Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hot Dog really spoke to me

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
Tindersticks - Falling Down a Mountain (lala)
Betts, Delony, Jahnke and Kelly at the Baton Rouge Gallery (website)
Jonathan Lethem - Chronic City (Amazon)

The above image is of Hot Dog, an oil on wood by Ross Jankhe, and the star of the show up at the Baton Rouge Gallery, whose opening was last night. His contribution to the group show were a couple of these elongated oils and a number of enigmatic, "process, meet product" woodcuts - all (but one of a toy rocket, and another of a banana) of fast food. I didn't get any dullard Morgan Spurlock moralism from it, nor was there any Warholian prole-boner zeal. These had more to do with the Jasper Johns' idea of working with subjects the artist and viewer already know so that we can focus on what we can do with the world, now that it's ours. Also, I gather that Ross genuinely likes hamburgers and hot dogs.

Much as I am a fan of the real thing, Hot Dog really spoke to me on a structural level more than did its subject. The lighting is sensual and romantic. The brushwork persists like grease on a napkin. I also love the way the hot dog is edging out of the frame, about to slide off. It might just scoot over to you when you aren't looking. This would be a great painting to have in a long, white hallway; its twisting as I come and go would do it for me every time.

His Big Mac is similarly sumptuous without the trompe l'oeil turny business. Plus, it's a funny painting. The Big Mac laughs as you cautiously approach. Don't play like that. You know you want me.

Now that I've written about it, I am free to let my favorite album of 2010 so far, Tindersticks' Falling Down a Mountain (review at outsideleft), glide by like a hot dog on a gas station conveyor to focus on my next favorite, Titus Andronicus' The Monitor. The Monitor is wound up post-emo Springsteen via Camper Van Beethoven (see the Hold Steady with the added bonus of being from New Jersey) wild boy fun, using the Civil War as a curious, overblown canvas on which a young man can paint himself. Tindersticks are terrified by how much they love you, Titus Andronicus is tickled that you can keep up. Here is "A More Perfect Union."

Here are my co-attendees putting together their Sprite-and-cookie cocktail party opinions on Mary Claire Delony's massive works on paper.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Cook,

    Thank you for the kind review of my paintings. You are correct, the paintings are not cautionary like Fast Food Nation, nor banal like Warhol. Johns is a good comparison, as would be Wayne Thiebaud, or (going back a bit) Fragonard and Chardin. I like "old school" indirect painting, but an artist must be of his time dog.