Whew, my life has been very busy socially and professionally of late, and I've let blogging slip a little! Here is a selection of readings on our current environmental problems to make up for it:
I'm participating in the Lincoln Gallery 2017 Regional Fine Art Show! I actually had all three entered pieces accepted, but I didn't do the math right on two of the pieces' return dates from a different show which they were at the time (the Irving Art Association's exhibition) so I was only able to send one - Dominion, my new giant anteater painting.
The show opened on October 13th and runs through November 10th. Here's the gallery location and phone number, if you're thinking of going: 429 North Lincoln Ave, Loveland, CO 80538; (970) 663-2407.
While I was an artist in residence at Cerdeira Village, I used their studio space to sculpt detailed ceramics. They had two Shimpo banding wheels in the studio space, and I quickly discovered their utility in allowing me an easy method to keep on turning the pieces to aid in sculpting and painting them.
Upon arriving back in the US, my shipped sculptures from Cerdeira Village were waiting for me. I had mentally prepared for my own estimated 50/50 odds that they'd arrive intact due to their insanely fragile natural branch additions. Fortunately, the biggest parts that I'd worried about, the branches, were mostly okay - though one had fully detached from the turtle's back and had to be reattached. Unfortunately, the packing material I had selected to give the sculptures the best shot at arriving in decent condition meant that I had hours of clean-up ahead of me: I used tiny sytrofoam balls typically used in pillows or beanbags which - by intention - had secreted themselves into every nook and cranny of the sculptures and their natural branches and lichens. This meant I had to painstakingly, delicately remove each pellet (and fragment of pellet, as a lot of them fragmented in shipping) with tweezers. The two sculptures each also lost several nail tips, which I had to repair and repaint.
Though the cleaning and repair of the pieces took over eleven hours, I count myself lucky they arrived in such good condition since I was able to fully restore them - something that wouldn't have been possible if the branches had suffered severe injury. I spent much, much more than eleven hours (and used irreplaceable materials) in the initial creation of the pieces.
In repairing them, though, I kept trying to spin my non-spinning pot rest that I was working atop of on my table. When I couldn't, I had to keep picking up and rotating the sculptures myself, and each time I did that I increased the chances that I'd put them down off balance, or at an angle that threatened a nail tip, and so on. I realized that I wanted a banding wheel of my own.
I looked at several online; the Shimpo banding wheel I'd used in the Cerdeira Village studio was one of the more expensive ones available so I debated amongst my other options. From reading various reviews and looking at the details of other types, though, I decided that many of the others that are cheaper are too light-weight and/or don't spin as cleanly as I want. I really just wanted the same piece of equipment that I found so useful.
I also learned that there are several different types of Shimpo banding wheel. The one I used in the studio was the BW-25H. I really considered whether I wanted a different type, but in the end I went with that one again. The main reason is the height of it - it's the only one with significant clearance between the spinning top and the base. This was really useful for me when I wanted to move and/or cure the sculpture - without touching the top and getting near a fragile part of my sculpture at all, I could easily put my hands underneath the top to heft the whole thing up. I also often liked the bit of extra height - typically, when at a table or desk and sculpting or painting a relatively small piece, you're always looking down at it. The added height of the BW-25H means that you're closer to eye level with the piece.
So that's what I purchased, and I'm excited to own it. I do think I may eventually want to acquire a BW-25L or BW-22L at some point in the future as well, but for now, I don't need another one, they're expensive, and I'm already facing a lot of expensive artwork-related costs right now (material costs, international shipping fees, framing fees) so I'm holding off on that for the moment.
Jurors Kristin Beal and Kate Van Steenhuyse selected my painting Perfect Form for inclusion in the 2017 Arts Council Juried Exhibition held in Wichita, KS. They winnowed down over 100 applicants and nearly 500 images by selecting work from 44 artists.
The exhibition will open on Friday, October 20th, with a Final Friday reception on Friday, October 27th from 6 to 8pm, and will run through Thursday, November 9th. The gallery is located at 334 N Mead St, Wichita, KS 67202. The hours of operation are M-TH: 9am-9pm, F: 9 am-5pm, SA: 9am-3pm, SU: Closed. If you'd like to contact CItyArts, their phone number is (316) 350-3245
This past Thursday I installed a new solo exhibition, Souvenirs, at the Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Library & Environmental Learning Center Gallery in North Kansas City right off of Wyandotte County Lake. It is a beautiful place, and I took advantage of the lovely fall afternoon by wandering around the environmental library, park, and trails after I completed the show installation.
Souvenirs will run from September 28th through the end of the year, with a tentative closing date of January 3rd. The hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and the third Saturday of the month 9am-5pm, and the address is 4051 West Dr, Kansas City, KS 66109.
This neat opportunity came to me by way of the recommendation of my childhood friend Sister Theoterpi; her undergraduate alma mater is Grinnell and she thought my work would be a good fit. The editors of the journal agreed, and a multi-page artist profile of me was published in Rootstalk: A Prairie Journal of Culture, Science and the Arts Volume III Issue 1. It was the Fall 2016 issue, but it didn't come out until recently.
As part of a campus-wide interdisciplinary focus on social justice, immigration, and human rights, with events centering on on these topics will take place throughout the month of September, we in the Art Program brought A K M Jabed Rashel and Tajreen Shupti Akter to USM's Goppert Gallery with their show The Rashel's Immigration & Community Engagement Exhibition. Here's their press release!
If you're in the area, you should not only come and check it out but consider buying - all proceeds will be donated to the relief efforts supporting Rohingya refugees. The show will be up through October 6th.
My painting Perspective won second place in the Water Media category at the Irving Art Association's 2017 16th National Animal Art Juried Competition with juror Patsy Lindamood! I wrote about being juried into the show here, and if you're near Irving, Texas, in the next few days you can still catch it - the exhibition will be up through September 29th.
Here are two articles on fish intelligence I've read recently, though the first is problematic in terms of writing (overblown results language in the title and first couple paragraphs) and in terms of non-ideal (cruel) experimental processes. Watching fish suffocate alive on ice in a seafood store in Florida instigated my vegetarianism, actually.
Juror Patsy Lindamood accepted two of my pieces, Balancing Act and Perspective, into this year's exhibition! 101 artists had entered 238 pieces of artwork, out of which 65 pieces were selected.
The Irving Art Association's 16th Annual National Animal Art Juried Competition opened on August 27th and will be open through September 29th, 2017, with an awards ceremony and reception on Sunday, September 10th, from 2 – 4pm at the Jaycee Park Center for the Arts in Irving, Texas. I was planning on making the long drive down when I mistakenly thought that it was the same weekend as Labor Day and thus would have given me a little more driving time, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it. If you can go, though, please take photos as I'd enjoy seeing them!
The total solar eclipse was really cool - it was storming in the region but I managed to get really lucky and the spot I chose to watch it in had the rain stop and cloud cover part right as the eclipse started and our luck lasted through the corona. Then it rapidly moved back in again, and torrential rains shortly followed! Many of my friends only tens of miles away didn't have our luck and experienced a much more obscured eclipse. I was fortunate enough not only to get to see the event, but to watch it with some great friends - Dr. Patrick Bunton and Dr. John Pojman (and John's brother, Jim). Here are some photos I took during the event; of course there are far better photos out there - my camera is not meant for long-distance shooting nor has a proper eclipse lens - but it was fun to be able to capture some of my own experience, no matter how amazing (or not) the photography.
I started this piece in Madrid at the Intercambiador ACART residency, but I unfortunately didn't have time to finish it there. So I've been working at it here at home, and recently finished it!
Greylag, acrylic on paper, 11.5 x 15.5".
My final days in Madrid were spent in the studio, figuring out how to pack up and ship my artwork back home, and completing visits to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums as well as the Palacio Real and the Catedral de la Almudena.
When I studied abroad at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas-ICADE ten years ago, I took an art history class that was held most of the time in the Prado, so I feel strong nostalgia not only for the artwork inside but also for the rooms and building itself. The Prado has a shocking amount of masterpieces for the size of the collection. It's always interesting to me how even when I've seen the pieces in person as well as via reproduction, I'm still hit every time I go with how some artists really suffer in reproduction while others are assisted by it. A guard stopped me fairly early on and pointed out that on my guide it says in a tiny icon on the back that no photos are allowed, so unfortunately you won't get to see any of my own photos of Bosch's salon, or Velazquez's Bufones series, but I actually wasn't warned at the very beginning so I can share a couple images with you!
The Reina Sofia allows photos in all its exhibitions except the "Pity and Terror - The Path to Guernica" Picasso retrospective. Though I respect its historical and artistic significance, I don't really emotionally connect with Picasso as much as other artists and pieces in the Reina Sofia anyway - I am, for instance, somehow always surprised by the engrossing, varied details and the meticulous brushwork of Dalí. There were also a large number of temporary exhibitions featuring a range of artists including several contemporary ones.
No photos were allowed in the interior of the palace, but the Palacio Real is a really interesting space - on the one hand, the wallpapers, stucco decorations, and much of the decor is over-the-top and stands up to modernity just fine; on the other, some parts have suffered more than others. The ballroom/dining hall floor has seen better days, and some of the furniture seemed worn and small - in fact, so did a few of the rooms. Overall, though, the effect is pretty regal particularly when focusing on the Salon Gasparini or the Throne Room.
The Catedral de la Almudena is right next door to the Palacio Real, and though the interior of the cathedral is nice, my favorite part (where no photos are allowed to preserve the holy atmosphere) is the Capilla del Santísimo which is inlaid in mosaic tile by artist and Father Marko Ivan Rupnik.
My flights back home were great - though American Airlines had in their infinite wisdom chosen to use a plane with no personalized in-flight entertainment on the cross-Atlantic trip over, they did use a super teched-out plane on the return voyage. The windows tinted and untinted electronically, and the personal monitors in the seat backs had the most complex navigational information system I've seen as well as a surfeit of television and movie selections. I unfortunately didn't manage to get an aisle seat, though, which my knees really felt, but I did get asked to move from my middle seat to a window seat across the plane and happily complied so I could at least not be penned in on both sides by people. Plus my new seat neighbor was a nice guy. I was fairly worried the whole day as my connection in Dallas Fort Worth was only two hours, which is cutting it really close, but fortunately everything - passport control, baggage claim, customs, security - went smoothly and decently quickly and I made my next flight on time. That plane also had personalized in-flight entertainment, weirdly enough, as it's quite atypical on such short domestic trips. American Airlines, I do not understand you. Please to have personalized in-flight entertainment on all the longest trips first and then if you can on the rest it would be a nice perk.
I landed, my luggage came out in order, and my amazing colleague Susan came and picked me up! I am home!
Remember the Polymers in Art Through The Centuries exhibition I'm participating in (thanks to my friend Dr. John Pojman) at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM)? It opened March 4, 2017, and was slated to run until June 4 but was extended through September 3 due to the success of the exhibition. The Advocate, Louisiana's largest daily newspaper, recently published an article on the show, "LASM's exhibit explores the mix of art and science," including a photo of my pieces in the slideshow imagery at the top as well as text about my work.
If you're in the Baton Rouge region and haven't stopped by the exhibition yet, you've still got almost a month!
I've been so busy that I haven't posted any articles that came out featuring me or my work, but I'm belatedly getting around to it now! The Pursuit, the LSU College of Science blog, published its post "Science That Glows at LSU: Happy 4th of July!" written by a friend of mine, Dr. Paige Jarreau, which features my artwork and Dr. John Pojman's 3P QuickCure Clay!
Seriously, I've been really hard at work here creating lots of new artwork!
I went to see the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid a couple weeks ago, mostly because I remember it being huge from when I visited it ten years ago and with unusual access to some of the animals like the giraffes, bears, and wallabies. They've tightened up some of their security since, though I still saw patrons feeding peanuts to lemurs and bears despite the signage (I saw that ten years ago too, but also saw a wallaby with an entire bagel and giraffes also being fed peanuts by the crowd!), and it still seemed big but not quite as huge as it did when I was younger.
I typically don't paint zoo animals; I prefer to paint animals that are local and/or native to the places I'm inhabiting, and I also don't think I get very unique perspectives on many zoo inhabitants unless the zoo is one of the few that has surprisingly close access to the animals. However, this time around despite less access than I remember (though still on the more access side of zoos), a giant anteater had escaped from his enclosure and was having the time of his life in the green space between his enclosure and the public walkways. There was still a small fence between him and the walkways, but honestly, the fence he escaped from was much more difficult to surmount so while he could've escaped full-stop, I believe he just preferred the green space to that of his desert-themed enclosure. If I'd wanted to, I could've touched him, but I didn't - both because I'm a good zoo visitor, and also because he was a fighter! Peahens, unaware of his escape, were pecking around happily when he ran over and began repeatedly charging them. He did that until they hid behind some bushes and then he happily commenced wandering around the green space, digging and eating in the grass. I watched him for a while and then went off to other parts of the zoo; I returned a few hours later and he somehow got his girlfriend out as well! I think the Zoo must know they can escape, but I'm honestly surprised it's allowed since unwise guests could really cause a problem quite easily with the anteaters...
Watching him enjoy himself so much (and having an exceptional amount of access to him), it felt like I actually did get a real glimpse into his character. I left wanting a souvenir of the experience, and in my mind there's no better souvenir than painting him.
Dominion, acrylic on canvas, 25x39 3/4".
I really like how this piece turned out. A number of people have asked me about the background/paper, and yes, I did paint the background as well including the darker spots - the paper started off white. But no, I didn't handmake the paper, though it is artesanal! I bought it at Jeco here in Madrid.
The Ninth Hour, acrylic on paper, 11 3/8 x 15".
Here's my second interactive sculpture! It's had less time for the algae to grow on it, but so far I'm liking it. With the snails piece, having them entirely underwater wasn't necessarily a "death sentence" for the snails as a number of species of snails are aquatic. There are no aquatic pigeons, though, so I made this one to have its head jussssst above the top of the container.
I didn't take many in-process photos of this one primarily because a lot of pieces to this one were really delicate while uncured (the feet, the beak, the tail and wing tips) so I was mostly gently cradling it while sculpting and then went straight into curing it. But to the right is a photo of it post-curing but pre-powdering.