slightly wonky


Fitchbuuuuurg!
July 26, 2013, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Photography | Tags: , , ,

My big success this week was to meet with Mary Tinti, the Fitchburg Art Museum‘s new curator.  I’m NOT kidding.  She’s putting together a show of still lifes, and was interested in some of my drawings.  NO JOKE.  I was so thrilled that she contacted me.  She was very generous with her time and feedback.   Besides getting to know her, I also really enjoyed hearing about the museum, its collection, and its history.  I’m embarrassed to say that I had not ever been to the Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM) before.  YIKES.  Actually, I don’t think that I had even been to Fitchburg.  I know.  What’s wrong with me?  (Don’t answer that…)  Check it out:

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The Fitchburg Art Museum

This is the main visitor’s entrance of the museum.  It was founded in 1925 by Eleanor Norcross, an accomplished artist and educator.  The museum has a wonderful and diverse collection…paintings by John Singer Sargent, photographs by Charles Sheeler and Walker Evans, African masks and statues, and a series of Egyptian art and mummies, INCLUDING a mummified crocodile (it’s small…and it kind of looked like something that my son would make, but I digress…)

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It looked sort of like THAT, but more shriveled.  YIKES.  This is the kind of thing that I’d find in the bottom of my son’s backpack…(not a result of my poor housekeeping skills, mind you…) MOVING ON…

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The Fitchburg Art Museum

This is an addition to the museum, completed in the late 80s by Burr & McCallum Architects.  The materials are really nice, and it’s well detailed.  Yes, I know.  The architect side of my brain has been feeling neglected lately, and it desperately wants attention.  (The housewife side of my brain is undeveloped and primitive…BTW).  It’s hard to divide my multitude of interests among my limited brain cells.  Well, at least I only have one brain to keep track of, although I do feel like THIS guy sometimes…

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BRILLIANT!  I think this comes with the territory of raising a kid and trying to work from home.  (I have Terry Jones’s impatience.)  But I digress again…FOCUS!

The current show at FAM is the 78th Annual Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft.

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Juan Jose Barbazo-Gubo, Cervus Transformatio, 2011

This gorgeous piece by Juan Jose Barbazo-Gubo won “First Prize” at the show, which was juried by Nina Gara Bozicnik, Assistant Curator, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire.  I should have taken a close up photo for you to see the amazing linework, collage, painting and textures in this piece.  I even love how the fragile paper is puckered around the image.  Beautiful.  Barbazo-Gubo is a Somerville resident…next time you see him at Highland Kitchen, tell him that his work is GORGEOUS.

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Edward Monovich, Snake In The Grass, 2011

Check out this crazy drawing!  Amazing.  It’s actually all done on graph paper.  So cool! The imagery is both appealing and disturbing.  Who is that skunk boy?  The drawing actually has the irregular profile that you see.  Monovich’s got mad drawing skills, right?  Also, he’s another local, and lives in Belmont!  So give HIM a big “hello” if you see him at Stone Hearth Pizza in Belmont Center.  (Actually, he’s probably too cool to eat there.)  I’m not!  I like that place, but it’s always packed with screaming kids.  I feel that I can complain about that, as I’ve got one at home too.  When I go out to dinner, I’m trying to ESCAPE and PRETEND that there is peace and sanity in the world.  Hmph.

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Lee Su, Twinkle Twinkle Little Hypercube, 2013

Don’t you love this?  It’s got an interesting mix of flatness and depth.  This somehow looks vintage to me.  I love it.

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Coelynn McIninch, Castle #9, 2013

Okay.  I LOVE THIS TOO.  So stunning.  I believe that McIninch builds a physical model, and then photographs it and manipulates the photo.  PLEASE look at her website.  I love her work.  This series in particular is gorgeous…and not just because of the architectural content.  The images are so ethereal…ghost-like…  I love how they are both beautiful and disorienting.

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Nora Valdez, Baggage /Bagaje

Nora Valdez was also having a solo show at the museum.  Her sculptures were amazing.  She also had beautiful drawings.

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Nora Valdez, Paper Bags / Bolsitas de Papel, 2009-2011

Crumpled bags carved out of limestone.  Look how soft they look!  I want those…

There was also a photography show going on:

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I know!  So much to see!  I loved this:

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Carl Chiarenza, Triptych: Don Quixote, 153/148/158, 1992

I wish that my photo was better.  This was gorgeous.  It’s so abstract, and yet the richness of the textures and materials are so incredible.  Very beautiful.

I had a chance to wander around the neighborhood of the museum as well…this is what I found:

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Hmmm.  I’m glad that they labeled that.

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This wall was so great!  I’m not sure who the artists are…schoolkids?  People in the community?  Either way, I loved it.

Ah…so my trip to Fitchburg was a treat.  In contrast, my main challenge of the week was that my five year old son has been creating “drop-off drama” at camp in the morning.  Perhaps he thinks that he’s actually AT a “drama camp?”  They do have those, right?  He’s been upset when I have to go, but within ten minutes of me having gone…he’s fine (at least this is what I’m TOLD…)  SIGH.

I’m wondering if I make a stuffed effigy of myself, complete with crabby face and disheveled hair, would this abate his separation anxiety?  He could bring it WITH HIM.  Brilliant, right? I can’t decide if I should use a mass of angora yarn to represent my humidity-induced frizzy hair, or perhaps simply an errant dust bunny would do…thoughts?  Then again…this “faux mommy” doll may temporarily assuage his need for me (as I have about as much personality as a wad of polyester stuffing), but it will likely lead to odd looks from the other kids and subsequent years of therapy to get over this complex.

Perhaps I’ll just bribe him with ice cream, instead?

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No, that’s not my attempt to create the “faux mommy” doll.  This is my son’s piñata from camp!   Isn’t it adorable? He whacked it with a wiffle ball bat in order to get the goodies out.  On second thought…maybe this IS supposed to be me???  Did my son make this mommy-fetish to seek revenge for my leaving him at camp??? Egads. Now, I’VE got a complex.  (Try to act surprised…)

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Languishing lasagna…

My current excuse for not having seen any new art is that it’s sweltering hot here.  I guess it’s going to be 97 deg F tomorrow with tons of humidity

I know…

It gets hotter in Texas…the Sahara Desert…the surface of the sun, etc.  But does it get hotter than the dark interior of my dark blue car????  Nooooo…I think not.   I’ve been feeling too lethargic to cook lately, and I’m wondering if there is some way that I can prepare dinner by cooking it IN MY CAR???  Fried eggs on the dashboard?  No, those aren’t vegan…damn!  Tofu pups instead?  What IS seitan anyway?  It looks like a wet, sweatsock turned inside out.  No?  Well, I hope that it doesn’t TASTE like that.  Anyhoo…as I can’t afford a real convection oven, or at least one that doesn’t have four wheels and an engine, I was thinking of possibly doing a lasagna.  Do you think that it would cook faster in the glove compartment, or on the dash?  Tough call.

So, I recently finished a drawing.  FINALLY.  I’ll show it to you in a minute, but before I do, I had to celebrate it’s completion by making a baby quilt.  My FIRST quilt…mind you.  Needless to say, the quilt is done, but the sewing machine is in the shop.  I think that I scared it half to death with my shoddy sewing skills.  The feed dogs won’t go up anymore.  I think that they’re either hiding, or on strike.

So, here’s the quilt!

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I know.  It’s sooooo basic.  Hey, at least it’s a friggin’ rectangle.  This is machine quilted entirely.  I’m much too impatient to even remotely consider hand sewing.  Besides…the binding was hand sewn, and I nearly made a pincushion out of my left thumb with my incompetent needle handling (yes, I’ve heard of a thimble).  I can’t imagine doing a whole quilt.  (Patty, I bask in your quilting glory.)  I feel itchy to do another quilt!  Is that normal?  (Don’t answer that.)  Actually, as I am a mosquito and poison ivy magnet, I tend to be itchy in general.

The back:

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Super simple!

While I was working away on this thing, my son brought home one of HIS creations from camp.  Here it is:

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Do you know what that is?  No, it’s not vermin.  It’s a PET ROCK!!!  He proudly told me that it will require no feeding and care.  He also explained that after adding the first piece of brown fur, he felt that his rock was cold and needed the black fur as well.  It’s like a bad toupee…or if Donald Trump somehow found himself in the story of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.  Anyway, I love it and think that it’s hilarious.  I’m also a sucker for anything with googly eyes.

Speaking of googly eyes, after months of slaving over the minutiae of my drawing, it’s finished.

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Nameless Problem #2, Elizabeth Kostojohn, 2013, colored pencil on mylar

Sorry for the glare…photography is not one of my strong suits…

No, I have not gone off the deep end.  I’m just expressing my domestic angst.  I’ve already started another one in this series, and I am seriously hoping that it does NOT take me months to complete.  I’m also hoping that I don’t decide to ever draw Doritos again.  Don’t get me wrong…they’re delicious and I love orange, but really

Okay, I will make a SERIOUS effort to see some art next week.  Until then, I’ll just have to wander around the yard in a heat induced stupor.  The hydrangeas are about the only things that haven’t completely shriveled up and died in this heat.

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Speaking of withering neglect, my son correctly used the word “languish” in a sentence this week.  He’s five!  Well, he only get’s half credit…as after he commented on how our unused British pound coin will “languish”, he said, “What does ‘languish’ even mean?”  What does “languish” mean??? Just look at mommy trying to bake lasagna in the Toyota!!!  I’m glad that my culinary failings can prove useful by enriching my son’s developing vocabulary.  Next, I’m going to teach him, “exasperate”, “lethargy”, and “ennui…”



Transforming the mundane and Godzilla…

Well, it’s BALMY in BOSTON.  I think that we’re at around 80 deg F and 80% humidity.  SOUPY.  I feel like I am sticking to everything, and that’s not only a result of my poor housekeeping skills.  Has anyone else noticed that it’s difficult to get a dried Rice Krispy off of the floor?  Well, I have.  Thank god I don’t bother with manicures, or else our floor would be a minefield of dried krispies.

I stopped by the deCordova museum to see the work of Tony Feher.  Now, let me just preface this discussion (one sided, of course) by noting that I am not usually very interested in found object sculpture.  I know…I’m a philistine.  Anyway, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of  Feher’s work.

WELL…I LOVED IT.  LOOK AT THIS:

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Mountain Home, Tony Feher, 2004, plastic containers

I know.  I KNOW what those are…but I love that they’ve taken on this ethereal form.  They look so pure and delicate, and yet solid.  It’s a modern Mayan temple in miniature…well, not really.   Here is an overview of the main room of his work:

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Tony Feher at the deCordova Museum

Each piece is quite simple, typically using only one or two types of objects, but the reconfiguration is fascinating.

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Tony Feher, Sharadiant, 2000, mop and broom handles with rope

I love this too.  It makes me think of a Dan Flavin piece that’s turned off and seen during the day.

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Dan Flavin

I know…I know…they are NOT even MARGINALLY related.  What can I say?  These are the associations that I come up with.  Speaking of associations…what do you think of this?:

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Tony Feher, Come Out And Play Stephen Jay, 2013, painter’s tape

Yes.  That’s tape.  TAAAAPE.  Now THAT made me think of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or wavelite crystals…

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Swirly!

I’m sure that you’d rather see more of Feher’s work, rather than my bizarre and boring associations.  Fine.

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Tony Feher at the deCordova Museum

This is Feher’s installation in that great stairway at the deCordova.  This space is pure genius (thanks to William Rawn Associates), as it creates this really unusual installation space.  I love seeing what different artists do here.  Feher has taken two liter bottles and filled them with colored liquid.  It’s often hard to get a good photo of this space, as it’s so narrow.  It’s 21st century stained glass, right?

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Tony Feher, 8 White Elements, 2001 and Honcho Grid 1, 1999

Yes, you are looking at a tower of styrofoam packaging.  I can’t help but think of an architectural model…perhaps for the New Museum in NYC?  Hell, Yes!  (that expletive relates to the New Museum…I’m not normally so brash.)  The grid in the background is made from plastic straws and polyester thread.  BRILLIANT!

I love how simple and elemental his pieces are.  I love how these mundane objects feel truly transformed through their reconfiguration.  He doesn’t cut/break/bend the objects…he just puts them together so that they form a new, single object.  There’s such clarity to his work.

Speaking of clarity…oh wait, I never have clarity.   Nevermind.

I’ll segue by my household’s own transformation of the mundane into…well, it’s still all mundane.  My son is obsessed with Godzilla.  A friend of mine is moving to TX, and she let me take some of her boys’ old toys.  WELL, we got a small Godzilla set…and the rest is history.  Godzilla is the perfect combination of dinorsaur-ish creature PLUS a force of ridiculous destruction/demolition.  Greaaaaat.

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My son doesn’t seem at all put off by the idea that this is simply a person in a lizard suit lumbering around a model city.  Perhaps that’s because he’s used to me lumbering around the living room, stepping on Lego buildings, and growling?  I have better skin than Godzilla, thankfully.   (Check in with me again if I make it to 90, and I may not be able to say that, though.)

This is a drawing that my son did in homage to the great beast:

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Let me describe this for you…the lower left has a monster truck parked next to a skyscraper.  The tall thing on the right is Godzilla’s leg, with monster toenail.  Yes, he’s SOOO HUGE that he can’t even fit on the page.  Priceless.

I’m also hoping that my toenails did not provide inspiration for this drawing…sigh.




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