Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gustave Courbet, The Oak at Flagey (The Oak of Vercingetorix), 1849

Christopher Brayshaw, Study for War Game Tree, 2008

Twilight, and uncommonly cold for late April. Just as I finished up the day's photography I heard a noise that I can only compare to a dump truck full of gravel falling out of the sky. Spun round to behold a flat grey wall advancing up the lane. There are pictures after this one on the camera card, but they're all grey monochromes, as a combination of humidity and cold, unstable air proceeded to violently dump five centimetres of ice, slush and hail all over the neighborhood. Visibility: nil. I drove -- wipers flapping, ice pellets drumming off the roof like a stadium full of Guyanese percussionists -- up to Corporate Thrift Store, thinking the storm would blow over in the time it took to go book- and shirt-shopping, and then, when it didn't, drove on to K.'s end-of-semester party in New Westminster in low gear, watching cars slide off the road and into the ditch, as if en route to Whistler.
Friday, April 18, 2008

Little did I know, powering up my digital camera for the first time with the vague notion of remaking contemporary artworks I admired as a kind of folk art, that my "practice" would be anticipated and foreclosed by ace Toronto photoconceptualist Brad Phillips.

(Image: Brad Phillips, ME TOO PETER DOIG ME TOO, 2008)
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Magnolia on Commercial, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Burnaby trees

An Obstruction in a Fence, 2008

Untitled (Carport), 2008

Local author Teresa McWhirter reads from her new novel Dirtbags in Pulpfiction's front room -- 2422 Main Street @ Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia -- on Saturday April 19th at 6:30pm. Everyone's welcome! Co-presented by Anvil Press.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some terrific New York Rock and Soul Review dates:

Chain Lightning

Pretzel Logic

Drowning in a Sea of Love

"What do you see in that guy anyway?" Watch Chain Lightning. You tell me.

Just finishing up 12 hours of nonstop BUSI 121 statistics. A cold Stella in the fridge. And two not-quite-front-row tickets to the Steely Duo in Washington on the 30th and 31st of July.

Join Peter Culley and George Stanley for a launch & reading to celebrate publication of their new books:

Vancouver: A Poem
by George Stanley

The Age of Briggs & Stratton
by Peter Culley

Pulpfiction Books

Friday, April 25, 7 PM
2422 Main Street, just north of Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Free admission

For more information about the launch, call 604.738-9429, or visit
Monday, April 14, 2008

WGT, cont.

To Kingsway and Edmonds to start the hunt, spurred by the shape of a very distinctive tower block (above center). Heavy traffic in flat grey light. Kids running across the green lawn of the BC Hydro right-of-way. Apartment balconies with little nests and rafts of stuff on them. Woodpiles; chainlink fencing; open garages so full of "storage" that the cars that once parked in them now litter the lanes' edges. An endless proliferation of detail. I've lived in Vancouver my whole life and never driven 13th Street before. Nor admired the curve of the cul-de-sac protruding into Ernie Winch Park, a "spatial balloon" that would make Cezanne proud.

The sense of driving into the photograph.
Sign In, Stranger

Michael Turner likes the Vogels, too:

"Mr. looks like he just stepped out of Van Gogh's The Potato Eaters (after a quick costume change); while from her gesture, it would seem that Mrs. acquired most of their collection at auction."
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another installment in what's slowly become a semi-serious game: trying to track down obscure locations depicted in certain Vancouver-based art photographs. Last night I discovered that Google Earth's satellite feature actually has pretty good resolution down to street level, and spent a productive half-hour inventorying big trees and empty lots in a local suburb. Next step: checking out the suspects one-by-one with the car.

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): The Look of Love

They Knew What They Liked

"Herbert and Dorothy Vogel married in 1962. They are a diminutive couple, plain on the outside but complex and passionate once you make that first effort to shake hands and engage them in conversation. The Vogels don't loom large and showy like some collectors or shrink away, either, when the conversation turns serious. My own conversation with them began on a less-than-serious note. 'Have your cats [there are five] ever destroyed any of your artwork?' I asked Dorothy. 'No, but the fish have,' she replied. Dorothy has a way of answering the most ordinary questions in the least predictable way. She was a librarian. Her husband was a postal worker. They lived on his salary and bought art with hers. Both are now retired. They have no children. 'We bought art we could afford and that would fit into the apartment,' they say. Water from the fish tank once splashed a Warhol they owned. It later had to be restored."

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