Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Silvermine New Member Show

Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan, CT juries new artists twice a year. The following January, Silvermine hosts its New Member Show. I had the pleasure of attending the opening reception for the artists who juried in in 2010.

Actually, two other Silvermine artists and myself spent the reception guarding Connie Pfeiffer's pod/boat like copper installation to insure that no one tripped over it, walked into or through it or...gasp!...stepped on it.

Suspended from the ceiling by nearly invisible fine black wire, the sculptures swayed with the movement of air around them. 

The new members all exhibited two pieces. This is Connie's second installation. The shadow play held  me as spellbound as the work itself.

 Amy Bilden's installation involving knitting and rolled newspaper was another favorite. 

However, it was Amy's work combining nylons and concrete that had me fairly dancing in place with sheer joy and excitement at the idea of even working with such ordinary and contrasting materials.

Who would have thought nylon stockings with concrete poured in them could be so beautiful, so evocative? Not me certainly, but I must admit that this is my favorite piece in the show. Each time I've viewed it, something new has caught my eye - the stretch marks caused by the weight of the drying concrete are mysterious, yet remind me of batik marks where the smallest bit of dye crept inside the wax. 

If you follow the blog, you know that printmaking on fiber is a process that I enjoy dabbling in. I say dabbling because of not having been trained in it. Kerry Brock's monoprint is that of someone who knows what she is doing and is having a lot of fun in the process.

My photo does not do the piece justice. The layers of ink created a depth and texture that me wanting to reach inside the frame to touch what I knew must be organza. In conversation with Kerry, I learned that the white is not, nor was it created with, organza. Instead, she rolled ink on thin sheets of foam packaging and ran it through the press. The result is exquisite.

Anita Soos' simple charcoal lines on white paper stunning graphically and in its simplicity. I did find myself wondering what effect a black mat, rather than white, would have had on the piece. Too dark? Or would the white spaces have become that much more prominent? Either way, it is intriguing.

John Harris is an artist that I have had the pleasure of being in art shows with. While we never had booths next to each other, his water paintings were pieces that I always sought out in those few minutes before the show opened. As a person who loves water, it is safe to say that I can get lost in his paintings. Just standing in front of one for a few minutes before a show opened and the customers began their pursuit for art, was all that was needed to soothe my soul. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Storytelling revisited

Back in August and September, I worked on a large piece of black linen that I had painted with white acrylic and then set about composing a story within a story on by stamping within the outlines of stenciled letters. 

When the piece was complete, I hung it to view and live with for a bit. After a week or so, it just was not speaking to me. It seems, as so often happens, that the processes of printmaking and storytelling had been what had held me spellbound while working on it. 

One day I decided to follow my friend Pam's lead and cut it into smaller pieces. The roughly 4 ft x 6 ft piece rendered eighteen 11" and thirty 5" pieces. Again, I kept them hanging for a bit hoping that they would speak to me and tell me what came next. Unfortunately, that never seemed to happen so they were put away.

Since then, I have taken the pieces out to view and consider a number of times. What I found, even when they were displayed, was that the 5" pieces are more interesting. I find them more abstract, more mysterious as to what the whole might have been. Several times I have thought to cut the 11" pieces down to 5", but resisted doing so. Until last night.

When the large piece was originally cut down, I saved the remnants and was able to eek out another 4 pieces in addition to the 72 that the 18" pieces rendered. In total, there are now 106 5" pieces with 88 displayed. Not too bad for a couple hours work. And the ideas are now flowing as to what to do next with these little jewels.

Imagine stepping into an exhibition space to be greeted with one simple line of these pieces wrapped around all 4 walls. 

Imagine 5 or 7 accordion books stretched in varying lengths set on glass or plexiglass shelving so that books seem to float in mid-air. Imagine the shadows that could be created in either case. 

In my mind, it is all very Zen-like. Maybe place a bench or two in the exhibition space so visitors can sit and enjoy the peaceful, yet mysterious quality of the art and the space. 

Just imagine...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The view outside my studio window last Friday as I was completing my sketchbook. Just couldn't resist taking a few shots of the icicles.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sketchbook Project complete

Did you hear someone breath a big sigh of relief today? If so, it was probably me. I sent my sketchbook off to the Art House Co-op today for inclusion in The Sketchbook Project. Phew! Got it in just under the extended postmark deadline of January 18. 

It was actually a bit scary to put the sketchbook in an envelope and hand it to the post office clerk. Once she took it, there was no turning back. No changing my mind and deciding to keep it. No being afraid that no one will want to view it. And no worrying that those who do view it will wonder what the devil the artist thought she was doing. 

Yes. Those things ran through my mind and nearly kept the sketchbook from being sent along its merry way. However, I'd signed up to participate in the project to challenge myself and push myself out of my comfort zone and succeeded in doing both. 

While there were things that I'd planned to do with the sketchbook that didn't get done - like write a story with only one or two words on each page - I'm pleased with the way it turned out. The Art House Co-op will post digital photos of the full book, but I wanted to share some of my favorite parts. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's 2011 already

 Yikes! It's hard to believe that it's been two months since my last post. Time has alternately flown and dragged by, the holidays have been celebrated and we've even seen a new year in.

My absence from the art blogging world was not one of choice, but one of necessity. Since Thanksgiving I've been under the weather. Nothing serious, but enough to knock me out of commission for awhile. I'm blaming it on the fact that we have little ones - twin girls who will soon be 4 years old - who carry all their preschool germs home to me. While I love that they want to bring me things, preschool germs and viruses are something I can do without.

On to the real reason for this post. Since my last entry was about my trip to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, I thought I'd show you what I bought there.

I am now the proud owner of a Tricia Adler shoulder bag. Tricia's artist statement listed on the PMA Craft Show site says it best:

Recycled inner tubes from tractors, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles all have a place in my current work - designing handbags. The design process is intoxicating. As sections of cut and scrubbed inner tubes are manipulated one-of-a-kind handbags begin to materialize. The development of each new bag is informed by a spontaneous cut of the inner tube. Machine sewing, hand sewing, riveting, grommet setting and bolting are all construction methods employed. When applicable, surface design may consist of found objects, expired license plates and/or oil pigment. I delight in re-purposing materials usually destined for a landfill.

As someone who has been frequenting art shows for over 30 years and especially as an artist who did art shows until recently - was in the 2007 PMA Craft Show even - I'm very familiar with a lot of the work exhibited and tend to search out work not previously seen. The sheer graphic quality of Tricia's handbags held me spellbound. Several were calling my name and one finally came home with me.

Now, I must admit that the bag shown here is not the one originally purchased. That bag, her kangaroo bag, was one of the coolest ever. However, the opening proved too small for everyday use and I wanted to carry that bag every day. I found myself doing something I have never done - calling the artist and asking to exchange something.

Tricia was very gracious and agreed to make another bag for me. She'd sold out at the show! We discussed how the bag would be used - shoulder and cross body - and that fact that I love text. A couple weeks later the new bag arrived and it's perfect! Thank you Tricia!
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