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Archives for January 2010

Razors Edge

The Katha Upanishad Recitation by Christopher Isherwood The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard. —Katha-Upanishad, 3.14 So begins Somerset Maugham's bestselling twentieth century novel The Razor's Edge (1944),  whose main character gives up a life of privilege in search of spiritual Enlightenment. Maugham himself visited Ramana ashram where he had a direct interaction with Ramana Maharshi in Tamil Nadu, India in 1938. But, it is said that Maugham received his inspiration and direct translation for this epigraph from Christopher Isherwood, with whom he had become acquainted through The Vedanta Society's Hollywood Hills center. This reading by Isherwood of the Katha … [Read more...]

Man Forgets the Earth Remembers

The Photography of Robert Kato – Robert Kato's photography is about finding beauty in the most unlikely anythings and anywheres. The images from his San Francisco Bay series "Man Forgets the Earth Remembers" are neither Kodak moments nor hero shots, but tributes to the grandeur of common places and the singularity of the ordinary. These bayside landscapes speak to the most quotidian of scenarios that under the watchful eye of Kato become opulent photographic renderings. Kato pursues his images with both controlled precision and serendipitous intent. He purposes only to be present, a certain place at a chosen hour, trusting that the images will come. Then, from the moment the vision alights on his lens it will go through a rigorous … [Read more...]

Rubbing Against the Trees in the Lord’s Forest

R. Crumb's Book of Genesis, October 24 - February 7, 2010 The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, October 4 - January 3, 2010 Hammer Museum, Los Angeles It shouldn't really surprise anyone that the author of Zap and Mr. Natural, Robert Crumb, has undertaken the Greatest Illustration Project Ever Drawn--the Book of Genesis. Any narrative with all those "begats" would have to exert a certain charm for Crumb. The generally naughty R. shows himself to be extraordinarily obedient to this text, and demurs from any interpretive flourish in his cartoons--a wise decision, as the plain act of Crumb undertaking this work is its own statement which promises plenty of fun. His cast of characters includes a scowling, hirsute God, thunder-thighed … [Read more...]

Theory of Miracles

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Disposable Plastic At a party at the Edendale Grill in Silverlake shortly before Christmas I learned about the five vortexes of disposable plastic, vast as continents and indestructible, that swirl continuously in the world’s oceans. I was talking to a woman named Sara Bayles who, in the hope of drawing attention to the problem, collects plastic trash choked up by the sea each day on Santa Monica beach. The image of the vortexes seemed to echo, dreamlike, the armada of environmental alarms that have circulated below the surface of my emotional life since childhood. And yet, at the Edendale, I noticed that something had shifted. Confronted with new evidence of environmental degradation the familiar … [Read more...]

While Changing, He is Resting

Visages.1 & .2 is a single book that can be flipped in one direction, turned and flipped in another. Each direction displays a different face. It measures 3.875" x 3.125" and includes 52 hand drawings. Below is an English translation of the text, followed by a slideshow and followed again by the original text in French. – Visages.1, Visage.2 Sculptures by Jean-Luc Degonde Writings on Art, Editions Manucius This artwork was printed in 100 specimens - including 40 in 4-color prints (quadrichromy), numbered and signed by the artist, which stand for the original edition. The epigraph is by Heraclitus While changing, he is resting ENVOI by Jean-Jacques Gonzales The visual arts have this thing in common that … [Read more...]

Object at Hand

Visages 1 and 2, by Jean-Luc Degonde – When you grab hold Visages.1-Visages.2, by Jean-Luc Degonde, you realize that you have quite a phenomenal object at hand. Then when you take the book for a spin flipping through to rotate its two heads one is caught up in a delightful experience of perceptual perplexity. On the simplest level, the eye brain coordination plays tricks on you. The faces, disoriented in space and disassociated from surface tension, rotate in a seemingly random manner. Is it left to right or forwards then backwards? But the real discernment takes place when one recognizes how each physiognomic profile contributes to the whole. Every stop frame is a portrait in the most classic … [Read more...]