Wednesday, June 29, 2011

simply handmade...

I was delighted to get a package from Simply Handmade in the mail yesterday as it included 2 copies of the current issue which includes a project of mine.

This sweet little magazine is essentially FULL of simpler and sweet ideas and instructions for hand made items. From embroidered art to felt cupcakes. So cool of you are looking for some creative inspiration. Get your copy!!!

"the search for lightness."

I always admire artists that can think big and even more so big in public environments. So much of public art consists of large metal objects that when an artist is able to work in the public sphere with unexpected materials I am excited. So when I got a link to an article on public artworks in the San Francisco airport I was pumped to see the work of Janet Echelman, a NY based artist.

Janet makes HUGE net like sculptures, generally supported by metal armatures, that live in and respond to the environment. They move through the air, change with the light, support snow, get wet in the rain, and often invite public interaction.

On her website it states:

Janet Echelman builds living, breathing sculpture environments that respond to the forces of nature — wind, water and light— and become inviting focal points for civic life. Exploring the potential of unlikely materials, from fishing net to atomized water particles, Echelman combines ancient craft with cutting-edge technology to create her permanent sculpture at the scale of buildings. Experiential in nature, the result is sculpture that shifts from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.

The quote she has on her artist statement is perfect for her powerful work:

“…the search for lightness is a reaction to the weight of living.”
– Italo Calvino

In order to understand the impressive scale of her work you need to visit her website and look through the images- it is pretty much amazing.

She also has given a recent TED talk titled "Taking Imagination Seriously."

see more of her work here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ripped, torn, and taped.

I have always love the work of the Starn Brothers, Mike and Doug Starn, ever since I saw their crinkled, dusty, taped together photographs in undergrad. Recently I was looking at a galleries website and got reminded of their work and was inspired once again.
They take the risk to print on unusual fibers and papers, cut it, fold it, crumple it up and then see what happens. They started doing this before really any one else did and where the pioneers of having it accepted in the art world and photography world.

Their work often has a simplicity of composition, especially recent work of leaves and snowflakes, with the subject, highly detailed and centered, (using a specialized camera) floating in white or black space. The risk to be so simple is admirable and in reality not simple at all.
In a way you could see their work much like a visual quilt with how they use multiples, repetition, and the square as frame.and they are never afraid to play with scale....

or experiment with technique.

printed on tile in the transit system buildings.

one other way they are pioneers in the art world is that they are one of the first artists of their level to choose to represent themselves instead of be confined by the umbrella of a blue chip gallery. Therefore they truly control their identities as artists.

See more of their incredible work here.

triple bummer

Here is a detail of one of the works for my show in August at Assemble Gallery. It is moving along very well, which is good as I have one more embroidery to get done and would like to get another piece done- essentially a rag rug. So we will see if I have bitten off too much.

The show would be a total success if I only hang the "love letters" pieces and the 6 image embroideries but would prefer to have a title piece and the rug installation as it would elevate it to something else. So fingers crossed that I can get it all done. Also fingers crossed that the lil' man takes a long nap so I can get to work.

Sadly, I am no longer going to be at the opening. Plane tickets are outrageous right now and currently we are not in a position to look at our finances lightly so... we decided we could not do it. This is so disappointing as I would have loved to have seen the show, met the community, and the wonderful ladies that run the space. And to make it a triple bummer we were also planning on attending a friend from grad schools wedding and seeing C's parents while we were there. So :(((

But oh well. It means more time for me to work in the studio during August.

Monday, June 27, 2011

in space...

Judy Pfaff is most know for her large scale, "wild," site specific installations. She works with pretty much everything available to her from tree stumps to car hoods and re-shapes and contextualizes them into gorgeous, often celebratory, and usually quite colorful sculptures.

I have had the privilege of hearing Judy speak in a somewhat intimate setting and was totally inspired by her incredible personality, honesty, bravado in the studio, and frankness about her life. She also is a very generous person.
I have also known someone who worked with her as a studio assistant and pretty much could not say enough kind things about her.

But... I never really connected with her work as it was huge, metal, abstract works. Recently I came across her work again and was intrigued to look further and am totally digging it. As I look at her more known works I see, instead of what she is using, the incredibly diverse textures she creates as well as the use of color and space.

and in her new 2d works there is a sensibility that could easily be translated to fiber with her use of color, collage, texture, and the line.

In ways these new works remind me visually of Vadis Turner's recent exhibit but have a different and more aggressive sensibility.
Roberta Smith once said that Judy is "a collagist in space.” I love that and agree as even in her 2d work there is such an incredible sense of space. One that is totally inspiring.

I love how she takes risks in her material choice and perhaps want to give myself that permission too.

See more here.

sigh of relief.

Kathryn Swanson's birds de-installed.

Yesterday and a some of today is all about de-installing Play. Normally the de-installation of a show feels like a total bummer as there is all that hard work that has been done and then it disappears. But this de-install feels a little different perhaps for a few reasons; one of which is that all the hard work has been preserved in such a beautiful catalog, or because I know that there will be another show, but I think the biggest reason is ME.

ME meaning over the last year I have curated A LOT and I beyond love it, it is so satisfying and rewarding and wonderful but... with the little babe my time is so valuable and I feel like my own work has been a bit neglected in the process. I have not been able to focus as much on my studio practice as I would like. Even though I have managed to still produce a number of works I feel like the focus is what has been missing. So I am really looking forward to not feeling so spread out mentally and being able to zone in on my process. I am hoping in enables me to push my work further. I also am planning on opening my doors for some studio visits too for some discourse and critique on my work.
The reality is that I need to make, make, make as I have 3 solo show on the next 18 months and a large group show. AKA I need more work.
So when the last package is taped shut later today I will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Friday, June 24, 2011

sweet simplicity....

Artist Mari Andrews work is sweet and simple. Much of her work consist of small scale sculptures installed together on a wall.

Her medium is as simple as and natural materials from lichen and leaves to paper and beads. All gathered through the process of obsessive collection.

To me, her sculptures totally make me think of Louise Bourgeois' drawings particularly the ones chronicled in the book Drawings and Observations. They have the same simplicity and rawness of line.

In addition it seems Mari is also attracted to the form and shape of the web. Perhaps she is more drawn to it as an object then a metaphor. But much like LB, Mari is inspired by the fragility in life.

Her statement says:

Time spent gathering, cleaning and storing of collected objects, whether they are man-made or natural, allows for a kind of wonder and intimacy with each object. This gleaned information is crucial while combining materials to make new, hybrid forms.

Structures of all kinds from cellular and mineral to plant and skeletal, inform the work. The pieces become a collaboration of materials and intention, with the materials often altering my concept and practice of working. Various temporal and delicate objects I elect to work with often mirror our human sensitivities and vulnerabilities.

See more here.

want to...

I want to stitch, stitch, stitch. What do you want to do today?

Last chance to see Play is this weekend and Last chance to see LB.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The BQE as my backdrop.

I spent last night on a rooftop lit by candlelight, the subway and the BQE as our backdrop, at a private concert for about 20 people. It was a truly Brooklyn only awesome night. It made me appreciate and love this exact moment in my life.

Therefore I was happy to be heading to the studio all morning and into the afternoon in to work on preserving this moment of life in my art. T was having fun over at a friends and I was happily alone, sitting quietly stitching, with NPR as my soundtrack, and the BQE as my view, again.

Just to translate. The last 24 hours have been good.

Just for you non new yorkers the BQE is also known as the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and is one of the lifelines in of the city.

the mundane given reverence

some interesting work by artist Nicola Ginzel currently on view at Heskin Contemporary in NYC.

an excerpt from her statement:

My work is based on the transformation of random ephemera gathered from the everyday. Through the process of transformation the original meaning of the object changes.

...I combine the old with the new. The hand is evident upon things mass-produced and machine made. Craftsmanship is a byproduct of my meditative and intuitive approach.

The press release states:

...She then embroiders these massed-produced items creating beautiful significant hand-made artworks. Through the process of covering the original meaning, the object then changes completely. The mundane, that served a particular function at one time or another, is given place and reverence, transcending its identity; in essence contrary to Pop Art.

The act of sewing by hand is intimate, meditative and nurturing. It slows down time and creates a quiet space. It is an act that is close and in everyway opposite to the pace and demands of mainstream culture.

Lovely. I will have to try to see the work next week before the exhibit ends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

hey philly!!

I am very excited to announce that I will be teaching a workshop in Philadelphia this July at Rittenhouse Needlepoint. It is a 2 hour version of my photo embroidery class and is going to be oh so fun. On the very day they announced it they had folks sign up so for those of you in Philly sign up fast as the class has limited space.

Get all the info here.

The fabric works.

I loved the 3 dimensionality, simplicity, and innovative use of sewing box materials

I made it over to Chelsea last Friday to check out the Louise Bourgeois exhibit before it comes down this Saturday. So you have a few days left to check it out. We barely made it there before the sky's opened and hailed. But all was well as we made it into the haven on the gallery and took our time looking at the inspiring work on the walls.

a strength of the work for me was the combination of fabrics from used cotton bed sheets to silk swatches.

This exhibit at Cheim and Read is a highly edited selection of LB's fiber works. The press release states:
Her works on fabric are emblematic of certain themes: marriage, motherhood, sexuality, femininity, domesticity. This focus on the familial results in work of intense psychological complexity, exposing relationships and hierarchies related to female identity and its opposite (male/female, mother/father, organic/geometric, rigid/pliable). Coinciding with an inclination, at old age, to stay closer to home, Bourgeois’s late fabric works provide a sense of introspection – her wardrobe and linen closet became representative of memory. As Bourgeois has stated, “Clothing is…an exercise of memory. It makes me explore the past…like little signposts in the search for the past.” The re-appropriation of her husband’s handkerchiefs, stained tablecloths and napkins, and worn dresses from all phases of her life infuses the work with a confessional, talismanic aura.

I enjoyed the installation especially of her web sewn works. One installation of more graphics works and simple palettes was hung salon style creating interesting relationships.


The other series of webs, with pinks and blues as the dominant palette, were hung in a close together row. I like this installation too as you experienced much like a book. Taking in each piece individually but also in relationship to each other.

my favorite piece.

a detail shot of one of the vitrines on view.

You can see installation shots here and read the entire press release.
Go be inspired