Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Take Away for October

For the past two weeks, I have been immersed in conferences and art shows. The pace has been frantic and there has not been much time for reflection. I am still processing so much of what I learned. My apologizes if this blog seems scattered. Let's start with Chicago and the International Sculpture Center (ISC)  Conference  I find that the ISC conference presents an overall philosophy that is strongly focused and has an immediate impact on my art career. At the ISC, 375 sculptors, educators, students  from all over the world gathered in Chicago for the ISC’s 23rd International Sculpture Conference. I had an opportunity to talk to artists and educators from US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, and France. This year’s theme of  “Process, Public, Patron”  focused on  community connections, by way of public sculpture. 

I learned so much about networking. The ease of which some people can start a conversation is inspiring. I made a few new friends on this trip and hope to see them again at another ISC conference. Also, there was so much information about writing grants on public sculpture that I feel inspired to begin to think about public sculpture. By beginning to think about presenting my work on such a large scale, I have started to reexamine my bigger message and what do I want to tell the world - what do I have to say. 

One of the keynote speakers was Edward Uhlir, executive director of Millennium Park. If you haven't been to Millennium Park in Chicago, book your trip now.  It was very reaffirming to hear that artists are a cultural commodity and are essential to the growth, development and sustainability of a city's vitality. 

My reflection in Kapoor's Cloud Gate, affectionately known as the bean
For my students, learning about Sanford Biggers and Yvonne Domenge was a huge plus. I love sharing contemporary artists with my students. 

Recently, I have been interested in doing full scale life drawings of figures. My work from my MFA show, Just Passing Through,  seem to be child like in their sizes. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why spectators felt inclined to play with the work. As I begin another set of large tree trunk sculptures I decided that I wanted the scale to larger than an average person and figurative without necessarily being representational. Hence, the need to dive into figure drawing again. This prelude leads me to the Sophie Ryder. She is an amazing sculptor and figure drawing is an essential component in her daily practice. 

The evenings were spent going to galleries. One of the standout shows was a performance piece done in a store front window. Terrific concept. I am in the planning stages of an art exhibit with both fine artists and performance artists and this idea will be shared for sure. 

The best gallery show in Chicago was meeting someone that I have admired for quite some time - Mary Ellen Croteau.  Her installation of these hanging sculptures made of bottle caps and medicine bottles was just beautiful. The show was at the Illinois State Museum in Chicago. I just couldn't believe how fortuitous it was to meet here after spending all summer researching and admiring her work. 

After the Chicago,  there were a few art excursions. One was to hear Pat Brentano talk at the Noyes Museum. I really wanted to hear her talk about her paper installation of trees. The more I develop as an artist, the more I learn that it is not enough to have one's work out there. I want to dialog about the work and engage with my audience. I am also researching how other artists are making a living, asking what grants did they receive to fund a project, and what venues and galleries do they exhibit. Essentailly trying to understand how to grow as professional artist. Here's a photo of Brentano's installation-

Then there was the  New York trip. First on the list was the Leonardo Drew, followed by Lisa Dinhofer, Judy Pfaff, Richard Misrach, Susan Philipsz, Analia Saban, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Regine Schumann and Michael Eastman. 

Leonardo Drew
Two other great events this month that left an indelible mark were the James A. Michener Art Museum exhibit featuring Diane Burko. The exhibit is Creative Hand, Discerning Hear: Story, Symbol and Self.  The other was hearing Lucy Lippard at the Brooklyn Museum. This is an exhibit inspired by her book The Dematerialzation of the Object. 

And if that were not enough, I was in the Delaware Art Museum "Centennial Juried Exhibition."  This museum is big time. I almost crashed the car when I drove past the museum and the saw the importance of this museum. But, the icing on the cake of this exhibit is that I am in a show with one of most beloved professors from Moore College of Art - Moe Brooker. 

A great deal has happened this month- and it is not over yet. More exhibits are scheduled for November. So many in fact, I have post-it notes on my bathroom mirror reminding me of drop-off and pick up dates. There are two new bodies of work in the studio and I keep finding new patterns for my wooden quilts. I figure that I will sleep when I am dead. 


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  3. fantastic laura! wow, you go girl!!! your developing like a Sequoia tree in the national forest of life....and your creative roots are reaching deeper and deeper!