Thursday, September 25, 2014

September Wrap Up

September has been filled with art exhibits and will end with the DUMBO arts festival this weekend. 
One of the best exhibits that I saw was at the  Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery located on the campus of College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ. The exhibit was entitled Compile and Composed: Sculptural Formations. 

The first piece that caught my eye in this extremely well light and bright space was Molly Heron's Petri Towers, 2012. This is structure composed of 13 six-foot tall tower of petri dishes coated with latex paint. 

I  appreciated the artist's sensibility to combine science plastics as entry point into reimagining a new use for plastics. These towers had an anthropomorphic quality to them that created a sense of community. 

The artist's second piece in the show, entitled iPodium,  was iPhone and iPod cases on a wooden table with salvaged wood beneath it.  The colors were great and the organizational grid was brilliant. Notice how Heron doesn't complete coat the cases so that you can still hints of the cases former life. This partial painting of the plastic was a subtle reminder of how much waste in generated by consummation

Next was a stretched and woven fabric piece by Katie Truk called Morning Dew. Can you believe that these are panty hoses? I liked the fact that these were panty hoses - so refreshing to see the material stretched over something and torn. The play of positive and negative spaces within a form reminded of Lee Bontecou's work. 

Another work of Truk's, Three Ring Circus, is shown below; the work's position in the gallery was very clever. I was able to see the full side view of the work as I turned the corner. That was a pleasant surprise. 

Texture attracts my attention and there was a lot of high quality works that engaged my sensibilities when it came to surface textures.

Livio Saganic's Flashover, made of enamel on wire cloth:

Jon Tsoi, Blindfold Art Medicine 2210, mixed media. The Director and Curator, Virginia Fabbri Butera, Ph.D., explained the process of this piece. He creates it blindfolded! This piece was rich and thick and very animated. This is a detail of the work. 

Paul Genader, Been so Long, is made of oil paint on canvas, but really has the sense that the material is both concrete and light weight folded paper. 

If you are New Hope this weekend - please check out, The New Hope Arts Center's September exhibit. This is the last weekend for the  exhibit;  Gallery Hours: Friday & Saturday 12 - 5 pm

Sunday noon - 4 pm; on Sunday there is an informal closing reception at 2 pm.

There was a smashing write up of the exhibit "Big Apple Polish" for our 2nd Juried Members' Exhibition  - you can read the review here
Some of my favorite pieces are:
Roy Reinard's Canal Light painting

Tom Martin's Fish sculpture

Stephanie Lisle's Talking Shit in NYC photo

Robert Noonan's Littoral Zone painting

In addition to exhibits, I was able to hear a panel discussion on Sharon Louden's book  Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists with some friends at the Grounds for Sculpture. The  panel was with David Humphrey,  Paul Henry Ramirez, and Austin Thomas and they will discussed sustaining creativity and the question,“How Do Working Artists Live?”. It was a great night and put the idea of artist community into perspective for me. 

left to right: Sharon Louden, Kristen Osgood Lamelas, Paul Henry Ramierz, me and seated is Austin Thomas

Next blog will cover two Super Storm Sandy exhibits, residencies and a few more local events!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good stuff for September

Yesterday was my first teaching as an adjunct professor. With my dad's old briefcase, a new dress and heels, I was ready, even though I was a bit nervous. Once I started, though, my love and excitement just pouring out! 

Here's my class room. I can't even tell you how magically this new job is! There's no lunch duty, the students are adults and so is the conversation, there is no art cart to push around the hallways, there are no other teachers in the room having conversations when I am teaching! Best of all, my schedule is pretty flexible now so that I can make more art! 

I am also pretty excited to share with you that I am now an AIR Gallery New York Artist! Check it out!

I also wanted to share with you a pretty amazing video describing feminism. Click here.
So what is so great about this link is how Laci Green simply defines feminism - 

"According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is 'the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.' "
Wow. It is that simple. 

And Season 7 of Art 21 is coming out the a Leonardo Drew video - here's a lovely preview on of my favorite artists!
I hope to see you at some of this month's receptions -  it is going to be a wild and crazy ride! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Scaled to Fit @ Sculptors Guild

Honored to be included in this exhibit! 
111 Front St.
Suite #256
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Opening Reception- Sept. 4, 6-9 PM
Exhibit: Sept. 4- Sept 30

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In memory of Ana Mendieta

A few weeks ago, I went to the Dia Beacon with my friend Ellen Martin.

The building is filled with work, primarily sculptures, from the 1960's  - mostly minimalism, and of course, there was the Carl Andre retrospective. 

For those of you unfamiliar with my work, the salvaged wood pieces began in graduate school with a grid on the floor. I was influenced by many artists from the 60's - Michael Heizer, Anges Martin, Richard Serra, Richard Long, Sol LeWitt, as well as Eva Hesse. 

Somewhere along the line, I realized that just because I  was only born in the late 60's, didn't mean I could continue the work of the minimalist -  I needed to find my own way. Unhappy with comments made from a professor during a crit of this work, I found inspiration in my fashion and textile background. After graduate school, I started to constructing these pieces into quilt-like sculptures that  hang vertically. But that sense of abstract minimalism still interests me and I thought I might discover something at the Dia Beacon. 

What I discovered at the Dia Beacon was left me disappointed. Yes, the expanse of seeing each artist's work in clean, open, airy and well light rooms was wonderful. (Expect for the Heizer piece because the security rails are too far away from the negative spaces.) Yes, I loved the long expanses of LeWitt's drawings, Sandback yarn pieces, Kawara's day paintings. But.....

First, only three women are represented at the Dia Beacon - Anges Martin, Louise Lawler and Louise Bourgeois. Secondly, the more disappointing and disturbing was  the fact there was NOTHING - no word, mention, footnote - of  Ana Mendieta. It was as if she the curators erased her from history. 

For those unfamiliar with the Andre and Mendieta story - I refer you to this book - Naked by the Window: The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta. Briefly, Ana Mendieta died on September 8, 1985 in New York from a fall from her 34th floor apartment in Greenwich Village where she lived with Andre; they were married for only eight months.  Just prior to her death, neighbors heard the couple arguing violently. Andre was tried and acquitted of her murder. During the three-year trial, Andre's lawyer described Mendieta's death as a possible accident or suicide. There was no suicide note and her family said that she was not suicidal. Andre has not had an art exhibit in the United States since then - this Dia Beacon retrospective was his first since her death. 

I don’t know if Andre killed his wife. But what I do know was that Dia Beacon disgraced her, her memory, her work, her family and her admirers  but not including any mention of her.  I felt saddened by the obvious absence of her. I was inspired to write about this because of Mira Schor's blog post - "Still 'Naked by the Window.'"  As well as the protests at the Dia Chelsea - click here for the Hyperallergic article. I didn't expect the Dia Beacon to offer Mendieta an equal placement in the exhibit - but just one mention of her, just one note as to why in nearly 30 years Andre has been missing from the American art scene. 

By excluding Mendieta, the absence of her grows larger; his guilt more looming. It was a shameful act to exclude her name and their marriage from mention. Yes, art can be made by bad people - Caravaggio killed a man, Agostino Tassi raped another artist - Artemisia Gentileschi, Hilter considered himself a painter, but that doesn't mean we can ignore the history of the artist, either. The Dia Beacon should have addressed Carl Andre's past. It was a disappointment to say the least that did not. 

BTW, should any protests find their way to the Dia Beacon in the next two weeks for the anniversary of Ana Mendieta's death- call me. I will happily hold a sign. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Bees Knees

Last week, my husband, Peter, and I traveled to Richmond, Kentucky for the annual Eastern Apiculture Society Conference - a beekeepers conference.

Here are the highlights:
Kentucky Honey Bees enjoying a hydrangea plant.

It was great fun meeting other beekeepers - especially the women beekeepers. Two women in particular were Tammy Horn and Erin Forbes. Don't get me wrong - there were inspirational men beekeepers as well. But, I find woman personally inspiring. 

The classes were held in the new science building on the campus of Eastern Kentucky State University. On the 4th floor was the chemistry department. Throughout the hallways, there were stencils of compounds from everyday life - peppermint compound, beer compound, vanilla compound. My favorite was how the bathrooms were marked. This picture "estrogen" marked the ladies room. I loved it. 

There was some time to take in a quilt show, as well. The south seems to have a great tradition for quilting which pleased me greatly.

The day before we left for this trip, I had the opportunity to visit the Dia in Beacon. That review will be in my next blog. 

Friday, July 25, 2014


Here is a lovely photo of me at an art openings enjoying the wine, the cheese, the talking about art. Sure, it looks like a dream life that day, but rarely do artists talk about what went into the opening. No, I am not talking about marketing, or struggling to find time in your studio - I am talking about getting accepted. Not just for juried shows, but for grants, residencies, galleries, fellowships, solo show exhibits, publications. 

There is nothing worse than waiting to hear about that result -  a grant application, a fellowship application, a residency application. I feverishly check my email hourly on the day of the published announcement. Then the email arrives and I open to this:

We appreciate all the effort you put into the application proposal and thank you for giving us the opportunity to see your work. Unfortunately your proposal was not selected for funding. 


We regret to inform you that your submission was not selected

It is without a doubt completely disheartening to read. No matter what successes you have had in the past, your worth seems to rest upon that email or letter received at this moment. To read many of these a month is paramount to jumping out of a window. Recently, I read a post on Facebook about a fellow artist  friend who was very frustrated with a recent rejection. I thought what would I say to this person because I have been there, too. 

Here’s what I do: 

1   I step back and re-evaluate for what opportunity I was applying. I find it very helpful when the organization published  has published the “winners.”  I will soon discover that I was not a good fit for them. In other words, the committee selected all digital work, or traditional landscapes. Sometimes, it seems that I should have been selected. When I look at the work objectively, I think I should have been there.  If this is the case, I will place the application in a folder to reapply. Sometimes reapplying helps the cause. Maybe I haven’t had enough experience yet for that particular position. Maybe I need to fill out more applications to get really good at it.

2    Apply to more opportunities that are carefully selected to where you are NOW. Too many “yes”–es to exhibits, grants, etc. feels like I am not reaching high enough or maybe relying on the same opportunities too often. I challenge myself by pushing my boundaries and apply to new galleries or shows. Conversely, too many “no”-s  could be that I am overreaching. I study the competition by reviewing the resumes of artists that were selected. My a-ha moment was once I saw that the selected winners have had dozens of solo shows over the years, I realized that I was overreaching. I put that application in  a folder marked a couple of years from now. To stay in the game, you need to get out there and the important part here is to get back on the proverbially horse and re-apply to  better choices. 

3   Finally, I remember the primary reason why I make work. The real reason is not seek fame or fortune – although that would be nice. I think as people, we have a deep need to be understood, to be heard and seen, to be valued. It makes us feel real – like the Velveteen Rabbit. When that rejection comes through it is a reminder for me that I wasn’t seen or heard. I lick my wounds and get back to the studio. Before I can be seen or heard, I need to tell a story and it is the telling of that story that makes me want to create.  I look at what was submitted. Could my images have been photographed better? Could my selection of images been more cohesive? Does the root of the problem lie in the work itself? What do I need to say more clearly to be heard? 

      The most important part is believing in myself - even when those rejections come in.  What drives me  to keep going is this internal fire to keep making and creating and to be heard. I need my story to be heard even if the only person listening is me. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Orphans, Brawlers and Bastards

In case you were missing my monthly blog updates, I want to share with you the many changes this past year.  In July, I lost my father. Nine months later, in April, I lost my mother.  I realized that I am an orphan.

One of the many tasks in dealing with death is that fact that  my siblings and I have had to clean out their condo in order to sell it. As a result, my husband and I inherited two sofas, a couple of carpets and lots and lots of books. We just finished cleaning our house, moving the furniture in place and are now in the process of settling into this new looking space. My daily groove has been altered.

Physical changes  in this new environment  can be overwhelming and amazing at the same time. I mean it is the same house that I have lived in since 2001 - but there is such a huge difference in how I operate my daily life now that physical space has been changed. 

Another major change is that I am no longer an elementary art teacher. After 15 years of teaching in the public school system, I woke up today realizing that I am now self employed. 

Yesterday, was my last day at the school. My students gave me lots and lots of cards. I wish them well and I will miss them. But I am so ready to work on my art full time- it just feels like this right and the moment is perfect.  In addition to now being  a full time, self employed artist, I am also teaching at Ocean County College as an adjunct professor.  In preparation for my fall class,  I am really cleaning my office. What not? Changes are sometimes unsettling as well as exhilarating - even though my heart and head knows this change is for the best. 

I don't know how much the title of this blog post relates to this post, expect that I am an orphan. It is just that I am listening to that Tom Waits cd now and it seemed like a good idea.