Posts Tagged ‘mortality’

then and then

New drawing:

then and then | 30″ x 22″ | gouache, ink, evaporated glacial water, and collage on paper | 2012

also on website



Net 1
ink, gouache, blue tape and collage on paper
18″ x 24″
2005 and 2011

Land Blindness

Land Blindness (for R. Smithson)
ink, gouache, salt, gold leaf and correction tape on paper (not pictured: accompanying rock from the site of Spiral Jetty)
drawing 30″ x 22″, installation dimensions variable

thinking about running

a run on a georgeous spring day through Gallup Park

So this post is less about art, and more about running.  Running was very important to me throughout grad school. For me it is an experience that is wrapped up in the particulars of place and music; simultaneously it evokes solitude and engagement with the world around me.  DeKalb, Illinois, where I went to grad school, had a network of wonderful bike paths.  Some of my most compelling memories involve exploring that town on long, rambling runs.  Come to think of it, some of my most personal, cherished memories involve running or hiking in certain places: in the mountains in Cantagal, France, at mid-night circling the campus at Interlochen, on hot summer days at Chautauqua in western New York State, on my family’s land in the mountains in Georgia, on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic in Newfoundland.

Sadly, I have always had problems with my right knee.  I have done some research and think I have an issue with my IT band.  I thought it would keep me from running distances ever again, but my friend Jason (who is also a marathoner and track coach, not to mention MAJOR inspiration) thinks I can do it!

new yellow shoes (Brooks Launch- a neutral trainer)

I have not run with any regularity for awhile, but with the help of new shoes, baby steps, and some coaching (via Facebook) from Jason, I am chugging away.  I have always had a hard time balancing regular artmaking and regular exercise.  That is my primary goal this summer.  With residencies in TWO cities that are new to me (Reykjavík and Philadelphia) that should provide for a lot of great exploration.

Two books are my friends through all of this: Haruki Murakami‘s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is one of them.  He is one of my favorite authors of fiction, but this work of non-fiction, his autobiographical love affair with running, is incredibly compelling.  I read it in a day.

The other one is Christopher McDougall‘s Born to Run.  It is an epic, exciting, narrative surrounding an amazing footrace in the canyons of northern Mexico.  It’s fast-paced, and somehow also filled with riveting scientific studies on proper running form–a form that is natural to the human body and prevents injury.

Before I began my most recent foray into running (which I have been doing very regularly for about three weeks now) I was trying to think of a name for my solo show in the fall at the Fine Arts Center Gallery at Northeastern Illinois University in October.  I have been working with Amelia Earhart’s last words in my work (and last words in general).  The work is about life and death, so I am using part of her last words as the title–simply: We are running…

Here is a piece that was exhibited at Paint Creek in January.  Her last words included the phrase We are running north and south. Which is what is projected and fades out across the canvas of this painting.

In Lights, oil on vanvas with glass window blocks and gobo projection and theater light

In short, quite literally, I am running!

new drawings

Here are the drawings that were in the show in the order in which they were exhibited, from left to right.  Again, these are snapshots I have only futzed with slightly in Photoshop.  I will post better quality images to my site as soon as I get them scanned and color corrected.

Last Map: Vacancy

Last Map: Dig

Last Map: The Science of Air and Space

Last Map: Islands

Last Map: Align

and also Last Map: Osolith.

fekete leves

I didn’t really want to write any details about my and Nannette’s exhibition until all was said and done in case we didn’t pull it off in the way that we wanted.  But now that a successful opening has come and gone, I am happy to tell our tale.   I went to Budapest with only the goal to finish a video project Nannette and I began last summer, do a couple of drawings, and see a few museums…maybe hit the spring baths.  In short, I was going to take a break over break–treat it like a mini residency.  Instead, pretty much as soon as I arrived, we started hatching major plans.  We planned to both make work for the entire week and put a show together in addition to the video (which quickly transpired into an installation).  We had hints of possible venue spaces at the beginning of the week, but it wasn’t until Monday (or Tuesday?) that we secured the venue (for a Thursday night opening…).  Nothing like cutting it close, right?

Nannette’s background is in photography and video, but she is a closet draw-er and makes these gorgeous ink drawings on crayon resist with faint, meticulous etching which she never shows to anyone.  I was flattered that she showed them to me and excited she was considering exhibiting them.  So she got down to work on a larger-scale series of those drawings and a photography project based on rivers.  Meanwhile we were going to the office every day and working on the video together, and I was furiously drawing in the mornings and evenings- (into the mornings again).  It turns out that the venue, Chinese Characters, has the perfect back space for video projection, and was the perfect width to create a reflecting pool for the video (which contributes enormously to the content of the piece).  We we aided immensely by David, who did a lot of the heavy-lifting during the installation, including making the structure for the pool.  Working collaboratively all week was wonderful, as even our 2D work influenced each other’s to a strong degree.  We brainstormed titles for awhile and came up with fekete leves (where the sky used to be). Fekete leves literally means “black soup” in Hungarian (Magyar).  When used as slang, it implies a sense of foreboding or bad things to come.  Where the sky used to be is the name of the video project, upon which the rest of the show hinged.

Here are some snapshots from the show.  Sorry about the quality of these images.  I only had my aged point-and-shoot, but Nannette got some great install shots with her camera, so as soon as I get those images, I’ll update this post.  Thanks to everyone who came out to the opening!  For those who didn’t make it, the orb-looking images on black are C-prints by Nannette, and she also has the black ink drawings (installation) on resist with scratching.  We each made one of the white “north” drawings and collaborated on the video and installation.  Mine are the small gouache and ink drawings on blue paper.

front right corner

entrance from Vittula into the gallery space with two of Nannette's C-prints flanking two of my drawings

a C-print and my other four drawings- along the left wall

her drawing installation

the near and far left walls of the space

view from the entrance (the video installation is through the black curtains)

North 1 and North 2 (Nannette-left, me-right)

Where the Sky Used to Be- video installation with reflecting pond

Thank you to Nannette and David for putting me up (and putting up with me) all week, to Tim of Chinese Characters/Klub Vittula for providing the space, libations and an open mind, and to Fabian for DJ-ing and acting as impromptu photographer.  Next I’ll post images of the six drawings I made while there and maybe a couple of shots from the opening.


Here’s a new one that will be in the show…

show show

Fekete Leves (where the sky used to be) is a two-person installation that engages aspects of disorientation and loss of control by Budapest-based artist Nannette Vinson and Detroit-area artist Amy Sacksteder.  Sacksteder is exploring mortality by channeling the last moments in Amelia Earhart’s life through mostly drawings, paintings and installations.  Through her ink drawings, Vinson is revisiting the turbulence that accompanies loss of innocence.  Her visual art background is primarily in photography and video art; Sacksteder’s is in 2D media.  Through this collaboration, each artist is working in an as-yet “foreign” medium to her, thus each is experiencing her own lack of control.  This is their first collaborative endeavor.

Chinese Characters Contemporary Art Space

1073 Budapest – Kertész u. 4

Thursday, March 4, 6 – 10 p.m.

natura sublimare

I have come across the work of Alexis Anne Mackenzie on several occasions, and like it very much.  Her use of collage is extremely sensitive.  Apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way, since she is represented by several galleries and has a lot of exhibitions and publications under her belt.  All images are from her website.

Skull Scorpion IV, 2009.

True Love, 2009

Tree, 2008

Untitled, 2008

ghost town

It’s been a busy couple of art months recently.  The latest is an installation called Ghost Town for the Annual Art Faculty Exhibition in the University Gallery at EMU.  What you don’t see is one of the best aspects of the piece: there’s a song.  Mark wrote the most amazing song recently that I dubbed Ghost Town and I knew it had to be part of this piece.  He rigged speakers in the rafters above the installation that plays the song subtly, so that you only really hear it when enveloped in the gold cut paper.


To get an interwebby version of the effect, listen to the mp3 while scrolling through the images.

I made the components of this piece at different times.  The gold paper cut-outs and small oil painted panels were all made for my solo exhibition Still at Paint Creek Center for the Arts in April 2009.  The skull pieces (gouache and gold leaf) were made in Budapest this last summer.  They are essentially portraits of the skulls in the artist/stylist/designers’ homes featured on The Selby.  I plan to make more of these and am excited to see where I can go with this piece in the future.

The opening is Tuesday night February 2 from 4 – 7 p.m. in the University Gallery in the Student Center at EMU.    There’s a lot of great work by all of my colleagues.  Come see the show!