Currier & Ives

Gonna get this one out there while I have a chance; may be leaving work early today. Anyway, I promised some pictures from my Meat Ball exhibit, so here you are (below). I'll be in Media and Oley in the beautiful Keystone state over the next week; this may be my last post of the year. I'll hopefully be doing a lot of reflection, thinking and writing over the holiday break; perhaps some of it will end up here. Thanks for participating in making my blog more rich and fun. It's more fun when you know people are watching; listening. I wish you all an old-school American, Currier & Ives holiday season. It is a winter holiday, after all. No matter what people in San Diego, Miami or Houston may say...the Northeast has got this holiday WRAPPED UP. Word.

(above, left to right on wall: Heart/Boat; Keystone Study 1...Leah Bailis's house piece on left)

(above, from left to right: Heart/Boat; Keystone Study 1; Double Cross; Stacked Keystones; Keystone Study 2 - all mixed media on panel)


Some words for the winter solstice

Some words I've been ruminating on:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor, Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.


Christmas with Sufjan

(above, Sufjan Stevens)

I'm not a big fan of the "Now Listening To" category of self-revelation through musical taste, but I must share some music with you all, that I've been listening to extensively this season. You may have heard of Sufjan Stevens' music; he's been getting more and more college-radio play, and such-like. I was first introduced to him by friends a few years ago, and have grown to love his music. (A good friend of his, is Denison Witmer...with whom I graduated from high school, and still count as a friend...and you will hear his background vocals on some of the following songs...just droppin' names here...) Sufjan brings an innocence - but not naivete - and freshness to his songs that few others of my generation are able to pull off. He also makes amazing use of bells, flutes and banjos.

His Christmas albums from the past few years, initially made for close friends, have been passing underground from hand to hand for a while. This season I'm listening to his last two holiday albums over and over. It's beautiful, fun and luminous stuff...I'm moved in some way every time I listen to his renditions of old songs I knew from way-back-when.

Anyway, here's a way to get some downloads of his Christmas music:

Here's his main website, with links to labels he's connected with: ...and his own record label:

He's already "big" - he's playing the Lincoln Center in January...but hey, wouldn't you if you had a chance?


Artist-of-the-fortnight: Brent Wahl

(above: Chamber of the Two Sisters; below: Dots and Foam, both chromogenic prints)

Introducing an artist...about whom I know nothing. Really; I just happened to be trolling around Gallery Siano's website, run by a wonderful woman with whom I'm acquainted, and came across these really beautiful photographic images. I will be making a point to see these in person before the 16th of January, when the show, Abstracting the Visible, closes. Maybe you should too, since I'm sure these look MUCH better in person than in 72 dpi.


Thanks, Artblog!

Found out this morning: a little, quite apt mention of my work in Meat Ball, on the well-reputed Artblog of Fallon and Rosof:

Thanks Artblog! "Icons" and "Logos". That works. And I quote:

"And Gierschick paints icons, or maybe they are logos for some mysterious religion. They have an earnest sweetness as they explore the mysteries of gravity, balance and what's inside. They are reductive what-is-its. I googled Gierschick and discovered he's one of the artists who with Ben Volta and Dayton Castleman have studios in a local church. Another little network discovered."


Press but no press?

Little blurb in the Inky's Weekend section, on the Meat Ball show...unfortunately, neither my nor several of the other artists' work is mentioned, so...well, that's it. Mark Khaisman's tape-drawings are pretty phenomonal, however:

More forthcoming? Perhaps...


Ye shall be fishers of POWER

I've been considering several deep-winter painting projects recently; something to keep the digits warm through repetitious that's burst to the forefront is a piece which rethinks that ubiquitous, usually annoying, often meaningless, and by now hopelessly cliched symbol - especially as seen on cars: the ichthus, or the traditional symbol of Christ. It was used in the early centuries of Christian life as a surreptitious mark, to let others know of your loyalties; so as not to give yourself away to those who were unaccquainted with the symbol. Or so legend has it.

Recently, as mentioned on this blog before, I read a history of Art of the Early Church. It set into motion thoughts about what Christian art was, and is, in contemporary terms. (What initially made me pull the book off the shelf in the first place, was a lecture on Christian art, at DIAlogue...see ) Is it art made by people who call themselves Christian? What if their loyalties are suspect; does that make the art less Christian? Is it still Christian art if it espouses all the paraphrenalia and accouterments of Christian "life and witness," but the artist is not a professed Christian? What happens when someone who calls themselves a Christian, and displays the "fruit" of that life, makes art that is offensive, inflammatory or even seemingly "anti-Christ"?

These questions are not new; in fact they have been under the current for a long, long time; occasionally rising to the more publicized surface, in waters fomented by the likes of Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili. (Both, incidentally, supposed to be more-or-less conncected to Roman Catholicism). Interestingly enough, art work by artists such as the more infamous examples above, is often thrust into the limelight (at least ostensibly) by offended officialdom...e.g., politician cum "cultural critic" Jesse Helms, or New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And much of this has to do with money, or MAMMON as those biblical insiders like myself like to cryptically designate it. Misused funds; scandalized public, liberalized power/aesthetic structures; crumbling family values, etcetera, ad nauseum.

Which brings me to my new idea for a large painting...I'm not going to give much away; you'll have to make a studio visit in a few weeks for more evidence. But it's somewhere in that trifold connection between the controllers of POWER and MONEY, the purveyors of CHRISTENDOM and RELIGION, and the creators of ART and CULTURE. Of course, the connections between all of these are positively legion. (Another biblical reference, I'm sorry if I'm alienating anyone with my "meta-language.") Suffice it to say, it will feature the ichthus, in what some might consider a, shall we say, "bombastic" manner.

Peace, my friends.


Just waitin' for the red dots...

This picture was taken by another blogger, whose site is here:

while he was at the opening at Fleisher/Ollman. The other artist work shown is by Leah Bailis.

The focus is a little eery, no? It gives a weird, vertiginous feel to the installation.
Thanks to Vicki, who found this. Our own pictures are still forthcoming; it's been two crazy days at work here, so scant time to post.


Meat was a Ball

Last night was the opening for the invitational I'm part of until January 28th, at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery; Meat Ball. It was crowded, loud, annoyingly "hip" and smelled like wine, but it was fun, largely because it was so nice to see my paintings outside of the studio, in a new context. As Ben Volta said when he was there, it would have been cool to see my studio tables, with brushes laid out neatly, installed next to the paintings to help with context; still, it was nice to see them in this new context. One which, ostensibly at least, I'd made them for. Another context which I will see them in is today: I will see them without the enthronging multitudes, with my wife's family. And I'll make sure some installation shots are taken for you all to admire (NOT an excuse to avoid the actual gallery...besides, some of the other work is very nice.) Check back later.

In case you missed it, the link for the gallery is in the previous post.

Artist-of-the-fortnight is running late; many apologies. There are good candidates waiting in the flanks, however.

Miscellany: Good friend Douglas Witmer, painter, has an online exhibit up at Minus Space's website, soon to be followed by a brick-and-mortar exhibit in Brooklyn, at the Minus Space site.

I will also begin (occasionally) posting some things at the newly-set up Church Studios blog; , (thanks Dayton.)


Good news: Meat Ball?

Good news: recently I was one of several young/emerging artists in the greater Philly area invited to a winter exhibit called Meat Ball, at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery downtown at 1616 Walnut Street.

I'm not sure yet which paintings they've chosen to be hung, but as soon as I know, I'll post them, with pictures.

Fleisher/Ollman's a great place to be exhibited; one of the city's oldest galleries, begun (I think) in 1951, and a beautiful space; one of the more Soho reminiscent spaces in Philadelphia. Their raison d'etre is what's commonly called "outsider" or "self-taught" artist's work - such as James Castle, whose work I really like; or Henry Darger.

But they do show work by other "educated" artists whose work is informed by the "self-taught aesthetic." Some good things will come from this opportunity, I think. Oh, and the other artists' work looks good too...what I've seen so far.

Come to the opening reception on December 9th, from 6-9 PM, but be warned: if you dislike wall-to-wall crowded spaces and extensive imbibing of alcoholic beverages, I would advise you to come's up for a long time - until January 28th - compared to most gallery shows, and I'd be happy to hang out with you if you give me some prior notice.

PS. (A nice looking Richard Serra works-on-paper show - at Work on Paper gallery, strangely enough - is also going up this week, across the street from F/O...another decent reason to go downtown.)

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