New Drawing exhibit at Highland CC


After travel all day on Tuesday, a life of airports and shuttles, I touched down in Seattle finally. Very glad to be home!

Yesterday, after finding the drawings I had sent from North Carolina actually were in the vicinity (there is no such thing as overnighting anything from the Post Office there even though the Express Mail posters are hung front and center), I spent the day hanging my work at Highland CC, which is great as it is not often you punch out a new body of work and have the opportunity to exhibit it right away. The show will be up through July 31st.

Tuesday morning, sitting on my friend Harry’s porch before he took me to the airport, we were both trying to wrap our minds around the entity called the South. A friend of ours James who is from Kentucky used to spin the wildest tales about growing up there, I see now he was not using any exaggeration, I’m glad I got four weeks to try to decipher it for myself. In the mean time I came home to a garden fully in bloom and lots of peace and quiet.

Visiting the City of Glass


If I have a crush on Portland, Oregon (and I do), then I have come to the conclusion this past weekend I’m having a full blown romance with my city to the north, Vancouver B.C. Luckily my love will probably never become a worn out thing as the possibility of myself ever living there is pretty much 0% (not being a Canadian citizen). However, is great to know only 120 miles separates me from this beautiful city that boasts unpasteurized cheese, the Canadian demeanor, bars playing Lacrosse on big screen televisions as opposed to Football, and more sushi than I could ever manage to stuff into my mouth. Lovely place and like Portland, it had been more than 15 years since my previous visit.

It was surprising to see Vancouver is a boomtown too, condominiums being raised into the skyline everywhere. Douglas Coupland wrote a homage to his hometown calling it the City of Glass, and rightly so. Silhouettes of erector sets dot the landscape everywhere, putting up new glass cased skyscrapers, the heavy design influence of Hong Kong.

As Marja-Leena reported on her web site, (and as we are experiencing here in Seattle as well) spring blooms seem to be coming up early everywhere, the weather has been so mild. It rained, but people were out in a flurry of activity. I mention the cheese, as it is illegal in the states, and if I had been feeling very defiant I could have purchased Cuban cigars as well. Travel always delineates the differences between holiday and routine, no matter how short the time span it consumes. You can’t help noticing the small details that make up someone else’s life. Yet, you are at the mercy of holiday time, sitting drinking coffee some place and noticing these things instead of doing your laundry- it’s a luxury.

We stayed at the handsome old Sylvia Hotel. I cite this because it put me in the place of a novel I once read by Anita Brookner titled Hotel Du Lac, where a woman sequesters herself in a hotel to escape her life. The Sylvia is right on the beach and most beguilingly had cocktails on its room service menu. A few months of that would probably do any one right. The rooms had some pretty wacky art on the walls that cracked me up:

Speaking of art and being in town less than an entire weekend, I randomly picked a few places to visit: The Helen Pitt Gallery which featured strange taxidermy as art. With this being the third time in the last few months I’ve seen taxidermy being used as a medium I wonder if Natural History Museum’s are being pilfered. I’ve heard Vancouver has quite the vital art scene and knowing the Helen Pitt is a non-profit and artist run gallery I’d be curious how much of a reflection the art work seen there holds to what else is being shown in the city.
We visited the venerable Vancouver Art Gallery as well. Unfortunately they were between exhibits and two whole floors were shut down, but this happens in the museum world. It was a cozy way to spend some time. I had actually been here a long time ago and it was nice to revisit the paintings of Emily Carr, now that I have better appreciation of her work in relation to history. Too short a stay, but glad to finally be reacquainted with the neighbors to the north.

Julie Heffernan at P.P.O.W. gallery

At the other end of the aesthetic spectrum from Mr. McCarthy, is the extraordinary painter Julie Heffernan. We found ourselves a few blocks down the way from the New Museum at a Soho’s,P.P.O.W. gallery.

Until a couple days ago,I was not even aware there was not only one, but two shows of her painting in NYC this month. As usual it is always a treat to see her work. In my humble opinion, she is the most talented painter on New York’s horizon. This new work retains its wonderful organic focus,continuing to combine those elaborate Velazquez suggestive self portraits with nature(and landscapes). This time around though she has snuck in bright pigments(lots of pinks hues)and additionally found a way to return to those strange allegorical “paintings-within-a-painting” that I first witnessed at the beginning of last decade. I almost missed this show (it all comes down in a couple of weeks) which I would have really kicked myself over later.

I feel very fortunate that I had the good luck to stumble upon her work eight years ago,for it has been fascinating to see how she has evolved. Her technique alone is phenomenal, I don’t know who as a contemporary, in this country anyway, would be considered comparable. As usual I find it really surprising she has not had more critical attention, although I suppose her quiet subject matter (oriented in the manner of seventeenth century still life painting) doesn’t qualify as hype provoking. All the better for viewers.

At any rate I could go on and on about the pleasure her work brings. A second exhibit of her painting can be found uptown at Littlejohn Contemporary Gallery, which I am hoping to grace with in the next week. At P.P.O.W. I purchased a catalogue of this new work for a reasonable $10.00.