Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Francisco Goya: an artist for the 21st Century

Living from 1746 until 1828, Goya had one foot in the 18th century, one foot in the 19th century, and one foot in the 21st century.  

The etching and aquatint above is called Bury Them and Keep Quiet.  By this time he wasn't giving any indication which side the bodies belonged to.  It didn't matter.  It was wonderful to see Witness: Reality and Imagination in the Prints of Francisco Goya at the Philadelphia Museum of Art today, as part of the group organized by Bill Brookover of Fleisher Art Memorial.  Bill is a printmaker and photographer, who teaches printmaking at Fleisher.  The curator of prints spoke to us, along with Bill's invaluable input.  

It was very special for me to see the actual prints from Goya's The Disasters of War series. I have had a small paperback book of the series, with good plates, since I was in high school. 

This one is called They've Already Got a Seat, (1797-98).  (Ya tienen asiento).  The label says "In the title, the word asiento can be translated as both seat and judgment, suggesting that the women are thinking with their bottoms."  I just like the surrealism of the upside down chairs.  (Sorry, I couldn't avoid my shadow on the glass.)

Ravages of War (Estragos de la Guerra, 1810-14), captures the precise moment of an explosion within a building.  It's amazing how something so horrible is portrayed with such beautiful composition - a cruciform shape. 

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (El sueno de la razon produce monstruos 1797-98) is one of Goya's most iconic etching and aquatints.  The label tells us that "His contemporaries would have recognized the watchful lynx and ominous bats and owls that swarm around the sleeping artist as symbols of ignorance and evil."  ..."this print epitomizes the prevailing message of the series, a warning of what happens in the world when reason is absent."  Surely a message for our time.

This photo was taken by Linda Dubin Garfield: Bill Brookover, me, Sandi Lovitz, and Edna Santiago, at the Goya prints exhibit.  I definitely plan to join in on any expeditions to print collections Bill has planned for the Fall. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Conversation": a ceramic mixed-media assemblage

They look like real seed pods.  They are ceramic!  I made then from real seed pods.  First the pods are dipped in paper clay slip.  The natural material itself burns out in the kiln, leaving a hollow paper clay cast, which is then coated with oxides and stains, and finally encaustic. It is called "Conversation".  The washboard was the perfect place for the pods to be in conversation with each other.  They are a particularly female shape, and the washboard is a particularly female artifact.  

A previous piece, "Untitled", uses paper clay, oxides, stains, and underglazes, encaustic, found objects (typewriter keys, marbles, glass, cymbals), and wooden box.

This was a first experiment with the technique, which was very exciting. 

I'm not done exploring this process yet!  I have a bunch of ceramic pine cones, and more material to dip as soon as Fall semester starts.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Gratitude: A new story plate

This is my recently finished story plate, titled Gratitude.  The silkscreened image is from a photograph I took when the Philadelphia Museum of Art re-opened its Eastern wing.  

The silkscreened image is actually baked into the clay.  It is not collaged on top of it.  This is in contrast to my earlier story plate, Ambivalence:

In Ambivalence, the vintage photograph and gold lapel pin are collaged on to the plate, with a final layer of encaustic.  

The mylar image of my photograph that was used to make the silk screen is here collaged to a clay monoprint:

I also silkscreened the image of the person meditating on to a clay monoprint:


I like the circle around the person's head, as well as the vine growing in the lace beneath. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Clay Monoprints: Dreams, Visions, and Alternate Realities

Harmonic Convergence is the title of this clay monoprint.  I can tell I made it while at Mitch Lyons Open Studio last June, because it makes use of his wonderful round piece of lace.  (Mitch is the founder/inventor/master of clay monoprinting.)  I must remember to use it again when I am there in August. 

The one above is called Other Solar Systems.  I haven't put the wooden strips on the backs of this batch yet, like this:

That is how they will hang in my upcoming solo exhibit at Pendle Hill, the Quaker Study and Retreat Center, (October 5, 2017 through February 1, 2018.)  Jesse White, the Director of the Pendle Hill Arts and Spirituality Program, who invited me to do this exhibit, advised me on a kind of glue for the wood strips that won't bleed through the substrate.  It's called Magna Tac-809, and I had not heard of it before.  Jesse is a book artist so knew about it, and it solved the logistical problem of hanging.  To hang like this, unframed, reminds me of Chinese scrolls or Tibetan Tankas.

This one is titled Jacob and the Angels.  I photographed this batch on my dining room floor.  I have taken several workshops over the years on "how to photograph your art,"  and recently have simplified.  I discovered that if I wait for a good sunny day at an optimal time and pull up the dining room blinds, that the room is flooded with natural light that is far better than the artificial flood light set up I used to do in my studio.  My iPhone camera is excellent.  I make a tripod by resting my elbows on my knees so it is stable. 

 Here's a further sampling of this batch:

 Kiss is one of several smaller ones.  It's fun to work with different sizes. 

Mitch charges  .09 cents per square inch.  It makes sense to charge by the square inch, and gives a freedom to have a variety of sizes without worrying about how to price them.  I will be charging .06 cents a square inch. 

Down the Shore:

Floating World:
This one is dedicated to the many happy hours I have spent watching leaves and blossoms fall into a stream and float along with the current.

 Guardian Angel:

Sea, Land, & Sky:

I'll post more later.  Tomorrow is the start of making a new batch!