Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Summer Studio

Since school ended in April, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in the studio. I have the help of a couple of students, one who made a big batch of stretchers for me, another who is doing all of the stretching and gessoing. It’s great to have so much help, which frees me up to work on some new paintings, all in progress. I’m working with images from Iceland and algae flows, and playing around with volcanic ash, mica and silver leaf.

Also I have the modest beginnings of a new web-based project:
I’m using it as a place to post the postcards I collected while in Iceland, some collages, pages from my sketchbook and other visual sources for my work.

bring in the light

More time in the studio = another finished painting. Now I need to figure out how to wrangle these three (and the rest of my schtufz) into the van for the drive to Philly.  I head out Sunday and hope to stop in Pittsburgh to see some museums en route.


I have been painting a lot lately and it feels great.  I used to be a painter exclusively and have come around to working in a variety of approaches and media depending upon what I want the outcome to be.  But painting  my first love and when I engage in it, it just feels right and it pretty much consumes me.  I like the work I am making and am rather curious about it, as each piece is feeling like a discovery.

I have found that reading about painting and art in general gets me psyched up to be in the studio.  I recently read Lives of the Artists by Calvin TomkinsInside the Painter’s Studio by Joe Fig and am currently reading The Daily Practice of Painting by Gerhard Richter and Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History by Jennifer L. Roberts.

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!

awhile back: Newfoundland, 2005

bleached tree on a cliff in Newfoundland

I am reconfiguring the way that I think about this blog in relation to my website.  This seems like a great forum for all of the stuff I had on (and would be updating to)  the pictures page on my site.  There is no longer a link to that page, though you can still access it here.  Now there’s a link to the blog instead!  So, I thought I would go through the images on that page and re-post them here from time to time so everything is in the same place.  I am starting with some images from a residency I attended though the Pouch Cove Foundation (sadly no longer open) in Newfoundland in 2005.  It was a breathtaking experience!    Here goes:

the dock in Pouch Cove

the dock at Pouch Cove

The residency was in an old school building and my studio was a former classroom. There was a view of the sea from my windows.

I was working on the series Isolation at the time and used the shelf from my refrigerator as a palette.

work installed in studio

moose country

clothesline against the Atlantic

sunset in a lobster net

cliffs on the island of St. John's

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!

it’s show time!

One show just came down at the Gallery Project in Ann Arbor and one show just went up at Paint Creek Center for the Arts in Rochester (MI).  I am honored to have been/be a part of both of them.  Here are some photos of my work from Presence/Absence at PCCA (including some new work hot off the drawing table):

back right wall of gallery; all small pieces are propped up on scrabble tile trays mounted onto the wall

In Lights: oil on canvas with theater light and glass window blocks. Gobo projection reads Amelia Earhart's last words: We are running north and south.

Last Map drawings: gouache, ink, and gold leaf on blue paper

Object Lesson panels: gouache and gold leafing pen on birch panels

back left wall of gallery

Slides From the Trip- slideshow of stills from silent film project, a collaboration with Budapest-based artist Nannette Vinson

white drawings

Captured Island: gouache and ink on paper

Longitude: gouache and ink on paper

Navigation: gouache and ink on paper

Skullscape: gouache and ink on paper

Presence/Absence runs from January 15-February 20 with an opening reception at Paint Creek on Friday the 22nd from 7-9.  I am accompanied in the show by four amazing artists: Faina Lerman, Luzhen Qiu, Alison Wong, and Sun You. Here is a sweet blurb about the show in Real Detroit Weekly. Hope you can make it out to the opening!

close to home

I moved around a lot as a kid and lived as far south as Georgia, where I was born, and as far north as Buffalo, NY, where we moved when I was six or seven.  After five moves, my family settled for the rest of my growing-up years in Rockford in northern Illinois.  As a disgustingly rebellious high-schooler facing college, I wanted to get as far away from home as possible.  I made it as far away as…Dayton Ohio (I know, I know).  I returned to the Rockford area to attend grad school at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.  I applied to a bunch of schools all over the place, but that’s what ended up working best for me.

Throughout and since grad school, I have wanted to participate in the Rockford Art Museum‘s Biennial juried exhibition.  I saw one of them in grad school.  The space is amazing and the work was excellent that year.  Counting back that must have been either 2002 or 2004.  I applied once or twice since then and didn’t get in or the application date would inadvertently pass me by.  Well, this year, I both applied and got in: TWO major accomplishments!    I applied with some pretty big work, and was prepared to haul it out there if need be, but am grateful that I got a small piece in.  Here it is!

 All Thats Left, oil on panel, 11 x 14, 2008

All That's Left, oil on panel, 11" x 14", 2008

detail-- photo credit Susan Tusa from the Detroit Free Press

detail-- photo credit Susan Tusa from the Detroit Free Press

What a difference lighting can make-eh?  Can you tell which image was shot by a professional photographer?  I guess I gave it away.  If you happen to be in snowy Rockford Illinois on January 22nd, you can attend the opening.  I have an opening in Rochester Michigan that night; equally snowy, but much closer.  To see the dates and times the Rockford Midwestern Biennial will be open, visit RAM’s website.

of late

I have a show coming up at Gallery Project in Ann Arbor curated by three other artists, one of whom is my good friend and colleague at EMU, Jennifer Locke.  The show is called The Spring 2010 Collection (aka Fashion Show), and thus all of the work is about issues surrounding fashion, from a more cynical look at consumer culture, to a positive look at DIY and preloved movements.  The work in my series The Beautiful Ones, falls somewhere in between these two areas.  In 2007, I made a painting that had t-shirts that people could purchase and wear–something affordable to take away from the gallery-going experience–which was akin to being able to purchase band merch at a rock show.  In short, my painting could have groupies.  The goal was to allow people to be in a sort of performative dialog with the work.  The painting is “about” this sort of indie hipster culture, and also propagates it as well.  So, I had originally conceived of making two paintings and up until recently, just had the one.  This show was the perfect opportunity to realize the other.  They are both based on small drawings I did in France in 2007.  Below are some images of the piece in progress.  Progress continues.




where I'm at now

Here are two images of the t-shirt designs (printed by VGKids), one or both of which will be sewn into the surface of the painting.  They are printed on American Apparel Classic Girl and Standard American styles in the color natural and made from organic cotton.  I have sizes ranging from small to XL in both unisex and women’s shirts.  If you’re interested in a shirt, just email me with your size, style, and design preference.  They cost $15, but there’s a free shirt for anyone who is willing to come to the opening sporting the shirt and who stays for at least a half hour.  Let me know (by commenting on this post) if you want to participate, so that I can get you a shirt before the show.  I have already hired a bunch of my students, so it should be a lot of fun!

design 1

design 2

Here’s the info for the show.

What: The 2010 Collection (Fashion Show)

Where:  Gallery Project, 215 South Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

When: Opening Friday December 11, 2009, 6-9 p.m. Show runs from Dec 9 – Jan 11.

Gallery hours are:

Fall/Winter hours:

Tue -Thu, noon-6

Fri -Saturday, noon-9

Sun, noon to 4

o.p.a. (other people’s art)

I have been particularly struck by the work of two artists of late.  Mark Dion and Mike McFalls.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by artist Mark Dion at Cranbrook.  First of all, his talk was riveting.  He speaks in such a narrative, engaging manner, that when he was finished, I just wanted him to keep talking.  Luckily he answered some questions at the end of the lecture.

This piece showcases objects excavated during his project the Tate Thames Dig.  It is a double-sided cabinet that houses the objects such as wine bottle necks, toys, and cell phones in a particular manner according to color, type, and other commonalities.

He spoke about a lot of ideas that have been bouncing around in my head lately.  Among which are curiosity cabinets, alchemy, the surrealists and their influences, and fictionalized truths.  All of this wraps into my AE work and the way that I eventually want to present it.

My brother came across the work of Mike McFalls at the art gallery in the new art complex at Interlochen Center for the Arts in northern Michigan, where I used to teach.  When I recently asked people for suggestions of artists using model train sets in their work, for a post, Joe suggested Mike’s work.  Coincidentally, two of my colleagues at EMU recently curated some of his work into the Contemporary Sculpture exhibition at EMU’s University Gallery.  I especially loved the work when I saw it in person, so much so, that we bought a piece, and I’m trading him a drawing for another one.  Here are some images of his work.

This piece is similar to the one we’re taking home.  I love finding artists who’s work resonates with my current investigations and passions.  I am itching to get back to island paintings, but for now, I am working on a piece from the Beautiful Ones series for an exhibition at the Gallery Project in December that is similar to this one in approach:

Ouroboros I
acrylic on raw canvas with silk-screened imagery sewn to the surface, accompanied by corresponding t-shirts
89″x 59.5″