuss II). Very dreamy. It reminds me of Gerard Garouste's world, but more lighted.
She has a figure which apparently is a constant in her work: a bunny. I tell Richard that I am interested to know when the appearance of the bunny and the deer figures -that I see everywhere these days in contemporary art- first appear.

"Voliere III", 2008, Oil on canvas, 3 parts, each 130 x 173 cm

Becca Mann - New Works
Roberts & Tilton
Becca Mann's work is puzzling. The crafts (paintings and graphite drawings) are exquisite but the theme is very strange to me: she worked with a series of photos from the Romanov family albums. I understand she was interested in the series of photos but to what is the interest to draw and paint this series now and here?

Robyn O'Neil "A world disrupted"
Roberts & Tilton
5801 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

In the same gallery, a very filled room with the work of Robyn O'Neil. Large graphite drawings, very illustrative. Large size seem to be - still - a powerful way to get the attention for the viewer. I read recently about a contemporary art oriented towards recycled and small sized, nothing like that today (except Sime's work at Bergamot - but it is certainly not "small"). Always a silly thought but where does the artist store such drawings if he does not sell them at the gallery during the show?!

Farrah Karapetian "Tragic Muse"
2762 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034

Exiting the gallery

Derek Buckner
Georges Billis Gallery
2716 La Cienega S. Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034
The Marshmallow invasion!

On S. La Cienega blvd.

Yoshimoto Nara
- paintings, drawings and large-scale sculptural installation.

Blum and Poe
2754 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

My favorite of all the shows we saw! Sorry David (if you read these lines), we saw some
girls with wide set eyes!

Meeson Pae Yang "Stratum" - New drawings.
Jane Catlin
"Assimilation" - paintings and drawings.

JK gallery
2632 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Matthew Chambers "Like wooing a lover"
Angstrom Gallery
2622 S. La cienega blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034