I, who cut off my sorrowslike a woodcutter,should spend my life in the mountains.Why do I still longFor the floating world?—Akazome Emon from Women Poets of Japan by Kenneth Koch and Ikuko AtsumiThe artists in this Spring exhibition are all experts at romping over the prairie lands withdelicacy and finesse, despite their burly hooves and meaty ways. They’re those exquisitebison who somehow don’t trample the coneflowers and lupines. That is not to say theyare part of a herd. Rather that they make it look easy even though it is extremely hard.
The more tossed off this work appears at first glance, the more ponderous it becomes.Casual perfection. Heavy duty intoxication may occur when looking at these works onpaper because this crew viscerally comprehends that slippery gradient between gloss andrough trade. What appears to be ordered, coded, alchemical, and symbolic is extra goodmedicine. And what appears to be slapdash, gestural, improvisational, washy, orunsystematic is totally pitch-shifted to elevated power status because apparently we’restill living in some nightmarish Wild West. IE We’re up against Trump and Prince justdied so maybe the talismanic image has to be lighter, messier, sunnier, more surreal,more abstract, and more reckless than the average onerous homeopathic goop that amonster would get stuck and melted in. Regular violently pithy gems, whether theycompile logic or revolt against it, worked before but lately are no match for potential hellon earth. These works have a busted kind of authority that just might throw enough shadeon the jokers to elicit retreat.The pieces vary radically but showcase fierce levels of craft and share just the right blendof insolence and reverence. Formal; patterned; abstract; representative; impressionistic;blobby; smooth; evil; cryptic; tripped out; ambient; strong; laconic; and fractured, butnever complacent.In this shared spirit of precipitous attention, I’ve made a sentence collage from myforthcoming story collection, because even text is a thing made of parts.***The neighborhood crack house was a delightful painted lady, a three-story pink Victorianfeaturing hi-gloss mauve paint on its porch gingerbread, the turreted top-level roundroom, and guesthouse.*Each noodle in a big, hot bowl of noodles has its own story.*When you jumped, it was not because you wanted to kill yourself.*As I descend the wooden railroad-tie staircase down to the blazing hot cove through thebladderpod and sumac shrubs, my breasts disappeared.*One two three, one two three, the melancholic rhythm takes effect as I dream of an Italiansandwich, salami layered inside a bread log.*When she is monthly (during her menstrual cycle) forced to leave her forest property forvittles and sundry domestic & personal supplies, she walks to town on an immaculatelychipped footpath (of her own making) in her mighty steel-toed brown Danners,admiringly inhaling the hallmark aromas her labor produces: muscular spices overlaidwith sharp fresh citrus tones.*I’m not proud to admit that I used to drive friends over to Phil Spector’s house to gawk atthe murder palace.*Get to the heart of things, don’t wait. Give as much love away as you can, you will lose alot in this life and things will suck most of the time but once in awhile that pirate bootyrains down upon you and you can party to Prince’s Dirty Mind all night and make up forall the sad times.-Trinie DaltonTrinie Dalton has published six books that undulate between prose and visual art, most recently BabyGeisha (Two Dollar Radio). Dalton also writes for artists’ book projects and monographs, most recentlyfor David Altmejd (Damiani), You Who Read Me Will Forever Be My Friends: DorothyIannone (Siglio), Laura Owens (Rizzoli), and Abstract Video: The Moving Image in Contemporary VideoArt (UC Press). She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Find her at Sweettomb.com.Donald Morgan (b. 1969, Cottage Grove, OR) has recently had solo exhibitions at SooVisual Arts Center, Minneapolis; Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland; and Marylhurst ArtGym, Portland. Group shows include the Portland2016 Biennial, curated by MichelleGrabner; Traywick Contemporary, San Francisco; White Columns, New York; GavinBrown’s Enterprise,New York; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angles; International Art Objects;Los Angeles; Karma International, Zurich; and the Palace of Fine Art; Cairo. Morganlives and works in Eugene, Oregon and is a member of Ditch ProjectsCalvin Marcus (b. 1988, San Francisco) was recently the subject of solo exhibitions atPeephole, Milan (2015); C L E A R I N G, New York (2015); Chin’s Push, Los Angeles,(2014); and Public Fiction, Los Angeles (2014). His work has been featured in groupexhibitions internationally including Repainting the Image After Abstraction, White Cube,London (2015); Le Musée Imaginaire, Lefebvre & Fils, Paris (2015); and Works onPaper, Greene Naftali, New York (2015). Marcus lives and works in Los Angeles. He isrepresented by David Kordansky.