Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inspiration chart

At the opening, I was asked: ""Where do your ideas come from?" I'm not sure I articulated the answer well at the time and have been giving it some more thought. To me, "where" indicates a spacial question, so I'm providing a spacial answer, and, as usual when I struggle to explain in words, I'm bailing out to pictures ;) 

I decided to play a game and went on a scavenger hunt in my house and through the files on my computer to try to address the question: "Where do my ideas come from?" in pictures for some of the most recent work:

Hate to disappoint, but I'm pretty boring - I draw most of my inspiration from places I spend time everyday - most of all my house and yard, and the local conservation area and downtown Hudson where I like  to walk.   

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gallery 105 Exhibition round-up (:)!)

 Gallery 105 Exhibition round-up (:)!) 
Thank you to everyone who turned out for the opening! The show will be up until August 25th, but just in case you can't make it to North Adams, I'm posting some of the photos :) 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I want to share better "official" photos after the opening, but I couldn't contain myself - the show is up! Come visit at Gallery 105 in North Adams, MA :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's official - we have trees (plural!!)

Welcome to the Forest of And, And, And

re must be an owl 

But who could be mad at
 a creature this adorable?
Still...I cried.
My "Helper" (yes - I cried)

framing, framing, framing
Both tabs and reinforced
 holes for hanging


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Good News - the forest has a tree
Bad News - the forest has a tree

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Phase 8 - not all time is the same (find focus)


6 am
8 am
For me - keeping things orderly helps with maintaining focus (which is a bummer because I can be a slob when I'm working). So, in keeping with phase 8 and trying to find focus, I've been getting up at 5 ish  am to organize, communicate, and clean for the day (then have breakfast and go for a walk) before getting down to work, usually by 8. (Unfortunately, this indicates that I reached the level of mess seen at the left in less than 24 hours - true). When I get going, I can end up using a lot of different supplies, and it's like I develop a form of selective blindness where, if I'm not using something right that second, it doesn't exist for me anymore. (This is the reason I work on the floor - so that I can just drop one thing and pick up the next). The mess extends radially very quickly (that little gap in the middle next to the red thread is where I was sitting - haha).

On the one hand -(fingers crossed!) I think I'll have enough pieces to make up the installation I'm set to install Tuesday (even if I can't make  everything I have in mind, it can be the first iteration in an on-going project :)). On the other hand, I am not a morning person (at all), and I'm starting to get tired to the point that I'm even more absent minded than usual. I know that there are things that just aren't occurring to me (as oppoed to being forgetful: less -  "O, I forgot I left my keys on the table instead of the hook," more - "O, keys, you say? Do I need keys?")  Sort of like with the supplies, I get so focused on making stuff that I end up being blind to all the other things I need to do. Having made this mistake before, I've been brainstorming things that I've forgotten to be aware of this time around:

the beginnings of a tree
1) Making sure everything is framed/ has hangers so that it's ready to go up on the wall and having all the necessary tools/ hardware to install it. (I'm good on the tools/hardware part, and have been going through the hangers/framing for each piece, but since things always take longer than I think, and I'm prone to overlooking this aspect, I've set aside a whole day to gather things together and double check each piece).
with my neon toes for scale ;)

2) As much as I hate (haaaaate) to admit it, moving things is hard for me, and I probably really need help
packing up (Ok, I admit it, I'm not good at lifting anything heavier than a cat,  but have I actually done anything to address this situation? - ummmmm, tick, tock, tick, tock (oy!)).

In other art news, I went to the opening of "Clothing Optional" at the National Association of Women Artists Gallery in New York on Wednesday. One of my mixed media pieces, "Neo-Gothic (Iris)" was included in the show! I had a great time and also got to catch up with some lovely friends. Did I remember to take a picture - no (oops)
Neo-Gothic (Iris), mixed media, 9 x 12, 2013
Once again, I lost in the battle of
wills withmy feline assistant:
 ok, fine, sit it the tree

The biggest fans of the recent early morning schedule - the feline assistants: when it comes to kitty-breakfast-time - the earlier the better ;)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Phase 8 - mini-post

Cue the chorus - to the theme of "Jingle bells": And, and, aaaand, and, and, aaaaand, and, and all the way...

Since I'm working on a "compressed" timeline, I decided to share an extra post of the progress since Wednesday: 

We have mice

and parrots

lots and lots of parrots

 and plants

In other news - the Mini kitty is home and recovering 
with lots of love and extra ice cubes in her water bowl.

On Friday, I visited Gallery 105 in North Adams. It was nice to be there and interact in person and helpful to see the space to visualize the installation. While I was in North Adams, I also saw an exhibition at Gallery 51: "Other Hudson Chapter 2" featuring Dennis Herbert and Kahn and Selesnick. I really enjoyed this show (two thumbs up!) - for me, it was energizing to see different perspectives on themes in which I'm also interested - masks, hybrids, dolls/automatons. I enjoyed the way the artwork gave me a sense of place (as if the work is based on different views of a particular space). In that way, it reminded me of (heart!) the Quay Brothers show from last winter. I also came across Press - a letterpress studio and gallery next door - with wooden typeface! (Mmmmmmmmm.)

Since I've been feeling the pressure of "and, and, and," lately, I thought I'd try something new - "or" (haha ;)). I had grand ambitions of topping off the day by seeing the Mark Dion exhibition at Mass MOCA, but instead decided to shoot for seeing the galleries or the museum (this time ;)).

I feel like the installation is starting to come together - continuing to chip away at the larger elements (still working on that winged lion... more soon). I probably shouldn't admit this, but it occurred to me on the drive home from North Adams that "the forest of and, and, and" needs trees, (and I think trees are like sheep - they need to be at least 3 to be happy. ) With that - Captain Obvious overtakes me yet again (doh!). But in all seriousness, while I'm working hard on the installation and much remains to be done, I also want to be give non-distracted, quality time and attention to the people and creatures in my life. Hmmmmmm - "Or" is such a rare beast in the Forest of And, And, And  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

phase 8 - not all time is the same (find focus), update 2

I have a list labelled "LTG" (Long Term Goals). It goes on the top of my master "to do" board which lives right next to my front door on the landing of the stairs. It includes things I want to try to accomplish in the next 1 - 2 years, usually technical skills to learn or places to visit. While I feel like I've been making some headway on the skills part (casting and engraving went on the list last January :D), I haven't figured out how to get to the place on my list yet.

I can't believe it's July, and the year is more than half over (Tempus Fugit!) Thinking about phase 8 this week and "not all time is same," focused my attention on this. One of my LTG's is going to the Venice Biennale exhibition, because I want to see first hand the layering of contemporary art onto historic places which, due to the city's unique environment, have resisted being plowed under by industrialization. I feel like it's the perfect place to look for "between" places where the spiritual and mechanical clash and interact in interesting ways (and who wouldn't want to run around a city-size, art playground?!) While I enjoy thinking about it even if it remains a dream, if I'm going to make it happen, I'm starting to face some time limits. The Biennale ends in late November. There is only so much "later" left.
These thoughts came out in my work this week when I decided that what the installation I'm working on really needs is a giant winged lion with my head on it (inserting myself into the symbol for Venice - fun times ;)). I haven't added the wings yet - they'll be collaged in like those in Lacrimae Rerum, and I got a very special piece of paper for them (going all out).

In terms of technology not being my enemy, my cell phone, which served me faithfully for many years, finally fell to pieces in my hand, and I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to a smart phone. It's no replacement for my full-time camera, but I like that the phone takes pictures already sized to upload (yay!). Best of all, I can flip the screen so that I can see the shot when I take self portraits, which comes in very handy for lining up the face for the chimeras :).

This lovely flock of planes will join the
lion and last weeks chimera parrot flock
as part of the same installation piece
for Gallery 105 in North Adams, MA
Coming up will be a stag. I thought I remembered a Frieda Kahlo painting where she put her head on the body of a deer - tracked it down - "The Little Deer"  and found some of her comments really interesting as well: "I never paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration." I don't know that much about her, but I admire her work and ability to explain the experience of painting (more research needed!)
Frieda Kahlo, The Little Deer, 1946
© Banco de México and INBAL Mexico, 2005

I haven't been feeling well, and today my kitten, Mini, is having surgery. While I know the vet is an expert who does this all the time, I'm waiting to hear the outcome and can't help but worry. Not feeling 100% and being anxious over Mini (who is really mischievous - she slipped out of the exam room when I thought the door was closed. I wasn't looking because I was inspecting her carrier - which she also (magically?) almost escaped during the car ride over. In a split second, I looked up, and she was gone and almost had an encounter with a big dog. The vet's assistant told me how she could have been hurt or killed or lost, and I cried when I got back to the car because I try so hard to be a good human to my cats, but lately it seems like I've been doing everything a little bit wrong. 

The Lernaean Hydra by
The Eagle Painter, Attic Black-figure Hydria,
 c. 525 BC, Getty Villa, CA
my yard
This is art relevant because I feel like my soul is a battery that's powering the creation of this installation, and the art is starting to drain the juice a little bit. Usually, I think of the relationship of the soul to art-making as being more like a rose bush - where the soul is the whole plant and the art is the flowers, and where the flowers get removed to be enjoyed, the plant grows back stronger and produces more (a less gentle, but maybe more topical simile would be a hydra, (haha - waving the classics nerd flag ;)).

it's a little creepy, but in a good way, right?
In summary, work on the installation is coming along (though I wish I were making more, faster - always). I feel like I'm starting to get a little lost in "the forest of and, and, and," and hope  my missing not-Cheshire cat guide will be back home soon.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Phase 8 - not all time is the same (find focus), update

I am about to become the all-chimeras-all-the-time station for the next few weeks. I admit - I'm nervous. I have an amazing opportunity to create a site specific installation for Gallery 105 in North Adams, MA. For years, I have dreamed of turning a whole gallery into a setting from a magical land (it's 'the forest of and, and, and' :)). Now that I have a chance to do it - I'm so excited, but also anxious about making the reality match my idea in a not-so-long time.

In  terms of phase 8, not all time is the same (find focus) I've been thinking that in order to make the time getting ready for the show as productive as possible, I'm going to try to establish a routine to minimize my non-art-thinking for a while. Hopefully, this will help me stay calm and focused and make lots and lots of chimeras. (Examples of automating non-crucial decisions - getting up at the same time, wearing (clean versions) of the same thing, choosing one from two or three set options for each meal.)

6 variants - with different wing and beak positions
My goal is to make 1 element every 2 to 3 days. I'm liking this week's flock of blue parakeets. Parrots are on the "animals I like" list - they are colorful and nice to look at, and beyond that, because they mimic human speech, but in a way that's driven by bird thoughts, I think they are especially interesting in thinking about copying and the soul. Putting together a parrot montage 2 weeks ago after proofing the parrot etching, and then seeing the plaster of a parrot at the Money Museum in Colorado last week has also kept them on my mind. I think the blue comes from a conflation of 'parrot' and 'bluebird of happiness'. Even though it's 29 pieces, they form a single compositional element.

The process for making these is becoming a dialogue between me and my computer in a way I really like:

 I started with a physical copy (an image made using a rubber stamp), which I scanned, manipulated, printed, drew on and manually manipulated. Then I re-scanned and used software to create variants by using both digital tools and computerized drawing. To get the birds, I re-printed, drew more. For the Chimera versions, I then drew by hand a unique "original" from the digital print using a manual copying technique (light box) and attached the head (which is a drawing based on a self-photo). I then scanned this unique chimera, and digitally drew on it to create a variant, and re-re-printed.

Once I had all the pieces, I turned them into a flock. Because I can't actually see the flock (my vision jumps from detail to detail), I used digital tools again to arrange them by laying them out on the floor, photographing from up a flight of stairs, then tweaking the positions based on the pictures on the small screen (composing them like digital-minis :)). The pieces are attached to sheets of white poster board attached to one another with fabric tape on the back so that the sheets fold up like a book (an extension of an idea from the most recent, three-part folding collage of three weeks ago that came from looking at multi-panel altarpieces). When I get to the gallery, I'll unfold and affix the whole thing the wall.

It's growing sort of like a fractal - a piece within a piece within a piece within a piece.... the head is a drawing, attached to the body, attached to the sheet, attached to the book, attached to the wall, attached to the room. (Naming the place 'the forest of and, and, and' makes sense, no? ;))

One element every 2 to 3 days - Should I be worried?