Category Archives: social commentary
I am starting to work in a way that I never have before and the development is a bit scary. In some cases, I am not even sure if the message will be clear. I am also having to dust off old skills to make the photographs work, or at least convey something other than “the artist hasn’t got a clue.”
The DAPL crisis is one that I am exploring. The fact that water is less important than fracked oil is a point that our country should seriously consider, since without water, we don’t live. And, then, the point of oil would be what? So, I am referring to DAPL and pipelines in general, as a crisis.
The evacuation of the largest camp of protesters was sad. After several months of standing their ground at Standing Rock, they were forced to leave. They burnt down what was left of the camp as a symbol of protest.
Working with Barbies and other 11″ dolls leads to imagery issues. The dolls have makeup on, for example. But, as I develop this final image and others, I hope that the message will be strong enough to supersede that.
Here’s the stage of development that I am at. The teepee needs to be stiffened. And, the story will be developed from here, as well.
This is finished just in time for my show this month at the Franklin Gallery, in RiverStones Framing at 33 No. Main Street in Rochester, NH called “Transitions and Transmissions”.
To me, this image speaks volumes about how progress has left so much of our past literally in the dust. So much about the context of this is wrong. Where’s the farm? It’s parked on the side of US 202 in Maine. The flat tire and the chains in the middle of summer also adds to the story.
The collection that will be included is half abstracts and half pieces similar to this one.
I hope you can stop by for the opening reception on August 11, from 5-7.
We had a very successful Artshare meeting tonight. Another reason to champion a local library! The Berwick Art Association has no permanent building for meeting or showing, and the Berwick Public Library allows us to use their conference room for our business meetings and their one large table in the main library for our Artshare meetings.
In attendance tonight, there were four new members and ten of the older members, which is the best turn-out yet. These meetings are all about bringing work to share. If it is in progress, or the artists has issues they would like to discuss about their piece, that’s what we do. Otherwise, we converse casually about each sharing person’s work-BTW, you don’t have to bring art.
Tonight was special for a number of reasons: Gloria Houlne has returned to BAA for these meetings, Beth Wittenberg gave away ten copies of her first zine, and it was the most art shared at one of these meetings, to date.
Ruth Ann Bleau had her hands full as meeting chair getting us through the abundance of great art showed. Gloria’s piece, was discussed probably longer than it should have been, based on the size of the group, though it was worthy of the time.
Ruth Ann Bleau and Anne Vaughan injected the evening with politically charged art. Beth Wittenberg brought her first zine based on her series of works called “Buildings, Beasts and Storms” which depict some of the nastiness and craziness that lives in all of us, and gave the original signed copies away. A new member, Aaron, brought his Comic-style book based on his daily life. Other work included a pen and ink of James Dean, a spin-art on a light fixture cover, a large acrylic abstract, a series of autobiographical photos, a small architectural rendering and my random small paintings done for “painting challenges”. And, Kristen’s cow.
As this group grows and matures, the work does, as well.
The BAA Artshare group meets every third Wednesday night at the Berwick Public Library, Berwick, Maine from 5:45-7:15. We never know who will be there or what they will bring. Snacks are also welcomed-we do munch, too!
This show exemplifies ALL of the reasons this blog came to exist, all of the reasons that I champion libraries in the area for showing really fine regional work, and finding and seeing work by a total unknown. (In a small place-like Sanbornville.)
Gabe Smith graduated high school in 2010, and is demonstrating in his show at the Gafney called “Gray Planet” sophistication in an art vocabulary that goes far beyond his years on the planet Earth and his scholastic art training.
His theme for his work is both very personal and universal. He has dealt with friends who have committed suicide and acts of self-harm. He approaches this theme with mediums, like motor oil and drywall, which are also very temporary and unstable, things that will chip and eventually fall apart. Much like us “gray people”. His mediums rarely are traditional and he relies on mixed medium, found objects and spray paint.
He was very gracious and walked through the show with me, explaining the inspiration of some pieces and the collage elements in others. Again, for a first-timer, extremely ready to face this art world.
“Hobo” has among it’s materials used, old maps of Maine-they are the hobo’s face.
Now, remind me again-where is this show?
So, Gabe is a multi-talented artist and also performed at the Wakefield Opera House tonight. The opening reception at the library was followed by his performance which I opted out of.
Find Gabe Smith Pop Culture Icon on YouTube, and check out http://gafneylibrary.weebly.com/ for library and show hours. This show is up until the end of the month.
I turned 60 today. I am not where I planned to be but in many ways, though where I am didn’t exist when I made those plans.
I never planned to be the Show Coordinator for an art association. And, this is a fun gig.
I also never planned to have other people’s work at my house prior to a show. Damn. I always want to buy it!!
Anne Vaughan entrusted two of her pieces with me for our next show-here’s “Rose Window”. Anne’s work has the energy that beats most modern painters. This grandmother, a retired lawyer, and ex-museum docent, has a powerful, confident mark. Influenced by Delaunay, and the second wave of European Impressionists, she is highly adept at florals, landscapes and abstracts. Her most recent work delves into the socio-political with portraits of abused women, war victims, racially-triggered violence, etc.
I met Anne at the Red Saturday (BAA) event last year. She worked on a piece, and set it down to dry. A child subsequently stepped on it, and for her, a “no big deal”. She also sold a piece out of the parking lot later.
She will have this and another piece at Sole City this month. This group show will consist of work of mine, Anne Vaughan, Ruth Ann Bleau, Bill Moore, Beth Wittenberg, Christy Bruna, Erika Carty, Jim Munro and others. I will be hanging this show and pulling my own tomorrow afternoon.
The latest concept is to try to marry my rendering skills, and my abstract sensibilities into a concept as to how we really don’t look at everything, and when we do, it is not for very long. An eighties concept called this cognitive overload. We are well beyond that. Our brains see it, and file it, but without all of the details. (And, in the meantime, someone is arguing with their “significant other”/mother/child on their cell phone, and you just remembered that deal on Groupon, that just expired)
It’s not the happy world of Monet and Matisse, where busy meant a slight blur. This is my depiction of daily reality.
It’s been an interesting exploration of materials and sensibilities, but I think I am starting to hit the destination of this part of my artistic ramblings.
I’ll make some comments per piece:
This is not 100% finished, but it made some very impressive leaps right out of my control today. I am finding that palette knife application is helping with some of the grit and spontaneity I want to show. Though I love working with the plaster, this is also more stable, and I will get enough of the desired surface. I expect to add more paint, copper foil and wire to this. This is one of the 14 pieces that will be part of the Seacoast Moderns collaboration piece that will be displayed during the “Mettle” show at the Kittery Art Association,September 19-October 13.
I love that I don’t automatically discard “failures”. The photography on here originally buckled, but this has been sitting under other art for a few months, and nicely flattened out. I added a lot of paint today-and there will be more to come. This is part of the “Razing the Garden” series.
The next two pieces are part of the “Rural Contracts” series, but are referencing a very different part of rural peoples’ realities. Much more to be done on these!
As the work continues to evolve, I am having successes and failures. This is probably the most stable, and for that reason, the most successful, plaster piece to date. I think, after this one, I will reserve plaster work for cooler, drier days. In the meantime, though this piece is off-topic, because it really doesn’t have any social message, the snow/plaster combination seems to be working.
The copper and wire are not here yet, and this is in it’s infancy. This piece will be part of the Moderns show at the KAA in September. Even with Liquin, this little bit of impasto is still wet.
My economic situation seems to be changing, and I am feeling comfortable with the idea of buying the necessary equipment to start working in paint again. Feels great!!
The newest in the sub-series called “Home Sweet Home” where I am really trying to present some of the quiet poverty of New England in a sympathetic, but in a not “in your face” way.
Still wet, and unfinished, and I had forgotten how much fun it is to work with and paint plaster.