Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Tomorrow will be the third day of a four day senior art camp, sponsored by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. Don Stephens, above, teaches our drawing class. It's at the Horticultural Center, which is a beautiful and conducive setting. Last year was my first year, and I took watercolors. It's the same teacher this year, so I'll go over and say hello. It's a major social event. Everyone keeps running into people they know from other times and other contexts.
It's fun for everyone.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Theartblog.org's motto is "Made in Philadelphia, read in Beijing, Brooklyn, and Berlin." Their presence in Philadelphia goes a long way towards creating the 'community' part of the Philly arts community! Yesterday, along with my friend Susan Turkel, we went on one of their Art Safaris, first to the Arthur Ross Gallery to see contemporary African American artist Willie Cole's exhibit, "ON SITE," and then to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Both venues are part of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Arthur Ross Gallery is housed in the Fine Arts Library building, interesting architecturally in itself.
We were a small group, and got the red carpet treatment from the Director of the Ross Gallery, Lynn Marsden-Atlass. She gave us back story tidbits from her conversations with Willie Cole, and insights about the work that would have been missing if I had seen the exhibit on my own.
These two pieces, called "Chaos" and "Order" make use of high heels.
Cole has truckloads of shoes, especially high heels, among his supplies. We were told that after a full day in the studio, he spends the evening with his family, and then returns to the studio around 11:00 pm and as a sketch, will rubberband groups of shoes together. If he still likes it the next day, he will attach them together permanently. These two were done that way:
I especially like the one below, called Louise in Heels. He did confirm to Lynn that it is hommage to Louise Nevelson.
Here is Louise Nevelson's Sky Cathedral, one of her all-black wood constructions:
I love what he captured of her in Louise in Heels!
Just as shoes "keep the shape, sweat, and smell of the person who wore them," so do water bottles "contain the individuals' DNA (breath, spit, and soul)."
This large water-bottle structure hovered over the center of the Gallery - more like a giant floating jelly fish than a 'chandelier'. Students helped assemble it, inserting an image printed on mylar of a man with his hands up, a target on his chest, in each water bottle.
As a Dumpster Diver I feel a kinship Willie Cole's upcycling of discarded objects, and am in awe of his ability to transform ordinary things into magical and numinous art.
I was not much impressed or moved by the Myths of the Marble international group exhibit at ICA (The Institute of Contemporary Art). It was interesting, in terms of artists' exploration of virtuality. No surprise most of them are young. It was however my first experience of wearing a virtual reality headset. (My grandson would have said "cool!" For me it was a lot of hype over not much.) The discussion by the staff person was helpful, but sometimes felt like trying to spin dross into gold.
The exhibit upstairs, with paintings by Ginny Casey and sculptures by Jessi Reaves was more satisfying. Casey's paintings have a surreal edge to them:
It was a great afternoon, thanks to theartblog's Art Safari!
Saturday, June 10, 2017
"Monoprint Mania", the first day of a five-day intensive, was a lot of fun. The black and white and red part of my print above was done in the morning, taught by Andrea Snyder. The colored glazes were added in the afternoon module, taught by Christine Staughton.
I love how Christine always references art history in her teaching. I made the monoprint landscape above inspired by the monoprints of Degas that she showed us. I was sorry to have missed the exhibit at MoMA last year of Degas' monoprints, but at least there are online images. Here is an Autumn Landscape by Degas, (1890):
I did go to the second day of the intensive: paste paper, gelli plates and more, taught by Meg Kennedy. Two days were enough. I needed the rest of the time to prepare to meet with Jesse White, the Director of Arts and Spirituality at Pendle Hill, the Quaker Study Center, who had asked me to have a solo exhibit of my clay monoprints from October 5, 2017 - February 1, 2018, in their Tree Rooms Gallery. It's exciting, and I'll be busy all summer with a different kind of printmaking! It was good to start the summer though with 'Monoprint Mania', as I gear up for clay monoprinting.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Melvin Chappell and I had a very exciting day at the Whitney Biennial in New York city last Wednesday. The new building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has so many terraces and lookout spots, it is a fun photo-op in itself.
I love Larry Bell's six laminated glass cubes, Pacific Red II, 2017.
Here is Melvin, shooting me through the glass:
They can be seen from the terrace above, but don't give any indication of what it is like to actually look through them when you are next to them! It has to be experienced.
This site-specific installation by Raul de Nieves also plays with reflections. Born in 1983 in Morelia Mexico, he presently lives in Brooklyn.
We were there at the perfect time on a sunny day to get the full effect of reflections on both floor and walls. The "stained glass" panels were made using paper, wood, glue, tape, beads, and acetate sheets.
Some of these are costumes the artist uses in his performances.Here is this figure from the back:
The figure in white has an interesting face:
Its hands are fascinating, as is the pattern of the yarn.
The orange one is placed on a mirror as can be seen in the person's upside-down reflection. It's hard to tell where the artwork ends and the reflection begins!
We took a break for lunch and a walk on the Highline. This was visible very near the Whitney entrance to the Highline:
This intriguing wall poster, mural really, was almost completely removed by the time we walked back. You still can get a feeling for it at this stage.
The Highline was beautiful as always, and so well maintained:
This view looks back towards the Whitney, showing its silhouette:
The Whitney itself likes to play with reflections. We shot this from an indoor lookout platform, until we were so dizzy we had to stop. It is especially fun when the traffic below is moving, and reflected upside down.
The work below is by KAYA, a collaborative: painter Kerstin Bratsch, sculptor Debo Eilers, and a girl named Kaya, who was 13 when they began working together in 2010. It had many very large hanging tapestry-like pieces, which were somewhat dark, and included body bags as part of its mixed media. Even the docent called them "creepy." But very beautifully creepy! I focused my shots on details, the glimmers of beauty amidst the darkness.
This one cast an interesting shadow on the wall:
Henry Taylor had many important and wonderful works in the exhibit. Most of the publicity went to "The Times Thay Aint A Changing Fast Enough" (2017), which shows the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in his car by a Minnesota Police officer.
This one is called "The Fourth" (2012-17). Were it not for the docent talk, I would not have known that the building in the background is a prison, and the rooftop the place the prisoners exercise, which makes its meaning more mysterious.
Horses appear in Henry Taylor's imagery repeatedly. I am especially fond of this painting:
We managed three docent tours during the day, two on the Biennial, and one on the accompanying exhibit Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s with selections from the permanent collection, which was great history and context for the Biennial. Melvin has made me a believer in docent tours!
It was a very happy, if exhausting, day. Here we are in front of a painting by Aliza Nisenbaum.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
My work was all packed up and ready to take to Old City Jewish Art Center to hang my part of DEEP SIX: Harmony in Diversity.
I made an elaborate color-coded chart as I was packing up my 15 pieces, to remind myself which pieces fit in which bin. It is a puzzle, and I'd never be able to repack easily without the chart.
All six of us converged on the gallery last Sunday evening, each hanging their work in a particular area so each artist's work has cohesion internally, yet remains in dialogue with the work on other walls. One wall is a mix of all six of us.
Mikel Elam is hanging a new body of work, completed for Harmony in Diversity :
John Benigno, assisted by his wife Chris, is hanging his stunning black and white photographs. Who knew nails could go both in brick and in mortar? The walls are beautiful, but I wouldn't have thought art could be easily hung on them. Somehow it works...
Sheldon Strober hangs both his paintings and his photographs. Melvin Chappell, in the foreground, is hanging his photographs. The gallery floors are beautiful as well as the walls.
Rex Sexton's work looks awesome. Although he passed away in 2015, his work is still very much part of DEEP SIX, lovingly exhibited by his wife Rochelle Cohen.
Some of my three dimensional work is in a glass case in front of a window, which gives it protection along with good visibility.
We first exhibited together in November of 2013 at Da Vinci Art Alliance. Here we are standing in front of Rex's work, only a few years ago:
We re-united in August of 2016, and Harmony In Diversity is the result.
Rex's wife Rochelle is now a DEEP SIXER. (John's wife Chris is also in this photo, taken at the Artists and Craftsmen store in Chestnut Hill that Mikel manages. Sheldon wasn't able to make it that day.)
Now it's hung and the opening reception is two days away! I was hoping for a balmy Spring evening to attract First Friday strollers in Old City. Rain is predicted during the day, but fortunately it will only be 'cloudy' by evening. Nothing will dampen our spirits!