Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mattera Chunks

"Attached are two of my favorite color chunks, taken in Chelsea in spring 2008. Both have a transucency that's almost ethereal. I just happened upon them when the time of day was just right, because I have seen them both at other times and the effect was nowhere near as luminous. The soap-dispenser image is from a women's bathroom in one of the gallery buildings in Chelsea. (The location is either 529 W. 20th or 511 W. 25--I'm not remembering which at the moment. But if you spend the day in Chelsea, you'd better know the locations of the accessible bathrooms.)"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hallard Chunk

From Brent Hallard...

Didn't think I had anything for you, for your color chunks and then I remembered prompted by Pat's posted chunk four years ago I bought my first cell phone with a camera in it and took a bunch of useless images. They all had something to do with daily chores; a place I had to go every day; a barrier that I would be confronted with -- traffic signals, or waiting for the train to pass; a bus whizzing past, rubble, a plant across the road, and I would shoot. Not very interesting, of course, but it became a habit that I followed. It struck me that what I was doing with this then new little toy, and as especially as I'm one of the world's worst photographers, was paying more attention. With the help of the camera/telephone strange things started to pull together, patterns arose, the drum was heard not for its incessant dulling beat, but for the variations upon the timbre on the fabric of experience. All this, simply by paying greater attention to what usually gets filed under ‘forget’. So, if you could choose an image which suits you as a color chunk organizer that would sort of complete this little note, bringing the events of the past right up to the present, which will then fall back into a new past.


And here's a link to one particular focus back then over a number of days. it stopped just as it started, just as everything seems to do, patterns build to then fall away.

Strange universe we have crawled into.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Untitled Writing

I wrote this about a year ago. Shelved it. Recently I rediscovered it and decided it wasn't too bad.
Can a painting be made out of something besides paint? What makes a painting, a painting? Who has the right to answer this question? Art schools, the market or painters themselves? There are no rules to painting, or to art. Only conventions and all conventions are free game to be questioned. They aren’t set in stone. Chaos won’t ensue if the conventions are not followed, will it? Some of these issues I’m concerned with were raised during the late 60’s and early 70’s. I don’t think the issues were ever resolved or could be resolved. And I certainly never agreed that they were. Every stage of my process is important. Every step from conception to sketch to preparation to execution to titling to display is considered and realized for itself. But it’s not systematic. Intricate but not formulaic. At each stage I’m open to intuition. In general, slightly off lines seem to have more character than perfectly drawn straight ones. I favor the wet to the dry, the soft to the hard, the bright to the dull. Complexity is arrived at through reading the work piece to piece to piece. When I was younger, I tried to pour everything I knew or was interested in, into one piece. Now I don’t. It’s honed, more singular and specific. I want the "viewer's" experience to be as such.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cast Work (inspired by below)

urethane resin, 14"x 13", 2008.
click on image for too much detail.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blue Sheet

McCubbin Chunk

"Here's a color chunk I love, although strictly
speaking some of it is a bit fluid for a chunk."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Assertive Color

Color Chunks: Looking for areas of assertive color found
in the real world. Frequently man-made and often plastic.
Where the object or area screams color. In this case "orange".

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Color Chunks: Open Call

I'd like to announce the first Color Chunks: Open Call. Previously people would send in their Color Chunks here and there and I would post them here and there. But I hesitated making an "Open Call", fearing some Chunks people would send in might not be Chunk-worthy. And I didn't get into a selection thing where I'd accept some people's Chunks but not others. We have enough of that b**l sh** in our business anyway, don't we?

But now I've decided with a few guidelines it could be fun. I'm curious to see how people interpret what "Color Chunk" could mean.

So here are the guidelines. Let's start the madness.

1. Must be jpg. form.
2. Must not be your artwork, but 'source material' is okay.
3. Must not be somebody else's artwork(including design).
4. Must not be somebody's photo where they try to make it art.
5. Nothing from fckr(see above), unless taken yourself.

Basically, "Chunks" is an alternative to the word "Piece" in mindset and philosophy. As in..."I created this particular 'piece' during my 'Summer in Tuscany Period'. There is an artlessness to Chunks, a spontaneity, a happy accident, a stumble upon quality. Frequently, the more ambiguous the image or object, the better. Color is what is known and where you can hang the meaning.

So, send in your Chunks: moahksan@yahoo.com and we'll see what happens.

Deadline: Open

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Red Party Cup

A note to Color Chunks viewers outside the U.S. Perhaps you've
seen The Red Party Cup in the movies. You might be interested
to know that, yes, we really do use The Red Party Cup at parties.
Why the cup is red, I don't know. Why at parties, I don't know.
If anyone knows, please let me know. This Red Party Cup post will
go under the "Cultural Curiosity File" of The Color Chunks Blog.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Libby's Comment

Libby Rosof of Philly Art Blog responded to the "Toxic, Boring, Inhumane" Post and I thought the comment deserved a post of its own:
Hi, John, this is quite amazing. I love both the comment and the response. I did stop by to take a look. My daughter and son-in-law, who were with me, looked and said, Huh?! Then we all talked about it a little, me less than both of them. I was mostly interested in hearing what their response was, the two of them being somewhat interested but not rabidly interested in contemporary art. They didn't reject the work. They were just a little mystified by how to respond. But we talked about it, about what the process probably was, about the colors, about what the substrate was. We laughed at the purported materials the title suggests. And then we downed some lattes and headed for the door. I consider that a fair amount of entertainment for an art work! Besides, the paintings (objects) are still entertaining me in my mind's eye!!! They are gloriously unresolved there.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Toxic, Boring, Inhumane"

The other day I got an email in my in-box titled 'really?' and it concerned a viewer who was disturbed by some of my recent work currently on display at Doug Witmer's Green Line Art Projects in West Philadelphia. It expresses the trendy self righteousness of a certain part of the urban population. He's sincere and humane and leaves his name and then, ironically, doesn't afford me the common courtesy of addressing me with mine. And I actually love the work being called "toxic". It sounds powerful and dangerous.
Here's the email:
I can't believe you get away with this (sponges and
washcloths?). either drop your prices by 85% or start collecting more
interesting garbage. PLEASE. unless you use your funds to promote or engage
in social justice work.
until then your work is toxic and boring. if that's
the point you have to
charge less. it is inhumane otherwise.

Here's my response:

Thanks for your email. Really. I've never gotten hate mail for my work before and it's kind of interesting.

As far as getting away with charging so much for art seen as "unworthy"(by you at least)-- you should get out more! There's a lot more where that came from! Ever hear of Damien Hirst and his sliced in half cows and sheep? Or his painting made of 1000's of dead flies? Millions, dog, millions. I'm asking for chump change in comparison.

And for what it's worth, I made my artwork from scratch(made from felt, foam and polyurethane resin). I didn't find it in the garbage. I wasn't aware if you knew that or not. I called them sponges and washcloths because they looked like that. They're not REAL sponges and washcloths.

And another thing, you found my art SO BORING you found the time to write me about it. Things I find truly boring I forget about them a minute later. You found my artwork boring enough to put some thought into it and write to me. Hmmph.

Anyway, thanks again. I plan to post your email and my response to it on my colorchunks blog. If you ever want to get really bored again. Check it out!



Monday, November 24, 2008

No Title

No Title

Steam Buns(2005)

From the Color Chunks Archives, Jeonju, Korea, 2005.
click on image for lots of detail.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Own Chunk (new work)

urethane resin, pigment on plaster, 12"x10", 2008.
click on image for lots of detail.

My Own Chunk (new work)

acrylic on plaster, 4"x5", 2008
click on the image for lots of detail.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Own Chunk (new work)

urethane resin, 4"x6", 2008.
click on image for lots of detail.
Read a discussion of this chunk on

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Own Chunk (new work)

urethane resin, acrylic and plaster, 3"x4", 2008.
click on image for lots of detail.
Read a discussion of the chunk on
Brent Hallard's Visual Discrepancies.

My Own Chunk (new work)

urethane resin, 8'x11", 2008.
click on image for lots of detail.

My Own Chunk (new work)

urethane resin, 7"x3", 2008.
click on image for lots of detail.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ranger, N.C.

From The Studio

From The Studio

The Flea Market: Ranger, N.C.

A Note

Last week Guido Winkler sent me an entry for Artist's On Words. I was sending him an email saying basically, "It's great but sorry the project's over...". And then I stopped in the middle of typing and thought--What am I doing? My "ending" of the "project" seemed arbitrary and forced(from 10/6/08). If people were still sending me stuff, why not keep publishing it? What's the big deal? So, therefore, Artist's On Words will continue. It's good for everyone. And, check out Guido Winkler's posts below.

Guido Winkler: Transition II

70 cm x 90 cm pigment piezoprint

Guido Winkler: Transition

Transition was the title of a show that was held in Le Petit Port, at the end of 2006. The show marked the upcoming influence of the computer and digital print in my work.Transitions referred to the character of that exhibition which was in fact a work in progress itself. Very much like the continuing process of creating art. I made my work on the spot.Since 1998, I work with terms like wonder, knowledge and perception through common preoccupations about time and space. Transitions also refers to the bridges, gates, viaducts, staircases, windows, holes, etc. which have been used as starting point in my work. In Le Petit Port, through induction and deduction I created most of the work directly from the surroundings of the gallery. Transitions also refers to the transcendental moment of the making of an artwork. From reality to a new reality.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

Gloves and Tape

Blue Ring

White Stack

Thanks for Artists On Words

Thanks to everyone who participated in and checked out Artists On Words.

Next up will be something else.

Please stay tuned...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ed Angell: Untitled Diptych


Ed Angell's unabashed investigation of materiality can be seen on his website. Taking "great pleasure is using the most basic materials offered by the earth", he creates machined objects with a curiously humanistic touch. He's a resident of that beautiful and wet part of the country known as Western Washington.

Ed Angell On Repetition

For as long as I've enjoyed art, the work of Robert Ryman and Agnes Martin have captivated me. Ryman with the color white and Martin with her graphite line have taken Repetition to new levels. As an artist, I've often thought how deftly both these artists use a repetitious theme is their work, to great advantage. As many times as I've viewed both artists works, they never seem to get old or stale and I've always wondered why.

As my own work has matured over time, I find that I too am caught up in Repetition. While subtle, I've begun to notice how important adjacent elements in my work have become. Whether adjacent edges in a singular painting or the color cast that happens between the elements of my diptych's, I'm starting to realize that Repetition is the ultimate quest for the perfect answer.

I sincerely hope there is no perfect answer, I would hate to stop searching.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thanks to Ken Weathersby for contributing to last week's post.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ron Buffington:Untitled

16" x 18", oil on canvas panel, 2008

Ron Buffington makes his home in Chattanooga, Tenn. He is a founding member of the artist's collective SEED, along with Jessica Westbrook and Adam Trowbridge(see below). Ron exhibits his incredible paintings nationally but I have the great pleasure of being able to drive down to his studio to see them anytime I want(you know, if I call first). He's just started a blog!

Ron Buffington On Strategy

We learn from Wittgenstein that "one cannot obey a rule privately." If painting can be thought of as a game, there are undoubtedly rules that ensure fair play. Painting’s rules, like that of any game, serve two purposes: to prohibit certain actions; and to permit certain others. Painting is unique among games only to the extent that it requires the player to amend the rules of play. In other words, to make an object that counts as a painting, the painter must both follow extant rules and invent new rules. Moreover, the painter attains significance as a player of the game only by making an important contribution to the rule book.

I’ve always been interested in games; in discovering rules and honoring them; in following them closely; in fully inhabiting them. At the same time, I’ve always enjoyed modifying the rules of a game, not in entirely abandoning proscriptions but in exploring the way the game is impacted by a subtle shift in the rules. Painting provides precisely this opportunity to reinvent play.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thanks to Pam Farrell and Steven Alexander for the previous week's posts.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ken Weathersby: 158 (AR)

2008, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel with Removed and Inserted Area, 20" x 16"

"Frustrated Communication". Ken Weathersby makes provocative work of the most rigorous and erudite kind. Here's the website. His work was included in the 183rd Annual Contemporary Exhibition at the National Academy Museum in NY (the show was up since June and closes today, Sept. 7.) He's currently a 2008 fellow in painting from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation / New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey which is the hometown of astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Ken Weathersby On Effect vs. Actual

Effects in painting like unexpected luminescence, twinkling or sparkling, floating after-images or apparent movement, can powerfully, if subliminally, evoke the uncanny or magical. When such seemingly hallucinatory optical phenomena are confronted with presentations of a painting’s physicality (physical inertness [mortality, contingency]) by reversing the canvas, cutting pieces of it out, embedding other surfaces within it, or otherwise making its constructedness and limitation transparent, this visual enchantment effect is challenged by its obvious inseparability from the banality of cotton duck, wood, and paint. Knowledge of the neutrality of means contests aroused hopes of a magical, supernatural dimension.

On the other hand, the emergence of trippy color experience from a demystified, actual physical object might reassuringly remind us how the fantastic pleasures of non-physical movement and frictionless disoriented color effects can still be available in an ordinary waking state (without chemical assistance and without prolonged meditation, fasting or sleep deprivation).

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pamela Farrell: Vestige

36x36", oil/graphite on panel

Pamela Farrell is from that extraordinary point exactly half way between New York and Philadelphia, Flemington, NJ. Jersey gets dissed all the time, mostly from people who have never spent significant time there. It's a great state and should get more respect. Pamela is an active blogger and extensively investigates the possibilities contained in the medium of encaustic. Please see her blog here and her website here.

Pamela Farrell On Revealing

My work seems like it’s all about revealing…something: remains, lacunae, vestiges, scars, memories, clues, and the subliminal. In addition to being an artist, I am also a practicing licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist.

In both practices, revealing (revelation?) is a complex undertaking: it must be measured, paced carefully, and with time taken to stop along the way to explore that which has been revealed.

Too much revealed too quickly and the result can be frightening or anxiety-producing; too little, and the pace can feel plodding, boring, and can bring about feelings of discouragement and impatience.

Sometimes what has been revealed is frightening or unpleasant and attempts are made to edit or recover the protective layer. This may produce desirable results in art; in therapy, not so much.

If the revealed does not integrate well into the larger picture, but appears to take on a life of its own and is viewed as “precious,” or maybe something to be regarded at another time, the balance can be thrown off, and it must be discarded—in the case of therapy, perhaps temporarily; in art, that move is usually painful and can be experienced as a loss, at least, initially.

This has been a nice little exercise for me, talking about revealing. Revealing plays a vital role in both my art and my clinical work, as a tool, a process, and a result. And this little piece also is a bit revealing…about me, which brings me to the final point I’d like to make. In both the art and the clinical work, I sometimes struggle with how much of me to reveal. Both are intensely personal and intimate endeavors. In the therapeutic relationship, there are practice guidelines about self-disclosure of the therapist. The therapist revealing too much or the wrong things about the self can be seen as a boundary transgression and/or damaging to the therapeutic process and relationship. In my art, the struggle for me is how much of myself to reveal…and what does that even look like? Could anyone really tell? Is my art about me? Or is it addressing larger, more universal themes and experiences? Maybe both, if I’m lucky.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thanks to Brent Hallard and Libberta for contributing the material for last week's posts.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Steven Alexander: AXIS

AXIS, 2007, 72 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas

Steven Alexander resides in my old home state of Pennsylvania. To see more of his beautiful paintings check out his website. It's just the kind of website I like. Straightforward. The work. And I agree with his point, dualities really are interdependent (although we seldom think of them as such).

Steven Alexander

- of light on surface
- of color in relation to color
- of color resonances on perception
- of perception on consciousness
- of consciousness on perception
- of perception on color resonances
- of the painting on the viewer's imagination
- of the viewer's imagination on the painting

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thanks to Kate Beck and Guido Winkler for contributing the content for last week's posts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brent Hallard: Tube

acrylic and pencil on cut and folded paper, 8.5 x 11.7 in., 2008

Brent Hallard lives and works in Tokyo. Here is his website. I'm very partial to his work. He runs a project space in the Setagaya district called Bus-Dori. Which if you ask me, I think this is extremely cool. Brent grew up in Sydney and embellishment makes him cranky.

Brent Hallard On The End

There is nothing left to do. Nothing left to do. Cleaning up the area. Putting bits away. Pulling other things out. Throwing out what is not needed. Banana peel. Ducking out for what is. Finally...There is nothing left to do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fallon and Rosof: In The Studio

acrylic on panel, double-sided, 4x8x1"

Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof run the wildly successful and extremely popular Philly Art Blog. They are also collaborating artists and the image above is from their "So True" series. True advocates of the arts in general and of contemporary art in Philadelphia in particular, their passion is genuine and their enthusiasm infectious.