Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Comments fr Dominique Nahas/independent critic and curator and Art Omi Board member:

Well my Oh-Mii experience last Wednesday and Thursday was just as I expected and wanted it to be: warm (yes it w a s really HOT) and engaging. There is nothing like talking about art (that is life and one’s approaches to the questions that one has about it) with really committed and smart and conscious professionals...particularly in such an Edenic (yes, paradisie--like) setting as ArtOmi. It is as if one is given a 3 week suspension from all earthly woes so as to be in the moment with one’s art! Rapture. Rapture. Rapture. (And no, I wasn’t smoking or ingesting anything but the vibes being produced by high energies...) Does it get better than this? I hardlythink so....Comraderie and high spirits, an openness and good-faith and humor that spreads and inspires and blossoms like wildfire (I think I have used/misused several incompatible metaphors just then...but hay, I mean, hey, it’s summer and words and the livin is easy...). I have to say that I always intend on saying hello to everyone everytime I go to ArtOmi for studio visits...the fact is that everyone is fully within his or her power: everyone here is a mature and highly-developed thinker and feeler; to enter each world reveals a universe of thoughts, passions, interests, vitalities...The dream: I would like to have the opportunity to spend a whole day with each person at ArtOmi...a utopic dream...I inevitably leave without having met the “thickness” of being of each artist. Patrick Bancel, Gudrun Barenbrock, caraballo-farman, Anibal Catalan, Cesar Cornejo, Luciano Di Rosa ( you see I am going down my list of yet-to-sees.) ....Patricia Eustaquio, Matteo Fato, Irfan Hassan, Jang Bo-Yun, Maude Leonard-Contant, Anna Lundh, Eduardo Navarro, Park Sungyeon: each of these artists are going to get a look-see from me on Saturday and Sunday during Open weekend; I promise. ‘Je vous jure...!’ I had engaging talks with a number of artist such as Drabo Alassane from Burkina Faso...spoke to him in French and was amazed to see how he and his colleagues are setting up group encounters with kids who are interested in art; I was amazed at how Drabo sees himself, rightly, as a mentor and a example of autonomy and self-respect to young people who are struggling materialistically but who also are looking for role models such as Drabo... I was so very touched knowing how artists around the world just DO the right thing without thoughts of being compensated with honors or money...they do service of the highest kind and I am so proud to know them and be with them... Other high points were my pointed discussion with Dread Scott (the revolution will not be televised but it will be real...), Ernest DUKU (wow can we talk about someone who is eloquent and lucid...), Eckhard Etzold (let me count the ways he references Walter Benjamin/Baudrillard and Lacan’s reflections on the permutations of the real through his thoughtful paintings). Meera Devidayal and I had a long chat about the current conditions for art making on the part of artists...speed of delivery, speed of address, speed of transmittal...and we talked about her subject matter (the migrant worker) and all of the possible ways that content can be drawn from this phenomenon using the most minimal of signifiers; great stuff. Nancy Friedemann was her usual self: deeply related, conscientious, filled with inner-reflected assurance and doubt...quite terrific flower paintings, ...m’dear..and who knew your French was this perfect!!??...Also had a fine time with the wryly self-deprecating Shahar Marcus and his highly telegenic persona...his videos of everyman in search of self are for the ages... I was taken (and taken aback) by Renata Poljak’s deep insights into questions of national identity through her videos and future projects, Deb Sokolov’s pratfalling narratives related thru the voice of an unreliable...paranoic...narrator are of today...thoughtful and frightening and fun... Also had great tete-a-tetes with Tatako Azami, a magician with sumi ink whose references to trees and leaves and air are mesmerizingly evanescent... Experiencing the work of Shona Wilson from Australia (seeing infinity in a grain of sand excursions into the majesty of it all...her mindset reminded me of Flaubert’s comment “there is not a particle of life that does not bear poetry within it” was really satisfying... Also May Tveit’s deep probings on the spectacular and the interface between private and public spheres...apt terminology as she is committed and impassioned by the inflatable sphere (balloons) inscribed with word play or not: this is the question. TOGO aka Tuguldar Yondonjamts from Mongolia (I had never met anyone from Mongolia let alone a brilliant artist as this was enough to put me into outer –space...what a studio visit with a mindful poet whose mind transcends all boundaries... Also terrific to see Ishmael Randall Weeks letting himself roam and roam with pre-judgments...getting into deep mind-space...allowing the suchness of moments and structures be what they are... I am really looking forward to seeing Nisrine Boukhari and having terrific “think-time” with her as I have heard so much about her high energy and mindfulness: Nisrine: you are in my mind...!

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