Friday, August 31, 2012

A Retrospective Exhibit

I always resisted the idea of mounting a "retrospective art exhibit". 
For me, a retrospective is a show for artists who are either very famous...or very old
I haven't achieved "fame".  And call me vain, but I'm still resisting "old". 
So why now? 
Well here's the story:
This "Retrospective Exhibit" allows me the opportunity to clear my studio for some newer work, and at the same time to make a contribution to the institution of my primary loyalty. Proceeds from the sale of these works go to Northland College.

Northland College's Dexter Library in Ashland, Wisconsin

Over recent years I was blessed with the use of this wonderful well lighted, semi permanent hanging space...and unlike commercial galleries, it's open on Mondays!

Now however, we in the art department have decided to resume our former program of rotating public art exhibitions and I need to move my work off these walls. 
Losing my free "parking place" is daunting.  I can't possibly fit all those large paintings back into my studio storage bins. 

So the retrospective now becomes the solution!

Below are some candid snaps from the opening:

As the fall semester gets under way, the exhibit will be open daily until September 30th.   
In the meantime, the paintings can be viewed on this page of the college website:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Minneapolis: Sunday in the Park

With fall in the air we decided to take advantage of the nice weather for another Sunday afternoon stroll in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden across from the Walker Art Center.

The Claes Oldenburg /Coosje van Bruggen ever popular installation "Spoonbridge and Cherry" was surprisingly devoid of photo-op wedding parties today.  The early fall breeze and spraying mists may have kept some at bay.

I’ve never been totally at home with Minimalism but Sol Lewitt’s “X with Columns” a concrete and cinder block temple in the snap below, is nicely softened by its environment.  Today however, no one was climbing on or through it.

One of my favorite works in the sculpture garden is this interactive sculpture below by Dan Graham   titled “Two way Mirror” a labyrinth of steel, glass and arborvitae hedges.

Graham's punched steel mirrors plays with reflection and transparency.  The images are affected by the sunlight and change during the course of the day. 

In this second snap, I went around to the other side of the wall and although we seem to be together ...we are actually looking at each other from opposite side

The Sculpture Garden sadly, has some serious accessibility issues with their sidewalks and paths.  But I understand they hope to address that problem soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Drawing in Charcoal Dust (video)

This is my 1st attempt at a video of artwork in progress. 
Unfortunately, since I was alone in my studio without a tripod, I had to hold the "point and shoot" camera with my left hand while at the same time while drawing with my right hand! 
Not very professional way to go about video documenting.

The saving grace here is accompaniment of two acoustic guitar compositions: "Wooden Kimono" and "Black Tides".
These were written and played by Noah Parsonage

By the way... I have been asked about the covering on my finger.  Although it looks sort of  "questionable", this protective finger covering is actually sold in art supply stores for this specific purpose.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scholar's Rock II

This charcoal is a second version of a "Scholar's Rock" formation.  Such rocks served as objects of meditation for scholars and were admired for their abstract beauty and unusual convoluted shapes symbolizing mountainous landscapes of Buddhist and Taoist immortals.

I started this one (like the last) by rubbing my fingers in charcoal dust and smudging the paper with it much like finger painting!

Highlighs are then brought back in by what is call "negative drawing"....or ERASING!
(click of any photo to enlarge for better detail)

Although it is messy and does not mix with finger food snacking, this method has the effect of creating soft gradations without the use of harsh lines.

BTW:  I actually documented this one with my little point and shoot set in video mode and hope to post it soon. soon as I teach myself how to edit video!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scholar's Rock

Scholar's Rock

Due to unforeseen circumstances and lack of studio opportunity, my painting has recently been curtailed. 
In the meantime I turned instead to experimenting with drawing media and techniques that are less familiar to me.

This is the first stage of a charcoal...a WIP or work in progress.
(you can click on images to view them larger)

This image is loosely based on a rock formation called a "Scholar's Rock".  

These formations are found mostly in China in areas such as Lake Taihu, and are greatly prized as objects of meditation and contemplation.
They are considered to be objects of great aesthetic value throughout the world.  Many are found here in gardens and in major museums from Boston to San Francisco.

This is not done with charcoal pencils or sticks...but rather with charcoal dust directly drawn with my finger.  Occasionally I use a blending stump or an eraser as a drawing tool.

Rather than producing the darks and lights with instruments or pencils, I prefer sinking in the dark areas with hands and fingers. 
This way, I get more of a feeling of building and molding the nooks and crannies rather than "reproducing" them!