Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.

07 April 2006

jun kaneko's Beyond Butterfly and Kent Bellows at the Bemis Center

untitled cast glass
Originally uploaded by sockmonkeyrevolt.
I'm thinking about using flickr to host my photos so this is a bit of a test post here. I hadn't been to the current offerings at the Bemis Center yet so when I went to revisit the Underground to take some photos I decided to stop in upstairs and check them out. Kent Bellows and Jun Kaneko have seperate shows both running until 28 May.

Kaneko's show is titled 'Beyond Butterfly' which, if you ask me, has nothing to do with anything at all other than Opera Omaha was putting on Madama Butterfly yet again this month (I have my own bone to pick about the recycle rate on the 'crowd pleasers' at Opera Omaha, but this isn't the time to do it)and the Opera commissioned Kaneko to design the sets and costumes (actually the one thing about the Opera that I'm impressed with is their willingness to take risks with the design and staging elements of their selections, even though the traditionalists that make up the critic's circle here rarely have anything positive to say about decisions like minimalist modern art Carmen sets) and I've never see so much high culture cross-marketing in my life: Sushi restaurants and Japanese Steakhouses creating Madama Butterfly 'inspired' signature dishes, a Madama Butterfly Saki shot/cocktail contest, all that's missing are plastic Pinkerton collector toys.

The works here are simple and clean. What makes the works so impressive are their giant scale. From an amazing 114x370.5 inch painting of straight and angled lines that covers an entire wall to 7 foot tall ceramic vases, to a pair of massive ceramic heads that sit in the gallery hall facing each other. In the back room are only three pieces made of stacked cast glass (one red, one yellow and one blue) sitting in their own pools of light and glowing with their colours (that's one of them in the photo there) They are my favourite pieces because they're more than just large, they're also intimate, they change based on how you approach them, where you stand and getting close to their heroic scale gives you more than just a good look at brush strokes.

The other gallery featured Kent Bellows, it's not really my kind of art. He's a painter and pencil artist (there were also a few lithographs of trees and roots which I was the most interested in of any of the numerous pieces on display) Bellows displays the kind of amazing talent at hyperrealism that I'm always left in awe of his skills if not excited by the finished pieces. His black and white pencil portraits are so expertly rendered that it's literally hard to tell they aren't photographs (and one of them is so perfect that if it weren't for the detail on the hair I would probably argue that it was a photo) Other than wishing I could draw half that well when it comes to trying to render something realistically, I didn't get much out of it. I don't really like hyper-realism when it comes to painting and drawing I'd rather just see a photograph.

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