image courtesy of Bob Callaway, by way of Ernst Haeckel.
Archive for December, 2009
The year in review! OK, the past few months, anyway. Still have some leftovers to address here before a fresher batch of woffles can be served. While I haven’t been doing my usual writing about shows I’ve been in, this is not because I haven’t been showing in the past few months. I guess that I still equate the palpable “real-ness” of an exhibition with my ability to actually attend the exhibition’s opening reception, or see the show in person. Very quaintly analog of me.
Fight, No Flight at Manilatown Center, San Francisco
How perfect is it that I got to show some of the “Flor 1973-78” prints at the legendary International Hotel? Especially the poster below”¦I also had the pleasure of meeting my co-show-ers (is that a word?) Diana Diroy and Aisha Heredia in advance of the exhibition, which was still a treat.
This & That, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco
Christine Wong Yap organized/curated an exhibition-within-an-exhibition for “Socially, Involved”, where she created an amazing international mail-art exchange project. I swear. That woman runs circles around me when it comes to being organized and thinking big. Anyway, I contributed the drawing below:
And then received this brilliant piece by Susan Chen after the exhibition ended:
Art On Market Street, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek
Finally! My parents went to an opening of mine without having to drive more than 10 minutes from home! This was a selection of posters from SFAC’s Market Street program over the past decade or so. The gallery couldn’t include everyone who participated, so I’m grateful to have been included. While the MOB‘s 1998 posters weren’t there, for example, my 2008 Flor posters were. SFAC reprinted a few of them, and hung them quite close to the entrance of the gallery, which was nice to hear.
Stick With the Enemy, Mo_Space, Manila
MM Yu, Poklong Anading and some of my other friends there organized a very democratic, open-invitation exhibition of sticker-based art. I sent in a few original drawings and paintings made directly on adhesive label sheets, and MM then made some of them into printed stickers from files I sent her. The top image was actually 4 stickers: I cleaned up the seams so that MM could print this one more easily. The pink-ish image at the throat is a silhouette of the Czech Republic.
As The Plot Thickens, Manila Contemporary, Makati, Philippines
It was a little touch-and-go with this show due to some shipping logistics, and I wasn’t entirely sure that it was going to happen until pretty close to the wire, but I’m so glad it did. Manila Contemporary is a gorgeous new venue, and Sidd Perez, the curator, was so fantastic and diligent. The show really came together beautifully in the end. It was an honor to get to show with Brenda Fajardo, RM de Leon, and Stefanus Surya Wirawan. I presented 5 new paintings from my new “MacArthur Nurse” series.
So that’s it for the 2nd half of 2009…I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes up in 2010.
The great Samantha Chanse is coming to Prague in January, which seems like a great creative kick-off to the year. We’re both already conspiring on a collaborative piece we’ll do while she’s in town. No other major shows officially confirmed yet, but I’m really looking forward to the artist residency I’m undertaking at the Liguria Study Center in Italy in Feb-March, where I’ll be focusing on a new body of work: a teaser sketch for the impending ridiculousness here:
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
Clearly, I’ve not been writing much in the past few months. End of year/new year is something I take fairly seriously, despite the fact that it looks suspiciously like I’m adhering to some sort of mainstream tradition. It feels like I have 2 basic points in the year where change occurs: the first is usually in September, probably due to that combination of school year beginning and my late August birthday. The second, this one, feels more like the result of the fall months: I tend to be the most productive, and/or reflective, during this time. Â Granted, plenty happens at other times of year (like oh, say, moving to another country in late May), but for the most part, fall/winter is regenerative, hence the refresh.
I haven’t been blogging for a few reasons, thanks for asking. It’s been an unexpectedly hard adjustment to Prague, complicated by my inability to really let go of the Bay Area. My return back there for a month in Oct/Nov was both comforting and complicating: I’m so defined and validated by my Bay Area experiences, friends, and family that a month of unadulterated love and validation there it made it even harder to go back to being anonymous and uninvolved with a Prague community. Being a serious and regular international traveler is one thing: I’ve spent months at a time in other countries. The thing is, I’d never lived outside the Bay Area, in any open-ended, extended way, as an adult.Â I found myself unexpectedly grieving a great deal for my Bay Area roots: I wouldn’t quite call it homesickness, but I definitely missed all the cozy, loving familiarity and friendship. While Prague has slowly but surely revealed itself to be a remarkable place, it has really taken me much longer than expected to understand my new raison-d’etre here.
While I was back in Cali, I went out to dinner with some friends: we got to talking about blogging, and I confessed that I’d dropped seriously off on it for a while. When asked why, I said/realized that because of my move, I felt seriously unclear on who my community, and by extension, my blog audience, might be. The things that drove Wofflings were primarily a, personal art-world shenanigans, b, repping for friends, local exhibitions and causes I wanted to support, c, Filipino stuff, and d, semi-personal reflections on creative practice. Among other things. In leaving the Bay Area, I felt unsure on how to write about some of this further. As I’m finally settling in more gracefully at long last, it seems as good a time as any to reassess the what and why of Wofflings, in order to get back at it again.
In the last two posts here, I was also feeling really awful about what had been happening in the Philippines, a place I love as much as the Bay Area, but which also feels much, much too far away again. Beyond the subjects I wrote about, I know that friends there have been undergoing other tragedies and drama in Manila and Luzon, and then in the past month, the horribleness in Maguindanao, too. I couldn’t resolve how to return to blogging about more personal, trivial matters after all of this.
And in my exceedingly slow, awkward adjustment to Prague, I felt utterly lost about how to connect to my new surroundings, let alone blog about it. I wasn’t interested in writing a travel/expat “Prague experience” blog: although I have come across some that are really nice, I haven’t felt like the world needs one more foreigner in the Czech Republic writing about it. And it made really no sense to blog about my protracted moping and flailing about.
It really only feels like I’ve settled in, authentically, this past month. Talk about a protracted adjustment period. I’m forever re-realizing that I’m a slow starter, but quick once I get going: it took well into my 2nd semester of grad school before I felt comfortable there, too. Give me about 6 months, I guess, and I finally pull it together. Partly it’s finally having a few friends and social life, mercifully: partly, it’s that my Czech is much improved (dÄ›kuji, Jana SlavÃkova), putting just the daily tasks of reading and simple verbal communication within reach at long last. The Pirate’s work chaos seems to be subsiding somewhat, and I’m finally making art again and working a bit on a new gig (more on that shortly), which means he and I aren’t on such polar extreme opposites in our daily routines, either. And it’s also that we have some sublime, regular go-to spots, which make me appreciate this place all the more. It’s nice feeling like you know a place. In any case, I’ve stopped feeling as isolated as I was for quite a while there.
So. In any case. Expect an end-of-year flurry of long-overdue posts, and a return to woffling here more regularly in the months to come. I’m still sorting out a format, but in any case, I’m back at it. More soon.