Posts Tagged ‘music’

Fixing the Sky part 2: the gatherings

The opening of Fixing the Sky on Thursday night was well attended. People really seemed to like the work and there were two entrancing sets of music by Brett Hool, half of the singer-songwriter duo Hool, managed by our new friend Yannick. They brought a video of Brett’s that played in the background, which added another dimension to the exhibition/performance.

There was a lot of wine, new friends, and a fun kaleidoscope to play with (see the amazing image of Yannick below). Nicole and I were both surprised when old friends from grad school showed up.  My childhood friend Meghan, now an attorney in Manhattan, also trekked down to Brooklyn for the festivities and was kind enough to host me for the five days I was in New York. Brick & Mortar (Helen’s loft) was a perfect setting for the event.

Helen, me and Nicole in front of the Island Projects installation Fixing the Sky. Check out my and Nicole’s site for more images of the installation.

Saturday morning, we hosted a brunch. It was wonderful to see the show in the daylight. We had a good crowd at that event as well, including friends from Michigan, Jen and Walter. Jen had video work in the Media Lounge at the concurrent College Art Association conference. Walter was pleased that a childhood friend, who lives only a train stop away in Brooklyn, was able to make it to the brunch.

Thanks to Nicole for flying in from Iceland, Helen for hosting and organizing, to Hool and Yannick for lending their talents and to everyone who came out. It was great to meet and see so many wonderful people!

Fixing the Sky

FIXING THE SKY

An exhibition featuring artwork by Nicole Pietrantoni, Amy Sacksteder, Helen Dennis, and Island Projects

Viewing Dates: February 10-12, 2011

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 10, 7-10pm, featuring music by HOOL

Brunch:Saturday, February 12, 11-1pm

Location: Brick & Mortar, 54 Knickerbocker Ave. #4B Brooklyn, New York

Contact: For more information contact Helen Dennis at (646) 319-7035 or Nicole Pietrantoni +354 588 7576 or nicole.pietrantoni@gmail.com. High resolution images available upon request.

FIXING THE SKY
This exhibition brings together the work of Nicole Pietrantoni, Amy Sacksteder, and Helen Dennis, as well as the collaborative work of Island Projects (Nicole Pietrantoni and Amy Sacksteder). Fixing the Sky reflects the artistsʼ experiences traveling in Iceland. Iceland is often perceived as a remote location covered with lava fields, volcanoes, and glaciers. While this sublime landscape attracts thousands of adventurous tourists to the island every year, it also attracts a large group of international artists interested not only in the islandʼs natural beauty but also its unique geo-political and ecological situation. The work in Fixing the Sky uses Icelandʼs beauty as a jumping-off point to explore humansʼ interaction with nature. In each of the works, one finds a heightened awareness of our effect on the natural environment and the environmentʼs effect on us.

ABOUT THE WORK
Nicole Pietranoni’s Build Your Own Landscape series uses cast shadows created by screenprinting onto acrylic panels combined with found objects. This body of work examines the complex relationship between human beings and nature, particularly the layers of narratives and histories that shape the way in which one pictures and frames the natural world. Combining digital and traditional printmaking techniques, these investigations culminate in installations, works on paper, and site-specific art.

Amy Sacksteder’s paintings, drawings, and photographs are incorporated into installations that reconcile vitality and mortality. She distills momentous experiences found in nature (e.g., the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland) into and through the artwork, which in turn offers a place for mourning and celebration – a platform to explore and engage the tension between vitality and mortality.

Helen Dennis uses a combination of drawing and photography, creating images by holding back light through layers of drawings. Experiencing long summer days and an unfamiliar orientation of the sun in Iceland, Dennis’ awareness of natural light became acute. Using light on photo-sensitive paper, she reflects on the vastness of nature and the fast-growing natural changes in the landscape, which are echoed in rapid developments of the man- made world.

Island Projects is Nicole Pietrantoni and Amy Sacksteder. The two artists met in Iceland in 2010 while attending artist residencies in Reykjavik. Their collaborative work stems from common themes in their individual studio practices, which mutually examine human interaction with nature. With Pietrantoni’s background in printmaking and Sacksteder’s background in drawing and painting, the artists employ an array of media to create installations that incorporate everything from digital prints and inkjet transparencies to cyanotypes and drawings.
www.islandprojects.org

ABOUT THE BAND
HOOL is Brett Hool and John Kibler. HOOL has played in office parking garages, shipping containers, hospital rooms, industrial lofts, haylofts, storm drains, abandoned covents, in the quiet canyons of California, under the autumn leaves of western New York, and on sheep farms in the green heart of Holland.
www.hoolishness.com

ARTISTS BIOGRAPHIES
Nicole Pietrantoni is an American artist working in Reykjavik, Iceland, where she is a Fulbright Scholar and recipient of a Leifur Eiriksson Foundation Fellowship. She is creating work at the Icelandic Printmakerʼs Association, a studio in Reykjavik, and will also be traveling to several artist residencies across the island including SÍM, Gamla Skólí Residency in Hrísey, and the Akureyri Artists Studio. She received her MA and MFA with Honors in Printmaking at the University of Iowa and received her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University. She is the recipient of a Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Fellowship, a residency from the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust, and a public art commission from the University of Iowa Hospital. Her works have been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad.
www.nicole-pietrantoni.com

Amy Sacksteder’s recent paintings, drawings and installations examine ephemerality and transience. She often incorporates the landscape, individual histories, and current events to depict ambiguous icons and narratives. Her work has been cited on contemporary art websites, published in journals such as New American Paintings, and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. She has attended artist residencies in Illinois, Newfoundland, Southern France, Philadelphia, Budapest and Reykjavík. Sacksteder is part of the collaborative team Island Projects with Nicole Pietrantoni, who she met and began working with in Iceland in 2010. Sacksteder received her MFA from Northern Illinois University in 2004. She lives and works in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Eastern Michigan University.
www.amysacksteder.com

Helen Dennis is originally from the UK and now resides in Brooklyn. She earned her BA (Honors) at the University of the Creative Arts in Canterbury, UK and received her MFA from Hunter College, NY. She has been awarded a fellowship from Aljira Center for Contemporary Art and a photographic fellowship from The International House, NYC. Helen has traveled to art residencies in Beijing, Cyprus, and most recently Iceland. She has participated in various exhibitions worldwide and in the US with the support of Queens Council on the Arts, Kent County Council, New Jersey State Council on the Arts and South East Arts UK. Helen’s public art installations have been commissioned by the Downtown Alliance of New York, and NoLongerEmpty.
www.helendennis.com

planes, trains and automobiles

Thursday, I’m hopping aboard the Wolverine from Ann Arbor to Chicago to see and stay with some good friends. Friday,  I’m giving a lecture on my work (details below) at Northeastern Illinois University.  It’s also the last day the show will be up, so come out if you can!

That afternoon, I board a plane to Toronto to meet Mark and Chris and Mary for Halloween weekend, Canada style.

Then Mark and I get on another couple of planes to head to Iceland again for the month of November.  It will be a whirlwind, but needless to say, we’re a little excited.  I’ll work on some ideas I have had bouncing around in my head and Mark will get his own studio to work on some music projects.  Speaking of which, he has a new album out.  Everything about it is AMAZING.  Here is a link to his new website. Have a look and listen.

Talk details:

Friday, October 29

11 a.m.

Northeastern Illinois University, Fine Arts Center, FA 252

Directions to the talk.

Also, here is a Chicago Tribune review of the show.

Bon voyage!

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.

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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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!

t-t-t-toronto

Apparently a lot can happen in a 36-hour whirlwind trip to Toronto.  We left late Friday morning and returned to Ypsi by 11 p.m. the next night.  The occasion was our friend Simon’s visit to see us this weekend.  He had never been to Toronto and since it’s such a vegan-friendly place, we decided to go and eat everything in sight.  I was lax in my picture taking on Saturday, but I did snap some photos Friday night.

Mark enjoying an avocado mint smoothie at the Calico Cafe

Mark enjoying an avocado mint smoothie at the Calico Cafe

tags and flowers

tags and flowers

night spinning

night spinning

house crying a rainbow

house crying a rainbow

art in a storefront window

art in a storefront window

In 36 hours we hit up Calico Cafe where we et up beautiful appetizers, dinners, and even had a smoothie, Get Real Cafe for a fantastic vegan brunch of waffles, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and a tofu scramble plate for champions, Buddha’s Vegetarian Food for GIANT portions of Hong Kong style veggie food that Mark will still be eating for lunches the next few weeks, and Fresh for take-away salads, a chocolate chunk cookie, a divine date bar and smoothies!  Oh the smoothies!  I had a Shamrock shake made out of mint, banana, rice milk, matcha tea, and agave nectar- oh man!

We rode bikes everywhere, which was very handy.  We stopped in an art supply shop, a couple of galleries and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA).  We consumed vinyl and wearable sundries at local Toronto shops: Soundscapes and Rotate This for records and cds and Preloved for reconstructed shorts, shirts and skirts. We also stopped into 69 Vintage, where for once I managed to keep from buying something.  I do have a stunner of a coat from there procured on a previous trip, however.

Not bad for 36 hours eh?

people got a lot of nerve

So last night I got to go see this pretty lady:

Neko Case

and her misfit crew including Kelly Hogan and Jon Rauhouse.  It was a marvelous, colorful, complete show.  They blended a lot off of the new album, Middle Cyclone and Blacklisted, which felt wonderfully dark, and played some favorites from The Tigers Have Spoken and Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.  There were a few songs I love that I didn’t hear, but that makes me want to go back and see more shows, which is how it goes.

She played at Crofoot in Pontiac, Michigan, which is an intimate venue with a great set-up and a fantastic sound-system.  We were on the floor in the middle and could see the band pretty well for the whole show.  The balcony is a nice place to be as you can sit at a table while overlooking the floor and stage, but we didn’t get there early enough for that.  We saw Neko play there once before with The New PornographersOkkervil River opened for them on that occasion and that made it an even more awesome show.

But back to last night.  The set was brilliant.  It was simple, but there was a giant screen behind the band projected with images and videos synced to each song they played.  Presiding over the screen was a giant owl wearing a crown.  There were also these primitive-looking gnarly tree banners on either side of the screen.  Of course the lights really enhanced the show as in the song I Wish I Was the Moon where the lights simulated bright moonlight shining on everyone on the floor.  Let me see if I can find a good photo of the set online… hmmm… here’s one from flickr:

thanks Christeena!

thanks Christeena!

This image is from a show in Toronto, but this is pretty much what it looked like last night, but the Crofoot  is much smaller than the venue pictured and we were really close to the band.

In other Neko news, she happens to be a fellow animal lover, so she and her record label ANTI- are donating five dollars to Best Friends Animal Society for every blog that posts the mp3 for the song People Got a Lot of Nerve from Middle Cyclone (which we heard last night, I might add).  So here goes, for the betterment of people and critters alike:

People Got a Lot of Nerve

Download: http://www.anti.com/media/download/708