Friday, July 13 6:00p to 8:00p
at Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA
Dates: July 13, 2012 – August 18, 2012
The Luggage store in conjunction with Headlands Center for the Arts presents
“People of Earth,” by the 2011-12 Tournseol Awardee for Painting Neil LeDoux.
LeDoux will present a new series of paintings completed over his 12 month residency at Headlands Center for the Art.
The Test of Fantasy
“When I first ventured to write about Neil Le Doux’s paintings in 2009 I had described him as cutting a live and unknown organism perfectly in half just to show us how it works, the tendrils flailing about in a dark pool- life blood. The images seemed older than time, as if they had waited very long to be discovered .
In a short note regarding his new work Neil writes, “My new paintings are coming out like diamonds but really quiet. I think lots of space would be better for them.” When I arrive at his studio there are rows and rows of pencil drawings taped to the walls, palm sized pendants and peyote like living spores, one pair to each page. On the ground beneath them are 20 to 30 canvases, still in fairly early stages and leaning up every which way. Neil has completed nearly 300 of the drawings over the course of his 12 month residency @ Headlands Center for the Arts. He invites all of his visitors to choose a drawing to take home and by now there are plenty missing from the walls.
The whole concept of time looms large in the studio as it is crowned with a giant circular calendar. It’s shape is that of a headless coiled snake, black and red on white with all the months of the year somehow fitting comfortably into the inner circle, each scale of skin representing one day. It reminds me of early illuminated manuscripts and old maps of when the earth was thought to be flat and all known seas were fitted with alien monsters. When I first saw a photo of Neil’s calendar I mistook it for a sculpture or something the public could gather around.
The unfinished paintings each bear deep lines and lightly painted geometric notations, perhaps to light a way back in? At this point they seem to hang somewhere between the discovery of a petroglyph and the beginning of a painting over it. I think that certain sectors of energy rely on artists to unlock and relock them as we see fit. These sectors are alive but in need of discretion, preservation and I would guess ultimately protection. Everything that is going to happen is already happening. So much so that some pieces can only feel finished when several points of entry exist, whichever one is taken the overlaid music of the leading figure feels unlocked and the viewer is then willingly warped….
This principle feels best illustrated by the writer John Wieners in his poem, Procrastination,
“…Not now with my arm against the hard brown desk
Go on: it has begun. The old heat is in the heart.
This is the new start you long awaited
The traceries of feeling interlock the chest.
The eyes become onyx and pearl
The night falls at noon.
Too soon leaves break from their branches…”
Neil tells me that he thinks of his process like losing yourself in a dance party, being so drowned in the music that the body is moving independently, through and past other bodies, in and out and against the light, kicking the shards around. Only when the song is done is there any resurfacing of literal consciousness. I think Neil would actually prefer that we lower the lights in the gallery during the opening and dance together. We could end up closer to his process than to his finished radiant works. These are not paintings, they are nights. The only way out is through. —Cedar Sigo, San Francisco, CA June 2012
HEADLANDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS: Situated in a campus of artist-renovated military buildings in Marin Headlands, just minutes north of San Francisco, HEADLANDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS hosts an internationally recognized Artist in Residence program, as well as public events and subsidized studio rentals for artists of all disciplines. Through these programs, Headlands offers opportunities for artist research, dialogue, and exchanges that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society. 944 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965 (www.headlands.org)
THE TOURNESOL AWARD was established to recognize one painter each year, and to support them in taking the first major steps towards establishing their career in the Bay Area. The award provides the chosen artist a cash stipend, a private studio and acces to Headlands’ creative community, providing support for him/her during the critical first years after receiving an MFA. By supporting local artists at an early stage in their careers, Headlands hopes to contribute to the vitality of the Bay Area’s artistic community. (www.headlands.org)
the luggage store< is one of San Francisco’s leading nonprofit mutlidisciplinary arts organizations; established in 1987, with three venues in downtown San Francisco; the luggage store (1007 Market Street), the luggage store annex (aka 509 Cultural Center) at 509 Ellis Street and the adjacent Tenderloin National Forest in Cohen Alley (a green community commons for public art and social interventions). The luggage store’s vital exhibition, performing arts, public arts and arts education programs are designed to broaden social and aesthetic networks by encouraging the flow of images and ideas between different cultural and economic communities. (www.luggagestoregallery.org)