Wednesday, February 25, 2009

water preserves

Video art!:
"Water Preserves," the title of Jan Kather's current solo show, has a double meaning. On one hand, water sustains us our bodies and our environment. On the other, water itself may require preservation. Although motivated by real world environmental destruction, the show treats both themes mostly in an indirect, metaphorical, and poetic manner.

The SOAG's back room, which has been darkened, contains four video installations. A large wall-projected video, Water Preserves, is the show's centerpiece. Incorporating footage from different locations (upstate New York and elsewhere), we are treated to a slow-moving, meditative essay on water's surfaces. The camera is mostly unobtrusive: it stays still or pans gently. Images dissolve into images. Looking down, we see waves, froth, stones, sand, shimmering light, bits of bright green foliage. Spots or streaks of mysterious pink or orange tint intrude occasionally. We hear the water, too.

According to Kather, the work may be entered and departed at any point in time. Still, for those willing to engage in a patient, protracted experience
and to abandon any expectation of linear narrative it is worth taking in whole.

Three Mason jars (suggesting the theme of preservation) have been placed atop projectors and filled partially with water. The text and imagery is obscured, we see an enchanting abstraction of light and color.

A medium-sized video screen shows what is nearly a loop of still images. Time passes slowly before we dissolve to the next. We're outdoors, in winter's half-light. Only the steady falling of snow suggests time. We see an orange-tinted streetlight above. We move closer and then closer again. Then we see a criss-cross of snow-covered branches and then, finally, a brief shot of ground.

The least successful video features the most elaborate installation. A metal-mesh shelf has been fitted with six small screens
one in each cubby-hole. In front of each are one or two water-filled jars. The top three show image grids in shades of blue. The left and right of these show shots of clouds taken from an airplane. The middle screen shows water over grass. The bottom screens recycle the snow sequence at three different speeds accompanied by ambient sounds including swinging doors and radio voices. Overall, the imagery is difficult to parse, the juxtaposition sketchily conceived, and the idea of water in multiple forms (solid, liquid, gas) tentatively presented.

In the front room, another screen presents a series of water-related works done by artists from around the world and assembled by Kather. (These can also be seen online: 11/Water Preserves.html.) Highlights are many. In Simone Stoll's Rain, we see from behind a bare-footed woman struggling for balance as she crosses a plank. Falling and flowing water surround her. Alicia Felberbaum's Not The Silent Sea is cacophonous: bright bands of unnatural color, visual distortion, swimming sea mammals and their cries, discordant music
all very appropriate, given her theme of noise pollution.

Also in front are several digital photo-collages. Based on grids (often staggered and irregular) they typically include identical or near-identical images reiterated. Again, images shot at disparate locales are mixed together. Many incorporate text, typically obscured: literary, Biblical or journalistic. One gets the sense of sketches, of ideas being worked out: only a few seem resolved as completed works.

Among these, Water Preserves: Homeland Security is particularly striking. The background image, in starkly beautiful black and white, shows a gentle cascade of water and ice. A row of translucent Mason jars cross the bottom edge. In the upper right corner of one of them, a tiny round warning sign in black, white and red: no drinking. The piece reflects post-9/11 concerns of bioterrorism and contamination
although these themes are (so to speak) submerged.

A series makes use of an image of a dead fish. A lenticular print (an image printed on a array of lenses which changes appearance as the viewer moves) juxtaposes the fish with a placid, postcard-like view of a lake. The medium is a bit contrived; a paper printed montage of the two images expresses the pastoral/morbid contrast with greater grace. Accompanying it is text taken from a 1964 obituary for ecologist Rachel Carson, one of the show's muses. Silent Spring: Fish and Pond (named after Carson's best-known book) shows a dead bird as well. The repetition and layering of the two images is subtle and varied. These images can be seen as elegies for environmental destruction.

A pair of silver prints date back to the eighties. Acadia and The Surf
both of them lovely and somewhat violent shore-scapes show the continuity of Kather's aesthetics.

"Water Preserves" remains up at the State of the Art through March 1. From March 6 through April 3 it can be seen (likely in altered form) at Alfred State College in Alfred, NY.

Monday, February 23, 2009

in the dark

Treacy Ziegler, Leaving Stanley Point, 2008, monoprint, 35" x 60"

“Seeing In The Dark” on display through March 26th at the Tompkins County Public Library aims to be a show about the night. Local artist Laurel Guy curated the exhibit; her plein air pastels are included. Also here are moody, cryptic monoprints by Treacy Ziegler; classicizing oils by Tim Merrick; desolate photographs by David Mount; and the painted cartoons of Alice Muhlback.

A good thematic show can deepen our understanding of the artists, highlighting differences as well as affinities. This is not such a show. The work is diverse to the point of being unrelated, a series of disconnected tracks.

Laurel Guy draws local scenes outdoors (here at night, of course). Her approach suggests a kind of folk impressionism.

Guy’s most affecting piece offers a view from Sunset Park. There is a palpable though elusive sense of height and distance; we are looking down at a mass of sky, land, and water. These are subtly rendered in horizontal streaks of blue, purple, and light grey. Bright lights in the form of thickly pigmented spots of white, red, and yellow-orange dot the bottom half of the page.

Treacy Ziegler’s four monoprints are by far the most advanced pieces here. One really gets the sense of being in the dark, of struggling to make out distinctions between forms. There is a rich diversity of texture: chalky lines and tone, thin brushing, and spongy oily droplets. The white of the paper is a rare sight. In addition to ample pure blacks, translucent blacks have been printed over blocks of color often a pale yellow-tan.

Three of her prints feature pathways receding off into mysterious distance: Leaving Stanley Point shows a purple river a small rowboat dangling off its edge while Evening Cow and Boundary picture roads. Cow has the sole protagonist (which looks more like a black and white spotted dog), while Boundary suggests human presence with bulbous yellow-green trees and a pink-magenta house.

Before a Green Sky, a still life, stands out among Ziegler’s pieces here for its extreme spatial ambiguity. Light and dark, near and far, indoors and outdoors all of these are twisted into disorienting puzzle. A flower rests in a cyan vase atop a red cloth covered table. We are facing the table straight on. And looking out a window at a blackened landscape but the window frame is nowhere to be seen and we lose track of where we are.

Tim Merrick is showing a pair of large oil on canvas scenes, both of them emphatically flat and frontal. There is considerable roughness in the texture of the brushwork, much scumbling and messy translucent layering. The roughness, rather than being graceful, seems somewhat tentative and awkward.

Tiempieto at Night shows the front of a classical temple with a triangular pediment on top, circular windows, and a row of three arched doorways at the bottom. (The image is taken from a fresco by Renaissance master Piero della Francesca, whom Merrick sites as an influence.) The building is whitish earthy red and framed in strips of dirty ochre. A pair of large white birds in profile: one seemingly perched on the central archway, wings up and looking down-right; the other standing stiffly below the same door, facing left. Black and tan outlines give the shapes both structure and stiffness. The background is scumbled dark with blues and greens.

His Cachi Tree is red-brown with bare branches (and no outlines). Brushy balls of yellow-orange passion fruit hover around these limbs; others have fallen in a circle around the tree’s base. More white birds, this time squat and plump, perch above and below.

Also by Merrick are three watercolors, including a sketch for each of he canvases.

David Mount’s digital color photographs (inkjet prints) of unpopulated parks and roadsides emphasize bright, artificial lighting often from uncertain sources. These “Night Trees” glow with sterile, alien light. The traditional romance of the night has been dispelled. The effect is most compelling in images such as Night Trees 25 in which the alien-ness has pushed to an extreme. (One expects the immanent arrival of a flying saucer.)

As for Alice Muhlback’s would be playful acrylic on wood paintings, my ability to appreciate them in the spirit in which they were intended is sadly lacking. Muhlback is more of a cartoonist than a painter. Her strokes of color here a lot of blue, purple, and white, with spots of red (especially lips) serve as functional backdrops to her black or white outlined figures. These figures are people or birds. Or fragments: heads, teardrop-shaped eyes, schematic wings.

One would like to see more carefully put together thematic shows in Ithaca. Here the fact that all of these images show nighttime scenes seems mostly accidental.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

icons of the desert

The roots of contemporary Aboriginal art are commonly traced to the activities of white schoolteacher Geoffrey Bardon (1940-2003). The place of this breakthrough was the remote native settlement of Papunya, about 150 miles west of the town of Alice Springs, near the center of Australia. (Several native groups were made to resettle there during the previous decades.) In 1971, Bardon, a schoolteacher, encouraged the children and then several of the adult men of the impoverished community to create acrylic paintings using traditional and sacred imagery. Previously, this imagery has been seen only in ephemeral art forms such as sand and body painting.

"Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya" which is on view at the Johnson Museum through April 5 emphasizes work from the early years of this tradition, in particular from Bardon's 1971-1973 tenure. The art comes from the collection of John Wilkerson (a 1970 Cornell PhD) and his wife Barbara, who became fascinated with the movement in 1994. Put together by the Johnson and curated by University of Sydney scholar Roger Benjamin (a specialist in modern art), the show will move on to UCLA's Fowler Museum and then to NYU's Grey Art Gallery.

Contemporary Western viewers will note the works' formal similarity to Abstract Expressionism and other modern art movements. This is an inevitable part of their appeal. However, it is important to understand something of the artwork's narrative intent and not to view the work as purely abstract or decorative.

For their creators, they are thought not only to depict, but also to contain actual traces of, ancestral creation narratives known at the Dreamings (Tjukurpa). The cycle of stories involves the exploits of ancestral beings living in a mythic, extra-worldly time. Their actions are thought to have shaped the world as it is today its social and moral order as well as its geography.

The paintings can be conceived as landscapes. Rather than the empirical, observational focus of traditional Western landscape, however, these acrylics are more akin to maps, or to the tenuous resemblances of pictographic writing.

Even a rudimentary understanding of the works' iconography helps deepen their appreciation. Arrangements of concentric circles "roundrels" in the language of the show's accompanying text represent campfires, watering holes, or other "sacred sites." These are typically connected together via networks of lines indicating pathways and journeys. Bulbous U-shapes indicate people (the shape is derived loosely from that of a seated person). Wavy lines indicate water and other shapes represent animal tracks.

Dots are the most prevalent and well-known motif in Papunya painting. ("Dot painting" is a popular name for the style.) Most characteristically, they are tightly packed and cover much (or nearly all) of the surfaces, sometimes filling in other forms and other times obscuring them. Their prevalence springs from their general lack of concrete religious significance. Much of the traditional sacred imagery created by male artists is to be kept from the eyes of women, children and outsiders. (This prohibition is occasionally and carefully violated in this show, with potentially controversial results.)

The paintings are complemented by floor installation, which somewhat teasingly alludes to the traditional ritual origins of the culture. Arranged within a sandbox-like enclosure is a roughly square network of roundrels and traveling lines. These are done in a red, fibrous plant material while the background is done in a similarly textured white. Installed last week by a team of visiting artists, this temporary work will come down with the end of the show.

Reflecting the art's traditional grounding, the colors tend overwhelmingly towards the earthy: black and white, as well as subdued tones of brown, yellow, red and ochre. A number of the paintings make use of a flagrantly artificial bright orange; the effect is invariably garish and off-putting. For example: Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi's otherwise interesting Mystery Sand Mosaic (November 1974).

During the first few years of the acrylic art movement, Masonite boards served as the primary support surface. The boards in "Icons" are often irregularly shaped and tend to be roughly cut.

Formally and technically, the accomplishment of these paintings is markedly uneven. As one might expect of artists experimenting with a new medium, the technique used is typically fairly basic and occasionally downright crude. (I will focus, below, on some of the ample exceptions.) The basic method involves covering the entire surface of the support with a flat underlayer often black or brown and then covering most of the surface with an intricate pattern of lines and dots.

Water Dreaming at Kalpinypa (August 1972), by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of modern Aboriginal art. Indeed, this "image of country being Water Man" is a work of considerable visual sophistication and narrative resonance. Painted at a time of great rains and flooding, it reflects these concerns. Intricately detailed and strongly asymmetrical, it resembles a map in its lack of obvious structure. Against a milk-chocolate brown backdrop, there is a dense layering of forms rendered in brown-reddish cream, yellow, gray, beige, and black: multi-directional dots and striations, river-like curves, tiny roundrels, tjurangas (bandage-shaped ceremonial boards) among others. Black dots indicate raisins (kampurarrpa), an important local foodstuff.

Classic Pintupi Water Dreaming (also August 1972) is another variation on the same theme. Done on an upright board (roughly a parallelogram), Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi's painting features a central roundrel in cool lemon-ochre lines, representing a waterhole. From it emerge spoke-like lines surrounded by further concentric circles, more widely spaced and becoming more rectangular towards the outer edges. These are said to represent "creeks" and "soakages" respectively. White dots on black fill in the background. Framing the scene to the top and bottom are a pair of lump-shaped hills black over-dotted with brown as well as white.

Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri's almost square Yam Spirit Dreaming (March 1972) is both unusual and unusually compelling in its style and conception. A central X-shape emerging from the center dominates the composition. Painted in a slightly translucent white, various silhouetted forms branch off of the X: animal and human ("Yam Spirit") figures. Disconnected, scattered, pairs of U-shapes ("Yam Ceremonial Men") face each other. A leaf-like border, still in white, surrounds all the figures. The dotting, incessant, is red within and black without; the background is a pale yellow. The yam, notably, is central to the traditional (primarily vegetable) diet of the area.

A number of more recent works on stretched canvas or linen are included in the exhibition. Although stretching chronologically to our own decade, the late seventies and the following decade are the major focus here. In many cases, they show considerable advancement of style and technique.

Several canvases partake of a style incorporating densely overlapping roundrels and whitish, delicate colors. Shorty Lungkarta Tjungurrayi's Tingarri Ceremony at Ilingawurngawurrnga (June 1974) is the earliest canvas in the show. Displaying somewhat hesitant brushwork, it fills its space with dizzying circles and waves of pale colors: white, pink, cream and ochre all over a black surface. There are few dots. It shows "the men's ceremonial camp where sacred designs were painted on the novices' backs."

In a similar vein, but more fluent, is the un-annotated Pulpayella (December 1976) by Willy Tjungurrayi. The colors are similar. Imposed over a background of densely packed, overlapping roundrels is a central network of larger ones, spaced apart but connected with traveling lines. The foreground assemblage is vaguely figural, with a column of three roundrels running down the middle and two line-and-circle "arms" hanging down from the sides.

Tommy Lowry Tjapaltjarri's tightly painted Two Men's Dreaming at Kuluntjarranya (1984) is a distinctive and compelling large canvas. Its wide expanse contains two rows of over-scaled roundrel-lakes. The connecting lines have largely disappeared and the roundrels appear to radiate off the page. Dots (typically in neat rows) and lines over a brown ground: white, whitish clay red, ochre, black, cream. The Dreaming tells of the creation of salt lakes "200 miles south and west of Papunya": following the consumption of a "strong native tobacco," two healers (ngangkaris) died and their "bodies began to urinate copiously." Lowry's Ngulyukuntinya, from the following year, displays a similarly refined style. (Sadly, the artist died two years later.)

Despite the unevenness of the work, and the difficulties inherent in understanding their stories, there is much of great interest here. Although the full narrative significance of these paintings may be unavailable, the rich patterning of the most accomplished paintings and the iconographic density of their Dreamings will give viewers much to reach for.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Adam Fuss, Love, 1993, silver dye bleach (Cibachrome) photogram

I am now writing pieces for Tompkins Weekly, another local publication (appearing on Mondays). Here's my first one:
Parallels between art and gardening. Like artworks, the garden is designed to provide an experience that transcends the everyday. Yet both partake deeply of the same currents — cultural and biological — that structure our more mundane lives. Pervasive in both is a tension between the idea of perfect order (found or created) and that of chance or serendipity.

These thoughts are just a few of many invoked by the Johnson Museum’s “Picturing Eden,” a photography show that combines sensual richness and literary/philosophical depth. The theme of paradise is to be taken in a broadly imaginative rather than narrowly theological sense.

Here, Adam Fuss works with the photogram, a camera-less technique in which objects are imprinted directly onto light-sensitive paper. His three color prints are upright, portrait style his favored format.

Love has richly embodied paradoxes: figuration and abstraction, composure and chaos, life and death. Half way up, two dark purple rabbits face each other, dead. Their outlines are alternately furry and aqueous. Emerging from these figures like an overgrown umbilical cord is a wet, Pollock-like line tangle in lurid colors: purple, orange, ochre, and turquoise — the trace of flattened animal entrails. The background is stark white.

More quietly, Fuss’ Invocation and Untitled draw an analogy between humble locomotion and a more spiritual transport. Against watery, colored backdrops (Indian yellow and blue, respectively) dark silhouettes swim heavenward; a baby in the former piece and a snake in the latter. The snake is the more graceful; its curves meld with the ripples of the water.

Mark Kessell’s three oversized portraits also evoke life and death. Against a black background, A Trick of the Light shows the head and shoulders of a ghostly, blue-gray baby, vertically streaked. The Residue of Vision, splotchy and brown-tinted, shows a skull. The textures are the result of Kessell’s unusual method of re-photographing daguerreotypes (an early photo technique resulting in unique images on silver plates).

Doug and Mike Starn are as interested in material supports as they are in images. In two poignant large-scale inkjet prints, a collage of warm-white, translucent papers has been stretched over a frame. The grid is clearly visible and forms an integral counterpoint to the printed imagery. Behind these grids is a ghostly underlayer printed with similar forms.

Both pieces are from the Starns’ “Structure of Thought” series, in which the wildly branching forms of silhouetted trees are meant to echo the dendritic “trees” of neurons — and, by extension, to act as a metaphor for maze-like human cognition. To this end, the silhouette effect flattens the trees, creating an ambiguously suggested perspective. This is particularly evident in SOT #20, in which the tree begins branching closer to the bottom edge than in its relatively stable companion SOT #2.

Sally Gall’s gelatin silver prints, though conventional in size and technique, echo the Starns’ interest in dislocation. We are underground, in holes or caves, looking up to the light. In Heaven trees seems to grow inward from the edges of a bread-slice-shaped aperture.

Alec Soth’s Green Island, Iowa gives a lovely, lonely, oblique evocation of the garden. We see the corner of a dusty, abandoned building. On wooden floorboards sits a ball of off-white thread, slightly unraveled. Above, set against an expanse of weathered gray wall, is a torn patch of colorful floral wallpaper. Both Green and its companion, Patrick, Palm Sunday, Baton Rouge, Louisiana are from Soth’s documentary series “Sleeping by the Mississippi.”

A subtle and perhaps unexpected variation on the garden theme is offered by J. John Priola. There are four gelatin silver prints, each depicting a lighted window silhouetted against an expanse of unbroken darkness. In three, we look in from the outside: a detached, voyeuristic point of view uncharacteristic of “Eden”.

Not unlike the box assemblages of Joseph Cornell, the varied grids of the windows enframe micro-worlds. Nested geometries add to the pieces’ alien poignancy: the upright windows are echoed by the proportions of the prints themselves, and further so by their two-by-two installation grid.

15th Street, 3rd Floor (the titles reference San Francisco) is both abstract and garden-like with its divisions of flat-space. Its panes, opaque with rivers and fogs of condensation, mask blurry dark hanging plant pots in the upper corners. 15th Street, 2nd Floor, gives a relatively clear interior view. We see a desk with a lamp, various obscure boxes, and a framed picture with strange figures (more nesting). The window has been raised slightly. The arched window of Dolores Street, Ground Floor N. offers reverse voyeurism; we look out at trees through Venetian blinds.

While Priola’s windows contain brittle warmth, Matthias Hoch’s two large color prints are mercilessly deadpan in style and subject. Following in the school of contemporary German photography pioneered by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Paris #28 and Paris #31 show gray and anonymous modern architectures imprisoning fragments of greenery.

This is a sprawling show containing numerous works repaying sustained attention. “Eden,” which originated at the George Eastman House in Rochester, will be up at the Johnson through March 22.

UPDATE (02/18/09): A representative from the George Eastman House has contacted me with the request that I add the following information. "Eden" was guest curated by Deborah Klochko. After the Johnson, the show will be up at the the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota Florida from May 9th until August 2nd of this year.

Also note that the version of this review published above differs substantially from the one in print.

And that the opening sentence fragment is deliberate.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

shop around

Mark Mullin, A Growing Time, 2007, etching, sugar lift, spit bite and aquatint, 19" x 26"

Ithaca Times:
"Publishing Printshops: VanDeb Editions/ Olive Branch Press" highlights the work of two print collectives. VanDeb, founded in 1999, is based in New York City and is owned by artists Marjorie Van Dyke and Deborah Freedman. The OBP is the publishing arm of Ithaca's own Ink Shop. The show which fills both the Shop and the CSMA lobby downstairs will be up through February 28.

The selection from Van Deb is broad rather than deep; artists are represented with one or two works. Abstraction is the focus often with a pronounced retro-modernist feel, occasionally in a more idiosyncratic, quasi-figurative vein.

Effectively taking up the latter strand, Mark Mullin's square-shaped intaglio A Growing Time offers oddly schematic weather. Black clouds clusters of horizontal ovals crowd the left and (especially) right edges. A row of three similar ovals hover above-center; their centers glow blue-green. They trail upright stripes of translucent gray that fade in the distance below. These could be cloudlets or flying saucers. Clouds and saucers alike drop short bursts of dash-rain. Filling the center and reaching to the bottom edge is a block of yellow-green, actually a dense web of looping lines dotted with the (fainter) ghosts of clouds.

Likewise is Lorraine Williams' They Are Indescribable Alike, which suggests an aquarium bearing alien life. The mixed-media intaglio print features a varied menagerie of forms, all immersed in a faintly brushy, dirty-orange sea. A spongy purple blob, clusters of darker orange whiplash grass, and dots and splotches of (orange and purple) color mostly keep their distance.

Chris Gianakos and John Schiff work more familiar terrains of geometric abstraction. Gianakos' aquatint Metropolis III shows an irregular six-sided polygon, red, and starkly silhouetted against thin, pale pink. In contrast, Schiff's monoprint Word Shimmering is dizzyingly complex, puzzle-like this despite its simple palate: uninflected red, white, and black plus various grainy grays. Right-angled triangles and other angular shapes radiate out from a central point like a pinwheel. These shapes are often richly patterned inside, with forms both curvaceous and stiff.

Some of the VanDeb abstractions feel a bit dissolute. For example, Mark Saltz's September I, September II (aquatint and spit bite) is reminiscent of the organic, calligraphic webs of contemporary artists like Brice Marden and Terry Winters; the colors though seem anemic.

There is more figurative work from VanDeb as well. Mel Pekarsky's Dry suggests Cezanne in the desert, but has its own starkly beautiful character. A black and white etching, it gives a view of a sparsely planted landscape, composed variously of softly linear hatching, smudges, dots, and dark line-branchings all against a light gray background. Slope is hinted at: from the upper left towards the lower right.

K.K. Kozik's surreal, storybook-like Force Majeure combines etching and aquatint. A pink-skinned, white haired man sits up in bed, white and baby blue sheets and shirt gathered up around him. Above and behind him is a window with blowing curtains (also pale blue). It covers purple night sky. He looks right-of-page where a pair of closed closet doors seem to frame views of a giant, pale yellow, grey pocked moon and that same sky. The line-work is adept, mostly quick and informal; there are spots of hatching.

Among other things, the Olive Branch is showing artists' books.

Maddy Rosenberg's mesmerizing, toy-like Dystopia is stood up inside a vitrine. More like a stage tableau than a conventional page-turner, it is variously folded, tabbed and cut. Done in brown ink on cream paper, it shows the stiff lines and blocky forms (light and dark) characteristic of its medium, linocut. Not particularly dystopian in feel, it shows a playfully fragmented jumble of Gothic and other old-fashioned architectures: spires, towers, domes, pediments, arched windows, brick.

Zevi Blum presents five black and white etchings (unbound) from his book When I Did Not Die, each paired with a poem by Judith Levey-Kurlander. Crisply linear and ornate in style, the subjects are fanciful and folkloric a fancy that does not mask their often eroticized morbitity.

Abstraction is the predominant framework in this show. Peter Jogo's mezzotint Song of Route 83 II stands out for its sharp, detailed realism. (Jogo showed related work in a one-person show here last summer.) Approximately the size of a playing card, it shows a panoramic highway-side vista: trees, slant-roofed buildings, tiny telephone poles and wires, a light outlined guardrail tilting up rightwards from the lower left. Above is a cloudy sky: pale yellow, faint orange, shades of gray. The sun is going up or down. Song effectively evokes the loneliness of road travel.

The Ink Shop's member roster is impressively diverse (and accomplished) to begin with. Pairing selected members with a similarly talented group of outsiders is an excellent way of mixing up the familiar and the unfamiliar.