Tag Archives: art

TriHexal cards

SOUND (TriHexal 2)

TriHexal cards, 4.25 x 4.25 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards with an abstract image that is also a poem, created using the geometric TriHexal font. For more information on TriHexals, see this post.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , |

Fire in space cards

Fiery cross Fire in space cards, 4.25 x 4.25 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards featuring a fiery cross set against the expanse of deep space.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged |

Labyrinths cards

Labyrinths 2


Labyrinths cards, 4.25 x 4.25 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating labyrinths and an ultra-pixellated aesthetic.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged |

Cactus flower cards

pink cactus blossom

Cactus flower cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards with a vibrant pink cactus flower.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , , |

Freesia mix cards

Freesia mix

Freesia mix cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards with golden freesia and pink, magenta, and red geraniums.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , , , |

Parrot’s beak abstraction cards


Parrot’s beak abstraction cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating the parrot’s beak plant (Lotus berthelotii) in the abstract.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , |

White iris cards

white iris card

White iris cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating the symmetry of a white iris flower.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , , |

Water lilies cards

Water lilies

Water lily cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating the floating shapes of water lilies.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , |

Snowflake cards

Snowflake card

Snowflake cards, 4.25 x 4.25 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of winter holiday cards with a hand-drawn snowflake.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged |

San Pedro cactus cards


San Pedro cactus cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi).

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , |

Angel’s Trumpet cards



Angel’s Trumpet cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating the inner beauty of the Angel’s Trumpet flower (Bruggmansia species)

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , |

Graffiti cards

Graffiti cards, 4.25 x 5.5 inches, 12 to a box plus white envelopes: $15

A box of all-occasion cards celebrating graffiti and found art from the walls of New York. There are 6 of each of the two images.

Posted in 2016, cards, latest | Also tagged , |

Searching for Sebald (trade edition)

Searching for Sebald: Photography after W.G. Sebaldlayout from Searching for Sebald

Searching for Sebald (trade edition): $30.00    BUY NOW

Searching for Sebald: Photography After W.G. Sebald is an anthology of original essays and visual projects inspired by the work of one of my favorite writers, the late German novelist W.G. Sebald, author of Rings of Saturn and Austerlitz. I served as an Associate Editor on this project as well as the lead designer, in charge of design concept and development. I also contributed an essay entitled “All That Is Beyond Hearing: A Life of Arturo Ott”. It was a mammoth undertaking that took four years to complete, finally being published in 2007 by ICI Press.

Sebald interwove his texts with photographs in a highly idiosyncratic fashion—as seen in the layout above, which compares pages from two different editions of one of his novels. The focus of Searching for Sebald is a re-examination of the relation of photography to text in Sebald’s work and in the work of various modern and contemporary artists. I’m proud of the fact that this project was truly international in scope, featuring essays by European and American writers and artwork by Shimon Attie, Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Andre Breton, Tacita Dean, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Pablo Helguera, Gerhard Richter, and others. (More about the project here.)

Searching for Sebald is available for purchase through artbook.com ($39.95) or amazon.com ($29.16). At over 600 pages, the anthology is a steal at either price.

Posted in 2010, books | Also tagged , , , |

labyrinths 2

Labyrinths 2

Labyrinths 2
24 x 24″ open-edition digital print on archival paper, signed and numbered by the artist: $475

12 x 12″ open-edition digital print on archival paper, signed and numbered by the artist: $175



Posted in 2014, latest | Also tagged |

L.A. Art Book Fair

LA Art Book FairThe Los Angeles Art Book Fair just opened; at left is a snapshot of the ICI Press booth. I’ve worked on about half the projects in this view.

It’s free to the public this weekend (Feb. 1-2), a book lover’s dream world.

Posted in 2014, latest | Also tagged |

Speculative Pentimenti

Speculative Pentimenti cover

Speculative Pentimenti: $40.00






Speculative Pentimenti: Painting in the Age of Endarkenment, the most recent book I’ve designed for the Institute of Cultural Inquiry, has just been released. It is one in a series of monographs the ICI is issuing about the work of its Associates. Speculative Pentimenti is about the work of painter Sande Sisneros, specifically a series of paintings from 2009-2011 in which she deploys fluorescing pigments to create two strikingly different states of each painting, one visible under normal daylight or incandescent light, and the other under ultraviolet light. The book includes an essay about the related phenomenon of bioluminescence (by Lise Patt), an essay about Sisneros’s work (by Sue-Na Gay), an interview with Sisneros, and reproductions of selected paintings in both their daylight and UV-visible states.

Speculative Pentimenti spread 2

the opening spread of the Gay essay

Speculative Pentimenti spread

a spread from the Patt essay

Posted in 2013, books | Also tagged , , |

no light like winter light

winter sailboats

Posted in 2013, latest | Also tagged , , , |

beginning with a playground

chalk drawing We are now one week into our residency on my fall project, the new performance work “Far-Flung follows function.” The lead artist on this is Ursula Endlicher; I’ve signed on as both a general collaborator and a performer (more about that later). My longtime collaborator Robert Allen is the movement director of the piece and also a performer.

We’ve spent the last week in the Experimental Medial Performance Lab at UC Irvine working with the physical organization of the space. The xMPL has no permanently defined stage and audiences areas: it’s a big black box. So you have to begin with the basics: Where will the performers be working? Where will the set pieces go? Projectors, speakers, lights? The audience is going to be circulating freely through the space rather than seated, so that has to be borne in mind also.

Almost the first thing that happened, then, was that Ursula sketched out her floor plan with those giant pieces of tubular chalk that kids love so much. The black-painted wooden floor became a giant record of drawing and redrawing: pentimento city. At the end of the first day I took some photographs and created the digital collage above. Yet another redrawing, and far from the last—we are now slowing replacing the chalk with vinyl tape to create an abstract motherboard. More on that in a later post.

Posted in 2013, latest | Also tagged , , |

beach glass

beach-glass_1342One of the enduring pleasures of walking seaside is picking up beach glass. When I was little, we had a strict hierarchy of colors: the most desirable was the rare red, followed by the somewhat rare cobalt blue. Then, in descending order, turquoise, aquamarine, dark green, light green, amber, dark brown, white, clear. It made a useful sort of currency whose exhange values fluctuated wildly, complicated by the fact that it was interlinked with a second oceanic currency, the seashell. Gold and silver jingle shells, whelks, periwinkles, boat shells, tiny clams (double angel wings preferred), mussels. Unusual rocks—’diamonds’, black-white sandwiches, heart shapes, ‘gold’ nuggets, mica—had their own values, as did oddities like the sinister but elegant skates’ egg cases and the translucent infant horsehoe crabs.

We would keep our bits of glass in water to bring out their color and translucency. The other day on the beach I found some glass of odd colors and put them in water and painted this quick study.

Posted in 2013, latest | Also tagged |

artist with 4 hands

I recently spent a few days in the Bay Area Studio of my friend the artist Christel Dillbohner playing around with wet media. One of the things we did was  collaborative drawings (Gemeinschaftsbilder), something I had never done before. Though I’ve collaborated on drawings with a poet, and played exquisite corpse any number of times, the shared work of 4-handed drawing had somehow never come my way. Basically, we set up 5 sheets of paper on a large table and, starting on opposite sides, went from sheet to sheet drawing and painting whatever we wanted. At first there was a lot of latitude because the paper was mostly empty, but soon we were working with, through, around, beside, over, and against each other’s marks. It was a great deal of fun. After several hours, we ended up with just 4 completed drawings because we ran out of time and energy to complete the fifth. One of them is posted over at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry’s website. At left is a blackboard of notes that we wrote to ourselves over the course of a couple of days. This is one of the things that I get out of art: it’s one of the few places where the phrases “Durchblicke schaffen”, “neolithic meets baroque”, and “the sun becomes the moon” can be part of a meaningful event.

Posted in 2013, latest | Also tagged |

made in Sri Lanka

envelope from Sri Lanka

envelope from Sri Lanka

A friend gave me this beautiful envelope from Sri Lanka. Like one I got awhile back from China, it’s a gorgeous assemblage of stamps, notations, and creases. This one I’m keeping … for now.

Posted in 2013, unique | Also tagged |

when crude tools are just what you need

As I wrote about a week ago, I’m in the midst of working on a new performance project, Galileo in America. We’re now at what may be the most awkward stage of all, long past the early, exciting phase of throwing ideas around to see what bounces highest, and not yet at the last, scary phase where it’s all about the tasks that must be completed in order to have a show at all. This is the shop floor phase, when ideas begin to take physical form and in the process reveal every possible bug, error, mismeasurement, flaw, wrong assumption, poor judgment, and half-baked aesthetic. You spend a lot of time repeating variations of “Yeah, ok, so that won’t work either. What about…”

scale model of set

scale model of set

Right now I’m working on the scheme for our projection scrims. In order to play with various possible combinations, I built a 1:40 scale model of the Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL),  where our performances will take place. Calling it a scale model makes it sound a good deal classier than it really is, evoking as it does miniature-gauge train sets and model car kits. My scale model is built from gatorboard (left over from another project), heavy wire (rusted from sitting around my studio so long), thin wood dowels (formerly skewers), paper, and tape.

scale model with projections

scale model with projections

These days, this kind of modeling is typically done on the computer in a CAD program. I decided not to take that route, and not just because CAD isn’t one of my areas of expertise. I wanted that immediate, physical, visceral sense of objects in space, a sense that is most directly conveyed by, well, actual objects. The crudity of my toy theater was deliberate also, a way to not get too hung up on possible solutions too early in the process. I find that this is a trap always waiting for me—maybe other artists are luckier in this regard—the temptation to start polishing up a preliminary idea before it’s ready. The lure of the finished. Computer programs are particularly deadly for me in this regard, since algorithmically generated objects turn out so neat and precise. They have a perfection that entices you to accept them even if they are in fact the wrong perfection.

So here I am surrounded by scraps of paper of all different sizes that I believe will lead me somewhere useful. The next step will be to replace the scraps of paper with fabric and look at the effects of actual light projected in various ways. What I really need is a 1:40 scale miniature data projector, but I’m guessing that doesn’t exist. Yet.

Posted in 2011, latest | Also tagged , , , |

virtual performance diagram

virtual performance diagram

A mandala… of sorts.

Posted in 2011, latest | Also tagged , |

neurology meets sumi-e

UCSD Gold and Black Purkinjes

Greg Dunn, "UCSD Gold and Black Purkinjes", 2010

Over on the blog Bioephemera, I came across the elegant sumi-e style paintings of neurons by University of Pennsylvania doctoral student Greg Dunn. Since my first passion in art, as a child, was for the Japanese and Chinese scroll paintings in the Boston Museum of Fine Art, I was instantly taken with Dunn’s application of this minimalist technique to a subject ordinarily accessible only through micro-photography. While the best such photographs are themselves works of art, Dunn’s pieces bring to bear the different affordances of painting: color and texture, selective filtering of subject matter, traces of the hand as well as the eye.

Dunn sells high-quality digital prints of his work through his website, and he also takes commissions for original paintings and scrolls.

The major cultural value of scientific imaging may lie in the technical reliability of the image, and certainly the canonical story of its development as a field with reference to such key figures as Andreas Vesalius, Maria Sibylla Merian, and Étienne-Jules Marey is one of increasing accuracy. More interesting to me is the ongoing problem of how we learn to ‘see’ both through and with scientific images. That is, how what we see and know affects the kinds of images we make and, conversely, how the kinds of images we make affect what we can see and know.§

Golgi-stained pyramidal cell

Golgi-stained pyramidal cell

For instance, I’m struck by how Dunn’s paintings home in on the branching structure of neurons, the axons and dendrites that create forms reminiscent of tree roots. Trees are prominent in art, and they are familiar in another sense through the frequency with which they are used as a metaphor—genealogical trees, the ‘tree of life’. It is easy to feel we understand what we are seeing when we look at dendritic representations of the brain’s micro-structure. There is also the fact that one of the classic techniques for making the dendritic structure of neurons visible, known as Golgi’s method, stains the cells dark brown or black through impregnation with chemicals that precipitate as silver chromate. Dunn has, in effect, found a painterly analog of Golgi’s method in the black ink of sumi-e.


diagram of a synapse

But it happens that I’ve been reading a good deal about neurochemistry lately, and there’s a whole other set of images and analogies at work there—for what happens ‘in the gap’ between neurons where neurotransmitting chemicals do their work. These tend to evoke images of riverbanks and ferries (docking, shuttling), of action and exchange, of a kind of chemical commerce at the molecular level. Where the tree imagery evokes stability, the synaptic imagery evokes fluidity. Neither kind of image is wrong—for one thing, the synaptic diagrams represent a different level of detail, a close-up of hot spots in the dendritic system—but neither offers a complete picture by itself. I find myself wondering: what are the images of the brain we have yet to ‘see’, the metaphors we have yet to invoke that will change our understanding once more?

§ A terrific article on this subject is Simon Schaffer’s “On Astronomical Drawing”, in Picturing Science Producing Art, edited by Caroline A. Jones and Peter Gallison. Also recommended on a related subject: Errol Morris’s new book Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography), most of which appeared in an earlier form online through his “Opinionator” column at the New York Times.


Posted in 2011, latest | Also tagged , , , |