First Thursday, October ’03

A belated First Thursday post. I took Bill to his first FT. I hadn’t been in about two years myself. Things have changed. Last time I went, you kind of followed a mid-sized pack from gallery to gallery. With the development of the Pearl District, there really is no pack, just packed. Wall to wall people–people in galleries, people at sidewalk cafes, people everywhere. I loved it. I know there are a lot of naysayers regarding this neighborhood–I used to be one of them. But now, I just shaddup. I do hope more diversity moves in eventually, but that’s my only complaint. This has become an amazing, vibrant place.

Okay, enough of that. We hit a handful of galleries, and this is what we saw and heard (disclaimer: I am not even in the same galaxy as an art critic, this is just how I feel about things):

At Soundvision, we saw TJ Noriss’s final installation: Genometrics. When I think of art made organic, I think of things that are, well, disgusting yet beautiful. Think Cronenberg. This is why Norris surprised me by creating organic images and shapes that were, at the same time, pristine and simple. I enjoyed the visuals, and I loved the soundtrack. Down a few stairs from the installation was a flyer saying the music was available, and almost as soon as we started hunting for a source, Norris came up the stairs with a stack of CDs.

We chatted for a while about the installation, and Norris’s experience with Asmus Tietchens, who contributed to the soundtrack. To our dismay, this is the last installation at Soundvision. Just when we found it, lack of funding ruins everything.

Next we went to Backspace. Chris had mentioned a graffiti show and we were looking forward to it, but instead, it’s comic book art. I know it’s unhip of me, but I failed to be captivated by walls full of black and white pages. I can appreciate the skill, it just doesn’t float my boat.

Just around the corner is Butters, where we braved the upper crust to take in some beautiful work by Ted Katz and Richard Martinez. Katz does geometric abstracts with large, simple shapes, rich colors, and just a hint of realism. You generally know what he’s trying to express before looking at the title, which is no mean feat. I was also keen on Martinez, who is more playful, shaping the canvas to an almost flowery whim. The atmosphere at Butters is always a little tiring though–all social, very little thought for what’s on the walls.

We wandered through this and that, landing in Mark Woolley Gallery. There was a large piece in front called “Persistent Garden”. Damned if I can remember the artist. It was mostly black, but through the murk you could just see waterlilies and koi–it was like trying to see a garden at night. The goth in me loved it. The main event here was Tom Cramer, and I would almost say don’t bother with photos. These are impossible to capture. Cramer takes a slab of wood, carves it with veins and geometries, then gilds and/or paints it. The result is something unique. On first viewing, Bill and I were both enchanted with many of the pieces. The enchantment faded when we went back a few days later, but still, these are remarkable artworks, and must be seen to be appreciated.

Our last stop was at a gicl

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