Monday, February 25, 2013

Two New Works and a Statement About Art

It's tempting and easy to come home after a long day of work, sit on the couch, watch tv, and veg out until it is time to wake up and repeat. But this is what they want; this is how the system and their messages are reinforced. Create 9-5 jobs (or in some cases 8-8 jobs), wages enough to stay afloat but not to own property. Bombarded with advertisements and consumerist culture, keep the masses hard at work, content, but afraid. Don't ask questions and don't create dissonance. Don't stray. Follow the herd, shut up, and keep up. 

Be the honest hardworking man. Such a noble and honorable-sounding idea. Yet, behind the scenes, corruption and contamination of power, degrees of power at all levels. The honorable hardworking man is too busy silently following the path to his grave. He fits the mold. The arts are neglected, and the artist is rejected.

I think of myself as an honorable hardworking man, and as an attorney in California, it is my duty to understand society, social policy, and the powers that be. But as an artist in Los Angeles, it is my duty to break the surface-cover, and explore the depths behind the masks. We as individuals are not sheep; we are more than the things we buy - we are layers upon layers with similarities, subtle differences, and striking contrasts.
Dimension, 30" x 28", oil on acrylic sheet, 2013:

Organism, 28" x 30", oil on acrylic sheet, 2013:

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fair Use: Gagosian's Prince

"Prince's bad faith is evident," concluded the judge for the United States District Court, Southern District of New York in 2011. Returning to the law paintings series, this painting is another reference to the contemporary lawsuit, Cariou v. Prince, et al., in which internationally acclaimed artist, Richard Prince, was sued for copyright infringement. Prince appropriated Patrick Cariou's photographs without permission, altered them slightly, and sold them through Gagosian Gallery.

This painting incorporates a portion of the Court's opinion and facts of the case; for example: "Gagosian Gallery sold eight of the Canal Zone Paintings for a total of $10,480,000.00, 60% of which went to Prince and 40% of which went to Gagosian Gallery." While Prince was sued for appropriating Cariou's work, I have appropriated one of Prince's famous nurse paintings here. I do believe, however, that the "fair use" defense to copyright infringement better applies to my work than it does to Prince's in the Cariou lawsuit.

Bad Faith, 10" x 8", oil and paper on wood panel, 2013.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nocturne for the Lunar New Year

Continuing the series of abstract paintings on plastic sheeting, this is the latest completion. 

Nocturne 02-13, 30" x 28", oil on plastic sheet, 2013.

For the purposes of this series, I prefer plastic sheeting over canvas. The plastic sheet offers an ultra smooth surface, lacking any form of tooth that canvas has. Whereas on canvas the paint can be dragged with a brush just catching the tooth, the plastic surface picks up every brushstroke. The plastic sheet allows me to scrape away paint more effectively, or I can use a stiff dry brush to scumble through wet paint, to reveal the layers beneath and create delicate subtleties. 

In this painting, there is no representational image to latch onto, nor is there a rational explanation which I expect the view to get. But although abstract, the painting is a record of something.

I suppose the title Nocturne can be considered a reference to James Whistler who often painted scenes with titles similar to musical compositions. When Whistler was questioned by a lawyer who criticized one of his paintings for lacking beauty, Whistler responded, "What is the particular beauty of the picture? I don't think I could make it clear to you, any more than a musician could explain the beauty of a harmony to a person who had no ear."

Happy Lunar New Year, and thanks for viewing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Prince Gagosian

Returning to the law paintings series, this painting is a reference to the contemporary lawsuit, Cariou v. Prince, et al., in which Lawrence Gagosian (international art dealer) is also a defendant sued for copyright infringement.

Affixed to the wood panel is a portion of the published opinion from the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, containing stinging language in its holdings, including "the Gagosian Defendants were well aware of (and capitalized on) Prince's reputation as an appropriation artist who rejects the constricts of copyright law, but they never inquired into the propriety of Prince's use of the Photos."

Prince Gagosian, 10" x 8", oil and paper on wood panel, 2013.

While Cariou earned practically nothing for his photographs, Richard Prince was the artist who appropriated them without any permission, altered them slightly, and sold about $10 million worth through Gagosian Gallery. Hence the lawsuit.

The District Court held both Prince and Gagosian liable for copyright infringement. The case remains on appeal.