Friday, June 18, 2010

Off to Hub-Bub

For the next 11 months I'll be spending my time in Spartanburg, South Carolina at Hub-Bub's Artist in Residence Program. I'll be living and working in one of the four artist apartments on site. Three additional creative types will be here with me: Corinne Manning, Ian Shelly, and Kerri Ammirata. All four of us will embark on this new adventure by having time to make our work, get involved with Hub-Bub programming, as well as an involvement in the local Spartanburg community.

Here are some photos of my new digs:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010, 12:33 - 1:33 am

It all starts with the longing for human contact
A presence, a conversation, a casual touch
Bleeding into a series of simultaneous actions
The background noise of documentary footage covering the 80s
The overlay of a genuine yet bad rendition of a song from 1967
While the discussion of the 80s is merely a period piece from 2000
The layer of sounds continue in a vacant space
A strong nostalgia for 2006 looms in my thoughts
As a 2009 issue of Art in America falls from a shelf
Noise emanating from improperly tuned drums and guitar
Bordering on moments of musical rhythm and painful irritation
Background footage turns to a looped DVD menu playing over and over
Sound increasing and booming leaches toward deafening damage to the ears
I am reminded of a time of making love while a looping DVD menu plays
The nostalgia for 2005 returns
Realizing the entire past decade has been a period of period pieces
Nothing but a performance in understanding
Pulling out of the age of anxiety to fully reinventing someone else
The stage is set with an audience ready and eager for what is to come
Unaware that it is to bring no greater change in the human condition
There will always be death, destruction, and war
There is noting special about anyone’s actions
Some get noticed and some don’t
Among the layers of sounds one stands out
A pitch unique enough to break through hail crashing down on the roof
To break past the most beautiful symphony
To transcend the gorgeous noise of rock
Like nails on a chalk board penetrating the soul
Close to an alarm, a synthetic sound jerking you awake

-Ron Longsdorf, May 15, 2010.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Transcending Painting: Andrew Wapinski's WASTELAND

Move over gold leaf crucifixions, there’s a new gilder in town! Andrew Wapinski’s new work is giving the classic and contemporary artworks using gilded gold leaf a run for their money. Wapinski, trained as a traditional painter, uses the standard wall hung panel format, yet transcends painting by marrying the intent of metal leaf used in painting throughout history with the sensibility of a materialist sculptor.

The title of Andrew Wapinski’s exhibition, WASTELAND, suggests a negative connotation toward recent trends of man using material at an alarming rate, yet his work is a beautifully abstracted visceral experience. The paintings are large sublime minimal compositions composed of metal leaf, paint, pigments, and resin resulting in multiple layers. These layers speak toward a linear history of time, yielding in a postmodern result of progress. Within the layers there are subtle grids, due to the rectangles of metal leaf, and various calculated lines etched into the golden surface. Juxtaposed against the strong hard edge linear elements are organic textures, tears, scratches and minor imperfections, all part of Wapinski’s laborious process of treating the surface. The mark making and material manipulation suggests a natural decay alongside a human inflicted environment.

Wapinski experiments with size, scale, and shape with the various works of the Wasteland Series, ranging in format and subtle palette shifts. Wasteland #10 is a vast 7 feet tall by 12 feet long looming experience. The massive panel consists of 3 sections of smaller panels breaking the composition into even thirds. The linear elements layered throughout the picture ranges from subtle grids from squares of gold leaf, angled lines etched into the surface, to organic wrinkles and folds of textures. The angled etched lines connect motifs of silver and cooper leaf squares, seemingly having an abstract mapping conversation.

Wasteland #5 is a smaller rectangle with an aquatic atmosphere. The panel again has golden metal leaf background, but with luscious layers of cool greens and blues washing among haphazard grids and motifs of metal leaf. The work appears to be excavated from the depths of the sea if it were from the lost city of Atlantis.

Wapniski’s most non-traditional format works include a circle and 3 narrow panels. Wasteland #12 is a 66” diameter circle speaking directly toward an idealized perfection of the Italian Renaissance. The surface is much more skin like and feels violent with deep reds and organic tears. Although the work is abstract, one cannot help to make reference to the wounds of Christ or da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, without the literal use of the figure. The work feels very politically charged and commenting on the violence of man and progress.

Wasteland #13 also feels somewhat violent. The work is comprised of three tall narrow column-like panels with very organic textures and marks among the metal leaf. There are darker black sections to contrast the light reflective gold. The tall panels feel more like wall sculptures than a painting while at the same time reference the history of Barnett Newman’s “zips” in abstract color field painting.

Wapinski is an artist who seems to be very aware of the world around him and manifests the emotion and paradoxical notions of human progress into his abstract works. Wapinski’s WASTELAND is the new triumph of painting for the twenty first century, speaking to the history of painting while transcending the tradition of the medium.

-Ron Longsdorf, April 2010

WASTELAND is on view at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE through April 18th. All images used are courtesy of the artist.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Off to Elsewhere

For the next week, April 5-13, I'll be heading south to Elsewhere Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina. I was last there in July 2009, and altered some of the architecture. Click here to see.

This time I'll be there for a week working on some building projects, perhaps a bit less conceptual and more objective this time. Although, I can surely attempt to conceptualize and contextualize the need to build as a practice even though I am simply aiding in the function and design of Elsewhere. Certain tasks need completed. I'll be there to help. But the planning, designing, and implementing of all of this is very much like a studio practice in a collaborative environment.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This is the future

All data exchange it is going to change how we interact in the world. Will data, and CPUs in everything really be used in capitalistic consumerism or will it eliminate the need for it. I think the latter.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Does video art have a future?

Does video art have a future? This is the question I am posing, and you must be thinking, “What, are you crazy, of course it does?” You must be thinking why am I asking a question like this in a technologically advanced time in the 21st century. I mean after all look where we are in history. Video is bigger than ever, with the birth of digital video cameras, video capability on our cell phones, and online powerhouses like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, HULU, and Netflix’s instant watch - and lets not forget our online video news networks such as,, and We are texting, emailing, sending pictures, videos, watching podcasts, uploading, downloading, oh my!

So why in 2010, do I pose the question, “Does video art have a future?” We are at a point in history where we are at the peak of a bell curve on its way straight down. We are at the end of a decade of greed and wasteful energy use, and at the birth of a green revolution and a shift towards energy conservation, sustainability, and independence.

In the 1960s and 70s during the birth of video introduced into the art world – did anyone question that this could only last about 50 years? Probably not, technology will inevitably progress.

Sure, we have gone wireless, sure we are using less “physical material’ right? I mean we download songs, videos, movies; it’s all electronic data. We are wasting less, right? Less plastic CDs, DVDs, less plastic cases. It’s all a digital network of data now, so we are totally on our way to green technology.

Not necessarily the case. We are at point where we may very well run out of oil in our lifetime due to its versatile nature. All of our digital cameras, computers, servers, any of our electronic gizmos that make many of the music and videos we listen to, watch and enjoy are all primarily plastic petroleum based products, such as the computer I type this text on. We are creating more and more physical servers and networks that are made of many petroleum based materials, and with the oil supply on its decent down the bell curve – so goes with it our future use of technology production.

Energy use is at an all time high. Much electricity is produced and stored from natural gas, even coal, what happens when we use that up as well? We have been producing so much ‘disposable short-term use’ stuff that the long-term energy use is astronomical. I mean how man carcinogenic plastic products do we import from China on a daily basis? Cell phones are out of date after two years. Computers and cameras are the same. We are a consumer culture that wants more and more. We are going to use up our fossil fuels that produce energy and will at some point halt production of new technological devices.

The Sony plant in Youngwood, PA had major layoffs and has since closed at the end of 2009. Is the machine dying? We are producing less and less barrels of oil year after year. So sure we will certainly find a way to survive for years to come after the shortage of production and the decline of energy. The last several years have lead us into a terrifying ‘age of anxiety’.

However, there is a ray of hope for the future, if we allow the paradigm shift to move towards a conscious choice to use less of what we don’t need. We are making smaller and smaller products. A majority of our information is now data on the Internet. The days of gigantic bulky equipment is no longer needed to present video work. I will site the notice of the art world using more projections rather than televisions or monitors to present video work. Or if monitors are used they are low energy LCD flat screens.

Since 2007, the development of ‘mini pocket projectors’ has become more and more reliable and exciting. We are nearing the point to install these devices into iPhones, iPods, mobile phones, and other small hand held devices. This is a step in the right direction, less and less physical ‘stuff’ and more and more data exchange.

In fearing of being a hypocrite, I will not that I am predominately a sculptor, a maker of large useless stuff to add the problems of the world and environment. I have not made any ‘video art’ for about 3 years, however tend to use video and audio with my objects and installations for conceptual reasons. Having said that, my only concern and struggle as an artist for the past few years has been my consumption of electricity to power my absurd experiential creations.

This year, I have made peace with that. For one, I am only one person using an extremely small percentage of energy to temporarily run an artwork for the duration of an exhibition. I am not a giant corporate office building running lights 24/7, constantly sucking up the juice from the grid. Although according the government that corporation has the same rights as an individual human being such as my self. (That is an issue for another time.)

Second, I have learned the energy draw from many recent devices is so low the energy impact is minimal. It is cheaper to run fluorescent lights non-stop rather than to turn them on and off, because once they are running they draw so little energy. Mini pocket projectors contain small LED light bulbs, creating to heat, drawing extremely low amounts energy, not to mention the fact that the LED bulb lasts about 70 years, so I’ll probably die before the bulb in my mini pocket projector.

So let me get back on point. Does video art have a future? Yes. Not only do I think video art will have a future, it is the future. As we move away from physical stuff, towards information exchange via the Internet and wireless networks, the use of video will become the dominant art medium. We may have to re-title “new media” very soon. Video is here to stay, but those of use who still make physical objects may be in jeopardy. As everything becomes a virtual space on the Internet, why still have physical libraries, museums, and art exhibits? My answer to that is we still need the physical experience to enjoy and understand the world. And we need to realize that film, video, and photography are still just documentation mediums. If we deny reality, we are nothing but electrical impulses of thought and information.