state of the art

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I am one of 102 artist selected for the Sate of the Art, Discovering American Art Now. Carolyn and I travel to Bentonville, Arkansas to attend the opening at Crystal Bridges Museum. We hoped Mary would come with – but you can’t be in 2 places at one time and she is in Alaska. I write about the 4 days we are there, in my blog today. I share the link here.

Crystal Bridges Museum is a venue dedicated to American art and artists, a place of learning and community.

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I arrive into Bentonville, Arkansas to attend opening events for the State of the Art exhibition. The show is extraordinary in that it truly does display my contemporaries – working artists from across the United States. I receive a glimpse of where I sit in the grand picture → Continue Reading

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10 x 10″ MCA benefit show

All proceeds benefit MCA exhibitions and educational programs.

Mesa Contemporary Arts (MCA) is having its Fourth Annual 10 x 10 Benefit Show & Sale, which features the work of more than 100 artists from Arizona and beyond. Participating artists created original work (2-D or 3-D) of art in keeping with the 10 x 10″ theme. The pieces will be on display at MCA from Oct 3-14 and sold at the reception on Oct 10. Each piece will be available for $100. First come, first pick! Doors open at 6pm sharp!

Mary and I are participating.

Martinez – Homage to the Cat
mixed media collage on canvas

Shindell – Tulip
Hand colored archival inkjet print

For more information and a list of participating artists, please visit their website.

WHO:     Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s
WHAT:    4th Annual 10 x 10 Benefit Show & Sale
WHEN:    Weds, Oct 10 (6-8 pm)

enmeshment

Monica waiting for me to join her in the studio.

This shot reminds me of how I feel about my own studio.  It is a sanctuary that is created through artistic energy, work and ritual.  When you are invited into someone else’s studio they are sharing all of that with you.  This is something I never take lightly.

The beginning of a human back drawing.

This drawing began by tracing a woman’s body shape directly on the paper.  It is a portrait of an individual person.  Anatomy sources are used to insert an anatomically correct skeletal system.  Monica has discovered that the layers of back anatomy, yet to layered on top, are a lot more complicated than she expected.  This in-depth study of anatomy has created a heightened awareness of her own skeletal system.  When she moves her body, she thinks about the placement and movement of her interior anatomy.  This mind/body connection is also practiced with Monica’s ongoing study of yoga.  The beginning of this drawing is quite beautiful, but it is there to be built upon.  Monica documents the stages of these drawings, but is quite willing to let each stage go as she pushes through to reach the finished drawing.  The beginning is structured and accurate, while the end is a mesh of marks that show a complicated journey of exploration with the parameters of the subject.  There will be little or nothing left of this beginning stage.

Detail of male back.

When I look at Monica’s work up close I really get caught up in the detail work.  There is something powerful about large scale work that is just as interesting in the small details as a small work is.  It is an interesting contrast of what feels epic, and what feels intimate.

Monica’s hands, while she talks about her piece.

It is always interesting to watch an artist handle their work.  They are always so casual in doing so.  Others will always use extra care to communicate their respect for the work and the artist.  But artists often touch their art while they are talking about it, and enjoy showing how comfortable they are in doing so.  It can be really enjoyable to watch an artist do this.

Studio research materials.

Here we have the wonderful combination of book illustrations, artist materials, and productive activity.  I never tire of seeing the hints and clues of what goes on the studio when the artist is engaging in their isolated production.

Studio shot showing drawing of male back on easel.

This larger shot of Monica’s studio shows a bit of how layered, active and visually interesting her space is.  Like most studios the total space can’t be captured with casual photography.  The memory of my visit will stay with me tonight as I work (hide) in the privacy of my own studio.

 

 

 

hers – nothing in stasis

I spent July and much of August working on a female and male pelvis girdle. Above is a black and white photo of what is a full color canvas tentatively titled Hers.

After the research and work on this series, I am more self-aware. My body – is my own. It’s that simple and that complex. With all that’s gone on in the political arena lately this little 13″ x 13″ study especially, feels so relevant.

You might also imagine that I am more aware that our Earth, like our body is incredible and deserves full respect. For me this set up of CREATURE, MAN, and NATURE has taken on deeper meaning. Take care – of the one body and our one world and the life inside, there is a connection and the balance is sacred.

…about the video (which is in experiment stage)
I enjoyed the HERS study and the abstraction which I lay out in the video below. The composition starts simple and basic, eventually the ground work disappears, but it never goes away. To read about HIS and access that video, click here. They’re both fairly short.

The soundtrack works well.  There are some electric and wirey parts, if I could only show you how we made those sounds using a slinky. Sharing process… it’s not possible to share it all, but in bits, it informs, educates and maybe it amuses.

nothing in stasis- the drawing : photo, video, sound

The initial proposal for this exhibit includes video. As I put this post together I realize I’m still not completely convinced video will be in the show itself.  There’s going to be a lot of stimulation and I wonder now if it will add to the experience. It may. The blog includes it anyway.

I’ve shot footage since the start of this series, not exactly knowing what will become of it all. The goal is always that it be visually interesting and educational …  filming the parts and then connecting them all to make one statement  … the drawing , and or the video … both, all of it.

I put together something I like enough to post into YouTube. I’m sharing it today.  And though I did get quality photographs of the work below, and I do show you close-ups of it in the video – the work is highly detailed and so in truth I think it’s one of those works you can only really appreciate in person.  The video was always meant to run with the artwork nearby. So here, separated from the real thing, I wonder if it can only a tease. Maybe so. I learn from it all anyway.

Video synopsis:
The plan – to show only process. Friends comment they’d like to see artwork details. It begins with me drawing and then halfway through, it cuts to close-ups of the completed work (shown here above ) There’s about 4.5 minutes of each. At the start you hear the newscast  that was live as I worked, something about Christians and Muslims. At the end you catch another newscast about a cat, serendipity. I added the later because there’s a cat in the work. And it’s This American Life, a Saturday afternoon favorite. I also pick up a lot of the natural studio noises, which I like.

The on purpose sound that fills most of the video I made with artist and friend Joe Willie Smith. We recorded it a few years ago at the college, where we both teach.  I was hoping to create something that mimicked internal body noise. Or at least what I imagine such visceral sound is like. You hear heartbeat-like rhythm (fast, slow, abstracted).  You also hear Joe Willie drinking water, gulps, movements, and touches of digestion process. The memory of us doing this is a good one.  I also want to capture what I think of as electrical impulse(s), you know … brain and nerve activity. This is all based on Joe Willie’s and my imagination.  We sat my paintings nearby for inspiration, while he and I moved about hitting and sliding tools across one of his multi-media sculptures.  Does this make sense? Oh and there’s short, cool drumming – we both got caught up in.

I call the sound recording A Constant Vital Commotion. I call the video and the artwork Nothing In Stasis. Here it is … life stuff …

the back body – on paper

I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.  ~Alanis Morissette


A new work on paper is progressing incredibly slow. It’s a posterior rendering of the structure of the torso.

I have realized how unfamiliar with the back body I really am. A few days of research and a few days of layout finally allowed me to start painting and still I had errors to correct. It’s great learning. There is allot going on back there. And despite all the work I still have yet to get to the primary focal point if you can imagine that.  This work may not be in the exhibit in the way it shows here. I’ll probably complete it, photograph it and re-present it.

An idea brews as I continue.

elements at play in my work

I photographed this drawing, this weekend. Here are some of the thoughts that play into it.

…matriarchal and patriarchal, feminine and masculine, cyclical and linear, spiral and hierarchical, being and doing, spiritual and physical, moon and sun, water and fire, joyful and serious.

The work is joyful, the study is serious.

Here is an influential quote from the introduction to Phillip Shepherd’s book New Self, New World, which took me an eternity to read.  So worth it.

He describes two brains, the intelligence we have ruthlessly and ruinously centered only in the cranium, with its obsessive and disassociated cold passion for separatist analysis, objectification and control, and the vast free-flowing, infinitely supple and responsive intuitive intelligence of our second brain: that of the enteric nervous system, immune system and genetic networks, with it’s locus in the pelvic bowl.

The well written sentence prompted the first two works, of which this is one.

video

One of the things we’re planning for the exhibit is video.
I’m playing with ideas. It’s all new.

A simple start using basic skills and it’s only a little over 2 minutes long. Who knows what can happen once I know what I’m doing. The practice video shows stages of a new work.  It includes sound that I created with an artist friend.

I’ve particularly enjoyed painting this canvas. I think I’m finished with the artwork … maybe … unless I’m not.

progress

Photos of my progression, inspired from Carolyn’s earlier post.

Full canvas is 45 x 35″. The snapshots shows detail of a small area consisting of parts of the rib cage, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, stomach, large and small intestines. The general structure is set up. Though I plan to abstract the entire form, you’ll recognize it’s a male torso.

The casein color is intense but will become a bit more subdued when I come in with some titanium white, egg tempera pattern. The composition is still in an early stage.

I need smaller brushes.