I like having applications out, feels like setting messages in a bottle adrift on the ocean. The likelihood that anything will come of it is slight, but there's POSSIBILITY. I love possibility. I love open doors.
Mostly these notes disappear without explanation and that must be accepted. However, a recent rejection (bottle sinking under the waves) came with a hint from the other side. The folks at the Sustainable Arts Foundation give their jurors an option of providing feedback to applicants. To have some of the veil removed gives me valuable solid footing, helps make it feel worthwhile to keep sending these messages/applications out into the world; my messages are becoming more compelling and they are being received. Possibility.
Here is some of the feedback I received:
"Your work is expertly made and extremely impressive, especially given the circumstances outlined in your essays which are also beautifully and succinctly written."
"This is beautiful work: straddling the border between abstraction and landscape. I love the alien-like quality to this work -- the repetition and patterning of circles feels like a language. I also loved reading about your zoom in-zoom out approach and how you incorporate zoomed in, manipulated prints of a work back into the work itself. Very fractal. I also love the quote you reference ("I'm beginning to notice some improvement.") A wonderful statement of humility."
An excerpt from a grant application. The grant is for artists who are also parents, so they want to understand how having children impacts your life and creative work:
"I live in the Pacific Northwest with my commercial fisherman husband and my three children, two daughters and a son, Emerald (13), Dare (10), and Liam (4). The kids have spent much of their childhoods homeschooling in our humble home. They and their friends are around all the time and are welcome into my studio space which is always inside our home. Artmaking, homemaking, schooling are interwoven--if I have five minutes while the pasta boils I work. I work early in the morning, late into the night, and grab moments throughout the day.
Truth is this life can get real messy. With my husband gone fishing much of the year parenting is often a solo job. The kids get in the way, sheer volume of mess, illnesses that hit at the height of a deadline crunch, kids' most urgent needs tend to happen late at night during my only sustained work time, that is just how it is. But it is big, it is rich. It is worth it. Making art is a non-negotiable part of who I am, I am a better person when I am actively working, this helps me be the parent I want to be. In turn the kids feed the art work. Their creativity is astonishing. I often collaborate with them and am inspired by their choices. I also find intense satisfaction in teaching my kids, their peers, and within my community at large. This is a good feedback loop.
I like to put it this way, I am "living my whole life right now." Sometimes I confidently own this powerful statement, other times it is a quiet mantra used as a reminder that I chose all of this. Always the message is that the different areas of my life are not separate from each other--I choose not to put anything off until later."
From a recent grant application, regarding my future plans:
"The bottom line for me as an artist, is daily practice that leads to continued change, growth, and improvement. I always want to get better at what I do. When pre-eminent cellist Pablo Casals was asked (at the age of 93) why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day, he replied 'I’m beginning to notice some improvement.' This sounds like the path I am on."
I have this little brother, this one and only sibling of mine, who is eighteen years younger than me and I love him. He is an excellent drummer involved in several music projects. One of these is a band of friends that have been making music together since adolescence. They are getting really good.
They released a full length album and I got to make art for it.
Please check out both album and art here: Why We Are Here, Why We Left, Cold Comfort
I think in terms of a ZOOM in/ZOOM out quality of life: zoom in on the immediate: food, jokes, bills, lovers, traffic, temperature . . . zoom out: oceans, volcanoes, solar system, sugar molecules in space, a planet made entirely of diamond, vast wastes, dark matter, universe, multiverse . . . repeat. This is wrapped up in a childlike sense that so much is happening all at once; tigers and happy hour exist on the same planet, Jupiter and Twinkies share a solar system.
Using acrylic paint, graphite, ink, as well as, collage with my own manipulated photography (often using actual photographs of a work in progress, flipped, repeated, resized and printed back into the physical to use in the work), generous amounts of glitter, paper, and various found materials. Much of my work comes down to finding balance between two opposing approaches. One, loose painting techniques: dripping, pours, flow and scatters which effectively represent natural elements – weather, water, clouds, smoke, etc. And the other, using architects’ tools, templates and compasses to rigorously draw controlled lines, concentric circles, grids and repetitive dots; using these to reflect structures and infrastructures that we build.
I am influenced by the look of outer space, computer chips, dramatic weather, electric circuits, decay, rock-n-roll glamour, plans and diagrams, b-rate sci-fi control panels, urban environments, fluid turbulence, engineering schematics and architectural drawings, and, increasingly, the stunning good looks of the Pacific Northwest. In my work there are things that come up again and again: Lost highways, nebulas, grids, geometric forms, mysterious powerful ladies who appear to be performing strange rites, mountains, animals, the woods, water in all states (solid, liquid, vapor), and cities, often isolated and/or in a state of decay.
I have essentially taken two years of quiet to practice drawing. My skills have improved, plenty of room for continued improvement, but that’s awesome. There’ll be room for improvement until I’m dead. Anyways, here’s a couple of samples:
I’m did this, am still doing this, for two main reasons: 1) I want to illustrate picture books. 2) Improving these skills is going to improve my paintings and give me greater options in what I can do in any given piece.
Two of my paintings are en route to Seattle today to be included in Red Current (sweet fruit), a group show at Roq La Rue curated by Seattle artist and art provocateur Sharon Arnold. This show features an array of work by 37 Northwest artists–I am humbled and super excited to be among this truly stellar group of artists.
Roq La Rue Gallery Presents RED CURRENT (sweet fruit)
Curated by Sharon Arnold
Roq la Rue Gallery scheduled a winter break in it’s programming, and found that it presented an ideal opportunity to fulfill a goal the gallery had for awhile, namely working more closely with local contemporary artists who work closely to but outside the gallery’s usual realm of Pop Surrealism and underground contemporary. Gallerist Kirsten Anderson enlisted Sharon Arnold who had been curating dynamic shows around town to come on board and create a group show for Roq la Rue.
Arnold was inspired to create this exhibition by contemplating the definition of a current, something present and electric, a dynamic force with great power. Citing the exponential blossoming of the local art scene, Arnold wanted to take the opportunity to feature a snapshot of what she feels is an important moment in the growth of the Seattle art scene. “ I believe this will be a very strong collection, and something that hasn’t really been put together to this extent in recent history ”.
Arnold chose artists on the strength of what she felt they brought to the table. “I want this exhibition to feature artists in Seattle who I’ve been watching work hard, inspire, create, build community, push themselves, and move forward.”
The show itself will feature 37 artists in a salon style setting and will feature an array of media including painting, drawing, installation, and video. Roq La Rue is thrilled to work with such an abundance of Northwest talent. Please join us for a very festive opening on March 23rd from 6-9pm!
Mandy Greer Kimberly Trowbridge Amanda Manitach Izzie Klingels Serrah Russell Saskia Delores Debra Baxter Jess Rees Anne Blackburn Erin Frost Lynda Sherman Laura Ward Jennifer McNeely Susanna Bluhm Counsel Langley Erin Shafkind Claire Johnson Klara Glosova Andrea Wicklund Gala Bent Rumi Koshino Naomi Faith Allyce Wood Julie Alpert Crystal Barbre Deborah Scott Kristen Ramirez Allie Manch Ellen Garvens Cristin Ford Gretchen Bennett Francesca Lohmann Emily Pothast Bette Burgoyne Jennifer Borges Foster Jennifer Zwick and Stacey Rozich
About a year ago NAC invited me to have a show with them. They asked that it be a two or three person show and I immediately began thinking about who I would like to invite. Gala and Sharon came to mind quickly and I can’t say how delighted I am that the both agreed. Our work is not immediately visually similar, which is exactly what I wanted for this show. The places where we overlap lies below and is rich territory: repetition, pattern, and a reach for balance of geometry and control with fluid natural phenomenon is present in all of our work. This is spiced with a serious crush on science and the approach of asking or why/how/what do we do and where do with do it, plus a healthy dose of storytelling.
Filter Vol. III has arrived. This 3rd issue of the entirely handmade journal is a box of wonder:
The cover has a paint-by-numbers theme, and the box structure is letterpress printed by Kate Fernandez of Fernandez and Sons (I absolutely adore this image). The book will be filled with brilliant work in individually bound chapbooks of prose and poetry, with art postcards and posters that you can remove and display.
About Filter Literary Journal:
“Filter is a literary journal made entirely by hand. Each issue contains erasures and other literary art alongside unaltered poetry, fiction and visual art. Filter seeks to represent the work it holds on a visceral level, so that the book is as carefully crafted as the poetry, fiction and art that it contains.”
There are many things I love about Filter, including: the slow deliberate process of the handmade, which results in an object of sheer beauty and strong physicality; that it is its own record of the intense labor that went into creating it; the cross discipline inclusion of literary and visual art; and, possibly above all, that it “seeks to represent the work it holds on a visceral level.” Filter is a rare treasure.
I am honored to contribute artwork to Filter for the second time. This time around my presence in Filter is in the form of recent painting, Dusk, which is included as a poster which can be removed and displayed! This is especially cool since the original painting has very quickly gone off to a good home, so I’m super happy that the piece will get this ‘bonus round’ as a poster.
Filter Literary Journal is created and edited by Jennifer Borges Foster.
Contributors for Filter III are:
Yusef Komunyakaa, Zachary Schomburg, Stacey Levine, Amanda Manitach, Maged Zaher, Sharon Arnold, Martha Silano, John Osebold, Rebecca Brown, Counsel Langely, Ed Skoog, Karen Finneyfrock, Sean Ennis, Sarah Mangold, Gala Bent, Rachel Contreni Flynn, David Lasky, Elizabeth Colen, Sandra & Ben Doller, Brandon Shimoda, Ben Beres, Brandon Downing, Sarah Kate Moore, Dan Rosenberg, Susan Rich, Susan Denning, Sid Miller, Sarah Bartlett, Shawn Vestal, Marie-Caroline Moir, Lucy Corin, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Jill McDonough, Jessica Goodfellow, Jessica Bonin, Friedrich Kerksieck , Erika Wilder, Elissa Washuta, David Bartone, Chris Dusterhoff, Britt Ashley, Becca Yenser, Anne Gorrick
A Good Line: Artist on Poems has opened at Richard Hugo House in Seattle. You are all officially invited to join us for the big reception on April 12th from 6 to 9pm! Promises to be a great time. Nancy Guppy from Art Zone (Seattle Channel) stopped by Hugo House to chat about their plans for National Poetry Month, includes a glimpse (don’t blink!) of one-half of the work I’ve have in A Good line; all begins around the 9 minute mark.
Already in progress is this year’s Strait Art exhibition at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center; excerpted from the show text:
Counsel Langley’s precisely textured mixed media paintings hinge on dynamic tension between an underlying architectonic structure and organic bleeds that ebb and flow. In AM Radio a matrix grid of perfectly aligned pulses blink weakly in the nocturnal landscape, while a sparkly wave of bright plastic crystals encrusts the landscape below like the lights of farms and cities seen from a jetliner flying through the night by instruments.
Strait Art runs through May 15th.
I am honored and excited to be a part of the visual arts team for PT Public Library’s first ever Teen Community Read. There are many incredible events happening around this book. I look forward to holding visual art workshops along with two fantastic artists, Jesse Watsonand Margie McDonald!! All the info can be found in this week’s Leader.
I am nearing the one month mark in my role as fill-in on the daily photo blog A Year of Days. Am pretty sure that last time a one month anniversary felt significant I was in junior high. AYOD has been an excellent visual workout routine and has solidly become a habit. If I were a big cheater there are some days I might be tempted to sub-out a day’s crummy shot for something from one of those great days when I have two or four to struggle to choose from, but no pain no gain. And besides I’m wicked honest. Here’s one of my favorites to date:
Rather than business as usual, PTSD’s ICE Program kicked-off 2011 with an experiment:
Cancel all regular classes in favor of a week of intense focus on a particular subject.
During this amazing Project Week, I teamed up with teacher/consultant Daniel Molotsky to lead students, K through 8th grade, in a concentrated look at Patterns in Art and Nature. For four straight days we worked inside and out to explore environmental art and visual concepts, such as, pattern and line, accumulation, repetition, symmetry.
All the images in this post are rad student work.
Our days began with an introduction of a new concept, some discussion and a look at examples of the days’ idea from both visual art and nature. Students then spent time working on projects indoors.
These projects encouraged independent thought and work and introduced a particular design concept: repetition, symmetry, pattern. Then around lunch time we bundled-up and went outdoors to work on-site. Now students could get their hands (and knees) dirty and express what they were learning about environmental art. My take on it is that environmental art improves the artist’s relationship with nature. It is artwork that emerges from the essence of a particular place and is created entirely from available natural materials. And, most importantly, it is ephemeral; made to change and eventually disappear. The kids embraced these ideas--moving with grace and confidence they took their time getting to know the places–-woods, meadow, beach–-that we ventured to.
The future of the environment depends largely on this generation having a healthy relationship with the natural world. Environment-based education education expert David Sobel puts it this way:
“It’s good to have streams where kids can and obstruct the ecosystem; the nature of that play is more important, and worth it to the environment in the long term,” he says. . . . . “You can make the same argument about tree houses, which undeniably damage the tree, but that occasional damage to a tree is not as important as what children learn when playing in that tree.”
Without exception, the students were gentle and respectful in their interactions with the natural world. There is some unavoidable impact when taking twenty-some students out into the wild to make art. With this in mind we were sensitive to select work sites that were near trails or other spaces already frequented by people/
I came across this David Sobel quote while reading Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. Louv’s view is:
“Passion does not arrive on videotape or on a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save . . . the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
I am happy to think the environment might benefit from kids who know it well. As I watched my students at their play/work/interaction with the natural world I see in them respect, understanding, and love. These children are the ones who grow up desiring to protect the environment. Even greater satisfaction came of witnessing the effect the great outdoors had on all of us-–making us happier, more-tolerant, creative and playful.
Again from Last Child in the Woods:
“Natural spaces and materials stimulate children’s limitless imaginations and serve as the medium of inventiveness and creativity observable in almost any group of children playing in a natural setting.” [Louv is quoting Robin Moore, a play and learning environments designer.]
Tomorrow I’ll cross the bay to Whidbey Island for the third time in a week. Day one, I went to La Conner to deliver paintings to the Museum of Northwest Art. Two days later, I delivered my husband to a fishing boat in Anacortes that will take him to Alaska for weeks. They asked me if he’s a good cook. He is. Tomorrow I put on boots, shark ring and lip gloss and return to MoNA for the pretty part. The opening of this show:
RESONANCES: CONTEMPORARY ECHOES MODERN
March 13, 2010 – June 13, 2010
Curators’ Panel: Saturday, March 13, 1-2pm
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 13, 2-5pm
From a MoNA brochure: “Four Northwest curators compare the work of older and newer regional artists, in pairs that resonate. The specific pairings combine artists from different generations and areas, using various mediums. Resonances features these small two-person exhibitions sharing formal qualities or subject matter including architecture, color, landscape and abstraction.”
The concept–echoes over time, space, generation being picked up though some sort of regional osmosis–intrigues me deeply.
Participating curators: Sarah Clark-Langager, Director, Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham; Kathleen Moles, Curator, Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner; John Olbrantz, The Maribeth Collins Director, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon; and Jake Seniuk, Director, Port Angeles Fine Art Center, Port Angeles, Washington.
Jake Seniuk selected Charles Stokes* and myself for the “highly abstract, structured and organic compositions” we have in common.
Excerpt from Jake Seniuk's exhibition text:
“Stokes’ virtuosic gouache and aquarelle cosmos, sometime glibly characterized as Tobeyesque ‘white writing with added drop shadows,’ is an arena where modern physics and more primal metaphysical impulses vie for the viewer’s rapt attention. Repeatedly crisscrossing the border between the referential and the purely abstract, his paintings give visual basis to both scientific explanations and to more spiritual notions of the movements that comprise the dance between matter and energy.
In Stokes’s more casual works, biomorphic forms drift on soft washes that ooze like the pregnant fluids of a primal soup, awaiting the spark of life. In his more labored masterpieces, complex crystals of linear geometry rise and fall like prehistoric ghost cities or surge like nature’s formative forces, tattooing their routes through an elemental landscape.
The pathways of perception stay a little closer to the grid in Counsel Langley’s highly engineered ink, acrylic and mixed media paintings. Drawing on her formative metalsmithing internship, she creates precise architectonic designs of scribed lines and systemically arranged discs that might be of use as game boards, circuit diagrams, subway maps or any number of genres of codified information. When layered with organic bleeds and washes that ebb around the edges, these rational structures are a picture of intellect rising from the unconscious mind. Here she’s wandered into the same territory as the heretofore unknown master before her, but has begun to draw her own maps.”
* As Seniuk puts it “A deep trawling of Google offers little more on the man or his paintings than his 2008 obituary. An impressive and surprising feat in the cyber age for anyone living ordead, but not wholly unexpected of this reclusive savant by those who knew him.”
In thinking about the implications of this show, It occurred to me to look up the definition of the word resonance. At times the nuanced specifics of a word’s meaning can help to clarify it use. Turns out resonance is owned by its scientific meanings. Which, to my mind, is sexy, but went only a short distance to unwrap the reasons why this exhibition works. These science-based definitions helped on some level; this is why I picked out the quote at the top of this post. I can get into comparing the artists to particles, or thinking of them as part of a linear system through time, picking up specific vibrations and putting them into their work. (By the way, I included the Galileo discovering resonance bit just because the guy is awesome.) Wanting a little more I went to the word resonate.
According to Miriam-Webster the third meaning of resonate is:
3 : to relate harmoniously : strike a chord.
“Strike a chord.” That is really all there is too it. These artists have been paired to draw out a common chord they have struck in their work. With each pairing the chord is different; more or less subtle; more or less felt on an intuitive level. The moment of richest resonance occurs in the viewer. Here the same chord responds/resonates/vibrates. It is very much like that magical thing that happens with pianos, guitars and other musical instruments; when more than one of these instruments are in the same space and a string is plucked or struck on one the corresponding string of another will vibrate.