Friday, February 28, 2014

New to Me: Photographs and Paper

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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

True to Type

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.

Friday, February 14, 2014

John Davis, 1936-1999

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.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Parade is Finished -- Long Live the Parade!

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.

If you got down on your hands and knees, it would look like this.

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.