Posts Tagged ‘travel’

October SÍM Residency in Reykjavík


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Here are some images from my studio at my current residency at SÍM, where I have been working on drawings which I plan to incorporate into a series of  installations with reflected light.* Briefly, the drawings engage both the idea of the souvenir (those objects we take away to commemorate an experience of significance: stones, sea glass, snippets from photographs etc.) along with the idea of the indicator (those markers we leave behind in order to communicate something, sometimes just a gesture of our passing presence: stone cairns, spray painted directives, gratified tags). I think of the vertically stacked wet-into-wet vaguely circular forms–into and against which the more detailed elements are drawn–as cairns themselves. I find many of the objects and images depicted while running and exploring Reykjavík, but many of them come from other places (Berlin) and instances as well.

I’m most interested in the ways in which these drawings on paper, their silver-leafed cut-outs, the reflective surfaces and the light can all interact and create a larger conversation between object and atmosphere, between the taken and the left. As humans generally conflate places, experiences, even dreams in our memories, with this installation I’m hoping to create a space in which such jumbled significance is a felt presence. I’m looking forward to installing what I have so far in the residents’ upcoming exhibition Fault Lines using the spotlights in the gallery at the SÍM House.

* I’m revisiting this fortuitous phenomenon from my solo exhibition Will Have Been in at the University of Nevada, Reno in November 2012.

Will Have Been installation process

All photos by Esther Cuan and Emily Rogers.

Mark and I were just in Reno for two weeks making and installing all the work for my current solo exhibition Will Have Been at the University of Nevada, Reno via a Gallery-as-Studio Residency. Many students an gallery staff were involved in the installation process. We met so many great people while there. Here are some images of the show being installed. Many thanks to all who helped out!


supplemental studio

Mark, my brother, and I visited my parents in their new home in Mason City, Iowa for Thanksgiving this year. As it turns out, with all of the activity that surrounded Island, I didn’t have much time to dedicate to a new drawing I’m making for an upcoming show surrounding Borges’ “The Library of Babel,” so I found myself packing up my studio and in-progress piece so as to work on it at their house over break.

me and my dad, working away

My folks are really hospitable, and allowed me to abscond with several lamps and bring a folding table upstairs to set up a makeshift studio in their living room so I would be in the middle of the familial action while getting work done. I’m happy to say, that I think I finished it tonight. Now to get it aboard two planes and framed by install on Monday.

Island: 22 Artists on Iceland

This last week, 12 artists (of the 22 in the show) descended on the Ypsi/Detroit area to install work, conduct crits and attend the openings and lecture surrounding this exhibition, curated by myself and EMU’s Gallery Director Greg Tom.

Island has been a year in the making and the week involved group dinners, lazy European breakfasts, tours of galleries, museums and other sites in Ypsi, Ann Arbor and Detroit. It was a wonderful reunion for those artists who were all at SÍM together last June and a great opportunity to meet new people for everyone else.  Thanks to all who were involved and attended!

If you’re in the area, the shows will be up through December 12. Check EMU’s Art Department website for hours and contact someone at ‘CAVE for an appointment to view that exhibition.

Summer Studio II

I was very affected by our sojourn to the Spiral Jetty on our recent southwest road trip. As much as I was taken with the life and death of Amelia Earhart, last year’s oil spill, the Icelandic volcanic eruption, and responded to these events in my recent  work, I am currently working on a drawing in that loosely engages Spiral Jetty and the life and untimely death of Robert Smithson. The book Mirror-Travels | Robert Smithson and History has been informative, imparting the significance of the building site of the monumental earth work: close to the site of the driving of the Golden Spike, where the continent was joined via railroad.  Also today’s Daily Serving article about the potential fate of the piece is quite timely, yet unsettling.

Here are some images of sketchbook collages I made on the trip from the vast amount of magazines we took with us for the long car rides.

So it is happily between the drawing and painting studio that I will spend the rest of the summer, amidst gardening, sun tea making, gathering with friends and planning a large international exhibition for the fall (this time with my curatorial hat on). As I see it, that’s a pretty good place to be.


With an eminent trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to attend the wedding of friends Jason and Allison, Mark and I were prompted to embark upon a recent three-week road trip of the southwest U.S.  Along the way, we saw great friends, much art, amazing landscapes and visited cities we’d never before seen.  And there was food.  Lots of good food.  Here are some pictorial highlights from the trip.

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 part 1: installation images

My work: Out of the Blue and Into the Black 5.1 and 9.1

My work: Out of the Blue and Into the Black: 2.2, 12.1 and 1.1

Above images: Nicole Pietrantoni

Above images: Helen Dennis

Installation: Island Projects

Thursday night was our opening for the three-person exhibition Fixing the Sky, which took place at Brick & Mortar in Brooklyn.  The turn-out for the opening Thursday and Brunch Saturday were great.  I’ll post images of those events soon.

Island Projects

Island Projects (Amy Sacksteder and Nicole Pietrantoni) is official!  We now have a few more shows lined up and a brand new website.  Check out our Exhibitions page for info on the shows, including one in New York next month  to coincide with the College Art Association Conference, February 9-12.

3 more makes 30

Last Map: Mirror, Last Map: Beacon, Last Map: Crosslit, each gouache and ink on paper, 11.5″ x 8.25″, 2010

I completed 3 more Last Map drawings in Iceland to total 30, which has been my goal for some time now.  These latest drawings reflect my icy surroundings at the time I made them.  Hopefully I can exhibit all 30 together in the near future.

Although I prefer to display them all simply taped to the wall, the wear and tear isn’t good for the drawings, so I need to get them framed.  I have some ideas for framing them that should provide for some interesting installation opportunities.

In other news:

-I am pleased to have been mentioned in the 12.17.10 Chicago Tribune article about the best Chicago area art of 2010.  Apparently there is an image of Bring in the Light in the print version, though I haven’t yet seen it myself.

-Also, Nicole Pietrantoni (who I met and collaborated with in Iceland) and I plan to be working together again soon under the name Island Projects.  We hope to have a website up and running in the near future.

-Some of Amelia Earhart’s bones may have been found on Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific Ocean.  Here’s the full article.