Plastic Alto welcomes Robert Syrett pop up flash art flash menagerie and suite

Rob Syrett, 2009 untitled ink and watercolor on board: a variation of his Bark on Bite or Bite on Bark series — like Tom and Jerry — this was a comp for a poster design,

Robert made a couple posters for Earthwise, back when he worked for Gil.

Then one day he was evicted from his apartment and I agreed to take on a suite of works on paper, that I imagined selling out of the trunk of my car. We got two gallery shows out of it, and a trickle of sales.  These have meanwhile been in storage at PS Storage. And now I just woke up and realized that there is room for them on the internet. Rob also sent me a music file and a link ot something he did for a Matmos video. Enjoy:

interlude: it’s 7:30 on a Tuesday morning and Terry my wife just left for work and when I went back up stairs to find my specs i noticed Duffy the dog still curled up on the otherwise empty bed but also his blanket — it literally says “Duffy” — that his previous partner got him — the widow of a Stanford biology professor — the blanket is curled up in such a shape that i mistook the blanket for Duffy’s head. There’s a word for that, when something looks like a face. I am mistakenly believing that the ball of blanket was in the shape of a dog’s face.

I’ll go back and shoo t that after a couple of Rob’s creatures roam the plane here. 

These are mostly 11 years ago, 2009. 

Rob Syrett, untitled unsigned circa 2009 ink and watercolor on card or paper: sort of a color scheme plus a codex riff, with a character a mouse with three eyes, somewhat unfinished

Detail of above: meanwhile Duffy ran downstairs for a minute but hopefully went back so I can get that hallucination face thingy. 

Here are some real humanish faces by Rob, not sure what the numbers mean, almost like a deck of cards or game of chance:

Set of 5 boy by rob but I don’t know his name, numbered, water color on paper

Endless Shame ink on ruled paper, 2010:

Very Sorry ink on ruled paper, 2010:

I’d say he drew these rather than painted, right? I’m only at this 36 minutes its 8:06 now, still on a Tuesday am but I’m kind of fucking with you in that besides the faux naivete of letting my shadow encroach here you see my bathrobe and protruding middle aged guy belly — I was a young guy when Rob assigned me this work. This looks like a study in color and a mixture of paint and ink and I think i am foreshadowing but not foreshortening something else about Matmos and balloons. The article peeping out is something about an Ethiopian musician and activist who was shot in Nairobi or the dateline by Adbi Latif Dahir of the Times is Kenya but the story, the killing of Hachalu Hundessa was in Addis Ababa late Monday night. Probably deserves it’s own post. But I was also thinking about Gumby where there was some live action mixed with animation and you can see the creator’s hand. I was also, if you excuse the digression, thinking this morning about Stanford’s battery of camera’s catching a horse, Muybridge, Shrek, PDI, Ants, Jennifer Yu, Jessica Yu, Darger, Naive Art Magazine not its real name maybe Raw Vision about Darger, Perry and Miner or Niner the mules of Bol Park, Smashmouth, Tim and Greg, Steve and Greg, Covid 19, my wife’s installation USA WEAR YOUR MASK!. 

Steve Staiger showed me a book about a guy who walked from San Diego to San Francisco in honor of Portola 1769, 2019 and it reminded me but I forgot to mention until now “Sherman’s March” film about a guy going to Atlanta in honor of Civil War history but also looking to find a bride or girlfriend. It’s as much about him as about history. His story. It’s a hybrid, post-modern David Shields’ Reality Hunger lyric essay thing: when I write about or merely flash Rob Syrett of course I am writing about myself. Henry Butler my late client used to say you could take a little bit of him home with you  — if you buy his cd, which was called “The Game Has Just Begun” as compared to the book I bought yesterday or day before, Sunday, “Begin Again” — and Fire Next Time. I am subtly working in here that if you want these objects and images (Rob retains all copyrights) hit me and for reasonable amount of cash they can be yours to hang, fondle or spill coffee over. Eighty eight percent of the proceeds goes to Rob and 12 percent goes to pay WordPress for another year of Plastic Alto. I think its $20 unframed for the little guys and $100 bucks for bigger ones – the Matmos suite (Infinite Balloon) is $500 but you have to sing the head of their biggest hit. 


rob and robe

The dog interlude thing makes more sense if more of the above were critters and not boys or balloons.

Rob Syrett unsigned undated watercolor on card Man and Balloon.

Rob Syrett study anthropomorphic veggies — set of four, $40

Black ink on card stock 2008 signed geometric doodle with camera ode to Muybridge?:

Dude by Rob brown and black watercolor on card circa 2010 unsigned:

definitely not wallace stegner

I’m taking a break here because it’s been about an hour and Duffy still needs to poop, minus a brief exchange with the curator Scott Shields of Crocker, about pueblo pottery but a bit about their cool Huffman piece — I’m sending him this. The Matmos thing I’ll get to later this am. So if you follow my math you can have everything above for $360 cash money and the Matmos Infinite Balloon sketches for an additional $500 or I’ll go $800 flat if you go all in. Six eighty if you go blind and reach me before I’ve even posted the rest — which is $500 plus $180 which is half off plus the “chai” thing — Hebew glyph or numerology for “life”. Makes you a Rob Syrett Rob S1W lifer. 

The Gallery shows by the way were at Caffe Centro in South Park and Public Works in the Mission a group show on critters or creatures curated by the Spaniard Betty Bigass, not to be confused by Big Bootay from the Buckaroo Banzai movie which somehow leapt to mind I think the writer was a Dartmouth guy. And gratuitous plug to Terry Abrahamsom conjuring in the minds eye magic of radio or podcast Jerry Falwell in an outhouse kicking out the goat to have sex with his mother. It was his grandmother, the story goes, but Larry Flynt in real life and not the Woody Harrelson version said he is fond of his grandmother, so change the gag — a parody Compari ad based on a Jill St. John ad in Playboy — from sex with his grandmother to sex with his mother. Just kidding, y’all. Have a nice day. Coming soon, so to speak, Matmos suite by Rob Syrett at Plastic Alto flash — maybe I can sign Rob to Lions with Wings (whose logo is by Sara D, who I call Queen Sara Saturday). 

edit to add, four hours later, after the trip to the dog park, the poop, borrowing a dog bag from a stranger, a couple phone calls, chatting up a neighbor of brand new acquaintance, In and Out Burger and sniffing out a hunch on another possible story — plus a post about Indian Mounds and Monster Houses, I realize that the Matmos Supreme Balloon suite of art work is not where I thought it was, but I have a lesser somewhat related suite of 8 works on card fancy paper, in their own envelope, like studies of earth tone jelly beans, the eight of which have two figures, a roller derby guy and a wine bottle guy. I’d go $50 for the set, jest for the revenue cash flow. I’m selling them for Rob to you, dear reader, not buying them from Rob for that price. 

But I will have to watch some tv for a while, shower, make another phone meeting before I am back to Rob. (That, plus the phone is charging, and I fed the d o g)

So I counted ahead and there’s 26 more pieces and two more suites, including the matmos Supreme Balloon set. The other set is a called, I think, “ABSTRACTIONS: SUPRA” and has five elements, although we have to keep one since it has a dog. The Matmos thing has TK pieces and there’s two sketches on the cover of the envelope or portfolio. 

The Matmos thing has a handwritten but normal list of songs (“Rainbow Flag, Polychords….The Spiral Slice…Matador Records…2008..”NO MICROPHONES WERE USED ON THIS ALBUM”. Twelve elements. Plus one of a kind I think Bear and Bird greeting card samples — I think these are hand-colored reprints or multiples or unlimited, though I don’t think Rob went very far with selling them. I think I bought these from Accent Arts for retail $9.95 each — or the employee discount, let’s call it six. I’m throwing it in with the Matmos set as a lagniappe. And there’s a doo-hickey creature, buckets with legs, conjoined bucket with legs, and mailbox that were stored for whatever reason with Matmos so you get that too. All for the very very low price today only or while supplies or the internet lasts of four ninenty nine ninety nine. Five franklins, I think. 

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
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