Sunday, May 21, 2006

Review: 'Everything'

[Sorry, I have not images available yet from this show.]

works by Rachel Eckstein, Jeff Geesa, and Raine Vasquez
at Big Car Gallery (fountain square)

This is a drawing show. Or is it? While the show may not be exactly whay some may think of as a drawing show it is a show that deals with drawing. Drawing as a process. Drawing as a means to an end. 'Everything' has a nice balance between the three artists involved in the show, from the beautiful, lightly drawn, photorealistic/abstract graphite drawings of foil and painted surfaces by Rachel Eckstein, to the conceptually conceived and executed drawings that play with a pre existing set of rules by Jeff Geesa, and the harder to categorize mixed media works of Raine Vasquez. While this show is not going to the more extreme end of the scale of what makes a drawing show, like the recently reviewed 'Skirting the Line' show I wrote about, but I did enjoy the show. Having known the works of these artists for awhile, it was nice to see what they decided to bring out and show to the public.

I have been a fan of Rachel's drawings for some time now, well, since back when I was still at Herron as a student. I was a bit disappointed not to see at least one example of my favorite works of hers but that is not to take away from the quality of the pieces she had on show. You can get lost moving through her drawings. The subtle play of shades of graphite. Often the work leans toward the lighter end of the scale as far as contrast goes. This pulls you in closer to the work though at times I do feel I would like to see a bit more of the darker range, more contrast; but that is just me. At one point these works become pure abstraction and then just as suddenly you see the subject, be it crumpled foil that has been flattened back out or a detail of some gestural painted section of someone's canvas or their palette. I look forward to seeing how her work evolves and matures while she is in grad school.

Now the works of Jeff Geesa are a bit harder for me to write about. In a lot of his works he has set up a situation or a set of rules to execute whereas the drawing is the final outcome of the rules. In one instance, he has drawn a box only to erase the lines he drew and redrawing the erased fragments where they were left to lay on the paper. These works are very subtle and can be confusing to many of the viewers I imagine. I particularly liked the larger box drawing, sorry I forgot the title of the piece. His work makes me wonder about the rules we each place on ourselves in the studio as well as many artists desire to limit themselves, to work within a set of parameters. At first I think there is no way that my own work could be related to his process but upon further contemplation I find more and more similarities. I think what I wonder the most about his work is this; Is it the questions his work brings up and the process he uses to create the works that is most important? Or Is it the aesthetic product we see as a viewer that is the most important part? As an artist I am inclined to be interested in both aspects but as a viewer of art I am less sure of the answer.

The inclusion of Raine Vasquez's pieces into the show added some color. I was interested in seeing what he was going to do as in the past I have found his ideas intriguing. Someone who I believe wants to play with boundaries and cross them. If this is the case then his mixed media works are a great way to do this. Of his pieces I enjoyed his lithograph with prisma-color the most despite the printing flaws which stood out to me. Is that because I was a printmaker that I care about that or even notice? I think that with the scale of that work and his ability as a printer, I just expect a bit more tightness in execution. It is the subtleties in his work that make them powerful but in that you need to be more careful when it comes to details. Now don't get me wrong, I do like the piece. It is the larger silkscreen paintings on canvas with chalkboard paint and chalk drawing that had a chance to be quite powerful, but they seemed to fall a bit flat. What was the relationship between the two? These are the questions I kept asking myself. Are they important to like the work, probably not.

Overall I enjoyed this show with one major exception and that is the condition of the gallery walls for this show. The walls have been scarred and battered over the months and hadn't had a good coat of paint for bit which was at times very distracting from the very subtle works on display. Had there been a show of large bold paintings, I doubt anyone would really notice but in this case it was a distraction. I don't blame anyone for this though. It is just one of those things we must expect from time to time with our younger galleries. Time and money are always VERY limited. Sometimes we just can't afford to buy the paint or find the time to do it. Is it unfortunate for the exhibition, sure. Then again, I'd rather be able to have the chance of seeing the show like that than not seeing it at all.

23 Responses to “Review: 'Everything'”

Anonymous said...
May 24, 2006 at 10:58 AM

Regarding the walls- I heard that the artists were given an install date one day before the opening. They got there and the walls looked like crap, but they just didn't have the time to patch and totally repaint them. When they asked the owner about it he was like, "What's wrong with the walls?" I know what you're saying about time and money for paint, etc, but I think it is disrespectful to artists who have spent a lot of time on the work for the show not to at least give THEM the opportunity to present it well. I bet they would have happily spent the $30 for the paint and spackle.

Anonymous said...
May 24, 2006 at 1:17 PM

And there you have it.

Anonymous said...
May 26, 2006 at 8:20 AM

any gallery worth it's salt (no matter HOW YOUNG) would have had those walls looking at least half-way decent. walls are part of an exhibit much like a painting ground is the foundation of the painting.

School 30 is very young and totally poor, but at least threw a coat of paint on the walls for people to have a nice show from time to time.

There's no excuse for it except totally blatant laziness, either on the part of the gallery owner or the artists themselves. I would have stayed all night to make sure it looked good. Once the gallery owner abdicated responsibility, it became the artists DUTY to get it right.

Anonymous said...
May 26, 2006 at 12:27 PM

Praise the lord!

Jeffrey Geesa said...
May 26, 2006 at 2:00 PM

Thanks for the review Scott. I agree with everyone's comments about the walls, and I wish we would have cleaned them up more, but as Scott mentioned, the install date given to us was the night before the opening, and our access was rather limited. Likewise, I had to leave for New York the morning after the opening. Anyway, enough excuses, something should have, and probably could have been done.

One note I would like to make is that the title of the show is "Footnote Aesthetic". The large vinyl text stating "Everything*" was a piece that Raine and I collaborated on, the footnote which it differs to is printed on the cards for the show : "*everything else"

Thanks for coming and hanging out. I'll see you when I get back to the city of circles.

Glenn Guimond said...
May 30, 2006 at 1:04 PM

Before you read the following just note that no one else at Big Car knows that I am responding to your complaints. I, Glenn Guimond, alone am writing this. The rest of the collective might disagree with me and will probably have something to say to me about my response. But really, I don’t care.

I don’t believe what I’m reading here. All these complaints about the walls? What do you know about Big Car? Not much, obviously, if you think that there is a gallery owner (and I don’t believe that anyone said actually talked to someone about the walls before hand). Big Car is a non-profit gallery, (We are a collective of like-minded people. Read our website or ask one of us about the gallery and you’ll find out who and what Big Car is) there are usually only four people who are able to help out and in the past few months that number has been cut in half.

Think about this we had three shows last month. How much time can we take to paint the walls?

We do the best that we can. Consider the fact that we all have full time jobs and families. We spend our time at Big Car throwing our own money at upkeep and spending as much time as we can getting things ready. Currently one member of the collective is disabled another just got married another just changed jobs some have quit and others can’t help out due to outside obligations.

Have you ever read what we’re about? From the web page:

“…Its mission is to promote arts and cultural organizations. Big Car wants to help those organizations spread the word about the great things they do - while also contributing directly to the scene…and exciting events that bring artists together with the public…Big Car wants to help, not compete.”

We’re here to help promote artists in the city. We try to get as many people involved as we can, we are trying to generate excitement about art in the city. Why? Because we love art-whatever its form. If you think that the walls look bad ask one of us how you can help get Big Car ready for the next show, we’d appreciate it. None of us are lazy; as a matter of fact we work hard to keep everything moving forward.

I think that most of you are just complaining here because you need something to bitch about. I feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 1:24 PM

don't take the project on if you can't handle it. Tell the artists that they are responsible for the walls if you don't want to be, then give them the time to fix them up. Non-profit spaces can be run beautifully. You should be aiming for that, not making excuses about how you just don't have time and everyone should be so grateful to you for making the (sort of) effort.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 1:26 PM

Hey....FUCK YOU.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 1:27 PM

White Columns, Artists Space and White Box are all gorgeous non-profit spaces that people respect. If they had crappy walls I GUARANTEE you that they would not be taken as seriously. Its VISUAL ART. People care how the places LOOK. Just trying to help you out with a reality check. It isn't petty. If it were petty, no one would bother fixing up their walls.
-Same anonymous as above

Glenn Guimond said...
May 30, 2006 at 1:52 PM

Great then we can count on you to help out? (Right Dude?)

I should have known that I can't expect much from people who post anonymously.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 3:18 PM

Sure, the points I've made are completely irrelevant, right? I didn't start a non-profit gallery space because I don't have time to work at one and make it great. It's just not a priority for me. Is it for you? See how it works?

Glenn Guimond said...
May 30, 2006 at 5:05 PM

It is a priority for me, but I've been out due to physical limitations that I didn't have when we started the gallery.

We make the time to make sure everything is on track. This particular time we didn't have time to get the walls ready. That was my point. Normally they are.

When I read this post and saw what the complaints were I couldn't believe what I was reading. I mean how petty can you be?

As far as I'm concerned you're nothing more than a punk ass bitch who hides who he is with the click of a mouse. So yes your points are pretty irrelevant. Step up and help out otherwise shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 5:15 PM

I agree, there are galleries everywhere that are well operated being non-profit.
But what I really like is this: "Think about this we had three shows last month. How much time can we take to paint the walls?"
Dont you love that? I'm sorry but maybe is time to let those freaking bands go and jsut have art shows. Maybe you shouldn't have so many freaking shows so you can focus on a few good shows a year instead cranking up art on those walls that at the end will do no good to the artists. I almost always (that is except for sex) like quality over quntity (nah... sex too is better fewer times if done well). I see that the board members have their hands full. So really, my suggestion is to make fewer shows a year and have them done descently.

I haven't posted in a while. I miss you vicious things!!!


Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 6:15 PM

I agree with nanotech.

Just because people post anonymously, that doesn't mean they aren't worth listening to. See article above. I think great, non-profit art spaces are extremely important. But I don't get the sense the Big Car is on the right track with this. Why does it have to be so jam packed with events? Why not look to some of the more successful non-profits (in other cities) as examples of what works and stop patting yourselves on the back? Indianapolis doesn't need more sub-par venues and anything goes spaces. It needs serious and dedicated VISUAL ART people who have really high standards. Otherwise it's going to stay exactly where it is.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 6:43 PM

I hate art! I don't care if you show it on shit covered walls!
Dude! I don't even know why I'm reading this blog? How did I get here?

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 7:47 PM

Just click on the X bottom. That should take care of that.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2006 at 11:40 PM

The x bottom? Is that code for something?

Anonymous said...
May 31, 2006 at 10:56 AM

For exit.

Christopher said...
May 31, 2006 at 5:05 PM

Wow, step away from these comment boards for a minute and you miss a ton.

Mr. Guimond, although these comment boards can get nasty from time to time, I am really surprised by your response. Someone takes the time to go see one of your shows, is inspired enough to write about it in a public forum, offers some constructive criticism and you jump on him for being honest?

Many people in this town seem to be so afraid of criticism. I don't get it. Take it in stride, if the criticism is justified work on correcting it, and then start planning your next show. It's as easy as that.

Alex said...
May 31, 2006 at 8:42 PM

I thought the blog post itself was reasonable in the criticism it offered, but I can't understand why the only comments people made were attacks on the gallery walls. You want art in the city but have nothing to say about the actual show? The comments here aren't by any means 'constructive'.

There's a difference between taking criticism in stride and responding to flaming by anonymous posters.

Anonymous said...
June 1, 2006 at 8:40 AM

I don't think you were flamed by anyone. Though your crappy walls were used as a example. There are a lot of crappy walls in Indianapolis galleries. Four Star also has them.

anonymous2u said...
June 3, 2006 at 12:43 AM

definitely, presentation counts. calling out big car for crappy walls is both something about this specific show (Alex) as well as constructive criticism for those who run this cooperative to consider. condition of the gallery can definitely distract from any artist's best efforts. I'm glad someone said something about that big nasty zit right on big car's nose, because it was bugging me so much I couldn't even stand to look at the place. i quit going to big car months ago since all past experiences featured eactly what we're talking about here - poorly presented, and often poorly produced work, in a frequently annoying environment. now, i have hope. i might have the patience to find the gems if the gallery treated the art with a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t. a better effort by artists and gallery operators alike is in order. step up, take some pride, quit whining, and quit making excuses.

and please, Glenn, don't do the community any favors that you don't find personally rewarding. you have to have learned by now that we, the public, don't really care. so it's up to you. or not. and leave the oh-so-gauche comments and embarrassing excuses out of the blogs. it's not necessary and really doesn't improve the collective's image or position. BTW, the discussion was walls that distracted from work. as Christopher said, just do it better next time. or be proud of your messed up walls. your choice. but, in the best interests of big car, leave the diatribes to us anonymous punk ass bitches, bee-yatch!

Jeffrey Geesa said...
June 3, 2006 at 11:44 AM

If I ever curate a show at Big Car again, I think the best thing that could be done is to fix the walls at the opening, as a a performance. This way when the walls become the focus of the discourse, it has a chance to become an art discussion simultaneously. Relational aesthetics just might be useful afterall. (For our readers involved in Big Car, I am quite serious about this if you are interested.)

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