Friday, February 15, 2008
I am home again, fully immersed in gallery life again. I made it home thoroughly exhausted, with moderately clean hands, and with 2 less pounds despite hearty helpings of Linda's food. Watch this space. I will probably have a one night showing of the work...March 1 or 2.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
An now I begin the clean-up, and then, read? I am grateful for my time here. Hopefully I will have a one night quickie showing of this body of work at the Northrup King Building, before we set up Gallery 406. And it is snowing again. When I return, after Susan Hensel Gallery work is caught up, after the opening of Reader's Art 8, I will need to do a fifth triptych to complete the transition of the flying suit.
Monday, February 11, 2008
I've never been comfortable in front of a camera, but here it is...in CLEAN CLOTHES last night. The shower was such a relief. I will work more today...reluctantly...I did sleep in and met Becky for coffee. Visited with Chad in the kitchen. Don't think I can delay much longer. I began filming the process yesterday, running the video camera from time to time. I will do more today as I do the set up of the papers. Then...editing someday.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Here is what awaits me. I may not do any work until after lunch. I am so tired and unmotivated! Even treadmill time did not help much. Oh well, this, too will pass. The Sun is glorious and it is gloriously cold! The frost on my window in morning sun.My fingers stuck to the handle of the studio door..a snow sculpture I made when the snow was still fresh by chopping into the snow mohawk on several trees. A bit remains. Ragdale house in the frigid sun. I hear their rooms are also frigid. We are toasty in the Barnhouse. Well, now that I have played around all morning, I think I can start.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
You have asked: Here is where I sleep at night in the old barnhouse. It is a nice medium sized room, part of a suite that I share with Chad, a novelist from California. There are a total of 5 bedrooms upstairs in the house, 4 of them currently occupied, by writers and visual artists. There are no composers in residence right now, but we heard some marvelous Rachmaninoff the other night when a friend of one of the Ragdale trustees played the Yamaha grand piano in the composer's studio. Had a nice lunch with relatives. Packed up the second triptych and now, truly, truly blank pages hang on the end wall. Soon the stripes and pattern pieces will appear. The snow and cold are starting up again... Views from my room . The well lit door is my studio.
The second triptych is done. I started work at around 8am, it is 9:45. I will spray it and vacate the premises, clean up and meet Dave and Ellen Wagner for lunch. This evening when I return, a new set of sheets need to go up to receive their stripes, their gesso and then their pattern pieces. It occurs to me in my panic to get these large ones done, that the new co-op gallery/studio in Northrup King Building, suite 406, will likely be my large work studio. Certainly I can adjust to not living above my work space... We take possession of the studio in March.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Progress. I am working late because I had to do an art supply run and tomorrow afternoon will be spent with family. Time is increasingly precious. Triptych number 2 is not finished, but it is getting close. Certainly tomorrow morning I will be able to finish it and get some of the charcoal out from under my fingernails, if not out of the whorls of my fingerprints.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The snow ended shortly after I slid in yesterday afternoon, leaving a fairy land in the copse of tress near the parking lot. The illustrated suit is almost done...a transitional suit between the lighthearted disembodied suits and the darker, mid-embodiment suits. There is now hair sticking out of the pocket and florals and peach will happen in the background to tie it in with the first pieces. Studio visit happens shortly. I have hung all of the work up in my studio and the nearby conference room.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The snow is very heavy...as in lots of very wet snow and it is still accumulating. I drove into Lake Forest, went to the pharmacy and the bookstore and decided that more time out in slick driving was unwise. So I skipped exercise and came back to read, nap and write. I do have the beginnings of an artist statement about this project:
His Suit, Hirsute, Power suitThis installation examines gender in the contexts of power, class, cultural norms and expectations. Class, gender and power are all demonstrated, in part, through dress: the various uniforms we have agreed to wear. Examining the uniform of the pin-striped suit, it became apparent that it is a power object, a symbol and repository of visible power and/or oppression. Like the costumes of African masquerade, the suit when donned does more than infer power. The wearer of the masquerade, is inhabited by the power resident in the object. The performer in the suit of the lion spirit, becomes the lion spirit. The performer in the “power suit” becomes powerful. The performer becomes the performed. The suit can also be seen as a liminal gender object. The suit, a chosen male representation of power, when donned by a woman, becomes a transgendered object. On further examination, on looking carefully, the sexual/gender cues of the suit as object are revealed. The lapels are labial and the whole object, the whole costume of jacket, pants, tie et al, looks decidedly phallic. The power suit is built to quietly emphasize male power, by broadening the shoulders and exaggerating height by creating a long, uninterrupted line from head to toe; It is simple, unfussy, does not encumber the wearer who can “spring into action,” without disturbing the essentials of the suit. The whole ensemble also demonstrates the archetypal effigy form, sort of uber-human. When this uniform, this suit, is donned by the oppressed classes, the transgression is evident. Like the bearded lady, with hair in all the wrong places, the wearer of the suit is potentially “hirsute.”
I think the first triptych is finished. It took all morning...so much for predictions. The snow is still falling. After lunch I will...nap?shop? whatever! A break from the studio is in order...even if it winds up being art related. The suits are sprouting wings, I think.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
The piece on the left is complete. The triptych is in the bargaining phase...when I finish it I can take a break and go to the bookstore and/or Starbucks... It was a tired day, pretty much for everyone...the low ebb day of the residency. I probably have another hour of work to do on the piece...maybe more, but not tonight. There are 3 more triptyches planned. Snow has been falling fitfully this evening and I am off to my bedroom with Obama having won 2 races and Huckabee one. Still glad to be here with my disordered thoughts and my orderly pictures. The projected regiment is creating itself rather quickly. I am glad that I lost the weight I did. I do not think I would have had the energy, stamina or elasticity to do these mammoth pictures 50 pounds ago.
More snow is predicted over the next few days. And, Super Tuesday made the recreation center where I daily exercise, extremely busy! It is a polling place and people were voting. I don't know how I would do this work without the daily dose of exercise. I awake foggy and a bit crabby each day, wondering what the day will bring. The exercise never brings me answers, but it does help me to focus. So far today has been about writing, finding more words, more language about these drawings, this project. I'm as confused as ever....but at least I have a generous word list! I will make a few marks on paper before I break for lunch.
Monday, February 4, 2008
It was a good work day. I awoke crabby and tired, but the rain and fog kept me in the studio. A quiet day under the lights. The piece on the left is, indeed, finished. the middle one is unexpectedly on it's way toward finished and the third...a 3-panel number, surprised me with its boldness. Yes, it is intentionally an inverted suit. Clearly it is tomorrow's main work. My reading has taken me into the dark woods of feminist visual theory...and out the other side, seeking more light and understanding. Theory often bewilders me. However, when I got to bell hooks and Feminist Theory, published in 1984, some things began to come together. This project, while feminist, is not about feminism, per se. It seems to be about the unsuccessful attempt to "closet" female attributes ( perhaps of both men and women) within a patriarchal, capitalist context. It is about gender bending in someway. I have been thinking about the drawing for several weeks as transgendered, or perhaps as cross-dressing...not sure which.
Surely the sun will shine again soon? Five pieces have been completed in the Hirsute series. The look of the installation becomes clearer, although the language surrounding it still eludes me. Today I expect to finish the 2 new pieces on the left. The middle 2 pieces are a muddle that may or may not flow. I have hung the Ophelia pieces to remind me of further work to come and the striped blanks have been prepared for further additions to the Hirsute installation. Work,work,work. It is wonderful to have the break in my life to do this...and it is hard too! There is nearly nothing to distract me from the studio. As the days go on, I recognize the procrastination points that in Minneapolis would involve a sudden run to the bank or the grocery store from "need." Yeah, the need to run away. There is no running away here...at least not much.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Internet is down at Ragdale, due to weather. So I sit in a hyper busy Starbucks to do this. The first three images are complete and heavily sprayed with final fixitive, The image with the pants was further tweaked from what you see here. I know the next step for #4, about half a step for #5 and #6. Then.... That is where the fear lies. But, I can see the regiment of suits that will exist in the end, an overwhelming number, a powerful platoon, marching in a tight grid. Many questions remain...such as the transitions among the pieces...#4 is becoming very dark, almost burnt, going up in smoke or dissolving into darkness. #5, as it painfully embodies, is surrounded by ghost flowers....will it remain ghostly?