Monday, September 24, 2012

What's on

Painting & Sculpture

Edmund Wyss - Exposed

29 Sept – 1 December 2012
San Francisco based artist Edmund Wyss is a hyper-realist painter who works primarily in oils and gouache.  
His approach to still life oil painting focuses on detailed rendering of mechanical forms; drawing comparisons between rudimentary weapons and old photographic tools. Both tools can reach their targets from great distances. The camera is enabled by various lenses to capture and define space, while weapons dominate space by launching projectiles. Devoid of narrative traces or subjectivity, the subjects dominate the viewer’s field of vision. Observers should enjoy the work from multiple perspectives, between its massive sculptural illusion to a use of meticulous and active brushwork. Wyss’ examination of his subject is unrestrained and suggests a kind of mechanical obsession. They are simultaneously familiar and uncanny.
Along with his paintings, Wyss will be installing a new series of imaginary camera sculptures in the Red Barn. Check back for some ‘meet the artist’ sessions during set upor call to book in for individuals or a group.
Venue: Shakespeare Barn & Red Barn
Price: FREE

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My 16mm obsession returns!

I used to be an avid 16mm film guy. I worked extensively with time lapse and frame-by-frame animation via a Tobin TTL intervalometer. The Bolex was perfect and my favorite version was a toss up between the EL (Electronic) and the SBM. If you want a tight and easy to use MOS 16mm camera, the EL with a nice Switar lens and onboard battery is so hard to beat. An auto aperture Vario Switar POE 100 zoom lens is perfect for consistency with the use of an intervalometer motor as well as the slick EL. Well, for financial reasons, I sold my EL long ago and kept the SBM. The SBM had some kind of shutter issue and served as an attractive paper weight until I started painting cameras. Now it has paid for itself as a handy reference.

SBM, oil on panel, 18" x 24", 2008

Here's the latest gouache of the guy, soon to appear at Parallax in London in mid February:

SBM 2.5D , gouache on paper, 36" x 28", 2011

Soon after painting this camera at about 200% normal size, I proceeded to dismantle it to figure out what the deal was. Needless to say, it was abandoned for reasons of time constraints and a steep learning curve on the ins and outs of the Bolex shutter mechanism. Luckily, I replaced this uselessly outdated camera with a newer dated (1980's) but older version 3 turret model Rex-5. Here it is with a rare and expensive Angenieux 25mm f/.95 lens. That's a super fast piece of glass but it gets a little soft opened wide so I calibrated it to my Olympus Pen EP-3 digital where it seems to perform better and looks hip.

The Bolex EL, EBM and late SBM have the same dark grey hammertone (as opposed to chrome/wrinkle paint) finish as this Rex-5 TV model. This is very much of a late mid-century era, modish/scientific finish. It looks really seamless with Moroccan leather inserts. I obsess over this finish and own a Leica Focomat IIc enlarger in the same paint. It looks absolutely dope with white painting or a red accent like a signature Leitz logo:

Over the past few years, Leica has been introducing this magnetic grey hammertone finish to its hopelessly expensive special edition MP analog and M9-P digital cameras:

It's pretty durable but will chip occasionally. I suspect it takes a lot of patience to be able to replicate it in oil painting. I haven't made a very serious effort yet.

Now comes the vector line drawing. I drew this in Illustrator to use as plans for a possible painting or to borrow components for a future composite creation of my own. I just LOVE the geometry and dial controls on the standard mechanical Bolex:

Here's the inside of the Bolex reflex, the SBM. Notice the speed dial differs slightly for unknown reasons. I'm planning a painting which involves use of all this source material.
Now to take this motor apart and do something fiendish like an exploded painting like this one of the inside of an Nikon S (in progress:)

S Inside, oil on panel, 2011-?

part of my vector drawing plan for S Inside (currently in progress)

Until later, adieu!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Farewell 2010

S Apart Gouache on Paper 30" x 34" 2010

Here's the latest painting made for Triple Base's 3rd Out of the Flat Files exhibition. The last work of 2010, a pretty productive year of several dark paintings of cameras in varied states of deconstruction. This marks the peak of larger and larger water-based gouache paintings. People seem to like them, this one got snatched up right away by a discerning collector, and it's a good use of the medium. It's miserable to have a studio full of oil paintings collecting dust and wasting space so works on paper are my new passion. Does this mean the end of oil painting for me? Maybe but probably not. There's no substitute, really.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More about me

Exhibit of work at Caffè Museo @ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

November 10th - December 21st, 2010

So quite a lot of time has passed since my last post as I have been working on the creative side of things and thought little of the blog. Now that my reclusive life in the studio, working on my some larger scale work primarily Mamiya Colossus, has ceased it's time to reap the rewards. This most recent work from the past year or so moves from Hatch Gallery in Oakland to SFMOMA territory care of SFMOMA Artists Gallery. It's a particularly good time because The museum is showing the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson (one of my favorites) and a show on photography called Exposed. There is a lot of discussion about photography as an art medium in a symposium "Is Photography Over?" hosted in April at SFMOMA featured on an audiocast on it's website. Check it out.

Another thing to check out is an interview I had with Alison McCreery on her blog POP (Photographers on Photography) on the November 1st posting. Scroll for it because she is a busy lady who is continuously adding new posts as her site increases in popularity.

I had a coffee with my wife Melissa in the cafe this morning as I watched the crowds pour in for lunch. Today is day one for this show at the museum. I watched parents in a family attempt to keep the touchy hands of their youngest off of my work. I wasn't too worried but should I be expecting this so soon? The gallery manager Renee put a positive spin on it. She thought that the illusion of the work was so convincing that the kids had to touch the paintings to be convinced.

Here are pictures of the work itself (all available for sale):

Mamiya Colossus, oil on canvas, 2010

Slice, oil on masonite, 2010

M8, oil on wood, 2010

SP Float, oil on masonite, 2010

Flex, gouache on paper, 2009

57933, gouache on paper, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tanguy and Surrealism

Yves Tanguy, Indefinite Divisibility, Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 88.9 cm., 1942; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

An observant person said that my recent work reminded them of Yves Tanguy's surrealist landscape painting. I have always loved his work and on visits to the New York Met would stop to marvel at the geometry of his skeletal landscapes. Well maybe it was just one, and I thought this one; Indefinite Divisibility or something just like it. Before I ever started painting in oil for real it had a huge impact on me.

This stuff must have been pretty trippy in the day because it's obviously an early expression of psychedelia. The subconscious mind was represented by the disintegration of recognizable form rather than the odd arrangement or condition of them. Formally, I dwell in the latter category- more like Dali than Tanguy. But there's something very methodical and logical about the composition of abstract forms, and this is something I really relate to. They are solid and regular objects which cast shadows in barren landscapes with atmosphere and implied vanishing points. The structure more mechanical than organic. However the functional forms have no function, they are definitive sculptural concoctions.

Edmund Wyss, Viscera, 8.5" x 11", 2008, private collection

Edmund Wyss, SP, oil on canvas, 18" x 24", 2003

Inspiring. Also, the guy's work doesn't change much for well over 20 years! No small issue for us artists who are afraid of repeating ourselves.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


M4 Float [detail], oil on hardboard, 18" x 24", 2009. © Edmund Wyss

M4 Float, oil on hardboard, 18" x 24", 2009. © Edmund Wyss

My latest oil work reminiscent of several gouache pieces created this year. I've just decided to call this series Floats to illustrate their positioning and to distinguish them by title from earlier paintings. These can be view at: This one presents a special challenge. When done with gouache paint (which is very matte) on a matte paper the surface is consistent- good. When the semi gloss of oil lays on top of a matte gesso surface something about it seems wrong. Not to mention it's awfully difficult to keep the black gesso clean. Should I paint the black background with black oil paint and risk screwing up the whole thing? Not sure. Anyway, this issue will force me to take different approaches to materials which I will catalog in future posts.


As new ideas circulate in my head and my process becomes less traditional, this artist starts a blog. Like any new venture there is a little excitement and fear. I'm not just writing for myself. I hope this will be compelling enough for someone else to follow. Even more, I hope it doesn't lose appeal for me and end too soon. So here goes.