Saturday, December 3, 2011

Movement Reborn

I made a piece called Movement several years ago that was part of my Rolling Boil series, but when I sent it to an exhibit in Baltimore, it was smashed in transit by UPS. It arrived at the gallery in a nice clean looking box (not the box I'd packed it in), but when the box was opened, the sculpture was in pieces. (I later took the small people that had been broken off and mounted them individually and sent them off to Maison Kasini in Montreal). Here's what it looked like before the Movement was (so to speak) co-opted.

Today I mounted four of the ABC people I made in Maine on the same base, and the Movement was renewed and got back to marching. The people are mounted on rods that allow their legs and arms to move, and when you pull the vehicle, they appear to be walking.

Here's a video of Movement in action:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Alphabet Delights

The Alphabet installation is up on the wall in my studio now, with a profusion of letterforms. It's very colorful, and would be great for libraries (public, private, or institutional); workplaces that deal with the printed word (publications such as newspapers and magazines); printers; and colleges, universities, and other schools. When I had Music of the Spheres up on this same wall a few years ago (before it went off to NRG Systems in Hinesburg), Georgia Landau used to come to the studio and sit and look at it because she said it made her relaxed and happy. This one, I think, does the same thing!

It bipps joyfully across the wall, singing about the amazingness of the written word. It was a busy day at the studio on Saturday when I finished the piece and put it up on the wall. Among those who stopped by was Janet Nielsen, formerly the head librarian at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier. She said what a miracle reading is, how amazing that our species does this complex, beautiful thing.

Another visitor was Gabrielle Dietzel, who told me about two neat places that focus on type and letterforms, the Alphabet Museum (Buchstaben Museum) in Berlin, Germany and Letterpress Things in Chicopee, MA. Both are worth checking out.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I’ve done lots of fun art things in the last little while. In the middle of October I was part of a jury to select work for VSA’s upcoming Engage exhibit. I love looking at art, especially art by self-taught artists. And in that vein, I am delighted to be doing workshops every other week for G.R.A.C.E. at nursing homes in St. Johnsbury and Greensboro since June.

I’ve also been picked up by two new galleries – the Gander Gallery in Manchester Center and Stowe Craft Gallery (where I delivered the last of my wall pieces from the exhibit in Nagoya this week).

The opening for the Members Show at Studio Place Arts on November 19 was great. SPA has sold four of my sculptures already!

I’ve also got two pieces made with wine tops (one, Black Angel, shown here) in the ARA show at the T.W. Wood Gallery through December 18. I’ll be gallery sitting there from 12-4 PM on Saturday, December 10, so feel free to come by and visit.

A new activity for me (but not something I'm putting on the regular schedule): printmaking! I was asked to make two prints for the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts/Burlington City Arts 30/30 Print Project and fundraiser, and I worked for two sessions with the wonderful Jennifer Koch (shown below) to print some big plexi buttons I had made for another project.

And finally, I did a workshop with visual arts students in the Academy of Visual and Performing arts at Essex High School on November 17. Students made work related to my Rolling Boil pieces, and they were very cool.

From January 23 to February 17 my art group, 2nd Tuesday, will be having an exhibit at Castleton State College, . I’ll be showing a lot of the big 3-D work I had at Flynndog last year, in case you missed that show.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Disks and Letterforms

I’ve always loved the alphabet, and have often included text with my paintings, like this one from four or five years ago.

When I set up my Museum Cases at the Wood Art Gallery in 2006, I included what I called a “waterline” (that went all the way around the room, about four feet off the floor) of random text culled from spam emails. These spam emails (now, they're from the ancient history of spamming...) used to contain text copied from novels, poems, and other “legitimate” texts, in an effort to get their advertising pitches (mostly for penis-enhancing drugs and devices) through the filters.

What fascinated me was that even though the words (I just chose nouns and adjectives) were truly random and completely out of any kind of sequence, people couldn’t help making meaning of them, reading them like a poem.

The same is true of the small black and white figures I created in Maine in October. The letters on their chests are random, but people think they see their names and words in them, as though the letters were just scrambled from intact (and discoverable) words.

This is the sketch for a wall installation with letterforms that I made in Maine

and here are some of the disks I painted with both spray enamels and oils. When they’re dry (gee, it takes a long time for them to dry; I had to bring many of them back to the studio covered with wax paper!), I’ll be working on a large piece, and deciding whether it should be in the loose configuration of the sketch, or in a more formal arrangement with a steel frame.

Artmaking in Maine

I’m just back from a week of artmaking near Rockport, Maine. My art group, 2nd Tuesday, rented a house situated on Penobscot Bay for the month of October and we all went when we were able. The rent was very reasonable, and the house came with everything – linens, kitchen equipment, and heat. But no TV or internet connection. Perfect. Alex Bottinelli, who had a sabbatical from her work, spent the entire month, and some others were able to spend up to 19 days in one or more trips. I had a quick trip early in the month with my husband that was more of a vacation, and then went back from October 23-28 to actually do some work.

People set up studio space in various parts of the house, but mostly in the big, heated garage, that had windows and was a really great studio space. The house is associated with a place that rents small summer cabins right on the water. It used to be a destination, with a dance hall and dining hall in the early 1900's, and it still has old stonework and a lingering sense of history.

During my first visit in the early part of the month, I discovered the dump, filled with wonderful things that only Janet could love, including old rusted sheetmetal firepits, a pile of lath from latticework, and some dead colored lightbulbs that were strangely appealing. It came in a rush to me that I would split the lath to make arms and legs for small people, some black and some white, with random letters in the opposite color. I made a test piece in the studio when I was back in Vermont, and hit the ground running when I got to Maine.

Unfortunately, the thing with the basins just didn’t work. Not enough figures to really fill it up? I don't know, but they just looked like a pile of messy sticks. I wound up taking the tubs (and the lightbulbs) back to the dump.

So I tried some other things with them – combining them with old rusty slats from a rusted venetian blind, and...
then I just started to play. I took them down to the water and sat them on the rocks.

But BEST of all, and the piece de resistance, was this Homage to Magdalena Abakanowicz!

I also did a lot of work with letterforms, did a prototype wall piece, and painted many disks that I will be integrating into a large wall installation. I'll write about that in another post.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

At Shore Galleries in Provincetown

Muffin Ray, proprietor of Shore Galleries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, is showing my work this summer, with two focused exhibits of my work. The opening reception for the first showing, a two-person exhibit with Steve Toomey, was July 29. I showed all that remains of the wall installation I took to Nagoya, Japan in 2010, as well as two button encasements and some button dresses.

Here's a look at me installing on one wall, and some images of the show.

There will be four of my Museum Cases along with work by Mark Heitzman during August, reception on August 19.

Photos by Shore Galleries