Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

The school bully has the little kid by the throat slowly squeezing the life out of him. The victim kicks the bully in the shins in protest. What’s the bully to do? Just tighten his grip and bash the little kids head against the wall.
The yard monitor barely pauses in the bashing together of the heads of two other 3rd graders to nod his approval.
Ah, 2008 is ending in fine style.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Looking Back

It's that time of year when a retrospective of what has been clogs both the media and the blog sphere. And in this grand tradition I too can "Baa" with my favourite 3 pics for the year.

At an Exhibition (A) © Henry Bateman
I attended a lot of exhibitions this year both for enjoyment and reviewing
(it's great when you enjoy your job)
and for me this piece sums up the reviewer dilemma. The exhibition was by Australian artist Tony Twigg at Galleria Duemila.

The Golden Gate © Pep Ventosa
Not sure if this work was made in 2008, but it is the year that I discovered it. The Turneresque feel of the piece is lovely and being a great Turner fan it just had to be in this selection.

Remembering Batangas © Henry Bateman
These pieces were actually made in 2007 but it was this was the year I found they worked as a triptych.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Photographic Master

Tim Connor at his self named blog has posted an essay about and a selection of William Eggleston photographs. He was inspired by the latest exhibition of Eggleston’s work, “Democratic Camera” at the Whitney Museum.

From "William Eggleston's Guide," All rights reserved

Rather than re-invent the wheel I’ll just point you over to Tim’s site, he has done all the hard work and his selection of images contains several of my favourites.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Well Played Lavazza

I have mentioned before how photography blogs resemble an 8 year olds soccer match. And we all know that the Italians are no slouches when it comes to getting the round ball into the net.

Italian Espresso Company, Lavazza, has produced a pretty cheesy calendar for 2009 utilizing pics taken by high power photographer, Annie Leibovitz. Well, some of the more astute (?) photography bloggers have labeled this pic by Leibovitz if not “the worst photograph ever made” a very close runner up.

Mike Johnston (The Online Photographer) started the ball rolling, Jorg Colberg (Conscientious) pushed it forward and Daryl Lang (PDN Pulse) set up the own goal.

Come on guys it is an advertisement not a photograph. (Yes, there is a difference and if you haven’t figured that one out yet ………….)

As for Lavazza and their internet advertising, what can one say?

Mission Accomplished.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meeting the Challenge

First published in The Expat Travel & Lifstyle Magazine (November 2008)

American Artist Ann Wilson views Cos zicarelli's work at Finale Art File
© Henry Bateman 2008

“I can only sell what I like”
states Finale Art File’s Executive Director, Vita Sarenas in the viewing room of the newly opened warehouse sized gallery that is Finale’s new home. A converted brandy bond store, this gallery must be one of, if not the largest commercial art galleries in Metro Manila.

The Gallery Entrance © Henry Bateman 2008

It's a far cry from their humble beginnings of a wall in a friend’s boutique a quarter of a century ago and stands as a testament to Ms Sarenas “ruled by my heart” approach to art appreciation. With three exhibition spaces, a suite of offices and a back room to die for, this 350 square meters are a gallerist’s dream come true. “We can accommodate works of scale, suites of paintings and new artistic media with ease,” enthuses Exhibition Manager Sylvia Gascon.

Three years in the planning this move to a larger venue is Finale’s response to the changes in the Art Market. The highly competitive nature of this market with its dynamic cut and thrust of attracting the discretionary purchase has pressed commercial galleries to improve their game. With high profile artist’s like Damien Hirst ignoring galleries and taking their new work directly to the public via auction houses being the latest variation. The ongoing presence of artists of all stripes displaying their wares on the internet has taken a firm hold over the past few years. Along with internet galleries who, unrestrained by physical space, can display hundreds of thousands of art works a mouse click away from their buyers.

Taking a leaf out of the museum hand book, Sarenas and Gascon have enhanced their ability to present exhibitions that can survive critical evaluation. Although a mainstay of their operations its emphasis has become paramount, exhibitions must be interesting enough to generate a dedicated audience. An audience prepared to seek out the new, an audience that trusts the gallery’s expertise.

Exhibition Opening at Finale Art File © Henry Bateman 2008

The changing nature of Megamall’s Art Walk from one of dedicated galleries presenting fresh and challenging exhibitions to a one stop shop showing an increasing amount of art d├ęcor was also instrumental in Finale’s move to warehouse 17. Situated in the La Fuerza Compound in Pasong Tamo, the passing parade is greatly reduced but the increased exhibition space to present innovative exhibitions more than compensates. An improved back room in the same building as the gallery is an additional advantage.

It is a truism of the art market that a gallery is only as successful as its back room. It is here that the gallerist becomes the dealer with a collection of works from past exhibitions and a selection of art that has re-entered the market. For a variety of reasons works of art come up for resale, the most common being referred to as the three D’s (death, divorce and debt). Known as the secondary market it is the bread and butter of the art market, based on commission sales, loved art works find new homes in privately negotiated deals.

But Sarenas and Gascon are more than dealers as they revel in the challenge of creating a market for their artists. Finding artists whose work speaks to them, creating that special bond that words cannot express; creating a vehicle that can show this to the world is their meat and potatoes. And this new gallery is their next step in that process.

The Tall Gallery © Henry Bateman 2008

Designed “in house” the Tall Gallery is 200 square meters of unpretentious exhibition space that reflects its origins. Overhead, the bond store mercury vapor lights scattered amongst the aircon outlets have been augmented with a strip of fluorescent tubes. The stars of the show are the pictures on the walls and the sculptures on the floor with each being given space enough to walk their talk. On the mezzanine level above the offices and back room are two smaller exhibition spaces, the Upstairs Gallery and the Video Room.

The challenge of filling all these spaces, although daunting, has been met with an exhibition program that stretches out to December of 2009, a mix of solo and group exhibitions with some being curated by guest curators. Like the first three part Inaugural Exhibition in the Tall Gallery which sees the works from Finale’s back room selected by artist/curator Nilo Ilarde.

Finale Art Files executive director, Vita Sarenas © Henry Bateman 2008

Warehouse 17 is Finale’s fourth move in its 25 year history and Vita Sarenas is sanguine about its timing in the midst of the current financial turmoil. Having survived the political and financial upheavals at the end of the Marcos years, the Dot Com Bubble bust and the Asian Crisis she is taking the current confusion in her stride. “Having an art work on the wall is often a better investment than shares and is always more interesting to look at” Sarenas states. And along with her exhibition manager’s expertise, she continues to back her intuition in finding and presenting art to excite Manila’s art connoisseurs.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

NSFW Street Protest

Paris, the one in France, life models, yep the one’s who pose in the buff for artists, took to the streets in their work clothes to protest a ban on tips.

Life classes at the city’s beaux arts schools have banned the passing round of le cornet – a rolled up cone of paper which is employed at the end of the class to enable participants to show their appreciation for the model in cold hard cash. The classes are organized by the city which makes the models public servants and under French law it is illegal to tip public servants.

After braving the elements in the all together they put their clothes back on to talk with the city’s deputy mayor, Christophe Girard. Who gave them a sympathetic hearing, having in his youth plied their trade.

See more here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chick Flicks can Flick Fidelity

You've Got Mail,
Maid In Manhattan,
The Wedding Planner
Runaway Bride
Notting Hill and
While You Were Sleeping.

Are amongst the culprits Scottish researchers have found that place unrealistic expectations on real world relationships. Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University blames them along with another 34 Chick flick hits for promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.

"The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize," says Dr Bjarne Holmes.

"Films do capture the excitement of new relationships but they also wrongly suggest that trust and committed love exist from the moment people meet, whereas these are qualities that normally take years to develop," said researcher Kimberly Johnson.

See more at the BBC and at the researchers site.

This research has been expanded world wide with an online survey which, if you’re into surveys, can be found here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fragmented & Collective Photographs

Spanish born artist/photographer, Pep Ventosa, now lives in San Francisco Bay Area and his latest works tend to concentrate around those environs, although Europe features in his earlier photographs. His unique photographs can be seen at his web site where he presents two bodies of work.

The Fragmented Photographic Works

Broadway Tunnel, San Francisco © Pep Ventosa

The Collective Snapshot

The Golden Gate © Pep Ventosa

Friday, December 12, 2008

Confession of a War Dog

Aussi war correspondent, Michael Ware, shares his truth of reporting from Iraq for the last seven years. First for Time and then for CNN, read all about it at Men’s Journal.

“When you get to the point where you come home from a bombing,
realize what’s on the soles of your shoes,
and can wipe it off without a second thought
— it takes its toll.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cruel & Unusual Punishment

Your garage band is blowing the decibel level off the planet? Your stereo can be heard 3 blocks away?

Do this in Fort Lupton, Colorado, cause the neighbors to bitch and you’re hauled up before Justice Paul Sacco at least your liberty and wallet are safe. The good judge will sentence you to an hour of listening to Barry Manilow in full voice.

According to Sacco it’s working, recidivism for this heinous public nuisance is on the wane. What it is doing to teen and young adult minds is another thing.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Another New Work

Photography Gallery
This was made from a pic captured at The Silverlens Gallery. You can read my thoughts about their latest exhibitions below.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

An Expanding Question

Over the years the Silverlens Foundation and Gallery has built an enviable reputation with its photographic exhibitions, with one of its distinguishing features being the gallery space itself. Adjusting the traditional white cube concept of gallery spaces, a dynamic space was designed to fit within the irregular building that Silverlens calls home. It is a space which successfully lends itself to dramatic presentations often employed to the advantage of the exhibited work.

A couple of months ago The Silverlens Foundation expanded its operations from photographic acquisition and exhibition to incorporate contemporary painting, drawing and sculpture. Acquiring the building next door two new exhibition spaces were created. The two new spaces, SLab and 20SQUARE, are connected to the main gallery by an open air walkway over the compound car park. The SLab gallery abandons the white walls and with its black walls and ceiling makes for an intimate Aladdin’s Cave that belies its 120 square meters. The 20SQUARE gallery is small, very small, walk in wardrobes are known to be bigger.

Currently on show at these spaces are; in the main gallery “The 2008 Grantees Exhibition”, in the SLab gallery “Bedtime Stories” and in the 20SQUARE gallery “New Collages” by Gary-Ross Pastrana.

The Grantees exhibition features the work of Conrado Velasco with “Pixel Towers”, Lena Cobangbang with her“Overland series” and Gina Osterloh’s “Shooting Blanks”. All these photographs document other works made by the artists and as such question the relevance of the genre. For this exhibition is all about photography as reportage; PR stills from past events.

Across the bridge is Bea Valdes’ “Bedtime Stories”, a selection of cuddly and not so cuddly, uniquely embroidered, soft toys. From the Bambi inspired ‘After the Fawn’ to the esoteric gender renderings of the two ‘Ever Afters’ and via ‘The Tower’ it is a burrow into “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.

Growing out of a dissatisfaction with an art school project is Pastrana’s “New Collages”in the 20SQUARE gallery. A series of collaged from contemporary media 6x4 index cards presented in grid formats ranging from 16 cards to 36 cards. Individual cards are often interesting abstracts but the lack of continuity in their presentation recalls their inspiration.

Viewing the 2008 Grantees exhibition with the latest expansion in mind the question of photographic validity as an art form comes to the fore. Is photography destined to remain the poor relation in the visual arts relegated to documenting others achievements?

New Work

Black Balloons

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Great Filipino Easter Photo Tour

Religious Processions,
folk art temples,
majestic cityscapes,
kaleidoscopic water ways
Asian markets
are amongst the photo opportunities awaiting participants of
The Great Filipino Easter Photo Tour.

Australian photographer Henry Bateman guides you round
the streets of Manila to unique photo locations
he has discovered in his 3 years of living in and
photographing this teeming metropolis.
Over 6 days and nights (April 7 to 12 2009)
he will present to your camera
2 religious processions,

40 folk art temples

and a salubong,

a visual feast that is the Filipino celebration of Holy Week
and the inspiration for
“Kalbaryo – A Shrine to Celebrate Easter”.

Added to this is
a 3 hour air conditioned
scenic rail tour of Metro Manila,

a 2 hour river cruise through the heart of Manila,

a 3 hour exploration of the sights and smells of a

traditional Filipino market,

the unique Filipino experience of Malling

and an unlimited exposure to cityscape views

of Makati City, Rockwell, Mandaluong City and the City of Manila
just 2 minutes from your hotel room.

A thousand captures await you in this once in a life time photo shoot
in the heart of the Philippines
for only $AU 925.oo, $US 610.oo or $ 455.ooEuros per person
plus airfares.
(non-photographic spouses will also enjoy this exploration of the Philippine Capital)

The Great Filipino Easter Photo Tour
is limited to 10 people so to avoid disappointment
Book your place Now.
For more information and booking details contact Henry Bateman at bateman(dot)henry(at)gmail(dot)com.

Dollars & Demigods

The Milwaukee Magazine has an interesting insiders article about the legends in their own lunch box of talk radio, the right wing rabble rouses, the conservative talk show/TV magazine hosts.

In the post "The O'Reilly Fracture" I bitched about the questionable journalism standards of the program. Silly me, thinking it was about attempting rational comment on the affairs of the day.

Dan Shelley in his piece "Secrets of Talk Radio" points out the error of my ways "In the constant push for ratings, I had seen and helped foster the transformation of AM radio and the rise of conservative hosts." (emphasis mine). And we all know that in media land ratings = dollars.

As the "Sage of Baltimore", Henry Louis Mencken said "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." In fairness to Americans this quote should not be considered geographically exclusive.