Consenses: A Moving Art Journey
I had the distinct pleasure of twice visiting Consenses, an incredibly inspiring art installation created over two years by Sally Taylor. Taylor has engaged artists from different mediums to interpret each other’s work in the vein of the game of Telephone. For example, a photograph is sent to a musician who creates an original song based on the feelings evoked from the photograph. Then that music is sent to a dancer who creates an interpretation of the song. The dance heads to a sculptor who sends his piece to a poet and so on until all five senses are represented. The experience even includes original perfumes and teas interpreted from the art! Taylor originally asked 22 photographers to start these collaborative and truly creative ‘chains’ that are each displayed in specially crafted pods that engage the viewer in a deep and moving experience. I have been thinking about the installation days after seeing it, and continue to be struck by how so many different art forms can be used collaboratively to express what is hard to say out loud. Bravo to the incredibly warm and engaging Sally Taylor for this imaginative and beautifully executed (fresh) idea – not to mention a logistical feat of grand proportions. It is nearly impossible to capture the experience unless you are there, but here are three images that caught my eye. Please visit www.consenses.org for more information.
Free Fall: 3 New Pieces
Life has handed me some unexpected blows over the past few years. Most recently, the swift and painful death of my extraordinary mother. It’s impossible to put into words her absolute uniqueness. She was, by vast measure, the most positive, supportive, loving, beautiful, youthful, kind, energetic person on the planet. Those of us who were lucky enough to live beneath her warm wings are missing her every single day. I took several months away from my studio to be with her at the end of her life. When I returned, I delved into work to channel my sorrow and sheer confusion about why life can feel so complicated and chaotic, no matter how hard I try to keep in control. It was my aim to capture in this series, both the complexity and the wonderment of life that can at times, feel like a free fall. If my mother were here, she would surely say something like this: ‘you may feel like you’re falling, not knowing where you’ll land; but if you stay close to family and friends, live, laugh and enjoy every moment, life will pick you up again.’ Here are three new pieces from my series entitled, ‘Free Fall.’
jump, 2014, 48″ x 72″, mixed media on panel
falling, 2014, 48″ x 48″ mixed media on panel
why is life a free fall? 2014, 36″ x 36″
mixed media on panel
3 Amy Sillman Images About Connectedness
Don’t miss the Amy Sillman exhibition ‘One Lump or Two’ at the ICA in Boston, up through January 5. Really thought provoking and interesting. Her work “stages the ultimate human problem. What is our relation to others? Are we ultimately alone and making due? Or are we irrevocably tethered to others, both physically and psychologically?” Here are three of my favorite images from the show. (I particularly love her seating charts. Brilliant.)
3 Dita Von Teese Poses That Inspire!
Last night, a few friends and I went to the Dita Von Teese Burlesque Show aptly named ‘Strip, Strip, Hooray’. She is the fashion, stripper-diva who struts across the stage with such confidence it was jaw dropping. It was like being back in the pin-up 50’s. A sexy, beautiful, fantasy. What struck me most was that she was clearly not stripping for men as an object of desire. In fact, there were more women in the crowd than men. She was stripping for the pure fun of it. For the sensual pleasure. She is a woman in control and her power is the comfort she feels in her body (and the whoops and hollers she elicits) . Time to put Pin-Up Power back on my canvas’!
3 Cool Photographs by Jana Cruder
I’m so excited to be opening a show at Joanne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach THIS week. It’s a two-person show where my work is paired with images by a really talented photographer, Jana Cruder. In her words, her photography is ‘an exploration & examination of the importance of appearance and how the societal
roles of woman, man, husband & wife are learned and the influence of today’s media & culture shapes us through icons like Barbie & Ken.” Interesting pairing I think. We both explore physical, ideal beauty and it’s role and importance in our society – yet we come at it through very different lenses. Should be a strong and compelling show. If you’re in So Cal drop by the gallery. The show runs from September 1 – October 31, with an Artist Reception on Thursday, January 5 from 6-8. Jana and I will both be there.
3 Portraits I love.
On Facebook I post family photographs of smiling faces, warm hugs and happy memories. Those are all true moments in time, ones I cherish and celebrate. But they are just moments. They do not, by any measure, capture the truth, reality or complexity of every day life within our family – any family. How could they? There are too many moving parts – different personalities, temperaments, interests, talents and shortfalls, emotions and biologies. The photos on Facebook tell one side of the story. I look to art to tell a lasting, deeper story. The past few years have been complicated and difficult for my family, for a host of reasons. This time has changed us, deepened us, and revealed so much about us as individuals and as a family. While in many ways I have wished this time away, there is another side of me that feels an urgent need to capture and bottle our experience. In some small way, I achieved this by turning to the very talented portrait artist, Jasmine Chen, to paint my 3 children. I am amazed by the result. Three very real portraits of 3 very real kids. If you look into their eyes and at their expressions, you will see a whole lot more going on than the smiles on Facebook.
3 Cool Surfaces – Italian Billboards!
I had the incredible pleasure of vacationing in Italy with my husband, where we were surrounded by gorgeous sites and sounds – all inspiring. On our drive from Amalfi to Rome, we wove through wonderful old towns. In one village I spotted a line of street level, ancient looking billboards thick with layers of paper, scuffed and peeling and just itching to be torn off and taken back to America! Ignoring the strange looks from passersby (and my husband who was annoyed and kept asking how exactly I was going to transport this pile of dusty, dirty old paper), I tore down as much as I could stuff into the trunk of the car and off we went. Amazing find!!
3 Brimfield Inspirations
I took my annual pilgrimage to Brimfield, MA for their renowned Antique fair. As always, Brimfield didn’t disappoint. It was a sunny, gorgeous day. I had my cart in hand, and quite rapidly filled it with reams of fabulous old papers: ledger and coloring books, advertising signs, magazines and miles of other cool and interesting finds that will make their way onto my canvas’ over the next year.
Vintage car dealership store displays – love the circles!
Piles of old receipts, ledger books, in great weathered colors.
Loved this pile of old tins (especially Maxwell House). Didn’t buy, but makes me think about the crate labels I used to use. May need to revisit those.
3 Pieces of Mother’s Inspired Art
On behalf of Mother’s Day, I offer up three pieces of mom-inspired art. I wish you all a wonderful, quiet, family-filled day.
Dot Study, Kelly Reemsten, 2013 Pastel on paper
Mother and child, Alice Neel, 1967 Oil on canvas
Mothers, Martin Creed, 2011 White neon and steel
3 Quotes from Zadie Smith, On Beauty
I’m reading a wonderful book by Zadie Smith, On Beauty. As always, beautifully written with richly developed characters. Here are three quotes pulled from the book as they relate to body image, art and finding our true calling that ‘fits’ us just right.
q “Right. I look fine. Except I don’t,’ said Zora, tugging sadly at her man’s nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman’s magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki’s knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies– it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.”
w “Art is the Western myth, with which we both console ourselves and make ourselves.”
e “Claire spoke often in her poetry of the idea of “fittingness”: that is, when your chosen pursuit and your ability to achieve it–no matter how small or insignificant both might be–are matched exactly, are fitting. This, Claire argued, is when we become truly human, fully ourselves, beautiful….In Claire’s presence, you were not faulty or badly designed, no, not at all. You were the fitting receptacle and instrument of your talents and beliefs and desires.”