The new plan: I invited a bunch of peole, and I was gonna have them rove around with me from gallery to gallery and painting to painting, writing down what they said, and the whole time we’d be getting drunk on complimentary wine. Patrick flaked. Kay was in. John was out. My dad was in. Margo showed up with Thomas. This is it, this is tonight’s crew.
We went to Bergamot station and checked out a solow show from Melanie Newcombe. She had these six installations along the wall, some boards with aluminum screen and steel wire over them. The screen was sculpted abstractly and my comrades didn’t really have much to say about them (Margo: “There’s a big difference between museum art and gallery art.” Ho, ho ho!). They had texture and features, but were colorless and easy to ignore.
In the center of the gallery, however, were some representational wire mesh sculptures, and they were striking.
“I think there’s somebody in there,” Margo said. She was looking at Haven. I finished my cup of wine and wrote that down.
Kay was here a moment ago but suddently nowhere in sight. My dad was looking at the sculptures too.
I asked Margo if color would improve them. Nope, she said. They’re innovative because of the insistence on screen wire as the medum. They were surprisingly lifelike and detailed, with musculature and eyelids. I looked at Willa from every angle, especially the butt.
Margo, Thomas, Dad and I ambled on over to the next open gallery, which happened to be Lois Lambert. Heavily stylized landscapes from Allen Harrison were featured. The crew was enrapt. Margo was into them. Kay showed up and she was into them. Thomas is like 13 and he was into them. This intricate texturing was baked into the paintings, rewarding a viewer for getting extra close, and letting eyes follow the delicately raised lines making their own patterns within the colors.
As the gallery started to close, Margo, Thomas, and I went north. Dad went out the south exit with a woman named Jane Bond. Kay vanished again and showed up at our next destination, Amber Goldhammer’s Gallery. Dad called me next day to explain. This group thing is like herding cats.
Amber Goldhammer paints vibrant abstracts with an urban graffiti aesthetic. They’re vivid, abstact, bold, and balanced. Something about them feels quite like pandering and I don’t care. I would definitely hang this on my wall.
Margo was chatting her up and pretty much dominating the conversation. This is unacceptable. I wedged my way in and started asking questions. “Amber Goldhammer,” I bellowed: “Talk to me. I’m the writer,” I said. “Which one was the most challenging for you to finish,” I said. Amber Goldhammer pointed to the figure drawing.
“Doing abstract feels freeing,” Amber said. “The whole point is to free myself of whatever I feel in the moment.” It sounds immature but relatable on a gut level. I feel the same way when I write.
Margo agreed with her. “Making art is like going to the gym.”
Kay showed up and disagreed. “I feel like I’ve eaten too much sugar.”
The “I love yous” are too saccharine and obviously sell a lot. They’re on sale tonight, too! I can see them on the wall of a sorority house, because college-age white women are easy marks.
She liked the one that looked like a snowstorm, though.
She disappeared again, true to form. Margo, Thomas and I went to a photographie exhibit. Melanie Pullen: A History of Violence. I’ve always liked the name Melanie. She recreated murder scenes from police reports in New York and Los Angeles. I chuckled a little harder each time I passed a scene. I can’t help myself.
Margo went to the next gallery to chat up Farnaz Harouni, who had a show where she sewed buttons into female silhouettes onto black pinstriped fabric. I was underwhelmed and couldn’t help but feel like Margo was showing off.
Kay popped up again, outside. Introverts are frustrating people,prone to disappearing indefinitely for absolutely no apparent reason. I don’t take it personally. You can either accept her for who she is, or waste your time looking down your nose at her flaws. She had been hanging out alone in the nighttime spring breeze, relishing the moments alone. She had a good time. She hugged me and said “The best part about going out with a group of people is ditching them.”