• Print Update

    In News, Print on

    For the past few months, I’ve been working with a print making process called Piezography.  It’s a black and white inkjet printing process developed by Jon Cone of ConeEditions Press.

    Large format Epson ink jet color printers have 6 to 11 ink heads, depending on the models.  They can apply a wide range of colors in addition to black and white tones.  The result is generally accepted as superb.  But Piezography takes it further by replacing all channels with 7 shades of carbon pigment black ink.  This allows the printer to eliminate the need to mimic gray tones by computer generated dot patterns.  Instead, the 7 channels of black apply tightly packed pigments onto the media, creating a more organic, more accurate rendition of black and white tones.  Also, since the result is basically carbon on paper, it can practically outlast most of anything.

    Epson 9880 Piezography

    My initial impression is that the Piezography is particularly good at capturing the air or the subtlety of atmospheric expression in pieces.  Most of my prints with the graphic contrast have come out very well with the regular Epson printing process, however I’ve felt that there is an obvious limitation in expressing this subtle depth, which is particularly obvious in pieces with lighter negative spaces.

    One of the features of Piezography is its emphasis on the accuracy of on-screen digital proofing by insisting on the right tools and settings.  And I was hoping that this would make the making process more efficient by reducing the trial and error process of actually printing.  But the making process  so far has proved that there is just so much I can see on the screen.

    In this regard, I learned an interesting fact during John Cone’s Piezography workshop.  The screen technology has evolved very much away from the digital print making technology.  The latest screen technology, for example, can provide a much wider dynamic range than what we can see on papers.  The intensity of the contrast on bright screens and its seductiveness represent a major aspect of our visual culture today, at least on screens.  Jon Cone called the entire field of inkjet printing “vintage”.  And the gap between the old and new became apparent when we calibrated our screen to show what we actually see on our prints.  The dull, flat images on screens were devoid of the tactile, organic presence of the cotton fibers of the papers or the atmospheric subtlety of various shades of black pigments on them.  It was interesting to recognize that what we find desirable is very much shaped by the technology provided by the industry.

    The same thing has happened in many other fields.  For instance, I believe that the lack of the popular appeal for classical music partly stems from the difficulty of reproducing the subtlety of layered instruments and the wider dynamic range  required to reproduce the full spectrum of the sounds by our playback systems.  It is unfortunate that the tendency persists due to the widely available compressed music file formats and playback systems geared toward those materials, although, technologically speaking, there are great options available for those who choose to appreciate wider varieties of content today.

    Anyway, I’ve struggled with an image for the past couple of months, and finally, I have an image file.

    B14-7 36x49 2

    B14-07, 36″ x 49″

    This particular piece will be framed and shipped to Brooklyn.

    Please email me if you are interested in the print.

     

  • From the Studio

    In From the Studio on

    I came across the following clip recently and it made me think of how things go in my studio.

    During my studio practice a breakthrough can often occur as a totally unpredictable surprise. It is not intuitive at all. I simulate, I speculate, and I try to imagine with my all being. I try to open my heart as wide as I can to feel all I can feel but the moment refuses to be recognized as my labor of love. It lies one step beyond all my intuitive attempts. It’s only given to me as a fact of life I happen to come across: Being at the right place at the right moment. I stand there helplessly in awe of how the elements reveal their mystery.

  • Untitled Painting 008

    In Painting on

    A new painting

     

    Untitled painting 008ps2

    Untitled painting 008, 40″ x 30″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2015

  • Untitlted Painting 007

    In Painting on

    For the past 20 years or so I’ve always kept paints with colors thinking that I might use them one day.  That’s what happened last week.  I think blue is a sort of unusual color.  It can be so vibrant and beautiful.  But it’s also very common.  It’s the color of the sky.  It’s the color of our planet.  It’s just there no matter what happens to our personal lives or to the collective life of our species.  The association to the depth, the size and the sense of time is sort of scary while it’s also comforting and wonderful.

    Untitled Painting 007ps2950

    Untitled Painting 007, 24″ x 18″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2015

  • New Website

    In News on

    I’ve procrastinated years rebuilding my website but I finally started to work on it a few weeks ago, which includes learning about WordPress from scratch, finding the original photo files and reprocessing countless images in larger sizes.

    It’s pretty daunting but I’ve come across quite a few nice images that I’ve either forgotten or didn’t notice before.  Here is one from 2009.  #54 and my son Cosmo at Salomon Contemporary in East Hampton.

    And I would like to thank Ed Brandt for tips and suggestions on site building.  Thank you Ed!

     

    #54 with my son from an East Hampton show 2009

  • Good Bye to Bill King

    In Artist, News on

    I’ve been feeling numb and broken over the passing of my friend Bill King.

    The objective reality is that he was a rare human who defied the absurdity and cruelty of our time by relentlessly motivating us to see what we are through playfulness, mystery, wonder, warmth, fragility and strength in his work. He proved to us that it is indeed possible to live with dignity and humanity even in a time like ours. He was 90 years old. Knowing how he was, he probably worked till the very end. Ending of his life should be celebrated as a great achievement.

    But I selfishly wish that he still calls me to say hi, that we still exchange studio visits and chat about how things are.

    Not feeling like saying good bye to him at all.

    Bill, where did you go?

    Bill with his sculpture in his house

    Bill with his sculpture in his house

    Bill with his sculptures in his house

    Bill with his sculpture in his house

    Bill in his house

    Bill in his house

    Bill with his sculptures in his house

    Bill with his sculptures in his house

    Bill in his studio

    Bill in his studio

  • Untitled Painting 006

    In News, Painting on

    A new painting. This one is a bit larger (60″ x 40″) and painterly.

     

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    Untitled Painting 006, 60″ x 40″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2015

  • Untitled Painting 004

    In News, Painting on

    painting 004ps720

    Untitled Painting 004, 24″ x 18″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2015

  • Untitled Painting 005

    In News, Painting on

    untitled painting 005

    Untitled Painting 005, 40″ x 30″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2015

  • On Charlie Hebdo Attack

    In News on

    Please don’t get me wrong.  I do feel indescribable sadness and anger about fellow artists being killed in such a cruel way.  I feel hopeless that whatever we are can be erased so easily by such an insane violence.  I wouldn’t be alive today if I didn’t have art.  If I didn’t have my special relationship to the magical moments in my studio, if I didn’t have the ecstatic joy of feeling connected to total strangers through the evidences of those moments, and if my work didn’t pull me out of my destructive drinking habit, I wouldn’t be alive today.

    There are two reasons why my profile picture doesn’t say “I am Charlie Hebdo” — the slogan of support for the magazine Charlie Hebdo.  First, as many of my Facebook friends have already pointed out, some of the Charlie Hebdo pieces harshly satirize victims as much as the perpetrators of injustice and inhumanity.  My position is that if we lived in a world where opportunities were given equally and everyone was treated equally, it’s probably alright to pick on anyone.  I do believe in the power of a simple narrative to shed a light on a mechanism of absurdity.

    But we live in a world where a handful of people are monopolizing the power and wealth.  I see that as a major premise of our time.  It’s the biggest absurdity permeating every level of our lives.  Yet, it is the most carefully concealed dynamic of our time.  Inequality and injustice is our normal.  Racism and white privilege is our horizon line.  Satirizing everything equally in this condition, to me, seems to contribute to masking this abnormality.  It is an ironic paradox of working in a cultural sphere so thoroughly affected by the hierarchy of money and violence.  In particular, attacking Muslims when the West is engaging in devastating colonial wars against Muslim countries, which have resulted in millions of deaths so far, seems to be extremely narrow sighted.  Especially when the extreme nature of Islamic nations largely stems from decades of the violent colonial policies of the West.  Here is an excellent article on it.

    Who Should be Blamed for Muslim Terrorism?  by Andre Vltchek

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/09/who-should-be-blamed-for-muslim-terrorism/

    The second reason, I think, is much more important to me.  As soon as the event occurred, we were flooded by the mainstream media and world leaders condemning the senseless violence with their blame directly aimed at Islamic extremists, hinting reinforced counter violence and enhanced security measures against Islamic nations.  It is obvious that the same people who are engaging in devastating colonial wars of resources for decades are seizing the moment to utilize the tragic deaths to take away more lives and forward their agendas of exploitation and subjugation in the name of freedom and art.

    To me the attack in Paris must be seen as a part of the violent excursions being repeated by the Western military interventions.  It must be counted as one of the senseless attacks inflicted daily upon the people of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and many other places.  These attacks are perpetrated by the people who have been, one way or the other, supported by the Western nations and its allies to destabilize and create failed states of chaos, sufferings and deaths for the interests of the Western corporations and banks.  Again, the above article is a good starting point in understanding the colonial history of the Middle East.

    I have to stand with people who are losing everything as much as I have to stand up for freedom of speech.  These things are not mutually exclusive.  Actions to protect free speech must not result in deaths and destruction serving the authoritative order of our time.  Those who are already suffering tremendously need more people standing up for their rights to countries, communities, cultures, histories, lands, and their lives.  We must face our real enemy hiding behind the voice of free speech.

    Here are a few helpful materials to understand the historical background of what we are facing today.  Please share them with your friends and your family members:

    Reverse Racism by Aamer Rahman

    Edward Said On Orientalism

    The Crisis of Civilization by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

    A Presentation by Miko Peled on Oct. 1, 2012