I first moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, shortly after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. How I arrived in "The City Different" is its own story, the poetic version of which is:
A nearly fatal motorcycle crash + a UHaul ride with a fraught father to WV + [immediately] starting-completing the 250# 6'x 6' Statue of Liberty Painting on Steel/Railroad Ties/Barbed Wire for a SoL(LoL) Centennial celebration/exhibit at Herald Square (which instead landed at Unique Boutique > then the dumpster behind UB ~ Fuck U Maria Rand) + 1 month of Jersey City *working last gas station before the Holland Tunnel with Par3 crew & painting stage backdrop & outfits/gear for the band + escape from NY + bad scene in Wisconsin + Colorado > Red Rocks > Trinidad > Raton > Santa Fe > Upper Canyon Rd > Gypsy Alley ... Babe's/El Farol/Carriage Trade ... Artisan's/Elaine Horwitch Gallery ...
I spent most of the decade (1986-95) in the thriving and vibrant Santa Fe art community. Many of the fundamental notions I have of painting, the art business, logistics, presentation and the artist life were formed then. My mentor at Notre Dame, Don Vogl set the table for this experience. About the photo above. I came across it over the weekend in the results of a casual search for Allan Houser. I briefly worked for David at his gallery and met Allan's son Bob Haozous. TC was already gone by then and a legend. His work still lingers in my top-5 all-time list, with Pollock, Michelangelo, etc. David is now a distinguished OG (on the board of SFGA, the Houser estate's Curator of Collections, + more)...
I don't know how, but I missed Rick Bartow all these years. I came across his profile while scanning Northwest artists. During the Eureka Project I should have made some connection. Oh, well ~ it happens that seemingly obvious connections stay unmade. Rick Bartow passed in 2016. Fortunately, an excellent exhibit of Bartow's paintings is touring a select group of Western museums. God willing, I'll see "Things You Know but Cannot Explain" at one of them. Maybe I'll see you there, dear reader.
I shot this photo during a madcap Notre Dame holiday break. My roommate Scott concluded he had to visit his girlfriend and family, so we rented a car and drove from South Bend to Beaverton, Oregon and back, destroying the car in the process (those were the days). We took a side trip to Seaside. Now, a quarter century or so later, I think we're going to relocate to this part of the country.
I keep an eye on current and emerging Art World notes. I routinely visit dozens of key sites, blogs, and other online sources. Now, that I'm reintegrating soc.med platforms within the AFH frameworks, I am pushed all sorts of AW data from hundreds of culture transmitters/amplifiers/influencers/marketeers/advocates/promoters/news outlets..., including artists, magazines, agents and agencies, galleries, museums, content pushers, fans, non-profits, schools and so on. My virtual research is a function of years, now decades, of connecting concepts and phenomena to nodes to events and people IRT. But the issue of time in a networked system swings like a pendulum through the Panopticon of click-thru webbing, through the miasma of simulation + illusion + hyperbole to create a sensation of knowing more about what is happening than is actually possible for a user operating a keyboard/device linked to the Internet. The actual world is operating according to a divergent order - or disorder - than the numbering and naming machine that mediates much of the cultural existence at the moment, for many players. Nonetheless, it is possible to locate valid correlations among things in the massive set of real objects created for visual (art) consumption. The confusing, convoluted matrix of suppressive immaterial clogging the dimensional info-sphere is still insufficient to prevent effective recognition of coincidental or parallel, which is to say almost simultaneous, at least similar, creations by artists separated by distance, with vastly unalike profiles, who use different materials in radical conformity.
Royal Nebeker passed away in 2016. The biographical essay linked in the caption above paints a picture of Nebeker that conforms to the model for a successful artist life I grew to respect early on. In my experience the model ties into a post-War American phenomenon, at least initially. Eventually the model extended, over several decades, to multiple strata in the art ecosystem. Describing the model suggests an abstract subject, when the object expresses itself sufficiently for shared comprehension. To call Royal Nebeker a type is to apply the rules of fiction to Nebeker's life and art, and the truth of Nebeker's story is better than fiction, and so is his art. In my virtual, on-the-fly research into RN I reviewed a variety of associative articles, plus many images, which are helpful for tracing an evolution, an arc per his art (via compressed/JPG representations). The analyst mustn't assume the power of conclusion within the anecdotal context of the systematic 4 dimensional search. The gist is what one is after, supplemented with verification and/or contradiction toward a refined, workable image of the topic. The search is most useful when motivated with the Hegelian Spirit in mind. Spirit of person, place, manifestation, time and so on.
"Remnant" connects directly to the work I'm currently doing. It makes sense for art to take a long time to evolve. Therefore artistic progression is not separable from retrospection. If a viewer wants to know what I'm up to in the studio this week, they might take a peek at what I was doing at the turn of the century, if that is at all possible. Which points to why the absence of commonplace quality art writing is awful, not just for the artist but for all. Rarely has any society maintained integrated art mediation for long. The orientation of cultural discourse has been managed over the past century at least, and the result? We can easily identify the public beneficiaries of mass media focus. It's harder, though not impossible, to identify the machinery necessary to create and direct popular attention to whatever subject currently engulfs it. This is the artifice of programmatic consumption, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with art, itself. In truth, programmatic consumption is spectacularly anti-art, at least in effect, even when it has an artsy veneer.