8/15/2006

Martin Bromirski

74 comments:

Painter said...

lives and works in
Richmond, Virginia

dharmabum said...

pretty, not pretty, no visible social agenda.

so last century?

why make it?

why not?

seriously

zipthwung said...

Painted on sand? process art

I think this painting exhibits what Marx called "surpluss value".


I was readoing my communism for Complete idiots book on the subway and it had thisd great story about how Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was on trial:

After a suitable time the jury came in with its verdict: "Filigno, guilty. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, not guilty." Both the prosecutor and Elizabeth were furious, but for opposite reasons. As the jury was discharged, the prosecutor followed them into the outer hall, and rounded on the foreman with: "What do you fellows mean by acquitting the most guilty, and convicting the man, far less guilty?" The foreman retorted: "She ain't a criminal, Fred, an' you know it! If you think this jury, or any jury, is goin' to send that pretty Irish girl to jail merely for being big-hearted and idealistic, to mix with all those crooks down at the pen, you've got another guess comin.'"

zipthwung said...

But sand painting is interesting as a doorway to the infinite, and as a ritualistic activity, by Tibetan monks, Navajo shamen and so on.

The navajo started using glue and selling paintings. THey also were encouraged to use a higher thread count in their rugs for use as objet d'art. Thats groovy. But the evil spirits get trapped, adn thats bad.

exu said...

this'd be purdy on a silk dress

kelli said...

Dharmabum; I guess we can all ask ourselves this same series of questions. Standing in my studio now doing just that. Ouch.

poppy said...

try to tell yourself whynot more often than why - i do more that way..
cant say anything negative about this guy.. googled his name and checked out his long ongoing blog,
really like his thumbs up project where he gets people to pose with his paintings giving the a o.k thumbs up.. very funny..he even has a few pics up of some rejection letters he's recieived from a particular gallery he's been applying to for 15 years..also pics of his paintings floating in the ocean...worth checking out.. so with that i say very nice and big thumbs up...

zipthwung said...

WTF? WHere is your criticality? I've seen better paint handling on a house painters paint tray. This is a case of arrested development. What is painting just play time?

zipthwung said...

Im going to Quiznos my blood sugar is a little low.

dharmabum said...

kelli-

Ouch indeed.

Can't wait to finish my 2005 tax extension today and get back in the studio.

I wish something else does it (painting = meaning) for me but nothing else does. Or at least something else that pays better.

wade said...

Problem is that you guys don't have the key to the painting.

The paints not the problem, though, the design is, or lack thereof. But I like lichen as much as the next guy.

vita sackville-west said...

Hi Kelli. What is the ouch for? Just curious. Please explain further in your eloquent way.

xx

zipthwung said...

sssssss

kelli said...

pretty but why
so last century but at least the end of it and fin de siecle is when the rot sets in
why make it? because I'm allowed to make whatever I like or at least I used to be
why not? because I wouldn't want it decorating my coffin or even my deathbed
seriously. it's always serious in the beginning
So in all fairness questions a given art object begs to be asked could be asked of others with more secretive approaches. Are we always just judging how effective strategies are.

kelli said...

Kalm James where you at? A formalist critique would be fair to this. Not meant facetiously.

millerhuggins said...

Yeah I think painters judge the effectiveness of their strategy...the strategy... a shove.

In seeing others strategy...
In thinking what kind of mind would do this...one also asks what would it feel like to do this and a dialogue of sorts creeps in...

The question of what must it be like...permeates painting...what must it be like to paint like that...one's sympathy and empathy are drawn out...it's lovely. What must it be like to have made that decision.

vita sackville-west said...

Thanks, Kelli, I do understand perfectly. I prefer cremation, but would choose fine examples of visual art to celebrate my passing as well.

closeuup said...

When putting together disparate elements, the trick is to make them sing. These dont sing.

Having been thrilled by lichen just this spring hiking around joshua tree, i can say that dried lichen makes fascinating and dramatic pattern and shape on centuries old rock, and the color is shocking and bright against the greys--well it can be quite breathtaking--abstractly speaking.

There is some sandy texture involved but it doesnt overwhelm, like it does in this painting

vita sackville-west said...

I am lichen this painting.

zipthwung said...

a dab of saturated color

would focus this painting, as closeuup says - sing.

lalalalalala lovely.

teamtruth said...

Thumbs up! There seems to be a colorfield reference (is the paint absorbed in the canvas?) but I also love the Bonnard color and the simplicity of the composition. From what I can tell, he has gone from making paintings of pictorial space to more close ups. It is like looking in a microscope and seeing a landscape maybe. These may be solar systems, I can't tell.

closeuup said...

these remind me of helen frankenthaler. thats not a good thing

bonnard? well lots of painters use pink and green--hodgkins and richter as well come to mind but...wade got it. the design is wimpy.

cha said...

someone mentioned silk... definitely a comfortable fabric feel.

Mothra said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Martin said...

PAINTER!!!! thanks! i am thrilled, this is exciting. lots of good food for thought.

closeup - i think the pink and green one was done after seeing some george caitlin, and thinking about it and talking about it on the steve mumford post on this blog.

http://painternyc.blogspot.com/2006/03/steve-mumford.html

last night i was making funnier paintings, thinking about some of triple diesel's posts and people talking about humor - i think the rachel harrison one maybe.

i'll check back later and contribute something i'm sure.

Painter, if you want to turn off the "no anonymous comments"... that is okay with me.

zipthwung said...

bubble bobble

poppy said...

i meant that i didn't want to criticize this guy because he seemed funny from his blog... sometimes i just like to keep my mouth shut for one reason or another..

Dennis Matthews said...

martin's dream is fulfilled. some of us have much higher aspirations than being featured on this particular blog. i always thought that his paintings were much more interesting and conversation stimulating when they were somewhere in the middle of being worked on. the final product never lived up to the intensity he would say he worked with. PAINTER, Want an interesting painter who has loads of material, go to brucewilhem.com

kelli said...

Poppy don't change and your name cracks me up. I picture a geriatric guy in a ratty bathrobe blogging and soaking his dentures. Wait that's my hall mirror.

teamtruth said...

Helen Frankenthaler is a "bad thing?" If you are going to make off-hand dismissive remarks, you should back them up. I'm just saying.

TOMPAC said...

i am curious to know how frankenthaler could be a good thing?

closeuup said...

That's your style, not mine. You be you and I'll be me. Why so bossy?

wade said...

I like this frankenthaler for example(bad jpg though), and there are some others like it mostly from the 70s and later I think.... another example (Both those jpgs suck though)

Mostly I prefer the ones with spills and chunky bits mixed in, kinda like a pastel kool-aid puke on canvas.

kelli said...

Frankenthaler was pretty bad sorry but no worse than Morris Louis. Giant watercolors on canvas. The Smithsonian gift shop sells a Morris Louis scarf. Doesn't that kind of tell the story? Milton Avery or the early blotchy figurative Rothkos might be a kinder comparison.

zipthwung said...

The Bromirsky retrospective opens, appropriately enough, with the famous Bubbles and Stuff of 2006, a painting too beautiful, to use an old fashioned word, to regard merely as a historical moment in the march forward of the modernists, and too compelling, as beauty always is, to see only as a work that influenced some important artists to begin staining canvas. It is beyond question big with a future that would have been invisible when it was made, and so for us big with a past, momentous in the style wars of thirty something years ago. But it is worth the effort to try to see it as it must have been seen before the later history happened, as a cool composition of slender loops passing in and out of diaphanous washes of color pale whites and greens and pinks distantly Cubist but feminized, without the harsh angles, aggressive edges, and dangerous vertices. It is like a dance of seven veils.

Whats Arthur Dantos fee? Or does he do the dirty for free?

zipthwung said...

At a celebration of Herod's birthday, the young and beautiful Salomé danced for Herod, his lords, commanders, and leading men of the estate, peeling off each of seven veils in turn until she was wearing little or nothing. Herod was so pleased by her dance that he made a solemn oath in front of all his guests to give her whatever she desired. At her mother's prompting, Salomé asked for John the Baptist's head on a plate. Although Herod didn't want to do this, he felt he needed to make good on the oath he had made in front of everyone, so he had John the Baptist beheaded and the head delivered to Salomé. \

Then Larry Rivers was one of our first artists. Fairfield Porter whom we knew through his writing on art, coming in to review shows for Art News I think it was. So did Goodnough. And who else? Pendleton West who died was one of our few first artists. And, oh, Helen Frankenthaler who was just finishing at Bennington College. Clem thought it was too early to show her but we kind of needed somebody so we gave her her first show then.

kelli said...

Modernism is like the 400 pound gorilla in the room. Everybody secretly thinks he smells bad, gets bananas on the furniture and speaks only in grunts but nobody can tell him to leave. If the Elizabeth Murray show had been a Martin Wong/ David Wojnarowicz / Frank Moore show ...well it would have been a better show.

Martin said...

frankenthaler... this is interesting. i've actually never heard that and never really looked at her work. she went to bennington though, and i was born in bennington and grew up nearby...

this painting comes more from grunewald, dickinson, eilshemius, and jack kirby than any of the artists mentioned so far.. and i lived in japan for a number of years, so a lot has soaked in from that experience.

oh! in case anyone is interested, i am represented by matthew marks.

http://flickr.com/photos/43686206@N00/69828326/

zipthwung said...

PAUL CUMMINGS: I think the whole social milieu, though, has changed in the last six or seven years.

TIBOR de NAGY: And the people aren't so very involved. I don't know. For example, I can tell you one example which bothers me no end. I called up Larry Rubin to lure him at least in. And I said, "Boxer is now a recognized artist. I would still like to donate to the museum a Stanley Boxer painting. Would you come to see the show and select one." He said, "I'm involved with . . ." -- I don't remember now whose catalogue -- ". . . I have closeted myself in my room. I can't do it but I will send somebody."

PAUL CUMMINGS: Oh, William Rubin.

TIBOR de NAGY: Oh, yes, I'm sorry -- William Rubin. So he sent Kynaston MacShine. Kynaston MacShine came, looked around. He didn't even call me back at my office. So finally I called up and Kynaston MacShine said, "It was a fine show but I'm not excited about Stanley Boxer." So by now I think he will have to pay to get a Stanley Boxer because Stanley Boxer is important and the museum has to have one. This is a typical 1970 story.

zipthwung said...

As Mr. Rubin explained later to Mr. Tomkins: "The notion that you can look at a work of art as pure form strikes me as idiocy. If the work comes at you, it comes with everything it's got, all at once."

kalm james said...

Elizabeth Murray is fantastic we’re going to hold it against her that she didn’t die of AIDS? Man that’s cold. (I knew Martin Wong personally and David Wojnaroeicz by sight) I think they’d both defer to Elizabeth in the paint department. I’m sending my best vibes in her direction.

Bill Gusky said...

You've got to get this in context.
One painting isn't on its own terribly revealing.
There's not even a size credit; you don't know if this is 2 inches on a side or 2 yards.

Martin usually works small I think, which sort of renders the Frankenthaler argument moot if only on those grounds, although I don't see it stylistically either, but if I did it wouldn't bother me.

This is an evocative little image, reminds me of angels flying between planets of a saccharine-sweet, perhaps India-inspired universe. For me it evokes fringe spiritual imagery and lays it out in kitsch colors. Calls up occult power and reduces it in one stroke. fwiw

Cooky Blaha said...

you should title this "when worlds collide!"

Matthew Marks?

Marty bought to get all blue chip on us.
how come you're not on the website yet?

wade said...

The original Frankenthaler comment was meant as an insult(by someone else), not a real comparison.

Anyway, looking over the your other stuff martin, i prefer the figurative ones from 2003-4, hellacious, sad sack... that's just my initial impression. The meatballs just don't do it for me. TO me they should be either simpler, or more complex. In the figurative ones, i'm guessing you'd have a back in forth between the scale of the image and the physicality of the paint. The meatballs, the image is grasped to easily and unless they have more the presence of a brick... or the image is too simple and the objectness is to weak. That's a guess based on little jpegs.

kelli said...

Kalm James her story is equally sad. I'm talking about the work.

beadelog said...

It looks like easter eggs that didn't get found till haloween. Jesus, this stuff brings me down.

Mothra said...

Helen Frankenthaler scarf doesn't mean much. There are plenty of Picasso scarves and DaVinci neckties (not kidding). Anything can be turned into a fabric pattern, so what? I once had a Gaultier dress with silhouettes of men fucking. So why does she suck, REALLY? Too flowy/feminine? Decorative? Real answer, please.

Elizabeth Murray suffers from the same cutesy disease as Jim Dine, and JJohns sometimes. Next.

I like the image of Modernism as a smelly gorilla, jumping up and down on the Samsonite of finicky, rendery, illusionistic painting. Speaking of baggage.

Martin, I am so sorry. You seem nice, despite the Marky Mark Gallery association, but this painting screams Kate's Paperie to me. Maybe in person...? I'm not getting it but am open to being skooled.

kelli said...

Mothra Jean Paul Gaultier is great and an example of someone who transcended his era ( and the Fifth Element ). Some people don't transcend their era and decorative abstraction including the pretty version of Ab Ex and P&D has aged sort of badly. Frankenthaler isn't awful but a good example of "someone does it first, then someone does it pretty". I guess a lot of Post-Impressionists were the same. Nothing new in this.

wade said...

Mothra's question was why does Frankenthaler suck? I think it is a decent question and you responded with some haze, "decorative abstraction".... ya know, most of the time I'd prefer something decorative.

What decent art isn't decorative? I wouldn't be suprised if plenty of interior decorators were more "advanced" than the painters whose crap they have to hang on the wall to give their rich patrons an air of sophistication. oooh racy "content"! I'd prefer a well made table cloth most of the time, or some pretty pink and green thing on the wall (and not necessarily a vagina). How about rugs. I'll hang a decently made carpet on the wall and it is more satisfying than most of the junk you find in a gallery. Course' we all get off in our own way, i.e. ne disputandum de gustibus or whatever.

kelli said...

She's Pollock without the angst. DeKooning without the chops. Catharsis after the fact when the storm was over. And it isn't about gender because prettiness and decoration are not essentially feminine and Morris Louis is no better. One of the problems I have with the whole post ab ex era we are talking about is it's reductiveness. Second generation Ab Ex reduced the original movement to it's formal elements. P& D reduced the decorative traditions of various cultures ( specifically Islam) to pattern and threw out the original religious content.
Beauty is fine but when you reduce everything to formal beauty is that enough to sustain an image? I threw out Milton Avery up above as a more positive example of something reductive but not totally neutered. Unlike other people I haven't dissed Martin. But the very successful and the deceased are fair game.
Is reduction a valid strategy and is it possible not to talk about strategy?
Is what's left enough?

David Coffin said...

On the whole, I prefer a so-so image that leads me at least to wonder what else the maker is discovering, to a splashy piece that leads me merely to recall whoever it was who made a similar kind of thing that I enjoyed more (i.e., Wollard...). Not sure I would have googled this piece had I not seen it here, but was glad I did. There’s more to plunder from a discoverer than from simply another plunderer.

“...no visible social agenda.”

Been thinking lately about this Aristotelian notion James Joyce puts in the mouth of his artist as a young man:

“The feelings excited by improper art are kinetic, desire or loathing. Desire urges us to possess, to go to something; loathing urges us to abandon, to go from something. The arts which excite them, pornographic or didactic, are therefore improper arts. The esthetic emotion (I used the general term) is therefore static. The mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing.”

I find it dulls the PoMo (or whatever) static nicely.

wade said...

How about pinkham ryder instead of avery, who is sometimes pretty but is usually a bit flaccid. The good parts of martin remind me of ryder... which should be a compliment. You just need more tar martin.

I'm not at all a kalm jamesian modernist. So what's the difference between rothko and frankenthaler?

I like the rigor of formal play in paint... i like the idea of things being dry and wet at the same time. (like, screw that prude Heraclitus) Reduction? how about the portraits of titian, or hokusai, late degas, or, um, el lissitzky.

Maybe its that i've never held the mid-century american painting in such high regard that it has to be something to go against, as some sort of motivating force. For me, there is no gorilla there.

In all these cases, whether martin, frankenthaler, or whomever, on a certain level I think it is better to engage them in their own context. Some Frankenthaler's (not the early stuff) is beautiful, and why reject it if its simply not your thing?

If I gave a damn about psychological interpretation of language I would run with your description of abstraction as neutered. Seems like there is something to that, but its too complex for my brain right now.

wade said...

formal beauty does not equal reduction...to sum up.

kelli said...

You can't have an avante garde twice only less. Hence the various twentieth century movements which reduced early modernism. But was early modernism even about progressive degrees of abstraction or was this just a later critical (mis)reading of it? And can something which was once radical be repeated?
The easy way to diss Martin is to state that he is using an old strategy. But is strategy the only question and is having a cagier, more current or more effective strategy necessarily more valid?

John Morris said...

The impression i get is that this is work that one would have to see in person and with some context.
There seems to be enough there for me to want to look further.

dharmabum said...

I love this blog

brent hallard said...

Kelli.
Good stuff is still hard to please, which ever name you dwarf it with.

Right, radicalism is over. Ha, Hum!
Or more, rascals are easy to see. weee twea..

A good poet isn't one who needs to invent new words or phrases. Notwithstanding, that poet is not held back from tickling up a flash phrase or two, or inventing a whole new wanwitch, when they so find themselves in despose--or as it may please... beyond all sensible flights into comprehension.

What we may have now are paint benchmarks: radical, rascal, and the well-trained. It harder to sell worth without appealing to at least two of these. It's also very hard to work outside the sensible-- fear of lack of appease.
Hi Ho. whatever.

Thanks, Painter, for mixing it up. makes it worthwhile coming through...

kalm james said...

Hey, cats, I ain’t no Modernist, though the whole Modernism vs. Post-Modernism thing is a modern notion. I’m a painter, and the most important thing for me is painting and the discourse around painting. This blog for all its entertainment value does have a somewhat narrow view of the scene, which isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes I have to put on my horned hat to play the devils advocate, tweek the kids at the front of the class, challenge dogma and “fashion.” Generally anybody who has cut through the crap to be discussed here has to be respected, (even criticism so long as the names are spelled right is an acknowledgement.) Cutesy disease Mothra? Bet you kick cripples and stomp on baby kittens too.

Mothra said...

You should see what I do to lizards. Pull they little legs off. Seriously, though, good politics don't guarantee good painting. It's possible to have a solid strategy and still lay a turd.

If modernism isn't that prog narrative after all, and avant-garde painting is impossible, well, why not repeat, repeat, repeat? Or throw it in a blender and hit "frappe."

teamtruth said...

Kelly: ageist
Dennis Matthews: mean

zipthwung said...

Jack Kirby is right. I like Green Arrow. his sidekick is Speedy - I think that's a drug reference. This painting is genreative for me - I;m a simple soul so all I see are bubbles, gum balls, colliding planets, cue balls, marbles and so on.

If I see one more "eye-candy" pun I'll punch the painter. SO fucking stupid it makes my eyes bleed.

I laugh at your god - now that's better.

Plenty of people work in places like noodle shops and coffee houses and its not an "intervention".

thissort of thing may amuse you but why should I care when its Matthew Marks? Why are you aiming at Matthew "Groucho" marks? Why not go for someone that matters? Like Kinkade?

kelli said...

Teamtruth I'm not strictly speaking ageist and I don't care about the market or what is current or correct. I'm strongly opposed to academicism and strongly in favor of oppositional thinking.

wade said...

I though oppositional thinking is what that teach in the academy nowadays.

kelli said...

I remember bitter careerists who were abusive and expected to be stroked. There are a lot of writers who had one or two good books in them and I think a lot of artists have 5 to 10 good years whether in their 20's or their 40's. Maybe the old guild system was better. People taught you what they knew and then kicked you out.

closeuup said...

sounds like my parents

kelli said...

that's pretty funny

Dennis Matthews said...

i didn't think i was being mean teamtruth, i was just saying that martin is such the painter who when visiting his studio and seeing works in progress some were really beautiful like two days in. end of the week they're covered and bland. underneath the frivolous sand and shit is a good painting. now that's mean yet more constructive than most of the above comments. i agree that hellacious and james won't get out of bed series are really awesome, the meatballs just don't make a valid commentary on really anything. martin? care to comment?

n8shac said...

Dennis, between what you put up there and half of your comments on Anaba, it's extremely difficult to parse many of the things you have to say as "constructive." I've been to critiques with you and I know you're going to call it as you see it, (as do I) but that doesn't necessarily mean that you've seen everything.... or that you're remotely right. And you never fail to insult not only the featured artist but the host blogs themselves with your commentary, which is easily apparent in your second sentence. Basically your post reads "Martin is shit, this blog is shit, his paintings are disappointing and if this blog wanted to be any better it would have my friend on it." There's nothing wrong with friends, but the overall tone needs some help to produce anything remotely close to your desired effect.


I can't speak for Martin but I think that he has enough work that does speak to afford some abstract work that is pure Formalism without overt concepts. I think what's interesting here, for Martin's sake, isn't any overt associations displayed in the paintings themselves but the fact that from the day of the first one he'll call upon any circle, painted, drawn, or printed from the entire history of Art and consider it reference material with the simple word "meatball."

For some people, that's conceptual enough.

n8shac said...

BTW, Dennis:

I'm xeroxing some copies of Kuspit's "The Good-Enough Artist" and wheat-pasting them all over your apartment.

Love ya, good luck in Chicago ;)
-Nate

teamtruth said...

Dennis Matthews:
"martin's dream is fulfilled. some of us have much higher aspirations than being featured on this particular blog."

Dennis Matthews said...

nate i guess the response i should issue is that every 'good enough artist' needs to present a challenge to themselves and that is to fly far beyond those simple forms and arrangements of a two planed abstraction of bigger issues, if these issues are so more important than your overt concepts which are abandoned in what you are saying martin's thinking is about his paintings. If Martin's painting are more about its internal existence, life Kuspit would probably call it, than what it is doing as a painting its concept you call it, then what can you find out from Martin through circles (meatballs he calls it) and fuzzy kinda vaudy like vaudevillian colors a blurring an abstracting of something else that is not really here in this right now an outside idea. I was saying that I like when Martin goes out to an idea.

bruce said...

Martin's work for the most part leaves me confused. I can rarely decide wether I like it or not. Muddy canvases with sand and meatballs (I definitely hate the word meatball) Some how the are both over worked and under worked. They sometimes remind me of Chris Ofili glitter paintings, yes, the worst paintings ever made (and no the shit does not redeem them) but unlike shit paintings I actually end up thinking about Martin's paintings. And not the ones that are obvious winners (his paper work is almost always very good)instead I think about the sandy canvases and odd color combinations and why would any one want to make things like this and finally I decide that they must be good paintings because they force me to retreat into my head which reinforces my decision to never leave my house again.

Oh, I almost forgot that the book that most people on this blog owe most of their success to(The Guide to Success for First Year Sculpture Students) actually mentioned Martin's paintings with a foot note that said they are good paintings which is the real reason why I like them.

umm.. I'm done now

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