Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ink reviews

I just got back from a trip to Canada. While I was away I got the news that some lovely person bought my Spring piece and that the Ink exhibition at Gallery Joe was written up in lots of Philadelphia newspapers! Reviews of the show were written by Edith Newhall at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lori Hill of the Philadelphia City Paper, and Roberta Fallon in the Philadelphia Weekly and on artblog. Too cool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How! How!

The Megatherium Club, circa 1850s. From the Smithsonian Institute Archives.

Members of the Megatherium Club greeted each other by shouting "How! How!" This, besides being pretty fun, was supposed to be the cry of the ancient megatherium, below.

The megatherium was a prehistoric giant sloth that was about as big as a modern elephant. Members of the Megatherium Club were also big on serenading the ladies, which one hopes was also based on the behavior of the ancient animal.

According to the New York Times, indigenous people in the amazon jungles say that the giant sloth a) still exists b) prefers to be referred to as the "mapinguary" and c) smells really terrible.

The article emphasizes the mythological hoo-doo aspect of these assertions until you get to the very end, where the continued existence of the megatherium begins to seem rather credible.

Megatherium skeleton sterograph from the British Museum, 1857

I think I'm going to put a megatherium in my new drawing, and I wish I could put one in my back yard. Although they might not be so great for the landscape.

When one searches the internet for images of the megatherium one comes up with an inordinate number of attacks on innocent trees.

Megatherium by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (1807-1889) from Johnsons Natural History, 1871 United States

And occasionally worse.

I have no idea what's going on in this image, but that's a megatherium skeleton, and I assume the bikini girl has something to do with the serenade.

As interesting as megatheriums are, what I really like is looking at images of them on the internet. The megatherium seems to have developed its own peculiar pictorial traditions over the years. In the 19th century images they have pointy noses and attack trees.

Megatherium by Joseph Smit (1836-1929) from Extinct Monsters 1892 England

In the modern era the nose has shunk, the hair is hairier and the settings are pure technicolor.

(This image is fantastic, and it's even better when it's huge.)

I did find one atypical visual incarnation of the giant sloth from an Italian webpage full of fantastic paintings that deal with evolution. This image makes the megatherium look less like a fierce twenty-first century yeti-rat than a gentle giant.

Who, perhaps, has just finished serenading his armadillo, and is now wondering,"Why? Why?"

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ink at Gallery Joe

Last night was the opening for Ink, the summer group show I'm in at Gallery Joe. The place was packed, and it was great to see so many people who I like at the opening. There is some beautiful work in the gallery right now.

I especially like this little piece by Roland Flexner.

While I was at the opening I talked about rapidographs with Astrid Bowlby while I looked at one of her fabulous obsessive drawings, and then I moved over to look at another piece and found myself reading the text of a conversation about pens. "Is that a rapidograph?" I read. It was drawn in a cartoon speech bubble on the last page of a huge accordion book that was full of text and partial sketches that were done by an artist I wasn't familiar with.

It turns out that the book is one of many that Martin Wilner made while he recorded conversations he hears on the public transportation in New York. Martin has volumes and volumes of transit drawings. The one I saw is, I think, number 134. Collectively, they're called The Journal of Evidence Weekly.

I asked him about the problems of drawing in public and he said modestly that he has figured out how to be unobtrusive and that he hasn't been hassled for years. At least not in the last seven years, he added. Before that, he said...(insert gruesome story here.)

His work is amazing. You can see pictures of other journals in the project here, but it's much better to check out the piece in person at Gallery Joe if you get a chance. There is tons of lovely stuff on view- it's a swelligant show. The exhibition is up until July 28th.

Journal of Evidence Weekly Vol. 127.

In addition to seeing lots of nice people and experiencing an odd pen coincidence at the opening, I found out that Lori Hill of the Philadelphia City Paper said nice things about my work in her preview of the exhibition. Which is always swell.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Thanks Liberta!

Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosoff complimented my Possesions piece on artblog! Neat!