KORE RISING 2.5' x 5' This is painted and collaged onto the window portion of a standard-sized french door. I like the confusion about where she is, behind the glass or in front -- it's like she's coming through the glass, rising with the sun behind her, her tissue paper dress flying in the hot solar wind. Real glass painting, which this is not, has that confusion, too, of painting in reverse on the back what is seen on the front.
She was the third in a Kore series (the other two now live in Annapolis). One of my friends refers to her as "the angel," another as "the nekkid lady." But Kore means maiden and in Greek mythology referred to Persephone. Whatever else happens to her, Kore triumphs once a year when she rises with the new year at the spring equinox. I'm posting her now to correspond with our New Year. Happy 2009!
DREAM TREE, screen door inset with paper collage and assemblage behind it. I'll be saying good-bye to this one, too, after the New Year. This is a real favorite -- it's dense and rich and if you look closely, you can see a little tribute to Paul Klee in there. It's hard to photograph it because of the light reflecting off the shiny paper stock. I've been told it's an introspective piece, and I think that's true. It took forever to do, and I'm glad it's going to the home of someone I like! I'm also glad that it will help me pay the rent on my studio. It's like a message from the forces-that-be that I have made the right move.
HADES IKONOKLASTES acrylic and paper mixed media on glass is the piece I left behind yesterday. It will now be part of the collection at Venango campus of Clarion University, a great home for it! Everything else came downtown to my new studio, in a driving rainstorm -- safely, thanks to my friend Dan's efforts. I'm still moving in, but at least the work is up on the walls. This Sunday is Open Studio for last minute Christmas shoppers. I have a series of about 80 small 3" x 5" paper collages, and I am framing some of them to sell as small, more affordable items -- we'll see how that goes. I'm thinking of calling them Dreamscapes. I love doing them, three or four at a time -- it's a very meditative process, like a waking dream.
ANIMUS CADUCEUS 2 Another 6' turned post painted and decoupaged, this time with the snakes of the caduceus woven around the face on one side. I spent the better part of the morning in my new studio, trying to stretch a gallon of very thick and sticky flat white wall paint so that it would cover the whole space. New plasterboard, no primer -- it's a small space, but it sucked up every drop of that gallon. There were areas that looked like catacombs -- I debated about leaving them, but then went for the all-white gallery wall look. If I go in tomorrow and see too many thin spots, I'll have to buy another gallon. The work moves in on Monday, and I am thinking of putting this piece just inside the door.
ANIMUS CADUCEUS 1 I found the approximately 6' tall turned wood post that forms the base for this collage in the basement of a house I lived in in Massachusetts. My landlady called and said she was having someone come in to clean out the basement and we should take anything we valued -- what a find!
It was the first large, serious piece of work I undertook, and it still has a special meaning for me. Half of each face is golden, a god -- and there are people throughout our lives that we project that golden face onto. The secret is to know that each person we encounter carries a god, even the most unlikely and unlikeable ones. That takes the pressure off the ones who blind us so much with their golden brilliance that -- for a while, anyway -- we can't see any human failings in them. Who can live up to that?
CHILD TIRESIAS 10" x 14" acrylic, terracotta sculpture and assemblage in styrofoam. This one is the mirror image of Grandma's porch in the last post -- but a very different treatment. Tiresias was the blind prophet who as a punishment from the gods spent eight years of his life as a woman and as a result, had more insight than anyone. I gave him feet of oil-based clay! As a woman, I can't imagine that he learned enough in only eight years! And all his sense perceptions are scattered around and compartmentalized and not integrated, eyes in one box, ears in another. This was not a planned piece, but one that just grew out of what I had on hand. A lot of people ask me about the hieroglyphics -- they are invented.
4007 McWHINNEY STREET 10" x 14" acrylic and assemblage on styrofoam. We always went to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving when we were small. This piece represents her red brick front porch, and tries to evoke the fustiness, photos, and face-offs that are part of "family." Note the can of worms at the bottom! Grandma was afraid of a lot of things, from the weather to demon alcohol! and we protected Grandma, mostly by not telling her things. People say they can see a face in the negative space between the two women facing each other. I didn't intend it, but I can see it, too. Some elements of a piece of art create themselves! This piece is not for sale, though my mother (facing Grandma) is quite proud that she has been featured in exhibits.
CHRONOS 2 is another 9" x 12" shadowbox. It has a medieval castle and a banner and a space-age feeling collage all co-existing within a big "time portal" on the glass. How far away are we from those times? We've seen progress in the development of mechanical things, yes, but how much progress have we made in dealing with other human beings and nations? Was it Gandhi who, when asked his opinion of western civilization, said he thought it would be a good idea? And who said that if we didn't remember history, we would be doomed to repeat it? We could settle space, build castles in the air, but if we carry our current level of greed and violence and fear with us, well, we might as well be living in a hut in the middle ages, waiting for the plague to strike. I did this collage around the time of the first "Desert Storm" operation, when Crusades and the horrors of technology were much on my mind, and not much has changed since then.
CHRONOS 1 First serious snow of the season is on the ground here today and nobody is outside -- this 9" x 12" assemblage in a shadow-box is based on the page from the almanac called Killing Frosts and Growing Seasons. A good reminder that creative work comes in cycles of time and that hibernation is part of the natural cycle. This piece gives time a face, painted on the glass of the frame over the assemblage. Not a particularly friendly face, but on closer look, the mouth open to devour is a pair of hands holding the soil of the next season. Time for a nap! to gather energy for the next productive period.
SOLAR AND LUNAR ASPECTS This is the piece of work I always turn to when I have to introduce myself. It is a 14" x 18" painting/assemblage on two joined styrofoam packing cases. It brings together the studious, responsible, orderly me with a wilder side and gives them a certain balance. At least, I like to hope so!
So why a blog? To make myself get back to work. To make myself get my work out into the public eye. It's so personal, I shy away from that, but it's time. My goal is to post several pieces a week here, starting with older work I already have on hand. As of December 1, I am renting a studio in downtown Oil City's National Transit Art Center to use as work and exhibition space. The 12 pieces that are now on display at Clarion University Venango campus will come home to my new studio instead of to my living room. Exciting! Scary. The hermit is finally going public.
My work is both personal, in the way a dream or a memory is personal, and archetypal -- an attempt to match external forms with internal themes. See whatever speaks to you in it! Most pieces are for sale in the $100 - $400 range, but I'll consider any reasonable offer. Thanks for stopping by!