Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ambiguity and form

I cannot seem to find any English info on artist Frauke Wilken but in truth her work needs little words. Her work is a beautiful and simultaneously grotesque exploration of the body, its fragility, impermanence and perhaps entrapment.

Her work has many similarities to Kiki Smith's in the use of materials, the human form, often in a fetal type position, and the balance of being incredibly beautiful while also repulsing you with its texture and construction methods.

However Frauke's work is much less narrative and self referential, perhaps more about the human experience as a whole instead of the psychological dilemmas of an individual.

At times her work also visually reminds me of Ernesto Neto's in her use of womb like shapes, shelters and the the pushing and pulling of the fabrics, but her work has none of the warmth and playful nature that Neto's has. It tends toward a cold alien energy.

For me her most successful works are the sculptures that are the most ambiguous and have just the slightest hint of recognizable human form. These are the most uniquely her own and the ones that feel the most resolved, they also happen to be her larger works.

She has also done some outdoor works, though visually interesting thy lack the austerity and the presence that her other works have.

I have really been enjoying works that are more minimal takes on narrative and to me her work manages this. See more of her work here.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Outsider artist Michel Nedjar was mentioned in a comment of a recent post and I thought his work worthy of posting about here. Generally I will admit I am not normally one that gets too excited about Outsider Art. I am one to be fascinated by craft or compelled by concept. When I do get inspired by outsider art it is usually of the obsessive variety... valuing the need and desire to make, the attraction to humble materials and the creative act.

I would not say Michel's work really falls into any of these categories but his series of "Poupees" are quite fascinating as they visually skirt the line of fetish or voodoo doll and trendy "plushy" toy. His use of color is lovely and his crude stitches are an interesting contrast to this.

His widely celebrated career, at this point, gives him the privilege of gallerist's and curators presenting his work in a contemporary and compelling ways. The below installation reminds me of a miniature version of a recent exhibit in NYC of the work of Nick Cave

His figures can be haunting and evoke a great sense of empathy as opposed to fear. Though for me he does not quite fit the idea of outsider art, he simply is not an academic artist.

See more of his work and read about him here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

stitch on.

I have begun to work on my newest piece and it feels so good.
But the fact that my wrist, totally unrelated to my work, has been killing me since Tuesday is putting a damper on my stitching plans.

I hope you get your stitch on today.

See a wonderful fiber friend and artist featured in the huffington post here.

billow me up.

I want to be somewhere soft and billowy so the 2010 project of design firm Nendo is right up my alley. They created these "lanterns" by blowing fabric like you blow glass. The result is a "soft & billowy" wonderland installation.

Their work was part of an exhibit at MAD a few years back. Read about the project here.

They did a similar line with color.

See more of their super awesome modern design inspired by small moments here.

Words from there concept page:

Giving people a small " ! " moment.
There are so many small " ! " moments hidden in our everyday.

But we don’t recognize them.
and even when we do recognize them,
we tend to unconsciously reset our
minds and forget what we’ve seen.

But we believe these small " ! " moments are what make our days so interesting, so rich.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I need your help. Who do you want interviewed? Please leave suggestion in the comments.

wrapped ritual

I am intrigued by the work of Anne Wolf, much of her work seems to reference ritual, time and fragility.

She has worked with these themes from making body parts out of old denim, inspired by her experience of pregnancy...

fiber earth works that reference ruins and loss...

to a series of wrapped figures which reference how different cultures perceive the same objects differently and value or undervalue ritual.

See more of her work here and read an artists statement for each project


I finally got some new drawings out. I glued together my projector so it is working again, fingers crossed that will last, and figured out how to darken my bathroom, which will work for small and medium sized works, and got 4 drawings. What??

I am so happy as now I can actually get some work done. I have really just been waiting around to get the drawings done so when I have the availability I can stitch. And starting in September I have real studio time built into my week again so expect seeing some progress.

The 2 above are from a new series of piles, these 2 are of many different kinds of cloth so I think once the detail of the textures and patterns are stitched in they will be really nice. I'm really looking forward to doing some more ambiguous but still narrative images.

another sleeper, I am actually hoping to get this done in a week so it can be part of my September show. My schedule is not totally supportive of that but... I have the entire weekend.

Its so nice to feel like I might actually get back to my work, it has been a weird summer.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Learning to knit"

Another stop motion that I had found to show my class about narrative. This one is both dark and hilariously simple. Follow this link to watch.

This exhibit was over 2 years ago but I never saw these images of the show and it looks like it was a really great one, with some wonderful artists. I was delighted to be included, take a look and peruse all the work. Now I have to get my website updated so that I can be invited to more exhibits. I have 2 more in the fall, one solo one museum group, and then nothing planned. So time to get back into the swing of things. I have so much new work and it has not gotten updated on my site, bad Joetta.

a wee little mention of me and my work here.

On other notes I actually got a drawing done for a new piece and am really planning on getting one more done today.

Friday, August 17, 2012

can we?

After all this debate of "can women have it all" based on the recent press it really gets one thinking can we and do we want to? I was recently speaking to a friend, unrelated to the articles, and we were chatting about life and stuff and we were speaking of how I have had a little break from my studio the last 2 months, still making but not to my normal productivity at all and how hard it is to balance economics, motherhood and my ambitions as an artist.

In the end we started to talk about choices, the reality, to me, is that everybody's life is about choices and built on choices and no, no one can "have it all." You can have parts of it all but you cannot have all of it all, not even super woman can... and maybe when you try to have it all you end up the most disappointed. In every moment we are making choices and decisions, accepting this leads you to a much happier life. Though we may bot be able to have it all we can love and have gratitude for the abundance in life that we do have.

I am looking forward to more abundance of studio time and more balance in my schedule come September.

the fabric of life...

Follow this link to watch a poignant little video, by Nour Deeb, about the trials of a daughter all done with fabric based stop motion animation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

40 under.

You can also find a plethora of inspiration while watching all the short videos on the artists participating in the 40 under 40 exhibition currently at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery. I have not gotten through them all but am loving them for sure.

Note fiber focused people like Jenny Hart, Cat Mazza and Sabrina Gschwandtner, Olek and Dave Cole!!

Watch Away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

do we really want it all?

So I am pretty much out of service all week as I am teaching 8 hour days each day this week.
But something to keep you busy is a really great collection of responses from mama art folks in regards to the recent article "Why Women Still Can't Have It All by Anne-Marie Slaughter, which is really long but very thought provoking.

The artists, curators and gallerists responses are quite interesting but it seems like few of these women including Ann-Marie have any concerns about money as the issues discussed are ones very much from privilege for the most part. I would be curious to hear some lower income voices.

Have fun reading and I will try to stop in but my schedule this week is nuts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

in the trees...

I want to discover one of these large scale doilies by Jennifer Cecere. Wouldn't it be great to be walking along and see one of these along your path!

Jennifer says this about her work "My life-long fascination with women’s work has found its way from the privacy of my studio into public settings. I think it’s really important to create a feeling of handmade craft in the city while reclaiming our forgotten traditions. "

You can see the power of that in these 2 installations in NYC.

She also has a very interesting series of furniture's....

See more of her work here.