Cowboys of Color – Swain & Shields

Robert Swain
Alan Shields, Everybody Knows Korolowitz, 1976. Acrylic, canvas, aluminum tubing, and thread, 120 x 196 x 196 inches.
Alan Shields ,Whirling Dervish (1968-70) Acrylic, thread, and beads on canvas

Robert Swain and Alan Shields were some groovy colorful dudes! Both natives of the Midwest who ended up on the New York scene of the 1960’s.  Although they made their color rich works in the 1960-70’s they feel very fresh and contemporary.  Swain, born 1940 in Austin, Texas is a professor of painting at Hunter College has been working on his gigantic color chart paintings for decades.  Made with more of an intuitive/scientific approach he has categorized the colors he has developed through mixing acrylic paints into a filing cabinet system of over 4,000 hues!  He is just now getting some much deserved appreciation for his work.

On another note, hippie artists Alan Shields (1944-2005, born in Kansas ) captures the spirit of the generation his work came out of with its whimsical and gypsy-like manner.  His technique involved painting, cutting, sewing, and even beading the canvas into dimensional paintings, collages, prints and installations.  Shields work was far ahead and reminiscent of the current era of installation art that came after it.  I am especially fascinated by the faceted form that is similar to ideas I am exploring in my own MFA body of of work.

Arthouse Austin & Willie Nelson

Took a weekend trip down to Austin via Dallas this Halloween weekend and saw Arthouse nonprofit arts space among other things.  Check out the awesome contemporary and reclaimed architecture of the building and what up at,

Arthouse Austin TX
Arthouse Austin TX
carls corner
carls corner truck stop (willie's place) texas
malcolm bucknall troubadour
Malcolm Bucknall The Troubadour Oil on Canvas 24 x 30" 2010

Viva La France!

I spent March 25-April 12th in Lyon France in participating in a residency at the Les Subsistances compound along the Saone River. Les Subsistances is an institution that focuses on a cross discipline approach to avant-garde performance art in the 21st century. While in residency the group of artists, actors and designers from my graduate program in Dallas Texas participated in workshops and attended the annual Week End Ça Tchatche performance art festival. It was a very exciting trip there are many more pictures on my flickr account (also on the top right of this page). Participating in this trip gave me much inspiration and was exciting to see the blurred boundaries between art, dance, theater, circus, projection, sculpture, installation etc…Lyon is a beautiful city it reminded me of Paris and Florence Italy I enjoyed actually living in France while in residence we felt like we were part of the community rather than tourists. We went to the markets, worked all day, walked everywhere, and started to have our favorite places to return to. The art museums were wonderful and we also visited many galleries.

NYC Guggenhiem’s Contemplating the Void

‘Inopportune One’ by Cai Guo-Qiang, 2009.

‘Ascension (Red)’ by Anish Kapoor, 2009.

‘Untitled’ by Doug Aitken, 2009

The Guggenheim has invited artists to artist proposed their dream intervention of the Frank Loyd Wright building!
In by far one of the more innovative and contemporary shows and without limitations the 193 hypothetical proposals range from the seriously kooky to the ridiculously improbable. Perhaps this all began in 1991 with Matthew Barneys, Cremaster Cycle films and his infamous scaling of the void? Another highlight would be last years electrifying and ingenious Cai Qu Qiang solo exhibition, Inopportune: Stage One featuring suspended cars in the void. Which, Thomas Krens, Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, says “may be the best artistic transformation of the Frank Lloyd Wright space we’ve ever seen.”. It seems the use of the void is becoming more prevalent as well as Avant-Gard. This invitation only spurs more ideas for pushing the limits of this recently renovated modernist building to new heights. Many of the entries are architectural or illustrational renderings and begin to look like variations on a theme. However, two of my favorites are this ephemeral Anish Kapoor (however momentary) and this playful Doug Aiken piece with a much different perspective by taking the void to the streets of New York City in costume form.
Contempating the Void -link

Karen Knorr “Fables-Photographie” at Musee Carnavalet

These magical photographs by the artist depict the museum period rooms of said museum with the imaginative addition of woodland critters. Knorr, whose previous work is more of a documentary style has departed from the real to the realm of fables. Inspired by Aesop’s Fables the animals offer a stark contrast to the perfection of the interior elements. In a man made interior they take on human characteristics. They look just as lonely in the large rooms as a solitary human would, but perhaps their docile manners are a bit to good to be true. The fox appears as tame as a lapdog and the pigeons flutter about not distressing the satin. Would it be more alluring to see them act more beastly, as one would expect in such a well designed and historically pristine environment or is that too expected? Perhaps, the more intriguing aspect is the harmony in which they seem to exist leaving us to ponder on their interaction instead of their intrusion on our turf.
Now on view in “Fables-Photographie” at the Paris Musée Carnavalet

Quirky Victorian Collages at the Metropolitan

While researching for my collages… to my surprise I came across these!
A current show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York of charming collages made by Victorian British Women. Showing some of the first examples of collage and painting on paper long before the Dada artists. They were created by clever use of the then popular calling cards. Utilizing the society portraits, the women wittily would spend time cutting up their collected calling cards and devising landscapes, interiors, and even stranger situations for the characters to exist in. Some are very surreal others more of a day in the life of say, “the Real Housewives of Victorian Britain.” Similar to a novel by, Jane Austen these works by women show a glimpse of what it was like to be a woman. These collages are especially unique since they are from a time of history where what little we know about how women lived was documented from a historically masculine perspective. Not only do these surrealist collages predate Surrealism, but their invention also predates mixed media works on paper. The imaginative energy of these collages enlightens what is often seen as a prim and proper view of the Victorian past.

Erin Tyner Photography

I recently found the Atlanta based photographer’s work while perusing Etsy and I was taken by the macro-micro technique and mood each photo captures in her ‘Half-Awake’ series. There is a mystery in the figural presence in the environment. Not so much physically the toy dolls themselves, it has more to do with their interaction in the naturalistic space. At first they seem very sweet and the dollhouse connotation is inescapable. With closer look these photos are a bit frightening. Reminiscent of Victorian fairy-tales that seem harmless but if taken seriously have a dark side. As if falling down a rabbit hole into a land where a vicious queen threatened to cut off your head was precious! Similar to Alice’s experience these photos of a solitary figure in the landscape convey a sense of loneliness or loss. It may be poetic but why not have interacting figures in the landscape as well? I can’t help think of Andrew Wyeth’s painting, ‘Christina’s World’. Each figure is lost in their own intimate realm as if not other mortal lived in each owns isolated land.


My little sister recently purchased a retro fish-eye lens camera to take to Europe for the summer. Then I remembered my neighbor in Boston a few years ago showed me the beautiful almost eerie photos she took with her HOLGA. I just rediscovered and learned more about these amazing low tech cameras that have recently gained popularity. These are retro all plastic cameras that give you amazing keyed up colors, light leaks, distortions, and a dreamlike other-wordly view. The photo effects are very much in the same vein as my recent ‘Thrill Seekers” paintings you can see on my website. Which will explain why this pink Ferris wheel caught my eye. ( As a painter I like to use photography as one of my source materials.LOMA Cameras were made in Russia in the 1980’s and have a devout following of photographers who brought them back in the early 90’s donning the name, “Lomography“. In 1991, the Austrian founders of Lomography discovered the Lomo LC-A. As the company states, they were “charmed by the unique, colorful, and sometimes blurry” images that the camera produced.”

They have a website ( with examples of photos, various models for sale, info on what film to use, and the 10 Golden Rules. Including “don’t think, shoot from the hip, be fast, and approach your subject as close as possible.” Although they are becoming a staple of the Urban Outfitters store and hipster marketing I see this camera as timeless and not a trend. They run from $40-80 and I will be searching for mine on EBay soon…

Check out more info and photos on these sites: