Though it gets a little ugly in the comment fields at times (yeah I know I can be a jerk, it's an itis I have, I know this and I'm working on it) the discussion at Joe Massey's blog is still fairly interesting.
And Tony Tost, editor of Fascicle, addresses the gender issue here and addresses some other stuff here.
I should mention too that there is a brief review by Tony Tost of Kent Johnson's Lyric Poetry After Auschwitz as well as reviews of other recent releases including books by Mary Margaret Sloan, Dale Smith, Clayton Eshleman, Joseph Donahue, Shin Yu Pai, and Peter O'Leary.
And here is Michael's artist statement for his show:
A Hopeless Romance I am not a member of the creative class. I don’t have a car, I don’t frequent coffee shops nor am I a member of any particular scene. I do not design web pages, loathe the fact I own a cell phone and I don’t know how to operate a DVD player. I am an artist, I paint pictures and sell them for a living.
I have dedicated my life into producing a body of work that represents my thoughts and feelings using such arcane materials as oil paint, canvas and brushes. I refuse to use Astroturf or Saran Wrap in my work and I am not interested in appealing to the sensibilities of an art world that has long since lost any sense of meaning and soul.
Instead, I relate often satiric tales onto canvas using the devices I have learned by studying the work of true painters that came before me – Titian, Rubens, Beckmann, DeKooning, Benton, and Levine and interweave narratives and historical allusions into new tales of woe and revelations of a lost innocence and omnipresent foreboding. I like to think of my paintings as didactic in nature, but also wish for them to be enjoyed as much I as I enjoy creating them.
I like lush surfaces and the look and feel of oil paint. I don’t shy away from the past, nor do I feel I am bound to it, and approach every new canvas building a composition that best correlates the thoughts and themes in my head. Invariably, people start to develop, and other imagery comes into being as the painting progresses. Soon, the canvas begins to ask and demand things from me, and I must respond and react as the vision matures.
I feel simultaneously out of touch and deeply imbedded with the world around me. I believe careful reflection and observation of the world, combined with my life’s experiences, has informed my paintings and I can no longer separate them from my life. I want my paintings to contain a rich soul and essence of humanity that is lacking in art today. Shallow politicians, prostitutes, lovers, con artists and the people you see on the street everyday are all equals on my canvases. As my technique and ideas expand and contract through constant practice, my paintings evolve and grow, and I hope will continue to support my life in the years to come.
Whoa! Those were some raucous 4 days! It was fun to be pretend-hellions slopping our red paint all over (a small portion) of this city. I miss you all already. I'm not ready to come back to the surface world...