Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Upcoming Activities

Lots of good things are happening early in the New Year:

First, Riki Moss and I will be setting up an exhibit of our PARADE work at the Living/Learning Gallery at the University of Vermont. It will open on January 13, with a reception on January 23.

Next, I'm co-curating and exhibit called Chaos! at SPA with Jody Brown. We're working on January 11 to set up a collaborative chaotic installation on the ceiling in the gallery there, and then the show will open (with work also on the walls and floor) on January 21. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Travel Journal

If you're interested in reading about my trip around Western Australia in October and November of 2013, you're welcome to have a look on my travel blog.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Your Junk, My Art

Some of my work is in an exhibit in Brandon, Vermont at the Compass Music and Arts Center . Your Junk My Art was curated by the wonderful Ruth Hamilton (who says that this experience has infected her with the curating bug, so now she has ideas for many more shows to come, which we can all hope to attend!).

This is a really a well-curated and beautifully-mounted show, with thirteen interesting artists, all making art with found, repurposed, and discarded objects. Each artist has a section with a selection of his or her pieces, that enriches appreciation of that person's work. If you are able, go and see it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gene Pool

I like the idea of the gene pool, where bodies meet, greet, play together, and create new human beings with new looks and capacities. It's like making art! It's also both humbling and exciting to think that each of us is a special new work that resulted from dipping into the Gene Pool, picking through all the bits and pieces and possibilities, and coming up with something altogether new.

I made a piece called Gene Pool in 2007 for an exhibit at 215 in Burlington, Vermont, in which buttons in a wooden bowl stood in for the colors of humans in the world, so this is the second iteration of the idea.

I made one commitment to producing artwork while I was in Australia this year, and that was to make a piece for Tarpspace, a project that called on artists to use a tarp as part of an installation or performance piece. As I walked through the piles of material behind the workshed at Zia Park, my sister Gail's equestrian center in Gidgegannup, my eye was caught by all the things that were tarp blue -- plastic tubs, old toys, and five fabulous tall chairs that might have been used for judging stands, or maybe for lifeguards at a pool. Zia Park has a wonderful cross-country course with all kinds of interesting jumps that are fun, colorful, and creative, so they accept materials that might turn into jumps somewhere down the line, and I expect that these chairs came to Zia Park in that way.

Here I was with my sister, on the other side of the planet, with my strong and enthusiastic nephew Rembert Yarrick to help, and the memory of my daughter Berrian's months-long involvement in reconstruction after Hurricaine Katrina in Louisiana in which blue tarps became icons of both effort and inaction. On the ground, the tarp looked like a pool -- a gene pool.

I started by gathering brush from one of the piles saved for a projected new jump, and binding them with wire to create bodies for five figures.

We gathered sticks for limbs and wired them to the bodies, then I screwed the figures securely to the chairs.

It took several days of work (as the temperature climbed and the flies swarmed), but we were all pleased with the final piece.

Each of the figures had a different head -- wood, stone, metal, and a piece of broken brick from Rottnest Island -- where I imagined it was one of the leftovers from the work of almost 4000 Aboriginal prisoners who did forced labor for a century (between 1838 and 1931)

Here's the Gene Pool, showing the dis-articulated figures in the pool. To tell the truth, I actually removed this part of the piece before I left, because I preferred looking at the ground. There is an end to how much bright blue plastic one can enjoy...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Back from Australia

It was so wonderful to be in Australia for five weeks! My sister and I traveled many miles (her Isuzu pulling a pop-up trailer), from Perth up the Northwest Coastal Highway to Karratha, then to Karijini National Park, and back down the Great Northern Highway. In between we had tire blowouts, a bush fire, and 100+ degree heat. We both saw the amazing similarity of the landscape to that of New Mexico, where we grew up, except that, in many cases, the Indian Ocean was just over a hill -- and the plants were spinifex and acacia rather than sagebrush and piƱon.

One of the things I love about Australia is that people save stuff in case they need to use it later, so there are "tips" and storage areas everywhere. At Yardie Homestead Caravan Park at the top of the Ningaloo reef near Exmouth, they had three dump areas. I would love to get a grant to go back and make much more out of the goodies there.

We were only there two days (and we had to spend some time kayaking up Yardie Creek and watching green turtles mate), but I made several things. I loved all the old bedframes, and think it would be cool to do a whole series of figures reclining on them. This was a quick sketch of the idea from bits that I found nearby. 

And another sketch of a standing figure:

Both of the above pieces were left where they were constructed, but I made one more substantial piece that I left with the owners. Here it is with my sister, Gail Simms (for scale):

When we got back to my sister's place after our 19-day trip, I made an angel for her out of materials we had collected on our trip:

I also did a large installation that I will write about in a subsequent post.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another View

Wow, look at this! The owners of this piece sent this fabulous photograph showing how the shadows are integral to these artworks. They wrote, "Your piece is always changing."  This is the piece I wrote about here.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Probably everybody who has been making art for awhile begins to see certain themes, materials, or forms coming around again. Recently, as several times over the years, I've been making things in boxes. There's something wonderful about the world one can create inside a box. In that enclosed space -- a little theatrical stage -- characters enact their narratives with a kind of intimacy or privacy created by the walls of the box.

I've been re-purposing some of the Disarmed pieces, like the one above, now called Disarmed in a Box. It can swing back and forth inside the box. 
 Another Disarmed piece sits in the piece below, now called Connections.

And finally, Stepping Out, whose box is an old beat-up 78 rpm record box.

Pria Cambio just gave me more boxes, so when I come back from Australia I might make some more!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recycled Again!

So after its appearance at the Re-Use Fair, this piece has now found a home in my good friend Georgia Landau's garden. Georgia recently sold her house (and gorgeous flower garden) and has moved to an apartment where she has started gardening again from scratch. She always loved my Music of the Spheres piece that used to live on a large wall in my studio and then was bought by NRG in Hinesburg. So when she admired this piece (and requested disks flying off on both sides, like Music of the Spheres), I carted it right over to her garden and set it up. People keep saying, "Just think how cool it will look in the snow," so I'll try to get over and take another shot after the snow flies.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Studio Sublet

 I'll be out of the studio from October 10 - November 20. If someone wants to sublet, I'll clean off the walls and surfaces in the front room and also have a table available for your use. $250. Contact me at 802-272-5956.

Chicken SH#! Bingo

On Saturday, Sept 28, from 3-6 PM Studio Place Arts will participate in Chicken SH#! Bingo to benefit SPA programs.  They asked a group of artists to make "Bingo Cards" (49 squares, each 6" on a side) Here's the one I made. People place bets on where the chicken will poop... all for art... Call SPA at 479-7069 for details.

Re-Use Fair in Montpelier

Front of Coming Around Again
 I have several pieces at the outdoor sculpture park for the Re-Use Fair in Montpelier: a piece with disks called Coming Around Again (see above and below) and a mobile made from piano parts that will only be on exhibit on the day of the fair.

Back of Coming Around Again

The ReUse Fair, "A celebration of sustainable communities," organized by Planting Hope, is to be held at Christ Episcopal Church at 64 State Street in Montpelier on Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For the week before the fair (from now through Saturday)  there is an outdoor sculpture park that features the work of UVM art professor Beth Haggart as well as 10 other local artists.

The ReUse Fair will highlight how reusing items for new and interesting purposes not only keeps them out of the waste stream, but can even help people in other communities. At the event, outside there will be more than 40 artists and crafters that utilize found objects, repurposed and up-cycled items. There will also be games, activities and craft for kids by our partners ReSOURCE and speakers on several subjects relating to steps we can take to making a sustainable community.

During the event Planting Hope plans to collect two tons of used educational materials and household items that will be sent to Nicaragua to help support their programs there.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Day After

The opening at the Vermont Supreme Court last night was wonderful. I usually don't like openings, but I had a great time and I think other people did too! Part of the reason was that people got to interact with the work a bit, using finger LED lights to cast shadows from the work onto the wall. Unfortunately I forgot the lights in my concern with getting the refreshments packed at home and then set out at the reception, so I had to wait until my husband arrived with them, about a third of the way through the 2-hour opening. I brought a camera, but I was having so much fun that I didn't take any photos.

Today I saw this quote from the artist Robert Morris (who made installations with platforms, ramps, and other constructions that visitors could move around on) which seems to speak to the pleasure people got from having an actual, physical way to interact with the work:

"Personally, I'd rather break my arm by falling off a platform than spend an hour in detached contemplation of a Matisse. We've become blind from so much seeing. Time to press up against things, squeeze around, crawl over - not so much out of a childish naivte to return to the playground, but more to acknowledge that the world begins to exist at the limits of our skin and what goes on at that interface between the physical self and external conditions doesn't detach us like the detached glance."
- Robert Morris in a letter to Tate curator Michael Compton in 1971

Saturday, July 6, 2013

DISC COURSE Exhibit at the Vermont Supreme Court

There is an exhibit of my disc-based artwork at Vermont Supreme Court during the months of July and August, 2013. The show is entitled  DISC COURSE.  An opening reception, to which the public is invited, is on Thursday July 11 from 5-7 PM. The Supreme Court is located at 111 State Street in Montpelier, and is open weekdays from 8:00 - 4:30.

The pieces in DISC COURSE are selected from my Circular Statements body of work, begun in 2005, which employs buttons and other circular elements. In addition, all the work in this exhibit uses spray paint, at least in part. Spray paint creates a fabulous, smooth surface that I can either keep as-is or overpaint with oil paints that add additional textures.

Come to the opening reception on Thursday, July 11. Visitors will be offered small colored LED lights to shine on my works and experiment with the effects created by the colored shadows. That plus good things to eat and drink!

In addition to the large 8x6 foot Circular Statements piece, there are two never-before-seen new pieces called All and Everything (I and II) (see above). All and Everything is also the title of the magnum opus of G. I. Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher and philosopher whose works my mother (who died two years ago) studied for many years. I used all the spray paint left in my studio, and everything I could lay my hands on to create images and designs on the faces of the disks.  Each of these pieces has two very visually busy sides - one with buttons and one without.

One wall in the back is completely covered with loose grids of disks from the Biodiversity work I took to Nagoya, Japan in 2010 and the later work based on letterforms and numbers:

course (kors), noun
1. the path over which something moves or extends; a series of items or events: the course of a body of work from the first in a series to the most recent. 
2. a program of instruction or education: the artist offered a course discussing the pieces in the     exhibition.

discourse (dis' kors), noun
verbal interchange of ideas: viewers are encouraged to engage in speculation and     conversation about the work exhibited.

The work in DISC COURSE is from my Circular Statements body of work, begun in 2005, which employs buttons and other circular elements. In addition, all the work in this exhibit uses spray paint, at least in part. I have provided short texts ("courses") describing each of the pieces.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Art + Soul Celebrating Lake Champlain

I'm participating in the Art + Soul Celebration in Burlington,  with an opening tonight (June 6, 2013) at Dunkiel Saunders from 5:30 to 9:00pm. Dunkiel Saunders is located at 91 College Street, just as the hill starts to go down towards the lake, it's set back from the road. There is a parking garage across the street and parking downtown. I will be there for the opening reception.

The exhibit will also be open for First Friday Art Walk from 5 - 8pm the following evening (Friday, June 7).

My piece shows  lifeforms above the water, on the land, and under the water. Sales will be split 50/50 between the artist and the ECHO center.

Upcoming: I'll be exhibiting selections of my circular pieces at the Supreme Court in July and August, and will let you know details as soon as I get them.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

350.org Vermont Exhibit

I’m excited to have the first exhibition of work from my Parade in

UNRAVELING & TURNING: A Climate Change Art Exhibit
Goddard Gallery
54 Main Street Montpelier
May 24 - June 30, 2013

An opening reception will be held Thursday, May 30 from 5 - 7:00 pm.

Artists from across Vermont and beyond share their work relating to climate change in this exhibit presented as part of 350 Vermont's Climate Change Arts Festival.

As the planet has been mired in fire and drought with Arctic ice rapidly shrinking and high temperature records on all continents, it’s time for a creative conversation about the challenges, fears, and opportunities of climate change. The discussion of climate change must be more than a fruitless exchange between scientists, lobbyists, corporations, and politicians. Artists have a critical role to play in shifting the dialogue about climate change to one that is understood on an emotional and spiritual level. Through art, we can identify and strengthen the emotional resilience of each community.

Included in this exhibit are artists Blair Rayfield Borax, Galen Cheney, Kevyn Cundiff, Cami Davis, Joshua DeMello, David Hurwitz, Arthur Hynes, Sally Linder, Riki Moss, Mia Rubow, Anne Sarka, Nancy Taplin, Janet van Fleet, Ruth Wallen, and Shelley Warren. The show includes paintings, sculpture, and installations and has been curated by Peter Nielsen and Alison Goodwin.

Gallery hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12-5pm;  and Fridays and Saturdays 12-7pm.
You can see a few more images at this Facebook link.

Corporate Commission

I created a piece for GNI in Montpelier, based on a chart of their workflow and process.

I was asked to produce a piece that showed the form, but without the text. The piece below has the same basic structure, but with different colors.

For quite a while I've wanted to do a wall installation that affixed directly to the wall, without an underlying grid. This was a great opportunity to start exploring these possibilities.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Collectors

Such a nice thing happened: a couple at the SPA Bash last Friday loved my work and came back on the weekend to buy two pieces. It's so wonderful when people are in real synch with your aesthetic. The work I make with found objects is not easy for everyone to like, as it uses very funky materials that perhaps some people might think of as Garbage, but for me has a kind of sacredness. I think all my work is essentially about transience and the ephemeral, which is what makes the things scavenged from the Planetary Dumpster and given a rebirth in art so numinous for me.

They bought a piece I call Standing Disarmed (one of the few pieces I made in the Disarmed series that doesn't hang), and even suggested that it "bears a compelling resemblance to Donatello's Magdalene." I have to say that I see and agree, even though I am humbled by the comparison.

Here are images they sent of the pieces in situ in their home.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

School Residency

I did an Artist Residency at the Waterford Elementary School the week of March 18. What a great school -- enthusiastic teachers and students, and a wonderful school climate.

Food was the theme I was asked to plan for, so I created a group of experiences that used a diversity of materials and media (here's a look at the display in the hallway that I put up on the last day):

Kindergarteners drew on bananas with toothpicks, writing their names and drawing. Later in the week they made letters using vegetables and then made designs on bread rolls that were consumed at our culminating activity.

First Graders made and painted big paper mache fruit.

Second Graders designed their own seed packets and decorated bread rolls.

Third Graders made veggie creatures and then made scenes and stories with them.

Fourth Graders made collages based on the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Fifth Graders made Additive Monsters by imagining what some chemical additives might look like.

On Friday we had a culminating activity with Stone Soup (partially made with stock from the remains of the two large sacks of vegetables we used to make Veggie ABC's and Veggie Creatures), cooked by the school's Fabulous Food Services person, Wendy Fearon (who also made and cooked the bread dough we used to form rolls). Each class brought blankets, and we all sat on the floor in the gym and had a picnic.

I met with each class three times during the week (we had a snow day on Tuesday, so that scrunched the schedule a bit; I will go back to the school sometime this year to spend the day showing students what I make in the studio and talking about what it's like to be a studio artist), but I always wish there were time to do things more slowly and spend more thinking and talking time with the projects. Nevertheless, we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Overview of The Parade Thus Far

I created a Slideshare Presentation about The Parade, to try to sum up where I've been up to this point.

I've been working with Riki Moss, (who is working on her own parade) to create a collaborative installation that will begin with a website exploring the issues we're treating in our artwork and in our thoughts about how we humans interact with the world around us.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I've been thinking about animals a great deal of late, which is interesting because I am not an "animal person" -- I don't have pets and am not drawn to nature photography or trying to catch sight of wildlife when I'm out kayaking or walking in the woods. It is that I think other animals, like humans, have their own space, their own lives, their own rights -- one of which should be to be free of human oppression and the assumption that we have a right to their territories, their resources, and their bodies.

So animals are appearing with greater frequency in the Parade. Although other previous pieces in the Parade have been animals, the newer ones are (mostly) four-legged, instead of 2-legged.

The Dancing Bear is an exception, but really bears DO stand up on their hind legs on occasion... And I love the Inuit carvings of dancing bears, and this is an homage to them.

This creature was made from a piece of a rotted baseball bat, and came with this intriguing fragment of text.

On another note, I have FINALLY updated my website with a link to this blog and my current Resume, Paintings (with all the Priests I could find images for), Installations, and Exhibitions. It had been over ten years on some pages...