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://firstname.lastname@example.org
Disguise is the earliest chair in the group, and the one with the most color.
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.
In this piece there are two separate elements which can be placed against one another in many ways.
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.
With this piece I started experimenting with acrylic paint to increase contrast.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes my work leans oddly. The sculptures are stable on the pedestal, but feature a relationship to gravity that we notice. The stance is unsettling. Such is the case with the piece above.
A piece might lean due to the way the first two connecting surfaces are glued and screwed together. To get a good fit the two pieces might have to connect in a strange way, and this joint dictates the rest of the joints.
It is then that gravity comes into play. The piece must stand; one cannot deny gravity so it is my partner in the rest of the composition. When we look at this work, we sense whether gravity is confirmed or denied.
Physically, if the piece stands, then it is true to gravity.
Another feature contributing also to the unsettling stance is value.
Above is the front of “Curtsy”, photographed dead on so the textural element seen in the first image is missing. Reading a book in about 1981 when I was a young instructor at Columbia College, I had no idea that the discussions from that book would play such a part in my work. I did not record the name of the book, or the author. All I remember is that he taught at Yale. His theories have ruled my work all these years, whether 2-D or 3-D.
As anyone who has ever taken an art appreciation class knows that colors and values have visual weight. Dark things seem heavier than light things. That is the expectation due to the rules of our physical world. Therefore, if you are looking for a stable and understandable composition, place the dark areas near the bottom.
If you want drama or tension, deny this notion as to how we view the world, and place them at the top.
I may have sacrificed it in a monsoon of working my visual voice lately.
This piece has been invited to Eastern Kentucky University for an exhibition called “The Chautauqua National Juried Exhibition: Balance and Resilience”. It takes place in January and February of next year.
This show was right down my alley as my rebuilt women are continually doing so, navigating a culture that can be tough for them.
My woman-chairs have become triangular of late.
I was listening to one of my favorite NPR music programs a while ago, “Mountain Stage”. A person unfamiliar to me belted out this song, “Put a Woman in Charge”. I live in that world! Looked it up and Roseann Cash wrote it. I am crediting Roseann Cash for this inspiration. Thankyew.
In place of one leg of a chair, there is a baseball bat. That’s a tool some women use. The “crown” at the top of the piece is actually part of the apron of a table, not a chair. But close.
I started working with wicker on this chair and am loving its ease and its texture.
There is just so much great trash. It overwhelms me.
This piece was juried into the 20th annual Will’s Creek Exhibition in Cumberland Maryland.
This exhibition is to be held at the Saville and Schwab Galleries in downtown Cumberland, Maryland. The juror is Jack Rasmussen, Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, and Chair of the Maryland State Arts Council.
The opening reception is to be September 21, with the juror speaking about the work from 5:15 to 6 PM. The show is up until October 5, 2019.
I got ahold of a chair that had curvy aprons. Usually straight aprons form the heart of my sculptures. We were out running errands and passed a long, triangular collection of old furniture used to living outdoors. We always stop for places like this. I was immediately impressed. Robin, the businesswoman, said she would take a donation for the stuff I wanted. Stuff she didn’t have a chance in hell to sell to anyone else.
The first thing I picked up was the scroll work diagonally across the upper middle of this piece. It was bigger than this chunk, it was gorgeous and came from what was a very good chair at birth.
Later we found the chair off of which the scroll work fell. That chair had curvy aprons on three sides.
That’s the thing about wooden things living out in the weather. Most of the tough separation work has been done for you. The chairs are falling apart and it’s just perfect. The three major shapes in this piece were found that day.
Contrapposto is a Greek word referring to the way a human figure stands as we handle the weight of our body most efficiently. We stick out a hip and bend the opposite leg. The Greeks knew about this, and then the information was lost in the Early Christian world. The Renaissance rediscovered the phenomenon, and is one of the many reasons we call the Renaissance masters “Humanist”. Thinkers were observing nature now, as well as thinking about Christianity. You can see it readily in the art from the period.
Guess I am going through a Greek stage in my art making. A “caryatid” is a female figure which is carved into or applied to Greek architecture. I see the diagonal shape at the lower right as a caryatid. The chair leg at the left looks like a simple Ionic (there I go again) column to me.
At the top, there is more of that fancy scroll work used in the first example.
Back to my spoilage. Having started this discussion about aprons, curvy ones, let me post some “casual” photos. My friend the Art Curator gave me this term. It means photos taken by me in an ordinary atmosphere. Ones that give people who are knowledgeable about what they are looking at can still see the thing given all the background interference.
I want you to see the curvy aprons that have so excited my work and me.
Chair aprons usually have a series of parallel lines across them, as in above.
I am experimenting with sculpture that has more than one part and that can be assembled in different compositions. Look at the differences between the image above and the succeeding compositions of the two chairs.
Above is one part of the Symbiosis composition. Notice the compelling subtle curve at the left? The bottom of the line is part of a wooden crutch.
And here is the other.
I am part of a group of four who have been accepted to show at the Spartanburg Museum of Art in January 2020. I am hoping to show this piece and another that has four parts. The one that has four parts is too large for me to photograph.
Aprons, wooden spoons, metal scrub brushes all point to getting domestic in my work.
Not that this chair is any kind of self-portrait. Experiencing quite the opposite as former priorities are reshuffled to have more time to work on art, the houses and gardens are suffering. My fault.
The back of this piece features the armrest of a folding aluminum chair; the kind everyone used to have in the sixties. The front of the piece has a part of an old aluminum screen door from the same era. I love aluminum, but that is another story.
When about twelve, I asked my parents if I could wear nylons. This was back in the Dark Ages. In truth, I had been wearing them under white socks which were removed once we got on the bus. Did the same thing with mascara. I wore it and then asked if I could, and they said no.
Don’t remember how the mascara issue came out, but I do remember what my dad said about the nylons.
He said, “Young girls have legs like garden hoses! You don’t need nylons.” Try to imagine these kinds of conversations now. As it turned out, never was much of a nylon-wearer. I liked black tights. So did my sister. She put them on her head and swaggered around like she had long hair.
So here in my visual conversation about women reorganizing their compositions with respect to experience, is my tribute to girls with legs like garden hoses.
Two of the legs above are really just half of a leg. Two parts of the same leg. The third is bent at a severe angle requiring a spacer element to keep the leg from buckling.
My husband insists these sculptures should have bases. I do not agree. A solid base would interfere with the tension I claim as we women maintain our posture.
I am not finished with my visual discussion of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Just having done a piece called “Flying Buttresses” which illustrates one of the most important features of a gothic cathedral, the work now takes a broader look.
Pinnacles, towers, and even a rose window are included in this sort of cubist image of Our Lady. And of course, Our Lady is made from parts from different chairs which is my current visual language. And the topic is a woman. Perfect for me.
The weight transfer of buttressing is suggested here as well.
Above is the second side of the piece. I have found a way to make marks with my sanding machine which enhance the surface of the piece. Old paint remains on parts of the three spindles incorporated from three different chairs.
I was having great fun using the sanding wheel on my husband’s table saw. It was a stretch for me to get small pieces of wood in the right place. I couldn’t plant my feet correctly and often slipped, sanding parts of my fingers. A different sanding machine was delivered yesterday.
Now we have a device just for sanding where one can stand right in front of it and use it safely. Worth the money.