X. King, Brown, Mandelbrot and Mickey

Mickey or Mandy?

I met briefly and was introduced to the artist Michele King, at her opening at Mina Dresden Gallery last night in San Francisco. I myself had just entered the show, had approached a friend I recognized, and he beckoned for Michele to come over.

“I like your work,” I said. “This may be off the mark but it reminds me of a piece by Roger Brown I saw recently at the Stanford art museum.”
I showed her a tiny little detail of his work, Another Shitty Day in Paradise, on loan for a show about human form, from my cellphone photo archive.
“Are you familiar with Mandelbrot?” (she wasn’t).
I had noticed that beyond the obvious comment that Roger Brown’s piece seems to reference Mickey Mouse that the hills seemed to have little mouse-head-shaped protrusions — the flora seemed to repeat the main image; it had some self-similarity. And of course, move obviously, the “mouse ears” in his piece resemble the “mouse head.”

Michele’s piece barely demonstrated my point but she took my rather obtuse comment in good humor. Her piece depicted a large curved body in the foreground — the moon? earth? her boob? — and little protrusions growing out of it on the horizon, but at irregular intervals and more pointy and hair-like than rounded — like trees more than bushes.

Ok, so if I had seen the body of work there instead of just a quick glimpse at this one piece as a starting point maybe I would not have connected those synapses and uttered that inanity: none of the other pieces had anything close to the mandelbrot set image.

On the other hand, her pieces do often remind us of flowers and flora; the self-similarity concept is often seen on tree leaves and wildlife. A leaf resembles a branch. The shoreline repeats itself in pattern, that sort of thing.

She joked to her friend “He’s calling my work ‘mickey mouse” — an insult, simplistic, cartoonish, trite.
I apologized and tried to straighten the record.
But then, again, her name is Michele — does anyone call her Mickey?

Good article on Roger Brown from artnet by Alexandra Anderson Spivey, including the piece in question:
http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/spivy/spivy6-4-08.asp
To my mind, several of his pieces exude the mathematical qualities consistant with the Mandelbrot idea. Escher is a more obvious artist to discuss here.

Michele King’s homepage (although I do not see the piece in question):
http://www.michelemking.com/newwork.html

This is a version of Mandelbrot image created by Wolfgang Beyer and uploaded to Wikipedia:

I started following this stuff, especially apropos of the environmental movement, via Fritjof Capra, “The Web of Life”:
http://www.amazon.com/Web-Life-Scientific-Understanding-Systems/dp/0385476760

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
This entry was posted in art, this blue marble, words. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to X. King, Brown, Mandelbrot and Mickey

  1. Mark Weiss says:

    I don’t know why all of a sudden this starts to show up on a search engine. I guess that’s okay. I was going to take time away from this thing to print out and edit my first few postings and then re-write some of them before telling people to peep this out.
    Meanwhile I saw that the search engine also has me commenting on a related site:
    http://plasticsax.blogspot.com/2010/10/confirmation-weekly-news-notes.html

  2. Mark Weiss says:

    song dong at Yerba Buena CA
    http://www.ybca.org/song-dong

  3. Mark Weiss says:

    Terry Hoff at Roll Up Gallery part of Public Works on Erie off Mission nr 14th, curated by Betty Bigas:
    http://publicsf.com/exhibitions/strapped-wrapped-rapped-2-3194

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