Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicago Artists' News Talks about Signs

Click on page image above to read the nice review by Alicia Eler for Chicago Artists' News.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Signs in Mouvement Magazine (France)

Posting this a little late, but we were very excited to be written up in France!

Click on the image above to read the French review (in the January/March issue) or read the English translation below:
Millennium thesis, although often suspicious, carry a weight and an array of symbolic images recurring in the contemporary world, the idea was therefore judicious to collect the echo that they meet in the current creation. In the luxurious Signs of the Apocalypse/Rapture – a coffee table book in good and due form: 4 hefty pounds of, a cardboard cover lined in black linen of the most handsome appearance, two CD inside -, Front Forty Press, Chicagoan editor, has collected a series of musical and pictorial pieces relative to the coming of the Apocalypse and the anticipated return of Christ on earth (The Rapture, cherished notion of Christian fundamentalists). A tautology that the English artist Christopher Bucklow examines under a historical and metaphysical angle, likening the fall of the Roman Empire to today’s world. Several interviews concerning the end of the world visions (from heliophysic to theology) against which humanity has been confronting itself, adds to the discussion. But it is mostly the plates that commend attention. It isn’t so much, in this compilation, a matter of evaluating the pertinence of these pro-historic speculations as a mean to extract their metaphoric and graphic translation in contemporary creativity. This perilous curatorial exercise calls to an imaginary anchored in the collective subconscious, which privileges pieces with a most illustrative character, without sparing the typical names – a lot of unknown names – reaching often the over-limits of depiction and kitsch – and some beautiful discoveries (Ericka Somogyi, Sebastian Bremer) mixing with essential artists such as Bill Viola or Ed Ruscha. On the music side, the two CD unite the cream of the crop of the Avant-Garde rock-noise (Sunn O), Sonic Youth, Om, Death Unit, Lichens, Antony Pateras & Robin Fox…), without unfortunately revealing unknown pieces. The end of the world being foretold for 2012, you therefore still have 4 years to enjoy this beautiful object-book, while remaining somewhat vain. If there was to remain only one musical piece to crystallize these visions of Armageddon, aside the absolute perennial Apocalypse according St John by Pierre Henry, the album Soundtrack for the blind by Swans would impose itself. It is that seminal record testimony to the cultish American group taken by Michael Gira, against which the “plastician” Pierre Belouin, invited by the Rhinoceros Editions to supervise the 10th edition of Livraison, their beautiful contemporary art revue. Belouin’s work has always found an echo in the underground counter-culture and its “rizhomes” (Burroughs, Gysin, Coil, Throbbing Gristle), insofar as to take the shape of the Optical Sound label. This volume declines 29 propositions by artists and friends, sharing their interpretation of the record. A contrario of Signs of the Apocalypse, literal and frigid, this compilation is subject to open interpretations, creating junctions between personalities as diverse as Claude Leveque, Simon Fisher-Turner, Rebecca Bournigault, Black Sifichi, Serge Comte, Rainier Lericolais, Arnaud Maguet… A successful extraction of music in the plastic arts, between graphic proposition, snapshots and conceptual art. Julien Becourt.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New and Awesome Review of The Hole!

Here’s a great review of the Hole by Georges-Claude Guilbert published online for GRAAT––a peer-reviewed journal of Anglophone Studies.

“Rarely has a graphic novel been more worthy of the label. This book is an ambitious piece of work, which tackles an inordinate amount of issues. Gender, sexuality, economics, class, race especially, it is all there for the reader to enjoy and leisurely process. Food for thought if ever there was any…”

Click on the link below to read the whole review on GRAAT’s website:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hook Event at Front Forty Studio

This past December Front Forty welcomed our friends (and amazing artists) John Hook and Andrea Peterson into our studio to set up a “salon” for a few days. With our doors open to the public the showcase of ceramic and paper artworks made at their compound in Indiana began, and so did the parties. An artists’ reception brought in a warm crowd with familiar faces as well as new friends. Attendees watched live demonstrations of the artists’ processes and walked away with various one-of-a-kinds works made with skill and love.

See their art here:

Signs at Country Club Chicago

Country Club Chicago graciously offered F40 a night at their gallery to gather around the Signs book again in January. Locals and contributing artists chilled out in the white room, peering at Front Forty titles, drinking beer and discussing. It was great to see a few more of the contributing artists and talk; this is very much the goal–conversation about art, ideas, and life.

Another great turnout with good vibrations all around! Thanks to all who have taken interest and shown support–especially Mark McGinnis of CCC.

Signs Book Release at Sonotheque

F40 threw two great events for the release of the latest book Signs of the Apocalypse/Rapture this Fall/Winter. Our official release party at Sonotheque had a most satisfying turnout. Chicago’s premier lounge of sound provided the perfect, intimate setting as we listened to live music and tracks from the book’s CDs, looked at projections of imagery (from the book), intermingled and had a few.

Our eyes and ears were delighted and challenged as we watched artist Michael Boyd craft a live set complete with ringing from a contact mic’d Tibetan singing bowl. Followed by the sincere riffing and percussion compliments of our great local band Zelienople who lifted us well into a hazy state of bliss. And DJ David Castillo summed it up all with a prime selection of doom and rapture tracks from history. A great evening was had by all!

Go to this link to see some sweet pictures of Mykel Boyd's performace, taken by Mandy J. Matz:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rue Morgue Magazine reviews The Hole

Read the (November 2008 issue) review by Pedro Cabezuelo and Paul Corupe below:

The Hole is an ambitious graphic novel that attempts to dispel the popular perceptions of the Voodoo religion while satirizing capitalism, consumerism, racial tensions, black (and white) stereotypes, superheroes and mass media. The plot revolves around Carla Bonte, a middle-aged woman who has created a multimedia empire based on the concept of “hyper voodoo.” However, it appears that Carla is just a pawn of Papa Legba, a multi-faceted Voodoo spirit and trickster who has his own agenda. Though that is a rather gross simplification of a complex story filled with many characters and situations that neatly come together. From the first page, it’s obvious that The Hole is a labour of love for Damian Duffy and John Jennings, and that they are trying to create something of value, not just disposable entertainment. To their credit, they mostly succeed. What could have been an indecipherable mess is surprisingly easy to follow, thought-provoking an imbued with a strong sense of humour that makes the material fun to read. However, those unfamiliar with Voodoo (like most North Americans, I suspect), may have a hard time getting their heads around the characters and concepts. Duffy and Jennings try their best to initiate readers–using essays, notes and a glossary–but most of the material remains complex and hard to understand. A brief history of the religion and Papa Legba in comic form would have helped immensely.