A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#29 <previous/ next> Artletter index May 15, 1996

Richard Long at the CAM                                           ends 6/30

Long's works act as a travel diary, evoking beautiful natural settings
through souvenirs and maps. Tinged with nostalgia and good taste, the CAM
has been transformed into a shrine to nature under the guise of 
conceptualism. Long structures nature by walking across it, mapping it and
by literally reconfiguring the arrangement of natural objects, both in the
gallery and on-site, but what has he added to our understanding of these
objects and places? The impression is one of generic nature worship, and
the beauty and import of the show flow not from the artist but from his
subject. Interesting rocks and driftwood remain interesting when seen in a
gallery or arranged in a circle. The  mud drawings sway too close to the
soft-headed shamanism Long is usually restrained enough to conceal.-B.D.

Hybrid Vigor: Kirk McCarthy and Jackie Tileston at the CAM	6/30

With the obvious pairing of these offensively coordinated artists, a choice
indicative of a curious Martha Stewart curatorial logic, complete with
matching colored signage inside and out, one wonders if interior decoration
wouldn't be a more prudent profession for this curator. This show is
laughable in its predictability. Tileston's paintings, supposedly made while
channeling, are academic illustrations of a half-baked understanding of
postmodern painting. One wonders why she couldn't channel anyone other
than an art grad student, circa 1987. Kirk McCarthy: Where's the beef? All
form and no content makes for dull work. His formally elementary, candy
colored forms, as if props for disabled kids, would please a three year old,
but hold no adult interest. Generic titles reinforce the work's lack of
thought. This show illustrates the CAM's ever-clearer pedestrian mentality
towards art and the public, which is insulting to both.-Jeff Elrod

Linda Galway Ott at Purse Bldg. Studios	5/30

Ott confuses universality with vagueness in a series of arty works on paper
which obliquely refer to sexuality, the bible, etc. . . without ever coming to
the point. These works are stifled by convention: life-drawing class
charcoal gestures, yellowed faux-antique patina, and trite symbols are
jumbled into a semblance of serious art.-B.D.

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