1.31.2011

hey there lonely girl

These are some of more than 200 photographs* recently released by the Huntington Beach, California, and New York City police departments, taken by convicted serial killer and rapist Rodney Alcala. The images, gleaned from a cache of over 2000 found in a storage locker, were all taken before Alcala's 1979 arrest for the murder of a 12 year old. (I believe six more murder charges have been added over the years, with two coming just this month).

I like these photographs. Their provenance makes it virtually impossible not to see in them a predatorial eye. It gives them a lurid charge. But had I not known where they were from, I would still like them.//

Alcala, who passed himself off as a photographer, appeared on The Dating Game in 1978, about the same time he was to have killed the 12 year old. He was Bachelor #1 and won the date. Bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw decided not to go out with him.//

* These are not, to my knowledge, images of victims.

1.27.2011

Eric Ravilious Carried On

the Knife Grinder
Eric Ravilious’ unpublished design for the Adhesive Stamp Centenary, 1940

Some of the subject icons Ravilious created for Everyman's Library.
These and more at the Collecting Everyman's Library site

shopfronts done for High Street, 1938

Ravilious was attracted to the light and radiance of the Sussex Downs
Not to forget he was an artist during wartime, this landscape is titled "Shelling by night", 1941

Eric Ravilious (1903—1942), British painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver, was inspired by the Sussex Downs of Southern England. His watercolors of the chalk paths and gentle scenery of the area are both serene and slightly discomfiting. There's an echo of the American Regionalism style of the same time, but Ravilious never seems to veer into what I think of as the Americans' fairy tale robustness or swirling animism. His is a quiet mysticism, drawing power from the ancient landscape and particular light.

Ravilious' commercial art on the other hand has a homey cheerfulness. There's a wonderful "Carry On" celebration of Britishness and day-to-day life in his series of storefronts, published as High Street by the Curwen Press. (All 24 lithograph views from High Street can be seen
here.) He did work for Wedgwood with an extremely appealing child-like sensibility. He created wood cut spot illustrations, patterns and icons for the popular "Everyman's Library" imprint and designed for London Transport, among other highly visible —and quotidien—clients.

Ravilious was also an "Official War Artist"* during WWII  and received a commission in the Royal Marines. He was killed in September 1942 on a rescue mission with the Royal Air Force in the North Atlantic off the coast of Iceland.//


An excerpt from a beautiful essay by British essayist and travel writer Robert MacFarlane (which I found here):
Ravilious…Downsman, follower of old paths and tracks, lover of whiteness and of light, and a visionary of the everyday…’The Downs’, he wrote once, ‘ shaped my whole outlook and way of painting because the colour of the landscape was so lovely and the design so beautifully obvious’. ..He made expeditions, slept out and walked for hours following the lines of the Downs, their ridges, rivers and tracks…
The light of the Downs is distinctive for its radiance, possessing as it does the combined pearlescence of chalk, grass blades and a proximate sea. If you have walked on the Downs in high summer or high winter, you will know that Downs’ light also has a peculiar power to flatten out the view – to render scattered objects equidistant.... In these respects the light of the Downs is kindred with another flattening light, the light of the polar regions, which usually falls at a slant and is similarly fine-grained. The light and the path: the flattening (the light) and the beckoning (the path). These are Ravilious’s signature combinations as an artist.
* Did the United States have Official Artists for the war? Any war? It seems so odd— 'go out while people are getting killed and sketch.' But there were official photographers I suppose...

1.26.2011

snow day details

I feel sad for the horses
why do I like this so much?
cigar store Indian
fingerless gloves?
"shine downstairs"

It is snowing yet again here. 
Herewith, a snowy day, January 24, c 1900, "on the East Side."
I would say my favorite thing in this image is the cafe sign. Although it was a bright moment, too, when I recognized that is a true cigar store Indian laden with snow behind the the older gentleman. One other detail to puzzle over— are those sidewalk grates being uncovered? If so, that means the subway was up and running, no? Then this image has to be 1905 or later.
Enjoy.

1.18.2011

foreign territory



Liking California artist Allison Schulnik's work is a complete anomaly for me. How it is that I've fallen for her? The crude anti-pretty harshness, the accretions of paint (impasto-- I hate impasto!) and did I mention the disturbing clowns? It reminds me a bit of Gaetano Pesce (ghastly), and of Paul Evans furniture (the horror). But I also see Francis Bacon and James Ensor and despite all the names I've mentioned, I also see a really singular vision that somehow I find really arresting. She has an emotionally uncompromising and focused style. Yet through sculpture, painting and claymation film I dont find her repeating herself. The work seems like a progression... and I like that it leads me to foreign aesthetic territory.

Do not miss her video for Grizzly Bear—it's mesmerizing.

I found Allison on my other discovery, the eminently likeable (and linkable) Teenangster. Teen' is wide-ranging: street style to street views, from obscure art, and vintage, to-- very importantly— cute kitties. Intelligent but not highfalutin', stylish without a self-conscious hipster demeanor. Check her out too.//

1.01.2011

Happy 2011






This was to have published at 11:55 last night but it didnt!

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