slightly wonky

My babies are away for the weekend…
February 24, 2012, 9:31 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

NO…not my actual child!  (I’m sure that the plural was puzzling as well)  I mean my DRAWINGS.  Yes, I took my set of 16 drawings to be photographed yesterday.  So, as I write this…they are sitting in a photographer’s studio, and will be there over the weekend.  I made sure not to act like a neurotic parent by asking the photographer if he was going to treat them with kid gloves, as if they were important artifacts or rare antiquities.  Heck, I think that some of them even have pear juice on them.   No joke.  This is the last one that I finished:

You can see it in the box…with my handy-dandy eraser shield adjacent.  I have another one in progress…mwah-ha-ha!  (The produce aisle shudders at my approach…)

In the realm of art, more drawings by my son…another hilarious muppet-esque face:

I seriously love these.  And his version of an eighteen-wheeler:

I think that he thought that all eighteen wheels are are ONE side of the truck…plus, he ran out of room for the full amount. 

I try not to get depressed when I see amazing work by other artists.  I mean…if we all let that kind of thing get to us, none of us would get anywhere, right?  Take, for instance, Surabhi Saraf.  Her work is stunning…please take a look at her link.  She is a media artist, and does AMAZING videos of the mundane turned sublime.  Here are stills of one of her pieces:

Surabhi Saraf – Peel, 2009


Surabhi Saraf – Peel, 2009

You can’t appreciate how beautiful these videos are without watching one. Go.  Now.  I insist. (click here…but, please come back!)  I know.  Gorgeous, right??????

Here is another thing to get depressed about:

How far MY mundane is from the sublime.  Case in point:

Our plant is growing.  (Hurrah! will wonders never cease?) 

 Also, my recent Bed, Bath, and Beyond indulgence (I’m such the suburban mom):


Close up:

It’s a basket made from woven recycled paper…from China.  I love it!  I can’t decide what to do with it…I mean, doesn’t this deserve to be more than a wastebasket???

I love that art causes you not just to look at the world with fresh eyes, but specifically to look at the world AROUND US with fresh eyes.  I feel that Saraf’s work does that in a poetic way…taking the repetitive tasks of domestic life and multiplying/choreographing these rhythmic routines to an enormous scale.  Perhaps, in its own little way, my wastebasket does the same…imagine the possibilities of what a lowly, Market Basket flyer could become!  What if it wasn’t a wastebasketbut a LARGE, WOVEN PUPPY, A-LA-JEFF KOONS???? NOW, we’re talkin’! 





Shoddy week, but at least I went to the Decordova!
February 16, 2012, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

Yes, this was a shoddy production week.  I didn’t even finish ONE DRAWING.  I kid you not.  I did, however, build a box for my drawings and mount them all:

Nice, right?  Snazzy custom box!  That’s just to distract you from harping on the fact that I did not finish a new drawing for this week.  So sad. 

I am digressing from my stuff to note that my son’s drawings have taken a new direction.  He was “a scribbler” for the most part.  Now, he’s doing these hilarious faces.  Check it out:

He decided that the hair only on the top of the head wasn’t enough…it needed to go around the WHOLE head.  Awesome.  This next one, he told me, is a one-year old:

See all of the circles in his mouth?  Those are apricots.

My own drawings, as a kid, were rather mundane:

I assume that I was older than 4 when I did this…my dad mowing the lawn.  Nice beard stubble.  Apparently, that was important.  Next:

I’m not sure that my spelling is any better.  Does anyone remember those Ed Emberley books????  They were these odd guides of how to draw stuff…these fish are CLEARLY from that book. In some ways, those books are really “anti-art”, as how to draw things is codified.  BUT, I think that it’s an interesting take on abstraction, just using combinations of basic geometric forms.  I know.  No one is going to get into any MFA program with these drawings, but you gotta start somewhere.

This week, I went to the DeCordova museum to see their Biennial exhibit.  It’s odd…I liked it generally, but I wasn’t really wow-ed by it.  I’m not sure why, so maybe I’ll know by the end of this post. 

Lately, there is a lot of work where something looks familiar, but it is made out of completely surprising materials.  Take these, for example:

Antoniadis & Stone – Sculpture Park (Flipside)

This looked like two, green concrete block walls that have been stacked on their side.   Hmm!  Actually, it was made of particle board, plastic and paint.  I kid you not.  I liked their work, as it was taking the mundane of our landscape and not only reconfiguring these objects, but making them by hand with other materials. Next:

Chris Taylor – Untitled

This artist takes mundane objects, like styrofoam cups and bubblewrap…and makes them out of GLASS.  Seriously.  They look perfect.  I guess that he’s sort of the “anti-Chihuly”.  I liked these, but I didn’t like how they were shown.  They were all sitting on a steel shelf, jumbled together.  I would have liked them to be treated in a more precious way.  How pedestrian of me.  Next:

Lauren KalmanBlooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments (Nevus Comedonicus)

HMMM!  This artist studied skin conditions, and then rendered them with jeweled piercings.  It makes beautiful what we would normally think of as “ugly”.  She used herself as a model, I believe.  I like where this is going…but is the final product actually “beautiful”?  Or, now that it is body adornment…has it become ugly again because of it’s unorthodox nature?  Either way…ouch.  I’ll stay with pencil drawing, thankyouverymuch.

Tomorrow, I’m going to the “Artists’ Books: Books by Artists” exhibit at the Boston Athenaeum.  I LOOOOVE this kind of stuff.  I’ve now made several little books myself, which I think is super fun.  I haven’t ever really focused on one seriously, as an attempted piece of art.  Anyone out there know some favorite artists who create cool artists’ books????

For those who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about…artists’ books are basically a book as art.  For example:

Merrill Shatzman

I discovered this artist online.  Her (his?) stuff looks GORGEOUS!  Check out her/his website.  I seriously love her/his stuff…(sorry, Merrill!  Maybe I’ll invent “hisser” as a word to replace her/his?  Thoughts?  Will Daniel Webster rise from his grave to strangle me?) 

Any other book artist recommendations out there????? 

 Is ANYBODY out there????  (kidding…sort of…)

February 10, 2012, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Yes, this week is a hodgepodge of stuff.  No, there will be no coherent theme to this post, so don’t bother looking for one.

I’m going to start with something that will prove how…shall I say…weird, I am.  So, I think that we’re all familiar with Marcel Proust’s yammering about his madeleines, right?  I recently got a photocopy of the passage from A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and it started me thinking…(always a recipe for disaster).  Here’s the quote:

And so it is with our past.  It is a labor in vain to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile.  The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect.  And as for the object, it depends on chance whether or not we come upon it or now before we ourselves must die. – [Marcel Proust]

So, I pondered this quote, and wondered what my “material object” would be that would bring me back to the past.  Not surprisingly, I couldn’t think of anything profound, as Proust does.  BUT, I thought about something ridiculous.  When I was little, I had a rather sizeable collection of Tomy Pocket Games.  Does anyone else remember these?????  I loved them.  I think that I have always been a “micro” person.  This may be attributed to my rather acute nearsightedness…but perhaps not.  Anyway, these little games were a micro world to me.  Each had it’s own character, difficulty, and fun.  They were small enough to fit in one’s pocket, hence the name.  ANYWAY, (this is going somewhere, albeit slowly) I thought back to the ONE of these little games that I loved the most.  It was a tiny obstacle course for a little silver ball.  TEENY TINY!  I remember the one that I had was slightly damaged, as my dad tried to get the price tag off with lighter fluid and slightly “melted” the plastic on that spot.  SO, on a whim, I decided to look on ebay to see if anyone was selling one.  Well…I kid you not.  There was one in exquisite condition.  As per usual, ebay stresses me out.  I only buy things that I can “buy it now”, without an auction.  Unfortunately, this had an auction.    Days went by…on the evening of the final bidding, I placed my bid…and left to put my son to bed.  I let go and just hoped that I would win it…

And I did:


I know.  I *truly* have a problem.  Nonetheless, I am thrilled to have this little thing back in my life.  I am clearly not of the buddhist school of thought where I relinquish attachment to all worldly possessions.  No, I’m just about the complete opposite.  Proust randomly stumbled upon his madeleine…whereas I sought out and bought mine on Ebay.  Same difference.

I wonder what my son’s “madeleine” would be?  We actually have a set of wooden blocks that was my husband’s grandfather’s blocks when he was a kid.  Amazing, right?  Anyway, my husband says that the smell of these wood blocks brings him back to his childhood…

That’s a skyscraper that he built “with” my son.  Cool, right?  Sorry about the mess.   I was too lazy to photoshop out the general disaster in the house.  I needed some kind of “de-crap” filter, but I don’t think that my version has that kind of thing…

The other cool project with my son is trying to grow something in a pot.  Our bird feeder project was a complete fail, as I somehow managed to buy a suet block that is completely unappealing to our furry and feathered friends outside….but I digress.   So, we’re trying to grow either beans, or peas.  I can’t remember what we stuck in the pot, and I’m too lazy to get up and find the seed packet.  I was very skeptical about this project, as I am really bad with plants.  I mean, REAAAALLY bad.  BUT!  Take a look!!!!:

LOOKIT!  There are some tiny GREEN THINGS coming up in the plant pot!!!!!  YES!!!!  I can restore my son’s faith in the order of the natural world!  I was concerned that he was skeptical because of the bird feeder fail.  See???   Add sun and water and stuff actually GROWS!   Ah, I’m such a simpleton…

For those of you interested in art, you’ve probably already stopped reading by now.  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost most readers by this point.  SORRY!  If you wanted exciting, I’m sure that Kim Kardashian has a blog that you can check on.  Just tell her that I sent you.

So, for my friend’s 40th bday, I made her a little book.  Here it is:

and the inside:

Fun, right?  I called it her “Forever 40” book.  She can just maintain that same age from now on, and reject the signs of getting older.  Blue hair?  Senior discount?  Not when you’re only 40!  I may join her in this delusion when I turn 40.

I’m horrified at how little drawing I got done this week.  This is it:

Just ONE drawing?  Ugh.  My husband was away this week, so my excuse is that I had less free time than usual.  Or, I’m just slacking off.  I’ll choose the former.

Has anyone seen any good art exhibits in the Boston area?  I took my son to the MFA this week to meet a friend and her son.  Yes, we did not manage to do the visit without a guard reprimanding me about my son trying to touch the two-story tall Chihuly sculpture.  Sigh.  Here I am…trying to be the good mom with my kid at the MFA, and we get called out as delinquents.  Anyway, if you can think of a show in the area worth seeing…let me know…sans enfants next time…

Jim Dine!
February 3, 2012, 9:26 am
Filed under: Drawing, printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, you heard me…Jim Dine!  I went to the MFA for a lecture by Jim Dine, revered artist/printmaker.  SO FASCINATING!  Isn’t it always better to hear the artist talk about their work?  He was funny and “down to earth”.  The lecture went through the progression of his work…from his early lithographs of “crash”, through the tools (yes!  the tools!), to the bathrobe self portrait…etc etc.  Here are some images:

Jim Dine

Look at those fantastic tools!  His grandfather owned a hardware store, so he grew up playing with tools…next:

Jim Dine

The bathrobe.  This became a sort of “self portrait”, he said.  Next:

Jim Dine

Hearts.  This whole series is interesting, as I think that most of us think about drawing hearts as something that a kid would do.  They always have such exhuberance…

Jim spent a lot of time talking about the need to have his “hand” in what he made.  He didn’t like silkscreen, because it was too removed.  He often made a black and white print, but then added color afterwards with a brush.

There were some questions at the end of the lecture.  One person asked (I’m paraphrasing): “How do you feel about the use of technology in contemporary art?” 

Jim’s response:  [significant pause]…”It’s fine.”

Sooo funny…we all laughed.  His pause and his listless/sarcastic response said it all.  I bought a book of his works:

OOOOO…lovely!  Plus…lookit:

 That’s a signature!!!  I know…how nerdy.

This week, I got a first chemistry set for my son.  Don’t get all excited…it was really basic…but fun.  It’s perfect for a 4 year old, as nothing was toxic…and the outcome was always colorful/bubbly/erupting.  Perfect!  I was going to take a photo, but I didn’t want to leave him in the room with all of the stuff, lest he decide to just dump it all together at once.  Our experiments sort of looked like one of his recent drawings…

My son is a bit of a scribbler:

I love it!  However, I do notice that his friends at school seem to be a bit more “controlled” in what they produce.  I don’t know what that means…does he just “like” to scribble?  Or, is this what he does because he doesn’t have the motor skills to do anything else?  This is what a neurotic mother like me thinks about.  I look at these as “preschool rorschach tests”.  Today, though…he did something a bit more controlled:

THAT, I’ll have you know…is an xray.  This xray detects bloodcells, as that’s what all of the spots on the lower right are.  I’m not sure if I have the orientation right…as I’m not a radiologist, so whatever.  I would have guessed that it was some kind of machine, so I’m glad he told me what it was.  Otherwise, I’d get an angry scowl at my dumb comment.

This week…I am trying to be more productive than LAST week.  It’s going okay:

Notice the dappled, winter sunlight.  I need some training on how to photograph “art”.

It’s so interesting…when I start one of these drawings…I actually feel a little bit of dread.  My “art cop”, as Rhoda Rosenberg would say, starts to nag…”what if it turns out horribly?”  “what if it sucks?” “is this all just a waste of time?”  I know.  Just keep working.  Rhoda Rosenberg has a great John Cage quote about this:

When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there.  But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone.  Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.     [John Cage]

Hmm!  I wish that I had such profound thoughts.  Instead, I’m trying to remember if I put detergent in the laundry or not…

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