INSPIRED BY MATERIALS

INSPIRED BY MATERIALS

 

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Ronald Reagan’s Egg, 1987        Lee Malerich, 2016

The making of a work of art involves searching in many ways:  searching your soul, your opinion, your surroundings.  And then organizing this information in the way it must be.  The best work takes advantage of an expressive shape, and sometimes moves it into a foreign context.  This is what I want to do.  Connect unlike things.  Connection is powerful; I watch my 22 month old grandson connect and sort and arrange often.  It is his work.

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Lots of materials are given to me.  Some I buy, but won’t pay too much.  It’s a game.  I always wanted to do this while still teaching, but never did.  Give each student the exact same group of materials, and have them put them together.  Set the compositions up in a gallery and view the relationships and connections between the finished works.  There, the artist exists.  In that indefinable space.

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My search for materials is always exciting.  It is with the odd inspirational shape that the pieces begin.  My windows are the canvas, only they have more than two dimensions.  See the blue legs above?  A great find from last Sunday.  Have to hold myself back from cutting in to them.  Must live with them for a while to make sure they end up in the correct piece.

Not many of the shapes in the works have I actually owned beyond as art materials.  The piece above, Ronald Reagan’s Egg 1987, contains an exception and a story.

 

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Ronald Reagan was in office at the time when he sent 249 other artists and me wooden eggs.  Five from each state.  We were to use the egg and work in our characteristic way to embellish it.  We were given two.  The exhibit was to accompany the annual egg roll which was celebrated each Monday after Easter on the White House lawn with children.

I was a stitcher at the time, and you can imagine my terror of having to do something with this surface.  Spray painting them both black first seemed to be a smart thing as a stitching frenzy began.

Ended up stitching on my typical surface, cutting the stitched part off the frame and gluing it in a certain area of the egg.  Then over and over again.  A satin-stitched egg.  Don’t even have a picture of the thing except in a flashy newspaper article done in “The State” on the five  artists in SC that contributed.  That was worth the trouble.

On a rampage through my studio for some elusive thing last week, I found the black egg that (laid) unused in a drawer.   A yellow sticker on the flat bottom read “1987”.  Raw material!

And an egg was currently a symbol/shape that I had been using, only the black egg was bigger.

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F. Scott, 2015

This piece featuring the wooden roadster sinking into a surface has two eggs in it: one representing East Egg from “The Great Gatsby” and one representing West Egg.  Just love it when the Universe provides the correct materials.

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CONFUSED LOUISE?

Some works fall a bit out of the norm for any number of reasons.  They could fail.  They could examine a compositional point that the artist has nothing more to say about.  They could feature one of a kind materials.  They steadfastly refuse to be grouped.  Some of these satisfy those guidelines.

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This was the first piece in the series on which I am currently working; the first to use an upright rectangular window frame and chair legs.  I thought, when working, that it was beginning to look like a mantel.  It looked like a fake mantelpiece we had in our family room way back when. Associated with that mantelpiece is a great story.  We adopted our Siamese Polly from a house in Blackjack, Mo.  Brought her home.  Later, my mother bought our fake family room mantelpiece from the same home.  Polly and the mantelpiece were reunited, and she happily surveyed her domain from the top shelf of it.

Another personal thing about this work is the use of the croquet balls and goal piece and wickets. A guy tried to give me this stuff at a flea market.  I refused and paid him.  Why would you go to all that trouble and just give stuff away? Anyway, one of the only things I have which belonged to my dad, who died so long ago are croquet wickets made out of old wire hangers.  Fashioned by him.  This piece reminds me of that.  The name of it is “From Blackjack to Florissant: Polly and her Mantel”, 2015.

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The piece above, “F. Scott”, 2015.  This piece was created in response to the fine little wooden touring car the universe sent to me.  As in the people that Fitzgerald writes about, this car is poised to crash and burn.  A slice of the passenger side of the car has been whacked off.  I also had fun playing with white painted lines on some of the elements, which is unusual.

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This piece is more about formal composition.  It is all about circles.  And it tilts to one side.  Unnerving.

This piece is about 6-8 inches shorter than the norm.

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The following piece was reviewed for my current exhibition at USC Sumter.  It was created very early in the chair series and I wanted to see if the chair could be cut up and basically reconstruced  within three rectangular windows.

http://theitem.com/stories/evocative-creative-usc-exhibit-also-timely,257175

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THE STORY OF A MANTEL

THE STORY OF A MANTEL

A friend cleans out old buildings and sells the metal for a living.  As you might guess, he is also a collector.  You never know what he will be up to.  A real one of a kind person, he is gruff on the outside and an artist on the inside.  He has commissioned Glenn and me for several works of art.

He called us the other day saying that he had some old windows for me.  We jumped in the truck.  Came home with windows and the following: an old mantel with gorgeous texture.

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We recently had a kitchen fireplace mantel accident and hoped this would work as a replacement.  It did not.  We worked on it anyway.  I took off all paint that was flaking off, intending to preserve the rest.

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A long slit on the backside of one of the columns needed repair.

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A simple box made the base for the column.  All that was needed was to nail them in place.

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As a piece was sufficiently sanded, layers of varnish were applied.

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This board, which supports the top shelf of the mantel had its original moulding.  Glenn had to recreate the rest.

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Good that he didn’t have to recreate details the way this old mantel was made in the first place.

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Here the mantel is reconstructed, with new moulding at the right and left of the opening, and a new (old) board chosen to connect the columns.  We brought the mantel into the kitchen to compare the two openings.  Not a match in any way, we had to hesitate for a second.  We already have one fake mantel in a bedroom, used with a big mirror over it to expand the room, and two fireplaces, each with two faces, in the round, so to speak.  All but the one in the kitchen have a hearth, so this kind of mantel cannot be used.  What to do?

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Our bed angles to the middle of our big bedroom.  It faces two windows so we can watch our birds.  The large head of the bed partially blocks off vision into the room, provided by a set of French doors.  This would be a perfect place for this mantel, but there wasn’t enough of it.  The mattress and wire are flat out ugly.  The mantle needed something more.

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Glenn glued together two boards he rescued years ago from an old wooden boxcar.

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He found two more old boards, one for a shelf, and another board for the top of the mantle to make it weightier visually.

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He cut the second shelf board to account for moulding.  It adds a nice bit of interest.

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The edge of this board had some writing on it.  We preserved it with varnish.

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Voila!  Would love to put more stuff on the very top of the mantel, but the cats are finding this place very inviting.  Pretend you don’t see that wire.  It’s gone now!