Ephemeral

It means things that exist, or are enjoyed only for a short time. This is not a word that is on my mind much. Several days ago, it hit me like a chop to the head.

That was after the group exhibition that includes me was shuttered closed at the Kershaw County Arts Center. It had been open only a couple of days. During that time, the small horsey town of Camden SC was the center of the coronavirus in our state. Early on, 9 out of the state’s 12 cases were located there. The numbers here have changed a lot, but as of yesterday SC has only one death, and that was in Lexington, SC.

During the opening on March 5, we were joking and poking each other with our elbows. There was a lovely spread of food, and most were partaking. After the opening we went with friends to an amazing Mexican restaurant, Salud, which was located in the common area of a huge building with no walls surrounding it. The restaurant was defined by its glittering lights and its placement near and under an ornate steel staircase that went up several floors.

We ate without thinking, although I did keep up my abnormally long hand-washing ritual. That was all BEFORE.

Every day we get up to new unbelievable headlines.

Our current experience made me think of one from November 2001. (It seems difficult for me just to report something; I have to connect something to it.)

Above is the Kellogg Gallery in 2019 at California State Poly in Ponoma, California. In 2001, I was invited to a fine show there entitled “Ephemera”. They spent a lot of money on an invitation which included several layers, one being something like onion skin which would dull the image below it. I think there was a catalog produced.

2001 was about five years after my conflict with colon cancer, including four operations. I used the making of my work to aid in the fight. A fight against ephemera. I was juried in.

That exhibition lasted maybe a week. Longer than than the one in Camden. The interior water spraying system engaged itself with no help from man and drenched the gallery and everything in it! My piece was framed in glass and no problems were experienced.

Just after this event happened, we were all contacted, told to hold on, and that the gallery would get back to us as to what they were going to do.

Contacted later, the director said the exhibition had closed, and that the event which closed an exhibition called “Ephemera” could not have been scripted any better. Finis.

Recent work

Classical Solution
2020
28″ x 16″ x 16″
Repair
2020
24.5″ x 16″ x 9″
Buttress
2020
33″ x 20″ x 17″
Shell
2020
33″ x 17″ x 4″
Spine
2020
37″ x 16″ x 12″
Profile of Courage
2020
33″ x 19″ x 12″

Another upcoming exhibition

The current show at the West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg is coming down on March 1. We were to be there last Thursday for the second art walk during our exhibition time. And then snow was predicted. None of the out of towners could travel. Our state owns little in the field of snow removal equipment. We freeze up when we see a flake. And then there is all that shopping for bread and milk. I know, it’s crazy.

And on March 5, 2020 there will be an opening of our work at The Arts Center of Kershaw County, in Camden, SC.

It will exhibit most of my work from the West Main Artists, plus newer work. For me, it is all about the newest work. Every piece must be better than the last. It is the result of more experience. Experience is everything.

Plus, one of our group has dropped out, so I have to fill all the space between those who work in 2-D and will fill the walls.

My ad above and the ad below were created by Janet Kozachek, who has done all the heavy lifting for this show. We will get back at her when we hang the 2-D work on March 4.

Camden is not so far away! Hope to see you on March 5.

A taste of the opening

Put a Woman In Charge
2019

youtube.com/watch?v=utQmcYXvdu8andfbclid=IwAR3o2qlAe84ju_reMQpuLwIqkTAKCxiPu9WtXSaKuJMjIPEGnUijL7Nu3dQ(opens in a new tab)

Eastern Kentucky University, The Chautauqua National, Giles Gallery

The link (?) above is totally inelegant. There is a way to simply embed this video, but the process is beyond me.

The opening of this national competition was on January 21, 2020. This was invaluable to me to see the work in the context of others in the exhibition.

Especially if you are an artist working alone with no professional criticism and much rejection. What a breath of fresh air.

Thanks, Esther!

Second Artwalk with West Main Artists

Thursday February 20, my work will be featured at the West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, SC, along with the work of Janet Kozachek, Janet Orselli and Nat Wallace. The hours of the event are 5-8.

The co-op used to be a Baptist Church, West Main Baptist, and that history was adapted in the naming of the new co-op. It is a very successful enterprise, filled with studios and other work spaces for artists. It has kitchens and an office manned by the group.

The sanctuary of the former church has become the main gallery (there is also a smaller “new members” gallery). You can see parts of two of the stained glass windows to the right of this image which have been saved by the artists and are an elegant addition.

Where the altar used to be are a group of small tables and refreshments for the opening. The placement of the walls can vary depending upon the needs of the work being displayed.

This casual photo shows four of my pieces, none in fine detail. Notice the bartender in the altar area plying his trade.

Along the wall are a series of small paintings of chairs by Janet Kozachek. To the right are some of Janet Orselli’s small chair constructions and a better shot of one of the stained glass windows.

Come see us! West Main Artists, 578 West Main St., Spartanburg, SC 29301.

Thanks to West Main Artists for the loan of the first three pictures.

Include Triangles In Your Work

Whatever it is that you do.

I bought a couple of really sad Charlie Brown Christmas trees three years ago. We had them inside and after the holidays, out they went. They are growing nicely now, past the sleep, creep, leap stage.

Was looking at them today and the tag from Lowe’s is still on one of them. The tag said to plant three of these to screen places in your yard. As a gardener, as an artist, I know this.

Three of something creates a closed form. The viewer sees a resolution in visual terms. Three of something creates a pattern (which I see as a planet-wide heartbeat) so you are sure of what you see. Two of something does not create an expectation of pattern. EXCEPT (and using a gardening example) if you are dealing in symmetry. Like if the front of your house looks like Tara, you can put a live oak out from each side of your formal front porch.

Two of something may make a line, but it does not set up a pattern.

My husband, also an artist does not believe this and it often comes up in conversation. I said the other day that it has been a long time since I have cut my fingers on the band saw. That I am leaning back further from the blade and planting my legs wide and was more stable that way. He said “Yeah, three point.” I said ” It’s more stable. A closed form.” He said “Stools are more stable than chairs if they have only three legs.”

He knows this stuff but will not admit that three of something or five of something is better in visual art.

Repair
2020
24.5″ x 16″ x 9″

In the last year a nagging thought has been occupying the back of my mind. My chairs, meant to represent women, were becoming more non-chair-like even though the sculptures were still being made of chair parts. Should I move along with what I am compelled to do or double down and strongly suggest the traditional form of a chair with some kind of unique detail in each one?

Radium Girl
2020
36″ x 16″ x 12″

You have to do what you have to do. Making art is like throwing that little anchor to climb up a mountain and slowly reaching that point. It can simply be framed as “what if?”

Here is the inner conversation of an artist with herself: “OK, so I like this piece because of the curve. What if I repeat the curve in the next piece? What if that curve was metal? How would that work? What would have to change for the composition to accommodate three curves in it ?”

This is a conversation that I could have had about “Radium Girl”, above. And this is how work progresses from one stage to the next and one day you turn around and everything is different.

Please notice that the placement of the curves in “Radium Girl” themselves make up a triangle, the most dependable compositional device.

Less is more, y’all!

Work Being Displayed in Richmond, Kentucky

Put a Woman in Charge
2019
31″ x 21″ x 9″

“Put a Woman in Charge” is being displayed in The Chautauqua National at Eastern Kentucky University, in the Giles Galleries between Jan 21 and Feb 15, 2020.

” Balance and Resistance” is the concept the juror promoted for the exhibition and my work addresses it both in physical terms and subject matter.

Women have been in resistance for decades now, but in the last years, the importance of pushing back has never been more important. Our world is off-balance. We need to increase our strength and regain our balance within ourselves and with our allies.

Look to the women to lead.

Current Exhibition in Spartanburg, SC

My work is being exhibited in Spartanburg, SC now until February 29, 2020. The opening is January 16, 6-9 PM during the Thursday night Artwalk at the Venue Gallery 578 West Main St. The work will remain there for the February Artwalk as well. http://www.venue@westmainartists.org

Disguise
2018
29″ x 19″ x 18″

Disguise is the earliest chair in the group, and the one with the most color.

Kitchen Apron
2019
21″ x 19″ x 9″

This piece was shown last summer at Peter’s Valley School of Craft in an exhibition called “Domestic Matters: The Uncommon Apron” and was curated by Gail Brown.

Symbiosis
2019
45″ x 22″ x 18″

In this piece there are two separate elements which can be placed against one another in many ways.

Caryatid
2019
24″ x 20″ x 17″

A caryatid is a female sculpture on a Greek Temple. A draped figure, they are usually located under the roof line and look as though they support the building.

Wound
2019
21″ x 17″ x 14″
Shadow Limbs
2019
21″ x 16″ x 12″

With this piece I started experimenting with acrylic paint to increase contrast.

Screen Door
2019
35″ x 13.5″ x 17″

As I said in an earlier post, this piece was a “burp” meaning it is much different than the pieces created before and after it.

https://leemalerich.wordpress.com/2019/12/10/calligraphic-or-lush/

Teapot
2019
40″ x 15″ x 11″

The next three pieces are meant to be shown together. It was impossible for me to photograph them that way. I hope to be able to do so at the opening. My husband made a platform for them out of tongue and groove wood.

Basting Stitches
2019
approximately 37″ x 17″ x 14″
same as above
same as above

Never Say Never

Housewife
2019
30″ x 17.5″ x 7″

In an earlier post, I said that I never paint. Lately, making a liar out of myself, I find that painting can do the same job in a work of art as sanding. It can change the value of a wooden element and help establish it in space with reference to the rest of the piece. For instance, on the tallest element in this piece, painting black the sanded areas that once were “wood” color, unifies that element as the furthest from the viewer. It is more comfortably established in space.

Above is an element from another piece which shows the contrast the element discussed once had. With its high contrast, it is bolder and therefore attracts the eye. It would not be a good team player.

Referring to the first image again, the black paint and dark stain applied to the chair caning behind the crutch pushes the crutch visually forward from the apron of the chair.

In a similar (but different) fashion, the medium brown elements here establish a relationship. They are dissimilar in shape, but united by their color, and therefore they seem natural together. Unified.

The thing about sculpture is, this evaluation has to work from many different angles. These things are meant to be viewed “in the round” meaning from all sides.

From this position, we see very dark elements link up. The inside of the “bite” taken out of the tallest element, to the horizontal line under the apron of the chair, to the line of dark dots along the part of the wooden crutch. Even the fasteners used, the pull from an old window and the mirror pivot from a vanity are dark. So is the slot along the inside of the tall element. These darks all relate to each other and justify themselves.

Another source of organization in this piece is the use of the circle and half-circle. Strangely, this use of circles actually started with the renovation of our kitchen! I found a bunch of wooden bowls, crude and rejected starts made by a woodworker and bought them at a flea market. I put them in a kitchen cabinet, and they proceeded to live there more than ten years forgotten. In tearing up the kitchen for a re-do there they were.

And this is so MY way of working: always stimulated by the new “find”. I cut one of the bowls in half and used them to mirror the circular “bites” taken out of the tall element, and the line of small circles in the crutch.

Every composition has many such evaluations made by the artist as the sculpture comes together. There ARE basic rules for the artist, but the thing about Art is that you can break all the rules and come up with something even better. That is why we are all crazy.

No Sex for Fish

Being a woman can often be a problem. I heard a story the other day on NPR about a successful cooperative of women in Kenya.

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2019/12/26/789129312/no-sex-for-fish-how-women-in-a-fishing-village-are-fighting-for-power

No Sex for Fish
2019
34″ x 12″ x 12″

They are forced to trade sex for a subsistence living of buying fish in small quantities, every day, to clean and sell that day to feed their family.

Imagine that routine. They confided one day to a Peace Corps worker, and he started a movement that ended up with their getting a grant for some fishing boats of their own.

They were very strong verbally about the change that this purchase would make in their lives. They named the boats “No Sex for Fish”.

Tell me how you REALLY feel! If you read the article in the link above, you will know that total success in sex-free fish was not at first achieved. A business is difficult to build. Miracles do not happen. But the idea still moves forward.

I sent my daughter to Nairobi for a summer when she was ten or eleven, with a friend and her family. This kind of interaction should not comprise your total image of Kenya or Lake Victoria. My daughter had an employee of the family take care of her things as they moved between the Nairobi house and the house on the coffee plantation.

We are all so different in our cultures, but some things are just beyond the pale. Women everywhere are rebuilding their compositions to deal with their experiences.

This won’t be the last time.