Wordless Wednesday: 8500 (Waving from the wall)

As usual, info about this photo is in the comments.

I did want to invite regular WW visitors to check out a review of a photography exhibit I wrote yesterday.  It’s anything but wordless, but it might be interesting to those who visit for the photography.

Wordless Wednesday: 8494 (Doll and scrap metal)

No Fooling, We Mean It! – McLoughlin Gallery

“No Fooling, We Mean It!” at The McLoughlin Gallery is a show that is simultaneously playful and serious. The cavernous space of the gallery plays host to several large-scale works by sculptors David Middlebrook, Jeff Schomberg and Doug Thielscher. Each of the sculptors has a different focus, Schomberg on metal, Thielscher on stone, and Middlebrook on mixed materials. But all three present very serious well-constructed and polished piece (“no fooling”) with a sense of humor and fun (“fooling”).  Additionally, all three are local artists, working and residing in the extended Bay Area.

The overall presentation has a sparseness, with lots of empty space and exposure of the gallery’s bare concrete walls that make it easy to focus on a single piece at any given moment. Even the larger stone works are not crowded and blend with structure of the space. I was most immediately drawn to Schomberg’s metal work, and in particular his pair of geometric wall pieces, Hinged and Unhinged.

[Jeff Schomberg, Hinged (2009).  Found metal objects in steel frame.  Image courtesy of McLoughlin Gallery.]

[Jeff Schomberg, Uninged (2009).  Found metal objects in found frame assemblage.  Image courtesy of McLoughlin Gallery. Click to enlarge.]

The rectangular frames serve as a boundary between the space of the gallery and the empty space within the pieces. Inside, each object is given room to be seen separately, such as the large circle in Unhinged or the intricate thin metal lines in both pieces that remind of my street maps. Indeed, the combination of geometric elements and metal coincide with my own focus on urban landscape and infrastructure. (See the similar elements in yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post.) The circular elements seem particularly prominent in contrast to the mostly straight-line shapes of the found-metal components. Still other objects manage to retain their original functional shape and industrial history from before they became art. His mixed-media piece Trumbull takes the industrial theme one step further. An old rusted fuse box has been combined with a video of a fireplace and reassembled into a new piece of machinery. It is futuristic, in that delightful dystopian sort of way, even as it looks back on earlier electrical technology.

[Jeff Schomberg, Trumbull (2011).  Fuse box with video.  Image courtesy of McLoughlin Gallery.  Click image to enlarge.]

These pieces, however, do stand apart within the overall exhibit. If there is one theme that cuts across all of the artists, it is “human-like forms that really aren’t human.” Among Schomberg’s metal sculptures are a series of small human-like figures with heads shaped like pipes or other pieces of hardware – probably the most humorous of his offerings. David Middlebrook’s assemblages have an organic look about them and some such as King of Things seem like they could get up and walk around. Think of Terry Gilliam’s cartoons or some of the creatures from the 1970s animated film Fantastic Planet.

[David Middlebrook, King of Things (2010).  Bronze, aluminum, Indian gibble, cast expoxy.  Image courtesy of McLoughlin Gallery.  Click image to enlarge.]

The bronze box that serves as the base for the large stone egg in Middlebrook’s Carbon was an interesting touch. Doug Thielsher’s stone sculptures are the most directly figurative, but even here the figures are quite distorted, as in the two marble heads of The Ninth Circle that melt into one another. Thielsher’s sculptures were most noticeable for their use of the gallery space. From a distance, they seem like well-placed classical sculpture in a traditional art museum – and indeed they all draw from biblical or mythological themes. Up close, one sees the more surreal and humorous nature. Again, the one that most resonated for me was the most geometric. In Cain #3, the detached hand is almost lost underneath the large white cube and the black dot.  Similarly, the hand seems to disappear into the large black cube of Cain #1.

[Doug Thielscher, Cain #3 (2006).  Carrara and Belgian black marble.  Image courtesy of McLoughlin Gallery. ]

The exhibit opened, appropriately, on April 1, and will remain on display though May 21. For more information about the exhibition and visiting, visit the gallery’s website.

Wordless Wednesday: Doll and Metal Beams

Work completed: Flora Davis, For Luna

The piece I had commissioned from artist Flora Davis was completed in late June:

The metal surfaces of each box are glued and covered in a protective layer, and the sides are finished with a metallic paint.

The piece now also has a title: For Luna. It seems appropriate, as both Davis and I have cats named Luna. And of course it is a nice tribute.

You can see previous articles documenting the progress here and here.

It was exciting to see it complete and take it home. The final step will be to display the artwork. Combined with the companion cat painting Zeus, the five boxes can be arranged in any number of ways. Here are but a few examples:

I have yet to settle on a final arrangement.

Weekend Cat Blogging #266 and Photo Hunt: Free

For Weekend Cat Blogging #266, we present some photos of Luna relaxing in the dining area.

A contrast of colors, texture and shape.

This is also perhaps one of our weaker attempts to fit the Photo Hunt theme this weekend, which is free. Relaxing in a favorite spot is a fine way to spend free time.


Weekend Cat Blogging #266 is being hosted by LB and Breadchick at The Sour Dough. It also marks the approximate 5th anniversary since WCB was started by a group of mostly food bloggers who set aside a day on the weekend to blog about cats.

The Photo Hunt is hosted as always by tnchick. This week’s theme is free.

The Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Nikita Cat.

And the Friday Ark is at the modulator.

Work in progress (Flora Davis) Part 2

Work continues on the art piece that I recently commissioned from local artist Flora Davis. Please refer to the first article in the series for more background about the commission and some images of the piece in its initial phases.

Since then, things have progressed. The metal surfaces are now cut to the appropriate sizes for each of the boxes and ready to be glued on:

Here they are after the surfaces were glued. The sides of the boxes have also been primed for painting.

It’s great seeing the boxes and the metal surfaces come together for the final piece. They do look like what I imagined. I have to admit, the stark white against the textured metal surfaces is a little jarring, but this is just an intermediate phase. The final paint on the sides will be metallic.

Work in progress: Flora Davis, newly commissioned artwork

This is the first of several articles showing the work in progress on a piece I recently commissioned from local artist Flora Davis. I had first met Davis at Open Studios in 2008. I purchased a small cat painting at the time but also reflected on how it might be interesting to combine it with her more recent work that explored abstract metallic surfaces, including series of metal boxes. When I met her again this spring, I proposed the idea of doing a series of metal boxes to be placed together with the cat painting Zeus, and we are now going ahead with it!

Part of the process was choosing the sizes for boxes and then the materials/textures for them. Here are the initial sized boxes along with the cat painting:

As one can see, they range in size from only a few inches to almost as large as the original painting.  In the final piece, they can placed in any number of arrangements around or near the painting, the idea being for one element to overwhelm the others, and to maintain a sense of straight lines and the square shapes without conforming to a single grid.

Next, it was time to select the exact squares from the various metallic surfaces:

The metal surfaces are quite complex and rich in color and texture.  This one with the turqoise/green patina was perhaps the most complex, and thus I wanted it for the smallest of the boxes.  Overall, the colors and textures of the various surfaces tended towards browns, greens and reds that picked up elements of the painting.

Here are some of the metal textures seen in place with the boxes and the cat:

With all the materials and dimensions now specified, the next step will be to cut the surfaces and adhere them to the boxes.    We will see the results in an upcoming article soon!

Cat Rack

This the cat-shaped CD rack that Ann O’Rourke used at Conduct Your Own Orchestra Night.

I am curious if any of the collectors of cat objects out there have seen this, or something similar to it?

Weekend Cat Blogging: Photo Hunt – Triangles

This weekend we are combining Weekend Cat Blogging with the weekly Photo Hunt theme of triangles. It’s been quite a “triangular” week here, including our last wordless wednesday architectural photo. Simple geometry like triangles are often featured in my photos, as well as the interior design at CatSynth HQ, so it’s not hard to find Luna and a triangle together. Indeed, the contrast of Luna’s organic curved form to the angular geometry of of her surroundings has been a regular theme.

This particular glass table, one of our favorites, features multiple triangles (anyone care to count them)?


We at CatSynth also wish everyone a happy Pesach (Passover) and Easter.

Our friends LB and Breadchick host the Easter edition of Weekend Cat Blogging. No rabbits or resurrections, but plenty of feeling antics by LB and the other participants.

Samantha and Tigger host this week’s Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos at Life from a Cat’s Perspective.

The Carnival of the Cats will be up this Sunday at Artsy Catsy. We are joining them today is sending thoughts for the pets and other animals last week’s earthquake in Italy.

The friday ark is at the modulator. And also check out this week’s photo hunt.