carolyn and the creatures

You know – Carolyn represents the Creature. I’ve made it clear that her laborious process fascinates me. I was in her studio several times the last few months. I took early shots of a Javelina progressing.

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Glossy print stage of Collared Peccary or Javelina. 

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He gets photoshopped into the woods.

The tracing below, I caught on Dec 11th. The end photo I got in the gallery, last week.

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The enlarged photo-shopped composition gets transferred to drawing boards.

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The Collard Peccary sits detailed into his spot on the composition.

I also catch the Musk-Ox on Dec 11.  At the time, I focus on the dense, black-inked area of tree branches in the center. The Ox silver tracing sits to the side waiting to come alive. In the  final stage the ox becomes primary in focus.

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And below is the work on the wall in the gallery. It’s large, consequently this photo doesn’t do it justice. It holds 20 creature representations (if you count a couple of skulls).  I’ve heard Carolyn call them out several times now. There are sheep, goat, hawk, 2 javalinas, zebra, white deer, deer mount, mule deer, antelope, owl, squirrel, coatimundi, road runner, quail, musk-ox, crazy goat with beads, 2 skulls (sheep?), and pronghorn. If the blog allowed I’d tag them so you could know right where they are. It’s part of the enjoyment of standing in front of the real work. Some show up obviously, while others come into sight by surprise. If you get a chance to hear Carolyn talk about her work, take it. She weaves everything together with intelligence and amusement.

Preservation Woods

Preservation Woods
Acrylic on 10 prepared acid-free foam-core panels
80 x 160 inches

You know, I’m interested in anatomy. While my focus is mostly on human, I love animal anatomy as well because from that point of view, we connect.

Recently Carolyn generously loaned me some of her animal anatomy books. The one cat book in the background is mine. I pull the books out across my desk, go through them, think about drawing, then put them away. While I appreciate the loan, what do I do with the inspiration?

IMG_3737Yesterday the three of us discussed how we might be influencing each other. The few animals in my work are abstract and symbolic. My cat appears in one work, a snake and a frog in another. My inclusion of an animal and its anatomical structure is very different from Carolyn’s focus. Carolyn renders taxidermy, in a realistic manner, in a constructed natural setting. Reread that last sentence.

I don’t know about focusing on animal anatomy more than I do at this point. While the books excite me, for now animal is Creature, and Creature is Carolyn.

artist reception – a bit of rain and one fine crowd

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This framed image greeted guests as they arrived to our reception.

IMG_3711Despite rain, we got off to a great start. I took my camera and planned to take lots of photos. But that didn’t happen. I didn’t think about pictures.

Here is all I captured …
Rick, Mary’s husband, sent  beautiful flowers. ↑ Thanks Rick!

The hallway wall shows a few smaller works from each of us. It’s a solid introduction to what you’ll see as you come upon the entrance to the North Gallery. ↓

b2 The stream of people coming and going was steady the entire evening.↓

IMG_3699How did this come about? What did you do to make this happen? The grouping is greatI
If I could focus I’d explain some of the story – how we connected, how we applied for the show. If I was not so focused and being lighter I’d say, I picked up the phone and asked! There is truth in all of it. Except I don’t believe I ever picked up the phone. I emailed, it’s the 21st century.

Mary ↓with a group of friends. They were taking too long, so I shot the photo.

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Mary, Carolyn and I ended the evening with these last photos. I’m including all of them, because we’re standing at slightly different angles, so you can see some of the background work of each.  And because I like all three of them.

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trio

IMG_3709 There were a number of people taking photos, including Mesa. As we get access to them, we’ll post them.

docent talk

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Tiffany drops us a note: Would you be interested in speaking to the Docents about your exhibition? Since there are three of you, I thought it would be best to have you discuss the work in the exhibit, so we can do this as a gallery talk. It would be wonderful for the Docents to hear from you first-hand and have a better understanding of your work, so they can communicate it during their tours.

Aside from giving the talk this evening, Mary and I are seeing the complete install for the first time. As one approaches the end of the long hallway the exhibit and artist names appear in white letters on a  turquoise backdrop . That’s some expression already.

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You turn right and the entire space is active and yet beautifully still.

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Introductions occur and Mary begins the evening. I think I know all about her process. I learn more. People are curious about materials and the digital drawing intrigues everyone. I mention we have a process video in the blog. Someone notes the bright details scattered across the surface and Mary tells them its bits of Terrazzo flooring she’s composed into the print. She also makes note of the connection between creating this work and her printmaking background. IMG_3662

Carolyn points out the various animals in her large work, and tells about where she photographed each one. The group asks if there are any birds in the drawing. She points one out and everyone enjoys seeing it. It’s a seek and find process for them. We hear about her video, her yard, and the stray black cat we see on the screen. It’s drinking in the garden fountain. She explains how days later she finds him dead, she guesses a car may have struck him. He’s now buried in her property. One of the Docents comments the work is thought-provoking.
IMG_3664I finish the evening. People relate easily to the body. I share what I think is a humorous story of how things began. I end it by saying it needs to stay in the gallery, and between us. Tiffany finds a frog in the large self-portrait. And she asks about the snake. Someone mentions they could keep looking and keep seeing new things. There is an MD in the house, and he comments on the accuracy of the various structures. As a runner, a yogi, and artist, I’ve studied human anatomy for years. He notes an EKG line.IMG_3671

The evening is full of intelligent questions, thoughtful comments and many laughs.  Tiffany you have a good group.

Below are photos we took just before we got going. We’ll show you more gallery photos and artwork in the posts to come.
As I pull this post together I think about the beautiful maquette Mary made. She visualized the final layout well.

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Carolyn Lavender, Works on Panel and Paper and Video

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Mary Shindell, Print and Sculpture

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Monica Aissa Martinez, Works on Paper and on Canvas

Information Panels

Creature Man Nature officially opens today. The artist reception will be held in 2 weeks on Friday, January 25th.

Below are the information panels, designed by associate curator Tiffany Fairall. The panels are large and sit next to each of our areas in the gallery. They include both an individual artist statement and a bio. As I read through them, I am again reminded why we work so well together.

If you click on each one, you’ll get to a high-resolution image you can actually read. There is so much to see and take in at the museum, get ahead if you wish, read them before you attend.

We’ll see you on the 25th!

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There Is A mountain, The Video


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When the mountain is completely installed, we make a decision. The three of us have video. Mary’s and my video show process. Carolyn’s is slightly different in that it is an actual work that can stand alone. Here it will sit on her wall along side her drawings and paintings.

blog1We discuss the flow of activity with Marco and Tiffany and conclude – 3 videos are two too many for the space. My process videos and Mary’s are in the blog only. I’ve included numerous ones here already.

Below is Mary’s video titled There Is a Mountain. It represents South Mountain, located here in Phoenix. It begins with a line, followed by each layer of form and texture that make up the various digital drawings. You see the parts first, then the series of layers appear in the order in which they sit. You get a sense of how the mountain develops. It ends with a final line that clarifies everything. Mary notes the line took an entire day to construct.

The video compresses into 3.5 minutes what took months to create.

Installing

Today was the first day of installation. I had seen the large mountain at Mouse Graphics a few weeks ago and I was so happy with the color and resolution. It is a relief to see work come out of my computer and become an actual piece. This is due to my background as a printer, I need a print. I think that I have a similar kind of joy for these commercial processes as the Pop Artists did for screen printing.

Proofing the print at Mouse with Brian.

Proofing the print at Mouse with Brian.

It was exciting to see that the sections of terrazzo looked very clear and the gradients printed up so nicely. Good printers! My comfort level was moving up and finally today the piece arrived at the art center.

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Sean from Mouse Attaching the first piece.

Sean from Mouse Attaching the first piece.

The sections were attached from left to right and carefully matched up. The material looks like canvas or linen-it has a tooth to it so it is not shiny like other versions of vinyl used in large format graphics.

Section 2

Section 2

Section 3

Section 3

If you see this piece in person you will notice lots of fine line covering the drawing. Sean, the installer, mentioned that he did his best to match it all up. And he did match it all up.

Light Test

Before we delivered the show I had about a week of wiring and testing to make sure the suspended sculpture would work. Each piece is fabricated so that the electrical cord runs up to the ceiling and over to a LED driver which will also be mounted on the ceiling. The wiring process was interesting and Pere, our studio assistant, became better at fiddling with the drivers than I was. We celebrated every time one would light up which prompted Mitch Fry (we share studio space) to comment that we are cheap dates. He knows how to use electricity but for me it’s just that electricity is like magic-difficult magic.

At one point I had to call the lighting manufacturer to ask a question and he asked if I was a licensed electrician. I told him “no I am an artist”. In a somewhat huffy tone he told me that the first thing that should have happened is that I should have been connected to the entertainment division. He helped me anyway and it turned out they had sent the wrong drivers.

Everything worked we packed it up and took it to Mesa. Fingers crossed.

Testing the light at the studio

Testing the lights at the studio.

After testing the pieces were  wrapped to go to Mesa

After testing, the pieces were wrapped to go to Mesa.

Pere, studio assistant, with a finished sculpture.

Pere, studio assistant, with a finished sculpture.

Sneak Peek of Things to Come…

One of the cool things we get to do is select two exhibitions that will be featured on banners outside of the museum. We selected this exhibition for the banner that faces Main Street. Here’s what it will look like:Jan 2013 Banner 2

Here is a look at the invite, which is at the printer.
 114_MCA Contemporary Craft Invite 2013_F.indd
114_MCA Contemporary Craft Invite 2013_F.indd