Month: March 2013

Fracking in the News

posted by – 03/28/13 @ 2:18pm











Artist Pam Longobardi has long been working with the idea and manifestations of fracking in her work. On display at Tinney Contemporary are five large paintings on copper and several smaller works on paper that all explore fracking. Fracking is a very real and current ecological issue we as a country are dealing with. Fracking has been linked to flammable water from faucets in drilling towns and most recently, earthquakes.

On Tuesday March 26, 2013 a report was released directly linking the 2011 earthquake in Prague, Oklahoma to fracking. Let me repeat: fracking was the direct cause of an earthquake was felt in 17 states, 14 homes were destroyed, and two people injured.  This has not been the only incident of man-made earthquakes. U.S. Geological Survey researchers stated, “The recent rash of earthquakes in the central U.S. is almost certainly man-made.”

What is so amazing about Longobardi’s work is she seeks not only to explore the effects the industry has on the natural world, but also the emotional aspects. People are being directly affected by fracking, and Longobardi’s explosive color palette seeks to explore the multi-dimensional emotional aspects that the country is dealing with.

For more information on current fracking news:


posted by – 03/26/13 @ 1:38pm

Art Happenings


MIAMI: From Picasso to Koons, 
the Artist as Jeweler

March 15–July 21, 2013

Bass Museum of Art

The exceptional and little-known works of wearable sculpture will reward viewers with new insights into the creative wellsprings of such artistic giants as Georges Braque, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Louise Nevelson, Anthony Caro, Yoko Ono, and Anish Kapoor.



March 25–March 31, 2013

Vanderbilt Hall Twice daily performances at 11am and 2pm

For HEARD•NY, artist Nick Cave will transform Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall with a herd of thirty colorful life-size horses and partnering with The Ailey School, whose students will perform the twice-daily crossings.


CHICAGO: Picasso and Chicago

February 20–May 12, 2013

The Art Institute of Chicago

The first major Picasso exhibition organized by the Art Institute in almost 30 years presents over 250 of Picasso’s paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings.


WASHINGTON, DC: Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet

February 9-May12, 2013

The Phillips Collection

Angels, Demons, and Savages highlights visual affinities between the artists’ work, tracing the impact of Dubuffet’s art brut (art by the mentally ill and other so-called outsiders), the experimental spirit of Pollock’s technique, and Ossorio’s figurative language.


PORTLAND, ME: Voices of Design: 25 Years of Architalx

February 2-May 19, 2013

Portland Museum of Art

What is Architecture? Authenticity, Culture, Expressive Form, Light, Material & Craftsmanship, Extraordinary in the Ordinary, Optimism, Process, Responsibility, Site, Space, and Structure.




Bonjour from Paris: Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou

posted by – 03/20/13 @ 2:08pm

During the first week of March, I had the opportunity to travel to Paris for a few days. I knew I would have to be strategic, given my short stay, but I jumped at the chance to see works by many of my favorite artists. Upon arriving to my hotel in the 14th arrondissement, I immediately headed north on the Métro to the Musée National d’Art Moderne, in the heart of Les Marais. Not only does this museum house the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe, it’s also located in an architectural landmark: The Centre Pompidou. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and British architect Richard Rogers, the building is a work of art in its own right. Some highlights of their collection include Marcel Duchamp’s famous ready-made, Fountain and an impressive felt installation by German artist Joseph Beuys. In addition, I saw a little piece of Nashville in Paris: an untitled work by Robert Ryman.

Interestingly, I could smell my favorite work before I could see it. Known for his imposing sculptures with olfactory and tactile elements, Ernest Neto’s installation, We Stopped Here Just at Time (2002) was an invitation to participate in a sensorial experience. It’s comprised of soft and transparent fabric in which some parts are filled with spices that hang from the ceiling like bunches of grapes. The various spices (cloves, cumin, pepper and curcuma) fill and structure the forms of the sculpture, giving it a multi-sensorial dimension. By challenging visitors to transcend perceptual hierarchies that traditionally give top priority to sight, Neto’s piece is a refreshing and unique experience.

Overall, it was a great trip – though I wish I could have stayed longer. I’d recommend everyone put Pompidou at the top of his or her list when visiting Paris.

Interview with Pam Longobardi

posted by – 03/14/13 @ 1:52pm

Pam Longobardi is based in Atlanta, GA with her artist husband Craig Dongoski. She spoke with me about her latest exhibition Discontinuity Continuum that include large copper paintings and work on paper.  Discontinuity Continuum will be on display at Tinney Contemporary until March 30, 2013.

Whitney: I’ve noticed small vignettes in your paintings: parts of seashell bridges, small figures, rainbows and snowflakes that begin to tell a deeper story. Is there any relation to the copper paintings and your Drifters project?

Pam Longobardi:  Yes, because I’m really interested in the collision between the natural world and the human made world. For instance, the drifters pieces which are ocean borne plastic, they have been modified and transported and changed by their journey across the vast pacific and around the world. These paintings are also indicating a kind of change in the natural world we are experiencing right now a lot of it due to human action. The impact of culture on nature and vice a versa and the interconnectedness of all that is what I am really interested in.

W: Explain the process of how you begin one of your copper paintings.

P: I consider the copper and the patinas, which are chemicals that interact with the copper surface, the elements that stand for nature. The paint, which I used to primarily only work with oils, but now I work with oils, inks, lacquers, and enamels all together at the same time.

W: Does it ever get toxic? Do they emit any fumes?

P: None of the materials do except the lacquer.  I do all cold application patinas, some patinas you have to heat and those do emit fumes, but I try to keep it as simple as possible. It is more like painting.

All the paintings go through this abstract expressionist phase where I am just working really fast. It is all liquid and it is flat, so the painting is lying down. Then I leave, and the patinas start interacting and everything starts transforming, curing and becoming what it is going to look like. Then I come back and start working into that surface with oil paint.

W: Are the paintings sealed or will they continue to evolve over time?

P: They are mostly sealed. They are not changing. I used to let them do that but I am interested in them continuing in the way they look now, in capturing that moment. They have changed dramatically and almost violently in a way during the process of curing.

W: How long have you been working on copper?

P: I have been working on copper for twenty years.

W: Does the vibrant/subdued color palette speak directly to nature and the earth and man made structures?

P: Yes, but I think it is a more heightened vision. Though there is a lot of emotional intensity in the way I feel about the subject matter, so that comes out in the colors. Some of the areas are completely the natural process of the patina on the copper, and they are completely untreated. Other areas are painted over with many different colors. Then I use different kinds of pigments and iridescent, and things that cause a type of interference, so there are a lot of optical qualities that come through in the paintings that are impossible to photograph. They are all about seeing them in person.

There is also a real quality of scale because I am interested in the microscopic surfaces that are happening as well. The crystallization patterns that arise naturally from the patinas, in a way they guide me in the painting process because I feel they are simulating natural processes like erosion and crystal formation and all of these sorts of things we do not get to see happen live. Here they happen in a compressed time frame.

W: In your Drifters series, what happens to the installations after they are exhibited? Do you store them for future exhibitions or recycle them?

P: All the pieces that become formalized in an installation arrangement, I keep them really organized and numbered. So all the things are categorized and numbered.

The pieces I don’t use I recycle, the pieces I do use, I keep a track record of them: where they were found, when they were found, the location, the condition, if there is any text on it in another language, what that is translated to in English. I feel like I am actually documenting an event that is happening, a change that the ocean is undergoing right now. The ocean is undergoing this process of getting rid of this material that doesn’t belong in there.

W: What is coming next in your work?

P: I have a big project going on in Greece, which is going to take palace this summer for the third year. I have been excavating caves there. They have a lot of caves along the coastline of this one particular island that I travel to. This summer I am actually going to work with an archeologist who has ancient remains that she is excavating from the caves and underwater. We are both very interested in this continuum, this timeline, of human presence. So we are going to be looking that these materials and how they are adjacent to the things she is working with.

W: Is there going to be an installation of this work that both of you discover?

P: Yes, that is what the hope is. I just met her and we haven’t worked together, we have only spoken about this. The process will evolve when we get together.

The other project that I have been working on for the last couple of years is now going to happen this summer. It is an expedition with artists and scientists, and we are going to the remote coast of Alaska on a ship. We are going to be tracking debris from the tsunami and other things that have already been in existence there. You know, the plastic that has been there prior to the tsunami. We have been looking at aerial photographs and finding locations we are going to be landing. It is going to be amazing.

W: Are these places inhabited or are they completely remote?

P: They are pretty remote. We have to prepare for grizzly bears and wildlife of all sorts. It is going to be an adventure.






Interview with Craig Dongoski

posted by – 03/14/13 @ 9:03am

Artist Craig Dongoski sits and chats with me about his current exhibition Discontinuity Continuum on display through the end of the month at Tinney Contemporary. Dongoski’s recent work incorporates the marks of a chimpanzee from the Language Research Center in Atlanta. The marks are the base from which the drawings evolve to become these gestural yet tightly controlled drawings.

Whitney: Why this particular chimpanzee, Panzee?

Craig: Mainly because she is the only one that we know of that does this. There was one that was reported in the 60’s that had a similar propensity, but within all of the ones in captivity and used for research, she is the only one that we know of that does this.

W: Of her own accord?

C: Yes, there are different theories as to why she does this. One that I, and I’m not here to postulate or guess, but one that I believe is she is seeing other scientists write, and I think she picked up on that.

W: Why do you focus on marks that are made by an animal as opposed to a human, machine or computer program? Is there something intrinsic about an animal or animal quality?

C: The question that I have always been interested in begins with: history can explain everything. I think there is a lot of embrace in science, but history can explain everything. One of the things I’m intrigued by, and it is totally science fiction, is the possibility with the evolution of ideograms, early language writing, that maybe a human saw an animal make marks, versus the opposite. What I’m doing is essentially what I’m guessing she did. She is copying a scientist and I’m copying her. So, through repetition and difference, some kind of logic or articulation occurs. I’m just repeating [her marks].

W: Are your drawings carefully planned out or do you allow for spontaneity? Are the tightly controlled or more stream of consciousness drawing?

C: It is the constant repeating, repeating, repeating [of marks]. So what you get here through that repetitiveness, you get difference. What I’m interested in is when things evolve. Evolution occurs because of mutations. I am trying to excite a potential mutation. So there is no plan other than what occurs from repeating. I’m very interested in the game of telephone or Chinese Whispers and how things can change, so I’m applying that to my work.

I made these types of work before working with the chimp. This didn’t come initially from working with her, but what it did was it gave me something to respond to beyond my own fingertips and my own experiences. It was something that through her writing or proto writing, whatever you want to call it, it allowed me to explore something that was even more base than what I thought could conjure up on my own. I am very interested in base material. I have been working with this stuff for several years, but working with her it started to add another interesting dimension, another layer.

W: I noticed your Drawing Voices series has interesting results similar to blind contour drawings. Can you describe the experience while people are creating these works?

C: The Drawing Voices is about base material. It is about the sound of someone’s mark, or articulating, or writing like this (writing with his finger in the sofa), it has potential to communicate just like the visual. As far as I know, no one has really looked into that. There was a Fluxus guy who did some pencil with music, but it has not really been embraced the way I do it. What I discovered is there is a potential telepathy. If I’m drawing an airplane and you are just listening to me draw, you are just listening and following along with your hands, that your drawing looks like an airplane. Through just listening, there is this potential to communicate. So the oral artifact, working with the sounds of marks, is what brought me into working with the chimpanzees. So, I came in with this prejudice, because of her propensity, it has taken me into another direction, but it is connected.

I mention in my statement, if you look art historically when the mark changes, art history changes. When Pollock says you drip paint, that changes the way you think about art. Or Van Gogh, what he painted is incidental, does not matter if it is sunflowers, you are looking at how he did it, the mark. Working with a non-human primate and considering it within the whole context of language and ideograms, and the context of that trajectory of art history.

Most people don’t think about art, they think about economics or politics and art is secondary, but I’m interested in art. I’m interested in the trajectory of art as a language.

W: What is coming next in your work?

I work very slow. I think of art making like skin. It takes seven years to develop something, and I’m actually 49 today. So this is a seven-year cycle. I always say this to students I work with, because I believe it myself, you could take anything, say a pair of boots, and say I’m going to make work with those boots for seven years. You will be making art. The problem is most people cannot commit to things like that. They get distracted, discouraged, or uninterested. So I trust things like my curiosities and instincts, and I’m not that interested in instantly communicating. I have been working with her for the better part of a year and she has come into a project that I have been developing for seven years, so it is in away at the beginning of another seven-year cycle.



Video unveils Brian Tull’s inspiration

posted by – 03/13/13 @ 2:06pm

A recent behind-the-scenes video of a photo shoot with renowned contemporary burlesque performer, Talulah Blue, provides a glimpse of the inspiration for painter Brian Tull’s piece entitled “We Walk by Faith Not by Sight”. Employing photorealistic practice, Tull transforms small photographs into large-scale, detailed captured moments in time. The resulting narrative is constructed through audience interpretation of the image.

See this video in comparison to the image above for insight into Brian Tull’s method.