Yuko Takada Keller’s Medium Is the Message

Sort of, anyway. Yuko Takada Keller makes gorgeous and intricate tracing paper installations that often reflect natural dynamic forms. She does everything on her own, from crafting each piece to hanging them, which seems a massive task, and her care and personal investment make her sculpture intimate and more meaningful.

The size of her works masks the delicacy of each individual piece, like a drop of water is always at risk of evaporating or splashing out of its wave or pool, but can be powerful with many others like it.

Metaphors abound. Keller’s use of paper takes the thing most often used as substrate for other images—or to obscure them—and makes it the focus.

A Little Night Music

I’ve been listening obsessively to Fangclub’s album Vulture Culture lately. I’ve long loved heavy music, and this one captures some of the thrill and ear candy I found during the early 90s.

There’s a polish to the production that reminds me of similarly capable musicians like The High Speed Scene, or more currently Liily. Well worth digging in for those who like gorgeous melodies and harmony over thunderous rhythms.

The Holes We Fall Into: Allan Holdsworth

I’ve been in love with Allan Holdsworth’s guitar playing and composition since I discovered him obliquely through a few more famous guitarists in the mid-80s, who praised him as one of the best of the best. If ever I start watching a video with him playing or call up a track I suddenly recall, I’ll often keep following links to more of it.

The above video is a window into Allan’s musical origins. He taught himself to understand the guitar by math and visual patterns, figuring out how to make his understanding work within the framework of mainstream—more or less—music. It’s complicated and unusual, but it’s all his.

His music is strange, even now, not easy to decipher, endless melodic lines coming at you with great speed and transition. But it’s worth digging into, rewarding in a way the most deeply connected artists can convey. Like the best literature, it can be a bit of work and persistence to absorb and penetrate, but his music rewards close attention.

His speed and wild runs is what gets the most attention, but there’s equal, aching power and beauty in his quiet, airy chord voicing that so often precede and follow those blistering passages.

Lucinda Parker’s Textured Perspective Shifting

Lucinda Parker, Exposed Basalt – Baroque Fugue, 2018

I’m sad I haven’t noticed Lucinda Parker’s work before. There’s a building near our apartment that has two of her paintings in their lobby, which faces the street. I passed by one night recently and they stopped me in my tracks. Her visions are chunky and hard edged, but they fit together and turn in unexpected ways, like I’m seeing them in a dream.

I can’t find a personal website or Instagram for her, but the Russo Lee Gallery seems to be her outlet, and they have many of her pieces to view.

She’s got a visceral style of painting, making lovely rough fields of color that join together in a vaguely cubist way. Similarly, her perspective shifts in unexpected ways. The image draws my eye, but then bends space, pulling me further in. It’s wonderful to experience in the larger works in person.

Karen Kunc’s Dream World Symbolism

Karen Kunc, In Transience (detail), woodcut, 2017

I don’t know how I didn’t come across Karen Kunc’s work before, because it often exhibits a fusion I’m awed by, of at least three spheres of art: symbolic, abstract, and printmaking. There’s so much at her web site to study.

For me, there’s a strong Paul Klee influence, but that would resonate for any artist using bright color and line symbolism. There’s a drifting, dream component to much of her work. It feels like the way one segment of dream merges into another. Beautiful worlds are created here, I recommend spending some time just absorbing each piece.

Watching Artists Draw Is Not Only Therapeutic for Other Artists, It’s Educational

Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon Draw Stuff

I know, I know: we all revert to 10-year-olds when told something is “educational.” But no, really, it’s the next best thing to drawing yourself. In the video above, Dzama and Pettibon collaborate on some large drawings. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

It’s good for us to observe art in action. And, if you never watch other artists, you’re often struggling in a vast ocean of possibility. Maybe you’re getting better at staying afloat, but it takes a long time and is exhausting.

Drawing Is Being Human, and Seeing Reality

This article on Quartzy reviews D. B. Dowd’s new book, Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice. The article makes much of the idea that drawing is a kind of learning, which is somewhat true, but limited, I’d argue. Instead, I think there’s great value in championing the idea of drawing as a tool for many aspects of life, and not just the province of artists and fumbled attempts to imitate the pros.

Near the beginning, it says drawing should t be limited to the artists. But I’d say that misses the point, at least for me. Drawing is for all of us because to make art is human. We are all artists by nature. Most of us just lack refinement and practice in becoming connected to our creative cores and in utilizing various techniques of creation.

It’s well worth reading, and I hope it’s another bit of inspiration to start or keep working on your thing.

Color Suspended: the Bright Spectrum of Emmanuelle Moureaux’s Work

Layers of cut out kanji, suspended in midair, fill a large room in a saturated sequenced spectrum

Universe of Words, by Emmanuelle Moureaux

Moureaux is a French artist living in Tokyo, Japan. Her work is largely comprised of intense, spectral displays, which I’m forever drawn to. Her work, particularly the 100 Colors installation series. From her bio:

She uses colors as three-dimensional elements, like layers, in order to create spaces, not as a finishing touch applied on surfaces. Handling colors as a medium to compose space, her wish is to give emotion through colors with her creations

Her Instagram page is full of joy in color.

https://instagram.com/emmanuellemoureaux

Holly Herndon’s Ethereal Thunder Dreams

Somebody linked Holly Herndon’s Godmother on Twitter months ago, and I was an instant convert, sorry that I hadn’t found her before. Herndon recently finished her music PhD, and her sound is a kind of amalgam of vaguely recognizable traditional cultural forms of uncertain origin. It sounds weirdly familiar, but I can’t place specific influences.

There’s an emphasis on rhythm and voice. Herndon and her collaborators pile vocal tracks atop one another in a dizzying stack, though production remains remarkably unmuddied.

There’s also something disturbing, unnerving about both songs and video. Herndon uses programmed manipulation to chop up lines, in some cases letting a trained AI feed impressions back into songs. It’s all heady and fresh, and I’m very on board.