sculpture

Catching Up

I’ve been having a fantastic summer teaching and traveling all over the western part of the country and I realized I skipped July’s post! This month’s post is devoted to catching up with all of the amazingly good things happening in my world this summer. Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you in September with a post about my early work in encaustic and why it looks nothing like the work I do today.

 

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I’m so pleased to announce that I have a new catalogue of my work and writing spanning from 2005-2017. The great Tom Manzione designed the catalogue and did an amazing job integrating a recent drawings series with over 12 years of my encaustic paintings. Also, integral to the success of the catalog is the excellent design-making the story flow with those little details often overlooked by novice designers like myself. The best lesson I got out of publishing this catalogue is that it is so worth it to hire someone rather than try to do it all yourself. Tom was so patient and organized, all I had to do was upload my images and left the rest to him…too easy and worry free. If you would like to purchase a catalogue, they are available for sale on Magcloud in both hard copy and digital form.

 

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One can never have too many places to show their work, so I signed up with Saatchi and now have a site with them. Right now, I’m only listing my smaller (Mini Paintings, I call them) encaustic pieces for sale-sizes 10×10, 8×8 and 6×6 with prices starting at $500 and under. These smaller works are quite coveted and Saatchi will help me to better manage the sales and shipping of these little gifts from me to you. I will be adding many more over the next few months so check the page often. To see what’s available now, go to the page here.

 

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Did you know I have an ongoing encaustic sculpture series I started in 2011? Indeed, I do and a piece I finished last year called The Space Between just won Third Place in Sculpture at Art of the State for which I am truly grateful. I started this series at a time when I was very much in transition with my work and life and this series came about as a way to sort out my thoughts through meditative process. I secretly call these pieces ‘worry blocks’ because these pieces are the vehicles by which I deposit my worries. Through the repetitive process of burning holes and using encaustic to place my hair strand by strand in grid patterns, I think, reflect and heal. I’ve had a nervous habit since I was little of twisting my hair when I’m stressed or thinking and I keep a bag of it in the studio that I add to daily. I have been using horse as well as my own hair in my work for quite some time. It makes a beautiful line in the wax and it also speaks to the bodily connections that have always been at the core of my work.  I first showed my worry blocks at the Gallery at R & F Paints where they were very well received and this encouraged me to keep making them. I make about 1-2 of the larger ones and 5-10 of the smaller ones per year. The smaller ones make great holiday gifts for the worrier in your life and I sell out every year. I’ll be posting them on Instagram when they are finished, so keep an eye out for them in the next couple of months. To see more of the larger worry blocks go to my web site here and here to read a statement about the series.

 

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It seems like I just attended the opening, but the show, Taking Wing, at Ellsworth Gallery in Santa Fe will be coming down on August 16, 2017. I’m honored for my inclusion in this fabulous show and grateful for the opportunity to show my work in Santa Fe with amazing artists Arin Dineen and Claire McArdle. The opening was super fun, with artist talks and an exciting interpretive dance by Ingrid Zimmer. See below for installation images and images of the opening.

Carol Bajen-Gahm & Pamela Blum

In mid-December, I was fortunate to have been invited to teach at R&F paints. In addition to their stellar workshop space, R&F also has has a wonderful gallery space, which always has an interesting and engaging show. The show up while I was there was THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, FORCES AND artifacts, the work of Carol Bajen-Gahm and Pamela Blum and it was a stunner. I’ve long been a fan of Pamela’s work, but was unfamiliar with Carol’s, so it was such a pleasant surprise to just happen upon it. The muted tones, expert use of high contrast, scale and materials make both artist’s work sing, but together, the pieces were orchestral. I haven’t seen a more perfectly paired two person show than this one in a long time. Unfortunately, the show is now over, but it continues virtually here.

Pamela Blum‘s statement for the show…My small sculptures are massed objects. They suggest forces over time on anthropological body parts and cultural relics. Blum uses dominantly black and white encaustic paint surfaces to communicate polarized times and conditions such as life and death, disease vs. health, uselessness rather than usefulness, human actions as comedy and tragedy. The encaustic paint, covering wire mesh, plaster gauze, and papier maché, embodies the tension between longevity and vulnerability inherent in wax and in all things organic and inorganic.
Indebted to others’ perceptions, feelings, thoughts and beliefs, I draw from artwork of the past. The work assembles many different ways to prompt viewers, including myself, to reinterpret the work.
In an effort to communicate something essential, I use the arsenal of visual literacy: titles, form, dimensionality, expression, materials, color, position, relationship of parts to wholes, marking or lack thereof, different scales, different contexts and references to things we see every day.
I intend my work to be disturbing, funny, and sometimes sexual. The work, founded formally, conceptually, and technically in history, rests on two quotations from Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible:
“My life: What I stole from history and how I live with it.”
“Misunderstanding…is the cornerstone…of civilization.”

Carol Bajen-Gahm’s statement for the show…I have always been attracted to dark spaces: tangled roots, wells, and caves. The shifting time and spatial juxtaposition of fairy tales and dreams hold an equal fascination for me.  I like to explore where my wild things are.
If you take the time to see what a fairy tale or a dream is saying, you usually end up at a deeper level of understanding where there is both the fear and the promise of the unknown.
I like to work with those dark spaces, tangled areas, time shifts and spatial juxtapositions in my work. For this series, I used the root cellars of Newfoundland as a starting point. Root cellars are used to preserve food during the cold months. I was attracted to them because they are an example of a dark space as a nurturing force, a kind of transformation by preservation.
I built the images using elements that related to the root cellars: seaweed which is used as fertilizer, and netting which is a crop protector.  In some cases, I used digital transfers of actual photographs of the cellars.  As I build the image at some point a state of chaos occurs – and my job is to bring the disparate elements into balance; to tame my wild things.

Inspired by…Layers

Busy in the studio and in the final weeks of the semester teaching at Tyler, but I have some exciting posts coming up soon. In the meantime, enjoy some inspiration pics from my ‘Layered’ board on Pinterest

Inspired By…Fiber & Paint

Painting and fiber, two disciplines whose marriage has always intrigued and inspired me throughout the evolution of my work. Over the 15+ years since graduate school, I have completed several series of work, all of which borrow and combine aspects of both disciplines. However, each series leans either to the fiber or painting end, but never fully captures the essence of either discipline.

For this reason, I am fascinated when I come across artists whose work fully exhibits the perfect balance of material, materiality, color, tactility, surface, pattern and process that encapsulates the two disciplines of fiber and painting. I must mention that there are many artists who work within these boundaries and without listing them-there are so many-I am inspired by them all. However, it was difficult to find artists amongst this group whose work possessed a blending, rather than a combination between the materials, process and techniques used, a seamlessness, a perfect balance, a sensitivity, a symbiosis that is almost intangible and cannot easily be put into words. I have chosen three artists whose work stands out and characterizes these qualities .

I have always been a fan of Margery Amdur’s work and first came across it when she was working with layers of painted, hand cut mylar in wonderful diagrammatic floral patterns that resembled the preparatory acetates and paintings I used to do when I was a textile and rug designer. In her layered paintings, there is a painterly quality in which the materials, process and content effortlessly support one other. Her latest work applying paint, pastel, ink and silkscreen on cosmetic sponges takes painting to a whole new level. Some may categorize these pieces as sculpture, but the use of materials, repetition, tactility, process, technique and structural pattern all speak to textiles. The reference to flowers, the garden, layers and the mark of the hand is also evident.

Julia Bland’s work is what sparked the writing of this post as it imbues the perfect blend of fiber and painting I describe above. Bland’s work is founded in weaving and craft based traditions and her stem from her interest in religious and cultural patterns. Working hand in hand with the repetitive process of weaving, she adds, subtracts, cuts, glues, sews and paints elements into her large scale wall hangings. Hand worked details, knots, stitched and painted areas are added after the weaving takes place making piece exciting and interesting both up close and at a distance.

At first glance, Gabriel Luis Perez’s work may just look like mixed media paintings. However, what I see in these richly layered surfaces are references to quilting, applique, weaving, sewing, embellishment, pattern-making, design and repetitive process all densely integrated with painted pop imagery, text and collaged elements. Of his work he writes, “It is important to me that all my pieces inherit an energy; sometimes that energy is one produced during its performance and at other times it is a conjured from past or future experiences.” They do have an energy and I totally get it.

Team Textile @ The Pentaculum

I happily spent New Year’s Day packing my suitcase and part of my studio, so excited to drive down to Gatlinburg, TN for The 2nd Annual Pentaculum. I was honored to have received the invitation to participate in this exciting event at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts last year and as the event approached I just couldn’t wait to get there. I have previously taught workshops at Arrowmont and the facilities, food and staff are consistently top notch. The Pentaculum invites artists and writers at various stages in their careers to participate for a one week residency utilizing the studios, collaborating, socializing, etc. The five participating studios during this Pentaculum were Ceramics, 2D Painting, Sign Painting in the wood shop, Jewelry/Metals, Writing and Textiles. The event began with a slide show of all participants’ work, I was so impressed to be among such amazing artists and writers-just simply amazing PEOPLE. To spend a week working around them was an honor.

Of course the textiles studio is where I spent most of my time. Each artist in the studio with me was as individual, accomplished and amazing as their work. Most impressive is how much work each person produced in only one week-this is what uninterrupted time can do for an artist! I am pleased to share their work made during the Pentaculum with you here, please click on their names to visit their web sites for their complete body of work.

Stay tuned for my next blog post describing my personal experience and work created during the Pentaculum.

Loo Bain, who I am privileged to work with at Tyler spent her time repetitiously cutting, drawing 2d and drawing in space with fluorescent vinyl, mylar and other sparkly, shiny fabrics. By the end of the week, her colorful and tactile studies just begged to be touched.

Erin Castellan, our fearless studio coordinator, did a great job herding us cats all week, answering our questions and stitching, stitching, stitching. I have long been a fan of Erin’s work, which translates constructed fabrics of all kinds, thread and other embellishments into stitched paintings. The week of the Pentaculum, she meticulously stitched and beaded an lovely, intimate piece that I secretly covet.

Orly Cogan’s work is instantly recognizable-unabashed, large scale, stitched, collaged, painted pieces exploring feminine myths, identities and relationships. Orly was most at home collaborating with the 2D studio, where they created air brushed magic on her pieces.

Naomi Falk, sculptor & materials wizard, uses performance, clay, fabric, wood, stitch, paper and myriad other materials to investigate personal identities. During the Pentaculum, she experimented with many materials and made all of us in textiles studio amazing hand cut paper crowns!

Sonya Yong James’ work explores repetition, ritual and transcendence through simple felted forms, which become complex through multiples and repetition. During the Pentaculum, Sonya worked to combine felt and horse hair, making quiet, intimate samples-so impressive was her magnificent collection of various colors of horsehair!

Colleen Merrill was extremely prolific during the Pentaculum, especially considering that her constructed pieces are mainly hand sewn. She completed or got a good head start on a new series of soft sculpture pieces entitled ‘fawn’ exploring her new role as a mother.

Valerie Powell’s fun, colorful and approachable work is made with painted, stitched and sculpted shrinky-dinks! Too. Much. Fun. Just as fun was watching a wonderfully detailed, patterned painting take shape, along with some funky sculpted pieces during the week.

Karie Reinertson, owns and operates a multidisciplinary design studio with her partner husband. One of the specialties of the studio are exquisitely hand crafted leather handbags. Karie brought with her some beautiful buttery leather that she cut, braided and sculpted for a new fine art leather piece.

Rebecca Siemering works with paper-found, handmade, stitched, sculpted, constructed. During the Pentaculum, she continued work on her “Lottery Project”, created by stitched and constructed found lottery tickets collected from daily walks in her neighborhood.

Brooks Stevens turns straw into gold with an on-going project entitled ‘Mending Gold: Cloth, Architecture & Landscape’ in which she mends/repairs or simply highlights the essence of the object with stitched gold thread. During the Pentaculum, she methodically stitched a pair of jeans-mesmerizing was her meticulous process.

Melanie Wilder is a weaver who also creates naturally dyed weaving yarns with plants from her own garden. During the Pentaculum she dyed, stitched and labeled a wonderful dye sample book of various plants and mordants on cotton and wool yard and fabrics.

LM Wood collaborates with her computer to create quilts or quilt inspired works that speak to memory, time, history and narratives. Inspired by the photographic image, both found in thrift stores or through searches on her computer, and working with a wide variety of materials, she explores the many forms of narrative the photographic image can provide.

Alternative Materials Fall 2015 Final Projects

Final projects from my Alternative Materials Course in the Fiber & Materials Studies Department at Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

out of the box workshop highlights

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my friend kirsten stingle and i were brainstorming one day and came up with the idea to collaboratively teach a workshop called out of the box: exploring mixed media narratives in clay and encaustic. we combined her expertise of using clay and found objects with my expertise of encaustic and mixed media to create narrative. once the idea was in the air, it took on a life of it’s own..descriptions written, publicity sent out and suddenly we had a full workshop! we were so excited to teach together and it was an enormous success with some amazing work created by some amazing participants.

on the first day we began with an exquisite corpse using words and image and the participants could use these drawings as a starting point for their narrative. at the end of the first day, we all went to an indoor flea market to collect cool found objects to use in the work. kirsten got an amazing vintage bingo machine that actually still works and i got the bingo cards! other materials and techniques we covered during the 3 days were mold-making with some amazing stuff called knead a mold, basic encaustic, drawing with horsehair and branding, working 3-dimensionally with fabric and encaustic and stitch. most of the participants are professional artists and true materials junkies-everyone had something to share with the group and everyone learned something new.

this workshop was a huge success and kirsten and i are already planning another collaborative teaching experience…stay tuned!

1. my workshop ‘gift’ to myself are these vintage bingo cards, i’m totally intrigued by the dates and markings on the backs of the cards.

2. the workshop material find of the weekend was knead a mold..pictured here are clay pieces and found objects we made molds from and some poured wax casts made from the molds…the creative possibilities are endless.

3 & 4. really great found object encaustic collage paintings.

5. kirsten’s awesomely vacuous studio.

6. kirsten happily demonstrating knead a mold.

7. a really great ‘in the box’ narrative collage using encaustic and found objects.

8. starting to create a frilly skirt of ribbon and encaustic on clay sculpture.

9. some branding and encaustic experiments.

cake!

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it’s june, the month of weddings and what better time to talk about cakes. the first show i watched on the food channel was ace of cakes. i was totally hooked on this show like one gets hooked on a soap opera, i couldn’t wait for the next episode. what hooked me was the concept of making a cake-an edible object-a work of art and watching the cake go from concept to finished piece to it’s ultimate destruction in the end. the design, engineering and construction of it was amazing to watch as each week the cakes seemed to get more and more complex. unusual forms, painting, sculptural embellishments, color…lots of stuff, the more, the better, in my opinion. since then, i’ve noticed many visual artists exploring the cake form on a conceptual level, so i’ve compiled a little ‘taste’ or ‘bite’, if you will.

1. not just another pretty cake by rosebud cakes…here.

2. i know it’s not cake, but i couldn’t pass up including an edible cotton candy installation by Erno-Erik Raitanen…here.

3. amazing cut paper cake by Tahiti Pehrson…here.

4. fantastical over the top cake by renowned wedding cake artist Cile Bellefleur Burbidge…here.

5. a room-sized cake by scott hove…here.

6. one of my favorite cake makers, artist amy stevens….here.

7. totally decadent work by will cotton…here.

jackie winsor

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A quote from sculptor jackie winsor, who has explored process and repetition in her work for more than 25 years, “When you repeat an action again and again, you produce an effect of certainty or security in the viewers mind. You are not trying discover something or convince yourself. You’re dealing with certainty then as a formal concern and that soothes the viewer.”

sums up my encaustic conference lecture perfectly.

see more here, here and here and here.

jeremy everett

 

 

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Jeremy Everett is known for working with a variety of natural and land-art processes and refers to his pieces as ‘earth drawings’. His pieces are created by submerging books, newspapers and other printed matter in chemicals and allowing the chemical reaction to crystalize. The chemicals also loosen the ink from the printed pages, so that the ink itself is crystallized and redistributed to the outside of the book structure.

see more here and here and here.