Kamol Tassananchalee's Artwork

Kamol Tassananchalee’s art presentation at the Los Angeles Artcore Center in Little Tokyo from May to June is a close-up to his expressive practices with his two recent series of water colors on paper, Under the Western Sky and his spiritual cosmic large paintings on canvas titled The Four Elements.

 Tassananchalee’s or Kamol as he is mostly known by friends is involved in organizing student cultural art exchanges between his native country Thailand and the Unites States. He has taught at UC Berkeley and has given lectures at Lamare University in Texas. He has participated in international art biennials. Kamol’s travels between his studio in the United States and Thailand have enriched his subject matter and exposed his process of creating to a wide range of diverse landscapes. With Under the Western Sky Series, Tassananchalee explores the great natural landscapes in Arizona, California, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. Tassananchalee describes his water color series as a moment to capture before an escaping impression. He feels such moments deserve to be immortalized. In this series horses are seen grazing in endless sea of terracotta’s while others gallop with graceful gestures to spontaneous strokes of water colors. The merge between colors is a borderless fusion.  His sporadic scenic watercolors drip and move with an unbound sense of energy to create the depth of nature’s natural beauty. There is a Native American free spirited flow in this series. The space is boundless with a topography that can be seen and felt. Tassananchalee draws in-timid encounters with majestic moments.

With his series, The Four Elements Tassananchalee amplifies his spiritual and cosmic philosophy. It is personal to his way of being. The reds, blues, and bright colors resemble a universal cosmic spectrum.  Each engaging color used by Tassananchalee is a result of an exchange of energies in the midst of fusing and un-fusing. The making of patterns is a dance of meditation with drips and layers in between. It is a mapping of paths and journeys. There is an indefinite journey that merges with deep emerald greens that graduate in all directions. It is the key to the higher spirit and his homage to the four elements: wind, fire, water, and air. A series of four circles represents Buddha’s journey. The zig zagging reds with white embryo like shapes and circles seem to carry the path finding foot prints of Buddha’s life. His paintings share the fiery orange glow resembling hot ambers. He creates an environment of comfort that contemplates moments of mediation. The eye is allowed to travel in all directions with no confinements. Tassananchalee achieves a cultural exchange between diverse philosophies and ways of seeing art. His work invites you to explore the many ways he is inspired to create from the puppet wooden mixed media frames used in Thailand to the Valleys of California and deserts of Arizona, all share Tassananchalee’s spectrum of life. His colors are no doubt those so often seen through the lens of a telescope millions of years away. The traveling might seem far yet it is the same road that has given birth to all that we know, see, and experience. His work brings us closer to the many bridges that facilitate and extend the humanities journey. Unconstrained and undefined the paintings on canvas are full of action and simulate the workings of the four elements in motion. This process is unique to Tassananchalee’s technique and creativity.

By Jimmy Centeno

JimmyCntno@gmail.com

Los Angeles, CA

A Review of Kio Griffith’s In(Poetry)2dexed Exhibition

In his first solo exhibit at L.A. Artcore Center for the Arts in little Tokyo January 2018, Kio Griffith’s body of work is an interdisciplinary display of paper collage, sculptures, and a video installation. He was born in Kanagawa, Japan and is based in Los Angeles as well as in Japan. Griffith is an independent curator, writer and producer. He studied at Otis/ Parson School of Design and has exhibited in the United Kingdom, Japan, U.S, Croatia, Belgium, China, Germany and several other countries. His artistic projects include the creation of over 300 hundred music covers designs. Griffith participated in the Aichi Triennale 2016 in Nagoya, Japan. He also writes for art publications in the U.S. and Japan. In 2017 Griffith was presented with the Emerging Curators Award by the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE).

 

Griffith’s In(Poetry)2dexed was inspired when he and his family discovered a series of diaries. He realized then the incapacity to read all 50 years of dairies written by his father. The cryptic title of this display of work makes reference to the process of shuffling information to find meaning. Since his father’s death, a decade ago, the quest to make sense of his father’s attempt at reinventing himself in a foreign country recorded in his daily journal entries, became Griffith’s point of departure for this body of work. The inherited literature would lead to a minimalist yet profound interpretation of the physicality of reading and the exteriority of memory as a lived experience shaped by chance and surprise.  

 Material of choice for the collage works is collected newspapers from different countries: cut, layered, and indexed with a steel pipe acting as a pressing tool that joins approximately the one inch thick paper together. The practical use and versatility of newspaper is a close up on the everyday exchange of local, regional, and international narratives. Unlike the techniques of dada and cubism of deconstructing, Griffith does the opposite, he is re-contextualizing how information is gathered, assembled and structured to create content, memory and communication.  Multiple prints in each of the newspaper sheets crypt together turn into a barrage of diverse languages, all speaking at once. The residue of this integration for Griffith becomes a question of how to integrate this new language that coincides with random creations of meaning.  Impoverished materials are revived with the aesthetic virtues of simplicity and selflessness. There is a concern to rescue materials discarded as no longer useful by today’s modern society. Discolored and wrinkled this body work is tapped with conversations that extend from the faded edges. In one of his Algorithm’s a random image of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is captured dropping an ancient urn to the ground. Another Algorithm titled, One Billion Dollar Embassy 2007, contains words like chance and choice. Algorithm: Frequency Retrofit/White 2017 seems to be suggesting the shoring up of structures with frequencies tuned to whiteness. There is an invitation to figure out what to make sense of, what remains and what leaves us, a la Wittgenstein with titles that can be associated with absurdity, politics and identity.

 His salvaged book sculpture series, the visceral affect of sculpting is re-associated by space that occupies the sculpture. For Griffith, the modern masters of modernity work of art entail the act of much reading. In An American Tragedy 2017, a paperback with tape sculpture is structured as a literal statement with the cover’s original title as an instant message. Unlike the masters, it is a sculpture that embodies today’s post modern era of text messaging without the body of literature in the book as its vertebra. The instant text-like charge of the title carries a deep political reflection of today’s means of communication and current political circumstances in American politics. The original titles with minimal words nevertheless are strong and bold enough to stand on their own. It is a sculpture series that preserves some of its originality that accompanies the process of re-inventing while pushing the viscosity of the message in ones direction. Offshore Drilling Technology, 2017 is one of Griffith’s high viscosity book cover and tape sculpture that drills right into the core of environmental concerns.  

Several incised orange book covers in the exhibition have been converted into open pockets.   The openings seem to be gashing out for air allowing life to precede its venture into this new born cavity. It is a susurro! (A Spanish word that means a deep breath of air that most often expresses what words cannot).

The video installation titled Algorithm Counter is a visual monochrome composition that spins like a casino slot machine; it is driven by chance and random. It is a rotation that involves the timing of letters engaged with past and present to re-associate new hidden possibilities. It is the work of shuffling new combinations of letters that challenge fixed ways of knowing that Griffith brings to light: conservative social and political values that infringe on the process of creativity. He describes, “If you go too conservative you lose the opportunity of taking chances.” He further elaborates, “Conservatism to be the antithesis for creativity.” In this video letters rotate and stop simultaneously to birth and register meaning as marking and forming.

Griffith’s multidisciplinary approach gathers all his art disciplines; music, installations, performances, video and traditional methods of creating that emphasize the human spiritual frequencies that help readjust our relationships amongst one another. They are playful and welcoming. He squeezes the juice out of letters and meaning, pressing together multiple languages to coincide with random interpretations layered over existing social and political concerns of the artist. Griffith questions the ownership of words and meaning with chance as his interceptor. The reviving that follows this series is his attempt to jump start hope in the era of texting.

The newspaper collages are sealed to retain the imbedded memory within the body of language and the tactile feeling that is missing today. Griffith attempts to notch out established comfort and conservative values as a way to rekindle new approaches to life and ways of being. Every human is a series of multiple volumes of unread literature saturated with information that often goes untouched and unread.  For Griffith, “The act of reading is an open window to an emotional reaction.”

He rescues history by re-sculpting the process of words and literature by depositing layers of ideas that act as sediment that upon excavation can be an archeological treasure. This exhibit brings for Griffith the opportunity to pay tribute to his father and the teachings of chance that coincided with selflessness and creativity. It is an exhibition that opposes the hegemony of assembling one-dimensional thinking.

Jimmy Centeno

February 28, 2017

jimmycntno@gmail.com

 

Jon Peterson: 12 Years of Painting and More to Come

UC_FEB_INVITE_CARD_PETERSON.png

Landscapes and portraits salon styled on the walls of L.A Artcore Center for the Arts and abstract canvases make Jon Peterson’s exhibition, “Twelve Years of Painting” a journey of multiple junctures.  Early on, his inventive inquiry began during his childhood while exploring the making and building of planes with wood and paper. This would lead to a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Master Degree in Fine Arts from Otis Art Institute /Parson School of Design. His artwork has been experienced throughout the country and all across the state of California.  Peterson’s work transitions between painting and sculptures dating back to the 1970s.

After a long pause away from painting, the portraits in this exhibition became a daily exercise that helped Peterson re-kick start the practice of painting. It was the direct process of engagement with family pictures and images of people that inspired a sequence of portraits of family, fashionable people and prisoners. The strokes are light with no sign of urgency. He sees a picture and adds what is missing; strokes of feelings, symbols and a dash of emotions. This light hearted activity over the years progressed into more complex subject matter.  

In an abstract Portrait of Ellsworth Kelly 2012, Peterson gravitates to an image of Kelly’s test spots on a wall while he is photographed at his studio by the New York Times. Peterson intrigued by the spots emulates the markings onto an open canvas amplifying sporadic weightless gesture of paint that resemble Calder’s hanging mobiles sculptures and Joan Miro’s color field collaboration between bolds primary colors.

Further into the exhibit, Peterson’s visual narratives begin to fade and fog until the eye meets a network of grids, dashes, drips, splashes and multiple colored large texture canvases that resemble an urban city layout. This series known as map paintings entails an imposed architectural structure countered by the element of surprise that comes with abstract accidental discoveries. In Map painting E.K. IN L.A. VI 2017, Peterson works his way from washes with uneven white wax lines forming a mesh like appearance of roads, streets and avenues with active greens, reds, and hints of yellow.  This accumulated process is met with faint human figures projected between thick layers of paint that bring a sense of disorientation. There is a condensed breathing of life interconnected with every step Peterson takes in creating the overall juxtaposed matrix in this body of work.

In the spring of 2011 several Arab countries took to the streets beginning in Tunisia to protest decades of repression known as The Arab Spring. This historical moment is caught by Peterson with a series of paintings titled Battle of Algiers named after a 1966 black and white film production with the same title. The film depicts the struggle between the Algerians and the French colonizers. The almost documentary like quality to the film directed and co-written by Gillo Pontecorvo comes after the Algerian Liberation Movement gains its independence from the French State.

The political connotation in these paintings reflects the tension between the colonizer and the colonized, oppression from within and the political imposition of western countries. Battle of Algiers is a group of paintings that superimpose the fight for self determination by Arab nations in the likeness of an artist who struggles to find a path to un-constraint every stroke dashed onto a canvas.  For Peterson, “There is no war here in Pasadena, but still you read the newspaper, you watch the news, and those things affect you. I start with an image or an idea that has some personal meaning and use, that is a beginning.” The compositions in Battle of Algiers are asymmetrical. There is an aggressive gesture not in the drawing, but in the content of the drawing. There is an absence of despair and a presence of struggle in Battle of Algiers that consolidates with the hopes of a colonized people.  The presences of ghostly silhouettes are obscure, undefined and faceless. In Battle of Algiers XIV, 2016 a sunflower yellow with hidden taps of gold become the skyline above what seems to be a gray pale lifeless battlefield. In the forefront of this scene two standing figures in green gather around a dark murky outline on the ground, surrounded by strokes of red. In Springtime 2011, with short wiggling strokes Peterson camouflages a lifeless soul amongst a promising spring.

Jon Peterson redistributes sensibility throughout his work that begins long before this exhibit.  His work not only does it search to explore patterns, colors compositions, and intuitive manifestations, but examines the social and political outcomes that play with aesthetic rituals. 

 

Jimmy Centeno

Writer

February 28, 2018

jimmycntno@gmail.com