By on February 12th, 2021



Ida Ekblad, artist, from the exhibit Blood Optics. via (via (, Photo: Omar Luis Olguin)


Ida Ekblad Paints, Sculpts, Glories in Artmaking


To delight in Ida Ekblad‘s exhibit Blood Optics (directly above and below) is to to let some sunshine in. Some admirable artworks use veils, layers, mysteries. Blood Optics uses clarity.  Noon  clarity — full color, no muddying shadows. The piece above uses stripes like an underlying melody. From left, diagonal blue, squiggly blue, slightly different diagonal red. Each set finds a different riff on the tune, yet you agree the music can complete one song.


Below is a multiple-canvas piece and two identically-sized single paintings. If she’s true to the forms here, the two solos could only fit in a trio with the third canvas (probably in the center) being a contrasting shape. These two are more complex compositions and perhaps need a simpler cooling-down canvas in between.

The multiple on the right relies on semblances, not diagonals. It’s a long pie-wedge of a shape that begins with the height-filling form on the left and dwindles to the quiet circle on the smallest canvas to the right. The leftmost form and the red vase (and smaller rectangle) carry the red rightward. There’s a gloss of light on the vase (a lighting effect often ignored by Ekblad) and shiny far-right spoon. She has created a visual logic that again joins the elements into one tune.

I can’t speak for the practices of an artist I’ve never talked to, but if it was me these conjunctions were not planned at the painting stage, they asserted themselves at the strongly different compare-and arrange stage. I would find myself then in a different part of myself. Hand-eye coordination becomes trivial, a gear shifts, finding a mega pattern turns a key in a new part of your knowing.


Ida Ekblad, artist, from the exhibit Blood Optics. via (, Photo: Omar Luis Olguin)



I include this Ekberg sculpture because it shares so much feeling with the way she’s framed her canvases above. Imagine instead the highly carved and richly gilded framing you’ll find in old museums. You’d raise an eyebrow. The artwork would radically change. Maybe straight to comedy.





Ida Ekblad, artist, sculpture. via (, Photo: Omar Luis Olguin)



As always in this blog I don’t strive to cover the entirety of an artist’s output but the parts of it that stand out to me. Ekblad’s painting roams across a landscape of styles. Her sculpture deserves attention too — but what I show here doesn’t begin to exhaust her reach.



In the top photo below, a market basket filled with Ekblad’s ideas about sculpture, I’m most taken with the two in front — badly seen here, but notable. Similar to Swollen by Breath on They have an underlying grace that enlivens them.  Below that is Vampire Squid which I feel good/bad about. It’s an arresting ground for its hangings and placements. Fancy shower doors? Points for arresting novelty. But unless these objects all have personal meanings to the artist, they’re random. Always a big shrug for random. You don’t get credit for sifting and leaving some things out.




Ida Ekblad, various sculpture.




Ida Ekblad, Vampire Squid.



In sum I feast on Ida Ekblad’s creativity, willingness to abandon one fascination for a new one. Her flexibility and sly humor. I’m reading about Frank Stella now and the author points out that Stella took an almost scientific approach to exploring one aesthetic issue after another, in a regimented way. Ekblad is loudly another form of personality. She rose from street art and break-dancing to tackle more demanding forms. She’s very good at what she does. She moves along like she’s on roller skates.




More on Ida Ekblad:


Herald St Gallery, London

Galerie Max Hetzler

Saatchi Gallery








































By on January 29th, 2021


View of HOLLYWOOD sign from Griffith Park after a rain (Los Angeles). By Serouj – Own work, Public Domain, .


Blinders on Critics




In yesterday’s post I had one reaction to a Washington Post readers’ squabble over the merits of Mark Ruwedel‘s Seventy-Two and One Half Miles Across Los Angeles. In that piece I proposed an example of a better photographer, Clem Onojeghuo. I said that Onojeghuo’s work has a pulse. Ruwedel’s study of Los Angeles does not. Or at least what we were shown.



I learned to drive in LA County. Ruwedel’s photos give me a wee chill up the spine. Nothing moves — mocking bird, thirsty dog. Darting car. The exception is one photo in which two marginalized people meet in the dust alongside a big street with cars racing by.


Another Ruwedel photo shows a decaying corner building with a poster slapped on it, History as whitewashed as abandoned walls. Broken plaster, window graffitied and barred . You think you see Ruwedel’s point. LA,  sweaty trash-strewn miles of one-story homes and downtowns, once optimistic.


This kind of photojournalism was done with more insight in the 1930’s. Today it’s wrung dry. Ruwedel adds nothing with life left in it.






I ask journalism to show me something new, or something common in a new light.  And in our currently divided nation it’s vital that we understand our shared humanity. Showing me abandoned corners in Inglewood tells me nothing about roller skaters at Venice Beach. But domestic violence festers in both places. The people behind gates in Bel Air bleed as quickly as those in South Central LA. Rich and poor order pizza. Black and white. There are daffy folks high and low. They’re human. I can guarantee you that sycophants, narcissists  and tax cheats live in every zip code.



I know many people live in foul circumstances. You don’t have to tell me again. Sure, show me heroes with low incomes, but let’s get real. Show me the famous rich folks who normally get credit but show me too heroin addicts beside their big pools. Don’t point out the bleak and pretend the lush isn’t there. That wealth doesn’t miss their old dog, or has a soft spot for popcorn, or roots for the Dodgers. A homerun, and the roar that goes up is from folks from both sides of the tracks. You can’t pick out just one side of it. You know in any neighborhood there are racists and misogynists aplenty. But they have neighbors who are high-minded, kind, loose enough for silliness. There’s someone rich grieving a beloved grandfather, there’s someone peeking at the girl next door. Someone’s drunk and someone else is drinking carrot juice.



Who really believes that LA can be summed up as a blight in need of Clorox?? LA includes millions of people living comfortable, even fashionable lives. I’m tired of narratives in which it’s either down-run or Camelot.



I’m trying to learn this. To see people instead of categories. I read one man who said his wife was in the Capitol police, his mom was in the mob. I’m trying to see his mom. I require that she not be packing a gun. I’m new at this, can’t stretch too far. But otherwise a Trump follower. All the one-celled life living in my gut recoils — but she bleeds, laughs, will someday die. Maybe she’s saved her toys from childhood, subscribes to garden magazines, eats spaghetti on too many nights.  Other than the Trump bit, she’s just like every other human.



But. But.. But but but…



When I finally can believe she’s fully human I’ll be someone new.

By on January 28th, 2021


Detail of photograph by Clem Onojeghuo on showing mindful alignment of detail.



Clem Onojeghuo’s Photographic Eye


The photography editors at the Washington Post have recently profiled Mark Ruwedel‘s Seventy-Two and One Half Miles Across Los Angeles. Succinctly, opinions varied from there are lots of really talented artists out there who would love this kind of exposure (pun intended) to As a long time artist you are entitled to your own opinions as anybody else…. Before being uselessly critical of other work get a closer look at you mirror every morning just after getting out of bed : image you see may be sobering.  [see comments at bottom of same article]



Do you need more to diagnose plenty about human nature? But for guidance on the criticism of the arts of photography you’ll need to search farther.



Then I stumbled across the photographs of Clem Onojeghuo. One look over what Onojeghuo is offering can save paragraphs of verbal opining. Here is an eye that’s alive in the moment, quick to raise a lens, attracted to the details and angles that frame a great shot. His work has a pulse.



Take the photograph detailed at the top of this post. Ask what the photographer had in his mind — why did he stop here? Onojeghuo walks down a street. This car, this building. He stops and snaps? No he stops and exactly lines up the reds and whites of this chance arrangement. Sure that’s a notable car, yes the building has decorative paint — but what what his eye has caught is a line in reality that won’t exist  fifteen minutes later.



Look at this shot, the red coat and the red flowers. The diagonals, the casual gait, the swank car. No time to line up angles here.



Photograph by Clem Onojeghuo, London. via




Again quick to react to a one-time mix of fabrics striding by. Red car an extra piece of luck (or did he wait for this line-up?)



Photograph by Clem Onojeghuo via



I  urge you to explore and enjoy Clem Onojeghuo’s photographic instincts. And to compare it with that of other camera-weilding folk. [Find him also at @clemono2 | ]





My next blog post will approach the Ruwedel work from an important other angle. LA County is my home turf.






By on January 24th, 2021


Screen grab, Estopia Gallery.

Gallery of Eastern Europe Challenging Western Europe


While looking at art by Edith Torony I came upon a gallery committed to the work of Eastern European artists. Estopia. It’s probably no surprise that artists from less globally renowned countries find it harder to break into Western galleries where the pay-offs and exposure are more delicious.



What I see here must happen in the US with particular galleries focusing on specific regions — Midwest, Deep South, New England — or cities — Los Angeles, Chicago, and oh yeh, New York. But Estopia serves a different regionality than what national boundaries define.  Here is a sampling.  Small Is Beautiful. Contemporary Artists from Kosovo, 2017; Istanbul Codex. Contemporary Artists from Turkey, 2016; Voices of Transition. Contemporary Artists from Slovenia, 2016.


Sampling of countries represented by Estopia Gallery.


I recently found a gallery in Austin, Texas. It’s motto was so dear I sent it to a friend who’s just moved there. Don’t be all boots and no saddle.  Estopia will have to provide their own appropriate motto as they have defined their own turf.



Pages of Estopia you may want to cruise.


Estopia actually has two galleries, one in Bucharest, Romania and one in Lugano, Switzerland. I remember Eastern Europe as treasuring a surreal and detail-loving aesthetic. Top of the line. But that goes way back to the Cold War and the world of art has tossed like salad since. I look at Estopia’s artists and see a lot to like. Heavy both on cerebral and raw.


It’s good for us in the United States, padded from other realities, to get wiser about the giant world. It’s hard to remember when we’ve got the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and New York City that other great big continents are bustling with urgencies unlike ours.







By on January 22nd, 2021


Edith Torony, what matters most is how well you walk through the fire. Painting. Via Saatchi Art.


Edith Torony, Painter of Enough Spaces to Interest a Physicist



Saatchi Art recently focused on a group of paintings they found notable in 2020. I found myself reading down through them with a sigh. When I saw Edith Torony’s work I stopped. “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire” presents a crammed canvas. No ground line, no overarching sky, no logical left or right. What I mean is a viewer cannot establish a point of view. The painter refuses to take one.


Is there a virtual wall which aligns the board that protrudes, the circus hoop hanging in air, the wall or two shown upper right and the pile of mega-dice to the left, the partial anime face?  Because the unrealistic fires, the whirly pinwheel and other details make me want to move mentally to the left to accommodate them.



I saw in a museum once — I think in Cleveland — a sign on the floor where they deemed it best for taking selfies. Eh?



Torony has a brain that I’d love to roam around in. This truly flat depiction of multiple viewpoints, not to mention relative scales, teases your logic-loving brain.



Of course I may read her painting all wrong. That can happen when you’re outside a creative cranium.  What can also happen is a shrug. I love this art whatever it is.


A few more so you get a real taste of her work.


Edith Torony, painter. From left: Fake Dreams, Cosmic Junk, Heaven & Earth, Heaven & Earth VI. via Torony’s page on Singulart.



You can see the repeated occurrence of stripes, of yellow and a pale blue.  Note on Heaven & Earth VI that the background is quite blurred with detail layered on top. Not so on the others. The painter keeps moving our point of view. Here’s a universe where anything goes.




This is miles different from my art but the ideal of anything fits suits us both.




Torony is Romainian. To my ignorant American ears I hear brutal heinous dictators. But I read Romania is long past that. And the fanciful work of Edith Torony says nothing about oppression and misery. Rather her focus is on the stuff we humans have cast off like used Kleenex. Packaging in its abundant difference, flashy buy me lures with no staying power. You’ve spent your money? The lure’s defunct. Squashed cans, the cellophane that binds three paper towel rolls into one price tag, the silvered crinkly bag your favorite chips came in.



Science magazine recently had the headline Human “stuff” now outweighs all life on Earth.” Torony isn’t nuts — this is yet another turning point for our planet which has been accumulating disastrous firsts for some time now. How this leads her to her compositions is mysterious to me.



She is an English-as-a-second-language person yet bravely goes for paragraphs of explanation about her various studies. Not a simple individual, not a simple line of reasoning.



“My work is an ode to chaos and reconstruction, to re-composition, to the reduction of everything to a recycled playground.” 

This and photo below via Torony page on Singulart.



Edith Torony at work.



Seeing her folded over what look like thumbnails and at close range to the canvas say a lot about how Torony gets her wild effects.




Edith Torony blog

Singulart Edith Torony with artist’s photo

Estopia Gallery










By on January 19th, 2021


Note: This post was slated for January 15 but was postponed for reasons you’ll quickly understand.





Fair Use Frivolity


What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday I was contacting a copyright lawyer and feeling dark and dismal, today she’s straightened me out and I see blue skies. The concept of fair use includes my right to comment on an artist’s artwork and to use relevant images to illustrate my point.  The smartphone-sized 72 dpi images that I use can’t harm the originator’s sales.



My heart sings. The big roadblock that I’ve felt has disappeared like a brick wall movie prop. POOF! I’m back in business!



The four-day postponement was so my new lawyer could read my text and correct mis-statements.  Which she did.











By on January 14th, 2021

Unnatural Growth by Sloan Nota. From two images on Unsplash by Chuttersnap.

Unnatural Growth

January 14, 2021


Six days until America’s Id has foretold with chest-thumping pride that mayhem will be visited on this country. And by the way, my favored candidate who happened to win more electoral votes than his opponent by a wide margin, is to be ignaugerated we hope without bloodshed.



My brain is banging inside my cranium walls like a fist. That my country has come to this, where lawless hate-filled fools  who declare themselves Patriots threaten my peace of mind. With their embarrassing belief in a known liar. It’s as tragic as it is ludicrous. Following a crook with their priestly warrior ferocity. Fools, idiots, proud men.



Fear is their business and they’ve whetted their skills. What’s it mean to become more hateful  and dangerous for nonsense? Nonsense with a bad smell.





On a personal note I have a call in to a copyright lawyer. Domestic felicity requires that I get law’s view of my rights as a blogger. If I profile someone may I illustrate with their work? Or must I pass a screening by the copyright owner? If I provide a 72dpi version at 1920 x 1440 pixels of their significantly bigger and clearer original?

On an art blog it’s senseless to present words about an artist’s work (free speech) but a sin to illustrate with examples. With money damages piled on top. I don’t argue the necessity of finding out — pauperhood has zero appeal. But I bridle at the wishy washy law.



Online free speech has to embrace images.




Even more personal and imminent is the fact that I’ve received test prints from the printer. I’ve also tried yet another strategy for mixing images today and have had yet another idea that doesn’t feel authentic yet.


To my prints…







By on January 7th, 2021


Photo by gryffyn m at Unsplash.\\



Trump Is Who He’s Always Been

How It’s All Played Out



The Id of the United States has spoken. “Go! Go! Go!” as it massed at the broken doors of the Congressonal Dome. Id’s diction is a sergeant’s unschooled bark, Id’s grammar is as gritty as a rural garage floor.



The Id has eyes glowing redder than a person with the flu. One of the Id holds a sign PELOSI IS SATAN. Others parade Confederate flags through the halls of The People. Hey, we’re people, right? One, who says he was ready to die violently, sits with his boot on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.



Think about this. Testosterone speaking through his voice, imaginings of his hero carcass a photograph above the fold on the all famous newspapers. But didn’t he give himself up, because how do we know that he was ready to… But in the paddy wagon still the swagger in his talk, as if he’d done something that mattered in a world of nurses tending Covid patients infected by disease carriers not wearing masks.



It reminds me of Greek tragedy. The heavy weight of fate that brings an inescapable retribution. The unerring path of the favored child of a sociopath, himself a sociopath, saved throughout his life by his father’s bottomless bank account, saved by unsavory lawyers (the odious Roy Cohn), unable now at the pinnacle of power to face defeat — brings it on himself. Deep in the shadows of his humanity an inkling must have kept itself alive, locked in a closet in the coal cellar of his soul, that for each of his base and hideous deeds, there was a reckoning coming due.



The younger brother he was so mercilessly mean to that his parents sent him away to military school. As a man aspiring and then bankrupting himself, again, again. A colossal failure tricksy as the emperor in new clothes. His peasants cheering, his raw bottom chafing on the saddle.



Jacob Marley foretells Trump’s fate hundreds of years after the Greek tragedians.

“It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”


Donald Trump’s inability to accept that no one could bail him out of loserhood forced him to say and do extremely stupid things. He literally couldn’t have done otherwise. He is who he is.



It caught up with him.


By on December 31st, 2020








By on December 29th, 2020


Calligraphy in Motion, a Follow-up


A few days ago I wrote a post about Rus Khasanov whose videoed ABCs make you rethink what it means to read.



Here is ferrofluid (micro iron particles in liquid) demonstration a that slowly spells out “out of mind.”



‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ looks at how often what we hold as important is invisible and yet when something is invisible it is easily forgotten.’

Thanks to Gurdonark for the music – Sawmill
Thanks to Raymond and Graham and Patrick and Sylvie for their help 🙂

Project credited to Kate Pincottvideo and text, Vimeo



As in religious philosophy this is another route up the same mountain.