Artists in Residency programs are supposed to stir things up, focus like a laser beam, and create work that makes us think. Today, the last Saturday in June, artist studios in both Chasama North (Pine Plains) and the Wassaic Project were open for inquiring visitors.
Lucha Rodriguez studio
The vibe at Chasamsa North was friendly and generous. Each artist had a live work space that blended with other residents, or not. They were eager to share their stories, and laugh over their results. Lucha Rodriguez, (a Venezuelan living in Atlanta), showed us her technique of carving paper, and shared how the weekly trips to McEnroes' farm stand to work the fields helped bond the group. Susan Morelock from Allentown PA, who says her practice is compelled by both beauty and theory, had mapped out a forensic study of her new home in Pennsylvania that once belonged to a notorious murderer. Corey J. Willis' drawings, done on the floor of a writers studio, presented a litany of moods, yet mostly political satire, with two goofy cartoon characters, one red, one blue, each playing, manipulating, mirroring each other and blowing happy face bubbles. He brought down the politicians in his line drawing and yet the expressions he gave them was of a human frailty that was most lovable. Jodie Mim Goodnough shared her photographic process, and KT Duffy, from Chicago, impressed us with descriptions of her study into a new software, and though it was way over my head, her colorful woven collage of computer images danced across the screen in hypnotic trance inducing undulations. I had to snap myself out of it and make our way over to the Wassaic Project barn studios, which are literally in barn stalls. I remember when the barn was a real working animal auction house. It is wonderful to see it transformed by artists. Some really clever artworks can be found, left behind by past artists who played with the building's history.
anonymous photo installation at Wassaic.
Over and over again residents told us that the building was a living thing, that they had to work with it, and that it effected their practice. Many of the artists were creating work that dealt with the landscape. Right away we fell into conversation with Jacob Rivkin, from Philadelphia, who presented a work in progress about the river. Photographs and video collaged the natural world and projected onto a mosquito net that fluttered in the breeze and lent the work and his barn stall studio an ethereal quality. One artist from Maine was using dirt from the area, burned wood ash and bees wax from a local farmer to coat strips of drop-cloth that were crudely torn and re-sewn together. Another young lady was researching notorious buildings her grandfather's now defunct construction company had built, such as Indian Point Nuclear Facility, and the current reactions, and comments, found on Google. Then Kelley Obrien, from Cleveland, fascinated us with a video projection that had local area landmarks superimposed on handwritten notes about the iron ore industry, the geology, and current local real estate development politics ... Having just moved here and being hungry to know more, I pressed her but she says the work is not finished and needs another 2 months. Unfortunately, the artists are packing up and leaving tomorrow. As I drove home, past the river and some of the recognizable sites from the art, I thought how, fortunately, there will be a whole new set of artists arriving at both residencies soon and I can't wait to visit them.
Dear Blog- So much has happened in the last month. There wasn't time to write. My job at Palmer Trinity came to an end, and there were reports to write, rooms to clean up, students to console, friends to party with, a studio to empty and plans to make. Here are some pictures of the farewell tour...
The hardest part was saying goodbye to the kids.
My advisees gave me a mounted group photo and filled the classroom with balloons.
I even got an orchid- yikes!!!
I gave my last painting to my art department colleague, Mr. Robert Moorhouse who has taught me so much and made me, over the last 8 years, into a better teacher. I am so indebted.
Ms. Massa, Ms. Fernandez and Ms. Beske
In fact I was so lucky to work with colleagues who valued what they were doing and collaborated gracefully. The intellect and passion of these three would fill an ocean.
The bible study ladies all gathered for a happy hour meal and I was showered with more love than I ever expected. These women will be missed. They will forever stay in my prayers.
And I will miss the giant Bismark. Everyday, as I traversed the campus, we checked each other out, and witnessed growth and weather. Such a lovely place! And though my home in New York is calling and has been a deep longing, it is a bittersweet ending. This has been a fantastic time and place.
I am so proud to offer up five of my most recent paintings inspired by the tropical nature of Miami. I just uploaded five new peacock paintings onto my Fine Art America site. That makes 63 paintings and drawings now available for any economic budget on almost a hundred products. You can get a print on canvas, metal, wood, framed paper, or as a greeting card, a mug, a phone case, a tote bag or a shower curtain, throw pillow, duvet cover, yoga mat, and more!!! Check it out on FFA! Have fun! I will travel north with memories of the south Florida tropics on my bath towels and greeting cards.
Ships within 2-3 business days! Let me know what you get. All the best- Tilly
I love ending the semester with the large charcoal head project. It is a lot of work but it never fails to bring results. The kids might complain during the process, but soon they startle themselves and glow with pride.
The trick is to bring them to it one step at a time... I use worksheets for learning the details of the main facial features. And we use the grid transfer method.
Lucas Cranach must have the coolest signature emblem ever! On January 6th, 1508 he was granted the rights to sign all his works with this seal by Frederick the Wise, his employer and the elector Prince of Saxony. A winged serpent with both a crown on its head and a jeweled ring in it's mouth was soon used on all Cranach workshop products, sometimes with the initials L and C. In 1537 the emblem changed. With the murder of his eldest son Hans, who was traveling to Bologna, Italy, like all good artists were expected to do as part of their studies, the heart broken father folded the wings and turned the serpent in another direction.
This is part of my Climbing up the Family Tree: Art and History Lessons for my Kids, "Searching for Cranach", a text booklet project. I plan to publish a 7-8 page book on Cranach, with a pocket sized original print in the back, by the end of this spring.
According to Green writers Press: Su Smallen is the author of six collections of poetry. Her first collection, Weight of Light, was nominated for the Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award, and Buddha, Proof was a Minnesota Book Award Finalist. Su was awarded the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, several fellowships and grants including from the Jerome Foundation, and residencies including with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station. With Laurel Poetry Collective, she published books and broadsides for ten years. Su was a professional choreographer and dancer, and her poetry has served as scores for dance and film, including Miracle of the Spring.
Sue will be reading from her newest Green Writers Press poetry collection entitled Kinds of Snow on April 15th at Green Writers Press. More info can be found on her website: www.susmallen.com
The painting was a large one I did when going through the thickest part of a divorce. A woman almost obscured by a swirl of maps stands in a dark, book shelf lined, space with a dripping red object in her hands. If you want to know more, I can tell you.
Meanwhile please go out and buy the book! Thanks- Tilly