Sunday, November 7, 2010

New York visit

Oops, what kind of blogger AM I? Just an occasional writer. I have always shied away from "working the system," perhaps because as a young person I felt that my family was not a part of any system. Yes I could write a lot about that, but will not. There is both strength and weakness in this stance. I believe I have mentioned this before. I'm not sure what integrity is anymore, because integrity in isolation is not the same as integrity while interacting with all levels of society, with all the temptations, cliques, back stabbing, support, jealousy, etc.

So much for my lack of daily blogging. Maybe I'll try it sometime, carve out a week or a month, and write daily about my art, art thoughts, business, goals, .... But not today.

We went to NYC a couple of weeks ago. What really stood out? The New York Abstract Expressionist show at MOMA. Everything I read - quotes by Pollack and Guston stick in my mind - reminded me of my early art training at Washington University. Actually it was the teaching of David Lund, who knew and hung out with those guys. (Yes, unfortunately they were almost all GUYS.) But Lund taught me how to just BE with a painting, to sense and see and feel the space, to feel the painting breathe. Pollack was the granddaddy of AE, and he let go of the idea of a focal point entirely.
whoopee! no WONDER I always want that kind of allover, sometimes in and out vibration that moves the eye here and there and sits nowhere. And hey - I always push my work until it feels like a living thing to me. Those Guston abstractions - that IS what they do. They breathe, have a life, feel like living beings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

When is art not Art?

Oy! When is art not art? What is art anyway. Seeing all the paintings in the galleries on main street in Annapolis yesterday was very confusing. Let's just say I get confused. Why does it all look cloying to me? I hardly ever use that word. Cloying. Or sick.
Carl thinks that when the work is not coming from a real need to express something, it registers clearly as - well, choose a word, any word but not "art." i.e. if the artist is painting pictures to sell, or to look like something pretty, or - no, I can't go on.

Kendall Gallery

Yay, the owner liked my work a lot! I brought in five pieces that are 12x12" and a smaller one that beautifully captures a marsh area in Wellfleet. I am obsessed with the marsh grass at the moment.
So, what next? She will discuss my work with her artist husband with whom she co-owns the gallery, and HOPEFULLY will include my work in an exhibit next season. Now it's fall/winter, and the whole scene hibernates.
We intend to visit the area every few months. It's interesting to finally realize that when you have a connection to a place, looking for a gallery there makes sense.
I've never had much luck in DC and - not much to say here, just a big sigh.

Provincetown Art

Last weekend we were on Cape Cod. Friday night was a kind of gallery walk thing - we thought it was only at Julie Heller East (she's the gallery owner who used to live in Kensington!) - but it was all up and down Commercial Street and the museum was open and free.
What a scene. Predictable high end tone to the JHE gallery - after all it IS at the high end. Distinguished looking folks looking like they own the arts in P'town, and lots of hugs and handshakes and in-crowd feeling. Generic high end.
I asked to photograph a couple of colorful women in the museum and they were pleased as punch. Maybe I'll upload that photo. The older woman's husband was having a major show at the museum - large Cape Cod landscapes in oil. I thought they were masterful, if a bit facile. Nice texture of the grasses, lovely skies, light, and reflections in water. Stuff I'm after. Carl disliked them - TOO facile and acrobatic to his mind. Perhaps.
Sometimes I really cannot tell - not being a judgmental type, according to Myers Briggs. I see what I like and leave the rest. I SEARCH for what might inspire me. Sometimes I find nothing.
As far as finding a Provincetown gallery that might show my work - a more and more elusive and unlikely prospect. Every gallery says "we show local Cape Cod and regional artists, or, "we show dead P'town artists and a few who are alive."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dismissal by a gallery owner

The words came to mind today, "Sometimes good people do bad things." Hmmmm.
I visited my friend this past weekend. She lives in a small town in Pennsylvania 90 miles from NYC, and is a super strong gutsy highly skilled artist. And a good friend to boot!
She's having an exhibit right now at the upscale gallery in town. Somehow I don't want to use real names in this blog, despite the low readership.
Anyway, she offered to introduce me to the owner and suggested I bring some work up, which I did. I brought several nice reproductions and two very small encaustic works, to show the resonance and light of the medium.
Ah, how to get to the meat of this.

We left the work with the part owner who advises but does not make final decisions. He was terrific, warm, encouraging, and an unbelievably good artist himself. A master.
The next day we returned to check out the response. I was forewarned by my friend that the owner either loves someone and fawns all over them, or is an ice cube. heh heh. Guess what response I got!!

What amazed me was the chutzpah of this man, and his arrogance. When first introduced to me, he turned AWAY and spoke to someone else. When asked directly about his response to my work, he said "very lovely" and turned away, again brusquely. It's impossible to describe the VIBE of this man as he turned away. As if he was swatting at a fly or an irritating mosquito.

What's wrong with this picture? Here is what a mature and decent human being who is also a gallery could and should say: "Thanks so much for sharing your work with us. I'm sorry it's not a fit for the gallery."

Some people greatly enjoy getting away with reprehensible behavior! I had to clear away a ton of negative stuff before I could sleep.

Kendall Gallery

While in Wellfleet last month we stopped by the Kendall Gallery. I had met the owner at Carl's last concert in the town library, and had sent her my website. Not hearing from her, I assumed the usual lack of interest. Follow up, or let's say persistent and appropriately continual follow up, has not been my strong point.
Despite my hesitation, we went in and eventually spoke with her at length. I like the gallery. I'd say it's high end Wellfleet, if that is a category.
At the end of September I will show her some of my larger encaustic paintings. She's smart and art savvy. I have hopes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On July 6 we set out for Wellfleet on Cape Cod via Allentown, Milford, Kingston, Providence... with an agenda that included a visit to Kobalt Gallery in P'town. It was a family visit - my in-laws are 89 and 96!- but had a striking amount of art activity for me.

We stopped in York to check out my work there at York City Arts, stayed with Barbara Crooker, VCCA poet friend in Fogelsville PA, visited Blue Stone gallery in Milford, got to Kingston in time for a Richard Frumess tour of R&F, stayed with Carl's cousin in Red Hook NY, then with another cousin near Providence, and on the way to Wellfleet spent a couple of hours at the Cape Cod Museum in Dennis. All this before getting to the target.

Gabe's friend Ryan says that the elder Banner house is really the Marilyn Banner Museum. I have to admit that hanging out there in the living area overlooking a marsh, light flowing in, and gazing around at my work from the 70's (a huge lily of the valley center oil painting), the 90's (a deep dark Presence of Spirit piece) and the new millennium (think Prague Cemetery gravestones on yellow fabric, Scenes of Childhood (Carl's) and a dynamite big collage from the Song of Songs), and you might get a glimpse. Their home is FULL of art and music - including a mammoth Leonard Baskin rug in the bedroom. Enough said about that. I left them with 2 newish small encaustic paintings. They love them.

Provincetown! On Sunday that weekend we drove into P'town and meandered down the packed main street. Stopped into T J Walton's gallery (I had researched via the gallery guide a bit) and talked with the artist/owner. She was the opposite of pretentious and we later watched an interview with her on the web. Google her and find it and you'll see why. Cool woman and good art. She wore a t-shirt that said "F**k Me I'm Famous". And she said "and believe me, they do."

We went to Julie Heller's gallery to see the encaustic work I saw in the guide. Small world department - she's from !!! Kensington Maryland !! I pass near her childhood home each time I drive to my studio in Kensington. Julie's gallery was full of art - stacked on the floor, all over the place - much of it by well-known artists like Karl Knaths. Her gallery is the oldest one in Provincetown, and she was very simpatico. I felt like I knew her. Not a gallery for my work (maybe if I lived there), but a person I want to see again.

Eventually we made it to Kobalt - still looks good to me but the energy was a bit down, clearly from the recession mood. I like the place and John O'Shea suggested I send in some hard copy images for the owner to see. I'm on it, will send a package by the end of July.

We stopped by Cynthia Packard's gallery. Hmm, what to say. She's the artist whose work I fell for in Boston and I was so excited to see that she had a gallery. She generously demonstrated for me her use of encaustic - she uses oil paint mixed with Dorland wax and torches it right on the canvas. It ignites (!) - looked pretty crazy dangerous to me but she is very experienced and casual with it. Her attitude toward me was not the best - she kept trying to get me to study with her! Enough said.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spring in New York City

Not really spring, but 3 pieces from my works inspired by spring, were up for a month at Ceres Gallery. We bussed up for the opening, stayed at an apartment I found via a special artist list, and came back the next day. Lots of compliments on the work. Gabe came to the opening. Always a pleasure to see him. Having and raising a child and then seeing him as a man - this is one of the wonders of my life!

That same night (Friday) we went down to Dupont Circle to see a show curated by Pat Goslee, because I wanted to meet her. It's part of my project to meet hometown artists whose work looks like the real thing to me. Who are they?
I liked her. Totally unpretentious. I will call her this month, now that we are back from our travels up north. More on the trip later.

Encaustic Conference at Montserrat

It is now July 15. Hard to believe that I returned from the conference a full month ago, and have written nothing about it. My husband is after me to say something. He thinks I need to write about sexism. Well. Hmm. Hmm. I guess he's thinking about the critique day I attended, and the juried show which did not represent the conferees well. What I think about, laughing in a way, was the funny comment made to me from the only man in the critique session (besides J.C.) - he called me an "alpha female" because I spoke up when he tried to take my turn from me. (we had called out numbers, so to speak). AN ALPHA FEMALE! Well! I was flattered, wish I were more alpha in general.
So, the conference. The conference was a blast. The keynote speaker spoke on Jasper Johns, kept us all wide awake and inspired, and was just - perfect! Set a great tone. The panel the next morning included Eileen Goldenberg, who has to be the funniest gutsiest artist I've ever met. Everyone was generous with sharing how they'd made careers as encaustic artists. Oops. Not "encaustic artists." Artists who work with encaustic.
Joseph Carroll thinks that the word itself has a bad ring to it, in the eyes/ears of gallerists. I don't know. Sounds odd to me. He suggests a breakdown into "pigment, damar, and beeswax."
????? I wish people who read blogs actually commented.
Carl has a blog reader who really thinks and listens to everything he writes and attaches, and then writes back to him.
I want that!
So, without lots of descriptions, which anyone can find if they search for the conference blog of Joanne Mattera - I'll just say that it was a HUGE event, full of positive energy. One woman fell in love with my work - "Zen Cow." She came running up to me with open arms to hug me. Woah.
She couldn't quite afford to purchase it, even at the artist big discount. Sad. I'm still working on my feelings about this issue. Just sad.
I watched Rodney Thompson transfer drawings and demonstrate torches, heard Cynthia Winika (her voice is the thing!) describe and demonstrate - I can't even remember what. She was so masterful. I watched demos of ironing as a fusing tool, image transfer - what else? I hung out with great artists, photographed all 250 art works that were hung in the corridor gallery, and bought a bunch of new tools and paints.
Cannot wait til the next one.
AND I intend to hire Joanne Mattera for a 90 minute phone consultation this summer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sign in Yellowstone

I cannot resist sharing this, as I look through my incredibly awesome photos from Yellowstone. More will follow eventually. Not sure whether to look through photos or try out my new painting tools from the vendors at the Encaustic Conference in Beverly MA. What a life!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Encaustic Conference at Montserrat

I am finally getting so excited about this one that I can hardly sleep. Here is the link:
tons of artists and tons of new information. yummy. overabundance.
I am staying on for a post conference day - Critical Feedback with Joseph Carroll, who runs a good gallery in Boston. ME going for a CRITIQUE is not your everyday thing. However he has a good reputation for support and has asked us to bring a goal and an issue for him to comment on. Also some work we're involved in.
Hope I can pull this together in the next two days, as I leave on Thursday, and need to send work up to Ceres for a summer show. I wrote up some background info on me - helps me see why it's tricky to set a "goal" - and maybe I'll share that next time I write on the blog.

Text Color

Artist's Point

The photo says it all.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Living My Dream

Well, it turns out that for years I was supporting women artists to articulate and go after their art dreams. I could never think of an "art dream" myself - it always came out as "travel."

So last week, one of the days in Yellowstone or the Tetons - I think it was at "artist's point," a spot overlooking Yellowstone Canyon where the rock looks like flesh. Or maybe on the road, in vast open spaces beyond belief, with funky buffalo walking their ancient walk on the road. Or maybe photographing pelicans making v shaped water waves as they swam. Or just looking at the sky.
I thought WOAH, this is IT!

Not a solo show at the Hirschhorn, or getting mammoth commissions, or being written up in Art News (a colleague woman artist's dream), or selling work for 10,000 dollars. Nope, I would not turn down ANY of those. But those are not dreams I go after.

Now we are planning to visit Glacier National Park. Or maybe Yosemite. Or maybe some day Alaska, or Hawaii.

When I was three, we visited a farm in southeast Missouri, called May and Belle's farm. I have a photo of me sitting on a fence post. I asked over and over to return to that farm, but we never did. That was it for travel, until I took a bus to NYC when I was 19. And eventually many more buses to NY, and later trips to Europe and Costa Rica and Prague. There you have it. Maybe our dreams are about filling out the empty spaces in our lives.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Open Studio

Last Saturday May 8 three neighborhood artists - Joan Samworth, Ann Riley, and myself - hosted open art studios. We had a nice card made, emailed our lists, spiffed up our houses, and psyched ourselves up for these unusual and very homey events. I wanted to meet new neighbors, and welcome old friends to see the new work. I gave two demonstrations of encaustic painting. (A great idea).

I had had some trouble getting my head around a Constant Contact invitation. It seems that my education, development as an artist, expensive medium, and prices of recent work - have priced me right out of being affordable to people who should be able to own my art work. What to do!?

Well, we finally figured it out, and found ways to make a huge amount of older work and reproductions of recent work totally affordable by just about anyone.
And what happened? Unbelievable, but the RECENT work was purchased by several people who fell in love with it, and much of the other work, ranging from $1.00 to $125.00 was purchased too.
There was much good energy, good will on all sides, and a feeling that the work that I do, actually gets to "do its right work" in the world.
A perfect circle. I am still working on fully accepting this into my heart and mind.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Open Studio

Two neighboring artists and I are planning open studios for May 8. I am working on getting my mind around a clear gesture.

My new work is not cheap; it requires a middle class income or a deep enough love of the art to pay smaller amounts over time. From one point of view the prices may seem "outrageous," and from another, they are clearly "a steal." Which is the correct point of view? I am going for "reasonable," considering artistic experience, skill, integrity, and emotional and spiritual depth. Plus my status (Carl and I often use this one) as an "under recognized sophisticate."

My wish however is to have my art to be affordable by just about
everyone. I am determined to have things at my open studio that
someone can purchase for the price of a lunch. There again is the economic issue - WHOSE lunch? Someone of modest means.
I am taking some of my older drawings, and good quality reproductions of new work - and playing with frames and ways to make these accessible. This is a great experiment. And fun.

Now the challenge is to bring people HERE to see these.

Mike Daisey's radio show performance

With great excitement and chutzpa financially (having just been to NY), we purchased tickets to Mike Daisey's performance in NYC at The Greene Space, reserved a hotel room at Hotel 31 (newest favorite place to stay), booked Vamoose bus round trip, and set off early Friday morning. The weather prediction was cold and rainy, but we were feeling like - well, he was the best thing we'd seen in DC for ages.
We described Mike's DC performance to my (dynamite) artist friend Marion Held, who came along to this performance and brought her husband Curtis. We had tried to get my son to join us, as well as an actor friend. Luckily they did not come, because, to my great disappointment............

Now this is really interesting. I like this guy so much that it is hard to badmouth him in any way! On the other hand, I was really really peeved to have done this trip around him and been presented with 50 minutes of low level (bordering on really awful) performances by others and only 10 or 15 minutes of the real Mike Daisey. Not two hours, and hardly anything of substance. Is he getting tired? What was happening there? I am stymied.
Might I add that we arrived an hour early to be first in line and get the best seats? Maybe if we'd just driven in for the evening from Brooklyn...

So - nope, not the BEST trip to NY but we realize that we need to do this often. Even the best performers screw up or plan badly. Even people you like have that awful "New York Attitude" and think they know best, are always right, and are better than us born mid-westerners who don't live in the City.
We sensitive non New Yorkers have to toughen up. Those of us without middle class or NY attitudes have to take our rightful places anyway. Aren't we supposed to fill in those gaps as we grow older? Who makes up these stratifications anyway?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

David Lund

Miraculously I found my art teacher mentor from the 60's - I had found an article about him on the web and traced him to his new address in NYC. On Sunday Carl and I spent 3 hours with him and his wife. David Lund is about 85 or 86 now, didn't quite remember me - he has taught hundreds of students at Columbia and Cooper Union, and our meeting was at Washington University in 1967.
We looked at painting after painting after painting. It was really something, as he is steeped in tradition, and you can see Giotto, Cezanne, Chagall, Italian painting, Rembrandt - and Lund. Steeped in tradition yet totally contemporary and coming out of his own mind. He says "I am so out of the box that there IS no box!"
I loved hearing him talk about his work, and I loved seeing all that I'd been taught so long ago, there in front of me, looking fresh, deep, radiant, and substantive. No flat cartoons! Yay!

Eventually I showed David and his wife some of my postcards - images from Scenes of Childhood, Still With Us, Soul Ladders, Presence of Spirit, and others. Very different from what I'd studied with him, and yet so "art" that they were both genuinely impressed. It was very moving and gratifying to me. I can't quite describe this, think I'll post an image or two of his work.

and ps what made him the best painting teacher I'd ever encountered had little to do with technique. It had everything to do with his encouraging us to go into and to then express the depth and breadth of our human experience. Hmm. Same with Lowry Burgess years later.

Karen Finley

Unbelievable, but the day we arrived, last Saturday, Karen Finley was performing a piece about Jackie Kennedy, right across town at 42nd and 9th. We were second in line (yes, I really wanted to be there!). I'd seen her perform at Dance Place in the 80's, striding back and forth across the stage in a raincoat, ranting, eventually baring her chocolate or spaghetti or both (I can't remember) covered body. Womens' bodies. Our bodies. Sexism is too weak a word to ues. It was the most unforgettable performance I've ever seen.
The Jackie performance was brilliant, (got a bit too long for me in parts,) and eventually got to the meat of the issues of female objectification and oppression. There was a long string of epithets (word?) telling us females to be quieter, more assertive, more this, more that, not ever this, always that, etc. She got louder and louder. It was all too true. And we are pretty much all the time still under it.

Return from NYC

This is going to be backwards, but since the blog ends up being a public art diary, I have to say that I am so "in my element" in New York City, that returning, even to this house and neighborhood that I love, is difficult. I hope that blogging about my art experiences in the big apple will relieve some of this burdensome feeling. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Further Thoughts

What I would have liked to see in the art criticism piece -
First of all, the writer really "got" the Water Book piece. It was conceptually and visually tight, ie very well put together, and provocative. For our piece - it would have been nice if she'd been able to take in the flow and sensuality of the visual component. One of the other artists, while helping finalize the direction in which to hang the piece (it read better horizontally) noted that it had the form and feeling of lovemaking. Quite perceptive, and her comment showed real openness to the content AND form. Had the reviewer read the poetry carefully, she may have noticed the connections between text and image. Granted, it required a stretch. Maybe that requirement is unrealistic. I am pondering now, not sure.
Also - and what I always look for in a review - is the use and bringing to bear of the reviewer's broad knowledge of present and past artists and artistic forms and ideas. I checked out Rosenquist pop art. Well yeah, I can see a vague connection abstractly, but not really. What about Feminism, repetition, grid like construction, Phillip Guston (I mentioned him to the reviewer).
And "Body Tracts" - the reference to informational brochures in a doctor's office? What about other artists (not in this show) who have combined image and text in this lovely and almost musical way?
All in all, Rousseau gives a decent overview of the show. I think if I just read this review and looked at the photos, despite the slight thumbing of the nose tone, I'd be sure to visit it. So there you go. Thanks! All publicity is good publicity, and in this city, even being mentioned as an artist in the newspaper is a gift!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

art criticism

Claudia Rousseau's critique of "This Is Our Body" came out in the local newspaper and online today. Hmm, what to say. I am dying to critique the critique! What is stopping me?

For now I will only say the good and obvious thing, which is that any publicity is good publicity. There is a clear and colorful reproduction of our piece in the paper version - striking. Some less than totally flattering comments are under that photo, but did not bother me at all. Maybe they bothered some people, but I was really pleased to see that image.

The article? Well, I said I couldn't quite bring myself to write out my opinion of its quality. Maybe later. Here is the link to the online version. Unfortunately our photo is not in this one, but you can see "Shared and Open" in an earlier blog post.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This is Our Body - the Opening

Wow, I just realized that I never wrote about the opening. A reviewer from interviewed me, as well as "my poet," Tiziana Lohnes - and wrote up a piece for the web. I believe Claudia Rousseau will be writing about the show too - she's a fine writer and a sharp art historian - writes for the Gazette as well - the paper one. I don't even know if she'll like our piece, but the show is worth her time - so much edgy and sophisticated work. Fresh air, if I didn't say that already! The opening included poetry performances, supported by dancers and musicians. Honest to god cultural nourishment, right in my "hometown" as they call it here. I'm putting in a photo of our piece, which is called "Shared and Open," plus me with a detail. Comments welcome.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Collage for the Soul update

I have four students at the moment, the perfect number for my sunny little room. The light is so pervasive - it reminds me of the sun-room that was my bedroom where I grew up. And now: the students who were somewhat blocked have exploded. That's all I can call it. One of them, encouraged by my direction to work "like a child" and explore texture more than image - well, her series of collages are delicate, sensitive, three dimensional, free, lovely beyond words. And the second woman - in between classes she created a drawing on the computer, sliced it, repeated it, created all kinds of gorgeous patterns to use as backgrounds, and completed a masterful collage using only her own raw materials.
I was so excited after the classes where people opened up like that - I could hardly fall asleep!

Now I don't know exactly how to proceed with the classes, as these students won't all continue. One is moving back to Arizona, another will probably start a knitting circle....
I am open to all kinds of new things, new people, new flows of art and money.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meeting the Takoma Park Artists

This morning, way too early, I took the collaborative art piece done by Tiziana and me over to the Takoma Park Community Center Gallery. Just about everyone was there.
After a bit of scoping out and figuring out what might be available for me, I found a perfect wall for our piece. Four hours later I left, more excited than I've been for a while.


I was blown away by the quality of the pieces. Layered, provocative, edgy, strong, deep. All kinds of media, sophisticated thinking, gutsy. Wow. And !!!! these people live here !!!! In Takoma Park!

One woman, Greta Ehrig, is an amazing find. One of those rare people who has retained exquisite sensitivity, awareness and intelligence, and can focus those on and through art. She helped me with placement, hanging, and was so sharp about the visual aspects of our piece that I was almost embarrassed. She saw everything - the imagery, the evocation, the flow - she saw into the piece, around it, through it, and even imagined a thin veil over the whole thing. And so do I. Just don't think we'll go there.

As it is, I have really pushed some edge here. Even the title (had to come up with one on the spot) - Tiziana and I had thought of "shared vulnerability" but it seemed not poetic sounding enough. So I thought of "shared and open." The guy near me agreed that open was way better. Jeez. Even the title feels vulnerable! I guess it is me feeling that. Or is it the work? hmmmm.

Constant Contact

I love constant contact, even though I don't use it constantly - just every couple of months or so. I was feeling particularly isolated and almost depressed a couple of weeks ago. I knew I needed to tell a bunch of people about my work, especially the show in College Park. Just couldn't "drag" myself to the computer to do it.
Finally, some emotional breakthrough and I just whipped it right out. Five strong images, clear links to my site pages, my blog, a couple of venues.... short, sweet, and to the point.
And of course the BEST PART: responses from art friends, collectors, etc about the images and art news. It's like casting out a bunch of lines at once, not knowing where a spark of connection might occur.
A couple of especially nice ones - the woman who bought "January 1" wants to see the new work in person. She loves it. Jenny Gillespie, a terrific and beautiful singer/songwriter I met at VCCA decided she is ready to buy a painting. Great! She is choosing one of three she likes - all her favorites are from the Rhythm Ground series, inspired by the Noyes School in the Connecticut woods.
A wonderful note from my friend Carol Hamoy reminding me that I am always part of a larger community of artists (especially women artists) whether I remember it or not.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Snow is everywhere. There is a beautiful pattern of white ice blobs on the screen. Behind that are huge hanging icicles. Beyond that, white lined tree limbs. It is possible to move back and forth between concerns about neighbors, food, electricity, email, and general anxiety and fear about this storm's effects - and the artist part of my vision that sees pattern, feels the ethereal quality of so much lacy whiteness, hears the whistle of the wind as a mysterious tone. I don't want to look down at the street. But I do. There is a man walking. And I hear voices of children. I am thankful to be able to see in so many ways.

KIKO'S HOUSE: Science Sunday: Your Brain On Music

KIKO'S HOUSE: Science Sunday: Your Brain On Music
An image of Take Your Pick appeared in Shaun Mullen's blog. How flattering!

Good article!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This is Our Body Invitation

This is Our Body

This is a detail of a collaboration between me and Tiziana Lohnes, a Takoma Park poet whose poetry I'd describe as deep, dark, sensual, and visceral. I'm sure that Anne Becker, the project originator/coordinator, remembered my work from the mid 80's when she paired us. This has been a real challenge, partly because what I'm "into" now is encaustic paintings of land and cows, not blood and guts and viscera. So - lots of photos of body parts - that was easy - and TONS of learning how to adjust images to bring out the qualities you see here. Making it work as a total piece - hard but fun. The word part is still in process, and also collaborative. There is a lot of back and forth, as we navigate disagreements about orientation of the final visual piece and figure out how the poetry part will be displayed. I like my collaborator a lot, really lucked out!
So here is the information - we are one pair of a multi-pair poet/artist project to be exhibited at the Takoma Park Community Center going from Friday February 19 until March 27. Reception February 19 at 6 pm.
I will put the invitation in here as well. Come to the reception if you're in town!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey is a genius performer. We saw him at Woolly Mammoth on Friday night, doing a two hour long monologue on money. Money as our religion. Not sure how to describe it. Heartful, brilliant, hilariously funny, dead serious truth telling in every line. Much of the DC audience was not laughing. Offended no doubt, as so many (I can't say "most" though that is my feeling) people in this area base their whole lives, actions, philosophy, everything on the idea that wealth and money determine human value.

On youtube there are a couple of great videos of him - in one he makes fun of (!!) the New York attitude, somehow offends a group of conservative Christian visitors by language or sex talk, and they walk out, right in front of the camera. One pours water on his script, destroying it.
In another video he "outs" "freeze dried theater," as he calls it. You just have to see it!!

If I could see anything CLOSE to this quality once a month or so, here in DC, I wouldn't crave New York so much.

Boston south end galleries

A couple of weekends ago Carl and I went to Boston and then to Cape Cod. He had two days of rehearsal in Boston and then a concert in Wellfleet. While he rehearsed, I took myself to the South End, an off the beaten track part of Boston, home to a bunch of new "good" galleries.

Funny, I can't say that anyone in the galleries was interested in talking with me. Hmm. Could they tell I was "just an artist?" So sad that there are so many of us artists that gallery owners and directors in a big city want to hide when they smell us coming in the door.

No that is being too harsh. And I am jumping to a possibly false conclusion.

What is worth saying here, about my experience, was that to my surprise almost all the work bored me. I WISH that weren't the case, and thank God I finally found a gallery with dynamite work that knocked my socks off. Chase Gallery. The artist is Cynthia Packard, from Provincetown and Boston.
Her work showed her being steeped in the best of tradition - good form, gorgeous light a la Vuillard, and an abundance of "feminine" fabrics and handmade papers. Yum. It made my day as I soaked it up.

Now if I could think of HER as a peer, I'd give her a call next time I'm in Provincetown to see if I can stop by. Why not?

Body, Mind, Spirit

This is the title of a show in the University of Maryland University College's huge gallery. It was curated by Harriet McNamee and Bobby Donovan. I have a piece in the exhibit, which, interestingly enough, I did not announce. Because of the slowness in telling me about the logistics - which piece was in, when it was due, etc, and the lateness of the invitations.... I had decided that the show would be just mediocre. I was the opposite of excited about going to the opening last Sunday, but I went anyway.

Well, wasn't THAT day a surprise!! The show is definitely "Important," comes with a gorgeous catalog, and was celebrated with an elegant catered reception with talks, photos taken of the artists, and a general sense that this was "the place to be" for late afternoon wine, fancy snacks, and special people.

Best for me were heartwarming talks with Harriet Mcnamee who I knew from years ago at the Women's Museum (she headed a department there), Helen Frederick from Pyramid Atlantic, Susan Pearcy.... and seeing the work in the show by Martha Jackson Jarvis, reading the powerful words of Carol Beane... and on and on. What was surprising and confirming was the feeling of peer-ness that I had with both the artists and the curators. Maybe it's part of being in our 60's. Survival, thriving, thinking, creating despite odds?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New York Attitude

I defined New York attitude for the other guests at the dinner party tonight.

I am the real thing and you are not, because you don't live here!

In the company of arts people

Today I began my second series of classes called Art for the Soul. The two students who were in the first series are doing such advance sophisticated work I am awed. Just awed. The two new students are a bit overwhelmed by the internal self critical voice thing.
I am the least judgmental art teacher I know, so at least it's obvious to them that it's internal. We're working on it. I'm pretty sure that before the 5 classes are over, they'll be WAY looser.

Tonight we had dinner at Burnett Thompson's. We met him maybe 20 years ago when he played piano nightly at the West End in Georgetown. One night at midnight he sat and talked to us. We were griping about whatever - something about being artists. He told us that, in contrast to most Washingtonians who live empty lives of (paraphrasing) quiet desperation, we in the arts live rich and interesting lives. And we were (!!) not to forget that!! I never did.

So twenty years later we actually got to hang out with Burnett and two friends, and talk about art, music, and life. Not a "solution" to the art oppression that is everywhere around, but hey - person to person stuff is the real thing! Same as with my art students. Somehow - the real thing.
Burnett is a mensch. I love that word. It means a particularly good human.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Unknown Territory

I am applying to Jentel for an artists residency. It seems scary, for no rational reason. The CD of my 20 images looks fantastic to me. The place is in a gorgeous area, with beauty all around. Banner, Wyoming. Funny, huh? There are only 6 people max there at a time, and residents stay for a full month, cooking together, etc. Risky. Why?
VCCA now feels like home to me. I could drive there in my sleep, almost. Every bit of it is in my mind, and I know the routine, the studios, the beds, the land and animals, the staff, and even how to manage with 22 brand new people each time!
Jentel sounds like the moon. 80 acres of cattle farm, with no stores nearby to walk or drive to. I'm a city girl who loves the countryside.
I'm feeling a bit proud of the anxious child in me who fears the new. I'm walking right through the fear, will get this in the mail by the friday deadline.
It doesn't really matter if they accept me or not. Just going for it is the thing.