Monday, October 6, 2008

Art!: Hickory Mertsching

In October, as the grim, heavy, oppressive clouds of winter descend to cast their soul-crushing shadows over the City of Roses for the next eight months -- I exagerate for comic effect -- I always find that I get more interested in the visual arts. And that means more arts content for you, my smart, sexy, and discerning blog readership. You're welcome in advance.

One artist here in the C of R that I like a lot is

Hickory Mertsching

I'm a pretty soft target for Mertsching. She (He? "Hickory" isn't helping me with the pronouns, here) works a lot with the physical and intellectual themes of the Netherlandish vanitas still lifes, and I love me some vanitas still lifes. In Mertsching, much of the mood and composition of the old masters is referenced, but with the introduction of elements from American physical culture. Specifically, elements from the back of your grandfather's garage.

Reap What You Sew

In Netherlandish painting, there is a incredible proliferation of symbolic content, with every detail of the canvas bearing some kind of message, usual a hectoring, moralizing kind of message. If you are used to looking at that kind of work, you find yourself wondering what sort of moral lesson Mertsching is trying to imply with, say, a coffee can, or a cube of butter.


I love the bones in this one....

Food Chain

A generous portion of Hickory Mertsching is on display this month at the Albina Press coffee shop, 5012 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Or, you can peruse these pantings and others at the website,, from whence I borrowed these images.



fingerstothebone said...

I don't know, it might be kind of kinky to peruse someone's pantings. Are you sure you aught to do that?

Jennifer said...

Oh, yay! I'm learning about something visual! This is a huge, gaping hole in my knowledge, so I'm excited to see that you're embarking upon a long and scintillating series of Tuesday art. . .


d said...

i like the name of the painter more than his/her paintings. but i've never been a huge fan of either realism or still lifes.

i am happy however, to see you pimping the visual arts.

Yankee in England said...

I like the second one. I am now going to get all deep and philosophical and say that in the current climate it says a lot. It almost says that all you really need is ten eggs, 2 really nubby potatoes, a can of Folgers, a lb of butter and what I can only imagine is soon to be a stale loaf a bready. Everything else is just distraction, wanton gluteness (is that a word). The second definition of commodities in the Oxford English Dictionary is: some thing useful or valuable. Well as the price of food has gone up as much as 40% on some items here in the UK my loaf of bread is very valuable.

Anonymous said...

I think the 2nd one was originally titled "Ten eggs, 2 potatoes, a can of Folgers, a lb of butter a loaf a bread, and thou".

Anonymous said...

The pound of butter isn't. It threw me a tiny.

I like the artist's name too.

The last is my favorite. It reminds me of my dad's Pepsi craze. Use to be an 8 pack a day for him.

G said...

Nice. Me likey.

Bridget said...

Just had to say I didn't think you were exaggerating in your description of our fair City of Roses hiding under her autumnal blanket of fog and mulch.

Yup. I needs me some art.

Bridget said...

Also want to add, not a big fan of traditional still lives, but these are just edgy enough that they really speak to me . . . why are the cherries on the stump? Is the flower in the coke bottle an offering?