Friday, November 29, 2013

Up-Cycled Library Card Pockets: the first 12 of 60

I can't remember how this passion started.  I know it has been fueled by gifts of discarded card pockets from a friend over many months.  I'll take this first batch of 60 to Da Vinci Art Alliance tomorrow for the Holiday Exhibit.  We're taking down our Deep Six exhibit in the morning, so I'll be there anyway.  We're still Deep Six, even though the show is coming down.  

These are the twelve larger size card pockets, front and back and then back and front.  When we moved, there were certain books that I didn't pack because they were too old and the print too small to comfortably read.  But I saved the covers, which are treasures. It's hard to believe that William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience was once 50 cents!  It feels right that some of those book covers have found their way to these otherwise discarded library card pockets.

I have made use of fragments of my monoprints and hand-made paste paper, and anything else at hand. The window with the fabric blowing in it is from a photograph I took in San Miguel de Allende.  The nude seen from the back is from my photo etching.

These photos aren't the greatest, but I just wanted to document the pockets for myself, to  remind myself.  I felt emboldened to do it by John Benigno's class on Photographing Your Own Artwork.  His guidance about a tripod is "use it."  I took his advice.  I will post # 13 - 60 in the next day or two.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gallery Sitting Adventures

My new iPad was loaded with free books and I had earbuds for my music. Pieces of the Sunday New York Times that are delivered on Saturday, as well as the Sunday funnies from the Philly Inquirer, also delivered on Saturday, were stuffed in my bag. I was prepared to gallery sit our show at Da Vinci Art Alliance yesterday from 12:00 - 5:00.

Here's how it went:

- A neighborhood guy came in with a large white poodle, saying he (and the dog) came in frequently.  I hoped the dog didn't wag it's tail too close to the pedestal on which one of my assemblages was perched. The man was chatty and very nice.  I ignored the early afternoon alcohol on his breath and was relieved when he and the dog left.

- A couple came in looking for John Benigno's workshop on Photographing Your Own Artwork.  I explained that the workshop had been the previous Sunday, and invited them to see the show.  They said "we already saw it".  I asked their names so I could tell John they were looking for his workshop.  They ignored my question and left.

- A Da Vinci member came to get an ornament to decorate for the upcoming Holiday Show.  She saw that Sally Willowbee and I had given a presentation together, and said "I knew her parents."  I said I did too, from the Martin Luther King School for Social Change, where Sally's father, George Willoghby,  had been my teacher in 1967-69 and afterwards.  Small world.  You live long enough and so much comes full circle...

- A Da Vinci member and her husband came in to leave work for the member's Holiday Exhibit because they were going to be out of town on the actual delivery date.  I was touched by how moved they were by my work.  She said, "I look at your work and feel that I know you."  

- My friend Andrea Snyder stopped in after a book arts event.  It was a great time to visit, and to both my surprise and hers, she joined the Da Vinci Art Alliance co-op.  

- I managed to read a chunk of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I wouldn't have bought it or gotten it from the library, but since it was a free download I decided to read it.  I think I appreciate it more now than if I had read it when I was younger.

- A man came in, didn't want to talk, looked around for less than ten minutes and left.

- David Foss, the Gallery Director, and I had a chance to actually visit together.  We have much in common with our love of and our memory for and collection of visual images.

- There was no interest on any visitor's part in buying any of the fabulous work in the exhibit. I did get to read the Sunday funnies however.  Such is the life of an artist...

The Deep Six gang:  Mikel Elam, John Benigno, Sheldon Strober, Susan Richards, Melvin Chappell, and Rex Sexton

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Main Line Art Center's Re-Opening Bash!

Main Line Art Center's grand re-opening earlier tonight was a fabulous community party!  I wanted to get my face painted, but the line was soooo long.  You can see why!  The newly expanded and remodeled studio spaces were gorgious - and never will be so pristine again now that classes will resume on-site.  It had been a scramble to try to keep classes ongoing off-site for the last six months during construction.

The official ribbon cutting and thank-you speeches were brief after which the crowd swarmed into the galleries for the Members' Exhibition Reception and to check out the new spaces.  It looked like a great show, but I'll have to go back later to really see the art it was so mobbed.  My collograph Betrayal is in the show, as is work by John Benigno, my fellow Deep Sixer.

Demos were going on in various studios.  Here is Andrea Snyder, one of MLAC's talented instructors, showing how collograph plates are made and printed:

Main Line Art Center has only one working press, but we love it.  It is the only one around without going into Philly. Andrea demos with such panache.

It was great to see friends I hadn't seen in a long time, like Gwynned Jackson, who is now volunteering with MLAC!

Not only does Main Line Art Center have great classes for adults, but also for children, teens, and families. They are renowned for their outreach programs to people of all ages with developmental disabilities and special needs including blind and visually impaired.

I'm proud to be a member of Main Line Art Center.  Tonight's bash was a great neighborhood happening!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dynamic Duo: Allora & Calzadilla

What a great talk tonight by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia!

"Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla have been collaborating since 1995, exploring ideas of authorship, nationality, borders, democracy, and global society. They utilize sculpture, photography, video, performance, and sound to create metaphors and experiments that explore the relationship between an object and its meaning."

Tonight they traced one thread of their collaboration: that of the role of music in human culture.  They showed clips from several of their videos, including one of a flutist playing the oldest instrument in the world, a flute made from a vulture bone, 35 million years old, while a vulture watched, listened, and seemed to respond to the sound.  They posit that Homo Sapiens survived over Neanderthal Man because they had music to connect them communally. 

It was a very stimulating talk.  Thanks to for choosing it as one of its picks!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ingenuism : just what is it, and who?


I was glad to see this exhibit yesterday at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens on South Street.  We had just finished hanging the DEEP SIX show at Da Vinci Art Alliance.  I was nearby and wanted to catch this last exhibit of the Coalition Ingenu Self-Taught Artists' Collective before Robert Bullock, the moving spirit behind it,  moves to Florida.

"Coalition Ingenu is a nonprofit organization promoting artwork by
self-taught creative individuals with histories of homelessness,
unique mental conditions, or other extraordinary circumstances
precluding them from equal opportunity or ability to promote themselves."  "
Autodidactic: having skills or knowledge acquired through one's own efforts. Ingenuism: A style of art that is honest and personal, without restraint, reserve, or dissimulation," says their literature.

It was a thought provoking juxtaposition with the six of us who had just put the DEEP SIX exhibit together.  Although we don't fit the definition of 'extraordinary circumstances', we all I think strive for a style of art that is honest and personal, without restraint, reserve, or dissimulation. Our styles are all very different yet the exhibit has a cohesion and unity that is powerful. I think the connecting thread is that definition of Ingenuism: art that is honest and personal, without restraint, reserve, or dissimulation.   And that, I hope, is what people will see and respond to when they come to the opening tomorrow, or any time the exhibit is up through November 29th!