“art’s never the same thing twice”

Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and effects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect.


We’ll be doing it again. Mary, Carolyn, and I have met a few times since last March.  A new plan for working together took hold yesterday.

My favorite comments (paraphrasing) of the afternoon:

Mary Shindell:

On our working together again:  Art’s never the same thing twice.

On crap and coziness: Right now, I’m working over at the Jackson studio. I put crap everywhere. I want to make it cozy. I want to feel like I am working close to my stuff, not be in vast space.  I want cozier.

About her work: I want to take the most insignificant, inconsequential things in nature and make them have significance.

Carolyn Lavender:

On what she might show: I plan to have new large work.  And also a large grouping of my Journal pieces.  The Journal pieces (each alone), are not very defensible.
(That is to say, they are strong as a grouping.)

About a working title for the exhibit:  Particular Purpose…I like the particular.

and me:

To Carolyn about why the cat is free to roam my studio:  I don’t try to control her.  Cause I mostly control everything else (…in the studio).

To Carolyn: How did God come into this conversation? 
Carolyn: You brought it up! 

…and I won’t say who said it exactly or about what:

WTF!

Do you see why we want to do this again?
New work. New exhibit. New blog.  New media. New Venue.
Museum. Center for the Arts.

what’s going on and what’s taking place…cont.

Sue, Carolyn and I drive out to Mary’s house. Mary not only prepares a great meal for us, she also shares her work, her studio, and her art books.  I’m introduced to an artist I’d not heard of. Conversation is plentiful. We talk about all sorts of things, past and present. I learn something new about each of them, as well as discover something about myself. Too bad for you, I’m only sharing photos of our work here.

Everyone is asked to bring a small 2D drawing, photo, or reproduction of some sort. It’s to be representational of the larger work that will show at What Goes on and What Takes Place, during Art Detour. The 2D object serves two purposes. They’re a way to reconnect, share progress and continue planning. And they act as  jumping points to discuss another element of the exhibition. We’re each considering making a small print. They’ll be available individually or as a collective set of four, during the run of the exhibit. Right now, it appears the prints will be 6″ x 6″  images reproducing a portion of the large-scale artworks. It’s not written in stone, things can change.

Yesterday Mary and I enthusiastically discuss paper stock. If paper is not exciting to you, then my guess is it’s just another tedious choice…and well…too bad.  There are interesting facts about paper worthy of a discussion.

Here are  photos of what’s going on and some of what might take place….enjoy.

Below, I hold a small-scale, mixed media drawing showing the head portion of a life-size self-portrait I’m finalizing for the exhibit.

Mary Shindell holds in her hands, a small cut out maquette of one wing. Yes, one wing. Again, this is only a small piece of a large digital sculpture. Or is it an installation? What will she call it? We’ll wait and see.

Carolyn Lavender cradles in her hands, a reproduction of an owl’s head, one of the 200 animal heads that will grace her large graphite on canvas.

And Sue Chenoweth evenly holds a very small, but very exciting reproduction of the 40″ x 40″ mixed media work on paper, she’s completing.

We enjoy the similarities and the differences in the small pieces, as a grouping. They allow us insight into the whole exhibit, which we agree, is a great idea. The afternoon passes quickly. It works out for touching base, making a few decisions, and having fun. We leave with a parting gift from Mary. Better explained, she satisfies our lust…we want these little magnets she’s created. Mary generously gives them to us. She’ll have these available for purchase, at the exhibit.


Once again…here’s the scoop….

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH – MARCH 12TH, ART DETOUR

WHO: MARY SHINDELL,  CAROLYN LAVENDER, SUE CHENOWETH, and MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

This exhibition is supported with a mini-grant for marketing through the Ted Decker Catalyst Fund.

Click Modified Arts to find links informing you about each of the artists, their studio and their work.

To visit artists web sites, click on their photo above.

what goes on and what takes place, the fourth artist

The artist Sue Chenoweth

Sue introduced herself to me years ago, at an opening. She came in early, shook my hand, and delivered thoughtful commentary about my work. Generous. I knew who she was because people had pointed out her work to me.

I connect to her use of color, the way she fills (2D) space, her use of line, her media and recognizable abstractions. I especially appreciate a quality of freedom she represents. This freedom of composition is uniquely Sue’s.

Right Now
Sue’s work is currently filling up space at SMoCA. The exhibition runs through September. It’s an innovative concept which has her art hanging alongside some of the museums permanent works, in an installation titled, Spyhopping: Adventure with Sue Chenoweth. Intelligent and fun, stimulating to eyes and mind.

Skyhopping Exhibit

Skyhopping Exhibit

The Exhibition / What Goes On and What Takes Place
Sue brings lots of energy to our project. Natural, honest, active and reactive. If she doesn’t know what to do…she says so. When an idea comes forth, she shares it enthusiastically.  I wonder if she might paint this way too. I respect her nature…creative, and in the moment.  She has plenty of ideas for the upcoming Art Detour weekend, and how we might interact with Modified visitors.

When she’s not making art, she’s teaching at Metro Arts, or at Phoenix College. She’s in the middle of moving, when the four of us meet for dinner, to discuss working together.

Not unlike the rest of us, she has a home studio. I love it here, she says.  I must  have my studio at home because I work in little spurts… all day long.  5 minutes here…half hour there… I keep it going all the time, that way I get things finished and have an ongoing  relationship with the work.  It Becomes my days.

I feel the same way. I wonder about Carolyn and Mary.  There are pros and cons to having a home studio.

…some photos of her variety of materials and her new studio space.

I ask about the doll house. The doll houses were in an installation called ‘Hold your Cards’ I had at eye lounge a long time ago.  I ordered them off e-bay.  It is funny how I coveted a metal dollhouse like the one I had as a kid and then got a BUNCH of them.

Both Sue and Carolyn were present at the start of eye lounge. She says of the experience, I was not in the very first show, but became a member when they moved into the Roosevelt space.  I was a member with all the original members though.  It was a great group.  I feel honored to be a part of the beginning. I had the very first show in the new building.  I don’t think there was anyone in the east gallery.

At our meetings, Sue expresses she has no idea what she’ll be doing for the exhibit. I jot her words into the upper right hand corner of my paperwork. Unknown to me, Mary photographs the notes. The photo amuses me. Why did this strike me  as something to capture? Because truly, this is the artists dilemma, we don’t know, until we do…know. It’s also the human dilemma.

I imagine Sue will wait to begin working, because some pressure appeals to her. Consequently I don’t expect to get an image of a work in progress anytime soon. But I do!

I have NO IDEA what this painting will be. I just know it is the start of a new series, but also closely relating and advancing on the last Spyhopping series of paintings. I never ever show this early stage of a painting so this is a rare glimpse into the underpinnings of my work.

…one more thing about each of us…we’ve chosen to document our process and make it a part of the exhibition…though we wouldn’t normally do this…rare glimpse sounds about right.

New Work

She continues…I try to make each layer just as good as the last, so as one peers into a work, it works all the way through. This one is a bit rough yet. No under painting. Landscape that is real but not real. Fragments of life and process showing what it is like to live in our world.

 

close up detail

I ask about her materials. She answers quick… All gouache on paper SO FAR.
Working title? I have no title yet. Size? This is just a starting place. The overall painting (on paper) will be 48″ x 50″.

…I only get starting places to begin…. I have been affected by the oil spill but do not want to make paintings about drippy birds etc. I know the oil spill is the beginning. I am looking at artists Neo Rauch and Thomas Hart Benton. Regionalism and in a way Hieratic scale with Benton..Maybe that is the wrong word to use, but it fits for me. I am also looking at the mosaics of Ravena which I often refer back to them. I like the way color shifts in the mosaics. I am trying to paint like that in places in my painting. There is another fresco that I find interesting and that is at the Basilica S.M. Novella in Florence Italy. Called the ‘Allegory of the Church’ the details of ‘Vices and other sins.” Love the way the different scenes are partitioned off so it looks a bit like a doll house.

While I’m completing this post I receive an email from Sue….For the show I  think I am going to make vacuum formed mountains like model railroad mountains but about 19 inches tall.  Some way smaller.  They would sit on the ground as if they are peeking out of the sea.
Another email follows shortly...It is just an idea.  I have to see where I can have these made and IF I can have them made. I am so so glad that we have until Feb to finish the work.

It’s all just an idea;thought takes on form, and becomes experience. Interaction follows. It’s what art making is all about.

We hope through the documenting and sharing of our individual process, you get a sense of all that may be involved in art making. Creating the whole exhibit, is a collaborative project.  Exhibitions will overlap, work succeeds, work fails, visits to the art store, the frame shop (me), the printer (Mary), the mountain maker (Sue)… Life keeps getting lived, gardens get tended (Carolyn), studios get dirty and cleaned, photographs get taken, discussions keep being had, agreements, maybe disagreements, thinking, rethinking, writing, sketching, working and reworking, details come and go…

This is an idea in motion, generated by four women artists.

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH – MARCH 12TH, ART DETOUR

WHO: CAROLYN LAVENDER, MARY SHINDELL, SUE CHENOWETH, MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

I’ll sum this up next time.  I hope to include my work in the mix. Come back.

Click here to visit Sue’s website.
Read the New Times review of  Spyhopping: Adventures with Sue Chenoweth” at SMoCA Proves Life Is Just a Game

*Sue Chenoweth will be giving a Hands-On  Workshop at SMoCA, on July 1st.  For more info check their website.

Modified Arts.Org

 

what goes on and what takes place…an artist revealed

The artist Carolyn Lavender

At the conception of this collaborative project, two artist are clearly in mind.  Carolyn Lavender is the first artist I meet and speak with.  I’ve admired Carolyn’s art work for a long time. She’s one of Eye Lounge‘s  founding members. We met last October, when her work The Woods, was up at Modified. In fact, it had just come down. It was in her car. She brought it out so I could look at it. We took it into eye lounge and then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon talking…about the work, art, drawing, teaching…politics, religion…stuff. Carolyn’s direct, she’s intelligent and open, and had plenty to say. Shortly there-after, she invited me to her studio. I assumed it would be a quick visit but again, we spend the entire afternoon talking about her art and art making. She’s generous and patient with my curiosity.

The Studio Upon arriving, I walk through her National Wildlife certified wildlife habitat (did i write that right?) front yard. She’s in a regular city neighborhood and her yard is a declared wildlife habitat. Cool! As I move through the garden, I observe the attention to detail. Unstructured structure, abundant variety, beautiful,desert…fun. Unusual in this area. I meet her cats and her dog.

I enter the studio… I’m going to skip the part about the first art work I see…I’ll get back to it later …
A slow 180 degree turn, to take it in. Then another.

Flashback: To a few years back: I’d love an exhibition opportunity with [some specific] artists I haven’t shown with. Lavender.
Flashback, but come more forward: In her studio, hearing about her process and looking at her stuff, the work… I want to work with this artist.
Flashback: To various points in time, I’m waiting, for an invitation to exhibit with specific artists (here in the valley). It’s bound to come. Curator? Gallery Director? Waiting…waiting….patiently waiting…
Flash forward: To one afternoon when I have lunch with Ted Decker. I share my thoughts with him. He says something like, Why are you waiting? Do it! Create the exhibit…all of you. Call them.

Flash: Call, I do. Carolyn agrees to participate and to help make it happen. She’s the one who will eventually contact Modified Arts and propose our idea.

back to The Studio I’ve said this before, an artist studio is sacred space. I don’t take the opportunity to visit one for granted. I’m fascinated by the variety of objects that surround us. Her shelves remind me of carefully laid out still life’s. A scientist laboratory comes to mind, as do Joseph Cornell’s boxes. Eventually she brings out her personal journals and bags of collage cut outs (photo below), the bits and pieces…of her process. It’s private, it’s her own, it’s magic and as fascinating as the finished works.  She cuts out and files photos, magazines, invitation images…you name it.  These become reference for work and some go into journals. It’s this particular memory that will eventually bring the Process element, into the exhibition plan. She brings a journal to write in, and she doodles, at most every meeting we’ve had. Like her yard…I see this as unstructured structure.


The Work Entering her studio I first make (eye) contact with a tacked to the wall canvas that has on it a gridded composite of small, graphite rendered, animal heads. Hypnotizing.
We sit at her drawing table. I look at cut outs, they’re sort of hypnotizing too. I ask about the canvas, does it have a name?

She calls it Portrait. She says in a matter of fact manner, It will be a grid comprised of 200 4” portraits of animals, each of which is making eye contact with the viewer. (I noted that when I stood in front of it) In my mind they are the equivalent of human “head and shoulders” framed portraits. The drawing resembles yearbook photos, but of animals. When I decided on this piece I had, for years, been doing series of self-portraits. At one point I set animal heads on top of my portraits (image below). For me animals have an equal importance in the world and it seemed that this visual arrangement helped illustrate that. The animals were more interesting because they were paired with my images and my images were more interesting because they each had an animal head. Finishing her thought, she says “Portrait” is my attempt to draw attention to animals, in a piece that has only animals in it.

Untitled
Media: Gouache, Graphite, Acrylic on Rag Board
33″ x 22″

Untitled
Media: Gouache, Graphite, Acrylic on Rag Board.
33″ x 22″

Meticulous detail, is one quality that draws me into Lavender’s work. Is that graphite? 4B? 6B? The line work is so clean. I am using 2H and F [graphite pencils]. I’m surprised. I am able to get darks because the graphite reacts differently to the modeling paste/gel medium ground. I’m familiar with modeling paste, I use it, but not with pencil. I’m also struck by a sense, or connection to time, the marking of it, the passing of it. As I look, I wonder out loud, How long will it take to complete Portrait? I complete one head per day. I’m not surprised, I say to her. You’re not? Oh good, I think I’m slow.

I teach drawing, carefully observing and carefully rendering, requires time. The work, each head, is striking. 200…! Two Hundred brilliantly rendered animal heads.

 

Detail of 'Portrait'

Speaking of time, Portrait already has a story and it’s not even complete.

Carolyn tells me that Portrait was conceived of, and started, in 2006. I have never started and set aside a piece of art the way I have this one. I started it in my Tempe studio, but then I drove it to Illinois, planning to finish it during a 2-month residency. But I could not draw fast enough to complete it for the residency. Eventually she returns to AZ and moves out of her (Tempe) studio. She then doesn’t have a wall large enough to pin it to. In the meantime she builds her studio. It wasn’t until May 2009 that I decided to finish it for the October show (at Modified, when I meet her). But after a few months of working it was clear that I would not finish in time. So “Portrait” may be the most satisfying piece to finish that I have ever done.

The Showing I’m jazzed to announce Portrait will make its much awaited debut, in our collaborative exhibition…

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH -MARCH 12TH ART DETOUR

WHO: CAROLYN LAVENDER, MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ, 2 others.

The working plan for all of us, is to show one large major work, and smaller supporting works, that led to it either  in content or form. You’ll see a few of Carolyn’s self portraits, as supporting works for the larger piece.  Many details have yet to be made.
Yesterday, as we talk about things, we come to the conclusion that our exhibition is a project. A Collaborative Project. We move along.

Stay tuned. Anther artist coming soon!

Click here for  Carolyn Lavender’s Work, Bio, and Resume

You can see one of Carolyn’s drawings, at a group exhibit, this month, May 7th – 21st. 21 Days: Group Drawing Show, now at Pravus Gallery, in downtown Phoenix.

what goes on and what takes place/ the venue



A few weeks ago (April 11th), I wrote about collaborating on an art exhibit, with three other artists. Yesterday, the four of us met with Kim Larkin.  Modified Arts, will host the exhibition.

Modified is run by Kim Larkin and Adam Murry. Kim made the round of studio visits, and then agreed to meet with the group on Saturday afternoon. Adam stepped in to greet everyone, and then he was off.

About the space…it appeals to all of us. It’s open and well-lit.  It has cool sophistication and yet  it retains its original charm. It’s in downtown Phoenix. And it has lots of history.

We do talk a little bit about the history of Modified. And then Kim speaks about their vision as the new directors of the space. She’s grounded. Intelligent.  Clear. Flexible. I had these thoughts, when I spoke to her in my studio, and listening to her in this meeting, I am aware of them again.

She has a sense of integrity we all connect to. I especially like that we discuss the exhibition as a whole experience. Kim brings up the idea of a community component. This is in perfect alignment with our plan.  We’re in agreement about connecting with /interacting with/and pulling in the audience. We want to make the experience accessible and inclusive. Ideas tossed about: showing the creative process through photos, personal material (studio ephemera, studio debris), speakers, event/s, video, and music/sound. How this part evolves, you’ll have to wait and see, just like us.

There will be one large, main artwork from each of us. And a few smaller supporting works, that specifically accompany the larger work. Included is the showing of process, in a more personal manner, will be bits and pieces from each.

Kim mentions bringing fun into the equation. We agree…it’s present already, it will naturally be a part of the end result.
WHEN will all this fun peak? I am really pleased to say…next year, during Art Detour.  Feb 18th- March 12th.

We note to Kim that we plan to reveal the other 3 artists, one a time.  She’s good with this. But as I write this…I’m not so good with it. I want to tell you who the other artists are right now!  Another clue below…..can you guess?

Obviously…four women.  I hope soon to reveal one of the other artist.

We play around with shooting photos and then our afternoon meeting ends. I leave feeling the agreement to create this experience is respectful and beneficial, to each of us and our own individual process of working. Kim offers the gallery, Modified, and we offer our work. In the agreement there is plenty of freedom to really create. It’s the thing that is driving this show. EXCITING.
Win-win for all, including you, if you’re inclined.

WHAT: WHAT GOES ON AND WHAT TAKES PLACE

WHERE: MODIFIED ARTS

WHEN: FEB 18TH -MARCH 12TH ART DETOUR

WHO: 4 Women Artist. More to come soon.

Stay tuned!