September 26, 2013

An Affair with a Lounge Chair

Affair with Lounge Chair, steel and canvas, 21.5 X 72"

Lately I've been learning the art of Relaxation.

I finally got around to organizing my nearly abandoned backyard, and for the first time in two years whipped out the pair of lounge chairs that have been sitting in the shed unused. They're the kind I had when I was a kid with the steel frame that makes a snapping sound every time you lift the back or the feet. I've left them happily out on the patio awaiting my every return.


It's been sheer bliss! I'm out there every chance I get. I take off my shoes and close my eyes and it's like I'm on my own little island. You can plop that lounge in the sand, the grass, the pavement or the dirt and it still feels the same.

There really is an art to being able to relax without the guilt.
It's only enjoyable if you do it right, and I'm learning that you're only doing it right if you can get past the feelings that you should be doing something else. It's amazing how far we've gotten away from such a simple pleasure. They should really be teaching classes on this stuff, How to Relax without the Guilt.

Not to mention I think my lounge chair is making me smarter! While I'm content to do nothing but lap up the sun and the breeze like a fat cat out there, I've noticed that I've been able to get a lot of good thinking done. It's giving me time to see things clearly, get my thoughts together, work on ideas for new projects, write shit up like this, etc. So far I've written 3 potential new blogs, made about 100 yards of rope for my new Laundry Meat Rope project (which I'll talk more about later), and come up with ideas for dinner parties, Halloween costumes and our trip to California...

I heard an interesting discussion one time, probably on NPR radio but I can't remember. It was about research studies done on the practice and resting habits of successful professional musicians compared to those who were not as successful. The resulting studies concluded that those musicians who rested more in between practicing and took naps during the day were more successful than those who actually practiced for longer stretches at once but did not rest as much.

Well, you know I love studies like that! There's a lot to be said for giving your creative mind enough time to work properly.

This morning I woke up and noticed that the house has become an absolute disaster since I've been doing all this relaxing. My studio is also looking a little worse for wear. So off I go. It's unavoidable, I will have to go a day without the lounge. Anyway, I think it's starting to rain...








September 18, 2013

RITUALS


I love September morning rituals. It always feels like the beginning of the year. New schools, new jobs, new season, new skies, new air. Every September I write my long to-do list of new goals for my artwork, my family, my house. I make new schedules and mark up the calendar with underlining asterisks, circles and exclamation points.

It's nice to go about your day with a steady flow of self-prescribed activity. It's comforting to have some daily practices to rely on, to wake up and know exactly what you want to do without even having to think about it.

Rituals are systems of ceremonial behavior. Although defined as religious rites, rituals can also be things you do repeatedly on a regular basis. Not to be confused with habits, rituals are voluntary and non-addictive, at least the type I'm imagining. 

I read a memorable article years ago in one of those home and garden magazines. It was about this artist couple who lived on this incredibly gorgeous ranch in South Africa or some exotic location. They each had their own enormous custom built barn-like structures where they painted every day for exactly 6 hours, rode their beloved horse exactly 5 miles each morning, and heated up the claw foot bathtub every night before dinner. Although I know that everything you read in those magazines is meant to look better, sound better, and be better than anything in your real life, there's something so intriguing...about that couple and their daily rituals.

My rituals would be waking up to hot cups of tea on chilly mornings. Spending X amount of time writing or reading in the morning light, working in the studio for X amount of hours, an afternoon walk, an early dinner, et cetera, et cetera.

For some reason I cannot accomplish this. I get sidetracked midway through the morning light. I remember I forgot to pay the bills or we ran out of milk. Sometimes my studio is such a mess I don't even want to go in there. Sometimes I just have nothing to read, or write. I used to drink coffee, then I realized my coffee was drinking me. Now I'm on tea, but it gets boring. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, all this newness seems really old. As sure as I know that the seasons will change, I know that at about the same time every year I'll start wondering how in the world I ever thought I would accomplish all the things on that list.

This year I've attempted to force the issue by signing up for a 5 week clay class in Philadelphia, my first art class since 1996! I also signed up the whole family for a month of Yoga classes. I know one month isn't much but maybe I'm slowly learning to enjoy each season as it comes.....so far so good, but then again, ask me at Thanksgiving!









September 13, 2013

paper collages

some paper collages I've been making this week using 
cut up watercolor paintings on handmade paper.
the paper was made with walnut ink making it brown and measures about 5X7". the smaller pieces are folded in half like a notecard. 







September 12, 2013

Art House Gallery Archives: Some Urban in my Suburban Please


Second Installment of Art House Gallery Archives. 

Here is a show I curated in February 2012 titled

Some Urban in my
Suburban
Please

This was our first major show at the gallery and the most fun I had the whole time I was there. Four New York based artists were selected including painters Carmen Einfinger and Meghann Snow, graffiti artist Cram Concepts, and me. The concept was simply to bring some urban into a very suburban area, and I went about it by asking each artist to create their piece on site at the gallery over the course of a long winter weekend. There's nothing like creating artwork alongside other artists creating artwork!

Carmen was the first to arrive. We spent an excellent day together talking and working. There were measurements taken, trips to the hardware store, people coming in and out of the gallery, and me making sure everyone was fed and happy. She worked on her piece while I worked on mine. It was a long day that ended at my house with glasses of wine and good feelings all around.

me concentrating on spray foam

Carmen concentrating on measurements

Carmen Einfinger


Carmen Einfinger


Cram Concepts
Cram Concepts met us bright and early the next day to work on his graffiti mural which would eventually cover three large gallery walls in the next room. Everything was going smoothly. Carmen only had a few hours left of work, Cram was just getting going and I was midway through my piece. What we didn't anticipate was the smell from the spray paint! My attempts to stave off the stench with fans and plastic tarps was to no avail, and the 19th century nailed and painted shut windows weren't helping. We ended up working in our winter coats, 30 degree gusts coming from every open door and crevice we could manage. Cram took an extremely long cigarette break while Carmen finished her piece, and I spent the rest of the evening holed up in the upstairs office.


the beginning of a masterpiece!

Cram Concepts

the ventilator that could've come in handy for the rest of us
my daughter with the fumes
Carmen working in her winter coat

Carmen's finished piece "Fill in the Blanks"

Carmen Einfinger

Cram's finished mural "Purple People Dominator"


work in progress "Eat Me"
Finishing touches for the show were made all the following week including procuring a vintage gumball dispenser to go next to our gum wall, making sure all invitations and press went out on time, preparing for the opening, and, oh yes, finishing my artwork for the show. 


my "Grillz" (Golden Nuggets) in the making
 
Gum Balls

Meghann Snow

Meghann Snow was the last artist to participate as her performance piece would take place at the opening reception. Everyone who's put a show together knows that there are a ton of last minute things to do no matter how prepared you are. To put a snag in the process, Meghann called from the bus stop saying she missed the bus and needed to be picked up a half hour away from the gallery. Once she arrived she discovered a malfunction in the painting suit she had just had made specifically for her piece. When it came time for the performance Meghann walked out in an improvised bubble wrap and masking tape get-up that was both funny and clever! Her hip-hop body painting of a purple and yellow abstract city scape was a hit.
Meghann Snow during her performance
 



Overall Some Urban in my Suburban Please was a big success. We had a ton of people at the opening, a good write-up in the press, visitors who continued to interact with the artwork throughout the show, and an amazing artistic and personal experience for me. I'm thrilled that I got to do this work. Carmen especially taught me a valuable lesson about learning to go with the flow in my artwork and not be so stuck in my own head. Thanks Carmen! And thanks to everyone who participated in this event.


Installation view of Carmen's "Fill in the Blanks" and the brick wall



A visitor making his mark



Meghann's finished piece, Dance Painting #4 with her masking tape booties hanging on the wall

partial view of "Grillz" and Cram's "Ice Cream Clouds" with hall & stairway in background


Some Urban in my Suburban please 
A multi-media site-specific group exhibition with NY artists: 
Cram Concepts, Carmen Einfinger, Samantha Palmeri & Meghann Snow

Press Release
Manahawkin's newest arts space, The Art House Gallery, is pleased to present "Some Urban in my Suburban please", a site-specific group exhibition featuring four artists working in a variety of mixed media. The exhibit fills two main gallery spaces and includes graffiti art, sculpture, interactive painting, and performance art. With most of the work having been created on site at the gallery, collectively the space radiates with raw creative energy similar to the gritty push of a city street.
New York artist Carmen Einfinger, known for her paintings and public works of lively organic patterns, brings her particular harmony of color and playfulness to an interactive installation. Reversing the roles of the traditional artist with the street artist, she's painted her piece directly on the gallery wall, while the visitors of the gallery are left to "graffiti" the unfinished canvas that partially covers it.
New York multi media artist Meghann Snow, who uses dance to create visual art, will be performing a painting piece at the opening reception in which she'll use her body like a paintbrush. Dipping into gallons  of latex paint, neatness will definitely not be a factor here.
Co-owner of the gallery and curator of the show, Samantha Palmeri, contributes two pieces. A debris of colorful paint and mixed  media fills the space of what once was a window pane in the gallery, while a real brick wall is partially built between two rooms. Typical of the urban landscape, here the unfinished rubble brings vitality to the space.
New York graffiti artist Cram Concepts has masterfully spray painted two large murals on the gallery walls. 
A gum wall which visitors can add to on their way in or out completes the show, making "Some Urban in my Suburban please" an eventful and transformative artwork, alleviating most of the white box.

View more videos from Some Urban in my Suburban please here!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZLXEESF2iydiJ1_Gnn86pw