be the rage and be the light

Vanessa: I’m going to be in Phoenix … could I come visit with you?
Me: Yes! 

Thursday morning I drive to the Tempe Center for the Arts to pick up artist Vanessa German. The plan – bring her to Phoenix for lunch (Barrio Cafe) and then to my studio.

I find her in the atrium, sitting outside the theater. After greeting each other she tells me she’s walked out of a production. She reacts to what she hears and sees. I listen as she pulls words together in an organic and real way.

Her sentences are visual and visceral. She draws me into the body with her language. Because I connect to anatomy and its symbolism, I see and feel her right away. I recognize honesty. I like Vanessa, she won’t hold back.

We talk about truth, about honesty, vulnerability, courage, curiosity, compassion, and the value of questioning. We talk about history and education. I am aware, in the background of our conversation, hovers a new president-elect.

We also talk epigenetics, cells, and DNA, ancestors and magic. The woman knows the sacred.

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White Naptha Soap or, Contemporary Lessons in Shapeshifting Mixed media assemblages

While we eat, we talk about The State of the Art. We agree the opportunity was/is unique and important, fun and fabulous. Above is my photo ↑ of her sculpture (at the opening), which I sat with for a good amount of time. We catch up with how art and life have played out since then. She’s out there.

In my studio I learn Vanessa is also a photographer. She brings out her i-Pad and shares photos and stories about a recent stay at Standing Rock. My husband I listen intently as she tells us about the people, the water and trees. We are both moved. I need to get Vanessa back to Tempe where she is scheduled to teach a workshop.

I get on the highway back home and think about the fullness of our conversation this afternoon.


Vanessa is a multi-disciplinary artist based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is self-taught.  Her narrative will only expand as she continues to show her work, speak and perform.  She learns, she educates.

Below are her 2 photos and her own written words about them.

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artist photo – installation

this was part of my emerging artist of the year exhibition at pca. it was scary sometimes, i didn’t understand that curators helped to shape a show. I’d been use to doing everything myself, hustling, asking friends with ladders to join in a late night install; calling all graffiti artists, paying people outta my own shallow pockets and hugging out an exhausted embrace of gratitude. i truly didn’t get it. one of the most recent installs we did at a museum, and they moved most everything with museum staff; if I touched a sculpture the registrar would take photos of my hands moving over a piece. i am learning a lot about putting exhibitions up at larger and larger scale. I am learning about insurance, shipping, and communicating my ideas to all of the different people at the museum who make exhibitions work. today i am doing a teach-in with the docents at the everson museum of art in syracuse. i will tale you of any interesting bits later.

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Do The Whole Thing and Do It.With Your Whole Entire Soul. stand up inside of it.be the rage and be the light.move with it all as though a mountain wit the spirit of excellence lengthening yo spine. write yo own name on a piece of paper three times. three consecutive lists of yo very own syllables and then to kiss your hands.then to hold yo fingers up in the light of the day– splay them and then let them reach upwards to the sky to recognize the face of yo own soul in that there glory: All of the things that you are before the constructed world cobbled itself together, You Have Always Been and Will Always Be. Your Glory is Brighter Today– you have been sharpened. Hold that clarity on yo tongue and gleam with it. Love With It. You have been Sharpened. Let yourself feel good about this sharpening, what will you go to cut? Who will require you to scissor away at their bonds? There iz no thing that can hold you down. We Are The Mighty Ones.

German is an artist who communicates in broad, eloquent form. The powerful force she holds is grounded in love, vulnerability, courage, history (her ancestor’s, my ancestor’s and yours),  truth and magic. Did I say magic? Plenty of magic…

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Vanessa German in my studio.


State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now shown in 2 smaller exhibitions than the original (for practical reasons) currently travels the country. The work has recently left Savannah, Georgia and will open January of 2017, at Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee, Following that stop the exhibition travels to The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina in April of 2017.

I hope to visit one, if not both showings.

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Cards from the catalogue showing each of our work.

making connections

Seven artists, Phoenix to LA, lots of Art – You’re invited!

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Connections to the Natural World focuses on 7 artists who draw inspiration from nature and science, each approaching the subject from their own unique perspectives. Working in various media ranging from installation to mixed media, these artists bring fresh visual insights, from issues of the human impact on the environment to sheer wonder at the diversity and magnificence of the natural world.

WHAT: Connections to the Natural World
WHO: Artists Linda Ingraham, Linda Margaret Kilgore, Sarah Kriehn, Carolyn Lavender, Monica Aissa Martinez, Patricia Sannit, and Mary Shindell.  
WHERE: LA ARTCORE Brewery Annex (Lincoln Heights)
650 A South Avenue 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 276-9320
WHEN: Jan 2nd-Jan 30th. Hours Wed-Sun 12-5 pm
* Reception and Artist Talks – Sunday, Jan 10, 2016, 1-3 p.m.

A sampling of work:

Linda , Big Tree

Linda Ingraham, Big Tree, Mixed Media Photography

Linda Kilgore, Bosque, mixed media installation

Linda Margaret Kilgore, Bosque, mixed media installation

Breaking Open

 Sarah Kriehn, Breaking Open, Collagraph

Carolyn Lavender, Jaguar - Jaguar

Carolyn Lavender, Jaguar – Jaguar, graphite, acrylic on prepared panel

Monica Aissa Martinez, Female Front Body, mixed media drawing on paper

Monica Aissa Martinez, Female Front Body (self-portrait), casein, graphite, gesso on Arches paper

Patricia Sannit, Time Pressure

Patricia Sannit, Time Pressure Decay Rebirth, clay

Mary Shindell, Generation

Mary Shindell, Generation CSA, digitally drawn imagery printed on Plexiglas and styrene, optical fiber, LED lights, flowerpots, redwood, garden wagons

Click on name for website :

Free and open to the public.
Serving Los Angeles for 35 years, Contemporary Art Exhibits at →  LA ARTCORE


A couple of years ago we met to share work and formulate a plan. Out of this meeting connection was formed. The result will be a showing in Los Angeles.

We hope to see you there!

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Facebook Invite.

celebrating insects @ the i.d.e.a. museum

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The i.d.e.a. Museum presents Jeepers Creepers: BUGS In Art
A Celebration of Insects (for children and adults)

The gallery will be filled with fun, artistic bugs that are inspirational and informative for all ages. Put on a bee suit and do a waggle dance or step into a make-believe world with giant bugs! You can even compare your size to extinct Paleo bugs and experience over 40 artworks made of all types of materials including video, watercolor, mixed-media and fabric by 10 different artists.

Here are a few samples of some of the artwork:

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Barrett Klein, Damselflies, , Digital

 

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Barrett Klein, UnEarth, modified globe, soil, salt and paint

 

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Andrea Uravitch, Cicada Shell, Mixed media


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Andrea Uravitch, Orange Cicada, Mixed media

JEWEL BEETLE OPEN LID 2

Jeanie Pratt, Jewel Beetle Teapot, Sterling silver, fine silver, 18K gold, jewel (Buprestid) beetle wings, ammonite, peridot, Mexican opal, dichroic glass beads, stainless steel

Jewel Beetle Teapot

Jeanie Pratt, Jewel Beetle Teapot, Sterling silver, fine silver, 18K gold, jewel (Buprestid) beetle wings, ammonite, peridot, Mexican opal, dichroic glass beads, stainless steel

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Georgette Rosberg, Purple Hairstreak, (butterfly) Color photos

 

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Georgette Rosberg, Blue Dasher (dragonfly), Color photo

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Joan Danziger, Honey Beetle, Metal, glass, acrylic paint‏

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Joan Danziger, Patchwork Beetle, Metal, fused glass, frit,dichroic glass

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Monica Aissa Martinez, House fly, Mixed media collage on panel

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Monica Aissa Martinez, Hawkmoth, Mixed media collage on panel

Edgar Cardenas includes video work that focuses on understanding the backyard as an ecological space just like any other environment. ↓

There will be plenty of opportunities to test your knowledge and learn all about bugs through fun and challenging puzzles, games and art-making activities or you can take the challenge to debunk myths about bugs and insects while learning facts like:

  • How insects help us and are beneficial to the environment
  • The different parts of insects
  • What insects eat
  • Insect homes
  • Life cycles of insects
  • How insects communicate
  • Insects that are edible
  • Insects that are extinct and newly discovered species

Featured artists:

Edgar Cardenas, Phoenix AZ
Eric Carle, Key Largo FL Courtesy of the Eric Carle Museum
Desi Constance, Phoenix AZ
Denise A. Currier, Mesa AZ
Joan Danziger, Washington DC
Wesley Fleming, Ashfield, MA, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Joel Floyd, University Park MD
Elaine Hultgren, Phoenix AZ
Tara Jaggi, Pleasantville PA
Barrett Klein, La Crosse WI
Mindy Lighthipe, The Villages FL
Monica Aissa Martinez, Phoenix AZ
Karen Paust, Wellsville PA, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Jeanie Pratt, Nipomo CA, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Andrea V. Uravitch, Washington DC, Courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge
Georgette Rosberg, Tucson AZ
Emelee Van Zile, courtesy of Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge

Specimens and fossils:
High-resolution images, exhibition activities and content & specimens from Frank Hasbrouck Insect Collection, Education and Outreach department at Arizona State University
Arizona Museum of Natural History, collaborating to loan insect collections, insect fossils and bugs preserved in amber

WHO: i.d.e.a. Museum
WHAT: Jeepers Creepers : Bugs in Art
WHERE: in the Whiteman Family Exhibition Gallery
WHEN: Oct 9 to Jan 25

 

For more info about exhibition, events, admission fee, hours of operation → The Idea Museum

* One photo from each artist posted here will direct you to their web site.
Do take the time to visit all the artists listed and their websites – the work is varied and wonderful!

state of the art, discovering american art now

Crystal Bridges Museum is a venue dedicated to American art and artists, a place of learning and community.

10527760_10152614355222328_3207376333857859767_nI arrive into Bentonville, Arkansas to attend opening events for the State of the Art exhibition. The show is extraordinary in that it truly does display my contemporaries – working artists from across the United States. I receive a glimpse of where I sit in the grand picture.

My goals for coming days: Enjoy. Experience. Learn. Though I don’t ignore I’m in the show it’s not the only focus. I want to know the bigger picture. I go with artist friend Carolyn Lavender. My sister Elisa (artist), my nephew Alfonso, his wife Ethel and their daughter Pilar join us in Bentonville.

The 4 day visit to the museum begins with a private reception – 70 of the 102 artists come together along with their invited guests. Talk about a celebration. I run into 2 of the 4 Arizona artists represented, one whom I meet for the first time.

IMG_6648 The crowd moves from reception to exhibition.  I love looking at people look at the art. Here are a few highlights from the evening.

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John Salvest, Forever

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Audience looking at Jawshing Arthur Liou‘s video – Kara

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Monica Aissa Martinez, Male Torso – Anterior View

Remember my goal is to enjoy myself – I do in fact enjoy this moment ↑ seeing my work for the first time.

All of the video and sound work pulls at my attention. If only I didn’t love my brushes and paint so much. Below ↓ is a Kedgar Volta. The piece hangs a few feet from my own work. He places his audience in the role of voyeur.  I look carefully at all the people and environments in the large interactive work.

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Kedgar Volta,  False Belief that the Control Resides in Me

Across from that video I enter an installation titled Reflecting Room ↓ by artist Dan Steinhilber. The mylar installation initially makes me think of melting ice caps. The next day I sit in there a longer time and get the image of a lung – inhaling and exhaling slowly. There is a Venus of Willendorf – like figure in the space. I want to bring this environment home with me.

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Carolyn Lavender photographed in Dan Steinhilber‘s Reflecting Room

More photos from days that follow….
I  look and wonder what I’m supposed to feel, other than uncomfortable – with eyes that seem to keep following me, from a work titled Fracking Fields. ↓  Eventually I settle into and enjoy viewing these video portraits by Susie Lee.

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Susie J Lee, The Fracking Fields ( to the right)

There is so much work I want to get up close to and touch. The surface is so well executed, like these collages below.

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Mark Wagner, Overgrown Empire

IMG_6658 There are 102 artists and over 200 artworks. Two artist’s stand out even as I write this: Vincent Valdez and Vanessa L. German. ↓

Valdez’s larger than life works on paper are based on the lynching of Mexican-Americans in the state of Texas, up until the 1930’s. Think historical image placed into current structure. As a native-born and raised Texan ( I now live in Phoenix ) you can imagine how I feel learning about this in a museum, in Arkansas. I sit in front of the triptych-like display and return several times. I am familiar with Valdez and his work, but not this series.

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Vincent Valdez, The Strangest Fruit

I spend a good amount of time with the sculpture of community activist/artist Vanessa German – though not enough because I can’t sit in front of them to really be with what she calls power figures – and they are powerful, no doubt.

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Venessa L. German, White Naptha Soap or, Contemporary Lessons in Shapeshifting

Friday evening the museum hosts a lecture with curators Don Bacigalupi (now president of the museum) and Chad Alligood. The energy of the evening is high-spirited, to say the least. I recognize their connection and nature immediately upon them being introduced to the crowd.  After hearing them tell of their travels, the exhibit and their intent – I understand why I respond the way I do, to the majority of the work. At some point they take a moment to introduce artists and my sister says, as she is looking at my head, that she swears she sees it grow an inch – funny Elisa.

IMG_6676  IMG_6684 IMG_6680The New York Times article that featured a photo of my studio comes up onto the screen ↓. The image takes me back to the beginning of all this. Because of that cover my studio visit was made public – coast to coast. I received emails from across the country – and still do. John, a neighbor, reads the article and makes copies for all the other neighbors. Now they understand why they never see me outside, I’m always painting.

IMG_6681During the lecture I sit behind a young man named Anthony. He’s one of the people who contacted me during the NYT activity. Since then he’s purchased a small work. It’s kismet – so pleased to meet him in person.

Alice Walton is present and sits nearby. I take a moment to introduce myself, shake her hand and thank her.  I see her the next day in front of my artwork. It is at that time that she tells me she hopes artists stay connected – and from across the county, support each other. 1233986_10204751911428207_5102319597070244831_n Within 24-hours of returning to Phoenix, and my routine – I join an on-line group for the artists and curators from the State of the Art (SOTA).

It’s happening Ms. Walton.

The exhibit runs to January 2015, and includes many events. I hear exciting rumors but I don’t know all the facts. I will return in November.

For info about the work,  the artists, the studio visits, the curators and the organization visit The state of the Art Website.


A postscript : I planned to post a few critique links here but  I’ll let you google the info if you’re inclined. They have started coming out and as usual, opinions vary. I am enjoying reading all of them. IMG_6714 I travelled to Bentonville with an artist friend. We maneuvered though the small town and had interesting experiences with the landscape and the local community. To people whom asked, and many did, we mention why we are visiting.

On our return to the airport we make small talk with an employee of the car rental agency. The next day I receive this email (I share only some here) :

Hi Monica, … I took your advice and my wife and I went to Crystal Bridges today to see the State of the Art exhibit. It is great!!!! The contribution of each artist is so good and so creative. I liked your painting and your approach to the topic! And to think that your painting made it to the cover of the art exhibit brochure is an honor for you as well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing more of your pieces, maybe at Crystal Bridges?! I hope so.
The mylar room was really unique. What a cool experience to see the room deflate and then expand. So creative!

Sincerely, David

Martinez_MaleTorsosmThanks Don and Chad for visiting my studio.
Thank you Alice Walton.
Thank you Randy Kennedy (writer) and Ruth Fremson (photographer).
Thank you Julie Sasse, for your support.
And special thanks to my husband who couldn’t attend the opening with me.
Thanks to everyone (including artists) who’s made it so incredible.

five15 to the Power of 5

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Five15 Arts presents its third annual invitational. Each of the eleven member invites five local artists to take part in a salon style exhibition called Five15 to the Power of 5.

Five 15 member Mary Shindell invited me to take part along with Christine Cassano, Mitch Fry, Carolyn Lavender and Nicole Royse.

The art is 12 x 12″, includes both 2D and 3D, and results in a diverse exhibition with over sixty works of art. Everything is available for purchase and will be on a cash ‘n carry basis. This means the show will certainly be different the second time you visit – on 3rd Friday!

The opening is this coming First Friday. Each member will have 2 works included in the exhibit. Here are Mary’s 5 picks along with her own art :

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Mary Shindell
Mesquite Beans, Moon Crater
digital drawing with graphite and ink, archival ink jet print
2014
$100.00

Morph Code 2

Christine Cassano
Morph Code
mixed media on panel
2014
$375.00

12x12 2014B

Mitch Fry
Regrowth
repurposed hardwoods & elastomeric
12 x 12 x 3 1/4″
2014
$351.00

Baboon-Baboon in progress 2

Carolyn Lavender
Baboon-Baboon (progress shot)
graphite on prepared canvas panel 
2014
$500.00

image

Nicole Royse
Twilight
acrylic on canvas
2014
$85.00

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Monica Aissa Martinez
Anatomy of a Hummingbird 
mixed media and collage on panel
2014
$400.00

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Mary Shindell
Bougainvillea Moon Craters
digital drawing with graphite and ink, archival ink jet print
2014
$100.00

Brave the heat and join us – it will be worth it! The show is always a full house.

WHO : Five 15 Arts
WHAT: Third Annual Five 15 to the 5th Power
WHEN: First Friday Opening, August 1, from 6-10 PM
Third Friday Reception, August 15 from 6 – 10 PM
Saturdays from 1 – 5 PM
WHERE: 515 E Roosevelt Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Five 15 Arts is a collective, artist-run, contemporary art space committed to providing support and an exhibition venue for serious, professionally minded Arizona artists.

more info → Five15 Arts

pseudo science – a group exhibition

Pseudo Science highlights the work of artists fascinated by science and technology, and whose work has a scientific or technological bent – but is not scientifically accurate.  The work of the artists invited reflects, mimics, or implies a scientific or technological exploration, but in reality is not an absolute scientific rendering, conclusion or explanation.

The exhibit  includes painting/drawing, sculpture, mixed media and performance. Pseudo Science will coincide with the annual Arizona SciTech Festival.

Artists include Christopher Caulfield, Timothy Chapman, Bill Dambrova, Casey Farina, Steve Gompf, Hilary Harp and Barry Moon, Mary Lucking, Monica Aissa Martinez and performance by Babs A’Delic.

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©Bill Dambrova
Just Passing Through
Scientific skeleton model, pom
poms, mirror, polychromed wood, and glitter
36″x36″x108

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Hilary Harp & Barry Moon
Thermal Image
Wood, thermochromic film, motors, music boxes etc.
2013

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Timothy Chapman
The Darrsman Effect in Hymenoptera
Acrylic on panel
36×48″

frontal lobe pseudo science chris table with bones sculptures

Chris Caulfield
Tiny animal skull and bone sculptures
on recycled hardwood bases

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Steve Gompf’

Monica Aissa Martinez Male Front Body (detail) MM on Paper 96" x 60"

Monica Aissa Martinez
Male Front Body (detail)
MM on Paper
96″ x 60″

WHAT:     Pseudo Science – a group exhibition
WHERE:  Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery
in Bragg’s Pie Factory
1301 Grand Avenue
Phoenix, AZ
WHEN:     February 7th (1st Friday)
February  21st (3rd Friday)
By appointment (602.391.4016) – the month of February 2014

Curated by Beatrice Moore.

→ Map
RSVP →  Facebook invite. Take a look at this invite and see the artist studio visits and installation shots Beatrice Moore included.

This exhibit is free and open to the public.
Join us next week.

raw @ the tempe library

Christy Brown organizes the Tempe Community Galleries exhibitions. She explains that in conjunction with the Tempe Center for the Arts Gallery’s Smithsonian “Green Revolution” exhibition (which opened last January), all the community gallery shows will have “going green” themes this year.


Raw opens today. The exhibition focuses on the work of three artists  who are choosing to move away from the use of harsh chemicals and synthetic materials in their work, and are instead working with raw, recycled or organic materials. I am one of those artists, as are Joe Willie Smith and Aimee León.

Artists
Aimee León
An artist and certified sheep shearer, uses natural raw wool along with recycled industrial materials. The show includes a number of her small and soft – object forms . Most are beautiful tactile vessels. I want to touch them all.

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Joe Willie Smith
A multi-media artist and musician includes works in metal.  He works with found objects and repurposed material. He talks in general about finding just the right piece and then in particular about the white form below – how he scratched/drew on it one early morning to catch both the light and shadow of the sunrise.

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I have several posts about Joe Willie’s work and our collaborative effort at sound making – which I’ve used as background for all the Nothing In Stasis videos.

Raw includes a number of my paintings and one small drawing. I work with organic material, primarily egg tempera and casein.  I like to refer to my mediums as egg and milk. This work below uses casein as underpainting, and egg tempera as the surface color.

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Vital Commotion #4

Delivery and Install
I plan to drop off work and head back to the studio to paint, but when I learn Joe Willie is in the exhibit and he’ll be dropping work off, I wait for him. And as it all plays out we spend the morning working with installer, James Sulac.  Before Christy leaves for the morning she mentions how the work might hang. She asks which side of the wall I want my work on and I tell her. But after Joe Willie arrives and we begin seeing how interestingly things connect, we suggest the work hang in the space mixing together. Below are a few install shots.

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I understand we connect in terms of the raw materials theme, but as I look at everything I appreciate Christy’s eye more and more. The organic forms of León’s soft sculpture connects to the light forms and color in my paintings and to [the appearance] of softness in 2 of Willie’s larger pieces.

And you probably can’t tell from these photos (below) but the colors and lines in Joe’s work connect to my use of the same design elements. The acid green of his sculpture (below) runs right through the mid-section of my painting to the left, and is high-lighted by reddish pink points in both works. Joe Willie decides grouping his smaller pieces salon style will enhance the grouping of shapes in my compositions, and vice versa.

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I regret not getting shots of another wall where León’s wall pieces hang along side Joe’s and my work, a similar soft glow of lavender and blue shows up. Somehow all the work organizes between fragility and strength.

It’s Raw and you’ll just have to go see for yourself.

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WHAT: Raw
WHERE: Tempe Public Library
(Lower Level Youth Library)
WHEN: Now to Dec 4th

The Tempe Public Library is located at
3500 S Rural Rd
Tempe, AZ 85282.

As you arrive watch for the Museum marker below, on the corner of Southern and Rural.
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For more info on show and for artists’ statements click on  → Raw