Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Holidays!

In process - The Penitent Otter
Why penitent? Because in preparing to go out of town last week, my entry ended up being a little lame - I will try to make up for it this week (and look, my apology comes with an otter - visual bribery ;) ).
I spent most of this week traveling, and realized that in preparing to head out last week, I didn't write about my visit to NYC the week before (oops!) To recap - I traveled to NYC to see friend Matthew Addison's MFA thesis show (two big thumbs up!!)
While in the city, I visited MoMA. I didn't understand some of the exhibitions, but there were other things that were amazing:

David Alfaro Siqueiros (Mexican, 1896–1974)
Collective Suicide, Lacquer on wood with applied sections,
49" x 6', MoMA Number:208.193
(I think "Applied sections" means collage [:)!] and look how
it almost looks like marbling,[!!] and the lacquer unifies the
surface and keeps the parts from warping [hmmmm..]
I saw a painting by Siqueiros for my friend Tammy; a great show on Toulousse-Lautrec's lithography; an incredible piece by Benny Andrews; and a favorite by James Ensor - who doesn't love Death surrounded by masks? *

*On a side note, spreading the art-love - There's a big James Ensor show at the Art Institute of Chicago right now: Temptation: The Demons of James Ensor," including the massive, 51 piece  drawing, "The Temptation of St. Anthony" which hasn't left it's home in Belgium since the 1950's (fragile). If, like me, a mid-winter trip to Chicago is not in the cards, have no fear, the interactive catalogue is online for free (Free!)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901),
 Cover for Old Stories (Les Vieilles Histoires),
1893, Lithograph, 13 3/8 × 21 7/16," MoMA Number:140.1946
Benny Andrews (American, 1930–2006), No More Games, 1970, 
Oil on canvas with collage of cloth and canvas, 
Diptych, 8' 4 7/8" x 49 7/8"and 8' 4 7/8" x 51", 
MoMA Number:35.1971.a-b
I love the way he uses the fabric collage and the plants. I hadn't known/
remembered that this is a diptych [hmmmm]

James Ensor (Belgian, 1860–1949),
 Masks Confronting Death, 1888, oil on canvas,
32 x 39 1/2", MoMA Number:505.1951

This isn't a DiChirico, but it looks like one, right?
(haha, I was excited that I even got the plane with vapor trail
in the photo as the train zoomed by
[pats, self on back])
Now on to last week :)

Because TSA frowns on putting carving tools in one's carry-on (and I refuse to check luggage), I decided that I'd work on polyester plates while I was away. This worked out well since the plates fit in page protectors just like a sheet of paper and the only drawing materials I needed were pens. I got inspired by the Toulousse-Lautrec show to try lithography crayon (and, looking at the photos, the idea of the bear might have come from there too.) But I wouldn't want the bear to be lonely, so I divided the sheet into quadrants and drew, lion, tiger, bear, (+ pony/unicorn with a lovely collaged horn because i wouldn't want any of the plate to go to waste).

Also, I tried another plant

I like the crayon in the  animals, but not sure  what I think about it
in the leaves...

 Also, I took advantage of the nice weather to photograph. I know, they aren't all exactly cheery, but I had a great time listening to an audiobook and photographing (in a t-shirt on Christmas day too!).

fruit aesthetically arranged by Mom :)

Along with the habit of "still lifing" my fruit, it seems
that I may have inherited my love of black and white stripes :) 
I wore a black dress and a locket from
a flea market as my own version of
Victorian mourning wear after the
"Death Becomes Her" exhibitionat the Met,
 but I cheeried it up with happy shoes
(from the second hand store -for less than a
cup of fancy coffee - unworn - gold star!))

I had a wonderful time visiting with my family and friends. When I got home, I was happy to be reunited with the feline assistants, plants, and blocks and carving tools. I drew the otter right away directly on the block.
drawing on block.
In process

 The paper at the bottom is reserved on purpose so that I can cut a slit in the water and slide the otter in. This gives a second attachment of surface for glue (the back of the otter is glued down on top and the flap is glued from the back to front) Also, the paper can be cut so that it holds the otter in place, so that it's not stressing the glue as much (or if the glue fails... ) Also,the otter would actually emerging from the water not sitting on top, so I try to get the collage structure as close reality as possible.

This is a good example from Queen of Blue  Birds - the plant
in continuous and goes through the hand so that it's actually holding it.
 I've been churning over some "adhesive issues" lately [OY.] I'm frustrated because they aren't due to my being lazy or careless (which would be a bummer, but easier to resolve). I'm not sure if trying again is the right thing to do here - It sort of feels like trying to light a candle with a blow torch, and when it doesn't work out, turning the heat up higher and higher. Then feeling mystified when it all dissolves into a shapeless pile of goo (haha.) At least I'm developing better "paper engineering" skills with making the slits??  I'm tempted to just sew everything down (or coat it with lacquer, Siqueiros-style) [dramatic sigh - whoa wist me!]

But I don't want to end the year with my "adhesive issues," so I present - kitty in a box :)

Happy 2015 and Thank you for following! Cheers to a year filled with much art and happiness!