Friday, March 21, 2008

Deborah Page == Wow

(The above statement evaluates to boolean true)

I spent the evening out at ArtWalk tonight. Started off at The Helm for the opening of their Children of Nature show. I generally fail at art criticism, largely because I just walk through, experience the art, and leave, without really absorbing artists, titles, etc. So let me just tell you that I really liked some of the pieces, and was rather unimpressed with others. But I heartily recommend you go, because the stuff that was good was really good.

Next up: UWT Art Gallery for... some guy! (real helpful, ain't I?) I think his name was Nate something. Unfortunately the gallery does not appear to have any real online presence, so I cannot discern the details for you at this time. I really enjoyed the paintings, though. Very frenetic and flowing, more motion than form.

After snagging a new Almond Roca cupcake at Hello, Cupcake (fairly unimpressive... still tasted good, but did not capture the essence of Roca in the manner that I had hoped) I popped over to the Tacoma Art Museum to scope out the Chuck Close/Bob Holman exhibit (the only thing at the TAM that wasn't there last month). There was some extremely cool stuff here. The variety of things Close is able to do with a single photograph (including machine-weaving them into giant digitally plotted tapestries) are mind-boggling. The most impressive thing about the accompanying poems, to me, is how Holman managed to craft the poems into visual art. Each poem went beyond its words into a highly aesthetic layout and construction. Cool stuff.

All that is fairly irrelevant, though. On my way home I went to Sanford & Son to check out the Bad Girls & Bold Boys show at The Lark Gallery, a collection of 24 artists who randomly drew Brothers Grimm fairy tales to turn into art. I had also heard that some woman named Deborah Page would be playing music, so I thought I'd stop in and catch a song or two. I like music, after all, so it seemed the sensible move.

I actually got very lucky that she was tuning up when I walked into the building, or I may never have made my way into the performance space. That place is a frickin' labyrinth. Anyway, I followed my ears in and learned that she was just getting ready for her second set. Pretty small audience. Four people up front, a couple other folk in and out, and a couple that clearly knew the musicians.

The first song sucked me in largely because it reminded me of some of the solo work of one of my favorite artists, Seattleite and Goodness front-person Carrie Akre. But that comparison really only lasted one song. Halfway through the second song I was completely hooked.

The performance was Deborah on vocals and, some of the time, a twelve-string guitar, accompanied by Paul Uhl on guitar and bass (he is much better at guitar than bass, by the by) and a laptop with the backing beat and synthesizers pre-recorded.

Among other things, I was very impressed by her ability to perform extraordinarily touching and sweet songs with bizarre techno-esque beats. I attribute this largely to a soft touch on the guitar and and extraordinary, dynamic, soaring voice. She's one of those people that you just love to watch sing and play, not because she's a garish or "out there" performer, but because she is so obviously passionate about the songs she's singing.

I know some people feel that a live show is the one and only true testament to a band's worth, and I can't agree with that. I love a good live show, certainly, but I also love a good, well-crafted album. Something I can absorb in my natural state (hermitude). So of course on my way out I picked up a copy of her new CD, For. I got it home and, despite my first inclination to just listen straight through, I couldn't help but start jamming along, largely to work on my E-Bow technique. I tell you what... it's as fun to play along to as it is to listen to. I had to make myself stop just so I could actually listen to the music and the lyrics (which are also awesome, by the by).

Anyway, that love-fest aside... I did eventually make it down to the Lark. There were some great pieces there, but really it just reminded me why I shouldn't go to art openings. 1) I don't generally talk to artists (or musicians) about their art, preferring to absorb it on my own terms and craft my own meaning; and 2) I don't schmooze. Even if I wanted to, I don't think I could. So given that it is a small space to begin with, and given that it is showcasing TWENTY-FOUR different artists... it was a little cramped. Which would have been fine if I was in one of the conversation clusters, rather than being forced to standing conspicuously in the middle of them to get a look at the art itself. I may have to go back another time, just so I can get a better look at a few things.

So what's on the docket for next ArtWalk? Well, another Deborah Page show, for one. And possibly the one at Jazzbones the night before... Plus I'm crafting some plans for a possible artage of my own that evening. More on that later.

1 comment:

freelance said...

nothing like finding new good music.