Wednesday, September 28, 2011

farmer Joetta.

I am heading to my friends farm in Massachusetts for a few days, they live a lifestyle with no internet and no t.v. So I will be on a technology sabbatical. Should be lovely.

I will be back on bright and early, or not, next week with a review on the Nick Cave exhibit here in NYC and an interview with the artist Deeann Rieves and much, much more. Enjoy your week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


my sweet boy dancing in the sun light.

Yesterday I spent 6 long luxurious hours alone in my studio. Heaven. I got a ton of work done as much in my head as by my hands.

I had to spend some of the time tweaking and doing final touches on a few pieces that need to be ready for shows next month. One of which is my piece exhausted, I have decided to extend the lace patterning from the afghan onto the supporting sheet. In one place I am cutting shapes out of the sheet and in others embroidering them on. It is a subtle addition/subtraction but I think will make the work that much stronger.

I also worked on this piece, which is surprisingly close to being finished, as far as the embroidery goes, then we get to the applique process.

Oh if only there were 2 of me and I could be in the studio all day long every day and still be hanging with my boy all day. I know we all wish that.

I was reminded of this post today where I listed some of my favorite art quotes.

what comes next...

The first of a series, The Wig Project, which will be over-sized wigs inspired by the child's play of dress-up. I love the potential of the performative here.

I am interested in the work by Jessie Vogel who I gather is currently in gradate school. I feel like the work on her site shows this moment in ones career. I feel a little confused by her work as there seems to be lacking a cohesion from one piece or series to another and I personally like to be able to see the connections from series to series. But when I realized that she is in graduate school I got excited, to me this a time when many artists, including myself, really are forced to find their voice and solidify who they want to be as an artist.

Jessie's work has an incredibly powerful use of texture and often color. She also is obviously not afraid to take some risks and combine materials and mediums. I think putting all of this together in a cohesive voice has the potential to be great. To me this is what a good graduate school should do for you. So I am excited to see what comes next for Jessie.

I love her use of sculptural materials with the softness of fibers and her work titled Pretty/Baby Sister is by far one of my favorites on her site.

She states this on her website:

The inspiration for most of my work comes from my love of textures and the tactile abilities of various mediums. I like using the sense of touch or relating to it, to harness memories and emotions that are personal and fundamental. Memories of loss, feelings of loneliness, and pure frivolity are three of my favorite themes to work into my concepts. I find that the human condition often combines dark emotions with surprisingly light and comical ways in which to express them. The same is true for one of my favorite art forms, folklore. I am fascinated by the way children’s stories and other lore can be surprisingly dark and foreboding but we are left with light and fantastical memories of them...

Making me think a little a la Kimberly Hart but also some Annette Messeger vibe.

I like her series that is essentially sculptural clothing, she paints fabric with oil paint.

For me, these act as an interesting take on a portrait and have a lot of potential as an idea.

She has also made some interesting paintings with fiber.

See more of Jessie's work here. I have a feeling her thesis show is going to be one to see.

Friday, September 23, 2011

home within home.

Earlier this week I headed to Chelsea to check out a few much anticipated shows 2 of them deserve the time of their very own post and the first of which is Home within Home by Korean, but long time living in America, artist Do Ho Suh. As I discussed in a previous post Do Ho Suh explores themes of home, especially connected to the experience of the immigrant.

His work deals with issues of displacement, cultural identity, and how this affects ones experience of space.

Fallen Star 1/5 is set up as the center piece of the show. It is awe inspiring in its careful replication of Do Ho Suh's 2 homes; one in Korea and the first one he had in America in Rhode Island. The press release describes the work:

Fallen Star 1/5 reflects a chapter within a fairytale-like story that Suh constructed to depict his journey from Korea, in which he described feeling “as if he was dropped from the sky.” In this narrative, a tornado lifts Suh and his Korean home, transporting him to the U.S. where the tornado then drops him and the house on a building in Providence. The work depicts this crash and the fusion of the two homes. As Suh has said of the work, “It’s my personal journey from Korea to the U.S. and the story of the house that came along with me, or brought me here.” Home within Home depicts Suh’s attempt to search for the perfect home.

The piece is incredibly interesting to look at with all the minute details but beyond that falls a little flat for me. The miniaturized doll house affect of the work neutralizes the story for me a little too much and lacks the soul of previous works by Do Ho Suh.

For me Home within a Home, which is installed alone in a back room of the gallery, is much more successful. With photo sensitive resin Do Ho Suh constructs his Korean home seamlessly into his Providence home. The piece glows like ghost of memory. It appears fragile but also indestructible- an interesting dichotomy. I also like the poetry of the piece and wish that maybe the violence of Fallen Star could be bigger to create a more powerful contrast between the 2 works.

From press release:
...Home Within Home are merged together, and it is not clear whether the artist’s Korean home has grown inside of his Providence home or if the Providence home is swallowing the Korean home. Walls and doors have been cleared in the Korean home to make the spaces between the two houses more porous. The work is dissected into four quadrants made of translucent resin, each quadrant raised and pulled apart so that the audience can walk through.

I was of course drawn to the fiber work in the exhibit, he has done a number of large scale installations with transparent fabric before, but in this installation he singles out objects from his NYC home. They act as vignettes of home. I was particularly attracted to them as I am currently starting to work on 4 pieces that are based on "Still Lives" of my home.

Do Ho Suh's work is always impressive and though this is not the most powerful work I have seen of his it is well worth the trek to Chelsea.

fly on the wall.

Yesterday in a comment a reader interested in understanding my work better asked:

Why are you always depicting yourself and others as sleeping/laying down? As your work is autobiographical, it seems like a way to disconnect yourself from the person/the emotion. There is no communication or eye contact. Like a fly on the wall - looking on but not getting involved.

waking with you in which the figures eyes are open and gazing towards the open space of the bed, this space is filled with text that refers to the yearning for a lover, so in essence she gazes at that absent lover.

Partially my answer is that currently I am working on a series of sleeping figures for a solo show next fall and therefore the last 3 pieces and at least 5 more will be of this subject. This series was inspired by the process of making waking with you... (above) and being very attracted to the sprawled position of the sleeping body how it simultaneously is angelic and crucified in shape, peaceful and deathlike in presence, therefore having a strong dichotomy much as the bed does. These particular pieces are less about the individual and more about the sleeping form specifically and the vulnerable of the in between that we are in as "Sleeper." Both the top piece and gaze were also made with this show in mind.

detail of touch.

I disagree with the statement that there is no communication- if their are 2 subject matters there is always an interaction of either touch or gaze. My work is about intimacy not communication, partially because communication of some kinds can actually create confusion and conflict where as touch is to me the most honest form of interaction. My work is specifically about what happens in between the day to day interaction and in moments where we lack inhibition. For example how a husbands hand might rest on his wifes back while he sleeps, or perhaps instead he turns away and creates distance between them.

I prefer the figure at rest as they again are more vulnerable in this moment. When one is lounged and at rest this is when they are they are the least self-conscious but also is the easiest time to harm them. Therefore another interesting moment of conflict and contradiction.

this piece is titled gaze as the mother gazes at her child.

I have absolutely done a number of images with the figures eye open and a few where they are not laying down. Often the eyes are down cast gazing at the "other" this is hard to see in images of the work but is evident in the work itself. I have no problem with including open eyes but those eyes should not necessarily have eye contact with you, the viewer, as your are glimpsing into a moment, as the viewer you are not part of the moment and I have no interest in implicating you- if I did so the intimate interaction of the figures or the individual would be invaded.

in each image the father and child look at each other, this image being very much about their gaze.

Generally I do not have the figures looking at each other as, so far, the work has been more about one figure and the "other" not the "couple." I do not see this as something that will not change and have actually thought about it a number of times and have done a few pieces where this is not the case... perhaps this is a direction that I may go but I still doubt the figures would be making eye direct contact much. In reality most of us avoid it during moments of intimacy and deep exchange as it becomes too intense. For instance in tantra they have you look at your lovers eyes- stare into their eyes for long periods before you ever do anything else. The reason they have you do this is because generally we do not- we avoid this level of knowing each other. So if I am honest about the current state of intimacy- there is often a little loneliness within love.

a piece where both figures have open eyes, the male stares directly out of the picture distancing him. But it is titled the touch as to me the most telling moment in the image is how the female's hands touch the man trying to bring him back in.

I plan 2 large scale images of a couple interacting on the couch but most likely at least one figure will still be lounged. In my experience this is when we are intimate; on the couch, in the bed, on the floor, on the green grass - these are the quite moments. I do feel these moments can also happen at a table over a meal but the meal and table comes with a lot of metaphorical baggage that has nothing to do with what I am talking about so it has not been explored yet.

to me this image communicates a lot through the hand touching the baby belly, it is about that interaction that form of communication between the 2 beings.

I also am deeply interested and inspired by the place of the bed in our life. This place where we spend so many hours and experience such depth of emotion from intimacy, pleasure. birth, to joy as well as sadness, loneliness, illness, and death- it, the place of the bed, encapsulates so much of the complexity of human life that I feel confident that it will continue to inspire and inform my work.

see my project waking with you, in which I photographed my bed every day for over 6 months.

"Like a fly on the wall - looking on but not getting involved. "
The work is a portrait of a moment. I, as the viewer and the artist have no interest in getting involved, it is not a statement for change. I simply want to document and love the moment. I am a fly on the wall -watching life.

a rare image of a standing figure. I have started others but never am inspired enough to finish.

I hope this helps you understand my work better and maybe even appreciate it more. Thanks for asking it was interesting to think about.

Check out more of my work at my site.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

hey manhattanites!!!

Speaking of the Textile Arts Center...earlier this week I went to check out their brand new space in Manhattan and it is awesome. It is a classic NYC storefront with a brick walls and a long thing lay-out so will be a very cozy place to take classes. They offer very intimate weaving classes, aka lots of personal attention, and a number of offerings such as embroidery, sewing, crochet.....

The space is gorgeous, they are still getting it set up so excuse the mess of the pictures,

It has huge bright store front windows and is just steps away from Washington Square on a bustling street.

They have their grand opening this weekend and I start teaching their in October. I have a feeling classes will be filling up once the word gets out.

So take a class with me in October I will be teaching Autobiographical Embroidery.

Autobiographical Embroidery with Joetta Maue - Glean from daily observation to create a one of a kind personal artwork by creating a visual "diary sampler" of embroidery stitches, incorporating abstraction and pattern or confessional writing and images. The "diary" of stitches will be explored as a daily act and observation. We will discuss the creative use of diaristic writing and daily life documentation, while looking at examples of contemporary fiber artists.

Sign up here.

and in November a special day time class inspired by the awesome new book, PUSH, that me amongst many awesome people am in.

In conjunction with Push Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art, edited by the incredible Jamie Chalmers, we are offering a special class! Joetta Maue, one of the featured artists in PUSH, will teach you the fundamentals of embroidery! Learn basic embroidery stitches to utilize the process of applique and fiber collage to create fiber pieces of art.

Each class will be dedicated to a different technique each week. Each technique is inspired by artists in the book; Illustrative applique-using simple applique techniques to create simple narrative illustrations, Black work or Red work- learn to create detailed stitched drawings with just one color, using techniques like hatching, stippling, and shading, Working with unexpected materials- use your needle and thread on found and appropriated objects and images, Transparency- use traditional embroidery stitches on transparent fabrics and discuss what to consider and how this changes your working process.

Participants are encouraged to bring text, paper pages, and found fibers that have meaning for them.

Sign up here.

Check out all their other offerings here.
And if you just want a quickie I am teaching a beginning embroidery class this Sunday morning in Brooklyn at Brooklyn General. Details here.


This is what has been happening in my studio lately. This is my father who is laying next to my mother. It has been fun working on portraits of different people. Of course they are still people I deeply love but their skin, hair, and features have given me a little space to play in different ways and I am enjoying the process. Earlier this week I finished his back and yesterday I spent 5 + hours working on his hair .The hair always takes forever. But it should be easier the next half as most of his front hair is white so I will not have to add as much variation.

The long chunk of time in my studio also gave me the time and space to think about my Spring solo show at the Textile Arts Center. I have been wanting to make the show somehow about the "house/home." kind of like a portrait of the home. But have really been struggling on getting the work started and the vision clear. I was thinking about it yesterday and the thought " How can I make work about the house, when my home is falling down." and light bulb.

C and I have had a very stressful year as many people in this financial crisis have and since my work is always autobiographical and honest it seems that actually the stress and tension in our home is a subject to be gleaned from. So I have now come up with a pretty strong vision for the show and think that it is going to end up powerful and vulnerable but with a great sense of hope too. We will see. Now I need to get started. Now I just need to figure out how to get 2 solo shows done in one year. Oh yeah WORK.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

extraordinary ordinary

I had a studio visit with the very sweet San Francisco based artist Sonya Philip. Sonya was in town for the Makers Faire. It was so nice to have her in as she asked some interesting questions about my work and as always I appreciate the feedback I get from others.

I like her work especially her series of ordinary objects with knitted sections. Making the original object no longer useful but creates this beautiful fragility within it.

She says this about herself and practice:

I am a knitter...The needle arts, traditionally associated with domesticity, are at once a display of femininity and a feminist statement. I have always straddled different worlds, whether through my mixed-race heritage or the mutually demanding roles of mother and artist. I am accustomed to the interplay and at home in the places where art and craft intersect.

My work is born of patience. There is a simple intricacy in each stitch and an incremental care in making things by hand. I love to see how far I can push the craft or what unlikely material I can use...

To me her work is unique and since she has more freshly come to the practice of art making, from writing, I very much look forward to seeing what she does next. See much more of her work here.