Thursday, July 7, 2011

There are fireworks and then there's Yellow Cake Uranium!

Mark Todd's Powerfury Fireworks Stand from his Force Field exhibition (now on display at La Luz de Jesus) has been a huge hit with Independence Weekend crowds. His high concept idea to blend two great juvenile obsessions (comics and fireworks) has rendered a very mature art piece –an installation that is already being hailed as one of the landmarks of the year. All of the collage pieces and most of the paintings have already sold, so Mark has decided to allow collectors to buy individual pieces from the fireworks stand. The fireworks themselves are now available for purchase in five sizes at incremental price points between $100 - $200, which is a real steal. Todd has also been adding to the stand with each visit to the gallery, making the installation a continuing work in progress adding a deeper degree of vitality to an already ostentatious centerpiece. Far from an art snob, Mark Todd is a prolific zine publisher, will be exhibiting at both Comicon and A.P.E. and teaches at Art Center College of Design. He's also amassed an impressive fan following if the attendees to his opening reception are any indication of his collectors: Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore, Jeanne Tripplehorn & Leland Orser, director Patty Jenkins, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and several rock 'n rollers, museum curators and journalists.

Mark Todd will also have a new piece in the Lucid Dreams exhibit which opens tomorrow night at the Noel-Baza Fine Art Gallery in San Diego (July 8 through August 9) featuring 45 internationally renowned artists. Lucid Dreams is the 26th artist survey and fine art exhibit curated by San Diego based designer Mark Murphy of Murphy Design, following up last year’s Narrative Museum exhibition, “Survey Select,” which featured 32 live events over eight weeks.

Wayne Martin Belger previously exhibited at Billy Shire Fine Arts in 2006. Wayne's preferred medium is the construction of specialty pin-hole cameras which often feature a biological or organic element. Among that collection was a camera fashioned from steel from the World Trade Center (Post 9/11), a camera featuring a mini-dialysis pump containing HIV+ blood, and a formaldehyde-preserved infant heart. Patrons of Belger's functional fine art pieces also receive a series of themed photographs shot with their cameras. While I've spoken with Wayne several times over the years, I had never actually met him until last week when he visited the gallery and discussed some of the projects he's been conceptualizing. He brought two new cameras, one of which will be in the La Luz de Jesus 25 show this fall. With the other, Belger will photograph X-rays from inside a giant particle accelerator. The Divine Proportion camera is a lead glass encased pinhole camera, specifically designed to capture on film the scatter from the impact of a high intensity X-ray beam on sculptures representing creation and destruction. The sculptures will be selected based on iconic figures of creation and destruction (such as Robert Oppenheimer and Shiva) formed of materials from the region in which the particle accelerator is located. One of the organic elements attached to this particular camera is a vial of yellow cake uranium (pictured with Wayne, above right). He's recently received an invitation to enter the hot zone (Congo, Liberia) to document the AIDS epidemic in Africa with his HIV Cam. We'll be working hard this summer to get a grant for this important endeavor.

Have I mentioned that Wayne is one of my new favorite people on the planet?

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