Saber: Bull in a china shop

July 7th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
"TOO MANY NAMES" by Saber at the Long Beach Museum of Art

“TOO MANY NAMES” by Saber at the Long Beach Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Saber.

Last month, “urban contemporary art” came to Long Beach, California. Thanks to Pow! Wow! and ThinkSpace Gallery, the Long Beach Museum of Art is currently hosting Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape, an exhibition of talented and famous painters like Low Bros, Meggs, Andrew Schoultz, Saber, and Audrey Kawasaki. It was supposed to be a show about painting with artists “demonstrating the skilled and nuanced application of their craft,” and, for the most part, the works in Vitality and Verve are well-painted and beautiful. Except for one. Saber’s installation. Read the rest of this article »


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Interview: Jeff Soto

August 30th, 2012 | By | 2 Comments »


Jeff Soto will be opening his fourth solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery on September 8th, alongside the simultaneous solo shows of Audrey Kawasaki and Judith Supine. The show, entitled Decay and Overgrowth, explores life, death and the passage of time. In this interview, Soto tells Vandalog about the emotional journey this past year has taken him on, including the death of two of his grandparents, and how these events provoked his consideration of mortality; which would become a central theme of this show. 

V: In your own words, can you tell us about the underlying themes of Decay and Overgrowth?
JS: I started researching my ancestry about seven years ago, well, even before that really. As a kid I knew my grandparents fought in WWII and my grandma would list off all the things we had in us- Irish, Italian, Sioux, Dutch, etc.. These stories were interesting to me. So from an early age I was aware that there is some history there, and at some point a teacher I had showed us family trees. When I was a teenager I saw Norman Rockwell’s family tree painting where the kid’s ancestors were pirates and Native Americans and cowboys. It got me interested in who my ancestors were, and how all my living relatives were related.
The last few years I have researched and got deeper into who these people were. Decay and Overgrowth comes out of this research. Finding all these relatives really drove home the point that we are born, we have kids, get married, live our life and die. And then the kids repeat the same pattern. Our offspring who come into the world like new flowers, growing and flourishing, eventually meet the same fate as any other living thing. We start aging, and at some point we all will die. We turn to dust, go back into the Earth to nourish it, and then the cycle repeats. I don’t see it as morbid at all, and I hope the paintings don’t seem too death obsessed! Even though I’ve unofficially titled my show “The Skull Show”.

V: This is a solo show, but you’re showing at the same time as Audrey Kawasaki’s and Judith Supine’s solo shows. How do you feel like this combination of works either compliment or juxtapose one another?
JS: I respect both of them. I know Audrey a bit but have never met Judith. I think as a whole our work is very different but individually we’re each very strong in what we do. Should be a fun show with something for everyone. I am predicting a large turnout.

V: Was this exploration of mortality more of a catharsis for you or a way of explaining death to your children?
JS: It’s more for me I guess. They’re too young to fully understand death. We do not hide it from them at all, you know, like if one of our fish dies or we find a dead rabbit on a walk, we talk about it. Two of my grandparents passed away in the last year, and they went to the funerals even though they’re young. I never really thought about death because it was not around me. Or maybe it’s an age thing- now that I’m in my mid/late 30’s and I have two kids that depend on me, it’s on my mind. Seeing my little brothers grow up and my parents age has been a trip.

V: What do you think your generation adds to the collective human experience?
JS: I think it’s too early to say. There’s good and bad things we’re going to add. I know that my generation seems more open to cultural differences among people. In the United States, overall we’re less racist than 40 years ago, and I think the next generation will be better than us. There’s still a long way to go but the situation is improving from the Baby Boomers and previous generations.
And of course the internet has made huge changes. For the first time in human history information is easily accessible to most people. It is empowering. Maybe it’s homogenizing us as well. It’s that whole globalization thing, we all buy the same products, listen to the same music and watch the same movies- are cultural differences starting to die out? Technology is good and bad I think. I’m 37, so I grew up with Atari which was fun, but only for about 30 minutes then we’d go outside and build a fort, climb a tree, make up a game… we used our imagination! I think that’s lacking in many kids and I wonder how it will change things. Maybe it already has. I graduated high school right as the internet was going mainstream- 1993. Our school had one computer that was online and the only thing we could access was college libraries in town. We had to search and hunt for our info, we had to go downtown and pour through a ton of books and along the way we would find other interesting books and much more thoroughly researched information. Now all the info is easily and quickly accessed in a nice little five paragraph web page. I do love Wikipedia, but 20 years ago you’d read a 300 page book on say, Cortés, now a kid in high school will read a concise web page on the iPad.  Maybe that’s not so bad, I guess the Wiki entry would have much more up to date info… see, technology that this generation is bringing is both good and bad.

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Category: Featured Posts, Interview | Tags: , , , ,

Event-o-rama

August 22nd, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Stephen Powers, who has a show coming up at Joshua Liner Gallery

There are a lot of shows coming up soon worth checking out. Here are some of I wish I could check out in person…

  • This week, the Iranian brothers Icy and Sot will have their first New York solo show, and it’s only open this Thursday through Saturday. Made in Iran will be at Openhouse, 379 Broome Street, New York.
  • Lush also has a show opening in NYC this weekend. His will be a show of drawings at Klughaus Gallery. It opens on August 25th from 6-10pm. Lush’s show are practically a place to expect surprises, so best get their opening night before a blog like this one ruins the shock value for you on Sunday. If you do miss opening night, the show runs through September 7th.
  • Next month, Stephen Powers aka ESPO will have his first New York solo show in over 7 years. A Word is Worth A Thousand Pictures opens September 7th from 6-9pm at Joshua Liner Gallery.
  • Galo Art Gallery in Turin has a great two-man show coming up with Bue and Chase. Brothers from Different Mothers opens September 9th from 5:30-9pm.
  • aMBUSH Gallery in Sydney, Australia has a big group show coming up with 67 artists including Anthony Lister, Askew, Does, Numskull, Vexta and The Yok. For Black and White All In Between, all the artists have painted on canvases of uniform sized and only used black ink. The show opens on August 31st from 6-9pm.
  • Jonathan Levine Gallery‘s next three solo shows open on September 8th and you will not want to miss any of them: Judith Supine, Audrey Kawasaki, and Jeff Soto. All three shows open from 7-9pm on the 8th. And speaking of Levine, I caught their current show earlier this week and it is great. Go it see before it closes.
  • Gold Peg’s Release The Wolves go-karting project in South London will have a gran-prix expo on September 1st. It’s gonna be some crazy and fun stuff. And art too, but I think that’s secondary.
  • Shepard Fairey is finally showing those paintings he did for Neil Young’s latest album. The few pieces I’ve seen photos of are impressive. Americana opens at Perry Rubenstein Gallery (which recently moved to LA) on August 25th from 7-10pm.
  • Finally, this last one is a mural festival, and it promises to be a big one… This year’s Urban Forms festival in Lodz, Poland includes Os Gemeos, Aryz, Inti, Otecki, Lump and Shida. Certainly the most-anticipated work of Urban Forms is the promised collaborative mural between Os Gemeos and Aryz. The events run from August 24th through September 30th and will bring the total number of murals organized in Lodz by the Urban Forms Foundation to 22. I can’t wait to see the photos of these pieces.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Liner Gallery


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