Friday, March 7, 2014
Last night was the opening reception for The Nitty Gritty, "An exhibit that shows the industrial buildings, quarries, tools and people that have left an indelible imprint on our region" at SPA. Heather Milne, the wonderful sculptor who recently completed the four-piece granite installation called Coffee Break, spoke at 5:45 about her experience proposing and then creating a carving related to the theme of blue-collar work ethic and integrity.
I usually hang out in my studio during receptions, but I decided I'd spend most of the evening mingling in the gallery. There are so many people and so many things going on during receptions that I think it's a very different experience depending on where you are located in the building.
I made some modifications to Tool Box since I last posted an image here on the blog -- added more nails to the top and some more hammers in the box.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 9:36 AM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
My daughter Berrian lives in New Orleans and jumped into Mardi Gras in a big way this year, becoming an unofficial "Rookie of the Year" in two different krewes. Yesterday, the actual Fat Tuesday, the Krewe of Shrink Ray rolled as an independent unit, an amazing creation designed to bring select people into the interior of a huge "ray gun", photograph them from all directions with multiple cameras, and then 3D print an action figure. Keep an eye on their site for future updates. Here's what the inside of the float looked like in progress.
This ambitious float, despite its high-tech, mechanical wizzardry, was designed to be powered along the street by people in costume pushing and steering -- and it was 40 degrees and raining!
The theme was space and the characters who live in it, and Berrian's costume included a hood with led lights and face painting of deep space. It's very cool:
Yes, that's actually face paint, not a mask! She's really good at makeup and face painting -- here's a photo of her creating makeup for Halloween recently, where she appeared as a Roy Lichtenstein painting.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 2:41 PM
Friday, February 28, 2014
OK, I realize it's time for me to try to move in a different direction. As much as I love working with old wood and disks, I don't want to be a One Trick Pony (as my mother used to say). So, I've decided to open my heart to paper, and the first thing that walked in was photographs. I've loved old cartes de visite and cabinet cards, with their images of long dead people. They are albumen photographic prints, mounted on cardboard backs. It's remarkable how many of these beautiful, brown-tinted cards are still around.
I've also collected some photographic prints of other eras, and have been particularly interested in arranging them in numerical sequences, and also looking carefully at the emotional content of the photographs. One, in particular, shows a family grouping with a mother who is obviously enraged, surrounded by her fearful family.
Here's the tabletop where I'm working. As you can see, I'm still using found materials in conjunction with the photographs, and it feels very appropriate to be using old bits and pieces with old images.
Right now I'm just playing with possibilities, and I haven't started affixing the stuff to the photos yet. I need to decide whether to attach them with fine wire, piercing the cardboard, or whether I should use an adhesive. There's something so transgressive about it either way -- which is both exciting and uncomfortable...
Today I ordered floating frames in which I can mount them, so I am committed to seeing this body of work through to some kind of new place.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 1:25 PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
This is the most recent box, and the pièce de résistance in the series of boxes I've been working on. The type box was given to me by Pat Murphy and it's been sitting around the studio waiting for something wonderful to happen to it.
Here it is, without its glass covering, which I removed so that I could photograph it. Dana Walrath came into the studio and said, "Oh, you're riffing on taxonomy," which is of course exactly what it's about -- how things are the same shape, but different materials -- or different materials but similar shapes (like wire, hair and thread). How should you categorize them? It all depends on what characteristic you focus on!
In the lower row, to the left of the spool of thread, I was finally able to use my gallstones in a piece (something I've been wanting to do since I got them out in 2010). They really do look exactly like any other stone (such as the river stones to their left).
The buttons are separated by the materials of which they are made (l-r): leather, metal, bone, wood, shell, glass, and plastic. There are papers made of different materials (including a 100 rupee note signed by the late Marc Awodey), lots of different fibers. I love this piece!
Next up, I'm trying to open my heart to paper. I have bought some old photographs and cartes de visite, popular during the 19th century and am manipulating them in various ways.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 8:19 PM
Friday, February 14, 2014
Wow, every so often I run across an artist who just delights and humbles me, and John Davis is such an artist.
He was an Australian artist who used found materials and bituminous paint (tar) over stick armatures covered with calico and glue. He was an environmental artist with a huge output. Here's a video about a posthumous exhibit of his work.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 10:35 AM
Sunday, February 9, 2014
We took the parade down yesterday morning. My pieces said goodbye to Riki's pieces and they went their separate ways -- a bit sad after they'd been dancing, cavorting, and conversing together for so many weeks. Here are a few photos I took that morning.
A note: I've put up some images on Wooloo.
Here's the central row of the parade. Lots of people liked the bugs and the shadows that were cast in surprising places.
This was a favorite pairing that I created one day when I visit the exhibit with some friends (I got to move stuff around because I was the artist!). I suddenly saw that each of the figures was making a similar, arms-spreading gesture.
And finally this one, which I have begun to think of as the Dog Park, with one dog sniffing the other's butt. It was amazing that without planning it, these pieces fit so well together, and each of us had made pieces in a variety of sizes that found partners in the process.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 12:08 PM
Monday, January 27, 2014
The Parade reception on Thursday, January 23 was wonderful -- lots of fun, great visitors, good conversation. Here's an image taken by Robert Ostermeyer as Joan Watson was introducing us:
I just read in New Scientist, one of my favorite publications, that between 30 and 50 percent of our planet's land surface is used in one way or another by humans. Plus "the UK's fishing fleet works 17 times harder than it did in the 1880s to net the same amount of fish." The glaciers retreat. Grasslands disappear. Our art is whispering in the wilderness...
If you're looking for another reception to enjoy, Sofia Shatkivska has been making passionate charcoal drawings of the events unfolding in her native land, Ukraine. She's installed them at the Aldrich Public Library, Barre, in their Milne Room, where they will be on display in a hastily organized exhibit she's calling Standing For Human Dignity through February 14. There will be a reception tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 28, from 4:30 - 7:00). She will be adding more pieces as she finishes them, and will probably have another event as it gets closer to the conclusion of the exhibit.
And the opening reception for the new shows at SPA, including Chaos in the main gallery, is on Saturday, February 8 from 4-6 PM.
Posted by janetvanfleet at 2:32 PM