LBMA Art Auction XV

While I always intended to get down to Long Beach to see Kate's Daydream in the flesh, I was lucky enough that she had an extra ticket to see it auctioned off on Sunday. I drove down with a friend of Kate's who lives in Hollywood. After a fun stint with LA traffic and a run in with Long Beach's LGBT population we managed to find the event. The museum was beautiful, a simple, tasteful sort of building in the midst of the corporate sprawl making up the rest of the city. The courtyard/patio looked out onto the ocean; if we'd thought of it we could have watched the sun set onto the Pacific. We didn't; the delicious food, drinks and multiple rooms of art distracted us. It was wonderful to see Kate and meet a few artists I'd been hearing about for months. As a model I love being around "art world" people, simply because they don't care that I am a model. At first my bloated vanity was a little put off by it, but after the 50th someone asks you in an undertone " you mind if I, are naked?" a non-reaction is a blessing. The event was great artistically as well. The sheer amount of art up for auction meant that there was a huge variety in style, medium and age of the artists, which lent a great mix of classicism and inventiveness. While I saw many works I could write about, delightful still lives that oozed Dutch Baroque and ceramic copies of antique beer cans, I decided to keep it to two works, both by artists heavily involved with the figure.

Arlene Diehl, Untitled 2008

The first was arguably my favorite piece in the show, completely in line with my taste in figure art. It was by Arlene Diehl, an artist working out of San Francisco. When I took drawing at UNH we had to do an exercise where we were only supposed to draw where the body overlapped itself, dramatic angle changes, and very dramatic shifts in value. It ended up producing some of the worst and best work I did in that class. Diehl's work has so much of that quality: the removal of everything but the most important elements of the figure, forcing the viewer to piece it together by well-placed immaculately rendered detail. Smudges on the finished piece open a window to the creative process, one of my favorite elements of charcoal.

He also used wax crayon in this work while I'm a bit bored of a lot of encaustic work lately, the crayon adds a great texture variation Shay Bredimus, Indelible, Study 2010

The second piece is Indelible by Shay Bredimus, a Long Beach resident who is signed to Koplin Del Rio Gallery, where I modeled in Culver City. I had seen some of his work at the Wunderkammer exhibit; he works with tattoo ink on drafting film. I wont go into detail about what I've seen of his other work, because I will probably want to make that a post in itself, but this work was one of the more eye-catching in the show. What I love about this piece is the messy drama, but with layers of really careful rendering underneath. The blocky background, the drips of ink all imply a carelessness offset by the perfectly placed highlights on the expertly sculpted face and neck of the woman. I can't imagine the "Guernica-y" feel to the work is accidental, and the title is such a delightful mess of meanings (it's done in tattoo ink!!) that the art historian in me enjoys imagining it a reference to the power of Picasso's masterpiece. The more I look at Indelible the more it piques my interest, and I can guarantee this will not be the last time I write about Bredimus' work.

Writing about this work, rather than writing about Kate's, is an interesting experience. I'm once again restricted to imagining what the artist might have been thinking, staring at a photo for five minutes before finding an element that inspires me. In these ways modeling has made it harder for me to write about art with which I'm not intimately involved. Would I have written about Bredimus' work if he hadn't shown it to me himself? Maybe, maybe not. It definitely deserves it. In other ways modeling has made it easier for me to find meaning in figure art that does not revolve around feminism. Not that feminist themes aren't present in most figure work, but it's a bit of a soft sell. Modeling has given me the insight into figure that allows me to analyze and interpret it on the same level as I can any other work, something I struggled with before. Now I just need to keep my need for personal attachment at bay.