Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kali at the Firehouse

 Photograph of the Seeking Kali Collective by Hrag Vartanian at Hyperallergic's Brooklyn office.

The Seeking Kali Collective’s exhibit at the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery opens next Saturday.  The Firehouse is located on Long Island in Bay Shore, N.Y and is included in the National Register of Historic Places and described as one of Bay Shore’s architectural gems.

We will be showing our Kali print edition, which marked the beginning of our collaborative experiments.  Occasioned by a Facebook thread concerning iconography associated with the Hindu goddess Kali, our association and explorations have continued since January of 2010. 

As a collective one of our objectives is to explore ways in which to utilize social media as an artistic tool enabling long distance collaboration among artists.   Ria Vanden Eynde works from Belgium, Susan Shulman is in Montreal, Canada and I have my studio in Connecticut.  Through the use of groups in Facebook, Skype and Google+ hangouts we have created a virtual studio where our explorations take place.


Kali Edition

The print edition was completed in the summer of 2011 and our signing of the nine examples took place at the offices of the Brooklyn based arts blog, Hyperallergic.

 Framed examples of Kali Edition prepared for the Firehouse Exhibit
Over the 18 months that marked the collaborative process of the edition we also embarked on the curation of an online blog that compiled images, video and poetry concerning the Kali goddess.   The results of that archive have been documented on a video that has since been exhibited in Berlin, Germany, Boston, MA and Joliette, Canada.  We will be again exhibiting that compilation as well as our latest curation of images relating to the Medusa archetype edited by Susan Shulman.

The exhibit will also contain other examples of the collective's video works including Kali's Sari which premiered during the Experimental Film Night hosted by the Mobius Artist Group of Boston, MA.  Kali's Sari is based on a Butoh performance with Shizu Homma, Jane Wang and Angela Ferrara's interaction with the handpainted Kali Scroll Sari by William Evertson. The video was edited with Ria Vanden Eynde utilizing Google+ video conference.

Video still from Kali's Sari

The Kali Collective has participated in The Billboard Project in which images are designed for large scale outdoor display in cities throughout the USA.  Giclee prints of several of these images have been prepared for exhibit.  The video archive of images from Richmond, Chicago, Duluth, Salem, Detroit and San Bernardino will be on display.  

Sphinx by Susan Shulman (from San Bernardino billboard display - 40' approx.)

Material from the Collective's series of Kalicorp Art Mysteries mentioned in the last post will also be on display. These graphic novels are a photographic odyssey exploring current art world events constructed in an exquisite corpse fashion.  

Mocking up the display for the graphic novels.

An edition of prints from the Metropolis series, the KaliRay Flip book, masks, puppets and other ephemera round out the exhibition.

We hope you can join us on Saturday August 4th between 6 and 8pm for the opening.  The exhibit is open on Saturdays during August from 12 -4pm.

Directions: The Second Ave. Firehouse is located in Bay Shore at the corner of Mechanicsville & Second Avenue Southern Pkwy to exit 42S (Fifth Avenue South), left on Union Blvd.,right on Second Avenue, proceed to the corner of Mechanicsville & Second Avenue. Firehouse is on the left. 17 Second Avenue

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Year in Comics

 Kalicorp Art Mysteries #5 (front and back cover)

One of the collaborations that Seeking Kali worked on over the last year is a series of five comic books; the Kalicorp Art Mysteries.  These along with other works will be shown at our summer exhibition in Bayshore, N.Y. at the Firehouse Gallery. Information on this show can be found at the Seeking Kali website.

Graphic novels may seem a strange departure since our previous colabs tended to be a bit more serious.  The fact is that since our collaborations are experiments in long distance art making we are constantly testing new forms that are workable for our group. Ria Vanden Eynde, Susan Shulman and myself have experimented with video,  print editions, performance, net centric work and artist books over the past two plus years. Ideas that are carried forward are reached by discussions on G+ or chats in our Facebook group.

Initially a comic seemed like a fun and quirky way to send out a bit of PR to people and to put exhibition information, our web pages and current projects in as advertisements.  We never intended to make more than one until we got to the last page and threw in the “To Be Continued.” 
 Kalicorp Art Mysteries #1 last panel detail

We found that they were fun to produce and we could base it on a back story that almost all artists share; What the hell is the art world all about and why is it so damn difficult to get anywhere?  With photography and Photoshop we could easily work out scenes, story-lines and most importantly share files in our virtual studio. Note to new readers...I work in Connecticut, Susan from Montreal and Ria from Belgium.

   Artist Joan Harrison is woven into a scene concerning the Soethby's Art Handler strike.

Along the way we started to include some of our artist friends and art world notables in various roles.   We began our collectives journey after discussing the various iconography surrounding the Hindu goddess Kali. This  led to other historical explorations as well as sparking conversation concerning myth, contemporary art making and cultural mores. We find plenty of art world controversy and drama to weave into each story. So while we are not above a cheap laugh, at the heart of each comic are real issues that effect us as players on the contemporary art stage.

In issue #6 Kalicorp tackles unpaid internships and artspeak.

Examples from the Seeking Kali virtual studio collaborations as well as the comics and art from them will be on display at Long Island's Firehouse Gallery, 17 Second Ave., Bayshore, N.Y.  Opening reception August 4th from 6 - 8pm. Gallery is open Saturdays during August from 12 - 4pm.

Many thanks to our two most recent advertisers, artists Mara Thompson and Bibiana Padilla Maltos for their financial support.