Saturday, December 27, 2014


This piece is engaged with many of the themes and materials that have preoccupied me for the last several years. Thematically, the notion of pairs, dyads, and couples is very resonant for me -- I am struck by the richness of two beings entangled and acting in consort.

The materials are ones that I've been using in different ways for a long time now -- wine foils, historic photographs, and buttons. These cultural artifacts are, ironically, much longer-lived than mere flesh, which has a brief efflorescence and is then gone. But the objects that living beings have touched, owned, or created lives much longer and, perhaps, continues to bear some of the energy or essence of those beings.

This couple will be exhibited in Studio Place Arts' main gallery exhibit, Amore, January 20 – February 21, 2015, with an opening reception on Saturday, January 24 from  3:30-5:30 PM.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

New Modified Albumen Print Portraits

I ordered 15 new frames, and have LOTS of new raw material/photographs, thanks to Jenny Warshow who gifted me with over 20, and 21 that I bought from the Country Bookshop in Plainfield during their half-price sale!

The portraits are now connecting with other prior work, as I'm using wine foils and buttons, along with other found objects. It's funny how things keep coming around. I have also made two (a couple) that are associated with button garments, slated to be part of the Amore exhibit at SPA, opening Saturday, January 24, 3:30-5:30 PM. I have not yet photographed those pieces, but stay tuned.

Here are four of the new pieces:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gumballs Installed in Bogotá

Here's Gumballs in its new home, outside the entrance to the executive conference room in the offices of GNI Latinoamérica. Through the window at the right, you get a spectacular view of the city of Bogotá, climbing the Andes ridge up to the peak of Monserrate.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reminder about Torture

Now that more of the facts about Rendition and "Enhanced Interrogation" have come out in a summary report released on December 6 this year , I thought it was a good time to remind folks about the piece and video I made with Tim Azarian in 2008, six years ago. It's awful to keep thinking about such disgusting things, but we have to do it, lest we forget...

The Opening at Catamount Arts

Last Friday we had our opening reception at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury from 5-7 PM. It was pretty nasty weather, but plenty of people turned out and seemed to have a good time!

Martin Bryan, who works at Catamount, told me that he had a friend who had come the previous Friday, mistakenly thinking it was the reception evening, and really wanted to know what my piece called TWO was about. Martin asked if I would talk about it while he videotaped my explanation and I said "Sure."  He didn't tell me he was going to put it up on YouTube, but the footage of the reception is good, and even my blather is fine, except for balling myself up again about the facts  about species die-offs, which I posted about here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gumballs goes to South America

One of my favorite button encasements, made in 2004, has been bought for GNI Latinoamérica, located in Bogotá, Colombia. This encasement has four layers:
  • a layer of mylar in the back, painted on both sides (creating two layers) with acrylic circular elements and graphite lines 
  • a layer of buttons held in a grid if fine annealed steel wire, and 
  • a layer of acrylic circles painted on the inside of the plexi cover 
I think Gumballs has some great Latin heat and will like its new home!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2nd Tuesday Exhibit at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury

2nd Tuesday (the group of eight artists with whom I meet monthly, on the second Tuesday of each month) is having an exhibit at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury. We set the work up today, and it looks really good! There will be an opening reception on Friday, December 12, from 5-7 PM. Come if you can!

I'm showing five new Nineteenth Century modified albumen print portraits, and am showing the piece called TWO (with eleven digital prints of photographs showing pairs of people, printed with a letterpress number "2") for the first time outside my studio.

Here's the invitation, with relevant dates and a list of all eight exhibitors:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Exhibit at the GARAGE in Montpelier

There's an exhibit of  SPA studio artists and local friends at the GARAGE in Montpelier, a space behind Julio's restaurant. All eleven studio artists at SPA have work in the show, along with 13 additional artists. The work is wonderful and diverse -- from forged iron sculpture to fluorescent light installations to painting and fiber. There's something wonderful about art installations in empty, non-traditional spaces that are not designed for exhibition, but somehow bring their history with them and contribute it to the mix.  Go see it if you can!

I have a room with my new work in cabinets and the six modified portraits that are left after four were sold. Here are some views of my part of the exhibit, in a self-contained room, with brick on the exterior wall. I made a poster showing the three levels of the drawer, so people can see what's in it without pulling the shelves out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bella Feldman

I came across the work of Bella Feldman in the October, 2014 issue of Sculpture magazine. She has been making War Toys since 1992, and has images from two groups on her website. The older ones are here and the newer ones here. They come out of the same impulse as my Rolling Boil pieces, though I use found, weathered materials, and she uses steel and glass.

They are very wonderful pieces -- do go to her website and have a look! Sometimes you look at the work of another artist and think, "Why am I making art, when this person has done it ever so much better?"

It's Even Worse Than I Thought

This piece is from the Rolling Boil series from a few years ago, in which I considered how we roll animals away at our convenience, like "rolling stock."

This just in, from the October 4, 2014 issue of New Scientist, one of my favorite publications:

Enjoy them while you can. Only half of the world's animals are left compared with 40 years ago, mainly due to habitat destruction either by locals for farming or by the multinational mineral and timber trades.

The biennial Living Planet Report, released this week by conservation charity WWF, tracked the fate of 10,000 vertebrate species around the world between 1970 and 2010. It found that the total population of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles has declined by 52 percent in only two generations of humans.

Latin America saw the steepest decline, with animal populations falling by 83 percent. Animals living in fresh water also fared badly, plummeting by 76 percent.

"The majority of species extinctions and declines are being driven by human pressures on the environment, both international and local," says Sam Turvey of the Institute of Biology at the Zoological Society of London, who helps run a scheme to protect unusual species.

It's a very challenging issue that requires a lot of effort and attention with complex solutions, given that it's happening at a global level," he says.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ArtFULL Vermont at Compass Music and Arts Center in Brandon

This promises to be a wonderful exhibit!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Artwork at Downstreet Eats

I don't often install my work in restaurants, but I love what Elena Gustavson is doing at  Downstreet Eats in my hometown, Cabot, Vermont! So I put up some of my more colorful and lighthearted work -- my wine foils in the front room

and my Loose Grid pieces (from the Nagoya, ABC, and Numbers series) in the back room.

In her weekly newsletter Elena said, ""Wow". Really the only word that came out of my mouth when I looked around my restaurant last Saturday afternoon. Janet Van Fleet, a multimedia artist and one of the founders of Studio Place Arts in Barre, VT, had graciously agreed to hang a few of her pieces in DownStreet Eats. The place is transformed!

Using bits of materials that most of us do not think twice about throwing away, Janet transformed wine foil into whimsical figures and bits of wire, buttons and metal into aesthetic and social statement pieces."

If you can, go have a look, and enjoy this wonderful eatery!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gender in a Cabinet

I've been interested in gender from many different points of view. In my current work I have used the top drawer of the Cabinet of Curiosities that I've written about previously to look at women's historic concerns. I took some seat-of-the-pants photos today, just so I could get the images out there. There are three layers in the drawer, that you can see open in the image below:

Here are views of each of the layers, top to bottom. They stack on top of each other on 1.5" legs. The bottom layer is about courtship and being pretty; the middle layer is about housekeeping and women's traditional tasks; and the top layer is about childbearing :

Today I finished putting together a Men's Cabinet.

I still need to do some tweaking on the inside of this cabinet, but it's just about there. The text is cut into the wood on the inside of the cabinet's door, and the small installations in the box illustrate the assertions in the text. I think our cultural expectations and demands on men are unfair. What oppresses one damages all of us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Cabinets

I have completed two more cabinets that I worked on with my brother in New Jersey.

Here it is closed and (below) opened up.

And also one called TWO (below), that has two figures on top and eleven sliding trays, each with a digital reproduction of a found photograph and a number 2, printed on the press at SPA. I've been interested in pairs for a long time, and this is the latest iteration of that.

I'm now working on a Men's Cabinet, exploring some of the issues about being male in our culture.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Brother Teaches Me

I went to visit my brother, Sean McKinney, in New Jersey from June 11-15. He lives out in the country in Columbia, and has a great shop that he opened to me, working with me to construct two pieces (which I will post about next, now that they're finished) and teaching me a great deal about working with wood and power tools. How lucky I am to have such a kind and accomplished brother!

He has a great shop (the table and miter saws are in another room) and he is very knowledgeable about wood and metalworking. While I was there we also went to visit his friend Robert Cooke, a wonderful artist with whom Sean has collaborated to make several sound sculptures out of aluminum cookware that are on display at Lane's End Farm, whose owner Daniel Mattrocce is a famous cook. Here's the kitchen at Lane's End:

The grounds there are amazing, with sculptures by Harry Gordon (one of which you can see at the far left in the following photograph) and Wendy Wilkinson, as well as Robert Cooke's work. The first image below shows a piece that suggests a cookstove, made with soapstone and the aluminum cookware.

These sound sculptures are sometimes played in performance by gamelon practitioners from New York City. Here Sean is demonstrating on a second piece that references a table:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cabinet Cards

I've got ten of the modified Cabinet Cards completed, and have mounted them as a group in the studio. You can also see, on the shelf below them, a new piece of an animal made from a scrub brush and paired with a standing figure from the Parade series.

Curious? The Cabinet is Complete

All done, except for the drawer, because I want to leave it flexible. I'm really pleased with this project and am planning to go to visit my brother, Sean McKinney, for a week after June 11 to get some intensive work with power tools and woodworking. I want to know how to do this on my own, and have lots of ideas for cabinets/cases that I want to be able to make. Stay tuned!

Here it is in my studio. You can see the plexi covering the openings for the birds and also the segmented case at the top.

And below, a photo of the case on top, minus the plexi:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Australian Installation Published Online

The Tarpspace installation I did in Australia was so cool, and it's still up in Gidgegannup. The project organizers have just published images on their website, and you can have a look! I wrote about it on November 22 on ART ROLLS ON.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cabinet of Curiosities Almost Finished

Here are some images of the almost-completed Cabinet of Curiosities! I wanted to take some photos before I installed the plexiglass, which is hard to photograph because of the reflections. The buttons you see next to the openings are what will hold the plexiglass that will seal all the display spaces. Plexi will also go on top of the segmented shallow box on the top.

Here's a view that shows the piece from the other side, with the drawer open.

And a closeup of the drawer and top. I haven't completely committed to what will be displayed in the drawers. I'm thinking that I'll give whoever buys the piece a chance to collaborate on that. Right now it's got modified cabinet cards and tintypes.

I've written faux taxonomic descriptions of the three birds in the lower display boxes, all from the genus Avemlignea -- collosinuosae, osaexternis, and dulcefaciens (below).

And here's the bird it describes (image taken before it was inserted into the Cabinet):

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cabinet of Curiosities in Progress

I've been working on a Cabinet of Curiosities that I've re-purposed from the chest called Tool Box.

It's now a faux old oak cabinet with some of the birds from my Parade series, images from an reprinted old atlas of biological illustrations (given to me by Ellen Bresler), and will soon have a top with compartments to display curiosities (thanks to Trevor Tait, the shop teacher at Twinfield School).

These are some of the goodies that will be displayed in the top compartment, under plexiglass.


Hanging Disarmed in New Home

This piece found a new home this week, and here it is hanging in its new spot. It's so wonderful when a piece finds people who respond to it; it's like discovering a person who gets you and likes to hang out with you (hanging seems to be the theme here...).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Studio Place Arts GALA Coming Up!

OK, it's almost time for the annual big party at SPA. This year it's in conjunction with the Black and White exhibit, which will be up from April 15 through May 31.

Be there or be square (see above; Featured art on card, Untitled Triptych by Matthew Monk)

The B.A.S.H. (Big Arty SPA Happening) will be on May 9, from 7-9 PM.  It's a benefit for SPA art programs that includes great art, music, silent auction, and eats. Enjoy art rock band Swale on the main floor (see below!), and blues & folk musician Andy Pitt upstairs.

Wines will be served by the Grand View Winery (cash bar) and there will be (among other things) black & white desserts created by students at the Barre Technical Center Bake Shop.

Tickets: $20 advance/$25 day of event