Tag Archives: california

Looking, Looking

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Looking, always looking… Tubbs reaches for the self

 

Continuing to push the transitional state between memory, media, landscape and identity–a weird wasteland that’s simultaneously sparse and conflated. Dense and hypnotic.
I’ve been sampling Miami Vice lately, also filmed in LA County (most of it, anyway), and finding a melancholy relevance that’s ringing pretty true to my individual standing and the growing highways of The Cascade. With a certain droning, consistent sense of loss and distance, the characters are always gaining, never retaining. Losing ground, moving sideways. Wistfully linked to a weird TV blue environment. Hunting, searching, donning costumes and falsehoods.
I’ll share more of these soon. They’re going in odd directions, with some becoming animated as GIFs.
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Engaged

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Consumed

 
Current Exhibitions:
 
Automic

“Automic”, an exhibition curated by The Hand Magazine co-editors, Adam Finkelston and James Meara, will be at The Small Engine Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from Feb. 2nd through Feb.25th.

Where:
The Small Engine Gallery
1413 4th St SW
Albuquerque, NM

When:
Exhibition runs Feb. 2nd through Feb.25th, 2016.
Artist / opening reception: Friday, Feb. 12, 6-8 pm. More details in January.

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That’s one of my pieces on the right, arrow pointing to it – Mojave (always), 2015

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My piece, framed by dudes

Publication News:
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Art
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The Hand Magazine – Issue #11
https://thehandmagazine.wordpress.com/issue-11-purchase-and-artist-links/
Featured Mojave (always) from my Desert (Loss) series.
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Poetry & Art
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“Non-Image” appears in the January, 2016 issue of e-ratio 
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“This Uneven Tread” (art and poetry) appears in First Class Lit
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Winter, 2015 Issue of BROAD! 
Features “Time Slowing Down” and “Suspension”
Download the issue – http://broadzine.com/about/issues/
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Upcoming publications: 
The Bombay Gin (art) (2016)

Poles & Planets (Jupiter and the ’67 Chevy)

"Vasquez Canyon Road (in this distance)," 2015. Serigraph and monotype. 9 x 12".

“Vasquez Canyon Road (in this distance),” 2015. Serigraph and monotype. 9 x 12″.

As a first grader, riding in Dad’s ’67 Chevy shortbed pickup in the center of the bench seat (between them, no seatbelt) I was fascinated by the repetitive, rhythmic movement of telephone poles. We were driving through the Mojave Desert, going on a back road from Lancaster to Rosamond (then on to Tehachapi), where there are endless lines of ruddy, creosote telephone poles with tension wires at various levels of slack. The poles whipped past, punctuating the sky, defining our speed. It was mesmerizing (it always fascinated me, but on this one particular day, I got this overwhelming sense of them being planted in the Earth). It was like I pulled a camera back and realized these poles were here, stuck in the ground, on the surface of a planet. And here we were, rushing along the highway, in a wide open space, on the surface of a planet. And the planet was spinning, and it was out in space, surrounded by other spinning planets. These man-made objects, we as humans, the truck, the beer can in the paper bag (watch for cops!)—it was all planted, moving on a surface, moving and infinitesimal. Of course, I didn’t know the word “infinitesimal” then, but I did have a love affair with Jupiter, whose colors still infect my artwork.

"La Brea (effervescent)," 2015. Serigraphy and monotype. 9 x 12".

“La Brea (effervescent),” 2015. Serigraphy and monotype. 9 x 12″.

Desert (Loss) and Google

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Pearblossom Highway near Four Points, East Highway 138 – Palmdale, CA

I have a solo exhibition in November and I am fusing aspects of my most recent body of work, The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert, with excerpts from Last Days (poetry), to suit the space.

Rather than install the Cascade paintings, digital images or videos straightaway, I’ve remixed my own ‘episodes’ to produce an offshoot series, incorporating new research and experiences.

The November installation is entitled Desert (Loss). 

I’ve been mining my stills, videos and paintings for images and symbols that can be remixed into a visual discussion (or even dissection) of the eroded, fleeting memory and its tie to the tenuous nature of ‘depthiness,’ truth(iness) and media. Such that the creative speculation we use when recalling television–or when violently, even romantically, pursuing or attempting to possess fleeting memory, becomes all-consuming.

This pursuit, this grab for thin, fading and re-combining elements becomes the basis of our understanding of self and place;  the backdrop of gain and loss.

There are similarities between the recollection of events (real or fictional) and the abstract construction of place, moment and self built in our brains, to house our weird collection of experiences, our filtered understanding of things. It’s rather like the memory palace of Simonides, with a twist of media theory and personal loss. In this case, the desert backdrop of Adams.

Many of the elements sifted from my televisual desert have been stripped own and abbreviated. This is a graphic mode of erosion, such that only certain highlights remain, not unlike the white-hot pinpoints we latch onto when recalling an encounter, real or fictional, remembered or repressed:

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Martin Milner, who becomes an abstract sheath of black to the right, died Sept. 7. Each image is a monument to eventual loss, and apparently so is the digitally remixed and fabricated: Roland Barthes + The Flaming Lips

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Joshua trees

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Carson, CA

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14 Freeway

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Something’s been lost, or maybe he’s got dust in his eyes

Of course, these extracts, are black and white because they will become transparencies for exposing serigraphy screens.

This allows me to duplicate and further erode each moment, using a variety of ink transparencies and tones, letting some fill in and others become partially obliterated by additional layers and text. So, they won’t be straight black and white and they won’t be single-layer.

In addition to mining my existing episode base, I am also gathering new Google Street Views, stripping, twisting and mutating them, or matching them to television sources. They become part of the remix of reality and fantasy–each carefully chosen vignette speaking on multiple levels (I’ll address some of these in a future blog post). I’m also researching other artists (like Doug Rickard) that use Google, both perceptually and conceptually.

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Yes, this is along the length of Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway; 138. Or, maybe it’s my highway 138. LOL. This is past Littlerock, CA, looking East.

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Los Angeles County Cascades (on the right, see the tank and aqueduct?) plus the definitive overpass leading to Palmdale, Lancaster. Not far from the freeway interchange that fell during the 1995 Sylmar quake.

I’ll share progress shots and images of the finished series in the future. I am still working on audio, new videos and more paintings for the Cascade, but the paintings and videos won’t be part of Desert (Loss) as there is not enough space in the gallery and I adapted the show to suit the location. Audio could play a role, however.

Also, expect a better / deeper explanation of Desert (Loss) and the ideas behind it in coming weeks.

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These Moments

In completing my artist talk for June, I’m sifting through ‘reams’ of images, including many screen caps I’ve produced of my own videos. Here are a few that interested me.

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Transitional spaces between the desert fire and hospital–the moment of cross-fade is like the slip where one memory folds indiscriminately into another.

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The firefighters attempting an elevator rescue definitely recall one of my influences, Zbigniew Rybczyński, especially Take Five (1972) and Tango (1981). Echoes fall away to become past, present and future engagements with the attempted rescue

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Another transition near the Sylmar Cascades fire… the red squad occupies its own before and after, its own middle.

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Rather painterly, reminds me of my printmaking approach. Characters partially punch through a strange Hollywood overlay.

August Update

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The sun is rapidly setting on August and the light in New Mexico has shifted. Time to take inventory of my late-summer work.

I’ve been reading heaps of television and new media theory, continuing investigation into remix culture, appropriation, cultural structure and  theories of memory while also honing my video production skills. It seems I’ve been reading more this semester than any previous, which is saying something, as I’m always a prolific reader. My first research paper for the semester is centered on remix and the role of artist as cultural DJ (will share it soon).

I’ve also been developing a more final, conceptual outline of why my thesis contains three distinct elements that alternately access a related core. It’s connected to notions of television experience as a virtual mosaic, to Minkowski’s graph of space-time and to Lev Manovich’s three-screen theory. Too much to go into in this update, but it’s rapidly taking shape.

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Still from “Elevator (Finding a Way out of Here, I Hope)”

My studio work has been centered on developing videos, including massive back-end sampling, altering, generating and “painting” with moving media. So I Asked… and Elevator (Finding a Way Out of Here, I Hope) were developed during July and completed in August.

Many hours go into the scouting, capping and video remix process. Over the course of July and August I completed an obscene amount of tele-viewing time, scouring all 122 episodes of The Rockford Files, re-watching 78 episodes of Adam-12, 129 episodes of Emergency!, 7 episodes of Columbo, 4 episodes of Knight Rider, 22 episodes of The Greatest American Hero and 59 episodes of Simon & Simon. I say “obscene” simply because of the dismissive attitude television-viewing tends to invite. That’s a lot of TV (not even counting the episodes that were repeatedly scoured, broken down and disassembled).

Sound crazy? Research is always a little borderline, anyway. At least borderline obsessive for me. The television deluge served to reveal a bigger image of televisual structure, the function of television as mosaic (and as an extension of oral tradition) and as compositional flow. After a while, you see segments as painted moments in a longer, cyclical turn. This is very useful to the way I’m working with the painting and video.

Still from "So I Asked..."

Still from “So I Asked…”

The videos include layers of manipulated stills, altered footage, digital painting and sound that’s been sampled, mixed, remixed and composed using Audacity. I combined remixed television sound footage with my own sampled audio taken with a Zoom Microtrack recorder.

I’ve also generated hundreds of new screen caps and I’ve just started work on the second 38″ x 50″ painting.

I also experimented with contrasting present-day Google Street Views with show clips and discovered they lead in the wrong visual-physical direction for my 2015 thesis project, but are still fascinating on an urban archaeological level. During my research, I also found devoted fan bases, like the folks at the Official Dwight Schultz Fansite (A-Team Filming Locations), who do footwork to combine video stills with Google Street Views (and actual street shots the fans carve out on their own time), not unlike my experiments earlier this semester. However, their work is a collaborative effort, making use of crowd-sourced skills and knowledge–a compelling turn, and a confirmation that the iceberg revealed by my contrast experiment is meant for another project.

The overall concept behind the fansite research, however, is highly relevant to my thesis– a reminder that fictionalized, pop cultural narratives happened in real space. And here, the landscape becomes a site of activation, a catalyst for decade-spanning personal, regional and cultural interactions. Fans work with space-place memories, track down the actual locations, build new associations with the urban-archaeological discovery (and again, new memories and experiences), then share them as part of a collaborative digital space.

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Still from “Elevator…”

My mentor is also finalized–with thanks to Peter Rostovsky. I’ll be working with Kevin McCoy this Fall (of the collaborative duo, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy).

And here is a preview of the new painting, in its early-early phase.

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737 La Brea and LA County Fire Station 127

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737 N La Brea, Inglewood, CA – 1972 – former site of Sparling Buick (closed 1997). Luckor Plaza and Bekins buildings still around in 2014.

 

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As a side investigation, I plugged precise shooting locations from several TV series I’m working with into Google Maps to gauge distance (historical, physical, architectural, conceptual).

What I found was compelling, but ultimately too centered on the progression, or mutation, of space over time, rather than on a collapse of time and culture rooted in an elastic sense of place. Placed side-by-side, the photos told a linear narrative of urban change, freezing the landscape as an inactive sequence of moments united by off-screen “progress.”

Pairing the photos pleased the investigator in me, but opened a borderline sentimental dialogue, risking ironic detachment, amusement or simple spectacle-response to change (or lack thereof, as with Fire Station 127).

 

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Fire Station 127, Carson, CA – 1972

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Several people suggested I try playing with contemporary shots of pop-cultural locations this last residency, and it was a worthwhile investigation, perhaps able to lead into a new project in the future.

Ultimately, it heads a little too far in the wrong direction for my thesis, but underscores my fascination with the cultural database that can churn out such instant geographical instances!

Oh yeah–and I always seem to have an Amazon tab open. LOL.