Antarctic Bookshelf 6: The Heart of the Antarctic by Ernest Shackleton

February 24, 2013

The Heart of the Antarctic is Ernest Shackleton’s account of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909, one of four voyages he took to the southern continent. The Nimrod Expedition, as it’s also known, is best remembered for having reached within 100 miles of the Geographic South Pole, a record for the time.

My newest Long View blog post looks at Shackleton’s book, which drew on his and his crew’s diaries to describe a landmark expedition in great detail from inception to finish. Most exciting to me however is experiencing the expedition from Shackleton’s perspective, offering insight to his leadership, drive, and commitment to science and exploration.

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Antarctic item 017

January 30, 2013

Antarctic item 017 is one of the rustiest discards I brought back from Antarctica. In my latest Long View blog post I speculate about its intended use and ultimate path to oxidation.

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Arsenal at Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery

January 15, 2013

Photograph by Anja Ulfeldt.

Stanford’s first-year Art Practice grad show, titled Arsenal, is on view till February 10 at the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery. The artists are Galen Jackson, Eleanor Oakes, Ben Peterson, Anja Ulfeldt, and myself. The exhibition is curated by Terry Berlier, Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Department of Art & Art History.

Photograph by Anja Ulfeldt.

For this exhibition I worked with wood, wire, light and movement to create a site-specific wall installation titled Projections. In this array of ‘sculptural drawings,’ physical protuberances interact with cast shadows to explore material / immaterial images, mappings, and architectures. Audiences are invited to enter and move about the lit environment to experience shifts in space, composition, light and shadow.

Photograph by Anja Ulfeldt.

The Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM–5 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. The Gallery is located in the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at 419 Lasuen Mall. Parking is free after 4 PM and all day on weekends.

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Antarctic Bookshelf 5: Letters From a Lost Uncle by Mervyn Peake

December 23, 2012

My latest Long View blog post features a write-up of Mervin Peake’s Letters From a Lost Uncle. The book recounts the fictional exploits of a polar adventurer through the letters he writes to his nephew in England. The tale of drama and perseverance centers on the improbable quest for the legendary White Lion — Emperor of the Snows.

Letters from a Lost Uncle is the first humorous book I’ve featured in this series and perhaps not the last. First published in 1948, Peake’s imaginative yarn warranted a high-quality reprint in 2001, the first to reproduce his wonderfully collaged words and text in 4 colors. Photos of this edition are included in my post, the fifth to my Antarctic Bookshelf series covering notable polar-themed books.

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RRR.003 in Print

December 10, 2012

I’m pleased to be a contributor to RRR.003 | RRRECONSTRUCT, issued now in 6×9 inch book form as well as PDF format. The publication features 100 pages of recycled art printed in black & silver ink an edition of 1000 copies.

Many thanks to curator and publisher Scott Massey for inviting me to participate in yet another RRR publication. Read more about the ongoing project on his website and sample the book here.

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Antarctic Item 016

November 30, 2012

For my Long View Project, I brought back several discards from Antarctica to incorporate into art pieces. I’ve been intermittently posting photos of these artifacts along with any known information about them, which in most cases is quite little.

One thing for certain however is that they’re all thought and imagination-provoking items. Their curious shapes, marks, colors and textures demand more than a plausible guess. They beg for a story.

So starting with my current post, I’ll occasionally spin a short tale to accompany the objects. These stories will combine fact and fiction in part to to address their mysteries, but more so to bring these fascinating artifacts to life.

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2012 Zero1 Biennial

November 10, 2012

I’m participating in the 2012 Zero1 Biennial, an international showcase of work at the nexus of art and technology. My piece, a 48 square-foot floor installation titled MELT, goes on view November 9 in San Francisco. More info on the show here.

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Visual Indeterminacy: Cage, Duchamp, and the Plexigrams

November 5, 2012

This Friday I’ll be giving a talk titled “Visual Indeterminacy: Cage, Duchamp, and the Plexigrams” at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. My presentation will center around John Cage’s series of eight ‘plexigrams’ collectively titled Not Wanting to Say Anything about Marcel currently on view at the Cantor. It is one of Cage’s earliest graphic works, created in 1969 in the memory of his colleague Marcel Duchamp.

I’ll be discussing the relationship between Cage and Duchamp, how and why Cage applied his method of indeterminacy to create to the artwork, and the historical importance of its production. I’ll also propose that while Cage wasn’t interested in lyricism, sentiment and ‘meaning’ in art, the plexigrams can be read as a visual poem to a dear friend.

The talk is a part of the Spotlight on Art series presented by Stanford’s Department of Art and Art History on the second Friday of each month during the academic year. It will take place alongside the artwork in the Cantor’s Lynn Krywick Gibbons Gallery on November 9 at 2 P.M.

The Cantor Arts Center is just off Palm Drive at Museum Way and Lomita Drive, Stanford CA. Not Wanting to Say Anything about Marcel is on view through November 11.

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Imprint of the SFCB: Paolo Salvagione

November 1, 2012

Every autumn the San Francisco Center for the Book’s annual artist-in-residency concludes with the release of a new artist’s book edition. This month the Center’s Imprint committee, which I chair, is pleased to be publishing Paolo Salvagione’s One for Each, a multi-sensory cabinet of curiosities.

Five boxes of English buckram and black leather, photographed by Heimo Schmidt.

The work is comprised of five compact drawers, one for each of the human senses. Each drawer holds a distinct, self-contained object that celebrates, titillates, and challenges these basic faculties we often take for granted. The content is enhanced by Marc Weidenbaum‘s series of short interlocking essays, letterpress-printed by SFCB volunteers with design direction by Boon Design.

Paolo describes the edition this way: “Three-dimensional projections emphasize the tactile nature of printed images. Silhouettes of leaves ask you to gauge species by contour, yet the absence of color brings attention to the visual. Talking tapes acknowledge a tangible aspect of sound. A musky, smell-based exploration summons up mental images of physical activity. A unique taste enhancer promises to temporarily bond to your receptors, making all things sour seem sweet — but first your fingers must negotiate the brittle blister pack. And all, in combination and individually, show how our senses can deceive us, and in the process yield something akin to a child’s surprise at the roles these senses play in helping us navigate the world.” 

One for Each is issued in a deluxe edition of 40 copies and a trade edition of 50. Copies are available through the SFCB website.

Nearly 250 cubic inches of sensory activity, photographed by Heimo Schmidt.

Concurrent to launching One for Each, the SFCB is hosting an exhibition of Paolo’s past sculptural and book works along with documentation of the making of his residency edition. The show runs through the end of the year.

The book preview and exhibition opening take place on Friday November 2nd from 6 to 8 P.M. at the San Francisco Center for the Book, 300 DeHaro Street (entrance on 16th Street) in San Francisco. Admission is free and open to the public.

Big thanks to studio manager Rhiannon Alpers and our generous crew of volunteers who enable production of the Imprint’s editions.

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Antarctic Bookshelf 4: The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

October 30, 2012

My newest Long View blog post for the California Academy of Sciences talks about Caroline Alexander’s 1998 book, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition. Alexander effectively retells the drama of the Endurance voyage through her own words and the gripping photos of Frank Hurley, the expedition’s photographer.

This is the fourth post to my Antarctic Bookshelf series covering notable polar-themed books. The previous three were Antarctica by Emil Schulthess, Imagining Antarctica by Sandy Sorlien. and Endurance by Alfred Lansing.

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