Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AIDS Activism! Death Metal! Soey Milk!

Whenever I wait more than a couple of weeks, I end up having to relate a TON of info in a relatively short space, so I'll apologize NOW for a slightly long update, but trust me –this is worth it!

That video above was just delivered to me by director Thomas Mignone. It is the latest promotional clip from seminal Florida Death Metal band, Morbid Angel, and it features set decoration from Krystopher Sapp. Mignone contacted Sapp shortly before the opening of "When a Good Man Goes to War," and incorporated several of the pieces from the exhibition into the art design of the video. More than half of the art in Krystopher's current show is sold, but several of the pieces highlighted here are still available. The film is quite good and the band is in top form, so congratulations, Krys Sapp! We're proud of you!

Yesterday, Wayne Martin Belger completed a marathon session of work from his new series of photographs called Bloodworks utilizing his "Untouchable (HIV)" camera. Kim Saigh and Shawn Barber's Memoir Tattoo Shop supplied the backdrop (doubling as studio space) for this landmark shoot. The Bloodworks series portraits will reflect the Los Angeles HIV+ community in the thirty years since the disease’s appearance. Los Angeles is only one of the U.S. cities Belger is visiting as part of his photo essay of HIV+ populations. Belger has already photographed over 60 men women and children in Grand Rapids, New York, San Francisco, and Tucson for the series.

The pinhole camera designed and built by Belger for Bloodworks pumps HIV+ blood through filters across the pinhole aperture, producing ghostly and luminous portraits. “This camera was designed specifically for ‘Bloodworks,’ which is an ongoing photo series of people living with HIV/AIDS. The portraits create a vital, artistic record of the epidemic 30 years after its start, with the camera as the window,” Belger explains. “Each pinhole camera I build to be sacred bridge of a communion offering between myself and the subject.”

The images captured for this series will be featured in a prestigious exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada as part of an exhibition that also includes Joel Peter Witkin, Steven Gregory, Mark Prent and Marc Quinn.

It's not often that a curator can premiere an artist with the full knowledge that they are already on track to become the next big thing, but there is only one Soey Milk, and the anticipation for her featured gallery debut next month is astronomical.

Miss Milk is still in school, but is already the stuff of legends. She's been featured in the Hi-Fructose Blog, within the pages of Blue Canvas Magazine and will have a limited edition portfolio released in time for Comicon through Éditions Panik. Her ability is top notch and her subject matter interesting.

Such mature composition and raw talent made here a perfect pairing with Christine Wu, whose previous body of absolutely stunning work recently entered the collection of a certain Pirate of the Carribean. During Wu's October 2010 exhibit it was quite common to see other artists nosing up against her paintings to try and figure out her technique. I can count on one hand how many times I've seen that happen. Wu's newest series (above) is absolutely stunning. I've seen the pieces in her studio and as soon as I have a set of images, I'll post them, so be sure to get on the preview list by shooting me an email or calling.

In addition to their individual concepts, both Christine and Soey have incorporated each other into their individual exhibitions, so Soey has painted Christine, and Christine has painted Soey. Both, incidentally, have painted La Luz de Jesus gallery assistant Mia Matsumiya, so I expect nothing less than a complete sell out from each of them.

Bonni Reid and Matthew Bone will be sharing the four walls in the other room next month, and Bonni has already delivered a complete preview of her show, Cartes de Visite. More top notch work from one of our most requested Canadian artists –and at incredibly affordable prices. One of my favorite photos that I ever took is a shot of Robert Williams standing in front of Bonni's work at her last show.

Last week I had the privilege of a studio visit with Matthew Bone, where our conversation traversed comic books in the 80s and 90s, the benefits of using adult film stars as models, and the pros and cons of building one's own studio. I've already had people asking me for a preview for weeks and you can see some works in progress behind him in the picture I took below, but finished works won't be previewing until just before showtime –so stay tuned. To use the vernacular from my home town, I am wicked excited about Matthew's show and look forward to an ongoing relationship between he and La Luz de Jesus because the guy is as cool as he is talented.


I'd say we're off to a fine start in the new year, and each month seems to be taking the 25th Anniversary another step further. If you haven't been to La Luz de Jesus Gallery in a while, now is a good to time to do it!