Saturday, February 04, 2006
Line Down

A few communication problems between Anodyne World HQ and Blogger Command this afternoon. Anyone receiving 403 Forbidden errors or other goofy messages while trying to access the site is advised to check back tomorrow afternoon (I can currently view some but not all posts, edit some but not all, & etc. Aaargh!)
Torrential rain at Main and Broadway, power out all over the city, bare tree limbs shaking in ferocious wind. Grey-black sky. Fair sized chunks of tree and awning bouncing off of car hoods. My parents' deck on Bowen washed away by the high tide and the logs that kept ceaselessly battering up from below.

Day -- I think -- #42 with rain.

Did I mention my depression?

Leavened, today, by Mr. Ben Webster, Mr. Oscar Peterson, Locus Solus magazine, and Mr. Brian Eno. Not to mention the customers who braved the Seventh Seal-style apocalypse outside to wander in, buy books, and look at art.
Friday, February 03, 2006

Fairfield Porter, View of the Islands, Maine, 1975

Deep seasonal depression, unleavened by Yesterdays New Quintet or New Topographics.

A lot of 60s magazines in today, including Locus Solus 1, featuring Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, John Ashberry, Frank O'Hara, Robin Blaser & etc. Also four poems by Fairfield Porter, extraordinarily talented realist painter and occasional art critic, including this one, which I reproduce for the weird little shiver of recognition it prompted in me as I read, like weak spring sun:

The Mountain
By Fairfield Porter

Here is a mountain I am unable to encompass
Except after many deliberate days in the sun
That keeps constantly burning through the cold air.

Along the slanting edge of a massive shoulder
Grow myriads of short flowers springing
From the wet earth soaked with melting snow.

Above the airy sparse woods, pouring
Between the tree trunks with still coldness,
Like the sudden shock of a mountain pool,

I circle with care to the higher meadow slopes
Through breathless shadows under the final rocks
Uncovered below the unprotected sun,

Until over the snow at last on the rocky summit
I survey across the blue and sunny valleys
Filled with giant slowly penetrable forests

The distant peaks I have not yet walked over
Countless and all different from each other
Projecting and broken in the transparent sun.

Untitled (Frontiers), 2006
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
2006 50K Club -- cjb & Team Cat

No cute tie-in photos yet, but the West Coast's favorite man and stuffed cat hiking team has been back at it since early January. About 1000m of elevation gain so far this year, including today's aborted attempt on Grouse Mountain, which concluded with a muddy retreat down the Skyline Trail in full-on pouring rain.

Team Cat votes with two hands and four paws for North Vancouver's Harmony Deli, home of an amazing turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce $3.95 bunwich lunch special, and the donuts that kept the team plodding up Grouse last spring.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Here we are in a room full of strangers,
Standing in the dark where your eyes couldn’t see me...

One of the greatest vamps of the 1970s. A dim memory of skating with my elementary school class at North Vancouver's now-defunct Stardust Roller Rink, the room's disco ball spinning wild patterns on the worn wooden floor.

[Art criticism in progress, late night, rain down hard outside on the Subaru's roof. And, for the record, the sensibility that generated that last thought also generated the following paragraph:

"Disassembling structures does not necessarily mean relativizing their components. Aslizadeh is not interested 'deconstructing' narrative or point of view per se, however much her subject – the repressed inner lives of the workers and managers at a ficticious American insurance company’s head office – might cry out for such an approach. Office succeeds because Aslizadeh repeatedly shifts the ways in which her narrative is told. She thereby implies compositional parallels between her video’s formal (pictorial and durational) structure and the broken, fractured and necessarily incomplete narratives that her characters tell themselves and each other. In this respect, her shifts of compositional and stylistic tone are not arbitrary, relative, or 'postmodern,' but are deliberately tied to her characters’ psychological states. Aslizadeh’s stylistic shifts are expressive of her protagonists’ conflicted fragmented inner lives, an ostensibly stylistic avant-gardism -- what Aslizadeh calls 'a visual language that owes much to the avant-garde traditions of distancing and radical breaks' – employed in the service of greater psychological realism."

Talking cats, Frankfurt School, the Bros. Gibb, "picture space," X-Men, Clement Greenberg, paperback originals. High or low? Not a meaningful distinction any more. It's all one piece.]

Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada,from Lone Pine, California, 1944

Lone Pine, California. Freezing cold in the shade. Canadian bookseller in the middle distance, slopping 87 octane on the tarmac and worrying about that burning smell rising from his brake pads.

Photo by Jamie Tolagson. Many others from our trip are now up on his site, including another view of yesterday's Stump, and my personal favorite, also from Lone Pine (section 5, picture 5). Not depicted: the Lone Pine California Highway Patrol's swift and somewhat bemused investigation of art photography.
Monday, January 30, 2006

Though I forgot to mention it here last week, Evan Lee's restrospective has finally opened at North Vancouver's Presentation House Gallery, along with an illustrated catalog featuring texts by Jeff Wall, Peter Culley, William Wood, and me. Any reader in the Pacific Northwest with even a cursory interest in photography or contemporary art should head over to North Van to see this ambitious and well-installed show.

I have been very lucky as a critic; many local artists have been generous to me with their time, conversation, and the example of their work, with Evan first among them.

(Image: Evan Lee, Stain #11, 2003)

Yes, that really is me up there on Worldwide Electronic Garage Sale, ready to drop $$$ on this extremely scarce group catalog (George Eastman House, 1975, edition of 2500 or thereabouts, most of which ended up in art libraries). Pictures by the Bechers, Robert Adams, Frank Gohlke, Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore & etc. I don't think I would have ever picked up a camera without these artists' fine example. Like Chris Dewdney says, "Certain people seem to stand behind one."

Untitled (Stump), 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006

Pacific Giant Octopus vs. Remote-Controlled Submersible

Not even remotely a fair contest.

"The giant pacific octopus, octopus dofleini, is the largest species of octopods and although it grows to an average weight of 50 to 90 lbs with a span of 16 ft, a monster 600 lbs one has been recorded. They are intelligent creatures who can negotiate mazes and learn to unscrew jars to remove food. No problem disassembling a [remotely operated vehicle] then."

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