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.