Odin & Yggdrasil: Previews of “Odin-Odeon” at RMCAD

A few new items as the exhibition at RMCAD approaches (reception on September 10th). If you’re not already aware of the blessed event, you’ll find all the info you need on this page, as well as several images.

On your left, a 2 minute trailer for the show, a strange reading of Odin’s time hanging upside down from the great tree, with moving abstraction made entirely from the etchings and monotypes that will appear in Odin-Odeon. There’s a video component to this exhibition, but it will be very different from this. You’ll see.

Also, here’s a preview of the show from Anselm Etting, who is very kind indeed:

Monoprint/Etching by Eric Waldemar: "The Reward of Discipline" from Odin-Odeon“At first, the etchings & monoprints in Eric Waldemar’s Odin-Odeon seem shamelessly archaic. A warm palette of earth tones and a concern with the rhythmic mystery of the agile brush reflect a long engagement with the drawings of Rembrandt, Hakuin and Homare Ikeda. Given time, these tiny images unfold in the mind, often with several simultaneous layers of imagery. They feel weighty at first glance, but after close attention, many are subtly hilarious, especially in combination with Waldemar’s wry, deadpan titles.
Then there are the movies, displayed on a tiny screen to force close attention. A dinosaur shuffles along in a cloud of dust. Etching/monotype by Eric Waldemar.These intricate rhythmic abstractions use this series of prints as source material, transforming their already ambiguous subject matter into a trembling, bewildering dream. Tiny jewels of abstract cinema, they also suggest an approach to the accompanying prints, to which the viewer returns with a fresh eye for close detail and half-hidden treasure. “

Gosh. Thanks. See you there, everyone, and if you’re too far away to make it, I’ll try to keep adding images to the Odin-Odeon page, so you can attend vicariously. Either way, thanks for having a look. Leave a comment on the site if you end up having a thought. Thanks.

News from Babel, Chris Cutler, and the Legacy of the Cow.

The other evening in the wee hours, I heard News From Babel’s “Letters Home”  (1985) for the first time in a few years. This is music that continually surprises, with melody that takes sudden turns and twists, alternately giddy, melancholy, hysterical, and politically strident. It’s an album I’ve heard dozens of times, and there’s always more to hear.  The style is difficult to describe to someone who’s new to this whole area of music. What area of music, you ask? Again, a difficult question.

This record is one remarkable artifact from a distinct group of like-minded musicians that has assembled and disbanded in various configurations for about 40 years now. Those various groups, like Henry Cow, Slapp Happy, Art Bears, Cassiber, Skeleton Crew, Naked City and Massacre, are too diverse to categorize, ranging from giddy, wry pop tunes, to ear-splitting maelstrom, to complex, variously dissonant and delightful orchestrations, laced with some of the most sensitive, intricate group improvisation that has yet occurred on Earth.  Read more

Gao Xingjian’s “Return to Painting”

This is a favorite book, a gift from my sister a few years ago. Gao draws astounding forms from black ink and paper, pulling image from abstraction and bleeding ink in a way that reminds me of Joseph Beuys’ early watercolors. Also, though, I return again and again to his writing about his own work process, the cultivation of a state of mind that invites wonders to emerge from the tip of the brush. Curiously, this great painter also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000.  Gao lived through ugly times in China, and he’s skeptical of art world  “revolutions” and post-historical jargon. He’s also suspicious of the conceptual tone of much of contemporary art. Gao’s paintings are proof enough that the tactile mysticism of the brush that has thousand-year-old roots in China is alive and well, even amidst a generation that strives to forget it. (Click below for more, including short quotes from the book.)

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