I was diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma in October. There have been chemo and radiation therapies since. Last Sunday, I slept from 2PM on with the help of one of my anti-nausea meds. The last several days I have been up until after 9, my old bedtime.
A week ago I dropped off “Imperfection” (above) to the Harlow Gallery, easily a two hour drive from here. And, two hours to return. I was not up to that kind of a drive. Today, it might have been more fun.
Today, I also thought about a proposal that could go to 3S and Space. And, I continue to think about it though I haven’t put pen to paper yet. I worked on the next two of the “Imperfection” series, both of which are larger than the one at Harlow.
And, here I am.
The Rochester Library show went up last week, which incorporates most of what I have completed since I was diagnosed.
“Holding It Together 1” demonstrates another of the artistic concerns that I have embraced recently. Both this series and the “Imperfection” series are monochromatic. These, however, utilize a myriad of materials that are either painted to approximate the color of the canvas or inherently are a similar shade.
“Homage to the Surrealists” uses no paint. The native color of the materials is what is important, along with the textures and translucency.
So, along with a renewed interest in Photoshop, which I also purchased this week, I am exploring my best in 2-D art.
I looked into grants a few months back, to discover the state is not offering any individual artist grants this year. But the state seems to now be realizing that art is a valuable component for economic growth and development.
And, as a Los Angeles ex-patriot, I know that to be very true. When the galleries and studios moved into the old garment district in downtown, the area totally turned around. What had once been an area where it was well-advised for a woman to never be alone, turned into an interesting, trendy area with an edge. The same thing has been happening in New York City for decades, as well.
Hopefully, they can find the nickels to help perpetuate that growth! Revitalization depends on it!!
What a way to reopen!
Blackbird Studio and Gallery is very honored to host our reopening for 2015 with a special guest author, Carolyn Chute, who will give a talk and book-signing next Saturday, April 18, from 1-3 pm.
I stopped by today, to see the new ceiling. We will be ready.
The gallery officially reopens on Wednesday.
We are planning a variety of events throughout the season, so please visit blackbirdmaine.org
The region is dotted with many old and no longer operational water-powered paper and pulp mills. Brick factory buildings are also easily found. This part of New England has a strong history in a huge variety of manufacturing and other types of production-related businesses from the original Frank Jones Brewery complex in downtown Portsmouth, to the Button Factory on the other side of Islington. The Schultz meat plant is geographically right between the two. And, is decaying, where the other two now house an athletic club and artist studios, respectively.
I asked a friend of mine who is very involved in Portsmouth New Hampshire politics (where I am sure this is a terrific embarrassment), and the owner seems to have no motivation to clean it up and make it serviceable to businesses, artists, etc. What a shame!!
And, I actually find that whole idea extremely short-sighted considering what the Button Factory charges for studio space, and the last time I checked they were full!! http://www.buttonfactorystudios.com/studio_availability.htm
I have friends who have studios in the 1 Washington Street Mill Building in Dover, New Hampshire. This is a multi-use building that serves a myriad of businesses like Terra Cotta Pasta, a few smaller galleries, framing studios, apparel retailers, and other concerns. Dover has at least three complexes that are all successful in renting to those who need space but maybe don’t need the street-level, strip mall type exposure.
The Rollinsford Mill is very much like the 1 Washington Street Mill except it is heavily rented as art studio space. They, like the Button Factory, host open-studio events where the public is invited to come and experience the art at the Mill and purchase it outside the pretty gallery setting, directly from the artists.
In my travels taking pictures and just reveling in the spring sunshine, I drove (for no reason) to Sanford, Maine. In Sanford, there is a mill complex that looks a lot like the Schultz Factory.
No apparent recon is going on with this site, yet it is on a terrific piece of property with a great view. I took a few minutes to walk along this side of the building, and the front and shot this for art.
But, I wasn’t through wandering-the weather was not allowing this cabin-fevered child to be inside all day!
I went home, and lost the New Balance and socks to Tevas. Yes, and toes are happy! But, I was not done finding new treasures.
Gonic is a non-incorporated town that is really part of Rochester, but, like East Rochester, there is a different personality. I got here quite by accident, and found another mill building. But one I didn’t know about. And, one that has been restored, but hasn’t become trendy yet. Uh-oh!
This one has huge spaces, and though I haven’t seen them yet, they could be possibly rented as a group and sub-divided. Rents are crazy-cheap! Like they should be for a studio!
So, as a young buck, I sucked up the intellectualism that surrounded me. I embraced “Concept” (with a capital “C”) very tightly. But, hey, I was in LA.
Almost 30 years since I left my home town, I have faced an exhibit that seems so totally out of context, and yet, right on my fingertips and so ready to be here. Carly Glovinski is the cause, and 3S is the platform.
“Huh? Ok? And, why”. I am not really intrigued any more by this work than the work I came “of age” with- NOW. I totally get it. But, again I grew up in LA.
But, my fundamental question in all of this is the question of process. There is little “human” presence in this work-foibles and mistakes aren’t noticeable. Let’s revisit concept and Larry Bell. Laddie Dill and all those folks that had artworks built for them. So, I am dealing with process…why? Because I have gotten older and I have been here for 30 years.
I believe Glovinski actually fabricates her own work. Cleanly, and well.
She defines space, and forces her audience to recognize that space. She made me explain to friends why a large floor piece does not allow a piece on the wall. The show made me explain the value of scale.
Eva Hesse did much with a floor. And,I see that here, as well. But, I think the best thing about this show is she doesn’t stick exclusively to one perameter-determiner, but actually strikes out to say, “Yeah, but?”
But, the fun thing with this show is we see more modes of expression. “Evolving Coast” a wood book on a lawn chair says I’m not about space and minimalism. Once again challenging the viewer to scratch their heads.
And, as artists, we do get to make people do that.
Part III. Beyond Process
The best work I have ever seen was created by Ed Kienholz for making people rethink their space. And, change behavior.
It really doesn’t take some of the methods being used in some of the most controversial art from last year. It really doesn’t take vulgarity, profanity, or even sex.
One of my recent personal favorite artists whom I am very honored and privileged to show with is Rick Burns. He has shown work at Blackbird Studio and Gallery that also asks people to participate. He doesn’t take over a floor space, but he asks for thought, and gets it.
He doesn’t necessarily question space, but he does create work that invites the viewer to also be a participant in his work, and change it.
This piece invited the viewer/participant to tighten/loosen the bolts. And, many did, begging again the question of “Who is the artist?
I’ll continue to call myself one, but I think we need to give more credit to our audience.
And, I am sure I will continue with this subject.
I was feeling like I was either sliding on ice, or my paint really needed a little hint as to where land on the canvas. So, rather than set up shop, I decided to do some business and hopefully get some hints as to what to try next.
I started with Timeless Frames. I ordered mat board, and priced frames and talked about setting up a solo show there in the next couple of months. The work that is up there is work from the BAA that has been up since last month. So, no new work to see.
From there, I went back to downtown Rochester to RiverStones Framing and Gallery. A colleague told me that the owner would be interested in showing the BAA so I wore my Show Coordinator cap, and strolled in. Kris was very receptive and marked us on her calendar for July. As I was chatting with her, Ross Bachelder showed up to hang his show, and the three of us discussed an upcoming show at Drift Gallery at Zev Yoga, a solo by my dear colleague, Jeannie Griffin-Peterka. That’s an opening that I am hoping to not miss.
Ross’ opening at RiverStone’s, 33 North Main Street, Rochester, NH will be next Saturday, from 12-3.
I drove to Dover, and artstream wasn’t open.
Mill River Custom Framing & Art Gallery no longer shows art, but it was “old home week” because I showed with Sandi when her shop was in the Rollinsford Mills. We had a good chat.
(Can you see where this is going…)
Next stop was Michaels for foam core. As per usual, I always seem to be asked a technical question when I am in the store, and today David needed to know what gel medium was. I happened to be looking at canvases, in the same aisle. Timing is everything.
Nahcotta gave me something to look at, though I can’t gush about much that I saw. I do like Jeremy Miranda’s work, so I’ll start there.
Because I “borrowed” this image from Pinterest, I can’t enlarge it much further without distorting it completely out of recognition. I don’t like all of his work but where he rips away a wall to these really homey, pleasant spaces, exposing them to something a great deal less comfortable I find to be captivating. They brilliantly describe how vulnerable everything is without taking out the floor or the roof. And, I love how quiet they are.
Who knows what’s going on with this depicted Christmas. I come from an alcoholic family, where Christmas could really be ugly, when I was growing up. Or not. But, I can relate to those waves. As a child, I never really knew how rough the surf would be.
I will cut Nahcotta “slack” because this really is off-season, but the rest of the show was “off”-not hung as well as they usually present work, and didn’t have any real flow.
But, I saw art.
I also stopped at the Portsmouth Library to get info on who to contact for the BAA shows, and the librarian was lovely and gave me a few more suggestions as to who in Portsmouth to contact.
The final stop was the Levy Gallery (NHAA). I never saw all of the SHAPES show because I was instantly drawn into the side gallery when I noticed two pieces by my compadre Elaine Mendzela on the wall. She is one of the new members. When I came back to the main gallery, I was caught up in conversation with Barbara Alberts, who is also a new member. Barbara is a new transplant from Pittsburgh, and is now a new friend.
So, a day about reconnecting and connecting and new connections.
That’s art, too.
On to the Kittery Art Association, since I had a meeting of the Seacoast Moderns to attend there.
A drastic difference from 100 Market, not so much in quality of execution, but in depth. “Color Palette” offers a great deal of eye-candy. And, much like the “candy food group” is to the body, there is real no nutritional value to the brain in this show.
This is another venue where I am a member and regularly show, as well. I joined this art association four years ago to have an outlet, and for many of us, it does provide that in a lovely two-story building on Kittery Point. I couldn’t make the drop-off for this show, since I was hanging the Berwick Art Association show at Sole City, at the same time. There are some very technically skillful members, which was also my “draw”. And, it is not nearly as expensive to be a member as the Ogunquit Art Association or the New Hampshire Art Association-though, they look better on the resume since you are juried into them. KAA has no jury process.
Here are a few of my “picks” from “Color Palette:
As with the Gallery at 100 Market Street, the KAA shows are always very well-hung. Judith Bryant has a remarkable eye for making very diverse work, in medium, theme and quality, work together. And, she has no prior knowledge what she will have to work with until it arrives!
Not as challenging or thought-provoking as the Portsmouth show, but definitely worth the drive to Kittery Point his week-end.
The Kittery Art Association is located at 8 Coleman Avenue, Kittery Point, Maine. They are open from 12-6 on Saturdays and 12-5 on Sundays. http://www.kitteryartassociation.com
Four inches of snow plus a quarter inch of ice, and now snow fog have made it a great day to spend catching up on art-related reading, as well as painting-I am waiting for pieces to dry, as well.
Last month saw a very heated debate online about vanity galleries, or the “pay for play” guys. I engaged with a number of artists also about this, most of whom were very negative about the idea.
My problem with this whole concept has always been this: if I, as the artist, foot the bill, where is the incentive to make a show successful for the gallery? Case in point, and this was a traditional gallery: I had an interview years ago at a well-known gallery in Boston. They wanted 60% for my first show, and I would pay for the show cards and part of the advertising. Really? Not likely!
As far as I can see it, any retailer needs to be wise in their selection of merchandise-galleries are no different. As a consignment-style operation, they still need to think that way. Not make money from the artist, first, and worry about sales after.
Bob Keyes wrote a balanced article on what is happening in Maine on December 7th, that I finally read today: http://www.pressherald.com/2014/12/07/new-gallery-draws-competitors-ire-by-charging-artists-for-exposure/ This shows the underlying problem: money.
It is hard enough to be an artist. This concept completely strips away the concept of the gallery-artist relationship, as well. This nurtures saleability, not quality. Gallery directors taught me a great deal, as a student. Part of it was about art, and part of it was about business. I asked a lot of questions back then. I can’t see this happening here.
But, on the flip-side, there are more and more alternative spaces cropping up where an artist can represent his/herself. I have become a huge proponent of these spaces, because they, in so many ways, level the playing field. I am showing, or will be showing, in a variety of “types” of spaces. I also happen to be on the curatorial staff of a very new concept in a museum.
It’s all very different from the days of slide submissions, hand-delivered. Not that there aren’t still traditional galleries. And, good ones. Just not enough of them. And, those of us out here making work need to complain less, and figure out the next batch of walls our art needs to hang on. If not traditional…go to your local library.
This whole corridor of southeastern Maine and New Hampshire, including the Berwicks, York and Kittery in Maine, and Dover, Somersworth, Rollinsford, and Rochester in New Hampshire have literally come alive since I moved back to the area in 2005. I have become very involved in two of the art associations, and the I am Show Coordinator for one, as well as on the curatorial board of the Rochester Museum of Fine Art.
The area has not kept up with gallery creation, and the economy still doesn’t support that kind of a venture without a “safety net”, but there are many great supportive venues like the libraries in the area.
I have shown five times at the Rochester Library in the new wing, where Peggy Trout arranges monthly shows with local artists and art groups. The old wing, or the Carnegie wing, displays some of the permanent collection of the Rochester Museum of Fine Art on the main floor. The Carnegie Gallery on the 2nd floor, is where the rotating and borrowed exhibits are hung.
Beth Wittenberg is on display on the main floor. Beth is a very active member of the Berwick Art Association and also a member of Blackbird Studio and Gallery, so we have shared lots of walls together. Beth and I also share a very special connection with art-making, where it seems neither of us have to rely on a muse, inspiration or even a good cup of coffee to need to make art.
What I love about Beth’s work is there is always more than meets the eye. In these pieces from 2013 and 2014, she works very splattered and loose watercolor abstracts into pen-ink fantasy characters, that have color. As an abstract painter, I get lost in looking at the paint below the ink, and then float back to the finished work, appreciating it on multiple levels.
Upstairs, in the Carnegie Gallery are a collection of Dawn Boyer’s oils. Until I brush on my critiquing skills, I will respond as I have to Beth’s-as it relates to my work. Though she is responding to florals, I am looking beyond that again at paint and color. The brush work is solid and experienced. There isn’t hesitation. Nor, is there any immaturity in the palette-it is also self-assured.
Both of these shows will be up through the end of the month.
And, I will probably need to expand the corridor as I described it because I have been invited to show at the Gafney Library in Sanbornville, New Hampshire next month. Another 20 miles north of here.