Paul Laffoley is a visionary artist whose incredible psychotronic paintings blur the line between science/fiction, art/architecture, nature/machine. Back in 2000, I wrote a short piece for Wired about Laffoley's Das Urpflanze Haus (the primordial plant house), a structure he imagined that would grow from genetically-engineered seeds. Never one to avoid the fringes of thought or reason, Laffoley has a new painting in the group show "Aspects of Mel's Hole: Artists Respond to a Paranormal Land Event Occurring in Radiospace" currently up at the Grand Central Art Center Gallery at California State University, Fullerton. For longtime listeners of Art Bell's CoastToCoast radio show, Mel's Hole is an infamous (and possibly apocryphal) locale of high weirdness. Laffoley's painting, above, is titled "Mel's Hole, 2006-2008" (38.5" x 38.5", oil, acrylic, Letraset on canvas). Click the image to see it larger. An exhibition catalog is also available. From the exhibition page:
In 1997 radio host Art Bell first introduced his listeners to Mel Waters, a man from Eastern Washington who claimed to have discovered an ancient and apparently bottomless pit on his property. The story of the hole was remarkable enough, but the subsequent events took an almost surreal bent- Mel was threatened into silence by the US military, exiled into cushy Wombat Restoration service in Australia, and tipped off to a second bottomless pit in Nevada. As the story unfolded over the course of several years, it garnered many followers, not just among connoisseurs of paranormal research, but among artists and writers as well.Aspects of Mel's Hole (GGAC, thanks Richard Metzger and Doug Walla/Kent Gallery), Paul Laffoley (paullaffoley.net)
After Mel's last official appearance on Bell's show in early 2002, LA Weekly art critic Doug Harvey began approaching artists to participate in a curatorial project centered on this contemporary mythological lacuna. The response was overwhelming, and on the 10- year anniversary of the disclosure of Mel's Hole, Cal State Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana is proud to present Aspects of Mel's Hole: Artists Respond to a Paranormal Land Event Occurring in Radiospace. The exhibit will include contributions from Georganne Deen, Jeffrey Vallance, Marnie Weber, Paul Laffoley, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, and many others.