Archive for the ‘Notes On Painting’ Category

Art Market Depression

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

Panelists at Rochester Contemporary talk entitled "Think Globally. Create, Experience & Collect Locally."

RoCo’s event was billed as “Think Globally. Create, Experience & Collect Locally.” Sounded great.

Louis Perticone from Artisan Works, Nan Miller, who ran a gallery under her name for forty years, and Bradley Butler, a painter and gallery director/curator at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, just thirty five minutes from here, were the featured panelists. Grant Holcomb, the former Memorial Art Gallery director was sitting behind us. RoCo ran out of chairs, they had a good crowd.

Nan Miller, who represented Albert Paley and specialized in prints and multiples by internationally known artists addressed how everything has changed with the internet. People become aware of an artist and track him or her down on their own. Art Fairs are putting gallery owners like her out of business. Louis Perticone buys artists’ work in bulk, by the thousands, and rents it out to institutions. “I look for something I can put in a hospital, nothing too far out.” He said he has over a thousand photographs in Rochester General Hospital. And if I heard him right he does this as a not-for-profit. He stressed that less than one percent of artists make money. Instead “they fuel the art market by being consumers of art materials.” Bradley Butler’s “Main Street Arts” in Clifton Springs is an oasis. With artfully curated theme shows, curated group shows and artists in residence he brings art lovers to that small town, a real feat. He is not the owner however his situation is more like a dream.

Peggi and I went because we consider ourselves very small time collectors. We have very little wall space but we buy what we love. We bought Warhols with my brother in the mid seventies and took them to auction at Christie’s last year. We found this talk depressing but we probably have our heads in the clouds.

Motorcycle Weather

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Accordion player in Plaza Mayor, Pamploma, Spain

This guy (above) set such a dreamy mood in Pamploma’s Plaza Mayor we didn’t want to leave. A reminder that there is such a thing as civilization and the inclination to stop what you’re doing and just marvel at it all.

Leo Dodd’s show, a retrospective at the Geisel Gallery in the former Bausch & Lomb headquarters, is up. Thirty paintings will be on view until May 31st. I had only met Jean Geisel a few times, had never worked with her. She is a dynamo. I had a layout for the show but she took charge. We butted heads a few times and she won. The show looks great. I hope you can make it out on Friday evening to see for yourselves. 6-8pm.

Margaret Explosion returns to the Little Theater tonight. I usually print a few posters for our Little gig but we ran out of cyan ink. We were going to walk through the park where the magnolias are in full bloom but Staples became our destination. We took the same route we used to take to my parent’s place in Chapel Oaks. Its seven miles round trip, a drop in the bucket.

Margaret Explosion - Pretty Things

Margaret Explosion – Pretty Things

Can’t Talk Without A Pencil

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Leo Dodd watercolor "Ice Fishing Irondequoit Bay" on view at Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester, New York

Ice fishing is over for this year. We were down at the lake today and someone was out there windsurfing in a wetsuit. This painting is one of thirty one Leo Dodd watercolors in an upcoming retrospective at the Geisel Gallery in the former Baush + Lomb Headquarters in downtown Rochester. The show goes up on Tuesday and runs for the entire month of May. There is an opening reception on Friday, May 4th from 6 to 8PM and all art lovers are invited.

Four of paintings in the show were done in 1994 during the construction of the Bausch + Lomb World Headquarters. My father, wearing a hardhat on the downtown site, sketched and painted the project as the building went up. Jean Geisel, the director of the gallery, bought the four paintings for the Bausch + Lomb Art Collection and they were showcased in Bausch + Lomb’s “Rochester Room” for many years. Leo passed away in 2015 so he won’t be able to see the show. He will be there in spirit though with a gallery full of his delightful paintings. I hope you can stop out for the show.

“Can’t Talk Without A Pencil”
A Retrospective of Watercolors by Leo Dodd (1927 – 2015)
Opening reception Friday, May 4th, 6-8pm
Show runs May 1 to May 31, 2018

Geisel Gallery
The Geisel Gallery is located on the Second Floor (Mezzanine Level) of Legacy Tower
(Former Bausch & Lomb Headquarters downtown)
One Bausch & Lomb Place, Rochester, NY 14604


Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Gran Via, Madrid, Easter Sunday

An article we found here in the online version of the Times quoted Homer’s references to what became the Christian idea of personal resurrection. “You must endure, and not be brokenhearted. Once a man has died, and the dust has soaked up his blood, there is no resurrection.”

The resurrection as an article of faith is rather preposterous but as a miracle, why not celebrate it. We joined a big crowd in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor where a drum brigade from Cofrada de Cristo A La Cruz y de la Veronica were dressed in white ropes with purple sashes and touches of gold. Their drums were outfitted in the same Easter colors. The sound bounced off the walls of the plaza and carried us away.

The Picasso exhibit at Ciculo de Belles Artes, “Picasso y el Museo,” was astonishing. Nearly a hundred prints and a movie of Picasso drawing, all based on his hero’s of Spanish art, Velazquez, El Greco and Goya. The work dated from the thirties to the seventies and you are knocked out by his command. He is shown having so much fun riffing on the masters as only he could. It’s a miracle really.

Keenly Observed, Artfully Shown

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Leo Dodd watercolor "Town Dock Cape Cod" in upcoming Gieisel Gallery Show in May 2018

I feel connected to school kids more than ever now that, like them, I walk around with a back pack. I plan to live out of my pack for the next month and the process of outfitting it with the things I feel I must have, while staying under a self imposed weight, has been all consuming. It will be a huge relief to walk away with those ten pounds and separate myself from the rest.

The biggest item on my checklist of things to do before we leave was the preparation for a show of my father’s work at the Geisel Gallery on May 1st, a show that opens days after we return. The director of that gallery, Jean Geisel, bought four paintings directly from father. He was standing out front, painting en plein air, while Bausch & Lomb was constructing their downtown headquarters when she met him. When my father passed, leaving a tall stack of watercolors, I approached galleries and she jumped at the chance to show his work. Rick Muto at Axom Gallery offered to show Leo’s paintings as well and I was preparing for that when Rochester Contemporary made their offer. RoCo featured Leo’s work in their 2017 Rochester Biennial. That show concentrated on his downtown Rochester paintings.

The Geisel show is an overview and features paintings like the one above from Cape Cod. Thirty one paintings are framed and wrapped, ready for delivery. We worked out a layout, printed the wall tags and wrote an artist statement. Spending time with Leo’s paintings has been an incredible gift. I’m left marveling at his ability to keenly observe and artfully demonstrate the subjects that caught his interest. The opening is on First Friday, May 4th from 6-8pm at the Geisel Gallery. Mark your calendars.

Six By Six By Minimal

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Raw Adirondack Pine pieces glued together for Rochester Contemporary's Annual 6x6 Exhibition

RoCo is accepting entries for their annual 6×6 exhibition and they included PopWars on their promo list. “We are reaching out to you because here at RoCo we think your readers at PopWars would enjoy learning about it. The deadline is quickly approaching and we would love if you could help us promote such an important and unique event. Would you be willing to write something about 6x6x2018 and invite your readers to participate?” It is not exactly what I do here but of course I will pitch in.

I’ve been gluing two pieces of rough cut Adirondack pine together for four years now and I’m hoping there is still some life in the concept. The boards, that Pete and Shelley bought from a sawmill for me, were only around five inches wide so making a six by six piece required ripping, gluing and clamping. Instead of ripping to three inches so the two pieces would be symmetrical I found these pleasing proportions and painted the two pieces a different color to accentuate that.

The first ones were each two colors, right out of the tube. The second year I only used one color on each leaving the other part of it as raw wood. The third year I cut the two pieces of wood the same size, glued them together and painted either a center panel or the surrounding of a non-painted center panel.

Each of them sold so I’m pushing it a bit further this year. Each of my four blocks uses the same two colors. If they sell I will try submitting the raw wood panels above as is next year. In today’s political climate I’ve been thinking of them as my wall prototypes.


Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Kelly Jacobson untitled piece on wall at Colleen Buzzard's gallery space

Even the MAG was closed yesterday with the big snowfall so we expected First Friday to be slow. We intended to start with Colleen Buzzard‘s Studio and then move on to Axom and RoCo. We got as far as Colleen’s and settled in with a beautiful show of Kelly Jacobson’s work entitled, “The Difference Between Their and There.” Colleen told us when she booked the show there was the hope that Jacobson would do a new installation piece for it but when that didn’t work out Colleen rounded up Kelly Jacobson work, books, prints, portraits in stone and these (above), from local collectors. The show is stunning. I fell in love with these three concrete-filled metal tubes. This piece is hanging in Colleen’s husband’s work space at UR and he was there last night to visit it. In fact it was their anniversary and we celebrated part of it with them and this beautiful work.

Both Ends

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Subtle Lake Ontario colors in winter

We didn’t walk along the lake today and I missed it. The sand, the water, the sky. These three elements in combination never look the same from one day to the next. This view, the way it looked yesterday, is at both ends of the spectrum between subtle and dramatic. The dark purple at the horizon, the pink just before it and the torquoises before it. The dirty snow and grey brown sand bring out the red in the branches. And the sky, on an overcast day in the middle of February is the stuff Agnes Martin and Mark Rothko played with.

I used a photo of the horizon on the the lake for the cover of “Disappear,” the title song of Margaret Explosion’s “Disappear” cd. Curiously, the song is not on the cd. It was recorded after the Disappear cd was released. Margaret Explosion returns to the Little Theatre Café on Wednesdays in March.

Margaret Explosion - Disappear
Margaret Explosion – Disappear

True North

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

Rodney Taylor Untitled painting at Rochester Contemporary

According to Rodney Taylor’s notes, his painting explores the June night in 1872 when Frederick Douglas returned to Rochester after learning his family farm on South Avenue had burnt down in a suspected arson. It is my favorite piece in the new show at RoCo, a show that explores “The Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass” on two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Rochester’s most important figure.

The 1899 statue of Douglas, the one that used to be in front of the New York Central Train Station on the corner of St. Paul Street and Central Avenue and is currently in Highland Park, was the first statue dedicated to an African American in the United States. Later this year it will be moved again to spot closer to his old house.

Writing in his newspaper, The North Star, Douglas said, “While Rochester is among the most liberal of northern cities it nevertheless has its share of that Ku Klux Klan spirit which makes anything owned by a colored man a little less respected and secure than when owned by a white citizen.

Taylors painting is shows what was left of the house. Nothing but the horror.

Show Me

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

Mise En Place art group artist talk at the Little Theartre Cafe in Rochester, New York

I gather that Pete Monacelli put the Mise En Place art group together, a bunch of artists who meet once a week for lunch. They say they talk about art but Peggi and I met them one week, by chance, and the talk was what I would call free-ranging. We have gotten to know all these guys over the years and it was fun to hear them tell their familiar stories at the artist talk/closing party for their group show at the Little Theatre Café. A key member, Kurt Feuerherm, left before the talk and Bob Conge was recovering from an operation. My favorite part of the talk was when Bill Keyser, on the far right, spoke about how he was interested in found materials. He would finish a piece of furniture after working on it for a few months and come back into his studio to find a leftover piece of wood or odd cut that he found more intriguing than his piece.

Bill Keyser was in Fred Lipp’s painting class with me for many years. If you talked about what you were trying to do in Fred’s class he would say, “Don’t talk about It. Show me.” You can see three of Bill’s abstract paintings on metal panels in the blow-up of the photo above. I hope you can get over to see the show before it closes.

En Plen Air

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Rick Muto oil on panel,  plein air painting of marsh along Sterling Creek 8" x 6,"  on view at Axom Gallery in Rochester New York

Axom Gallery, across the street from the Barrel ‘O Dolls, is one of the nicest spaces for art in the city of Rochester. We have seen so many really good shows there over the years and we have slowly gotten to know Rick and Robin Muto, the gallery owners. Rick runs his decorative and fine art business (murals, faux pieta dura and marbling) out of their space. Robin runs her interior decorating business and increasingly her retail shop out of another portion of their space and their daughter used to be the gallery director but she took a job at the MAG and Rick is now the gallery director.

Rick’s passion though is en plein air oil painting and he has a show at Axom now with twenty exquisite paintings of local nature scenes. Rick told us he usually finishes these paintings on site in one session. We spend a lot of time in the woods and I would say his sense of space and color is spot on. I particularly like the ones that look the loosest, the most expressive, like this one of the “Marsh Along Sterling Creek.”

Can you imagine going out for the day and coming back with one of these? If I could do that I would throw away my camera.

Do No Harm

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Frozen Lake Ontario shoreline in January

Matisse is a saint in my book, a candidate for pagan idolatry.

I ordered this cut-out book, “Expressionism in Germany and France,” while I was in the throes of preparation for “Witness” and I’m just now getting into it. I love German Expressionism, the more rough and tumble, the better, and I find it interesting those guys, coming out of WWI, were influenced by the dainty French. But this quote from Matisse is foundational!

“What I am after, above all, is expression … Expression, for me, does not reside in passion bursting from a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive: the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around the, the proportions, all that has its share.

Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter’s command to express his feelings. In a picture every part will be visible and will play its appointed role, whether it be principal or secondary. Everything that is not useful in the picture is, it follows, harmful. A work of art must be harmonious in its entirety: any superfluous detail would replace some other essential detail in the mind of the spectator.”

Me Too

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Bauer Pottery coffee cups from Teri in California

Peggi’s sister sent us four coffee cups from the Bauer Pottery Company in LA. They look like California and have livened up our mornings.

Duane sent us up a copy of “Leon of Juda,” Robert Frank’s newest book of photos, published by Steidl. I mention the publisher because the book is beautiful. The photos are as well but that goes without saying. I’ve looked at the book (it is without text) everyday since it arrived and it still seems mysterious and fresh.

And a paperback also arrived from Louise in time for the holidays, one based on a 1972 BBC series, “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger. Parts of it are so thought provoking I will never forget what I read.

Berger starts Chapter 3 with a passage from Genesis. Catholics weren’t so big on the bible when I went to school so I was familiar with the story but still not ready to read it.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons …. And the Lord God called unto the man and said unto him, ‘Where are thou?’ And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself ….
Unto the woman God said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.'”

With these words he makes the case that all of European culture was ripe for the #MeToo movement. With rare exceptions, paintings of female nudes exist for the delight of men. “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, you put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting Vanity, thus morally condemning the woman whose nakednsss you had depicted for your own pleasure. The real function of the mirror was otherwise. It was to make the woman connive in treating herself as, first and foremost, a sight.”

And he notes, “other non-European traditions – in Indian art, Persian art, African art, Pre-Columbian art – nakedness is never supine in this way. And if, in these traditions, the theme of a work is sexual attraction, it is likely to show active sexual love as between two people, the woman as active as the man, the actions of each absorbing the other”

He finishes the chapter with a challenge. “Choose from this book an image of a traditional nude. Transform the woman into a man. Either in your mind’s eye or by drawing on the reproduction. Then notice the violence which that transformation does. Not to the image, but to the assumptions of a likely viewer.”

Matisse Leaves

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Red barricade on Zoo Road in Durand Eastman Park, Rochester, New York

I never noticed this until Peggi pointed it out. The white oak leaves, the ones that look like they belong in a Matisse painting, tend to land with their backsides up in the Fall. The leaf is usually cupped and it must fall like a parachute. The back side of the leaves are duller so you have to turn them over to get the most color.

We didn’t buy anything at today’s Holiday Show at Philips Fine Art. It was one of those shows where you could take the piece home if you laid down the cash so pieces were disappearing as we talked and Warren was quick to rearrange the show, removing the empty hooks and clustering the remaining paintings artfully. I love this space. Warren frames work in the back and rotates work in the main gallery on a monthly basis. Pete Monacelli hangs the shows and is often one of the featured artists. And then there are two other rooms in this gallery with work by big names from Rochester’s recent past, always top quality work that Warren has purchased to resell.

The Holiday Show featured some beautiful watercolor and pen drawings by Kurt Feuerherm, abstracts by Judy Gohringer and George Wegman, and wooden sculptures by Peter Gohringer. Peter is fan of the band and we talked music. If I bought something it would have been Tarrent Clement’s orange and black assemblage. I fell in love with it and it was still on the wall when we left.

Work Of Art

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Edvard Munch Self Portrait at Met Breuer

The special low airfare didn’t sound so good after spending most of our first day in Rochester but the plane to the train trip went smoothly and Duane’s vegetarian curry made everything right in Brooklyn.

We headed into Chelsea earlier than usual the next morning with no notes. We usually have a short list of galleries but this time we wandered up and down 22nd to 26th between ninth and tenth and struck gold with a stimulating mix of familiar and new names.

We stopped for coffee at the diner on 9th Avenue. The place has undergone a deep reboot. Peggi spotted an avocado open face on someone’s plate so we ordered a couple of those. A thick slice of sour dough toast was topped with fresh avocado, thin slices of radish and cilantro leaves. A work of art.

Hauser and Wirth on 22nd does everything right. They’re building a brand new facility while they carry on in a rented space next door. Prime gallery space for their stable of living and dead all stars. Geta Brătescu showing currently with Philip Guston and Eva Hesse in the deceased category. They have a choice bookstore, a cafe and – a real rarity – a bathroom.

We worked our way uptown to the Met Breuer where a cross section of Edward Munch’s life’s work filled the third floor. He painted for most of his eighty years and got better and better all the way. The self portrait above, one that looks like it could have been painted today, was completed a year before his death.

Saying Goodbye

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Rochester Contemporary "Witness" show with Bug  Jar Mugshots, 3 "Models From Crime Page" and large 2017 oil painting by Paul Dodd

Today was the last day for the Witness exhibition. We stopped by yesterday for a last visit. My brother, John, was there, studying my father’s sketchbooks. Peggi and I were in the round, video-installation room making another video of the video of mugshot sources. The first attempt had a few glitches and Peggi walked in front of the camera at one point. I felt like it added scale but she wanted to do it again.

We were almost done when we heard a lot of conversation out in the main room. A group of eight people or so were talking about the paintings. One guy thought one of my portraits looked like him and he was posing in front of it. Someone else was making a video and talking into the microphone. Bleu, the gallery director came out of the back room and greeted everyone. He told someone that I was the artist and I was introduced to the others.

Rahsaan. P. was the name of the guy making the movie. He said he plans to use the footage he shot of the show in a video he is making with a singer. The song is called, “The Mona Kiesha” and he said it should be available on his video channel by Thanksgiving. One of the guys with him is known as the “Tarmac Dancer.” Country singer, Terry McBride, was flying out of Rochester and he shot this video of Kyran Ashford doing his job at the airport.

Next Best Thing

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Peggi and I visited Rochester Contemporary last week so I could take some still photos of the art installation. While I was moving my tripod around the gallery Peggi took some movies with her iPhone. She edited them over the weekend and made this composite video. We added a soundtrack of our band, Margaret Explosion, two live songs that were recorded last week at the Little Theatre Café. The exhibition runs through November 10. I hope you can out and see it. If you can’t, I guess this video is the next best thing.

An Adventure

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Giant puffball mushroom in Durand Eastman Park, Rochester, New York

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” That quote is from Joan Didion. We watched the Netflix documentary on her last night and loved it.

“A painting is an adventure. It is not the execution of a plan.” That one is from Fred Lipp. Somebody should do a documentary of him.

Meditation On The Mugshot

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Three "Models From Crime Page" paintings 1999, 2009, 2008 by Paul Dodd from "Witness" show at Rochester Contemporary through November 12, 2017

Peggi and I stopped by Rochester Contemporary to take some pictures of the show. I brought my tripod and set the timer to ensure the shots would be in focus. I was prepared to use the incandescent or florescent setting on my camera but the cast from RoCo’s’ led lights looked most natural in the auto mode. Peggi took a movie of the show, walking from front to back, panning slowly along each of the walls in and out of the round video room, sound the display case and back up to the front. I’ll post that here when she gets it edited.

For me the best thing about the show is the freedom it gives me to move beyond it. I will surly revisit the theme, my “meditation on the mugshot” as Bleu calls it. I keep coming back. But for now I am moving on. Have you seen the most recent Crimestopper page?

Middle Finger

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Renée Valenti in Main Street Arts studio, Cliffton Springs

Clifton Springs is a hike. Any place you have to take the Thruway for is a hike. It’s really only 35 minutes away and it is worth the drive. It is one of the most well preserved old New York towns you’ll find. We were there for the opening of “Sacred Curiosities,” a group show of Rochester area artists at Main Street Arts. Martha O’Conner has about thirty of her exquisite, mostly clay small abstract figures in the show. Two were sold by the time we got there. This is a beautiful gallery space and there is a great restaurant across the street when the gallery closes.

But we drove a short distance to Manchester and had a “Middle Finger Lakes IPA” at Reinvention Brewery. This place is like a small town Irish pub, warm and friendly, a family style beer hall. Painter, Renée Valenti, is doing a month long residency in one of the upstairs studios at Main Street Arts. She had a piece in the recent Whitney Biennial. I really loved her paintings. She told me she had been doing figurative work but had recently started painting abstractly with flesh tones and charcoal. I spent the way home thinking about her work.