Monday, May 26, 2008

The Orphan Saga Continues


The proposed Orphaned Works legislation before the US Congress to change copyright laws is attracting increased condemnation from a cross section of the American artist’s community the Graphic Artists Guild to the Professional Photographers of America via the Stock Artists Alliance.

The elephant in the room is the removal of statutory damages which under the current rules is the main thing that keeps the bastards honest. Take the possibility of being sued into the middle of next week off the table and it becomes open season on art works, especially those on the internet.

I mean, how hard would it be not to find something on the www?

It is also of concern for artists outside of the USA. As Stanford Law professor, Lawrence Lessig says in the New York Times “Likewise, the change is unfair to foreign copyright holders, who have little notice of arcane changes in Copyright Office procedures, and who will now find their copyrights vulnerable to willful infringement by Americans.”

And the winner is? The proposed private registries with which artists will have to register their works to ensure they don’t become orphaned. No wonder Corbis and Getty have reportedly been spending serious money on Washington lobbyists to get this legislation through ASAP.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Steps

Published in the Expat newspaper 25 May 2008

Luis Martin Harder is a good photographer; he has learned the lessons of his craft and applies them diligently to make his pictures. In “Unscripted”, his first solo exhibition on show at Makati’s OW Gallery, he presents 21 works, the majority of which are grounded in the photographic tradition that supports aficionados the world over.

From “Sprinkles” which captures a freeze motion flow of water amidst rocks to “Refractions” a fine rendering of autumnal leaves floating in a pond. From “My Old Dream” where a bicycle stands guard before a painted door to “After the Journey” which depicts a banca floating before a dramatic sky. These photographs are the standard fare of camera club competitions; an internet search will reveal a thousand variations of a theme.

What lifts this exhibition out of the everyday and knocks on the fine art door are a handful of works that use the medium and/or the presentation to inform the photographic narrative. In “Freedom Wall”, Harder uses the inherent freedom of the light captured by his camera to float a layer of various orange hued rectangles over a grey wall. In “One Rainy Day” he again uses light to create an impressionistic rendering in orange and green of rain on a window pane. With “Sabong”, Harder enhances the drama of the cock fight by printing the work on canvas using its texture as a design element within the composition. Then there is “Side Walk Art” in which 3 brooms fill the picture plane, but it is Harder’s bold use of colour as an abstract design element that breathes life into this work.

With the proliferation of photography both in the numbers that can be seen at exhibitions or with the click of a mouse and the ever increasing means of production for a photographer to stand out in the crowd requires more than a solid application of the craft. With “Unscripted” Harder shows an appreciation of the medium that goes beyond the narrative of a captured moment in time, it will be interesting to see where this photo making journey takes him.

“Unscripted” is at OW Gallery, La Fuerza Plaza II, 2241 Don Chino Rocas Ave, Makati City until the 13th June.

Monday, May 19, 2008

And Now the Arts World

The US of A has stuffed up Iraq, is leading the charge to do the same in Afghanistan and now has set its sights on the arts world.

The Orphaned Arts legislation (H.R. 5889 and S. 2913) currently before the American Congress and Senate will require artists around the world to register their work with an American copyright agency to protect it from unauthorized use by commercial entities in the home of the brave, the land of the free. Under this legislation an art work becomes orphaned when the author of a copyrighted work is unable to be located by means of a “reasonably diligent search.” With the “reasonably diligent search” test being determined by the thief.

In their grand tradition of ignoring international treaties this proposed legislation flies in the face of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.

The only tool artists have to assert creative control over their work and to protect its value in the marketplace is their exclusive right of copyright and it's about to have the rug pulled out from under it.

Learn more about how the US Government is trying to bugger the art world's creatives at you tube and/or the Graphic Artist's Guild.

Act to protect your work here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Is This a Real Image?

Primal Urge

Is this a real Image? Well yes, I guess it must be, it's there in front of you. (Ok, I am begging the question, but then it is a poorly phrased question) Is it a literal representation of what was in front of the lens? Well no, I guess not, it is my interpretation of the scene. Although, except for a few lines I added to highlight some edges, nothing has been added that didn't exist in the original photograph.

It was taken at the opening of Luis Martin Harder's exhibition, Unscripted.

My interest lies in exploring the why of things rather than displaying their literal representations. My images relate to a broader discourse and use the medium (captured light) to tell the story rather than just relying on the here is narrative.

I use Photoshop to make the image, but because it is made from only one negative/raw file it requires a particular approach to using the camera to get a file that can accept the manipulation. In fact it requires a different way of looking to find the scenes that will work.

Does this make it less real? Different yes, but only in so much that I am looking at from a different point of view.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Crossing Borders

Making art that either transcends cultural borders or makes the private public is no easy undertaking. The references specific to a particular place or event can be easily overlooked if not completely missed by those who have not had the first hand experience. Consequently, the artist must rely upon generalities rather than specifics which perforce must translate into the language of art with its roots grounded in the basic elements of line, colour and form.

Two exhibitions currently showing in Makati illustrate dialogues available when presenting work that crosses these borders. Exhibit ‘A’ is “Standing Sticks” at Galleria Duemila where Australian Artist, Tony Twigg, presents a collection of sculptural works, made in Australia, to a Filipino audience. Exhibit ‘B’ is Steve Tirona’s “Will work 4 Food” at the Silverlens gallery where the Los Angeles trained photographer presents the private to the public.

Although founded on iconic Australian references which include the Tiwi Island burial poles, the intricacies of Aboriginal fish traps and the fencing of an often hostile environment these timber constructions speak in the broader terms of form and function and spatial relationships. Each of the “Standing Sticks” works define its space with a delicate balance of the positive and the negative. And in “Expanded Disc-Fish” a third spatial element is included to create a broken eclipse within the defining rectangle.

All of the works are arrangements of vertical multi-facetted timber slats decorated with enamel paint which individually provide a strong attraction. Like tribal skyscrapers the how intrigues as much as the why blurring the architectural discussion of form and function inherent in these individual elements. But stepping back and allowing the artist’s spatial concerns to come into play the individual becomes a part of its community providing a clearer voice. Like “Expanded Disc-Duality”, a 5 segment work that invokes in a rustic formulation, the long forgotten beginnings of an atypical alphabet.

The “Will Work 4 Food” exhibition currently showing at the Silverlens Gallery is a collection of fashionista style snap shots of selected contemporary Filipino artists on the thresholds of their careers circa 2005. A series of portraits and publicity stills that have the do you remember when narrative of a private album. The unframed works ranging in size from 8”x 10” to 36”x 48” are digital prints presented in an eye catching fashion magazine layout. But unlike a magazine there is no accompanying text to provide a context for an uninitiated public.

To cross from private to public or from one cultural ethos to another the language of art is a prerequisite. When line, colour and form interact in a meaningful way then the ideas they inform become intelligible to all. But when a narrowly focused narrative predominates then the works’ potential audience is likewise limited to the tribal associations from whence it came.

“Will Work 4 Food” continues until the 24th of May at The Silverlens Gallery, 2320 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City and “Standing Sticks” is at Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring St, Pasay until 31st of May.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Altered Vision Book One

Pissedpoet Pics guest artist Michael Going whose work can be seen at the guest gallery Going LA has published a book of his work. Titled "Altered Vision Book One" it is an 8x10 in, Hardcover, 64 pages, 52 images with dust jacket published by Blurb.

You can see a preview of the first 15 pages here.
At $49.95 it is pretty good value for money if you are in the USA, if you are outside the US watch out for the shipping costs, they are horrendous.
Perhaps if readers were to contact Blurb at their Suggestions and Feedback page and request they implement a cheaper o/seas distribution we might all become winners.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New Work


'T' Junction
A couple of new works made over the past few days from pics taken at exhibition openings.