Monday, June 11, 2018

Just what is Clay Monoprinting? Watch the Video!

This video is from my Artist's Talk in October 2017 at my exhibit "Clay Monoprints:  Dreams, Visions, and Alternate Realities" at Pendle Hill.  At the time I assumed there would be many more open studio times to make prints together with Mitch Lyons, the guy who developed it all...the father of clay monoprinting.  Keilan Barber, my gifted video editor, started work many months after the talk.  Little did I know that Mitch would no longer be with us by the time I posted the video.  He is greatly missed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


This is Jean Shin's wonderful installation currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which I am glad to have seen today.  "Worn Soles" creates a pattern on the floor."Hide," hanging from the ceiling, is meticulously stitched together from the uppers of the soles on the floor:

I was reminded of the Willie Cole exhibit I saw last June at the Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania:

 He works extensively with shoes - truckloads of them.  This one is called "Order":

 I love his fanciful shoe sculptures:

Mr. Cole has many fascinating videos on YouTube talking about his work.

Then there is Chiharu Shiota, whose installation I saw at the Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. in 2015:

She had people write write notes that told stories about each particular shoe.  The note attached to the sneaker below says (translated from the Japanese):  "The time they were worn: November 2005 to October 2007. Place: from my home to my work place and the pilgrimage of Shikoku’s 33 temples. The memory: These were familiar shoes. When it rained, water went into the shoes. At the end of the life of the shoes, I wore them only when it was nice out. When I did the Western pilgrimage of the 33 temples they served my purpose very well. In addition, every time I went out running, the laces became loose." 

Each of these three artists is quite different; each makes use of shoes in their own unique way.  What they have in common is being touched by the life of ordinary everyday objects and the stories they tell about the people who previously wore them.  They make art out of objects touched by human sweat.

Shoes have played a role in my own work as well, and I gather them at thrift shops and garage sales whenever particular ones catch my eye.  This piece  makes use of a sneaker that had been my father's.  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Big Apple Binge: 5 museums in 3 days

Even the kitchen sink can be found on the sidewalk in New York City. 

David Hockney got me to the Metropolitan Museum.  Michelangelo alone wouldn't have done it.

The Hockney retrospective was exciting, energizing, and uplifting.  He experimented every which way. 

I especially loved watching the three LED screens that showed the drawings he makes every morning and evening on his iPad.  Sometimes the program showed him doing it - actually revealing his process. 

The other "must see" at the Met was Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer. Being in the presence of so much of Michaelangelo's sketch book material was overwhelming.  It was like the inside of his mind.  Here he used his sketch paper to write a poem.  It's clear that as a gay man, he loved to sketch hunky guys, even if under cover of studies for Christ on the Cross.  (I didn't notice the Met mentioning his homosexual orientation, but I didn't read all their materials.)

He was interested in everything and learned from everywhere.  I love what is considered his first painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony.  It is legendary.

He was clearly familiar with Bosch and other Netherlandish painters.

The next day, Thursday, started at the Rubin Museum of Art.

I was fortunate to catch Henri Cariter-Bresson's  India in Full Frame before it closed.  

His photos of Gandhi's final days and funeral bring the viewer present.  We become one of the crowd watching Gandhi's funeral pyre burn.

According to the Tibetan Divination chart above, the next year will be uneventful for me.  I hope that means no major obstacles or bad news.  (They had a touch screen program where you could figure it out according to the year you were born.)

This reconstruction of a temple wall provides a better view of the mural than the original, which is sadly degraded.  This detail of it especially intrigues me:

It reminds me of this print by Lesley Dill, who lived in India as a young person and has remained influenced by it ever since:

From the Rubin I went to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

Barbara Hammer's retrospective included a lot of video.  I espcially enjoyed T.V. Tart:

From there I walked to the New Museum to see this:

So much of the commentary was blah blah blah.  I'm glad I didn't become an art historian.  I'm definitely glad I saw it, even though much of the work was meh. The New Museum didn't have any working bathrooms.  A pipe had burst because of the cold and was being repaired. It was a long day and definitely time to get back to my hotel.

I did wonder what the crowd at the New Museum and Leslie-Lohman would think of the many Michelangelo sketches of young studio assistants...

Friday was for the Whitney.  A quick run through of:

Yeah, so familiar.  We were there...

The Non War Memorial by Ed Kienholz (1970) is powerful and touching:

Faith Ringgold's silkscreen from 2007 still speaks to us today:

It is Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World, that got me to the Whitney now. I was able to take an overview look at it and then catch the excellent docent talk at noon.   This is a detail of his self-portrait. 

He is truly a citizen of the world, a poet and an activist as well as an artist, 
who identifies as Native American and lives all over Europe and the world.  Here is the full self-portrait:

One installation included family photos.  A man in our group said, "That's my father. We're cousins.  It's strange to see my father's picture in the Whitney."

Durham uses found objects juxtaposed in unexpected ways.  An inspiration to Dumpster Divers!  I came away with a greater appreciation of him as a spiritual leader as well as an artist.

It was a 3-day marathon.  I'm glad I came home to a weekend with nothing planned except rest.  

I'm grateful I could do this binge, my birthday present to myself.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Last Clay Monoprints of 2017

Timeless Moment  is a mixed-media clay monoprint that makes use of gampi silk tissue, whose transparency I love.  The groom and bride are suspended in time.

We weren't in Nashville very long on our road trip, but it was enough for me to be captivated by its creative synergy.  The clay monoprint above is titled Nashville.

The one below, Rain On My Windowpane, looks through the curtain on a rainy day.

I've had a flu-like cold for a couple of weeks now, and haven't felt up to making a new batch of clay monoprints.  At least today I finally felt well enough to photograph these and post them to

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lesley Dill's a dilly!

I was so fortunate to attend Lesley Dill's talk, together with my friend Susan Turkel.  Dill's work truly has no boundaries, only 'intersections' with all of life, especially words and transformational experience.  

She spent a couple of years in India as a young person, and her interest in mysticism and spirituality shaped the rest of her life:

Her work has also been deeply influenced over the years by Emily Dickinson.  Most recently she has put together an Opera based on Dickinson's poems, that is stunning both visually and musically.  It has been performed in California, and is about to be performed in New York city in April 2018.  

This three-minute trailer gives a taste of it:

I'm tempted to go see it! 

Above is a detail of her lithograph with photogravure (2005) that has sixteen sqares.  

We had a brief conversation before she started her talk.  I had brought a book with me of her work from 2002, so she knew I was a long-time fan.  She inscribed it with a quote from an Emily Dickinson poem and wishes for good luck with my work.  We are connected.  I am grateful.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Theater of the Absurd makes a match

The Dumpster Divers recently visited Bethany Mission Gallery, where they fit right in.  Only Eugene Ionesco could have brought about this historic convergence. 

A fan of theater of the absurd,  I had gotten tickets to The Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium's  performance of Ionesco's Bald Soprano.  Little did I know that the venue would be Bethany Mission Gallery (BMG).  Once I saw it, I knew I had to share it with the Divers.

You can see why I love BMG.  Here is one of my favorites:  She-He by Sam Doyle (1906-1985):

Bethany Mission Gallery is the private collection of Victor Keen, and is not open to the public.  It is like the Barnes, in the sense that it is the collection of one man, and is eclectic because it reflects his particular interests.  It encompasses primarily Outsider Art, but also folk art, radios, toasters, tin toys, and all kinds of other stuff.  It's a little gem of a museum that is a well kept secret.

This Adoration of the Wise Men, 1985, by William Hawkins (1895-1990), is  extraordinary.

Gary Smith, the BMG guy who figures out how to hang the work and manage the logistics of the collection, greeted us, and here is starting to show us around.

Victor Keen gave us the scoop on his collection, and wanted to hear from us about the Dumpster Divers as well.

We were rapt.

After the talk, there was time to look around some more and schmooze.

Many pictures were taken.

This shows only part of the radio and toaster collection:

Where would we be without the Theater of the Absurd?