Friday, May 31, 2013

Technical Difficulties - Emails May Have Been Lost!

A heads up - Chuck & I recently moved my website to a new server and have been having problems with the email interface and forwarding of my web emails through  I am not sure how long this has been going on - it could be upwards of a week.

If you emailed me recently (especially through the website) and I didn't respond, please try again.  Even if you didn't get an error message, the email may not have gone through.

I believe that the problem has been fixed now.  Thank you for understanding.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ephemera and Lingering History

I recently saw two wonderful exhibitions that touch on themes of ephemera, our transient existence, and the lingering history and evidence of our being that is left behind.

First, I attended the reception last Friday for "On Streets Like Ours, In Rooms, Up Collapsing Stairs" by Sage Dawson, currently on exhibit through June 22 at Good Citizen in St. Louis, MO.  Dawson "examines the history of cartographic rendering... to investigate the distinct identities of spaces, dwelling rights, and contemporary perspectives on nostalgia."  Her exquisitely rendered mixed media artworks bespeak maps, landscape and interior spaces but also hearken to biological systems and pure abstraction.  Also included are cataloged objects and details about an abandoned house at 1163 Mary Street in Springfield, looking into its history and discovering the people who had lived there.

Then on Tuesday, I saw "LOST AND FOUND: The Search for Harry and Edna" produced by Jeff Phillips at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, MO through June 21.  Recently reviewed in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, this show includes excerpts from a thousand found photographs of an unknown "Harry and Edna" recounting their lives, travels and history.  Phillips purchased the images and then yearned to discover who the people depicted were, using Facebook to create a "social media search party" to solve that mystery.

Both shows explore ephemera and lives left behind, abandoned people and places that still resonate across time and inspire the viewer to wonder about their whereabouts, what happened to them and why the found articles were neglected as they were.  But, even more interestingly, both shows also explore how social media can be used to track and deduce that history, to piece together the puzzle presented and find out what happened.  Who are these people?  Who lived here?  Where are they now?  In the past those questions may or may not have been as easy to answer, but, with as accessible as information and communication is nowadays, we are becoming much more able to do so.

This Week in Columbia

June is gearing up to be the start of a busy summer for me, which is exciting.  This week one of my Residue pieces (pictured here) will be featured in the New Visions Pho-rest in conjunction with Art in the Park this weekend only.  Photographs of Boone County are enlarged on fiberglass signboard and will be displayed outdoors along the chain link fence.  I am looking forward to going to the art fair Saturday and checking it out.

New Visions Pho-rest
photograph display in conjunction with Art in the Park
organized through the Columbia Art League
Columbia, MO
June 1 - 2, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Art of the Week: Her Universe

I created this piece for the upcoming Interpretations show at the Columbia Art League later this year.  This unique exhibition pairs off artists and writers so that each responds to a work by another across the disciplines.  I was accepted as both an artist and writer, so I will have four works in the show (one poem to which another artist responded; one poem I wrote in response to another artist's work; one artwork to which another writer responded; and this artwork in response to another writer's poetry).

This piece is titled: She Wasn't Sure if Her Universe Was Expanding or Contracting.  It was written in response to a poem titled: "Is the world binary or not?"  I lucked into the broken clock and played off of the ideal of engagement & marriage in response to some of the questions about gender expectations that were raised in the poem.  The engagement ring medallion reads "yes/no" and her eyes include a "0" and a "1" in place of the pupils.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Tooting My Own Horn

I don't mean to complain lately, and have wanted to share my recent experience so that others may relate and realize that all of us have to deal with rejection constantly.  It isn't personal, especially nowadays with as much as is entered in shows.  (When the odds are 1 in 5 a whole lot of amazing artists simply won't make the cut.)  In truth, I'm somewhat overextended as it is so it's probably best that I didn't get into everything, even if I did hear back about all of them at once.

I want to focus on the positives in my career in this post and celebrate what I do have going on.  So please bear with me while I toot my own horn and share some of what I've been involved in and have coming up in June.  I have a lot happening, which is part of why I haven't kept up with this blog, but I plan to post more about some of the upcoming shows as they near.

I was recently interviewed by Kate Freeman on behalf of the WCA-STL about the legacy fund and LAST CHANCE! show, and a wonderful article was published in the May newsletter in addition to the mention in the April e-news.

I am honored to have several paintings represented at Webster House Galleries, both in the premiere exhibition and in the upcoming Feast for the Eyes show.  And a display of little miniature paintings are going to be in the upcoming Top Gear car-themed show at Third Degree Glass.  I also have a painting of St. Francis in the current WCA-STL show at the Vino Gallery and was awarded 2nd place in mixed media at the Augusta plein air event.

Residue is included in Columbia's Art in the Park event as part of their New Visions Pho-rest of outdoor signboards, and the Marry Me triptych is included in the upcoming PRIDE show at the Chicago Urban Art Retreat Center.  I am also gearing up for a couple of large scale photography projects, including a scavenger hunt in conjunction with Open Studios.

As for other media, the Trashed Out alternative fiber wearable made of trash bags will be in the Fiber Exhibition at the Columbus Arts Council in Mississippi, and the Summer Camp weaving works will be in the upcoming Perfect Pair show at the Syndicate Building in St. Louis.  I shipped the found object sculpture Healthy Harvest to Whitdel Arts in Detroit for the summer members' exhibition.  And I am honored that the Still Silent chair installation is included in the Unite Women online Women's Rights exhibit to raise awareness about violence against women.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Riding Out the Storms

This is in response to my last post and really just goes to show that we as artists can't not try for fear of rejection.  After the seven declinations I've been accepted into four shows and am seeing a lot of things happening, locally and nationally.  If I hadn't taken chances I never would have had these opportunities.

Rejection can act as a record of growth, of a willingness to take risks and put oneself out there.  It does not constitute failure or imply that the artwork is substandard.  All it means is that one's work didn't fit into that show at that time, at least insomuch as that juror thought.

I have a very hard time not taking things personally, but I recognize that they aren't always, at least when it comes to my art.  Now if I can only learn to apply that to my life...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Seven Blows

Well, I've hit a new record.  Seven rejection notices within 24 hours.  Seven in one.  I feel like the brave little tailor...  But I know I can't let it get to me.  It's not personal.  One show had over 1500 entries, and it's not even at a major institution.  Less than 5% got in.  That has little to do with me at all, just that my work didn't make the cut like a whole lot of other people's.

I'm posting this in part to offset the view that this comes easy because it doesn't.  It takes work and effort and a willingness to put myself out there.  The way I see it, if I don't take chances then I won't get anywhere.  Even if the only place I get to is to fall on my face.  I don't want to just do what's comfortable and seek out only opportunities that feel safe or secure because I want to grow and evolve and try for bigger things.

The world is really accessible right now and there is a lot available and going on, but with so much creativity and so many talented people out there it is even less likely that success will come to us as artists.  We can't sit around and wait to be discovered because we won't.

So this shows that I'm trying and that I'm pushing myself for bigger and better things.  I encourage you to do the same and push your own boundaries, step out of your comfort zone and reach for the stars.  We won't get there if we don't try.

On a related note, Chuck & I were discussing creativity recently.  Sir Ken Robinson in a June 2006 TED talk stated that "if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."  I had never thought about it, but that makes a lot of sense.  If we feel we don't have anything to lose, we'll be able to release inhibitions.  We have to be willing to try, to take chances, and to put ourselves out there, for better and for worse.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mail & Art

I enjoy mail art.  I have engaged in mail art on and off for some time, among different groups and in numerous formats, from sending postcards to open calls for shows to buying and trading art cards to sending random mail to other like-minded individuals and more.  I enjoy the uncertainty and non-commodification that results from just dispensing of art through the mail with no expectation of monetary reimbursement or returned correspondence

Nowadays, a lot of people are networking online.  I need to become more involved and savvy to this, but I know I will continue to communicate through the mail regardless of my online presence.  I know I won't go fully digital.  There's something special about the physicality of the mail.  Opening a letter or a package is an engaging process.  Having and holding something in your hands lends presence and intensifies the immediacy of that precise moment.  And the time delay means there is no expectation of instant gratification, which naturally offers time to think and ponder possibility and prolongs conversations.

I don't always send art.  More often I send goofy funny random stuff I find on clearance or for very little expense - strange & bizarre things that beg one to ponder why they even exist or to just revel in their weirdness.  Many times, it costs much more to mail the object than the object itself, but that's okay because to me it's about the randomness of receiving it on the other end.

My big hope is that my mail helps to rekindle that sense of childhood wonder and excitement at receiving mail.  All too often our adult lives bring unexciting mail: bills, junk mail and ads geared towards consumerism convincing us to buy things (and ideas), notices...  not much fun, random, totally unexpected things that arrive without pretense...  But mail can be fun and can be treasured.  It can still be correspondence and not just a formality that brings boring and unwanted news or only comes once or twice per year at appointed times.  It can exist without occasion for it's own sake, outside of birthdays, illness, funerals, holidays, etc..  So consider sending someone you care about a note or something to let them know you're thinking of them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

He's so FLUFFY!!

Chuck & I went to the South County Mall carnival last night, where they had Despicable Me unicorns you could win.  I had to have one!  So after spending more money than it was probably worth and throwing darts at balloons, Chuck & I have now won our own carnival prize fluffy unicorn.  And he's so FLUFFY!!! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Art of the Week: Dress for Success

In similar vein as The Trouble with Corporate America, I examine the symbolism of the business suit as a measure of success of sorts.  What kind of measure of success depends on how one perceives of what it means to be successful and why the wearing of the suit is recommended or required.