Monday, December 6, 2010

A sabbatical nears its end...

At the core of COLOR OF CONFLICT, at the heart, at the start:
a collaboration between Susan Hensel and John Hensel
In this year of sabbatical, as I have wandered seemingly aimlessly at times, old themes emerged as they always do. Themes of nostalgia and aging as seen in the series of assemblages with the antique clothing et al. And now, the anti-war themes emerge as well, carried by yarn.
COLOR OF CONFLICT, now on exhibit at Susan Hensel Gallery
reception: DECEMBER 17, 7-10pm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Black nostalgia

And the nostalgic collar quest continues.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Red diatoms among the Jellies? The collar/jellyfish return

I meant to put these photos up yesterday...but sleep called much too strongly! The red collar piece is almost complete...need to draw more tendrils and fix/affix the yarn. The media are acrylic paint, pastel, graphite, dyed textiles, handspun yarn on paper.This one is clearly just begun! I am excited by it, but must leave for a spinning workshop soon. Maybe I'll manage to assemble the first bit before I go so I can come home and get real dirty! (Pastel and graphite!!! under the fingernails and ground into the whorls of the fingerprints!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More about Christchurch

I visited COCA Center of Contemporary Art, an independent non-profit, devoted to contemporary art. I saw artwork by Hannah Riley who used materials like quills, seed clouds and cobwebs to build elegant art that stretches boundaries of what can BE art. Her work was beautiful! Do look at the link. Jude Robertson's, on the third floor, was very impressive. He created a marvelous soundscape; Ecological Score. One of the best I have ever heard. Also a piece called SPILL, made of tiny soap houses...I brought one home. COCA survived the quake virtually unscathed.
Christchurch Art Gallery is the public contemporary museum/exhibition space. Look up Andrew Drummond, a NZ sculptor who works with coal, spagnum moss, brass, glass tubes, mysterious motors! His book is JUST published and probably worth hunting down.
The Arts Center, formerly Canterbury College, is a great area full of artists, restaurants and galleries. Most of it has reopened since the earthquake, but most of the artists studios are still closed. One of the amazing artists I met was Marilyn Rea-Menzies a tapestry weaver. This woman is amazing. I strongly suggest you go to her blog both for the art and the progress on clean up after the quake.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Christchurch, New Zealand

Our first stop in Christchurch, under slept & desperate for caffeine, was the Antarctic Center. I have to admit that I could not focus well, I was barely functional after getting up at 3:45am! But, one of the key events at the center was the storm room where you put on a parka and expose yourself to a simulated spring storm in Antarctica. It was sort of like a blustery winter day in big deal to me...but the southerners were quite impressed! They have a penguin feature where they care for injured and disabled little penguins. So cute! I believe that that is the blind Lothario of the rookery being fed. He is the most popular male with the larges harem.
The center of Christchurch is the cathedral and the cathedral square. As you can see, the weather was pretty gloomy when we were there! It rained quite a lot. I had a 2 day cold, runny nose et al, while running around in the rain.
One of the first things I did was go buy some fine merino shirts at end of the season prices to help me stay warm. I also found heavy wool tights! A delight!
Christchurch is a real art town. They have a wonderful contemporary art museum and many galleries...most of which I went to. I saw marvelous things. The old college (name escapes me) has been turned into an art center with galleries, studios and restaurants. Sadly, it was severely damaged in the earthquake that hit several weeks after we were there.
There were several peak experiences in Christchurch. Don James and I attended evensong at the cathedral and heard the boys choir. Just beautiful! Another surprising highlight was Eyris Blue Pearl Gallery. I am not particularly big on jewelry, but their presentation on the blue pearl was great and I did buy a Maori pendant of carved bone. But of special fun was their daughter , Magda?, who had lived in Taiwan for sometime. We shared stories of Taiwan and the devotion to family that she experienced there.
Another highlight was the rainbow that seemed to follow us around on our big bus tour day! It was persistently bright over Littleton Harbor, which I painted from a brief overlook. The hills were like green velvet in the mist and water almost Mediterranean blue.
Another peak experience was our home stay. Susan, Robin, Don and I stayed with the Hannefin's. What gracious hosts. They live not far from the shore, just out of Christ church, under the Red Cliffs. Their house was somewhat damaged in the earthquake, some cracks, a dry stone wall around their property demolished and some boulders off the pictured cliff, presumably onto their drive. They got off lightly. Their daughter's home sounded like it was totally destroyed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sydney, The Rocks

The Rocks area of Sydney, down by the harbor, is where it all began. This is where the convicts were first put to work to build their own housing. Small alleyways, some original buildings. I separated from the walking tour, and did my own art tour. I went to the Craft Center of NSW, over 100 years old, now housed in a World Heritage site, an old coroners court building, on George St, above the quay. I brought out my spindle to spin and met Gwen, who had done all the restoration weaving for theGovernment House.
I then went to the Contemporary Art Museum, which was mostly closed. I wandered here and there, into every Aboriginal Gallery I found. I took off across the Domain ( kind of like Central Park) and went to the State Library. It is a beautiful building. I went to a portrait show there, super paintings by contemporary Australian artists.Had lunch at the cafe there. I sat inside, as the breeze was pretty cool. I watched people eating outside, sharing their food with the Galahs....rather like we share with the seagulls- whether we want to or not! I then trucked on too the Gallery of New South Wales to see their world famous collection of Australian art to find that they had just closed that section for renovation! I did see a smaller show of some of the best works from Arnhem Land. Extraordinary barks in Xray style. I walked all the way back to thehotel (A very long walk)! Wandered through the Victoria Building, full of very chi-chi shops. Fashion in the big cities of Australia: very high heels; skirts a bit shorter; los & lots of leggings, with tight butt cupping tunics. Dogs- small, remarkably small. Many more small terriers than labs.
We arose at 3:45 am to fly to Christchurch, New Zealand!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sydney Opera House, without the crowds.

The Sydney Opera House really is all that! I had not realized how extraordinary it really is until we got inside, before it was opened to the public for the day. It started as a truly abstract drawing of a feeling, a drawing of how one should feel inside. Yes the shells were evident in the drawing, but the liveliness an verve of the strokes spoke of the soaring music and the soaring views across the harbor. Wherever you are in the opera house, you will have a vista and an uplifting experience os space. When you wander the opera house you feel that you in a place suspended out of time. The use of the volume and the use of the materials is transcendent. The opera house took over 20 years to build because of the shell forms. The science had not caught up with the concept. Finally it was determined that the forms could be made by segmenting a sphere. Brilliant!

In the Studio and in the house

I just got the dress pieces back from a show and decided to hang them rather than disassemble and roll them. When I hung them, I discovered that the collar pieces and the hanging dresses with fleece and yarn are a continuation. Cool. Now I will dye a few collars red and see what happens;-) Desert Yam Dreaming, purchased in Alice Springs, is now stretched and hung. Hooray!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sydney Aquarium

The Dugong
I was not particularly looking forward to the Sydney Aquarium...You know, seen one seen them all. And I suppose it was not that unusual as aquariums go. BUT we got to see it with no strollers, no screaming kids, no cranky parents! The most exciting thing was seeing 2 real platypus! The were quite small, swimming far to quickly for my camera to catch them in the dark water. Holly is a woman from Florida who wears fine jewelry and always arrives fashionably and creatively dressed. Except for the Florida connection, I would never have dreamed of her special talent. Holly can talk to the sea creatures, even through the glass, and they appear to listen. Holly's normal voice is quite loud, brash, carrying far. When she talks to the sea creatures, she speaks with the tone of a new lover, sweet & inviting. The leopard ray came right to the glass and seemed to reach out to her. The dugong stopped sleeping, and swam to her. sleeping dugong.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sydney at Night

What can I say? Even with my crappy camera, you can see that it was beautiful! The group had an adequate Italian diner down at the harborfront. After dinner, we took a water taxi under the Sydney Harbor Bridge over to the Sydney Aquarium where we had an after hours tour. NO screaming children! It was wonderful to see the bridge from a different viewpoint. The harbor lights looked like Coney Island.