Thursday, March 31, 2011

Water, Liquor, Hair

My class and I had a mandatory excursion to the Chelsea galleries yesterday. We were lucky enough to have a private visit to Anna Kustera Gallery, which was closed during installation for the opening tonight, but we managed to get in before it was open to the public and meet with the artist. You're hearing it here first people!

The current exhibition is called Water, Liquor, Hair. It is a solo show for painter Julia Jacquette (who went to the same high school I did! LaGuardia represent!). This show, is so "brand spanking new" says the artist, that I could not even find images online of her work currently on display. If it's not even online yet, you know how exclusive this is. The opening is happening right now, as I type this, so unless someone tweets an iPhone photo to google before I'm done posting, you'll just have to go see it. I do so wish I could show you all the enormous alcohol paintings! And the small one of the Chanel necklace! However I simply cannot as I lack the means to do so!

Water, Liquor, Hair

Julia Jacquette

Anna Kustera Gallery

520 West 21st Street New York

Alexa Strautmanis

Julia Jacquette is a brilliant oil painter. Her newest and current show is called Water, Liquor, Hair, and is quite self-explanatory. Jacquette uses advertising for inspiration and reference, specifically, the ads toward the front of magazines, which are almost exclusively for high end liquor, jewelry, shampoo and perfumes.

A palpable common denominator between these products and the way they are advertised is a certain chic wetness. Shampoo ads have inhumanely shiny, sleek hair, blonde and brunette multidimensional shades, perfumes are often photographed in shallow films of water, or with a model fresh out of the beach, pool, etc… liquor ads obviously encompass all that comes with a hot day and a cool drink; ice cubes, condensation, carbonation and bubbles, pouring a smooth liquid in super slow motion into a highball that seems to go on forever, fast cars on shiny watered down highways, these are all the subtle nuances that provoke us as consumers to buy these products, as well as the motivation behind every brushstroke of each painting in this show.

Upon entering the gallery, two paintings are on opposite walls, one is a tarmac with a vivid reflection of the airplane, like it’s a mirage on a 100 plus degree day, while the second piece is an abstracted close up of suspended bubbles in a cool blue liquid. Both of these pieces are so different, yet evoke the same feeling in the viewer: thirst. Thirsting for a drink, for international travel, for the good life.

As if I was not impressed enough with the foyer, as one turns the corner into the main gallery space, it is a feast for the eyes, to say the least. You are immediately met with two ends of the spectrums of scale and depiction. Smaller works on panel are photorealistic squares of hair so shiny and bouncy it gave me The Urge to Herbal. A finger of whiskey hanging on its own in the corner begged me to pick it up and sip it contently in the warm room surrounding it. A Chanel necklace around a blonde’s neck taunted me, in the way a popular girl in high school would, yet I want acceptance and approval.

Amongst these gem-like smaller pieces are enormous, wall-sized abstractions of various rums and spirits. An avid fan of the sauce, each one spoke to me; ‘Mojito, Bacardi with lime, whiskey on the rocks’. The center one, probably the most non-objective of the group, made me squeal with joy on the inside as I thought ‘looking down a huge glass of white wine’, and the artist graciously informs us that it is indeed, a glass of wine from above. Something about the stem-like dark spot in the center seemed very familiar to me, maybe too familiar.

The hues in the room are comfortable and household. The shades of the hair mimic the colors of the liquor. Each painting, whether large and abstract or small and representative hold the same levels of precision and meticulousness; it takes a talented hand indeed to paint strands of hair, pearls, airplanes, and mixed drinks with the same conviction. Anyone who has ever flipped through a Cosmopolitan or enjoyed one at an airport bar would be enamored with the work of Julia Jacquette.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow

Its officially Spring, people! Of course, the calendar says it's Spring, but we all know deep in our goose downs that snow is imminently approaching the north east coast. Enough I say! I am tired of seeing the late-in-March date and bundling up to my nose. I had a tank top on this past Friday. A tank top! No sleeves! I'm in my own apartment right now and still I feel the need for a cardigan, a fetching pair of wool socks, and even a blanket would not be too far off...

But, I digress, it is indeed the season of growth and regeneration. With the change of the seasons come the inevitable SALEs. Including one very particular sale on at the Suspended Stasis store, where jewelry made by collaborating artists from Chicago is handcrafted and sold. Did I mention it's my sister's store? It is, and its pretty fantastic. I was lucky enough to be one of the first and few to get my hands on one of their gorgeous and one of a kind necklaces, and I'm passing the savings on to youuuuuuuuu!!! These artisan pieces are all unique and are all half price this week. Especially perfect for spring, and anyone who wants to stand out in the jewelry and accessory department. Here is a look at some of what Suspended Stasis has to offer.

The materials used for these items are natural tree bark, wood, synthetic moss, precious stone, leather, chain, and acrylic tubing. They are all handmade, one a kind, limited pieces. For information please see the Etsy store Suspended Stasis, or the blog UKVP.

The rings pictured on top are of an organic jewelry line by Paula Hayes, pictured below are more of her 'Living Necklaces' as well as some more rings

Bonzai zen garden tree ring? I feel like this was made specifically for the Wu Tang Clan.

And in case you are wondering, yes, they do require minimal watering to stay their freshest!

As do these lovely Wearable Planters by Colleen Jordan.

In a similar fashion, Japanese designer On La Zine released this line in the beginning of the new year, more surrounding the use of porcelain for accessories than live plants, but theres one mossy gem that didn't escape my eye!

The Grand finale, you ask? Footwear! Obviously starting with necklaces, going down to rings, the next and last stop are the shoes. The eden of high heels are made by artist Rachel Mahlke.

As if walking in stilettos weren't painful enough!!!

I pray the weather around Manhattan warms up so I can get's me some of these desert friendly hooker heels. They are few and far between.

Friday, March 18, 2011

We struck GOLD!!!

An appropriate place to end the rainbow of St Patrick's Day?
Gold Bar

New York City. Three small words, the biggest nights out. I was lucky enough last night, St Patricks night, to attend the opening of the Efflorescence exhibit at Dacia Gallery, located on Stanton street in the lower east side. This little gallery packs a big punch, the focus of the show based loosely on abstraction paintings, in so few words. Here are a few of the pieces I was privy to.

Jee Young Choi

Peggy Klineman

Jane Hugentober

I've known Yuri longer than I like to admit, I met him in high school before my purple hair phase. We are now both at SVA and he's graduating from the illustration department this spring. Kudos Yuri, well done!

This show just went up so it's on for another month or so, if you are in the area, or any fan of what you've seen here, do go check it out, it really is fantastic.

(A small note to the artists: I enjoyed the show and am only here as an observer, if anyone objects to the images or text I have posted here, tell me so, and I will oblige any way I can. Thank you.)

After the opening I headed promptly east, where my friend and I stumbled haphazardly into another local gallery reception. Actually, it was a hair salon that happened to have a ton of paintings up. Will save that for another post, but here's a hint:

A guy by the name of Joseph Meloy makes hundreds of these Basquiat-esk, "fine art graffiti" paintings and drawings in an allegedly very narrow space. Nonetheless! Its an impressive body of work, and almost overwhelming to see all at one time, drunk. Check out the website.

Upon walking around the corner from the hair salon show I met friends at Epstien's Bar and had a decent time partaking in the festivities. I'm a sucker for holidays, any holidays. In a place like Manhattan, no matter how much green I was NOT wearing, there are always the people with green wigs, hats, beads, makeup, to make me feel like I'm just as festive, without having any shamrock eyeshadow on. Bless you drunkards!

Without so much as jolly jig I found myself and the crowd we'd accumulated being shoved into several cabs, which made more than a few U turns on our way to Gold Bar. This was my second time going to this location, first time while I was coherent. But of course, that status could not have changed faster by the time I was inside. For such gawdy, flashy decor (uh, all gold?) the place really had a fancy feel to it. Maybe its the thousands of gold skulls, or the royal paintings of dogs wearing bling on a tiger skin rug, but the place had class.

See what I mean? Clearly this is the pinnacle of good taste.

I have no idea why the main room was overseen by a painting of my brother.

That was a helluva night, and all the stops along the way were worth mentioning. I hope everyone had a fun and festive night, because come last call at 4am, it doesn't even matter if its a holiday or not, right? Right.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saint Patrick

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody! If you don't have any green on, prepare for pinching this Thursday! All Irish national pride aside, I want to appreciate this holiday on behalf of every shade of green. From my first tube of Sap Green Oil paint in freshman year in high school to the Anna Sui nail polish I thought I'd never have an excuse to actually wear, I've loved green.

(Yes, thats a Bop-It in the background. Jealous much?)

If you paint any room in your house this magnificent color, you will inevitably become naturally more creative while in its presence. Green houses, green rooms, green screens... I can't imagine modern life without you. I know I should respectfully pay homage to Saint Patrick himself, the entire nations of both North and South Ireland, and artists who use mainly potatoes, but I cannot resist a few nods toward a color that deserves recognition as well...

These first two images are of the current Lynda Benglis exhibit at The New Museum, the latter being a detail. These amorphous blobs of hardened latex floated out from the wall, like something out of Poltergeist... or Family Double Dare. The darkened room was curtained off, with the occasional blast of fluorescent ceiling lights to recharge the glow-in-the-dark goodness, (one thinks back to the star and planet stickers we all had stuck to our bedroom walls in the nineties). While Julia and I stood watching these static neon waterfalls, the lights were on and a young couple walked across the room, barely noticing the piece. Then without warning, its gets dark, the black lights flash on, and the newly recharged amoeba startle the crap out of these people! Not only that, but the free posters they had rolled up and had been carrying, they immediately used as pseudo-lightsabers. Priceless.

This is Slimer, from Ghostbusters. A familiar green blob, which the more I think about, is almost the perfect love child of the George Condo paintings and Lynda Benglis latex pieces at The New Museum. Kind of creepy.

Trying to end this post on a good note, before all of us have too much green beer than we know what to do with, here is a blast from the past, the classic, the timeless, Nickelodeon slime.

Man, that stuff was so awesome.

Drink responsibly!