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




 

August 22, 2013

Very Bohemian

Bookshelves floor to ceiling via Moon to Moon

Photos from Moon to Moon my new favorite blog. Very bohemian.

I've had a theory ever since I finished reading Night Studio by Musa Mayer. In the book the author, daughter of great American painter Philip Guston, talks about how different she felt growing up.

more from Moon to Moon
     "We were different, that was it. Our life was bohemian, romantic. An adventure".

She talks about the importance of meeting other kids she could relate to, who had artwork hanging and bookshelves lining their living rooms.

Bohemian bookshelf via Moon to Moon
In my wrestling and restless search for a more cultural environment to live in, I've decided to pay particular attention to those who live with or without bookshelves in their homes.

I'm on a mission to make friends with as many book loving bohemians I can find.



My own meager bookshelf
more meager bookshelves

my house






August 21, 2013

Introducing The Art House Gallery Archives



I'm about to delete the web site for my art gallery that has been closed since July. After spending almost two years working my butt off on that thing I've decided to not let it go completely to waste. Introducing The Art House Gallery Archives! Whether you find out-of-date art gallery files interesting or not, I can find no better place to store this history, at least for now
We did hang some good artwork and put on some cool shows you might enjoy looking at.

*for now: an expression that was unabashedly overused at the Art House during the first few months of it's existence. All of us who were involved in organizing work tables, display shelves, front desks, merchandise, office equipment, etc. used the phrase as a sad excuse for not really knowing what to do with anything. Let's just leave it like this for now. Let's hang this here for now. Let's not bother with that...for now. For the future, not a very trustworthy phrase. If you find yourself using it too much, take a step back and figure it out first!

 Building Nests, Climbing Ladders

site-specific installation of Building Nests, Climbing Ladders

The Art House had three main gallery spaces for solo and group exhibitions. Our goal was to bring innovative contemporary fine art to the local public community of Manahawkin, NJ. The focus was always on the quality, originality and presentation of the artwork.
To facilitate our goal, the Art House encouraged a creative atmosphere by presenting interactive, collaborative work, and on-site artist projects. We also hosted regular public events such as opening receptions, lecture series, happenings, performances, artist talks and poetry readings.

Detail Building Nests, Climbing Ladders
Besides gallery space for monthly exhibits, the Art House also had a gift shop and a classroom. The gift shop was the original location of what was the Lounge. The Lounge, equipped with a comfortable couch, cafe tables, a coffee and snack bar, sheepskin rugs, group photographs and an old TV that played black and white silent movies, is where we hosted monthly open mic nights, sewing circles, artist meetings and other miscellaneous artistic events. It later morphed into the more organized gift shop mostly because the same 5 people showed up to all our artistic events and the chips from the snack bar eventually went stale. 
The gift shop was its own work of art. Fun, interesting, useful merchandise was carefully displayed and lovingly shoved into every illuminated crevice of the cozy space. It's also where one of the few built-in speakers that came with the building cranked out a wide variety of unexpected music from my husband's ipod, anything from the Violent Femmes to Zap Mama to Charlie Mingus to Charlie Brown's Christmas. Walking through the galleries into the eclectic mix of changing merchandise, display decor, the wafting aroma of Nag Champa incense, and music overhead made the space pretty fun to come back to. At least I thought so!

View of the gift shop, fall 2012
The Lounge following our first Holiday Party, 2011
The classroom, which was a steep flight of stairs up, was one of the brightest rooms in the house, and perfectly suitable for one long folding table with 8 plastic stools, a wall full of storage shelves and another wall full of black chalkboard paint. Some reference books, a cardboard file box full of lesson plans, and 4 aluminum easels later, we had ourselves an art school! That was the idea! Everything at the Art House was prepared for them coming once we had built it. There were students from week one until the end, just not enough of them.

Overall the Art House was a great idea, it just needed more involvement and support, like all things artistic. Here are some pics from our first exhibition...

Sculpture by Matt Burton, Photography by Hena Tayeb, Watercolor by Joanne Dozer
Photography by Steven Shattuck
Photography by Hena Tayeb, Watercolor  by Joanne Dozer and Oil Painting by Samantha Palmeri