Tuesday, January 31, 2012

our nature.

While in NY one of the best shows that I saw in Chelsea, and the most unusual, was that of Monica Cook at Postmasters. Her exhibit Volley is an exhibit of poignant sculptures of monkey-like creatures and a video made with them.

You walk into the gallery and are completely drawn in by the monkey figures arranged on pedestals. They are sitting as if interacting and their overly human eyes are full of emotion. Their bodies are hyper real but also full of fantasy; with growths of pearl and crystal-like substance, bodies become transparent at times, and organs made visible and exposed...

Their humanity is evident in their posturing, their emotive expressions, and the overt sense of fragility in their bodies.

They have a sense of hodge podge construction yet also feel expertly created. The anti-aesthetic made beautiful. There are also a few photographs on the wall that I could have done without. Then you step into the back room where there is a video playing. The video shows the interactions of these creatures- from their animalistic nature, to love, to birth. It is moving, compelling, and repulsive all at once.

still from video.

The press release states this:

To endow a creature with the power of motion is to bring it, partially, imperfectly, to life. Monica Cook’s monkey-creatures are animated by some very wild magic. Cursed by their creator with deeply corrupted bodies, with scarred skin and secret interiors, with pustules and orifices and inconvenient fluids, these creatures are uncomfortably, undeniably alive. And in their imperfection, they are not only individual, they are beautiful. Volley is a love story, in a sense it is the Love Story, that grand tale which we never cease to applaud: The brutality of biological lust tempered by the delicate delusions of adoration. Cook’s beast beings inhabit a world the colors of spun sugar and wedding mints, where rutting lust and infinite tenderness are indivisible. A mutant monkey with too-human eyes strokes a contented wolf-puppy who dreams of devouring entrails. A perfect luminous monkey-goddess hovers unapproachably, bedecked in lewd sequins. Idealized passions fuse with the violence of birth. Cook renders the sufferings and and storms of biological life with loving, unflinching regard, inviting the viewer to both voyeurism and self-reflection.

I would say that for me the sculptures are powerful in themselves and I preferred them as an experience but the video makes you look at the figures in a more layered and complicated way.
Worth walking the few extra blocks to 19th street to see. And visit it her website to see more of her incredible work.

a halt to normal?

I have been pretty absent the last week as you know due to feeling like crapola. But it seems that maybe finally, fingers crossed I am feeling better. It has been so frustrating being sick, as it is for everyone--- I had all my progress in life, work, and home put to a startling halt. I have literally not touched a piece of work, done yoga, or ate with any vigor for 5 days and my house is in the "omg we were to sick to do anything and now it looks like a tornado went through" state.
So today I am attempting a no pressure strategy of just step by step finding some order so come tomorrow hopefully things can get back to an almost normal state of order and productivity.
Fingers crossed.

Luckily my wellness turned around for just enough time for me to go to the city for the weekend and I had a very good and hopefully fruitful meeting Friday, saw TONS of art to share with all of you, and got pictures of the shop that I will be curating an early summer show for. So lots to share over the next week stay tuned.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

sick of sick!

I am SO over being sick. I have been sick for over a week now and though it is definitely a "walking" sickness I really want to feel myself again. I have barely gotten anything done as well as just feel like lazy lump of person. It makes one appreciate how amazing a healthy body is.

I head to the city for the weekend tomorrow and weirdly am almost looking forward to the drive. Having a chunk of time all by myself in the car, listening to music, and NPR, and having some space to get lost in my thoughts. I just hope traffic does not turn my drive into a bitter experience.

image from here.

transparent cloth...

I heard about this piece of Claudia Casarino in a review of the Venice Biennale and was super intrigued by the description of the 3 three dresses, one inside of the other. The title is Pynandi
(not a whore, neither a goddess nor a queen.) It photographs beautifully.

She has done a number of series and projects that involve clothing, usually made out of some type of transparent material, hung in multiples.

The project below is called uniforms and seems a powerful statement towards the mass.

One writer said this about her work: Using external surfaces such as doors, masks, walls, and clothing, she refers to a perpetually inaccessible and often intangible interiority. They are works of distraction, a continual deflection from the location of the 'real' body, putting fantasies, memories, and fabrication in its place.

I would love to read a statement from the artists own words about her work but there is not one on her website and her blog is in another language. I find her work to be an interesting exploration of femininity and the expectations within that.

This is an earlier work where she documents the process of herself getting ready. See more of her work here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This week I went to check out the awesome and unique space of Artisan's Asylum were I will be teaching a workshop next month. So all you Boston based folks come on and sign up, learn to stitch, be introduced to a VERY cool space, and have fun:

Introduction to Embroidery

Saturday, February 18, 10AM-2PM

In this 4 hour workshop you will learn basic stitches that will allow you to create either a traditional sampler following the guidelines provided by history or to create a completely unique piece. With the skills learned you will be able to continue making beautiful pieces of art or simply embellish items of your own. In this class you will begin a piece that you take home to finish. You are encouraged to bring quotes and text that inspires you and to work with found linens.

Sign up here.
Get more information about the Artisans Asylum
Located at 10 Tyler St., Somerville, Massachusetts

Or SEE me in in NY this weekend.

Thread Reviews

Read my article on the drawings of Victoria Gitman over here, that is right drawings.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

conceptual threads..

A recent comment led me to the incredible work of Canadian artist Germaine Koh. I am shocked and saddened that I have never heard of her. She is a highly conceptual artist that makes fascinating and often powerful work.

The piece that I was led to by a comment of a recent post was her project Knitwork a project she has been working on since 1992.

This is what she says about the work:

Knitwork is a life-long piece made by my unraveling used garments and re-knitting the yarn into a single continuously growing object. As it records the ongoing passage of time and effort, the work becomes a monument to the artifacts that comprise it, to mundane activity, and to everyday labour. As a visual record of the passage of time, the details of the piece incidentally register variations in my process, and through these one can retrace a history of decisions. Although the slow accumulation of layers of obsolete goods might recall geological processes, the limits of the piece are actually human; the work will be finished when I cease (to be). It is both sublime and resolutely absurd, both excessive and banal, both rigorous and formless; in other words, it is a practical test of the imagination.

She also has an ongoing piece titled Fete, which takes swags of the artists hair and attaches it to a celebratory garland. She attaches each swag in chronological order so one can see the changes in health and color of her hair as she ages and goes through the ups and downs of life.

A few other pieces that caught my eye are an installation made from ball bearings dropping intermittently from the ceiling to fall and arrange themselves on the floor.

And I love the piece Fallow in which she installs the literal land from a specific area into the gallery, the land itself changes with each installation. She describes the piece as instead of displaying a crop of new work, for one exhibition period the space lies fallow.

Or a la Sophie Calle & Tracey Emin she takes her personal journal entries and posts them in the classifieds or on billboards.

She has a huge amount of equally fascinating projects over at her website. I love how thoughtful and yet in the end simple and stripped down her work is. She utilizes only what she needs to express her thoughts and concerns. Even if all that is required is fog.

slow mo...

I have been making progress on the work above and am starting to get ready for my very busy trip to the city this weekend. I am still feeling a little under the weather so feel as if I am moving in slow mo.

But today I have a few hours sans T. I am trying out a baby trade so we will see how it goes but simply sitting here and writing this by myself feels like a luxury. When you have a child you are so rarely alone. I am going to treasure these brief hours, though a plumber is coming today so I guess the alone part will be over soon.
I am also excited to say that I will be curating 2 upcoming shows. More on that later.

Monday, January 23, 2012


How amazing are these pictures Arne Svenson in the new book Chewed? A gorgeous documentation of the love a pet gives to its toys.

I love the simple direct nature of the imagery.

The makers of the book say this:

Our eyes have been opened. Now when a slobbery mass of yarn and stuffing comes our way, we recognize what the true gift is – the chance to witness the bond between a love thing and its maker.

Read about the project here.


Here is an image of one of my embroideries in Courtney Love's NY townhome. (read the comments, insane.) She bought about 10 pieces from me a number of years ago and I always wondered what happened to them so it was cool to see one in the recent feature on her house. (Behind the yellow pillow)

I love seeing my work in other people's homes though I rarely get to. It is so nice when people email me images after they have bought one. Here are a few others....

Friday, January 20, 2012

back to the studio.

I was in the sick bed all day yesterday, literally did not move most of the day. But today I feel MUCH better and look forward to getting started on the piece above. I have had it drawn out for a week or 2 but was focused on finishing the 2 text pieces in the works. They are now done and this can get started. I am looking forward to the diversity of stitches in contrast to the constant satin stitches of the text work. Sometimes the repetition is comforting and then other times it is mind boggling boring- the best reason to have opposite ways of working in my studio.
Though I still have SO much work to do for my solo show I do feel good about how much progress I have made the past month and do feel like things are steadily moving along.

Fingers crossed they stay that way. Next week I start a new babysitting trade which means extended time in the studio by myself too. Need I say YAY! I need it.

knitting nation

Sadly, I just missed knowing about these recent performances at the ICA and therefore can only enjoy them from the gorgeous photographs and incredible videos. The sounds of the machines working is incredible. Artist Liz Collins has been working with her performances Knitting Nation since 2005. But the most recent interpretations done at the ICA seem much more choreographed and feel more like a ballet of knitters or a ballet of knitting soldiers than a community event as some of her earlier works did.

images from earlier performances.

She states this about the project:

KNITTING NATION (KN) , which utilizes a team of uniformed machine knitters to build site-specific, large-scale fabric installations. My experience with apparel and textile manufacturing, and a strong desire to perform my craft, has inspired this choreographed response to these vast and complicated industries, in which knitting machines are the tools with which to interrogate gender, sexuality, fashion, hand-crafting and industrial production in the era of globalization. This project lays bare the process of machine knitting in order to demonstrate the complex and fascinating nature of this medium, which is one representation of many human-dependent and physically demanding textile and garment making processes and traditions.


In the recent interpretations of this the performers seem almost robotic and the lighting and layout of the space very dramatic. They remind me a bit of Ann Hamilton's performances- in her way of laying out the space and focus on labor and repetition. However Liz's work always has multiple player while Ann's are always solitary.

images from earlier performance.

See tons of photos from the work and some videos where you can here the amazing sound of the machines at her site here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

play ball...

Very cool project by Massachusetts based, Tennessee born artist Maria Molteni. Maria describes herself as a parochial-school misfit in the bible belt, where Protestants and Catholics settle their differences on the field or court. Aware of her mother’s childhood dismissal from tryouts on account of being “too skinny”, Maria felt fortunate to spend ten years swallowed by team jerseys bearing Air Jordan’s lucky number 23. When asked of future plans, she swore to become an “Art and Basketball Star”.

Here is a description of her very cool "gift giving" form of art:

Over a year ago New Craft Artists in Action team captain launched MOLTENi Net Works in Boston. Bringing together makers and players in collaborative exchange, the project aims to create functional, hand-crafted basketball nets for neglected public hoops.

Dr. James Naismith created the game of basketball in Springfield, MA in 1891. He posed a recycled peach basket as the first hoop. Now nets help break a ball’s fall, give players a sense of depth for good aim, and allow refs to see that a basket was made...This project is inspired by a mapping process and DIY form of slow production, utilizing abandoned space as a venue. The process aims to build a pro-active relationships between artists, athletes, and neighbors.

And she is asking you to make your very own net as part of the project. Get the details here.
See her website for the project here.
Since she is local maybe I will meet her in person...