slightly wonky


Searching for solace…

This has been a rather rough week.  A friend of mine, her two sons, and her husband died this week.  I won’t go into the details, as those are even worse.  I want to say something profound about the whole ordeal, and about her, but I’m at a bit of a loss.  I feel as if my brain stopped working this week…my thoughts have been stuck like a needle skipping on a record, repeating the same awful refrain.  Short periods of heartache and angst have been interspersed among longer periods of numbness.

I tried to find solace this week by going somewhere that I love:  The deCordova Museum.

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I have been coming here ever since I moved to the area in 1998.  I find it to be peaceful and beautiful.  It truly feels like an escape to me.  This week, it helped provide me with fresh air and a necessary, albeit temporary, distraction.  While I walked around like a bit of a zombie, there were things that made me smile and appreciate that there is still beauty in this world.  I don’t mean beauty in a superficial sense, but beauty of thought and sensibility. I present to you what I saw at the museum…because I can’t talk or think about my sadness right now.

a-genger1Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It was a cold and clear day.  I aimlessly meandered through the grounds and was drawn to this new installation by Orly Genger.  I first saw her work at Mass MOCA.  This specific piece was originally commissioned for Madison Square Park in NYC.

a-genger2Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

I love to knit, so the loopy, monumental, yet somehow furtive, quality of this work appeals to me.  I like that it becomes taller than a person at times, defying knitting’s typical scale and delicacy.

a-genger3Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It winds its way around, changing from red, to yellow, to blue.

a-genger4Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

See how it winds around the grounds?  Knitting is very meditative, and I looked at all of the silent stitches and wondered about each one.

Inside the museum is the biennial exhibition…

a-murrowEthan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen 

Morrow’s work fills the main staircase at the museum.  His drawings are amazing.  Detail:

a-murrow2Ethan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen

Isn’t that breathtaking? He has drawn gorgeous, ethereal ships floating up the expanse of the stair wall.  He included historical details and text along with his drawings.  I bask in his drawing brilliance.  You must go see this.

a-yurukogluBahar Yurukoglu, Primodial Future, Mixed media installation with projection

Please take a look at Yurukoglu’s website…it’s very interesting.  I like bright colors and transparency, so I liked where this was going.  Everything was wall bound…and I kind of wished that there was even more, somehow.  Look at his website…lots of beautiful images and stunning photographs.

a-bracialeLaura Braciale, Rods and Cones, Mixed media installation

I liked this piece.  I liked the translation of these odd objects into flat, 2D paintings.  It looks like some kind of research project to me…an experiment in perception.  I also like all of the white space (of course.)  You’ll see that there are quite a few installation pieces in this biennial.

a-jane4Xylor Jane, Magic Square for finding missing people,  Oil and colored pencil on panel

I really liked Jane’s work.  It felt very different to me.  At times, it almost seemed to be like a textile, with seams.  Her work was very bold.

a-jane3Xylor Jane, Via Crucis XII,  Oil on panel

There is something both dark and menacing, and happy and lighthearted about this piece.  Overall, it’s chromatically dark…but you can see the sort of rainbow palette with almost heart shapes throughout.  What you can’t see in this photo is the beautiful use of textures…the main background is a matte black, and the colors are glossy dots in a grid.  So cool!

a-jane2Xylor Jane, 2,3,5,7,  Oil, graphite, marker and colored pencil on panel

This was really fascinating.  This painting in particular felt like a quilt/textile…and yet it had such depth and transparency at the same time.

a-jane1Xylor Jane, Nox Rex #26, Hypnos,  Oil on panel

This is an amazingly detailed pointillist painting.  I can’t help but think of The Matrix. (Perhaps, I shouldn’t admit that? Does that automatically make me a total philistine?)  Again, the grid and precision are rigid, but the undulating colors brings some levity to the piece.  I love how her four pieces worked together.

a-gibersonPetrova Giberson, Tree Flowers, Mixed media installation

I really liked how this piece and its shadows interacted.  It’s kind of like a sad, old comforter that somehow went to heaven.  It’s hard to see, but there is a line of threads hanging from the ceiling to the right of the comforter, which created an interesting threshold.  The whole piece had a very intriguing way of occupying the space.

Upstairs, there was more to see…

a-gross1Rachel Gross, woodblock print and acrylic

First off, I want to apologize to Rachel Gross because I did not keep track of what the title of this piece is.  In any event, Gross’s work is stunning.  Her woodblock prints are some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen.  Please take a look at her blog.  I love the layering, textures, color palette, composition…everything.

a-gross2Rachel Gross, Pink Box, Woodblock print with spray paint

I love the simplicity of this.  I love the crinkled paper and flat texture of the wood grain.  (I also love hot pink…)

a-abbas1Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

Again, my apologies to Hamra Abbas, as I don’t know which number this work is in the series.  Abbas does miniature paintings of the Kaaba, contemplating its historic, religious, and everyday influence.  She then has the miniature paintings photographed and enlarged to form these prints.  They have a mysterious and atmospheric feel to them.

a-abbas2Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This is so luminous…with both flatness and three dimensionality…

a-abbas3Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This has a fairytale feel to it…beautiful!

The final artist that I’m going to show is someone who’s work I love, and who I managed to meet at an open studio that he had.

a-palocci4Anthony Palocci, Jr., Empty Fridge, oil on canvas

Don’t you love it?  He just looks at everyday household objects and reinvents them.  Brilliant.

a-palocci2Anthony Palocci, Jr., T.V., oil on canvas

I love the cold glow of this T.V. So amazing…

a-palocci1Anthony Palocci, Jr., Phone Call, oil on canvas

I love this too!  It’s sort of humorous…but there is something “vacant” about all of his work.  The viewer is looking at these objects distilled to pattern and value.  They’re so ubiquitous, yet now they have a sort of uncanny feel to them…

a-palocci3Anthony Palocci, Jr., Window Fan, oil on canvas

This is a large painting.  Take a look at his website to get a sense how how large it is.  It’s as if something that is normally forgotten and silent has somehow been given a voice.

a-palocci5Anthony Palocci, Jr., A/C, oil on canvas

I took a photo of this painting with context, so that you can see some of what I perceive as the humor in this work.  It doesn’t look odd to see an A/C unit sticking out of a wall…but this is a painting, of course.  I thought this was a wry location for the work…

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Well, I’m signing off. It’s been a long week.

On Tuesday, there will be a vigil held for my friend and her family.  If you’re in the Arlington, MA area and would like the details…let me know.

Peace be with them…

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Zip-a-dee-do-da

This past Wednesday, I got back from a fabulous FIVE DAYS IN PUERTO RICO.  No, it’s not April 1, I’m serious.  This was a birthday celebration that my friends and I did because we are all turning/have turned 40 this year.  SCARY!  Luckily, we still have the maturity level that we did back in high school, so we had a blast.

Before I left on my trip, however, my son made me this birthday cake:

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I think that it says “Halloween…40…For Mom.”  I thought this was hilarious.  Isn’t it creative, and adorable???  Look at the candle he drew!  Awesome.  It was pretty odd to be leaving my family for 5 days, as I haven’t gone anywhere since my son was born.  For me, a trip to the grocery store is a big to-do.

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Umm…let me just say that the oddness quickly went away as I was in pure Mommy heaven for those five days.  Sitting by the pool…sitting by the beach…going for a swim…reading and finishing Orange Is The New Black…and gabbing almost continuously with a cocktail in hand.  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE????

a-laconcha3This was my view one morning.  I know.  Ridiculous, right?  If I didn’t have a son and husband, I might not have come back!  Sigh.  I had to swap my flip flops for socks and boots when I came back to the Boston area.  BRRR.

Okay, while we were outrageously decadent and lazy, we didn’t sit around the WHOLE time.  We did go zip lining one afternoon:

ziplineThis was beyond fun.  (This is a photo of one of my friends…who shall remain anonymous…gracias.)  I have no idea how fast you go on these, but it feels like 40 mph.  Actually, when you’re midway…the wind is whipping past you and you’re looking at the amazing scenery…you don’t really notice how fast you’re going.  BUT, when you are hurtling towards the end, then it gets a bit disconcerting as you can’t imagine how you could possibly stop without crashing into the cable support.  Luckily, they have some kind of braking mechanism that kicks in during the last 20 feet.  It’s kind of like how a roller coaster stops at the end…jarring, yet efficient.  Most of the photos I have of people coming in are just a blur.

Okay.  So, now I think that we need a zipline in our yard.  Right???  (You must agree.)  I’m a housefrau re-evaluating the laundry line for alternative purposes.  During the day…it’s mommy’s koo koo adrenaline ride… but when my son/husband is home, it’s got clean towels on it again.  Brilliant!  I think that the neighbors already think I’m crazy, but this will ensure that they never come to my house to borrow any butter.  Now, if I could only zip line to Starbucks and back, then I’d be a happy camper…

While I didn’t see ANY art on my vacation…I went yesterday to see the opening of the small group show that I am participating in.  It’s in Harvard Square, so all you locals have no excuse for not stopping by…

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Cambridge Art Association show

Let me just say that the work by the other artists is really amazing.  I’ll show you some of the pieces:

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Ann Strassman, Singularities IX – (Woman with cigarette)

Strassman does these fascinating portraits of people about town, often on a park bench.  She uses discarded boxes as her canvas.  I love how the people are caught in these familiar scenes…unaware of the viewer.  I also love the cardboard with it’s own mundane story.  Amazing!

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Patricia Schappler, Coming and Going

Schappler does ENORMOUS, phenomenal drawing/collage/paintings.  Mind blowing.  I love the mixed media…the layers, the beautiful way that she draws.  So gorgeous.

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Daniel Kornrumpf, Mr. David Lasely

Kornrumpf does GORGEOUS portraits that have an unfinished and open ended feel because he often doesn’t paint parts that he has sketched in.  There is a beautiful mix of complete/incompleteness to his work.  Even his line drawing/painting is amazing.  His sense of color, composition, and overall skill is breathtaking.  I love that the subjects are often pensive and relaxed…aware that they are having a portrait painted, yet real and at ease.  His work reminds me of Alice Neel, whose work I also revere.

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Yair Melamed, The Extrovert

Melamed is a physician AND a photographer.  I couldn’t find a website for him.  I absolutely love the contrast between her gray hair/background and her warm face.  I love how her face fills the frame.  He has a series of really compelling photographs…a must see.

My own work is minimal in comparison:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? series

Because my work is so small, I think that it’s good that they are grouped together.  I wish the lighting was a bit better, as there isn’t direct lighting on the drawings…just the downlights for the hallway.  As a result, I think that the drawings look slightly washed out.  Hmm!  In any event, I am super grateful to be participating in this show with these other, talented artists.  The show is in the University Place building, at 124 Mt. Auburn Street.  Go see it!

Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I’ve got a clothes/zip line and a latte calling my name…

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Starbucks, here I come!!!  Make mine a double!!!




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