Friday, December 31, 2004

mystery train

buddha's hand: for those lost on december 26, 2004
-gregg chadwick, buddha's hand 2004

We spoke of the tsunami in an L.A. pub last night. Over the sound system the piano intro to "Let it Be" stopped our conversation. Tentatively, yet without prompting, we sang together the first line,"When I find myself in times of trouble..." It was a brief moment but it cut through the evening. The conversation veered to John Lennon's murder and then on to the small disasters in all our lives. I looked around the room, a collection of friends celebrating life. Smiles in our eyes as the little kids at our table drew their own inner worlds. A ten year old lost in a book, i-pod buds in his ears filtering out our musical memories as he created his own. Across the room an older couple sipped wine and whispered to each other. It was as if we all were in the dining car on a train, heading for separate destinations, yet for a brief moment brought together. This random collection of faces would never be together again. Someday each one of us, like the victims of the tsunami would take our walk into the shadows. Or as Van Morrison might sing,"into the mystery." I thought of a fellow traveler, the writer Phil Cousineau and how much this evening missed him. And I realized how much art had brought us all together: words, music, painting and film. I realized how much art gives us common ground to celebrate and to mourn.

As I write this a phone is handed to me - a line to Amsterdam- just after midnight. I can hear Dutch voices and fireworks crackling across the city. The world has never seemed smaller to me both in sadness and in celebration. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

by the sea

anil's ghost

By the Sea

Stretching into the distance
the sea
swallows a hundred rivers
for thousands of miles
the spray joins the waves
to the sky

-Muso Soseki (translation: W.S. Merwin)

I'm reading the poems of Muso Soseki today, a Japanese poet born in Ise in 1275, ten years after Dante. Ise is on the coast far to the west of what was then Edo and the sea has a real presence. We tend to sentimentalize the ocean now, travel is easier and at times it seems that we have harnessed the massive power of the tides, currents and waves. A sense of ease disappeared on December 26th as a massive shift of tectonic plates off of Java sent a wall of water that swallowed coastlines for thousands of miles, engulfing rich and poor: Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians.

kenro izu, java
- kenro izu, borobudur, java

Kenro Izu's palladium photograph of Java is timeless. The landscape stripped of living human presence. Java as a museum - ancient, yet yielding to the forces of wind, rain, and time. The jungle is slowly pulling these structures back into the ground, crumbling the stone into earth again. Somehow we can sense this process while viewing Izu's photo. And we can feel our own mortality. Life is short. So many mourn today in Java, Sri Lanka, India, Phuket and across the Indian Ocean. As we remember the lost and help the injured it becomes very clear that we are in this together. We stand together with the great figures of Borobudur as silent sentinels marking our own brief time.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Thanks from Emily Jacir to All Who Believed


i should write an official letter of thanks for your blog because (of) the good news! ... I can't thank you enough for your efforts! We won! If it was not for people like you who wrote letters I am sure this change would not have occurred.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The 49th Day-Hope and Readings for the New Year

"Everyone has their Vietnam. Everyone has their war. May we embark together on a pilgrimage of ending these wars and truly living peace."
-Claude Anshin Thomas, "At Hell's Gate"

The 49th Day
gregg chadwick
the 49th day
38"x38" oil on linen 2004
collection of bill badalato

Listening to Bono and Pavarotti sing "Miss Sarajevo" as I stretch new canvases for the upcoming year. The fresh smell of new linen mixes in the room with the fragrance of a just pulled espresso. The light this morning is crisp and warm. My world seems to be at peace until a line from the song slips into my mind :"Is there a time for keeping your head down, for getting on with your day?" I can picture Sarajevo in black snow. One by one, men, women and children race across a broad street. I can hear the crack of a sniper's rifle in my mind...

That imagined gunshot haunts me. A taunting reply to my question "How does one paint peace?" I pick up Claude Anshin Thomas' new book from a stack on the studio floor - "At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey From War to Peace." I flip through the pages looking for the passage on Bosnia and instead find what I really need: "To live in the present moment and find peace in our lives, we need to be mindful in all that we do, in every action that we take... We are easily distracted by our thoughts, images of the past and the future, our dreams, our hopes, our regrets."

Claude fought in Vietnam, his youth lost as a gunner in assault helicopters, piles of spent shells gathered at his feet and piles of lives lost in the jungle below. Claude is now a Zen monk, practicing pilgrimages of peace and non-violence to war scarred spots across the globe. His message is simple yet heroic.

Claude was embraced by the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, during a meditation retreat for Vietnam veterans. It is my sincere hope for the years ahead that we will see American, Iraqi War, veterans embraced by Iraqi religious leaders in meditation retreats so the cycle of war ends for these new veterans as it has for Claude Anshin Thomas.

I wish you peace in the new year.

Monday, December 20, 2004

A Balance of Shadows

"Our task now is to mend our broken world... And what our world needs now is not belief, not certainty, but compassionate action and practically expressed respect for the sacred value of all human beings, even our enemies"
-Karen Armstrong, "The Spiral Staircase"

A Balance of Shadows
gregg chadwick
a balance of shadows
72"x96" oil on linen 2004

Thursday, December 16, 2004

emily jacir exhibition to run w/o conditions :via kevin mullins, curator -ulrich museum, wichita state

I wish to provide you with the following official statement regarding the upcoming exhibition by Emily Jacir:

      "Wichita State University is aware of the discussion generated by the scheduled exhibition of work by artist Emily Jacir at the Ulrich Museum of Art.  The University is committed to going forward with the exhibition without conditions or limitations that could be considered to compromise the integrity of Ms. Jacir's work as an artist.  The University appreciates the widespread interest in the artist and the exhibition."

You are welcome to forward this e-mail as appropriate.

Thank you,

Elizabeth King
Vice President for University Advancement
Wichita State University

more detailed information can be found at:
from the floor
deep appreciation to newsgrist, from the floor, kevin mullins, elizabeth king, david butler and deborah gordon for helping this important exhibition proceed as planned

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

exile and memory

emily jacir
emily jacir
from "where we come from"

At times the subtext of events and images from Palestine to San Francisco to Berlin helps illumine an artwork, its inspiration and possibly its meaning. Emily Jacir's recent project "Where We Come From" is concerned with the ideas of memory and exile. As a Palestinian-American, Emily is able to travel in a comparatively free manner across and through the Palestinian-Israeli borderlands using her US passport as a sort of get out of jail free card. With this ability Emily was able to create an art project in which she asked exiled Palestinians: “If I could do anything for you, anywhere in Palestine, what would it be?” Many of the requests would be considered simple, almost banal, if they were not impossible for the exiles to fulfill: “Go to my mother’s grave in Jerusalem on her birthday and put flowers and pray.” “Drink the water in my parents’ village.” Emily journeyed with US passport and cameras in hand in an attempt to grant these requests and record the journey. The finished piece is a collection of memories and documentation that seems to feel much like the exiles own experience. As viewers we are priveleged to enter into Emily's process yet in the end humbled by our inability to do anything.

zoo station, 38"x38" oil on linen 2004
gregg chadwick
zoo station
38"x38" oil on linen 2004

My painting Zoo Station is also concerned with the experience of Palestinian exile and memory and seems relevant to the dialogue and controversy brewing around Emily's work. I post it as a fellow artist in a gesture of support for Emily in her struggles with Wichita State University concerning the upcoming exhibition of "Where We Come From" at the Ulrich Museum.
Zoo Station began with my observation of dual protests across Montgomery Street in the financial district of San Francisco. I was visually taken with a protester on the Palestinian side of the street who seemed to carrry the air of a figure from Daumier or even Manet's "Liberty Leading the People". A kind of quiet heroism surrounded her. Her presence entered into the painting "Zoo Station". As is often the case in my work, the setting changed as the painting developed. Over a series of months this Palestinian woman ended up in Berlin. Reading Richard Bernstein's piece
in the New York Times adds another layer to the experience of this work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Emily Jacir Calls for Help

----- Forwarded message from emily jacir -----

Dear all,

I was slated to have a one person show at the Ulrich Museum in Wichita, Kansas in January 26th. The piece was Where We Come From which was included by Dan Cameron on the 8th Istanbul Biennale "Poetic Justice", and a small excerpt of it was also included in this years Whitney Bienniel.

This show has been planned for over a year, much to my horror two days ago I was told that the The Jewish Federation of Kansas has put pressure on the University and the Museum so that they have been granted permission to place brochures and a sign in the gallery expressing their views concerning the politics of the Middle East. Actually, the University and Museum have no idea what text is contained in the brochures and what the posters are but have given them permission nonetheless.

This is a complete infringement on my right to free speech, not to mention an insult to me as an artist. It is intolerable that I have to go through this just because of my background. I am sure no other artist would accept to work under such conditions. They are placing a huge unnecessary burden on my exhibit with the presence of the brochures which are intended to silence or censor my work. I am shocked that they would place such conditions in a the space of a museum.

On the one hand they are allowing me to speak but on another they are trying to control my work by placing brochures, thereby contextualizing and framing my work in ways I have no control over. Not only is this an infringement to free speech but it also disturbs the integrity of my work.

This also sets a bad precedent for them - the next time the University has a show that some group wants to object to they will have to put that group's sign up in the gallery.

I feel violated as an artist by their decision to put a sign in the exhibition with my pictures. This modifies my installation and the work is no longer what it was intended to be.

I think people should be able to see my work on its own terms and be able to form their own opinion. I am not against having a conversation, or organizing panels where a variety of views can be expressed if necessary.

If this group is allowed to do this then perhaps other groups should also demand that their own signs and brochures be placed in the gallery as well. How could they be refused? The Museum has now opened up my exhibition space as space for comments from one political group so why deny others?

I am very upset and people are telling me I should cancel the exhibition. I am not sure what to do....I don't want to cancel because it is not fair that the people in Wichita are unable to see my work because of this fiasco but on the other hand these terms are unacceptable....

Please help me. Does anyone have contacts with the ACLU or ideas?

Emily Jacir

The Director of the Museum is David Butler.

Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art
Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, Kansas 67260
contact: Dr. David Butler, Director
telephone: 316-978-3664, fax: 316-978-3898

Kevin Mullins is the Curator who invited me to Wichita.
316 978-5851

For more on Emily Jacir, her project and how to help:

"where we come from" at debs & co.
ulrich museum
the thing: look for arts intolerence, emily jacir thread in undercurrents

Monday, December 13, 2004

painting with light: alan caudillo - cinematographer

by Gregg Chadwick

alan caudillo & one red sock
alan caudillo
photo by Gregg Chadwick

the witty, important film "a day without a mexican" is now available on dvd. alan caudillo was the director of photography on the film and i recently had the chance to spend an afternoon at the norton simon museum in pasadena with alan. our conversations centered around the place of light in film and painting.

alan- " the light one finds in vermeer and other painters of the dutch school is always in my mind when i begin to plan the overall look of a film. on one level the light flooding in from a side window as one finds in vermeer or in this gabriel metsu unifies the scene. everything in the frame looks good. the shadow areas are rich and vibrant and the light is almost spiritual.
on a more technical level as the actors move through a scene, when lit in this vermeer-like light, whether they are in shadow or moving in light they are readable through the lens. there are no bad moments in this kind of light."

gabriel metsu
gabriel metsu
woman at her toilette
norton simon museum
photo by Gregg Chadwick

alan-" i continually am amazed at the light in paintings. as a painter, gregg, you have ultimate control over the light in your work. if you paint it with skill and direction the sense of light is just there. as a cinematographer i have to physically light the scene and then let the actors loose in this light filled box that i have created. "

gregg- "alan, you also are a painter. do you bring this sensibility into your work in film?"

alan- " yes, when i look at paintings i like to figure at how they were accomplished and then bring those findings into my film-work. when looking at this metsu i can imagine the light fixture outside the window illuminating the scene. all i need to do is set up the camera and let it happen."

gregg- "it is your skill behind the camera and your vision that makes it happen"


Judge OKs Barnes Collection Move to Philly

 vincent van gogh postman 21"x15" oil on canvas 1889
vincent van gogh
21"x15" oil on canvas 1889
the barnes collection

Montgomery County Judge Stanley Ott has issued a ruling today that opens the way for the Barnes Collection to move from its hard to access Lower Merion site to downtown Philadelphia. Judge Ott in his statement wrote that there was "no viable alternative" to save the foundation from financial collapse.

Albert Barnes in his will instructed that the collection never be moved. His will also limited photographic reproduction of the paintings and forbade artworks to travel on loan. For many years art scholars and artists were forced to rely on black and white photos of the work. These restrictions have been lifted at least partially in recent years.

Could this be the end of an era as the Barnes Collection moves into the 21st century? Or is this the start of something new and important for the city of Philadelphia?
More to follow...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

for john lennon & dimebag darrell & theo van gogh

for john & darell

the world is a lesser place w/o you...

civil disobediences

Henry David Thoreau was inspired to write “Civil Disobedience” after a night in a Concord, Massachusetts jail for refusing to pay a tax in support of the Mexican-American War. A new book takes its title from this essay which also inspired Martin Luther King's, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".

 1st amendment

"A corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?"
-Henry David Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience"

Anne Waldman and Lisa Berman in

Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action (CoffeeHouse Press)

have edited an important volume that drives home the importance of the artist/activist in contemporary America. In the introduction Anne Waldman creates a vivid picture of the artist in our growing security state:

" Do we really want to expel poets from the Republic? Imagine Plato going through security at the Athens Airport, then arriving in the USA for a Modern Language Association convention. Would he be affronted? Amused? Would not the threat of censorship be worrisome? Would he appreciate the decor? If Henry David Thoreau were to travel, would he suffer humiliation and indignation? What might compare back then? Imagine your favorite radical literary heroes going through security: Lao Tze, Sappho, William Blake, Mary and Percy Shelley, Gertrude Stein, W. E. B. DuBois.
There is currently--and one feels this is not going to go away--a strange and disturbing “disjunct” or “rip” in our culture that calls for an articulate active response to the current repressive agenda where anyone who doesn’t agree with current USA administration junta policies is “unpatriotic.” It’s as if people have given over control of their “destiny”--in fact, their “imaginations”--to a hopeless gray area of defeat and despair. When I get an e-mail that “someone is investigating your background” is it just a scam or something really creepy?"


Saturday, December 04, 2004

a theater of time -julie nester gallery

a theater of time
gregg chadwick
a theater of time
72"x56" oil on linen 2004

in park city, utah for the opening weekend of the julie nester gallery.
nice group show including "a theater of time" and also the work of kirsten stolle and marshall crossman among others.

Julie Nester Gallery opens in Park City

Park Record

Contemporary art finds a home off Main Street

By Casey R. Basden

Tucked behind Windy Ridge restaurant sits Julie Nester Gallery a former warehouse turned contemporary exhibition space that features the work of emerging Bay Area artists, among others.

The walls are crisp white, the track lighting is modern and the concrete floor is stained to perfection. The floor space is bare, but the walls tell the story of artists such as Gary Denmark, Marshall Crossman, Michael Pauker, Kirsten Stolle and Gregg Chadwick.

What was once a "mess" has turned into Park City's newest gallery off Main Street. Julie Nester, art consultant and owner of Julie Nester Gallery, says. "Before I moved I knew I was going to open a gallery here. I was just looking for the right space."

Nester, her husband and two children moved from San Francisco to Park City in April to be close to family. Once Nester found the right locale for her gallery, several weeks were spent tearing out ceilings, adding walls and installing lights.

The result: an inaugural group exhibition and reception, which took place Friday. Julie Nester Gallery is now officially open for business. Art of all shapes and sizes fills the large space with bright colors, muted colors, warm tones and cool tones. Abstract, wildlife and the human form are central to each piece.

Nester says, "I've got some really good feedback on this space and the art. When I was looking for a space I wanted an open, airy feeling. That is why I chose this warehouse space even though it's kind of out of the way I wanted a big, open space and you can't find that on Main Street. So, I'm trading the street visibility for the space."

A graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Nester studied graphic design, but soon discovered it was not her true calling. Instead, she preferred acting as an art consultant.

As a consultant, Nester works with homeowners and businesses to determine what type of art will reflect well in any given space. She takes several pieces, decides what is appropriate, and then returns with other pieces that reflect the particular style.

In addition to serving as a private art consultant, Nester was employed at both the Dolby Chadwick Gallery and the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco.

Today, Nester works with designers to drum up additional business for the gallery. Rather than waiting for people to come to her, Nester goes to them. Reflecting on her experience, she says, "I just had more passion in selling. I liked graphic design but I never thought I would have a career with it. I have more passion for other people's art."

One such artist is Thor Archer. Nester walks across the room to a piece by the entry. Hanging is a figurative sketch by Archer made with "found objects." A fan, Nester digs through a folder looking for pictures of his work.

Coming up virtually empty handed, Nester says she would like to have some of the artist's sculptures on display in the future along with various solo shows scheduled for next summer.

"Right now, the majority of artists I know are from the Bay Area," says Nester. "I would love to have some Utah artists. I'm always looking to get new artists as long as it fits in with my theme, contemporary art. I do painting, photography, sculpture."

Realizing Julie Nester Gallery is off the beaten path and quite the jaunt from Main Street, the art consultant admits to being a little scared, but excited at the same time. With few contemporary galleries in Park City, Nester is positive about what the future has in store.

Speaking of her goals, Nester is happy to support the emerging and mid-career artists she has come to know throughout her journey as an art consultant. She is also pleased about bringing more contemporary art to Park City a town known for having a conservative taste in art.

While starting a new business venture is always nerve-racking, Nester appears to have a clear perspective about what she wants to accomplish.

She simply says, "It's a little scary, but really exciting. When I was an art consultant, I would pick up art work from the artists and from the galleries, but now I have it all here, which is nice."

Julie Nester Gallery is located at 1755 B Bonanza Blvd. in Park City. For more information about the gallery, call 649-7855.

Friday, December 03, 2004

black budgets & satellites (update)

"Tucked inside Congress' new blueprint for U.S. intelligence spending is a highly classified and expensive spy program that drew exceptional criticism from leading Democrats.

In an unusually public rebuke of a secret government project, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, complained Wednesday that the program was ``totally unjustified and very, very wasteful and dangerous to the national security.'' He called the program ``stunningly expensive.''

Rockefeller and three other Democratic senators -- Richard Durbin of Illinois, Carl Levin of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon -- refused to sign the congressional compromise negotiated by others in the House and Senate that provides for future U.S. intelligence activities."

-from an article by ted bridis and the associated press from the new york times, 9 dec 2004

mystery spy project
and see update:
mystery spy project update

seems that the black budget for reckless military hardware and spy programs continues to grow. a round of applause for these senators with the courage to speak out against america's development of an expensive and seemingly unnecessary new satellite system.
whatever happened to the idea of the peaceful development of space? do we really need a new arms race?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

tasting blue

the blue museum

phil cousineau's new collection of poems: "the blue museum" is out. thought i would share his cinematic poem on the burning of the library in sarajevo:


Black snow fell over Sarajevo,
darkening the midday sky with ashes
from the million and a half books burning
in what was once the National library.
The old librarian raced through shell-pocked streets,
his face reddening from the torrid heat pouring
out of the knot of smoking ruins where
he had spent a lifetime rescuing words
from oblivion. Defying the snipers,
he stood on the steps of the smoldering building
wanting to save—something, anything—even
the single sheet of cindered paper that drifted towards him
through the singed air, still holding fire from the inferno.
He caught the paper, which glowed in his hand
like a black and white negative held up
to the red light inside a photographer’s darkroom.
He glared at what was once a page from a holy book,
an illuminated manuscript, and could not smell the skin
of his fingertips burning as he tried to read from what seemed
to be the last page of the last book on earth.
With time on fire, history incinerated,
the page flared, then vanished,
leaving blue and gold and red ash
on his cold, numb hands.
Staring into the fiery ruins, he began to wonder
how long it would be before he could start rebuilding

©Phil Cousineau — All Rights Reserved

from The Blue Museum,
published by Sisyphus Press, ©2004.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

two friday openings

Gregg Chadwick
new breeze, new hour
30" x 22" monotype 2004

two exhibitions open this friday with work by gregg chadwick
( i will be attending the opening in park city. hope to see you there):

the julie nester gallery in park city, utah will have its grand opening on december 3rd, 2004 from 5-8pm. 1755 b bonanza drive, park city, utah
for more info: 435 649-7855 (see below)


the lisa coscino gallery oh so proudly presents the original works of more than 30 artists at the amazing price of $99.95. entitled: the $99.95 show. we know what you're thinking: are they mad? are they out of your artsy minds? no, sir. tis the season.yes, tis. tis, tis, tis.
for further information, please contact lisa coscino at 831.646.1939.

A Painter's Picks: Foley Gallery: Thursday Opening in New York

periodically i will pick an exhibition or an opening to highlight. if you are in new york this thursday or will be traveling there shortly make sure that you visit the foley gallery, a new space with great potential. michael foley, who served as director of the yancey richardson gallery in new york and before that worked with catherine clark in san francisco, has opened his own gallery. michael's new gallery focuses on photography and works on paper.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

the transparent life

the transparent life
the transparent life
30"x22" monotype 2004


Clear moments are so short.
There is much more darkness. More
ocean than terra firma. More
shadow than form.
-Adam Zagajewski

reading adam zagajewski

i've been reading the poetry of

adam zagajewski

derek walcott in the new republic :
"these poems enter and possess you quietly. it is the quiet of a train halted on its lines. the engine throbs like a pulse, and there is always music in these verses, or the echo of music"

zagajewski is a polish poet currently dividing his time between paris and houston where he teaches. there is much of czeslaw milosz here and joseph brodsky as well as the american, edward hirsch. but in the end adam zagajewski is his own poet.
as i prepare for a new group of paintings i find a world of inspiration in these poems. zagajewski leads us into the shadows but he is not afraid to show us the light.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

(Peace) 320˚ NW

(Peace) 320Ëš NW

(Peace) 320˚ NW

From where the red-winged blackbirds sing
on the cattails of the Schel-Cheb marsh
and the blue camas flowers bloom
planted by Gale Cool in a prairie genesis
the smooth shore of Kitsap’s village
the Suquamish called “Bringing-it-home”
opens out to the waves of Rich Passage,
and beyond Rainier rises sixty miles away,
its great gray ridges sharp,
its massive glaciers white.

At home in this sunlight
the strong irony strikes Don Mowatt:
on the phone from Pleasant Beach
talking to a survivor in Bosnia,
knowing he is to go, the call’s been made.
Peace spreads by being left behind.

- poem by kent chadwick

peace - an ongoing dialog

Kent Chadwick's poem "(Peace) 320˚ NW" is the first in a series of responses to my question, "How do you paint, write, sing peace?" Kent Chadwick is a Seattle based poet. His work is rich in language and moment. "(Peace) 320˚ NW" is from a new, ongoing series of poems modeled on the Japanese ukiyo-e artists Hokusai and Hiroshige's views of Mount Fuji. Mount Rainer is the touchstone in this series. Each poem contains a fleeting view of Rainier that acts as a silent witness to the life unveiling below.

I urge you to read the lengthy and important series of comments found below the intial post. Thank you for your thoughts and I encourage you to think seriously about this question. I welcome your responses. Feel free to e-mail images, poems, stories and links to your songs my way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

How do you paint peace?


Gregg Chadwick
36"x29" oil on linen 2004
Private Collection, San Francisco

I find I need to look deeply into this painting to provide an antidote to the images flooding my way as I walk down the avenue. rack after newsrack, each with a front page heralding destruction. Years ago I was in Perth, Australia reading an art review concerning an exhibition about peace. Most of the images in in the show were anti-war but few if any were really about the idea of peace. The title of the review was "how do you paint peace". I have been trying to do that ever since. I think this painting is close. I ask you: how would you paint peace? How would you create the idea of peace in your music? In your writing? In your life? Please send thoughts. ideas and images my way- I will post your dreams...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

an open letter to steven vincent


if my ten year old son did not cringe at the expression "shut-up" i might have titled my response to your

national review piece

"shut-up and write" or possibly "shut-up and look." but since my son skips into the room often to see what i'm up to i thought i would instead "use my words" and then after a "time out" send you my thoughts and the image of a current painting that deals with the situation in iraq.

ok i'm ready now... and i have put my color wheels and brushes away.

my father was an officer in the marine corps and he served in korea and vietnam. i respect his service and i thank him for the sacrifices that he and his buddies made so that i can disagree with him. that is the nature of america. at our best we are a gargantuan mix of cultures, creeds and credos. at our worst we are a gargantuan beast that without a system of checks and balances could easily slide into fascism. now we get to the part about art and politics. currently artists have been given the role of canaries in the coal mine. and we can feel the gradual loss of oxygen in the environment. let's start at something simple- flying. i fly often and like clockwork i am pulled over into the "ashcroft" line for a thorough inspection. and who is in line with me? people of color, immigrants, artists, musicians...
this is why we are so anti-bush. "mene,mene,tekel,upharsin"- we see the writing on the wall and it is as vulgar as your headline. well mister vincent we are not going to shut-up and there is a growing chorus of voices that will not be silenced. maybe those of your ilk have a monopoly on destruction. but we artists have a monopoly on the creation of beauty. and in beauty- often can be found truth.

see the attached painting


gregg chadwick

Saturday, November 20, 2004

this morning's harbor

this morning's harbor, originally uploaded by greggchadwick.

the julie nester gallery in park city, utah will have its grand opening on december 3rd, 2004 from 5-8pm. 1755 b bonanza drive, park city, utah
for more info: 435 649-7855

i am honored to have a group of paintings and works on paper in the inaugural exhibition.

my work will include "une passante" and a series of new monotypes. monotypes are prints made by painting on metal and then transferring the painting to paper by pressure. only one initial print can be run through the press and then a follow-up ghost print. the ghosts are evocative, open ended and encourage further work. "this morning's harbor" is a good example of this process.the resulting work maintains a bit of the ghost and is quite effective in conveying my artistic thoughts. these new monotypes seem to me like small dreams.

from l.a. to new york to paris

"New York has finally become Paris -- a bountiful place to visit to see what great art used to be. The stunning new MoMA is its magnificent shrine."
- Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times

i currently paint in los angeles, have a grad degree from nyu and consider paris as a constant muse. los angeles is a great city with a richly nuanced cultural climate- such a great mix of traditions. but, especially now, we need new york and paris. the score keeping that christopher knight tacks on to the end of his article on the new moma is embarassing. with jet blue's $99 fares does anyone in l.a. really define themselves as "not" being from new york anymore? l.a is a great city in which to create new work. but without new york we are cut off from incredibly important artistic and social dialogues. great art is not driven by fads or civic boosterism. instead great art is created within an environment that treasures a dialogue between past and present, east and west, north and south.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

thinking about art

jt kirkland is running an evocative site at thinking about art. he graciously allowed me to participate in an ongoing project in which artists are asked to write a short essay in response to one word- my response is on the word

City of Desires

City of Desires, originally uploaded by greggchadwick.

listening to pearl jam resound in a san francisco cafe. a warm fall dusk here - it somehow brings to mind the tropics. thought i would post a painting based on a time in rio. something about the brazilian air and the rich way music flows around the landscape made it into this work. love the way that brazilians realize that they are americans. not as citizens of a country but instead as part of two joined continents - the americas.

sometimes, as in this painting and dream of dawn below, i find characters creating themselves in my work. i want to discover more about them as they appear. the story will continue...

Monday, November 15, 2004

reading li po

黎明夢想 (a dream of dawn)
黎明夢想(a dream of dawn) 80"x76" oil on linen 2004

i have been reading classical chinese poetry in translation while working on this new painting.
a mix of remembered moments, music and poetry often fuels my work.

Misted the flowers weep as light dies
Moon of white silk sleeplessly cries.
Stilled - Phoenix wings.
Touched - Mandarin strings.

This song tells secrets that no one knows
To far Yenjan on Spring breeze it goes.
To you it wafts
Through the night skies.

Sidelong - Eyes. How
White tears fill now!
Heart's pain? Come see -
In this mirror with me.
-Li Po

Friday, November 12, 2004

in the studio

studio w/chinese sky

been in the studio all day-
feels good to work large and get the whole body into it

the light that fills this space in the late afternoon is hypnotic, almost like being under a rainbow

thinking about

since i'm painting off ocean park
he started his ocean park series in 1967 during the viet nam war
monet painted waterlilies during ww1

color has never felt more necessary as the world grows darker

maybe something there...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans' Day


Excerpts from letters to his parents from Pfc. Moisés A. Langhorst of the Marines. Private Langhorst, 19, of Moose Lake, Minn., was killed in Al Anbar Province on April 6 by small-arms fire.

March 13

As far as my psychological health, we look out for each other pretty well on that. ... I've been praying a lot and I hope you're praying for the Dirty 3rd Platoon, because there is no doubt that we are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

March 15

After standing in the guard tower for seven-and-a-half hours this morning, we went on our first platoon-size patrol from about 1200 to 1700. It was exhausting, but it went very well. I had to carry the patrol pack with emergency chow, a poncho and night vision goggles. That's what really wore me out.

We toured the mosques and visited the troublesome abandoned train station. The people were friendly, and flocks of children followed us everywhere.

When I called you asked me if Iraq is what I expected, and it really is. It looks just like it does on the news. It hardly feels like a war, though. Compared to the wars of the past, this is nothing. We're not standing on line in the open - facing German machine guns like the Marines at Belleau Wood or trying to wade ashore in chest-deep water at Tarawa. We're not facing hordes of screaming men at the frozen Chosun Reservoir in Korea or the clever ambushes of Vietcong. We deal with potshots and I.E.D.'s. With modern medicine my chances of dying are slim to none and my chances of going home unscathed are better than half. Fewer than 10 men in my company have fired their weapons in the 10 days we've been here.

March 24

While not always pleasant, I know this experience is good for me. It makes me appreciate every little blessing God gives me, especially the family, friends and home I left behind in Moose Lake.

More letters are found in the nov.11, 2004 op/ed page in the New York Times

thank you moises, ralph, dad
and all the men and women who have served

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

as the new work began to breathe

tibetan monks at the off the preserve gallery, napa, california

i grabbed this moment of a monk taking a break for contemplation last year and found the image while researching new ideas. it seemed so emblematic of the practice of artistic creation that i wanted to dwell on it a bit. a group of tibetan monks were in the process of creating a sand mandala when one got up and carefully moved over to a group of devotional paintings
lining the gallery walls. he stood still and seemed to gather the moment and the image in. i carried these thoughts over as i started a new painting last night. i worked late till the streets were empty and the traffic on the airport runways outside had died down and i painted till the image began to seem real and present. then remembering the monk i put my tools down, stopped and listened as the new work began to breathe.

Monday, November 08, 2004

the face of dawn

ROTC Training Before Deployment
-rotc training before deployment, spring 04: photo by gregg chadwick

as the battle rages again in fallujah it prompts us to look at the faces of the combatants and to understand the humanity that is lost on all sides. the acting prime minister of iraq, allawi, has dubbed this new action al-fajr : arabic for the dawn. it is time for all artists, photographers and writers to fight the censorship of the current administration and show the true faces of this dark dawn.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

existential detectives

"In this day and age of selling out to the Bushes and being corporate and acting like the industrial, plastic American lifestyle is the greatest thing that ever hit the planet... a movie like I ♥ Huckabees —a 60’s movie, whether it’s Asian, Zen, Tibetan Buddhist, Hindu ... reinforces some sort of hope for life and human integrity."
- Columbia Religion Chair Robert Thurman in an interview with the New York Observer,Oct. 4, 2004

existential detectives - i heart huckabees

In David O Russell's new film I ♥ Huckabees, Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) hires two existential detectives Bernard and Vivian (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to help discover the significance of three chance meetings with an autograph hunting Sudanese refugee (Ger Duany). Dustin Hoffman's character is loosely based on the director's friend and mentor Robert Thurman who is best known as a colleague of the Dalai Lama and the father of Uma Thurman. Robert Thurman is currently the chair of the religion department at Columbia University. Jason Schwartzman's character can be seen as a fictionalized portrait of the director. In the film the existential mentor helps his client grapple with the concept that everything is in everything else. This idea of interbeing seems so far from our contemporary American culture of strip malls, suburban sprawl and traffic jams that it is comic. And the film is funny. Richly, smartly, philosophically funny. I ♥ Huckabees is a romp- a sort of philosophical, spiritual road movie. But in this film the road is not an exterior ribbon connecting two disparate realities. Instead the road in I ♥ Huckabees is the interior path of interconnectedness.

  • existential detectives:jaffe & jaffe
  • Thursday, November 04, 2004

    first thoughts after the election...

    Arlington 48

    Arlington 48” x 36” oil on linen 2004

    From the funeral of Chanawongse Kemaphoom 22, of Waterford, Connecticut. Killed in action during operations on the outskirts of An Nasiriyah on March 23, 2003. Chanawongse was assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

    A Painters Light and the Enlightenment

    we have met the enemy and he is us

    "America, the first real democracy in history, was a product of Enlightenment values - critical intelligence, tolerance, respect for evidence, a regard for the secular sciences. Though the founders differed on many things, they shared these values of what was then modernity. They addressed "a candid world," as they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, out of "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind." Respect for evidence seems not to pertain any more, because a poll taken just before the elections showed that 75 percent of Mr. Bush's supporters believe Iraq either worked closely with Al Qaeda or was directly involved in the attacks of 9/11. 
    The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies." 
    -Garry Wills, adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University 

    Garry wills' op-ed piece in the New York Times hits hard on the anti-intellectualism and anti-historicism that lies at the heart of the christian fundamentalists backing bush.  Wills observes that enemies come to resemble each other and in their misguided bloodlust and immoral war in Iraq contemporary fundamentalist christians have created their own jihad. 

    This is not about mere politics but instead a clash of rational minds against the forces of ignorance and superstition. 

    As Americans. as artists, as philosophers, scientists, doctors, writers, musicians, poets, actors, historians, free-thinkers and members of the world community now is not the time to acquiesce but instead the time to remember and declare our American roots in the enlightenment. 

    As a painter i believe in light- not just light that bathes us in a warm glow of beauty but light that also reveals and creates a path to understanding. 

    Do not let them take the light from us.

    Stand strong. 


    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    today in america

    Wings of Desire

    "i think the truth is, that nobody, inside or outside, can accurately portray a country. We can only paint what we see….this land of plenty is a vacuum inside, a land of drought and poverty: mental, spiritual, social, political poverty.”
    -wim wenders on america

    Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    vote- in your own backyard, in your own hometown

    as i'm sure you would agree - never before have we been more aware that every single vote counts. Godspeed as you vote on Tuesday, November 2nd

    "I don't think it has made America safer . . . How many of our best young people are going to die? Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time....There is a long tradition of the artist being involved in the life of the nation. For me, it goes back to Woody Guthrie, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Dylan . . . The artist is there to open up discourse, to get people thinking about American identity: Who are we? What do we fight for? What do we stand for? I view these things as a fundamental part of [the artist's] job."
    -Bruce Springsteen

    Saturday, October 30, 2004

    vermeer in bosnia

    vermeer in bosnia
    Originally uploaded by gregg chadwick.
    while at the metropolitan museum in new york recently i sought out the vermeers and found myself viewing them through the scrim of lawrence weschler's recent collection of essays, "vermeer in bosnia." i hope all of us can take some time before tuesday's election to stop and find stillness and clarity. as weschler so aptly recounts, vermeer had to invent the still and timeless world in his paintings. the europe that vermeer spent his youth in was as scarred as bosnia during the balkan wars or as iraq is today. keeping this in mind we must create our own stillpoint from which to approach the speed of contemporary existence. i suggest a quiet visit and a moment of humility before a timeless work of art. vermeer creates that space for me. take care - gregg

    Freedom of Expression

    freedom of expression slide and video presentation

    as part of their 30th anniversary celebration on october 30,california lawyers for the arts presents a curated digital slide and video presentation of visual art addressing the concept of freedom of expression. this includes the broadest possible range of viewpoints on the topic.

    the slide presentation will be shown during the creative freedom party reception at the cowell theater, fort mason, san francisco 6:30-9pm

    arlington as well as a few other pieces of mine will be included. the paintings should spark some dialogue.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Kenro Izu: Sacred Places

    Kenro Izu
    photo by kenro izu

    Kenro Izu's pallidium prints are taken with a massive camera that seems to wrestle the sacred onto film. a selection of Kenro's work and his gargantuan camera were recently on view at the Rubin Museum in New York. In an interview conducted on July 31, 2001, with Peabody Essex Museum director of photographic services, Marc Teatum, Kenro Izu described his artistic process," I try to use my basic instincts, like an animal sensing danger. I want to be as pure, as empty as possible and just try to document the spirituality of the place. If I can’t, then I don’t want to make another picture postcard that someone else has already taken under perfect conditions."

    Kenro Izu is actively creating important contemporary sacred art that defies boundaries and borders. His image (seen above) of a Buddha in a tree at Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, Thailand is both mysterious and inviting. There is a profound silence in this image and an uncanny presence of breath.

    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    The Art of Tibet

    holland cotter in his october 20th piece in the new york times on the rubin museum makes a good point when he calls tibetan art an art of fusion," we're learning how [cultures] intersect, interact, serendipitously echo one another." it is this intersection, interaction and echoing that fuels much of my work and the work of writers, musicians, painters, photographers and sculptors who are interested in inclusion rather than exclusion.

    Rubin Museum of Art

    Rubin Museum of Art
    the brand new rubin museum of art in manhattan is a glorious addition to the museums of new york.
    set in chelsea - the museum provides a needed place of beauty and contemplation.

    described as the first museum in the world dedicated solely to the art of the himalayas- the rubin museum fills a gap in our understanding of the art and faith of this region.

    Saturday, October 23, 2004

    Birthday in Bar Harbor

    MSue in Bar Harbor 

    Spent a wonderful birthday in Bar Harbor, Maine with MS wandering the windy coast and town with numerous sightings of John Malkovich who is currently filming a new bio of the Viennese artist Gustav Klimt.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Opening at Santa Monica Art Studios, Santa Monica Airport

    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    Opening at Santa Monica Art Studios, Santa Monica Airport

    thank you to all who braved the huge crowd at saturday's grand opening. i was touched by the enthusiasm for and interest in my work. if you have questions about a particular painting or monotype please e-mail me or leave a comment on this entry.

    if you would like to view the work again in a calmer fashion please stop by on thursday, october 14th. i will be in the studio from 12pm to 6pm and of course the los angeles art fair will be opening that evening across the street in the barker hangar. if those times do not work please feel free to set up an appointment .

    i hope you had a chance to view the other artist's work at the santa monica art studios facility. i just call it the hangar. it really brings back my childhood to paint with the roar of jet engines reverberating from the nearby runway. that roar sounds like possibility to me- as artists, musicians, writers, viewers and thinkers we have the ability and the call to create in a culture of destruction. thanks again for supporting my efforts.

    Thursday, October 07, 2004

    what i'm listening to

    i drive from santa monica to san francisco and back almost weekly. don't know how i would do it without michael mcdermott growling and whispering in my ear. his music is pure passion and the lyrics are the poetry of life's small battles. a rich chord of spirituality runs throughout michael's music. this is neither irony nor dogma but instead the understanding of faith and its importance in modern life. you can sense michael mcdermott's appreciation for joseph campbell in these songs. and in those spare piano graced moments i can almost hear raymond carver. this is music for the soul. give it a listen- take care

    une passante ( for czeslaw milosz)

    every artwork has its audience - sometimes large and sometimes singular. small paintings such as "une passante" seem to be noticed first by other artists or those with a heightened awareness of the world.

    i recently sent the following description of "une passante" off to an early discoverer of the work-

    czeslaw milosz' poetry has been a deep inspiration for me. his ability to search for meaning or metaphysics even after the horrors in Poland during the 20th century has always been a source of strength for me artistically and spiritually.

    when i found out about his recent death i wanted to paint an image pulled from life like a sort of painted poem- a moment that if one is not truly aware will go unseen

    title: une passante (in french a female passerby)

    this poem by milosz feels to me like the painting:

    - Czeslaw Milosz

    My ears catch less and less of conversations, and my eyes have weakened, though they are still insatiable.

    I see their legs in miniskirts, slacks, wavy fabrics.

    Peep at each one separately, at their buttocks and thighs, lulled by the imaginings of porn.

    Old lecher, it's time for you to the grave, not to the games and amusements of youth.

    But I do what I have always done: compose scenes of this earth under orders from the erotic imagination.

    It's not that I desire these creatures precisely; I desire everything, and they are like a sign of ecstatic union.

    It's not my fault that we are made so, half from disinterested contemplation, half from appetite.

    If I should accede one day to Heaven, it must be there as it is here, except that I will be rid of my dull senses and my heavy bones.

    Changed into pure seeing, I will absorb, as before, the proportions of human bodies, the color of irises, a Paris street in June at dawn, all of it incomprehensible, incomprehensible the multitude of visible things.

    Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    Studio View Of Fire Sermon

    Studio View Of Fire Sermon, originally uploaded by greggchadwick.
    Hope all of you in los angeles come down to my studio this weekend for the grand opening:

    When: 6-9 pm on saturday, october 9th and 2-5 pm on sunday, october 10th

    Where: studio #15 @ the hangar studios
    santa monica airport
    3026 airport avenue, santa monica, ca 90405

    View some of the work at:

    Hope to see you there
    make sure you come up and say "hi"
    take care-