Saturday, August 1, 2015

Busy artist, lazy blogger and the Women's Art Institute

I have been busy in the studio and busily posting on Facebook.  But for those of you who do not follow me on Facebook:  here is some of what has been happening since I last posted on this blog or sent a newsletter.

Eros & Thanatos, an installation with performance.  18'w x 10' h

In June I attended the Women's Art Institute at St. Catherine University, in St. Paul.  It is a 4 week intensive for serious women artists at all ages and stages of development.  It involves lots of reading, lots of discussion, some writing, many amazing lectures, studio visits with practicing artists, one-on-one critique with 2 professors; work with a visiting artist and the expectation to complete a major body of work. to call it instense is mild.  It is crazy intense.  And I loved it.  I was awake, with excitement, most days before 6 am so I could get to campus and work.  Most days I continued work at home in the evening, falling into bed already asleep by 10 or 10:30.

I started the institute thinking I would be working with computerized embroidery, digitizing vulvar forms in intense, kitschy pinks and somehow arriving at some kind of celebration of female power.  Well, that did not happen.  The idea is not yet ripe...although I do still persist in my investigations.
One of the investigations led to a roll of wall paper, which became an editionable work of art, roughly 30" w x 12' long .
The Body Disappears

The Body Disappears (detail)
But, what really happenned, is the installation with performance Eros and Thanatos, pictured at the top of the blog.  I began thinking about ageing, as I always do, personal history, thinking about the ghosts we carry with us.  I began drawing with white conte crayon on paper coated with chalkboard paint.  Compared to the stitching and the printed designs associated with the stitching, the artwork was so alive!
studio shot, Eros & Thanatos, in process.
The artwork is comprised of 40 sheets of mostly Stonehenge paper, coated with back or green chalkboard paint.  The drawings are vulvar/sea creatures/ garden forms/ bones, drawn and reased, leaving chalk ghosts.  The performance has a sound file of sonar, whalesong and heart beats. Silently, I drew and erased, drew and erased until the room grew quiet and the audience was breathing in rhythm with me.

Immediately after this experience, I drove up to the northshore for 2 weeks of sleeping, reading and drawing.  2 BLESSED weeks.  It was so hard to come home this year,  But, while there, I produced some lovely little paintings, ELEMENTS, based on the shell/vulvar forms again.
Conchlife 1

Conchlife 2

Since I returned home, I have been cleaning and organizing the studio; upgrading lighting and meeting with contractors to install some drywall so I have another smooth surface to work on.  The last remaining super rough plaster wall has to be covered.  I have been stitching, making progress in digitizing.

And, today, I began some large work again.  It's not really done yet.  4 large sheets of bristol, 22 x30, gesso, charcoal and pastel.  I think it will be a tryptich.

Eros & Thanatos, white
There is yet more happening, mostly in my head...thinking about how to show these things, avoiding frames, avoiding excessive ownership, re-thinking the value that the artwork offers...much to think about.

Meanwhile, my artwork is being exhibited from coast to coast.  A print from I Dwell in Impossibility is returning from California soon.  You can see the catalog of the show at this link.

Work is being hung in Extreme Fibers at the Muskegon Museum of Art

And soon, I will open my Reinvented Past series at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts