Sunday, November 8, 2009

Residency Work

I promised to post the art work I did this fall at the Woodside residency. What amazes me about my work at the residency was that I picked up right where I left off with my thesis panels. I had already done two panels in January and produced a third panel after six months had gone by. All three paintings look as if I created them together at the same time.

This surprises me, I did not expect I would be able to create a third panel so close in form to the other two with so much time in between their creation. Posted here are the three panels, you can see that they form a cohesive body of work.

First two painted six months before the third.

Other paintings began to move beyond the shape and forms found in the three thesis panels.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Artist Residencies

After looking into artist residencies by attending the TransCultural Exchange Conference on Artist Residencies in Boston this past April with fellow graduate Jane Rainwater, I was exposed to three days of workshops, lectures and meetings that explained the plethora of opportunities available to artists.

I decided to apply in August for an artist residency close by. I'd been thinking how great it would be to just concentrate on painting all day, every day and stop only to make meals, eat and sleep. And it was truly wonderful to get away from moving, packing and selling the house and focus on my art practice, knowing my studio space would be torn down after I finished the residency.

Most residency programs invite you into their program after you write a proposal on what you hope to accomplish with your work. Some artist residencies pay you to go to them and others you pay them to be in their residency program. The amount of time an artist is in a residency program varies from one week to one year.

The wonderful things about artist residencies are, they provide you with an opportunity to concentrate solely on your work, to be with other artists who are also concentrating on their work and to be in a supportive creative environment. Additionally, there is the fact that many artist residencies give you the chance immerse yourself in a culture and/or country outside of being a traveler or tourist. Often the physical environment of an artist residency is inspiring.

I was given a fellowship this past August to do a short week long artist residency at The Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside in Troy NY.

Nancy McTague Stock a fellow graduate from The Art Institute of Boston, who is a good friend and I were both accepted into the CAC at Woodside artist residency program. I loved being in the physical space the beauty of the grounds inspired me. Painting inside an old chapel fits in with my belief that painting is a spiritual practice.

Woodside Chapel and Church is now a non-profit art organization was founded in 1990 in the culturally rich Berkshires of Massachusetts. With the recent acquisition of the historic Woodside Church and Chapel, they have expanded across the border to New York state.

I loved being in an artist residency, but I don't think it is for everyone. You have to be able to work while living out of a suitcase. It is hard to get into the space of working and not be distracted with what is going on in your environment. You have to be quite disciplined and make the most of your time there, it takes a lot of energy to successfully complete a residency. I would like to do another residency and will pursue applying to other programs, but first I have decided to create a home base from which I can come back to, recharge.

In my next post, I will share the work I created at Woodside.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Artist Myths

Can you count how many myths about artists are in this video clip? You are an artist if you are:
  • smug
  • male
  • socially inappropriate or anti-social
  • say and do things to shock and/or hurt others
  • abuse alcohol and drugs
  • physically abuse self and/or others
  • promiscuous or into kinky sex
  • suffer way more than other people do
  • a slave to your muse
  • make art that sells comercially
  • make art that isn't really art
  • disdainful of non-artists wannabe's
  • arrogant
  • unwashed, unkempt
  • pee in Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace
  • con the public with crap
  • can't spell or write clearly
  • disenfranchised

This video is the perfect example of why I hate calling myself an artist although I clearly am one. Have I left any other myths out? Oh, yeah...artists shouldn't have kids.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

June 2009 Graduates

Big Congratulations to all my artist friends at The Art Institute of Boston for this June 2009 residency especially the new graduates. I went up to Boston to see the new work of the incoming students and listen to the thesis artists talks given by the June graduating class. As always the artist talks were riveting and the new work from incoming students amazing. I'll start posting some of the wonderful art I saw.

First two of the fifteen June 2009 MFA Graduates

Lynda Schlosberg's large acrylic paintings 55"x110" were mind blowing.These huge intricate lovely paintings conceptually asks the question, is space really empty? She visually explores what space might look like if all the energy surrounding us collapsed into one plane of reality.

Lynda Schlosberg

I loved being close to these large paintings as they read totally different from viewing them from afar. The color changes were spectacular up close, we are looking at the upper right corner in this detail. I know for a fact, she worked for months on this one painting.

Melissa Kulig knocked my socks off with her drawings as she seeks to confront the notion of a woman's appropriate behavior in society and how those boundaries have shifted since the 19th century. The emotional connection to the dark side makes her drawings compelling. Shown here is her thesis drawing, a large pencil drawing showing a raging woman. Look closely at what the dress is made of. Melissa was also the recipient of the scholarship award my graduating class left as our legacy at The Art Institute of Boston. Double congrats to Melissa.

More new work and images to follow, stay tuned!

Melissa Kulig

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Glass Flowers of Harvard

The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Boston has an amazing collection of glass flowers that were painstakingly hand made by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka between 1886 and 1936. These models were made because the founder of Harvard's Botanical Museum wanted life-like representatives of the plant kingdom for teaching botany.

The Blaschkas' studio was located in Hosterwitz, near Dresden, Germany. Just imagining these fragile works crossing the Atlantic ocean and arriving intact in Boston was awe inspiring and a feat in and of itself for that time.

I photographed the collection of these gorgeous biological specimens with fellow artist Heather Horton-Flynn who is a glass artist. She explained how incredibly difficult it was to create fine hair-like structures and get accurate coloring in glass. We marveled at the skill and time it must have taken to make these life-like objects.

Life-like but with no life. As beautiful as these forms are, they had a dullness and seemed to lack a vibrant life energy that the real thing has. This came as a surprise, as I expected them to be like the bright shocking hues of flowers we see in the grocery store.

Glass Pitcher Plant

I am always inspired by natural forms and particularly enjoyed the cross sections and magnifications of the flowers reproductive organs. How like a mandala a transverse cross section of a flowers ovaries are.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's hip to be square

Of the 500 or so images I've created during my MFA program, 80% are in done in a square format. Of the many critiques I've participated in, I've been ready with a thoughtful answer to the question..."so why are you painting in a square composition?"

Yet, no one in the past two years ever asked me or challenged me on why I was painting in a square format. The first problem an artist needs to address before beginning a work, is what size and shape the work will be. The shape of the frame an artist chooses influences the final image and reveals something about that piece of art work.

I consciously choose a square format as I think of the square as a unit, a part of a whole, that has the same properties whole as it does in its parts. It makes up a grid and is considered emblematic of modernism. Square compositions can be both complete and incompleted, as you can always add another square to an already existing one.

A square format does not favor the dynamic vertical or calm horizontal plane, it is stable and supports the image in equanimity. The equal sides allow the image to be, without too much input from the frame. It is a simple, regular and familiar geometry. In Socrate's Meno, doubling the square, he says "This knowledge will not come from teaching, but from questioning, he will recover it for himself." Guess there are some questions you just ask yourself.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Thesis Idea...after the fact

All last fall I was wracking my brain to come up with an original, cool, mind blowing presentation for my thesis show. My thesis show was in January, so the time for it has past. Not so with my brain still under the directive of come up with an awesome idea for a thesis show!

I was frankly so busy writing and creating art work that I didn't have extra energy for "what if's" and "wonder what that would look like" thinking, that is until now...

With the pressure off, the floodgates of ideas run rampant! What do you think of this idea? A body of work consisting of static pieces of 2-d work hung on a wall (ie a painting, photograph or illustration) and at the four edges of the frame, seamlessly projecting video imagery related to and dynamically extending the 2-d work. Going beyond the frame into movement and time. I envision painting and video of painted imagery together because that's my medium, other media could work.

What it would take to get those two media working together? In my mind, it looks pretty great, perfect for a thesis show or maybe not... physical reality might not bear me out.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Devoted to Fine Art

After giving it quite a bit of thought and wrestling with code, links and flash photo galleries that don't work (see below), I have finally decided to have a separate Fine Art web site devoted to my work as an artist.

I didn't actually create it from scratch like I usually do, instead I've used a web based site for artists called I must say how delighted I am to not have to build a new site from scratch and that its design is what I would have eventually come up with after weeks of designing and re-designing or maybe not at all. It doesn't matter, check out the spotless information design that allows my work to shine through.

After this shamless plug, I can get back to painting...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eastern Seeds, Western Soil: A Path to Transcendence

I have been getting requests to see my latest work. My newest works can be seen in this presentation and will give you a good idea of the themes and media I've been been working in. Artist Presentation. This artist talk was created as part of a thesis presentation for my MFA at The Art Institute of Boston.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Slater Museum

One of my thesis panels Water Makes Rock II has been accepted into The Slater Museum 66th Annual Connecticut Artists Exhibition.

Artist Ron Cruzan juried the show which features paintings, drawings, mixed media, sculpture, graphics and photography by resident artists of Connecticut.

It's a wonderful show with artists from all over Connecticut. You are invited to attend the opening reception and awards ceremony on Sunday, February 22, 2009 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m at The Slater Museum in Norwich Connecticut. See you there.

Detail of Water Makes Rocks II

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Released and Emerging

I have graduated with an MFA in Visual Arts and am released from The Art Institute of Boston into the art world as an emerging artist.

This program is one of the best kept secrets for graduate study in Fine Art. I am still in a daze from the whirlwind of the past two years. My work has grown in proportion to the hours I have spent making it. I have discovered who I am as an artist and am ready to find gallery representation. The most affirming part of this experience was that I kept growing as an artist, worked with faculty who really cared about me and sold work as a student.

I created a body of work for a group thesis show, gave an artist talk summarizing my thesis and had to defend it in a thesis defense. My defense was with a traditional painter, abstract painter and conceptual installation artist. I have discovered that I am what I call a "transitional" painter. I walk the line between representation and abstraction in my imagery, so I am not fully a representational painter, or fully an abstract painter, nor do I fit in as a minimalist and work with both digital and traditional media as the idea dictates.

The thesis took me four months to write, I am proud to present it as Eastern Seeds, Western Soil: A Path to Transcendence. In it I have written about the nature of perception, impermanence and the role of emotion leading to the ineffable. I talk about the spiritual in art as my motivation to create art. It is a genuine discussion of my growth as an artist fueled by my concerns as a human being.You can read more by clicking on the thesis title and downloading the pdf file.

This blog will morph into a journal of what is next, as I figure out my artist life after graduate school.It is vital to my artist life that I connect with other painters who are on the same path I am and that I find out who my artist community is. Your comments, suggestions, ideas and feedback are welcome as I grapple with the bigger question: WHAT IS NEXT?