New Artwork

New Artwork: Reclamation

I’m interested in starting a new body of work that involves growing aragonite and/or calcite crystals atop various substrates including sculptures, reliefs, and found objects. I am attracted to the conceptual and aesthetic power of nature overtaking manmade constructions. Additionally, aragonite and calcite are the crystallized form of calcium carbonate, a natural material that is the primary component in seashells and corals. Marine animals with calcium carbonate exoskeletons are particularly susceptible to ocean acidification; in order to grow these crystals, I am immersing limestone (which is a sedimentary rock composed of marine skeletal fragments) in acid, so in some ways the growth of these crystals is also a funerary rite for marine wildlife dying to climate change.

Here is the first completed work I’ve done using this medium. I’ve titled it Reclamation, and it is a mixed media relief including QuickCure Clay, QuickCure Glaze Coating, acrylic, aragonite crystals and salt on birch panel. It’s 12x9.25x2”.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Transmigration Landscapes" Failed Tests

I experimented with a number of different chromatography processes to learn which method would be conceptually and aesthetically strongest for my own practice. Two of the failed tests I did were interesting enough in their own right that I kept them, too, though as is evident they use a different technique that proved less effective at pigment differentiation than the process I used for the main Transmigration Landscapes.

These are, respectively, Failed Test 1 and Failed Test 3.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Transmigration Landscapes"

I had my chromatography series Transmigration Landscapes framed right before moving, and so I’ve taken the time to photograph the pieces in their final form! From this Buenos Aires Botanical Garden collection, there are seven framed pieces each containing five loosely grouped chromatography plant portraits. The framed dimensions are 8.875x30”.

These are, in order:
Transmigration Landscapes : Arc
Transmigration Landscapes: Atmosphere
Transmigration Landscapes: Cadence
Transmigration Landscapes: Flare
Transmigration Landscapes: Percussive
Transmigration Landscapes: Reflective
Transmigration Landscapes: Vibration

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" Sacred Fig Skeleton

This is one of my favorites (I have several!) of my new pieces from this residency - it’s perfect in its deceptive simplicity. I say deceptive because work went into obtaining the components of this piece, from learning how to make banana paper while on residency in Peru, to sifting through hundreds of fallen leaves in the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden before finding this perfect leaf skeleton specimen, to discovering that the two suited each other beautifully.

This artwork is mixed media including a Ficus religiosa skeleton leaf, matte medium, and handmade banana paper and is 17x11” (unframed dimensions).

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" London Planetree Leaf

And here is another mixed media leaf piece in the overall Gardens of Memory series. This one includes a London planetree leaf, methylcellulose, toner, and acrylic on artisanal handmade silk paper.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Gardens of Memory" Oak Leaf

This is another mixed media leaf piece in the overall Gardens of Memory series. This one includes an oak leaf, methylcellulose, toner, and acrylic on artisanal handmade silk paper.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Series "Gardens of Memory" Homes

My new photographic transfer technique using methylcellulose and toner doesn’t require a flat surface for the substrate, so I also created this piece Gardens of Memory: Homes. Eventually displayed on a small marble pedestal, it is a mixed media sculpture including a found snail shell, bird’s nest, methylcellulose, and toner. The piece is probably a little larger than you might imagine - its core dimensions without the pedestal are 5.125 x 5.125 x 3.5”. The snail shell is that of an apple snail, so titled because they can grow to the size of an apple. I sold this piece while in Buenos Aires to another artist, the very talented Masako Kano.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Gardens of Memory" Sycamore Leaf Diptych

Here is a new diptych, meaning partner pieces that will always be shown together. Diptychs can also be framed or otherwise physically linked together, too, but in this case I am framing them separately. These are mixed media pieces including sycamore leaves, methylcellulose, toner, and acrylic on artisanal handmade papers. The first paper is a very eco-friendly renewable dyed banana paper that I collaboratively made on a former residency in Peru, and the second is a handmade silk paper from Ato Menegazzo Papeles in Buenos Aires.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Gardens of Memory"

As you can see in this earlier post, I worked atop two very large trunk cross-sections for a permanent outdoor installation. I also worked atop smaller trunk and/or branch cross-sections as well. Here are four new pieces in my “Gardens of Memory” series. The series is so titled because the substrate is very directly a part of a once-living tree (paper is too, but in a more distanced form), and the images atop it are from various botanical gardens I’ve frequented.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Outdoor Installation Pieces

Here are two partner pieces I created to donate and install permanently in Buenos Aires after I leave with the help of BROTA! They are both mixed media pieces including acrylic, methylcellulose, toner, and marine varnish on a tree trunk cross-section, and will be diagonally mounted on wooden poles outdoors when installed. The institution that will host these works is yet to be determined. The two pieces are part of my Garden Memories series.

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork Series "Transmigration Landscapes" Preview

With permission from the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden, I have been taking plant samples and using chromatography to create a series of very literal plant self-portraits that also function as abstract landscapes. I am titling this series Transmigration Landscapes. There are 35 of these portraits, as well as 2 test designs that I liked enough to keep as well. Since I currently don’t have access to a scanner, processing photos of each to share clean images of the work requires a significant investment of time, so I figured I’d share a peek now with the promise of more to come!

BROTA and Buenos Aires Artwork 1

I’ve been working on two different series of artwork from the start using the new-to-me methylcellulose and chromatography papers, but both are very experimental and I’m not sure exactly what the finished products should even look like at this point. That’s why I’ve yet to reveal much in terms of production other than a couple early test images from the chromatography papers.

However, I started feeling anxious about how experimental I’m being - of course it’s good to experiment, but I wanted the comfort of completing a more traditionally “me” type of piece with a clear end point. Plus, I bought those artisanal handmade papers from Ato Menegazzo Papeles, and it would be a shame not to even work on some while here!

So while this isn’t the first artwork I’ve created here, it’s the first I am declaring finished! The painting is of a dwarf water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes. The common names in Spanish for this plant are (as per Wikipedia): jacinto de agua, flor de bora, camalote, aguapey, lechuguín, tarope, tarulla o reyna. I chose this plant in particular because I love how graphic and full of character it is, and the fact that it’s an aquatic plant means that the whole of the plant, including its root system, can be shown in a figure-ground relationship that also celebrates the handmade paper. Water hyacinth is an ornamental plant that is occasionally consumed and used medicinally, but is also highly invasive in warm climates and is often illegal to own or sell. An interesting dichotomy that inspired my current tentative title: Adrift.

New Artwork: Catalyst

Here’s some new artwork to kick off a new year! This piece was inspired by my encounter with two octopi on my last scuba dive this summer with Silviu in Arinaga while on residency at La Pedrada de Noemí. It’s pretty unusual to see the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, out and about during the day as they are typically nocturnal predators, but it was a very windy day with a lot of churning water and that must have drawn them out.

I have titled this piece Catalyst. It is mixed media including QuickCure Clay, aquabord panel, acrylic, and QuickCure Glaze Coating. Catalyst is capable of being displayed on a pedestal or installed on a wall. It is 13.5x14.5x6.25".

If you’re curious about the sculptural process with QCC, here are a few photos I took along the way. The first two are still in the uncured, sculpting stage and the second two are post-curing but pre-painting. I was actually quite drawn to the piece in its unpainted state, but I had to paint the panel at the very least due to its own mixed media, multicolored composition so I decided to go ahead with painting the whole piece. I might do a different version at some point that’s completely monotone, though, since I liked that quite a lot too.

New Artwork: Guardian

This toad, who I named Reginald, was one of the guardians of my porch this summer and fall. His presence was so regal and dutiful that I felt he required a portrait. He posed for it with the resigned tolerance and grace befitting of a conscientious public servant.

This is Guardian, acrylic on basswood panel, 16x20x1.5”.

New Artwork: Dreamedary

When I began to paint Camelflage, I actually had envisioned a “white on white” concept. However, that painting rapidly began to change direction and I liked where it was going so I let it ride and am happy with how it turned out. I still wanted to paint my original idea, though, so I ordered the same panel size again for continuity and mirrored the camel for a little variation.

This is Dreamedary, acrylic on basswood panel, 12x12x1.5”.

New Artwork: Puffinry

I haven't actually added paint to this piece in a couple months, but I also hadn't decided it was done either.  I'm finally willing to call it and say it's officially finished!

This piece is acrylic on birch panel, 20x10", and is titled Puffinry.

New Artwork: Convergence

Here's a new painting I just finished; I started it during my La Pedrada de Noemi residency, but I didn't get a chance to finish it there so I've been working on it since arriving back home.  It's actually the first painting I began while on residency, so given that you might wonder why it took so long to complete - the answer is that the support is an aluminum panel, and I've never worked on aluminum before.  What I wanted to do on the aluminum kind of clashed with what the aluminum wanted me to do with it, so we had a prolonged battle.  I didn't want to prime or even sand the aluminum, because I feel like the whole point of painting on aluminum is the luminosity of the material.  But not priming it meant that the paint wouldn't evenly stick.  I feel like I eventually came out the victor, though!

The painting is acrylic on aluminum panel, 18x14", and is titled Convergence.  It features a luna moth (Actias luna) atop a barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo).

La Pedrada de Noemi Artwork 5

And another one - I've done a piece on a very similar frog in relief before (The Slightest Disturbance), and now here's a painting from a different angle of a marsh frog, Rana ridibunda and/or Pelophylax ridibundus, from the Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo.  This piece is acrylic on gessobord, 5x7", and is titled Comfort Zone.